Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 - she was a good year

2005 was a really excellent year for a lot of reasons. When the year began I was in Costa Rica. I knew I was going to get engaged this year, and I knew I would go to law school. But I had no idea where I would live or where I would go for school. New Year's eve last year, in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, was just full of potential, which is how a new year's eve should be. To be able to look back on the year and just be thankful that things have worked out is an amazing feeling. Here's my 2005, in a paragraph:

Costa Freaka. "It's this 1 thing that's got me trippin." Scholars and Fellowships. Mariah Carey. The Great Saunter, 30-some miles. Italy and Sicily. X & Y. San Francisco, Yosemite. "Will you be my first wife?" Goodbye, Columbia. August adventure: Six Flags, Nashville, Cracker Barrel, Rowan Oak. "That beautiful river." A wretched half-marathon. Eric Benet and Coldplay. Fordham Law School. Toni Braxton. 77 Barrow.

...And now here I am on New Year's eve, typing on my computer while I sit here with my unmarried cohabitant, L. 2006 is going to be an amazing year and I can't wait for August 12th. After the wedding I feel like there will be nothing to talk about, but I am enjoying the anticipation. If 2005 felt like a year of such promise and fulfillment, I can only imagine how life will feel on the cusp of 2007. So much to be thankful for! Happy New Year.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Best picture of the year

Continuing our midwinter film festival, L and I saw "Munich" last night. I thought it was outstanding, and it had almost everything I love about movies: exotic locales, a gripping story, good performances, strong relationships between the characters, and questions that are not easily resolved. This movie was a drama and a thriller and took place in this shadow society below the surface of our civilized, governed culture. The characters talked about societies making compromises with themselves, and about people and groups operating at the intersections of secrecies. In a way, the entire movie was about falling through a crack in our well-ordered culture and then digging deeper and exploring what you find.

The historical truth of it was sobering. Steven Spielberg made a strong statement at the end about September 11th, which was challenging. This was a strange topic for him, in that you usually expect a Spielberg film to have a certain humanistic worldview, a world of mercy and love and families at the dinner table and anthropomorphic aliens on bikes. This was a departure for him in a sense, and it was a brave and confident move, and I think this was the best big movie of the year.

...The only other thing I love about movies that "Munich" lacked can be found in one scene of "The Family Stone," where Sarah Jessica Parker's straight-laced character gets drunk and works her inner Carrie Bradshaw, happily dancing and singing to her favorite song without a care in the world. I love it when people break it down in movies, I think it is so realistic but pretty underplayed in film.

...And no points for our lame waiter at Cosi before the movie, who was late with our food and messed up our drink order. Me: "Excuse me, we ordered two Cokes and a water and this [the lone beverage he brought to our table] tastes like Diet." Him: "Yeah, I heard Diet. They ordered two Diet Cokes at that table over there." Thanks a lot, Erick.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A beginning

We have been living in the new apartment for a few days now and it is great. The walls are painted, and what could have turned into some kind of Key West Horror is a nice palate of green, yellow, and a weird salmonish color that sort of works almost if you walk through the room quickly and squint. There are no poltergeists so far and the plumbing seems to work. This is definitely the honeymoon phase of things - integrating book collections, shopping sprees at Bed Bath & Beyond, thoughtfully debating the merits of a picture hung here or there.

My parents and sister came up with us to help with the move and it was extremely stressful. In fact, yesterday I learned that they had a big fight yesterday afternoon, as soon as they arrived back home. I have noticed that I feel completely exhausted most of these days, and I think a large part of it is from the stress of moving. We all got so short-tempered and angry from the logistical hell and the pure physical strain of moving my 18 tons of shit from one apartment to another. Finally on the night my parents left my new place for the last time, L and I went to the window to wave to them as they drove away. Yet as we watched from the apartment, they turned on the car but didn't go anywhere. My parents were looking for something in the front seat. My sister called me on the phone and told me that Mom couldn't find her gloves.
"Can't they just fucking leave, " I thought. Good lord. We watched them search for a little while, and the gloves weren't in our apartment. After a couple minutes we moved away from the window and took care of something or other in the apartment, and by the time I went back to wave to them as they drove away, they were already gone. No waving goodbye. This was the kind of weekend it was.

I need to go home in a few weeks, once all of this blows over, and have some quality time with them. This was just too much.

L and I have been having fun. We saw "The Family Stone" a couple nights ago, and caught a Hitchcock double feature at Film Forum last night ("Suspicion" & "Spellbound"). No cable til tomorrow, so we are enjoying a nice midwinter film fest.

You know those people who sit at tables on the sidewalk with the empty water jugs, asking for money for the homeless? What the hell charity are they from? I think it would be funny if they were from some group that gave music lessons to homeless people. I can't imagine a more well-intentioned but useless charity purpose. Unless the really good ones started a band, and then moved off the streets because they lived in a tour bus. That would be a real success story.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I had my last final today. I am done with a semester of law school - only five left. I feel like an empty vessel, everything has been poured out and I am just the same green old clay jug I always picture when I hear the words "empty vessel." After the exam, on our way to the bar (of course), everyone was chattering excitedly about the end of finals and the start of winter break, while I mulled over possible errors and omissions in my exam, clenching my teeth and furrowing my brow. "I will be excited, I just need a minute," I said to someone's question.

This is also my last night in the apartment. At the bar today I learned that one of my classmates (a decent guy, I never talk to him) lives on the same block I do. I am excited about the move but I am sad to be leaving this apartment - I was only here for a year, but it was a momentous one and I was really thankful to live here.

The transit strike is over, too, and not a minute too soon. I was angry at the strikers, and I think they're being selfish and greedy. The walk to school took exactly an hour, 50 blocks north and three blocks east. I enjoyed it, but not that much.

So tonight I am just puttering around the apartment cleaning a little bit and thinking. I wish we could move immediately. I am not yet ready to deconstruct this place, but I am also very aware of every minute passing - as in, "this is the last time I'll be in my place at ... 6:56 pm." This is not healthy or constructive. I think I might step out for a bit, grab a bite, go to a bookstore, walk around a little now that I've changed socks since my five mile walk today.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas shopping

I don't enjoy the shopping process: the crowds, the merchandise, the process of picking something up, frowning at it, running through the mental rolodex of people you're shopping for, and then putting it back down and scowling as some fat man edges you into the display racks. Today I made two - TWO - discrete trips to The Strand today, where the clerks were full of holiday surliness. I bought a few books and unsuccessfully searched for a book I could read (I'm giving up "Pride and Prejudice" - the movie was great, but the plot is still very familiar and the book is not keeping my attention - I'm not in the mood for 18th-century subtleties).

Then I went to the holiday market at Union Square, where I picked up a picture frame that has a small sculpture of a woman sitting on a toilet (for my mom, of course). And a watch for my sister that is expensive but kind of trendy. Among the assorted Manhattan weirdos currently staking out Union Square, they had some animal rights people roaming around with actual cats draped over their heads and upper bodies. I laughed out loud when a woman working at one of the kiosks said loudly, "Those people have cats on their heads! I don't want to know them. I don't even want to know them." It was hilarious.

As I walked home, thinking about how much money I had spent in just 90 minutes, as if I was on a madcap shopping spree (when I was young that idea seemed so grandiose and appealing - for 30 or 60 or 120 seconds, you just sprint through a store with a shopping cart and get to keep whatever you can dump inside! Even the shopping cart?), bemoaning my poverty, I came across three dollar bills in the street.

I don't know what it is, but for the last few months I have been finding money all over the place when I'm out on the town. This is either a karmic reward or an insistant signal that my wallet is about to be stolen. Merry [holiday]!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Finals dispatch

I have not been blogging because I've been studying for exams and trying to freak out on schedule with everyone else. My first exam is tomorrow morning. I honestly believe I reached the peak of my intellectual capabilities last night, around 9:15 pm (where were you at that moment?). Studying today has been plodding and slow. My hand can grasp a pen in only the most rudimentary way, my handwriting has slackened out to broad strokes crossing line after bluebook line. Torts torts torts torts torts I love you I hate you torts.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Winter time is here

Here's another potpourri of information. I know everyone loves these.

The "Carol of the Bells" is one versatile Christmas song. It has a sinister edge to it - the ever-increasing number of singers, the rapid pacing, the rising tension. It always seemed slightly creepy to me, but in a good way, haunting and eerie. And now, thanks to a striking new set of ads from Victoria's Secret, it's erotic as well! There are these insane ads out with exotic leggy women lounging and writhing around bedsheets saying things like "Give me Rrrrap-ture." It's awesome. As the song builds and builds and the bells are ringing, here comes Gisele prancing down the hallway in a teddy and Tyra contorting herself 'round the Christmas tree. Instead of the Grinch stealing Christmas, it's like a supermodel in garters and heels is going to come down your chimney and hump the shit out of it. Get your Vicky's for the holidays, y'all.

Law school finals, like a python or quicksand, continues its slow invasion of my life and personhood. I am actually giving up major chunks of my own autonomy, as evidenced by the law school dreams, word associations, and boring conversations I keep indulging in. It should reach its peak around December 13, and then I will be fully submerged until the 22nd, at which point (if we go with the python idea) I will knife open its belly and stagger out into the winter merrriment, covered in entrails and gasping for a newspaper.

I saw an ad where the Honda chorus people sang what sounded like "We wish you a happy holiday" instead of "We wish you a merry Christmas," and I was working myself into a nice red-state Christianist fervor over the decline of American values when I realized they were probably just singing "Happy Honda days," which embodies the spirit of commercialism and successful branding that really define the holiday season, so I was ok with it.

Had some fun quality time in the daylight with L yesterday, an all-too-rare occurrence: a random movie ("The Dying Gaul") at a random theatre (Village Cinema), a great wintry walk, intensive browsing through two bookstores. One of my favorite things in the world is escaping a cold winter day and going into a movie theatre. It's pretty much the only occasion where I actually prefer the sharp sweet taste of Pepsi - something about the contrast between the cold outside and the comfortable warmth indoors, the shedding of layers, the relaxation, the knowledge of a few hours' solace before you face the elements once again. I love it. Love winter. Resent pea coats, but deal with them as I can. Law school may take my life but they cannot take my freedom.