Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cult of the Mole People

So,* despite my less-than-stellar spring quarter, I made Law Review and decided to accept the invitation, largely because it opens doors with employers, and I feel like being kind of an odd-duck second-career person, I need that. Also, I'm an anal-retentive freak and enjoy editing.

Orientation was Saturday, and I'm concerned I may have joined a cult. I'm blocking some of it out right now, but what I do remember is that every weekday, there is free breakfast and lunch available in the Law Review office. Because, you know, why would you want to leave campus or go hang out with your other friends or have some fucking balance in your life when instead you could spend all of your time in the windowless Law Review office?

Did I mention it's windowless? It's windowless.


*What percentage of my posts begin with "So"? **
**What percentage contain a footnote?

The Buggles? The motherfucking Buggles??

So, after being kind of rough and draining, my week took a radical turn in the same direction Friday when a friend emailed me to let me know that the appendicitis she had a while ago was actually the result of a rare kind of tumor, and now there's some concern that tumor cells may have gotten out of the appendix and into the abdominal cavity where they can run amok. There are more specialists yet to be seen, and there are procedures to deal with this, but none of the options are pleasant.


This is what I hate about working downtown, because what happens next is I wander somewhat shockily down to my building's Starbucks, where "Video Killed the Radio Star" is on the muzak, and although that song has never before had for me any emotional valence at all, it completely sets me off, and I find myself blinking back tears while ordering a mocha, then pacing around the courtyard of this brutalist brown concrete office building wishing I had someplace inconspicuous to lose my shit.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Why I didn’t blog for about a gazillion years

When I went out for beers with M and his special friend S and her friend L, L asked me why I quit blogging this spring. My answer was something like, “I was feeling kind of weird and screwed up in ways I didn’t particularly want to share with strangers on the internet.”

(Note: I’m drafting this in Microsoft Word, which gives me the squiggly green line unless I capitalize Internet. Guys, the internet is not our Lord. We do not have to capitalize It. Anyway.) (No wait. Weirdly, MS Word also recognizes “gazillion” as a word, but not “blogging.” Maybe I just need to update?)

OK—where was I?

Oh yeah, weird and screwed up, don’t want to share with the internet…until now.

Basically, what happened is, I got my fall/winter grades back, and they were really good, and that made me feel like crap.

No, that doesn’t really follow. Yeah, it seems like I’m bitching about my good fortune. But here’s how it works, as best as my therapist and I can figure out. Way back in the mists of childhood, I made an overachiever-style devil’s bargain with my screwed up family, something along the lines of “I’ll be perfect and you’ll let me exist,” or maybe “I’ll be perfect and you’ll stop screaming.”

During college, I weaseled my way free of this bargain by underachieving, yet somehow managing to exist anyway. Aha! There’s a loophole! Well, not so much, because then the equation became something like: In order to have a self separate from the screwed up demands of my screwed up family, I must underachieve. Once you *have* to underachieve, it’s not fun anymore, and in my case became its own species of neurotic avoidance.

Getting my good grades back kind of activated the whole weird reaction machine: if I do well, maybe what it means is my existence is contingent on doing well. The whole thing was very PTSD-like—all of those horrible, anxious, terrified, socially isolated, brain-in-a-jar feelings from childhood and high school came flooding back. I felt like I didn’t own my own capabilities, like they were something that had been foisted on me, or something that was only useful as a sacrifice to someone else. I felt like crap.

This whole dynamic is of course only intensified by law school’s screwed up tendency to act like grades are who you are, grades measure and limit you, grades are real.

So anyway, it took me about five weeks to figure this shit out and start feeling better. Five weeks during which I had a very hard time working, thus necessitating a very ugly end of the quarter. But I did learn this: If you haven’t done more than four or five days of the reading for Con Law, Chemerinsky’s mini-treatise is a very good idea.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ass-Kicking Grapefruit Rosemary Sorbet

1 cup water
2 1/2 cups grapefruit juice
about 1-2 T fresh rosemary leaves
about 1/2 cup sugar

If you're in a hurry like I am today...
Put everything in the blender and blend until the rosemary is chopped to tiny bits and the sugar is dissolved. Use only 1 T rosemary. There should be enough sugar so that when you taste the unfrozen mixture, it's like grapefruit juice but with a slightly-too-sweet undertone. Dump it all in the ice cream maker, taste when mostly frozen and add more grapefruit juice if it's too sweet.

If you have time and don't want green rosemary bits in your sorbet...
Heat the water to boiling, take off heat, add the sugar and stir until dissolved, then let 2 T rosemary steep in there for a while. Take the rosemary out, cool the syrup in the fridge, then mix with the grapefruit juice and freeze.

Another Sorbet That Is Not So Good
3 cups jasmine green tea, chilled
1/2 cup sugar
Put in ice cream maker and freeze.

This is actually a recipe I got from Gourmet magazine or somesuch, but it's just not good. You taste the sugar too much. I suppose that means it could be too sweet, but I already cut down the sugar from 3/4 cup. I think it might be better with a very mild honey. The recipe also had you make the tea really strong, and I actually think it would be better if the tea were weaker. Hmm.

Future Plans for the Ice Cream Maker
Coffee Sorbet/Sherbet (freakishly strong coffee, sugar, some cream)
Orange Blossom Honey Sorbet (water, orange blossom honey, orange blossom water)
Carrot Ginger Lime Sorbet
Hibiscus Mint Sorbet

The ice cream maker does well with sorbet. You end up with something like a very smooth, harder slurpee, then you put it in the freezer to solidify some more.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I bought an ice cream maker!

Because obviously, what I need in my life is more frozen desserts. And to spend more money at Costco...

First ice cream made: honey chevre with olive oil, lemon, and rosemary.

(Those who know me well may recognize this as the ice cream version of my favorite soup, only without the chicken and the rice. And actually, you could add rice, like in rice gelato. Mmm.)

It's good!



2 1/2 cups lowfat milk
4 T olive oil
1/4 c lemon juice (or more, to taste)
1/2 c honey
sugar to taste
1 small log chevre (4 oz?? 5 oz??)
1-2 T fresh rosemary, finely diced

Mix it all together (warm the honey first so it will blend), chill, make in the ice cream maker.
It would probably be better if you warmed the milk with some sprigs of rosemary or used rosemary olive oil, but I was in a hurry. The texture of the rosemary is not the most delightful thing. Lemon extract or oil would probably work better, too, because the juice does produce a few ice crystals. The olive oil is just there for the fat. It tastes weird when the mixture isn't frozen, but fine once it is.

Also, as you add the sugar to taste, make the mix a little sweeter than you think it should be, because you can't taste the sugar as much when it's cold.

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