Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm just tryin' to get myself a drink, pal.

I saw this on facebook but I try not to repost things quite this colorful there.

I have no idea how I'm going to get everything done this week. We'll see. I can't believe next week is already October 7. My clinic-mate said, "Look, it's fucking Christmas already." I think he might be right.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

To Mighty Mutt.

I haven't done this much reading since my first year of law school. I think my eyes are bleeding.

I do not have court duty tomorrow, but one of my two cases has rapidly turned into a fucking nightmare...usually you go to arraignment and get a follow-up date for your pre-trial hearing. During that time your client is either released (by personal recognizance or on bail) or held (with or without bail). My first guy was released and I just hope I see him again before the next date. My other guy? Before even getting to a pre-trial hearing, we get to have a probation violation hearing.

The standard for this hearing is pretty low, and especially based on the facts, it is really, really bad. I guess on the bright side no one thinks this is going to go well, so anything that does will be a fucking miracle. Doesn't mean I'm still not terrified of missing something. There are three different ways the hearing can go, involving considerable pleadings and research, so I've already been assigned co-counsel and I've already hired a private investigator for certain aspects.

There was a huge chance it was going to be the morning after my Bill Maher show, but probation officers only do certain days, so it was pushed to the next day. Which is great, because there is no way I would have been able to concentrate on the awesome rants of the evening otherwise. In truth, I'll still probably be freaking out. :/ (It's probably in poor taste to be sad about not being able to enjoy the show when someone is sitting in jail with their liberty at stake, but first of all it was a really pricey ticket! And secondly I think I'm more worried about what's going to happen than my client, so there.)

And I'm supposed to be applying for jobs during this, as well as keeping up with other crap! On the plus side, my director said this happens 2-3 times a year to some of his students, and I'd rather get mine out of the way before everything else gets heavy as well!

For the record, I am still managing to keep up with Runway...this Tom & Lorenzo post was easily the best part about the last episode...don't read if you're not caught up! I am also secretly watching Ringer, aka that kinda dumb thriller with Buffy & Horatio Hornblower in it. ;)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Somehow Ken, I think the balance shall tip in the favor of culture, like a big fat fucking retarded black girl on a see-saw opposite...a dwarf!

So the first day of court is over. I gave two bail arguments and I already knew this, but it really just boils down to making the best argument you can. So many things beyond that are out of your control.

For example, I got my first client released without having to pay bail and his next court date is at the end of October. The judge is a fairly practical and fair judge. My client was not expecting to be let out today, and when the clerk read it out, he turned to me with a look of total surprise on his face and said something like, "Seriously?!" I wanted to tell him not to act quite so surprised...

But unfortunately after that I was appointed to a less cooperative client and because of several events had to wait until later in the day and got an infamously tough (that's the polite word for it) judge. It was a tough sell in any case but there were other fuckeries going on that didn't help. All I know is that despite my argument that he should be released and the state's argument he should be held on X amount, the judge randomly turned around and doubled it. For No. Reason. (To me, anyway.) And he's also the type of judge to poke and prod a new attorney to see if you know what you're doing. That's fine, do whatever you want with me, but why the fuck did you just double what the state was asking for?

Sigh. On the plus side I made the international trial team for which there were four slots. It was probably really wrong to accept it, given my ever-decreasing amount of time, but there it is. Screw it, I accepted.

I also accepted this lovely pink beverage in front of me now. We were in court for an unexpectedly long time today and by the time we got back to the office I said, "I'm going to be at my office with the vodka, see ya."

As one of my "colleagues" noted this morning, "It will never be as bad as it is right now." And I get that things may suck ass from time to time, but I agree with the sentiment because being new and clueless is just massively horrible. Familiarity will make some things remotely more bearable.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Maybe that's what hell is, the entire rest of eternity spent in fucking Bruges.

I'm slow but I get the job done. This was my last night in Bruges! (You know, back in late June.)

It was a Sunday night so there weren't a lot of options for dinner. I opted for douchey/touristy and chose one of the big outdoor places near a big landmark you can probably rest assured is going to be mediocre and expensive. And it was! :D

I'm 80% sure this is City Hall. Feel free to correct me. But it was sunset so the big areas were clearing out and it was fairly peaceful.

Mussels! They are known for their mussels. I think in all honesty I am not a mussel girl. I've eaten them on more than a few occasions, so the vote is in.

Do not order steak in Belgium. I know this looks good. It was pretty sad.

Fries! Save! the Day! No, dinner was just fine, it was just very mediocre. Both my waiters were very nice, not sure why I had two. One of them was all, "Why are you spending your weekend alone in Bruges?" and I explained I was working next door in Holland and it was my birthday so what the hell. And he kinda rubbed it in some more--"Your BIRTHDAY? ALONE?" Jesus, well, I was cool with it til you put it like that...

One of my friends back in Holland insists he was fishing, but either way. Wth? And that's ok, because the second waiter just flat-out invited himself along to the rest of my evening. He asked what I was doing and I said there were a few places I wanted to check out. He said something along the lines of--"Maybe when I get off I join you!" I really don't remember how I got out of that without embarrassing either one of us but I recall it went down okay.

This was probably my favorite part--nice and simple and yummy. ICE CREAM DOESN'T LET YOU DOWN!

So then I wandered around (alone, thank god) in search of a couple pubs that my hostel's brouchure made sound cool. I was also a big fan of the Rick Steve's Amsterdam/Bruges/Brussels book. Rick Steves himself might be annoying as hell but that is a solid book. I think I had some Lonely Planet excerpts as well. Anyhoo.

The golden hour never fails to be the ideal picture time! Good night, Belfry!

Walking away from the city center to a vaguely off-the-beaten-path pub area.

There are still some good pubs open Sunday night, but it sure is quiet around town! Bruges is also supposed to be a very haunted town (pretty sure any town with any amount of history has this "reputation," read: "gimmicky tourist trap"), and I wandered around in front of a famously haunted house over here, but did not see whatever it is one is supposed to see in the window. I guess only arthouse cinema ghosts like me!

Poatersgat! I like this place--great atmosphere and besides, basement pubs rock. My hostel guide had listed it, noting its extensive beer list and cool atmosphere.

Let's go inside...

Again, really neat place. Would love to go back with friends and when it was hopping.


I miss Belgium beers!! Well, for these prices, anyway. Really good Belgium beers here (in the States) are $9-11 and then it tends to skyrocket. These were probably $6 tops. Sigh.

Ok. Then I left and went in search of this other bar nearby that sounded really cool. It was REALLY off the beaten path and I'm so glad I kept my hostel's guide because I could NOT find it via internet search (I could not recall the name, the place doesn't even have a sign I don't think!) no matter how hard I tried.

It's called On the Rocks and was written up as being a great late-night place where the barkeeps themselves go to drink. A "few years back" it used to be a striptease joint "with rooms upstairs." Classy. It mentioned it no longer had the pole but kept the red carpet and the Dean Martin/Shirley Bassey records. "Tony calls the shots and serves snacks til the last sleeping customer goes home, usually around 5:00. Good place for a solitary whisky, but don't come if you want to party." OMFG I WAS IN.

These photos utterly fail to capture this place. It was like a 70s strip joint from a Scorsese film. Very narrow place with LOTS of faded red/pink velour, all mirrors, it was PERFECT. And no, I was not creeped out. Well, wait. One guy was kinda icky.

He was sitting back along the mirrored wall and the bartender (well, the owner, Tony, see above) and I were talking. Tony is one COOL MOTHERFUCKER. He is older and is incredibly well read and has extensive, intelligent hobbies, like, learning Russian and shit. I forget most of our conversation, all this time later, but he was a lot of fun to talk to. The creepy customer would join in sometimes, and I was polite, but both times I walked to the loo he had to touch my arm. Whatever.

See that lone beer? That's where the creepy guy was. And he was harmless, probably just a remnant customer from the earlier years?

When I came back the second time I was going to head out, but I think they were both happy to have someone new in on a slow night, so I was just given a beer to stay. I absolutely will stay for Belgium beer.

But after my free beer I really did leave (they are Belgium, after all, I can't have that many) and wandered around looking for a particular bridge for a good night shot I wanted. I was distracted by a chocolate shop window along the way. Remember those ejaculating chocolate penises?

Sigh, why not.

And yes. For that classy touch.

Ok, now these pics were impossible to get in the low lighting but I still have to post them.

The details are what make it. First of all, the rabbit:

But best of all, the chicks:

So these are all chocolate, I guess? Neat. I was really tired and did not find my bridge--someone moved it--but I will get it next time.

The next day was my actual 32nd birthday, so I stopped off for lunch before hitting the train station. An easy panini sandwich and a (mini) white wine bottle. It's not proper-sized, in case the photo is deceiving! I had to change trains, after all. ;)

So obviously Bruges gets an A+. The hostel guide was so helpful and I kept it. It also had a section called "5 Minutes of History" starting from 1277 until 2009. Two of note that made me laugh:

"1892: Bruges wakes up. The popular book 'Bruges la Morte' describes the city as dark, poor and ugly. Locals are not too happy with this, but tourists see some romance in it, and start visiting Bruges more and more."

"2009: The movie 'In Bruges' wins an award for best scenario. Quote: 'If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me. But I didn't, so it doesn't.' So just like in 1892, somebody calls Bruges a shithole, which only attracts more tourists."

Waiting for the train to Antwerp! The day turned out to be a very warm day in both Belgium and Holland. Fuck it, it was hot. Ask my precious chocolates. And everyone and their dog was heading to Amsterdam, which unfortunately is AFTER den Haag. That was one shitty train ride with everyone packed into the aisle of a train in which people do not typically stand. At one point during a stop they threatened not to go anywhere unless some people got off.

But I made it back to the Hague and had a very nice dinner at my Italian spot with B. Nice birthday!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

What a kick-ass band! :D

So last night I went with my friend Z to see Within Temptation, with Three opening. I knew neither (but had heard of the former just briefly when researching Dutch music while living there). The cheap way to describe WT would be "Evanescence, but way better and more metal." They're symphonic metal, a little goth metal, but not heavy at all. Very, very cool and great live show. I had heard one CD and thought, hey, I like it, sure. But live was so much better! And that girl gets a serious workout every night!

More conventional cut:

Some of the videos are hysterically awful. This one is not, but still fails to capture how good this track was last night. Oh well, I still like it:

And I did pick up on something during the show last night and the second video really illustrates it as well, so no, you don't need to draw my attention to the fact that there's a little something "Ellen Aim & the Attackers redux" about this. ;) Overall, one could say it's the overtones of "musical theatre drama." Or something. Hey, at least I'm consistent in what I like...

Thursday, September 08, 2011

What are they doing over there? They're filming something. They're filming midgets!

Not a bad day so far, except for it pissing down rain all morning. Makes it very hard to get up. The cats always run around in the AM and drive me crazy while I'm getting ready or studying (Bourdain especially), but on mornings like these they say heeeeeeeeell no and just stay in bed all curled up in warm balls. Bastards. (Yes, sometimes I torture them to get back at them. "Does this bug you? Does this bug you?")

But I met Betty Anne Waters this morning, since I'm working with 12 other people on a case for the Innocence Project.

We all watched Conviction a few days ago, which came out in 2010 but I had never seen. (It's directed by Tony Goldwyn, so it's a little OTT with the drama, but not horribly so.) It's hard to discuss the movie from a filmmaking position because it's a true story and though some of the sequencing of events at the end is off, it's mostly all true. Certainly the important parts are!

Conviction is basically the Hollywood version of Waters's story to free her brother Kenny from prison, which most of you have probably run across at some point or another.

Kenny (this was in MA) was convicted of a murder he did not commit and was given life in prison. She was a high school drop out, married with two kids. After her brother lost his appeal, he tried to kill himself, which understandably really upset her. So they made a deal--if he didn't hurt himself again, she was going to go back to school and try to get him out. And she did. It took a long time--she had to get her GED, an undergraduate degree and then her law degree. And take the bar. And her marriage did not survive this.

After doing all these things and also learning about DNA testing, she got in touch with the Innocence Project and started working to track down the evidence from nearly 16 years ago. (Evidence over ten years old was supposed to be destroyed.) That was one of the scarier parts of the story, thinking about the number of similar cases where, despite an arduous struggle to track it down, evidence really HAS been destroyed already. The other hard part is even when you do get your hands on DNA and you DO get it tested and the convicted person is shown to be eliminated, you can still run into strong opposition from the D.A. In this case, they were saying it merely showed he was an accomplice. So sometimes DNA alone doesn't cut it.

But it's a very compelling story, so I do recommend the film (Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell do a really nice job--and Juliette Lewis does an outstanding white trash asshole--even more so than usual). What the film does not mention (they thought audiences couldn't handle it since it was already so depressing) is that six months after he was released, Kenny had a freak falling accident, was in a coma for 12 days and died.

It was really good to meet and talk with her--she still works with the Innocence Project and is working on our case as well. She is clearly still very passionate about working with them (she does not practice law anymore in another capacity), and seems to be--well, I want to say "emotional," but that has a negative connotation and not what I mean. It is also immediately apparent just how much her brother meant to her.

So it was a good morning. But now I have some tedious systems training for my clinic and a meeting with the professor I'm assisting this semester. I worked for her last semester too, and I think this project will involve more international human rights issues than international economic law--what I did last semester. To be fair, I learned a ton doing it. But it was just as sexy as it sounds, i.e., NOT AT ALL...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Harry Waters says hello.

I'm pretty caught up for the week, so I am just reading some testimony and having an early afternoon with a cosmopolitan, yay. Not sure what normal people do anymore.

Ok, so I decided to take a break and catch up on some very important internet reading. For example:


Playing basketball at the park with random people that showed up at 1am. The division of teams is based on what drugs people are on.


Cops came. Forced us to take the "Honk and We'll Drink" and the "Free Shots to Father's of Freshman Daughters" signs down. Before we did, someone honked and the cop said, "Aren't you gonna drink?" They then told us to move the party inside by ten.

And a long overdue visit to Garfield Minus Garfield...

Holiday weekend, woot! :D (Sadly, this will be spent going back over bail revocation, bail hearing crap and my Innocence Project materials.) I'm ok with that. For one thing, I resigned from trial team. That was actually a really hard decision. It was less like leaving an abusive boyfriend and more like leaving your drug friends. Don't ask me why I would know in either case because I don't, but it made perfect sense at the time and still does.

But I have bar prep starting in a week because I'm an out-of-state baby. And I wanted to do other things. And I did sign up for an international law moot court competition. So we'll see.

Also, I seriously smell an upcoming Project Runway rants and raves post, so hurry up and catch up! But I'll warn about spoilers in any case. This season is so over-produced and painfully full of "worst-ofs" it's starting to rival the L.A. season. SERIOUSLY. :/