Saturday, September 27, 2008

Green with Envy

I have spent three out of the last seven weeks working out of Oakland, CA, on a project that involved the U.S. Coast Guard. Unlike my colleagues on the project, who all have significant prior military experience in very nasty situations but refer to downtown Oakland as the "Green Zone", I preferred to stay in downtown Oakland, smack in the middle of Chinatown. And when they would stroll in each morning talking about the steak they ate at Outback Steakhouse the previous night, I would tell them about the delicious hole-in-the-wall a 2-minute walk from my room, serving up tasty Cambodian food (unidentifiable fish in a banana leaf, just like Phnom Penh), or the Japanese place a stone's throw away that served a giant spicy tuna salad less than $5. And I could see it written on their faces: they had food envy. But they refused to venture into Oakland after dark, and they missed out. Their loss, not mine, because I'm still fondly remembering the 8-beer sampler from the brewpub (the Columbus IPA is good, but the Blue Whale Ale is tastier) less than a quarter-mile from my hotel's front door.

bigger than life micros

yummy amok

Don't worry, it's still me, so I also took pictures of the Coast Guard ships that I spent a couple of weeks working with :)


sherman's tail

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It Really Is a Small World After All

It's never a good feeling to look through the "newspaper" see an article like this about someplace you've visited. I'm not saying that we dodged a bullet or anything like that, but I do feel like these explosions hit a little closer to home since Lizzi and I walked through Connaught Place one night in early March.
Two other bombs found near a movie theater and near a park in the Connaught Place area were defused, he said.
On that night Lizzi and I even tried to go see a movie at that theater, but they don't allow cameras. And we weren't going to trust them to "keep an eye" on our digital SLR for a couple of hours. My heart goes out to the survivors and the families of the victims. Like I said, I'm just feeling that the world is a little bit smaller now.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Sunnier Side of the Bar Exam

It dawned on me the other day that it's been one month since the bar exam. I was in the shower when I realized it, and I smiled to myself because it occurred to me that I didn't have to rush through the annoying task of cleaning myself in order to get back to a Contracts Outline. I could shower all day if I wanted to! (I didn't.)

I think that I might have mostly recovered from the exam. This is impressive, given that the last time around, it took me, oh, a YEAR to fully get over it. A year and some counseling. When I say that the bar exam is the single most confidence-shattering experience of my life, I'm not underestimating its power by even a little bit. But I feel almost back to my whole self again. I haven't woken up in a cold sweat since July, haven't had any nightmares about Commercial Paper, and have successfully brain-dumped all of that useless information about Mortgages. In fact, since the test ended, I haven't given that much thought to it. When my mind wanders ahead to the first week in November, I usually think first about the election, second about the fact that I'll turn 30 a week later, and last that I'll also finally get my exam results. Except that if I'm being really honest about it, I think about my exam results before I think about my birthday.

Of course, if I'm being REALLY honest, there's a nagging part of me that's 100% certain that I didn't pass, that the multiple choice questions kicked my ass so hard that no amount of solid essay answers could make up for it. But then I remember that Steph promised she'd go back to the Bahamas with me if I failed, and I think that I could do it again, if I had to.

I know you're all clamoring to run to your comments buttons to tell me that I passed, that you have confidence in me, that I didn't just jinx myself by admitting that I've brain-dumped everything related to Mortgages. But therein lies the power of the bar exam. Even though I know that you all believe that I passed, I can't even bring myself to write about that little spark of hope I'm holding on to, just in case it jinxes me even more. My Barbri books are still taking up half of our living room, just in case I need to open them again to study for the February exam.

So maybe I haven't recovered, per se. As I live and breathe, I am STILL that crazy. So keep your good karma flowing until November. And if I passed, I promise you'll be among the first to know. If I failed, well, then, be sure to remind me again what a Mortgage is all about.