all weekend working on packing and loading and unloading until everything was moved from one apartment to our NEW HOME! and working out the quirks of this old house using the gas stove and lifting a ceiling lamp above forehead level and adjusting the toilet tank so that it fills up with water and doesn't leak mostly, but after all that it's a GREAT place and we love just being here and can't wait for the new short commute tomorrow too.
after a weekend of watching perfect weather go by without the time to get on my bike, I finally touched some rubber to the road on Monday night--after reattaching the chain that had slipped off the front gears and adjusting the fender that was rubbing on my wheel something fierce because it was installed at a sloppy angle by the guys at NOW bikes & fitness--but my legs were so distroyed I only went for a few blocks anyway.
it was a difficult time for Lola and she puked a few times we think from the stress of moving boxes everywhere and messing up her home enviroment after only two short weeks and finally getting settled down, so she spent Sunday at my in-laws' house during the bulk of the moving and seemed to do okay there altho she was so happy to see us again at the new house and made herself at home right away, plus she hasn't puked since then altho she's made some weird sounds and scratched the doors a bit.
both our families came to see the new place (J's dad was a huge factor in helping with the move and her mom took Lola too, plus my brother gave us a hand, and everyone else just came to check it out) and two of my college friends came for the day to see us before they move to Florida, and we ran into our upstairs neighbor B watering flowers on the front porch so we talked awhile and she's really nice.
all I'm really trying to say is that we had a full weekend and after all that we are still not connected to any internets, which adds to the authentic antiquity of the house, but makes it difficult to share the photos I took and can only be bad news for blogging. I'll do what I can.
Oh boy, my first waitlist rejection... this is so exciting! I'm really grinding into the home stretch now. At least I finally got some solid numbers out of all this nebulous waitlist muck: 300 people accepted an offer of admission to join a class of 270 students. That doesn't leave much room for anyone to slip in off the waitlist. And thus I joined the "myriad of qualified applicants" who was turned away from law school in the Badger State.
For those keeping score at home, that leaves three waitlisted schools with rejections yet to come. Just three thin envelopes away from returning to a life without law school. And whatever happens next...
Hmm so okay. Chickenmagazine wonders about books that I'm vaguely embarassed not to have read. The truth is, there aren't any. Asked me a couple of years ago and I would have listed off a bunch of books that I felt incomplete without. Great novels or important works of non-fiction that I was a fool for not having read.
But now I've come to an understanding with books. I don't have to read certain books to feel like I'm smart, or to impress other people, or out of some vague guilt that it's something I ought to do. I read what I want, when I want, and if it's not cutting the mustard then I feel no qualms about tossing it aside. Reading isn't school. It's fun! Read the books that you enjoy and bollocks to the rest.
So, no, there are no books I'm embarassed not to have read. Only books I'm looking forward to reading and may or may not enjoy, as the case may be. The fact that anyone would feel embarassed for not reading a particular book seems to stem from the idea that there is an absolute quantitative quality attached to certain books that makes them inherently worth reading. That's nonsense.
It's been one thing after the nother in the life of Sui G but I'd be lax to slack on the opportunity to share about the basic bike repair class at Sibley. After buying a U-Lock and cable at REI, picking up the keys and signing a rental agreement at our new home, and eating a delicious sandwich at Jimmy John's, I arrived about an hour early for class. I dragged my de-wheeled bicycle out of the trunk of my Saturn and reassembled it on the sidewalk.
Terry let me into the shop so I could drop it off, and we chatted for a while about the organization and how donations work. I got a mocha from the café next door. He took me out to the junk pile and showed me a sweet frame from a donated bike that had got them all excited until they realized that it was cracked and terminally unsafe. Some neighbor kids came by and asked if they could have the bikes for free ("no"). Soon, other people started showing up for class and we migrated into the shop.
I wasn't sure what type of people would attend, but the turnout that night was really diverse. There were two women who left before class was over, and two men, all in their 40s or 50s let's say; a couple of girls my age, (one who seemed experienced and one who had just inherited an old bike from her sister and taken her first ride); a guy who couldn't have been over 26 and had just returned from a hardcore bicycle tour in the South; a younger girl who seemed to know that guy from work and had to be somewhere else about halfway through; and a man who brought in his wife's bike for repairs and hijacked the class for a while with specific personal questions. A total of ten students, including me.
The instructor clearly knew and loved bikes and enjoyed talking about them. We got sidetracked plenty of times and ended up going about an hour over the scheduled ending time, which stretched the class to a healthy three hours. At $15 dollars for the class, I felt like I got my money's worth out of that time. He showed us how to fix a flat, adjust gears, replace a chain, and discussed a hundred other tangential topics.
I didn't feel comfortable asking him to look at my own bike until the class had been officially over for a long time and most of the other students had left. He checked my shifters, lubed the chain, and tightened up the brake lever that was bothering me. Then he pronounced it good. I was relieved to find out that all the parts are in the right places and I've got a sound and sturdy bicycle with no major problems. I removed the front tire again and packed it back into my trunk for the long drive across the Twin Cities back to my apartment.
The cool thing is that the place we are moving into this weekend is really close to downtown St. Paul where this shop is located, so I'll be able to take advantage of their knowledge, experience, and great deals on secondhand chains. I'm going to continue taking classes and hopefully return on Wednesdays for their volunteer nights, since they made it sound like even someone as inexperienced as me would be able to help out somehow, and I can learn a lot more about bikes by actually working on them.
Besides that, I was looking for somewhere to volunteer, and what better way to do it than to combine my new interest in cycling with a non-profit organization that fixes up donated bikes and gives them to people who can really use them?
Behold: our new home! We are renting the ground story of this mammoth Victorian in a historical neighborhood of St. Paul as of this weekend, and I'm so psyched. We got a bargain on the month-to-month rent since the owner is putting it on the market and we will have to evacuate for showings and open houses. But we don't care because the place is amazing.
It's a beautiful house with tall ceilings, a huge yard, and a ginormous kitchen (by the standards of rentals in the city in this price range) with tons of counter space. It's located in between my office and J's new job, so we no longer have to drive upwards of eighty miles a day just to commute (plus all the driving we've been doing to look at apartments this month--the gas is killing us). Also--check this out--our upstairs neighbor is a law student working at a firm in the city. I'm really looking forward to meeting her and talking with a real person about all the stuff I talk about on here.
So, anyway, we got a house!
Reading this book so close on the heels of Infinite Jest makes comparison inevitable. The style of the two novels is very similar in that both books go on and on without explanation or logical progression or obvious meaning, and the endings leave many questions unanswered. It seems like a bad formula for fiction, and judging by the Amazon reviews, it's not for everyone (you like that, Scott?). But personally, I found both books to be so well-written that I was happy just to go along for the ride (in fact absolutely compelled to continue reading), because the journey was its own reward.
Now for the differences. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is more bizarre and darkly sinister than the Jest. It's also more accessible, I think, because--apart from being much shorter--the language is clearer and more straightforward and easier to skim through. Which I found myself doing several times, because the mood is so emotionally detached and surreal that it just floats along without a care for rhyme or reason. I didn't get as emotionally involved with the characters in this book because they don't display any emotions to get involved with. Besides that, new characters that appear to play a major role in the plot will build up tension and stories around themselves and then suddenly disappear.
These little shakeups are good, though, because the reader is conditioned not to expect anything in the way of resolution, and that way the ending isn't as jarring as it could have been. It is seen as natural and fitting that so many questions should be left to the imagination. In fact, as the story winds up its inscrutable spring, twisting up the plot beyond the limits of credulity and normalcy, it would be truly unsettling to reach a typical conclusion at the end. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle succeeds in creating a reality of its own, and it excels by staying true to that version of reality. I bought into it entirely. That, for me, is something that makes a great book.
As soon as certain people started posting eyes, I knew right away what photo I wanted to use: the most disgusting one I have! This is a 'morning after' shot taken when I returned home from a rave at Club Karma in Osaka. That purple under my eyes faded after a day's sleep, but I felt about as awful as I look here. That was one of the best nights of my life.
It's not just coincidental that I haven't been writing as much about law school lately, nor have I stopped thinking about it less now that I have nothing but waitlists to hang on. I have been thinking about the law--I've been thinking that it might have been a terrible mistake for me to go to law school. Or it might have been exactly what I needed.
Scheherazade at Stay of Execution lists some systematic problems with the profession in a post titled, "Legal Lies." Which makes the study of law sound like a poor course of action, but at least knowing the truth beforehand allows one to make an educated decision. I've been reading that stuff for a long time. There's a lot of it out there, and it's fairly easy to find. Then on the other hand we have the law bloggers who say, "I may complain every now and then but I really love doing this." And I've met with practicing lawyers who love their jobs, so I know that it's not all bad; at least not for everybody.
So I still wrestle with the question of whether I should go to law school if I get the call, or drop all my waitlists now and get some closure. I'm not thinking about whether I will re-apply next fall or not. Most days I'm tempted not to even think about the waitlists and take the attitude that "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it," since I could be doing a whole lot of pointless agonizing if nothing pans out. On the other hand, if I do get an offer, I need to be ready with an answer.
It would have been so easy if I'd been accepted right off the bat. I could have taken the offer and not thought twice about it. Now I'm reconsidering my decision to apply and overwhelmed with the number of alternative career paths I could choose. To her credit, Scheherazade identified her big dream and decided to pursue it. I'm still not sure what my big dream is, and I don't know what's next for me, but one thing's for sure: I can't stay here.
Categories: law school
J's sister and brother-in-law came over yesterday to meet Lola and go out for dinner at Granite City restaurant and microbrewery. They only sell their own beers, which struck me as a bold move. I tried their light beer along with my walleye and tasted some of my sister-in-law's Maibock. Yum! The light was very good and I'll definitely need to return some time for a full pint of Maibock.
Another place that deserves a return visit is Grandma's Saloon & Grill. They offer a celebrated wine list, but I decided to go with their house beer when we visited last weekend and was not disappointed. Best of all, they accidentally brought me two glasses of the Trusty Old Brew so I got two for the price of one!
I forgot what I was going to say about my bike. It's still a blast to ride and I went out early this morning and almost got blown over by the wind a couple of times. Later I saw that it was gusting up to 30mph. Whoa. Also I locked the gears while going up a hill and had to walk it the rest of the way up, but that was no big deal. I'm going to be taking a repair class at the Sibley Bike Depot soon. Oh, now I remember what I set out to share: After biking down to Medicine Lake and watching the waves and exalting in the early Sunday, I saw a dead duck by the side of the road. At first I thought it was just sleeping but then I saw the neck was askew and oh the feathers, it was a sad thing to see so early in the morning.
My grandma called and a friend of hers had recommended University of Virginia, so she told me to apply there if it wasn't too late. I told her I probably missed my chance for this year.
Heads up. I changed the blog links a bit yesterday and added some local cyclers. Their adventures may only be of interest to me, but there you are. If you know of another biker/blogger who's fun to read, by all means let me know.
Speaking of, J and I toured a duplex yesterday that was home to five grad students and twice as many bicycles. Actually, from looking at the house I got the feeling that these were some guys I would like to hang out with. Aside from the bikes jammed everywhere, the best part was a basement full of amps and a drum set surrounded by empty bottles of Leinenkugel's.* The nicest bike was US Postal Service issue and looked totally frickin' sweet: clipless pedals, the whole works, with some nice shoes and other gear festooning the stairs nearby.
When we got home from there, I went on a long ride that ended up being far longer than I intended. I got totally lost and somehow ended up miles off course. And I loved every minute of it. Once I found my bearings and started to head back home, anyway.
*dubious claim to local beer industry fame: I once met Jacob Leinenkugel. True story. I later returned for the full brewery tour and far exceeded their stated limit of free samples.
Two weeks ago, my company changed the program that we do all of our work on from a FileMaker to JDE-based system. The new system was designed by programmers in India without much regard for how we actually do our jobs or what type of functionality we need (which is corporate's fault, of course; not the Indians'). As a result, our work is harder, counter-intuitive, and far more time-consuming than it was before the switch. This is not just a temporary symptom of learning how the new program works. We learned it, and it sucks.
All this is just to say that it's been a little crazy around there lately. I personally didn't do my own job for the entire week because I was helping other departments, like Customer Service, whose jobs got even more screwed up than mine did. A few days ago, one of the Customer Service employees walked out. Just up and left her desk and quit. It was in this kind of atmosphere that HQ decided to send in a perky woman to build morale. There was a mean, ugly mood in that conference room that day.
It's tiring; actually physically difficult to work in conditions like that. I can feel the hostility pumping through the air vents and steaming in the coffee pots. Lucky for me, I'm moving upstairs soon into my new financial job, which may not be quite as dependent on the new system. Unfortunately, the extra time and stress demands have impacted my blogging and my daily life, and the new job might take even more of my time. I'm writing this on a Saturday morning--usually I write during breaks at work. In fact, I don't want to write any more now. I'm going to watch cartoons and not think about work until Monday at 7:00 AM.
Getting married and then settling down again after all this law school jive and adopting a dog has been one crazy thing after another but last night I had the strange revelation that my real life is actually starting to resemble the one that I always hoped for. I came home yesterday afternoon from a job that I don't hate too bad, rode bikes in the park with my wife, took our dog for a walk, cleaned a bit, settled down to read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and thought: This is what I've been looking forward to all my life. Here is where I want to be. I have arrived.
In other words, I'm growing up.
And I'm happy. I like the way that my life is going, despite (or because of) the fact that there are so many great things I still want to accomplish. I'm looking forward to the future. You're welcome if you want to join me.
It's been a crazy week; I haven't gotten around to this review and I'm already waist-deep into The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Here we go. My review of Breakfast of Champions.
If you don't read novels because there aren't enough pictures, then Breakfast of Champions is the book for you.
No, seriously, I liked it. Slaughterhouse-5 was better. But this one has its own kind of charm. I think I'd have enjoyed it more if I were more familiar with the whole Vonnegut oeuvre. I've never read a book like it: he uses himself as a character in the book, but not in an annoying or pretentious way. It's like a playground of words and drawings that he freely messes with. Just plain fun to read, but also thought-provoking, of course. Next on the Vonnegut reading list: Cat's Cradle.
Via Amber, a different kind of quiz. I'm not even sure I understood all the questions, but I answered as honestly as I could and came up with a remarkably accurate result. That is basically how I would describe myself, so I recommend this one.
| You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.|
What is Your World View? (corrected...hopefully)
created with QuizFarm.com
No unpleasant surprises this morning! One good poop last night after dinner and that was it. Lola stayed off the bed and let us sleep all night long. She's learning fast. Went totally spastic this morning when I got up and started petting her, and I felt sad when we had to leave her again so soon, and scared that she might have a present waiting for us when we got home. She wouldn't go this morning, even though we took her out twice.
You know, all I need to combine my two new hobbies is a wire basket on the handlebars of my Bianchi so that Lola can ride along with me. It wouldn't even have to be a very large basket; she's quite a small dog. Only ten pounds. I'm taking one thing at a time, though. First we'll make sure that she's housebroken, then we'll see about bicycle rides.
UPDATE: She held her bladder all day and pooped outside when we got home, and again before bed, so I thought we were in the clear. But this morning, we got the trifecta.
This is it; my entire law school application adventure from start to finish. All the votes are in. Except for the four (+/-) waitlists that I am on, I have been roundly rejected! As for my chances of getting accepted off a wait list, who can say? But if I had to guess, I would say that law school is not in the cards for this fall. Nothing I can do now except keep on waiting.
11/5/04: All applications submitted via LSAC
12/17/04: Deferred at Minnesota
2/1/05: Waitlisted at UConn
2/2/05: Waitlisted at Wisconsin
2/17/05: Rejected at Washington
3/11/05: Rejected at Colorado
3/18/05: Rejected at Texas
3/25/05: Waitlisted at William & Mary
4/1/05: Rejected at Washington & Lee
5/2/05: Rejected at Georgia
5/14/05: Waitlisted at Minnesota and Lewis & Clark
Bad first night with the new dog. She seemed so well-behaved during the day, but she wouldn't quit trying to jump onto the bed. For two hours she jumped and pawed. And she would not abide staying in the kennel, oh no; I thought she was going to kill herself in there. So we gave her the run of the bedroom, figuring that couldn't be too bad... until two hours later, when the leaping and noisemaking had not abated, and I gave up and let her onto the bed. Slept okay after that... until I woke up and saw the poop on the carpet. The previous owners said she was housebroken. Time to give them a call and work out a solution.
So much has happened it the past 24 hours that I don't even know where to start. Far too much for a weekend post anyway. We got an email from the Pug Rescue of Minnesota last night saying that two Pugs were up for adoption, so I called and made an appointment to meet with the owners this morning. It sounded like they wanted to keep the dogs together, so J and I had a long talk about whether we could adopt two dogs at once.
This morning, we drove out to their house, played with the dogs and asked a bunch of questions. Both Pugs were really energetic and friendly. They are three-year-old sisters who had grown up together, but the owners had decided it might be okay to split them up and gave us the option to take either one or both dogs on the spot. It seemed a little too easy. J asked, "do you trust us to take the dogs?"
"Yep, you seem nice enough," they said.
We told them we wanted one for sure and would talk about whether we wanted both. After an hour or two of deliberating and touring a house inbetween, we called back and said we would just take the smaller dog, Lola. She has fewer health problems than her sister Gigi, plus a better name. So we went back and took her, along with some food, a crate, and her medical history. After a stop at Petsmart for a food and water bowl and a couple of other essentials, we brought her home. Now we have a dog. It feels very strange.
That is, however, not the strangest thing that I have to tell. After all this time, I ended up being placed on Minnesota's waitlist. Wait for it: that's not even the big law school news. I also got waitlisted by Lewis & Clark, which is quite an accomplishment, given that I never applied there. We're still trying to figure out what to do about that one.
Just got in from my first real ride on the Strada. The weather was sort of crappy but I still had a blast riding around a lake in the wind and cold. I gotta say it feels good to be back in the saddle. My calm was almost broken at the end, but I emerged unscathed.
A couple of blocks away from home I saw a ball roll from someone's driveway out into the street, so I stopped to pick it up and toss it back. I heard a kid yell, "hey! That's my ball!" Three little junior high boys were coming down to the street, but they were still a ways back, so I called, "I'm just kicking it back for you."
I drop-kicked it up to them and they started cursing and yelling at me. I thought about flipping them the old bird, but instead I just got back on my bike and took off. They were trying to antagonize; why give 'em the satisfaction? I finished the ride feeling good and tired and triumphant.
The results are in: Stag has heard from all nineteen schools where she applied. Because I'm a glutton for punishment, let's see how our answers stack up:
Stag: 19 | Sui G: 9
I win on application fees, unless Stag got fee waivers for all those schools. This puts me a few hundred bucks in the lead. One point for me.
Stag: 5 | Sui G: 4
I'm going to claim another point here since I got one less rejection, even though my percentage is higher (44% rejections compared to 26% for her). Still, that's one less letter that made me cry. Chalk up another point for Sui Generis.
Stag: 6 | Sui G: 3
I'm even more unsure how to quantify this one, but with percentages this close, I'm tempted to call it a tie for now. I won't, though; I'm going to call it three more points for me. Why? Because getting waitlisted is a cop-out--a non-answer--and that sucks. The fewer of those you have to think about, the better.
Stag: 5 | Sui G: 0
In the end, this number is the only thing that matters. Infinity points to Stag. She wins at getting into law school.
Stag: 0 | Sui G: 1
But the game's not over yet... I still have one card up my sleeve. And one YES is all it takes to make me a winner in the applications game. Come on, Minnesota! SG news a new pair of tires!
Whoa--got a little caught up in cycling fever there for a few days. I hope I didn't lose anybody. Just to catch you up, I'm still waiting for an answer soon from Minnesota (I'm expecting a NO), and then I'll be sitting on three waitlists (no, no, and no, probably). Ah, but who can say. It will all work out one way or the other. I'm not even all that anxious anymore for it to come to an end; I'm living my life and having a great time no matter what. Cheers everyone.
I've been too busy buying bikes to blog! Blimey! Normally I'm a fairly cautious spender, but sometimes it's like I open the floodgates of my wallet and money just keeps on pouring out. I've already spent twice as much on accessories as I did on the bicycle itself (but that's more a statement on the low price of the bike than any crazy amount of extra doodads).
I set it off yesterday when I visited the latest in my tour of shops and rode their one and only used bike, a Bianchi Strada. I liked it, the price was right, and I decided to go for it. You can't swing a chain in the Twin Cities without hitting a bike shop; I had apparently decided that it would be a good idea to visit each and every one before making a choice. Instead I was just driving myself insane and overwhelmed by the selection. It was time to ride.
The bike has an understated elegance. I might take a photo when I get a chance, but it's nothing special to look at. It met my primary criteria: functional & cheap. That was enough to get started. Anything else is bonus.
And what a lot of bonus prizes I stacked on top of it. Buying a cheap ride meant that I had just that much spare change to piss away on other crap. Once I had the bike picked out, the first thing to do was I had to get a set of fenders thrown on; because face it, fenders are cool. I put them to work on that while I wandered around the shop and picked up a few essentials: pump, gloves, helmet (today I added a rear LED blinker light and U-Lock to that collection, but we won't mention those--or the chain lock, messenger bag, tools, patch kit, spare tire(s), safety vest and reflector tape that are on my shopping list for tomorrow*).
I messed around a bit with different helmets. After fiddling with one for nearly ten minutes trying to get the fit right, I came to my senses and decided to buy the helmet I had worn on my test ride, which fit perfectly after one quick adjustment. It was a little more than I planned to spend, but hey--the bike was cheap! Plus, a snug and comfortable helmet is an investment in the enjoyment of future rides and keeps the grey stuff inside your head if you crash. Remember, kids, Sui Generis is Latin for "Safety First!"
*or the stuff I don't really need per sé but can imagine developing a keenly-felt desire for in the future, like a halogen headlamp, computer, special shoes, &c.**
**don't even ask about the et cetera.
The Great Strides walk was fairly uneventful, so I won't say much about it; I showed up and did it, we got rained on, then I went bike shopping. I picked up a free comic book for Free Comic Book Day. J and I took my mom out for dinner on Saturday night, then we went to her mom's house for lunch today. My little-sister-in-law let me borrow her bicycle, which was very nice of her, except that it's a women's mountain bike and I want a men's street bike, but whatever. At least I can get out and ride for now until I find my own bicycle. Although I can bet that saddle is going to get uncomfortable mighty fast.
I feel like I've been all over lately, and tomorrow morning I'm headed out to Lake Calhoun for the Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk with my coworkers. I might bring the camera and try to get some photos of the event or just the bicycle shopping I have planned for afterwards. Meanwhile, J will be helping her family with a charity garage sale to raise money for a little dog's hospital bills. It's like we're volunteer crazy!
Now all we have to do is figure out what's going on with Mother's Day and we'll be golden. A lot of things are about to happen. We're still searching for a dog to adopt. We are very excited to move soon. I ought to be starting in my new job position one of these days. And the U of M should have made a decision by now, so I hope to get that letter soon and move on with my life. Look forward to another post soon on what to do when all that's left is the waitlists. Review of Breakfast of Champions next week. And so on.
Pros of not going to law school:
- I don't make as much money in my current job, but I will have time to enjoy it than if I were working at a firm
- Spent the last half a year coming to grips with not getting accepted, and I'm okay with it
- Freedom to continue my creative pursuits and explore alternative business options
- Don't have to read textbooks, go to class, or take exams ever again
- Not racking up tens of thousands of dollars of debt
Liveblogging the Geek Quiz.
General: Dvorak? Nice. Got one right off the bat. I'd play chess more if there was anyone around who knew how.
Gamer: What's this Super Nintendo crap? It doesn't get any better than Dr. Mario on the original NES. A real geek is going to be playing Frogger on his Atari, anyway. Pssh... kids.
Love: Models are creepy. They're so frail and buggy-eyed. Is it really geeky to be polyamorous? I thought that was just garden-variety perversity.
That was a dumb quiz. Thanks a lot, Brian. I just wasted ten minutes of my life that I could have spent working. Also, how come I have such trouble displaying these stupid things?
Your Geek Profile:
Academic Geekiness: High
Fashion Geekiness: High
Music Geekiness: High
Gamer Geekiness: Moderate
Geekiness in Love: Moderate
General Geekiness: Moderate
Internet Geekiness: Moderate
SciFi Geekiness: Low
Movie Geekiness: None
With temperatures climbing above freezing again and the skies clearing and sunshine I got out on my own yesterday afternoon for a few hours of springtime frolic. After being shut-in all winter, this time of year makes me really glad to be alive. It's weird, though, poking my head out of my little den at the end of the hibernation season and emerging into the outside world again. Those months of freezing and wasting away inactivity seem twice as depressing again when compared to the glorious warmth and light of summer.
Moving to Georgia would have been a welcome change after living for most of my life in this bone-bleached part of the world. But I was rejected at last! Hallelujah, the long cold winter of law school admissions is coming to an end.
If you don't want to hear about my trip to Uptown, you can stop reading now. But this post got longer than I planned and turned into a sort of confessional and tattoo/bicycle shop tour of Minneapolis, and it's maybe not as boring as I thought. Your call.
I went to a couple of bike shops and a tattoo parlor, that's about the gist of it. First I drove out to a great little place in northeast Minneapolis called Behind Bars. Is that a hardcore name for a bicycle garage or what? A nice cute tattooed girl greeted me as I came in and set me up with a bike after I explained what I was looking for. I gave her my credit card and driver's license as collateral and she handed me the loaner helmet. Dude with a killer moustache adjusted the seat and gave me a primer. "If you squeeze this left brake too hard, you will flip over the handlebars," he warned me. Good to know.
I wheeled my Smoke outside and took it to the streets. It's been a few years since I rode, so I was a little nervous, but after a trip around the block I was feeling pretty good about it. I made sure to take it easy on the brakes. There wasn't too much car traffic, which was my main concern. I've still got a nasty scar from--well, that's a different story. Anyway, it was just a nice solid bike and I had fun with it. I rode the 18- and 20-inch frame models, and then tried Kona's slightly pricier Dew for comparison. I liked the cheaper bike better.
After that, I gulped down a bunch of water and drove down to Uptown Tattoo. This place gets a lot of good press; in fact, some would say it is the Twin Cities' Best Tattoo Parlor. I got most of my work done by David Dettloff* at the Ink Lab down the street (except for my very first merely hour-long session** at Saint Sabrina's,*** yet another venerable Uptown institution), but I had been meaning to check out Uptown Tattoo for quite some time. Not that there was anything in particular to do once I was there, since my wife has nixed all tattoo plans for the immediate future, but I looked at the artist's portfolios for a while and picked up a flyer. Curiousity: satisfied.
I didn't spend as much time at Penn Cycle (even though it was a really cool and admirably well-stocked place) because I want to test-ride a bike before I buy it, and I was freaked out just thinking about riding around the Lake-Lyndale area at rush hour. The traffic was a nightmare. I chose to drive home in it instead. Not even gridlock could dampen my spirits, though, because I was so happy to be running around outside and warm. It's good to be alive.
*Fun Fact #1: my tattoo is actually displayed on this page! Fun Fact #2: I will never tell which one it is! (Dr. Vono, don't spill it.)
***full name: Saint Sabrina's Parlor in Purgatory
Narkoleptik asked awhile back whether I would consider re-applying to law school. It's too early to give a complete answer (wait, no it's not--certainly I'll consider it), but I have some thoughts that I'd like to share right now. Whether I actually do re-apply is an open question. Here's what I know:
1. I learned a lot about applying to law school. If I do choose to re-apply, I have an advantage over first-time applicants. I know a ton more about the process now than I did last October, and I could use that knowledge to my benefit. I can't say how, but I would make different choices, and I would be more on the ball if I played the applications game again. After all my first-hand experience, plus blog reading and discussions with other applicants, I'm a frickin' professional. I'd give myself better odds the second time around. If there is a next time, it will be for keeps.
2. I learned a lot about myself. This is the corollary to #1. Half the battle was figuring out where I stand: why I want to go to law school, where I want to live, what I want to do with a JD degree, when to go about it, and finally, how to achieve all of this. That leads into the second half of the equation, which is who I am right now; more exactly, how other people see me and how I can most effectively market myself. If law school applications were the only area that this knowledge is applicable, it would have been a waste of time. But this level of understanding can be levered in many areas of life. Businesses, investors, and other graduate programs like guys with skills. Figuring out which ones they're looking for and how to present yourself as a perfect manifestation of them is priceless. Which leads me to my next point.
3. I'm glad I went through the process at least once. Don't get me wrong, the waiting isn't fun, and I don't enjoy getting rejection letters (or the cold shoulder--I'm talking to you, Georgia). But, as I keep reminding myself, everything so far is going according to plan. I didn't go into this mess with a "law school or bust" attitude; I went in with a targeted attitude of "getting into these particular schools would be nice, and if not, that's okay too." So far, I haven't been accepted, but that's not failure according to these parameters. I just want a yes or no, and then I'll go in whatever direction looks best (which is why the deferrals and waitlists are especially frustrating--just give me a clear answer!).
Who can say what will happen this fall? I might be starting law school, re-applying, or doing something completely different. Only time will tell. As always, I hope you'll stay tuned to see how things shake out. You never know what I'll do next--I'm a loose cannon, man.
Maybe it was just me, but I had trouble with Zodiac. Maybe it would have been easier to follow if I'd read it all in one shot as I did with the first book, but as things went it seemed to jump around too much. I got lost and confused a couple of times. The action was occasionally unclear, or a character would pop up and I thought, "now who is that again?"
I mean, overall, I enjoyed it, but this book lacked the supreme elegance and polish of Snow Crash. That's what I get for reading the masterpiece first, I suppose. It's all downhill from there. That's unfair, really; most of it was great. I was into the story, I wanted the protagonist to triumph, and there were twists aplenty to keep it interesting. Overall, I would rank Zodiac in the top 500 books that I've read. That's still saying something.
"Dear Mr. Generis:
Thank you for your application [fee] . . . I wish you success in your future endeavors."
I didn't want to go to your stupid school anyway.
Friday night camping was miserable, but overall we had a good weekend and nobody died. I don't know exactly how cold it got on Saturday morning, so I'll just say that I was wearing three pairs of pants and two sweaters and a winter jacket and hat and two pairs of wool socks, in a 'mummy'-style sleeping bag rated to twenty degrees Fahrenheit, curled up into a fetal position and shivering, unable to even think about sleeping. My wife pulled me into our van around four AM, where we spent the rest of the morning. We hung out around a campfire for most of Saturday and slept in a friend's apartment that night. We knew we had made the correct choice when we drove home through the snow, sleet and hail on Sunday morning. Lovely.