Wednesday, December 13, 2006

a man named steve.

Exam time in law school is, unsurprisingly, utterly insane. Self-doubt, along with the requisite overcompensation by the law school equivalents of frat boys, reigns supreme. I sit with
my hundred-page outlines (way too long, because as anyone who knows me knows, I am anything but concise) and try to coax my recalcitrant brain into retaining, you know, anything.

Civ Pro was 3.5 hours long. When it was over, we had to wait around in the atrium for forty minutes while the registrar made sure all of our wireless submissions went through. Maybe someday they will have the technology to, you know, send us a text message or e-mail or something, instead of having us wait until they put a SIGN IN THE WINDOW.

After the sign went up, I went to the pool, did my requisite kilometer and a half, bought a burrito (mango salsa wins all) and tried to study for Con Law. I tried. So hard. Eventually I managed to, but my brain was soooo very angry. In fact, it is still angry. I guess studying for twelve-fourteen hours a day does that to you. Lest you think I am crazy, there are plentiful stories out there about nutty kids staying up all night in the library. This I will never do. There are creepy people from the streets who go there and ejaculate on your shoes. (I wish I was kidding, really.)

Speaking of creepy people, I met a man named Steve a couple weeks back. Steve followed me a few blocks, trying to catch up to me on his bum leg, which was mangled in a hit and run. Or so he says. Anyway, Steve finally gets my attention, and rattles off some flattery. Then he says, "How would you like to make some money? I need you to come with me, so I can take some head shots. Come with me." I say no. He goes on. And on. And on.

He tells me how he is a photographer for the Enquirer. How Bob Guccione has requested his work and how he's looking for the next big Penthouse model. How I am perfect for this. How my bone structure works. How my ribs are proportional. How he makes women's emotional selves come out in photographs. How I can make instant money and be famous. How he's been looking for someone like me for a long time.

"Would you like to make $30 right now? Just come with me. I'll do some head shots. You don't have to take your clothes off. It'll just take ten minutes. Just ten minutes!" This goes on for far, far too long. I say over and over that I have no interest in modeling, nor the time for this crap. He says, finally relenting somewhat, will you at least call me? Please? Please? (Since he likes to surround himself with women).

Eventually, I walk away, saying no, no, and no.

I deeply resent when people cannot take no for an answer. I don't mean this in the "I say 'maybe', but I really mean 'no', and they should get it" kind of way. I really do say no, unequivocally and absolutely.

But I also find it amusing when they think they will be able to persuade me, as though I will eventually cave. It's kind of an Asian-girl phenomenon, I've found. There was this one guy trying to pull me into a job cam once - he kept saying I wasn't like all the other Asian girls, that I was assertive and willing to take chances and not just do what my parents told me to do. Amusingly enough, he was saying that so I would feel flattered and fall straight into his idiotic scam, because he thought Asian girls were easy to manipulate. He said as much, in an earlier conversation.

You aren't like all the other idiotic job-scamming salesmen who try to trap teenagers into moneymaking schemes for yourself. You're so much worse at this than they are. And dude? I am much, much smarter than you. And I can kick your ass. Because I'm a natural kung-fu genius. Comes with the blood, buddy. Comes with the blood.

Anyway. Steve eventually left me alone, though he lives very close by and I make sure no one is following me when I get home. He wasn't sleazy or slick like the salesman was - he looked kind of homeless, considering he just had on some shorts and a jacket with no shirt underneath in 1 degree weather. He just seemed very desperate. It was kind of sad.

Yep. It never gets boring around here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

dumpster diving

They found a body in a dumpster, a block away from the law school, behind the high school we look out at during Civ Pro.

Oh, Clifton.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

random nonsense

Random weird things:

- I have TB. This was a big "dirty foreigner" joke while I was complaining about the FIVE visits I had to make to the bloody health clinic, as international students have to get tested for TB. The second test turned out positive. They gave me an x-ray that very moment (whereas back in Vancouver, I would've had to schedule it for, like, ten years from now) and my lungs were clean, but I have to take medication (isoniazid) for nine months.

- The doctor at the TB Clinic: "This medicine is usually fine for most people, who have some minor side effects. Of course, some people also develop hepatitis and die." *cheery smile*

- Because of the (potential) liver effects of this stupid drug, I cannot drink. For NINE MONTHS. During my FIRST YEAR OF LAW SCHOOL. It's a tragedy, I tell you. I have just been telling people I am pregnant, despite the fact that the only person I have sex with happens to be female. Shhhhhh.

- The TB clinic is in front of the local community, family and job search services building. Thinking I could go through it, I went up to the building, which had huge no guns signs everywhere. I stepped in, and there was a cop in front of a metal detector and baggage scanner ready to frisk me.

- Because that's what people do, see, when they want to get a job or go on welfare. They bring their guns.

- Someone was half-mugged by the fountain on campus the other day. Apparently, when he reached for his wallet, the guy "became agitated, poked him with something unidentifiable, and ran away."

- Mock_the_stupid is the best livejournal community ever. My favourite story is the guy whose daddy has a 'fag shotgun' and a 'nigger shotgun', because homos are the only 'whiteys' who will break into their house, and silver is the only thing that will kill those nightowls. Apparently, black people are werewolves! EVERYTHING IS CLEAR NOW!

- After I told her this story, Stef said I'd blown her cover. Now we know why she can't come out during those pesky full moons.

- For International Day of Tolerance last Thursday, my American friends decided they would 'tolerate' me, by not making Canadian jokes and by adding the letter u to their words as PROPER. A bunch of them even showed up in red and white. We played the Canadian anthem in Contracts, since my prof thought it was Canada Day, and also because I had somehow forgotten the words. Bad, bad me.

- All other days, they call me 'the foreign chick'. I'm so oppressed. I was extremely misled by my International Student Handbook. Perhaps I'm not practicing my English enough.

- The end.

Friday, November 10, 2006

tales from ghettoland.

Cincinnati ranks 354 out of 371 US cities, with the safest city being #1, and Detroit being #371.

Clifton, short-form for Clifton Heights, is the area around the University of Cincinnati campus. It's, well, not pretty. It's certainly not the pristine yuppie-ville that you'd expect around a campus. It's definitely not the West side of Vancouver, for example. Here, you will not find any yoga temples, no sushi joints, no lululemon and no girls with chihuahuas in their Louis Vuitton purses. The law school is not surrounded by posh, hip hangouts to remind its debt-saddled, impoverished law students that someday, yes, someday, they will make six figures. Right.

Instead, you find places like the dive bar across from the law school. They will never get shut down for their likely infinite health code violations, of course, because they have supplied law students with their requisite IVs of the horror known as Miller Light beer for god only knows how long. The girl's bathroom - the stall that works and isn't flooded - has about an inch of space between the toilet and the door. The sink occasionally just doesn't work, leading us to squirt about five gallons of hand sanitizer between our fingers to kill all the bacteria we've picked up from just existing in that place for too long. There is a huge buck head on the wall, for no fathomable reason. Walking in there makes me think of It, for some reason.

In addition, instead of e-mails about new condos overseeing the nude beach, you get much more exciting e-mails, the kind that thrill you about life (far more than nude beaches!). First week before school, I was bombarded by e-mails from the school about the various on-campus/near-campus muggings, rapes, and other such wonderful, inviting occurrences that make any international student feel welcome.

I walked to campus for the first time in August to visit the International Student Whatever Office, to declare my alien presence in these charming lands. The lady took me into her office, and patiently explained to me how to sign a cheque, what a debit card was, that a credit card was only for people who could be responsible "My daughter only uses a debit card, because she doesn't feel like she's responsible enough for a credit card yet," and that Kroger, my grocery store, was a den of gangbangers. Not in those words, of course. I tried to interrupt during the debit card lecture, but gave up. I nodded and smiled. A lot. For an hour.

Kroger, during the day, was not so bad, except for all the guys who instantly gravitated to the girl in a skirt (suffice to say, I will never wear a skirt again to Kroger. It was hot, okay?), asked me when they could pick me up, and followed me into the store until they couldn't keep up with my speedy flip-flopping into the frozen foods aisle.

Guys, in general, do not feel much safer. We had a string of male-on-male rapes, and 'sexual impositions', as our last batch of security e-mails have informed us. Driving is not much better. Driving down into Over-the-Rhine, the much more violent equivalent of Vancouver's downtown eastside, results in a) people walking out in front of you and trying to get into your car, or b) realizing you are in between two very angry gangs with big guns while in front of a red light. Hmm, ticket or guns, ticket or guns... decisions, decisions.

What can I say. It's a classy city.

Finally, walking home from school the other day, I passed by the gas station a few blocks from my apartment and heard an argument break out behind me. God, if they shoot each other, I thought, please don't let the bullet ricochet and hit me in the arm. I need to type for exams. Seriously. Then I waited at the excruciatingly slow light to cross the street. The argument got louder. "You backing up from me, man? Hey, you backing up? Why you backing up for? Huh?" I prayed again that whoever had the gun had decent aim.

Apparently, it stopped short of that. Another guy, a student with the requisite gangbanger 'look', came up to me wide-eyed. "Did you see that?" he asked, incredulously. "That guy tried to steal something off the table, and the other guy showed him his gun and started pushin' him!"

(By table, he means the vendor tables around the gas station. Random people sell random crap by the gas station every day.)

He shrugged. "Clifton, man," he said, put his headphones back on, and swaggered down the street.

Ah, Clifton. It's like every stressed out law student's dream of a positive, nurturing environment, only, you know, not.

Whereas in those swanky top-10 law schools, students try to get out without failing their classes or ranking in the bottom third, we mostly try to get through law school without getting shot. It's the joke around here, but it's not really that far-fetched a joke, despite how far removed from reality law students tend to be.

What can I say. Clifton keeps us grounded.

(On an utterly unrelated note, I have come to realize that gay/bi/etc people should not use the term 'gay' to describe everything, as I unabashedly do. This only results in repeats of conversations like this:

Me: That's (that being something law school related, most like) gay.
Lesbian friend: You're gay.
Me: Yeah, well, you're gayer.
My sister(if she were here): And you're gayest.
Me: Oh yeah? Well you're the gayest...est.

You can figure out where this goes. You see? It only results in the unforgiveable abuse of the English language.)

So much for impeachment.

I had originally hoped to inaugurate starting a new blog - one divorced from the tediously emotional, confessional-style journals I tend to lapse into (in my defense, I was raised a Catholic. Kilt and all. Devoid of my confessional booth and its requisite pedophile and cross, I feel compelled to baptize my readers with a good dose of sexual repression, twisted guilt, and a martyr complex that would rival St. Stephen's. He was the one who got stoned (the painful way), right?) - with a celebratory, rather than condemnatory, post.

Alas. One day too late.

Yesterday I was overjoyed about the results of the election, after staying up till three a.m. on election night, refusing to hop abed until we won the House. Nine a.m. Civil Procedure be damned, I was determined to see it through.

(By 'we', I mean people with that somewhat lost and foreign thing known as human decency, not 'we' in any partisan shape or form, as I am Canadian and my only party allegiance is to one led by the Great and Noble Beaver.)

Anyway. We won the House. Today we won the Senate, which made me unspeakably happy, since the race that decided it was also the race that decided Senator Macaca's fate. (For those not familiar with obscure but potent racial slurs, a macaca is a monkey. A herpes-carrying monkey. If you wanted to say it the more elegant-sounding (and by elegant, I mean, frog-gargle) French way, it's macaque. From the Bantu. And yes, this is what I do in Torts while my professor gallops around the room on an imaginary horse to demonstrate trespass to land. What, your Torts professor doesn't do this? How else could you possibly understand the meaning of 'intent' if s/he doesn't show you what happens when you get pushed by a make-believe person and break the make-believe close? And yes, still on the bloody horse, damnit.)

But of course, this being the land of the free, all this heady political ecstasy has its inevitable, breath-taking and vomit-inducing comedown, notably future-Speaker-of-the-House Nancy Pelosi's sudden commitment to bipartisanship, mending ties, having lunch with the President, and otherwise making nice with the administration that stripped us (and by 'us', I mean all legal and not-so-much aliens in this country) of habeas corpus rights, trampled on the Constitution, tortured innocents, sent people to secret prisons, detained hundreds of people without charge or trial, killed 600,000 people in Iraq - the list goes on.

And why, Jim Webb, would you want to have lunch (fucking lunch. Lunch is the source of all this bullshit. I say we abolish lunch.) with the man who called your aide a macaca, who accused you of being a pedophile for your fiction, who dropped the n-bomb when all the black people weren't in listening distance (well, who knows, really), who is ashamed of being part-Jewish? For social grace? For mending ties? If a reincarnated Eichmann ran for Senator, should we wine and dine with him and let him sing songs with our children? If Kim Jong Il ran for Congressman, should we bake him cookies in a show of we're-not-petty?

Have I lost it? Has the better part of a semester of Contracts (Otherwise known as the Follow-up to History Honours: What do Words Mean, Part II) addled my brain? Is there not something patently absurd about this 'healing of divisions', this uniting of a government?

What betrayal, now that the sweet golden shower of incumbency has rained down on the Dems and they can bask at the golf courses along with their defeated Republican enemies. What betrayal, now that they have been voted in and cannot yet be deposed.

I had the opportunity to watch a panel composed of military lawyers, including Col. Dwight Sullivan, Chief Military Defense Counsel for the Guantanamo Military Commissions, and Lt. Charles Swift, Defense Counsel for Hamdan in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. Col. Sullivan described the real torture that goes on behind the scenes, describing an incident where a hot needle with stuck into someone's eyes to get a written statement, and one where a razorblade was applied to a suspect's penis. But no, this country does not torture. No, this country abides by those pesky Geneva Conventions.

Of course, there's all those people who agree with Mr. Faceshooter Cheney that waterboarding is a no-brainer (clearly, none of these people have ever been close to drowning. I have. It's on my top ten list of favourite things ever.). Of course, in Vietnam and in Cambodia, when it was done to US troops, it was a war crime. Here it's just a 'dunk in the water' for shits and giggles.

I want to believe this blue wave of victory results in something. In pulling out US troops from beleagured, occupied Iraq; in drawing, quartering, castrating the utterly abysmal, shameful Military Commissions Act (MCA), in, you know, at least an ATTEMPT to abide by the Constitution (a law professor said something along the lines of, 'The Iraqis can have our Constitution. After all, we're not using it.'), a restoration of habeas rights before it is too late, an end to the torture, hearings into all the abuses and atrocities perpetuated in the name of the American people, permitting detainees access to counsel (not just under condition of pleading guilty) - etc, etc ad nauseum.

But this bald-faced, shameless rejection of the will of the people - Dean and Pelosi saying they know what the people want, and refusing to do it - what a contemptuous turn on the people that put you where you are. They may as well be sobbing tearfully into the camera, renouncing all divisions and saying we are all one big happy family. Time to hold hands and snuggle, children.

He made jokes about not finding any WMDs in Iraq. He made jokes while every single family saw the violent death of at least one family member over the past few years.

Almost comical, isn't it? The absurdity of this country, like the fall of Rome. Our Nero playing his fiddle while the city burns.

Without impeachment, this country owns what it has done. It embraces it.

Once upon a time, representatives, you know, represented. A utterly novel concept, I know. I realize that representatives are not the direct reflection of the will of the people; that they reflect the core values and concerns of their constituents but are vessels in which the ideas and whims of the unwashed masses are allegedly distilled and refined. But it seems that this principle is just an excuse to avoid doing what is not politically expedient. How does the core value of outrage against the corruption of this administration translate into giving the head gangster a pass? Where is there even the slightest sliver of representation here?

Once upon a time, people placed their moral values over social niceties and false, idiotic ideas of national unity and healing. The woman who called him out as the emperor with no clothes is now his new best friend. If that doesn't feel like a shank in the back, I don't know what does.

There's this sense of unreality in America, that things are not as bad as they seem. They don't realize that other countries view them kind of the way they view Kim Jong Il and South Korea - dangerous, unstable, unfathomably corrupt. People say, the real human rights abuses occur elsewhere. They do, of course. In the places America carves out in foreign nations and ships people off to for no reason at all, other than the fact that they look Middle Eastern. Of course, they can't always tell.

For example: my best friend, who is Jewish/Hispanic/a bunch of other things, gets stopped all the time for looking 'Middle-Eastern'. Another friend of mine, who is East Indian, gets hassled and searched much the same way. It reminds me of when I was back in high school, and some of my more gang-oriented friends used to get stopped and detained because they resembled black suspects. The problem is, these friends of mine where East Indians. The cops denied it. (Yes, you read that right. The cops denied my friends were the race they purported to be. Because the cops knew better. Duh.)

Unfathomable. This country has always been divided. Unity is not what we need. Social graces are not we need to fix an illegal war, to fix the horrors committed in this country's name. Judgement is. Resounding, unequivocal, furious condemnation. Not tea parties. Not BFF picnics. Not shopping for Christmas presents together at Saks.

But I guess that is too much to ask, as the drug of incumbency settles like an blossoming opiate haze around Washington.

May history shame them all.