raven: Merlin lying on his back, looking up (merlin - upside-down)
I am a train from King's Cross to Edinburgh, having just had a lovely quick afternoon coffee in the British Library café with [livejournal.com profile] anotherusedpage and sent off happy to the far far north. I do love this journey; I suppose that in some way it's a privilege to live in a country that you can see the whole of in one afternoon. (Quite apart from anything, this train is going to Aberdeen. King's Cross to Aberdeen. Wow.) Livejournal's "detect" function thinks I am in Sweden - er, no. I am in Doncaster. The landscape was London suburbs, then it was rural, trees and houseboats, and now it's getting an industrial cast, with the occasional pylon to break up the verdant tameness of it all. Eventually you can see the sea for long stretches across the border. It makes me happy.

(The other people on the train make me less happy. The guy across from me finds me a great imposition; his very large feet are directly in the place where my very large feet ought to be, and I think he's stolen my biscuits. It is a battle of wills.)

(Also, the couple across the aisle actually are the world's most nauseating people. They have spent the two hours of the journey thus far in an artistic embrace, which has to be carefully sustained against the vagaries of stilleto heels and a moving train. They tilt from point to precarious point like human gyroscopes. I hope it's as uncomfortable as it looks.)

This has been a strange week. By the end, it was gaining rather a mini-pupillage air; I was shadowing a barrister around the Crown Court, and was, admittedly, a little tempted by the Bar. It's the ritual that's tempting, of course; the wigs - which are amazing, incidentally; I never did muster the courage to ask how they stay on - and robes and ceremony, which occasionally play the role that architectural solemnity does in other places (the Old Bailey, for all its venerability, is a little grimy on the inside), that have the appeal. I do wish, actually, that England and Wales had a fused profession, like they do in the US - it would make my life a lot easier. (In the meantime, I will never be anybody's learned friend.) Part of the reason I want to be a lawyer is because I want to be grounded by something: by a tradition, by a profession. Something to be, as well as something to do. I won't ever stop writing. Maybe I'll get a novel published before I die. But I need the day job for there to be peace in my head.

So, yes, after my adventures in the Crown Court, I spent the weekend with [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong and [livejournal.com profile] vampire_kitten, who are their usual selves (Shim called me on Saturday morning; they both looked up, favoured me with identical smiles, and chorused, "Iona, come back to bed...") and we mostly did nothing at all, broken up with watching things. For some reason, I had not previously seen Imagine Me & You, a delightful, slight little romantic comedy about lesbians. It's a joy, everyone should watch it. Also, after some racking-of-brains we figured out that it has a cameo by the very lovely Angel Coulby at the end (Gwen from Merlin, to save anyone else the same brain-racking - she is all smiley and beautiful and really, everyone ought to see it).

This morning, I had an interview for a training contract with a nice City firm who have taken up residence in a converted Georgian house. The interview was... good. Yes, it was. I had prepared the usual questions, why do I want to be a lawyer, why this firm, etc., but wasn't asked any of them. It was an interesting interview, touched on politics, fandom and why it is a good idea to google yourself before any job interview, and it ran 15 minutes over, which I am told is a good sign, and... yes. I think nothing negative or positive, but I keep my fingers crossed. In further news of the career-related, I have another placement and training contract interview with a firm in Bristol in September. I have my fingers crossed about that, too.

(My mother informs me that at home, my postgraduate certificate has arrived. Despite everything - despite the crazy, despite the hideousness, despite enormous amounts of shouting about mitigating circumstances, I passed everything and graduated with commendation. In honour of the academic stage being over, I think it's time to inaugurate a new tag for my lawyerly adventures.)

...reading over, this post seems to be about nothing other than My Legal CareerTM and, er, trees. I do apologise. I have nothing much to do this week and may perhaps have the time to make interesting posts. I'm wondering how this can all be the same day - how this can all be the same life - but I will be in Edinburgh in an hour, where I plan to drape self loopily over Shim, and go gently into the night.
raven: (misc - thine own self)
So, today, I was almost admitted as a witness for the defence in a criminal trial. This didn't happen, but it was concerning.

Other things that have happened this week: getting lost in Southwark; attending a trial at the Old Bailey only to find [livejournal.com profile] apotropaios was in the jury pool;[1] almost being thrown out of the cells because they thought I was under sixteen(!); a judge staring, bewigged and bemused, down at the assembled court, while she leafed through text message evidence and tried in vain to pronounce "ne1"; almost getting thrown out of the public gallery for being barefoot. And getting used to jerking up like a marionnette at "All upstanding, please".

An observation: barristers are supposed to be arrogant bastards, or otherwise people it is unpleasant to be around, but I haven't met one that wasn't kindness itself; ditto defendants, witnesses and the Crown prosecutor.

I was supposed to be going to Edinburgh the day after tomorrow, but instead, I have an interview for a training contract first thing on Monday morning. In theory I am delighted by this; in practice I am terrified; in synthesis I fully intend to get drunk on Monday night.

Now, however, I depart in the direction of [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong's birthday party. I'll be grown-up again tomorrow.

[1] Relating this anecdote later, I was asked how I knew him; I opened my mouth and said, "Oh, we were at Oxford together" - and immediately headdesked. Dear self, THIS IS NOT THE NINETEENTH CENTURY BAR.
raven: (misc - rang de basanti)
Hi, internets. Long time no hear. I blow kisses in your general direction.

Firstly: I aten't ded. I was down south for a while, which is entirely not the same thing, being petted by [livejournal.com profile] shimgray, who has been looking after me while I contend with a to-do list which goes "ring CPS / get a job / sort life out", for, among other things, an interview for a training contract. I went there last Tuesday to Oxford, but the actual interview was in a place called Gerrards Cross, which is a small town in the London commuter belt, and also the Twilight Zone. Really. I went by train, and got off at a quiet country station in unseasonal silent heat with the occasional tumbleweed skipping across the platform. There was absolutely no one about. There were no more trains on the noticeboards. The asphalt baked. The trees didn't ruffle in the breeze. In a window there was an advertisement selling a whirlpool bath for the bargain price of £10,271. I had three hours to kill.

I eventually discovered a cafe that was open and selling sandwiches, and sat there quietly for my afternoon eating a panini and reading Empire of Ivory and wondering where the hell I was. The interview wasn't so bad, really - at least I found the place easily enough, and managed to straighten out my nice interview skirt and shirt so I didn't look too horrific in the thirty-degree heat, and present myself to the reception and not misspell my own name.

(A brief digression: thirty-degree heat! In England! I have spent all the hot days wearing sundresses and flip-flops and feeling wonderfully, beautifully, smugly all-over brown. It's no wonder, in retrospect, that my sense of bodily self-esteem skips and leaps up at this time of year, but, oh, warmth. Sunshine, blue skies, how people complain about it when the heat gets in and just sings beneath your skin, I have no idea. Admittedly not great with new crisp interview shirt, but still.)

They gave me a verbal reasoning test, which was enough like the LSAT for me to be comfortable, and a writing exercise which was enough like my actual life for ditto, and then they asked me a lot of questions (while all the time I was womanfully trying to ignore some sort of disaster going on in the corridor behind the door; through the glass panel in it I could see people running past with mops and buckets and vacuum cleaners and bleach), and then it was over. I bought Cosmopolitan, caught a train and learned my red lipstick is one of their must-haves for the month. It wasn't such a bad day, really, although I don't have high hopes for my being called back. We shall see.

Hmm, what else? The day after that I went into Oxford, to run some errands. I got halfway up St Aldate's when I met two baby lawyers going the other way, and after a brief and surprised exchange ("Aren't you supposed to be in Liverpool?" / "Aren't you supposed to be on a nudist beach in Germany?") I discovered that they had a) discovered the presence of a swimming-pool somewhere in central Oxford; b) they were going to find said pool; c) they had been in all the other possible directions from Carfax, and this time they were going to find it. Oh, and they were going to Primark on the way to find swimming costumes, at worst, and probably bikinis. And I should come with them.

I dithered, I pondered, I remembered the thirty-degree heat, I agreed. And then asked, "If you came out of the house knowing you were going swimming, why do you need to go and buy things from Primark?"

"Because," Siousxie said mournfully, "I bought a bikini over the internet. And" - waving offending garment - "they only sent me the bottom half!"

"It's a very nice bottom half," I said doubtfully, after a while, and we found the pool. It's an outdoor pool, unheated, by Hinksey Lake, and nine tenths of the year it has no patrons, and of course that day it was heaving. We ended up draped over the grass, occasionally jumping into the water whilst trying to avoid small children, and it was a very lovely afternoon. Because we had a lot of things to keep an eye on, we took turns watching everything while the others swam, and when it was my turn, I was dozing off in the sun, wishing I'd brought a newspaper or something, and half-thinking to myself that the couple who had the patch of grass next to us would stop it with the incredibly public display of affection. She had started to put sun cream on for him, he had greatly appreciated it, you get it. And then I shut my eyes for a moment, opened them again and the man was getting dressed and the girlfriend was shrieking into her hands, "Well, fine! Have a nice life!"

He got up and stalked off. I blinked, and then the guy was back in just trunks and she was draped over him and looking at him adoringly. I am sure this was not a heat-induced hallucination. But when Siousxie and C had returned, I explained all of this and they looked at me kindly but disbelievingly.

I went off to take my turn swimming, and after a bit, Siousxie said she was running to the loo, she'd be back in a moment. In the two minutes she was gone, the same couple drifted by with one of them shouting, "You don't give me enough space!"

When she came back... I tried to explain. But they were gone. I related this entire tale to Shim later, and he had no opinion, on account of the fact he could not get over the notion of me draped by a pool in a bikini as a first premise. I... have no idea.

The weather didn't break for all the time I was away, really. We had a lovely Saturday afternoon picnicking, and evening watching The Fellowship of the Ring, and I returned dejectedly on Sunday to the drab and damp north, where I must Apply For Jobs and Be A Grown-Up And Not Spend Every Waking Hour Watching Deep Space Nine. I'm here a handful of days, then off and about again - Shim and I are going to Amsterdam on Thursday, and possibly I am in Hong Kong the week after that (still not confirmed; anyone on the flist who's been there, I need you, yes), so there is no shortage of excitement, certainly.

...applying for jobs, yes.
raven: Amelie against a green background; text: "purdue" (amelie - perdue)
Firstly: I am taking medical leave for the rest of the academic year. This is less extravagantly melodramatic than it sounds - the rest of the academic year is, after all, about a month, followed by exams and research-project submission. I could try and stick it out, I suppose, but, in the end it comes to the question of whether I should use my limited energy to be a functional depressed person who, you know, eats, and washes her clothes, and whatnot, or use it for... um... law school. Given that I still have about 5000 words to research and write on special measures directions, plus the end of the equity and public law syllabuses, and revision for the last three exams, Not Dealing is my preferred strategy right now.

(edited to add: okaaaay, there is a case at the Old Bailey today that is going to necessitate re-writes of my baby-dissertation. Why do I insist on being interested in current affairs?

Note: it is a very horrible case, about abuse of a child. Don't click, if you'd rather not.)

So through some bureaucratic jiggery-pokery, I am going to be a sort-of law student at Liverpool for a bit, and I was very impressed by the efficiency and kindness with which Brookes have achieved this. [livejournal.com profile] forthwritten has already promised me company and good things, and my parents were remarkably unfazed by this whole revelation. (My father noted that when he was my age, he had a similar revelation whilst reading for his MD exams. "Of course, in my case I was only six miles from home and I came on the Vespa. But it's the same principle without the Vespa.")

I'm pleased, or at least, as pleased as you can be about these things. I'll miss [livejournal.com profile] shimgray, but other than that, I think, this is a good plan for the time being.

In other news. Justice Souter is stepping down from the Supreme Court... two days after the Democrats have a filibuster-proof majority. Souter has generally tended to baffle me, but he seems to be a liberal now, sort of. The make-up of the court may not change all that much, but I'm actually hopeful about the potential nominees for once. One hundred days, and the novelty hasn't worn off. I hope it doesn't.

Amd so this post is not all a) law and b) my broken brain, I say my obligatory Dreamwidth bit. [livejournal.com profile] foreverdirt bought me paid time over there! I am still not sure what I am going to do with the account, but we shall see. My username, by the way, has changed (due to aforementioned crazy, please don't ask) - I'm now raven, and if you should wish to give me a poke over there, please please do.
raven: Leonard Nimoy holding a guitar; text: "Spock 'n' roll" (st - spock 'n' roll)
Yet another reason why Feministing is quite often quite idiotic:

"...I appreciate that the White House's interaction with the press corp is beginning to reflect the bilingualism of our country, but also the world...."

..ahahaha, seriously? 'Cause in America they only speak English and Spanish, you know. The rest of the world just speaks Foreign.

Let's see, what else? Things learned at two in the afternoon, flat on your back in a flat-bottomed boat, feet in the air: the English summer is rightly the mockery of the world at large, but sometimes, sometimes it's all perfect. Sometimes it lingers the right side of twenty degrees for a blissful couple of hours, sometimes the grass is immaculate green and the flowers droop handsomely into the clear river, sometimes it's two in the afternoon and you're drunk on champagne.

...from which it may, perhaps, be deduced that I finished my exams on Monday morning, having dispensed with land and then criminal law, emerged into the sunshine with my baby lawyer friends and the party adjourned to a punt, with two boxes of strawberries and a bottle of sparkling pink bubbly, and eight very classy plastic champagne flutes. Apparently every woman in the world other than me can punt competently, even the Norwegian friend who never stepped in a punt before in her life (apparently it's not a real boat without a figurehead and a few axes sticking out of the prow), so I lay in the bottom and looked up at the sky and got tipsy. It was heavenly, in just the Malory Towers meaning of the word, perhaps with the strategic addition of alchohol.

Criminal went better than land, I think. My land exam was rushed, because for a lot of the problem questions I knew I could do a decent answer if given twice the time, but as it was I was just sitting there thinking "easements! covenants! Wheeldon v Burrows! shit!" and scribbling. In the end, my answer hinged on the vital point of llamas. If you have covenanted not to keep cattle on your land, are you in breach if you subsequently start a llama farm? The jury, consisting of yours truly, is out.

I related this somewhat incoherently to [livejournal.com profile] teh_elb and [livejournal.com profile] dr_biscuit at the weekend, having been invited to a barbecue at Untold Blessings and being somewhat bemused throughout at the thought of a successful barbecue in England. It was bright and summery and very civilised. And then I went home and read about fraud, blackmail, assault and murder in preparation for Monday, which did, yes, go a lot better. I wrote a long and rambly essay about liability accruing for omissions, and two disparate problem questions about A's liability for murder when he throws itching powder at C while meaning to hit B, and then liability accruing for theft when D and E go out to the shops and nefariously acquire photos, flowers, mushrooms and too much change that they subsequently spend on drink.

So... four exams done, if, please god, I have passed these two, and three, plus the legal research project, to go. I can do this, yes. No going mad here. (We'll carefully not talk about the last couple of weeks, or today. Yes.)

In the meantime, I am still reading Lois McMaster Bujold, and have just got through Young Miles and half of Cetaganda. and now I want to talk about power and abled privilege and, um, race, and stuff. But mostly spaceships. )


Mar. 30th, 2009 02:57 pm
raven: (misc - liberal)
It's really nice to be home. I didn't have the quietest of weekends, really; I was at Amicus training again on Saturday, and that was kind of sort of exhausting. Practical, not theory, so lots of running around with my hands in my pockets trying to make myself as good an investigator as possible, i.e., not very good. The funny thing is, I find, is that the other side of the law - the private sector side, the type of law done by the large impressive firms with the large impressive training contracts - is so... sleek, so glossy, so very talkative. You have to get in the habit of talking and dressing sharply. It's wearing. Whereas, for this sort of thing, you dress, talk and think forgettable. Clean jeans and brushed hair, a notepad any colour but yellow, and you sit and you listen. Your client is on trial for his life, but... well, right now he's not going anywhere. I really enjoyed the change. That said, I don't know if I could really do this work: do it for real with real people and be all things to them, a good lawyer, but a good listener and someone who can get people to tell me, not the right things, but the real things.

That bothers me about law as I see it, here - it's all telling you what you want to hear. I tell interviewers what they want to hear, they tell me what they think I should hear, and none of it bears any resemblance to reality. That might be a problem endemic in the law itself - it's interesting, of course, that the Law, this great amorphous thing I spend every waking hour on these days, isn't a thing about how things are, but it's something that people do. We've written about it so much that we've made it exist. And there's no doubt that electric chairs do exist. That's a real sense you get, actually: that the judicial system induces this twilight state, so people taken away to spend forty years in prison are still thinking, where am I, what's going on, there's been some mistake, this isn't real.

The saddest part was the bit on Atkins v Virginia, a 2002 case where the Supreme Court established that it is unconstitutional to execute someone with "mental retardation", undefined. I find it horrifying that this is actually a point at issue, but there you are. Lots of people have been executed who have had the mental age of nine-year-olds. And it's still perfectly possible to execute someone with the mental age of an eleven-year-old, or a nine-year-old on a good day. It puts investigators in the awful position of going to see the person's community, their their teachers and their elderly mother, and ask things like, was he a bit slow? Was he incapable of washing himself, and will you talk about it on a stand in front of hundreds of strangers?

Yeah. It's not good for your view on humanity, this sort of thing. On Saturday night I went out gloomily and was cheered by a nice dinner in Soho with [livejournal.com profile] sebastienne and [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong and [livejournal.com profile] deathbyshinies and [livejournal.com profile] liminreid, which was cheering but, as I said, I couldn't go dancing afterwards because the Sunday the clocks go forward was the one Sunday in the year I had to be up at seven am. And go to another day of lectures and workshops and try interviewing people myself, which I have to say I did spectacularly not well at all, and then run across the city to get a train up north, which was eerily quiet, and lacking in announcements and indeed people, and didn't stop, and gave me this muted feeling that I might be on the Caldonian Sleeper or the first train into the Twilight Zone.

That said, I did wake up at seven this morning, have a momentary panic as to where I was, realise that a) it was my own bed and b) the alarm clock belonged to someone else, and roll over and go back to sleep. I shall have to be careful. I am NOT ON HOLIDAY. This cannot be emphasised enough. Not on holiday. Yes.

...and here I am, feeling a little like an unspoken sentence. Notes and queries:

-[livejournal.com profile] deathbyshinies has started a Secret Histories Project. As she puts it, it is a blog devoted to "little random tidbits of historical fact that make you sit up and go 'BLOODY HELL, WHY DID NOBODY EVER TELL ME ABOUT THAT!'" (Examples already mentioned: Alan Turing's homosexuality; the fact there were South Asian people living in Britain before 1700 (I was never told this at school); Helen Keller's socialist and feminist activism.) Definitely worth looking at.

-A brief unrelated rant, also. Why is there a sudden resurgence, recently, of the "it's only natural" argument? I keep seeing this: polamory is natural, wanting to have children is natural. I really thought that the blogosphere had finally got over this one, but apparently not. Okay, internets. Saying something is "natural" is an argumentative faux-pas of the worst order. Because, to begin with, you're implying that polyamory or childbearing or whatever are worthy of respect only because they are some inalienable feature about how people are. You're devaluaing people's choices pertaining to either of those things. Sure, childbearing is natural. So is living in trees, so is killing people who don't agree with you. Natural does not equate to good, and for good reason. People choose to have kids - it's the choice that's worthy of preservation and respect, not the entirely fallacious biological imperative behind the choice.

And as for polyamory being "natural" - maybe it is natural for people to want multiple relationships, I don't know, and maybe monogamy is a stifling yoke upon the natural impetus of society blah blah whatever (I remain to be convinced of that last one, I must say). But it's worthy of respect, surely, whatever its provenance? It's worthy of respect if it's the way people have always lived or if it was invented out of whole cloth by L. Ron Hubbard in 1971. I'm just boggled that people still think this is a smart tack to take. I suppose it's the gay-gene for the twenty-first century. My god it's hard to be a liberal.

Okay, I'm going to stop yelling now. To finish: the clocks went forward and I was very upset. There is now more light in the evenings, and I am less upset. Thus, I leave you with the Spring Arrangements Bill. [livejournal.com profile] shimgray can recite it on command. This fills me with joy.
raven: stylised blue sailing ship and text: "Admiral Fail of the Fail Armada" (misc - FAIL)
Tired, tired, hate my baby-dissertation, tired, tired, hate applying for jobs, tired, hate revision, tired, tired some more. I'm too tired to sleep, to eat, to think, to do anything other than law. Last night I went out for dinner with lawyers. It was delightful, and I'm even grateful I've been admitted to a sorority of people that discusses battery over dinner. But mostly, I'm drinking more than usual and falling asleep on public transport.

Also, why do meetings with one's advisers always lead to feelings of profound personal inadequacy? My research project is on Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and the extent to which I don't know anything about this is... epic, really. Nope. Don't know anything. And if they change the laws of succession before my public law exams, I am going to kill things. Possibly my elected officials. Seriously, universe, I am tired, I discuss sexual assault at the dinner table, I am very tired, step away from the constitutional settlement, I NO LONGER HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOUR ABOUT THESE THINGS.

I wanna paint my nails.

Oh, and now the cat has parked its considerable derriere on The Fortune of War.

...look, I have nothing to say that isn't about the law, about how tired I am, or about the Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin Undyin' Love Travellin' Show. Vienna Teng has a new album. Grandmother Song; No Gringo. The first one makes me laugh and the second one makes me cry.

Now I am going back to failing at my life. See y'all in, oh, 2012, maybe.


Mar. 13th, 2009 12:49 am
raven: black and white; Tenth Doctor on a bed, looking up at Martha (doctor who - in bed together)
Small Cat has just arrived on my desk, and is investigating The Perks of Being a Wallflower with hir little nose. She is actually cat-sized now, but continues to lack morals. As evidence: small cat nose in my small-human small-glass of orange juice. The one thing that cat will not touch is whisky. Everything else is fair game, up to and including black coffee and fresh chillies.

I am tired. Deep, in-my-bones, want-to-sleep-for-a-week tired - and a little wary of the thought that the Oxford term is about to end when there is still four weeks of mine to go. I miss being an undergraduate, oh, so much, but that above all: the thought that it was sometimes all over, and you could go home. I am in the not-unenviable position where there are three calendar months until it is all over, but when I consider that those three months have a coursework assignment, five exams and a legal research project in it, as well as being the only time I have to find a job, I kind of quail a bit. The trick, I think, is to not hold it all in my head at once, and apply blissful ignorance to the various bits.

I do still love law, though. In case anyone was in any doubt. My research topic is, briefly, how to reconcile Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing...) with the needs of witnesses: disabled witnesses, Deaf witnesses, child witnesses, those who would rather not testify in public, etc., etc. Most likely I will not look at all of these, and narrow it to just one category - I'm tempted to pick child witnesses, right now, but will see - but all of this is contingent on my, er, actually starting the thing. Argh. First comes coursework, which is about the creation of express trusts and the mechanism of proprietary estoppel, and then it will soon be exam-time - criminal and land - and maybe then I might get as far as actually facing the blank page.

Like I said, I am tired. Last night, [livejournal.com profile] shimgray and a baby lawyer friend and I went to see the term's OULES shows, which were Robin Hood and Indiana Jones and were delightful, particularly the latter, which was notable for the way the Nazis kept on edging to the side of the stage, picking up saxophone and guitar and becoming an impromptu back-up band. [livejournal.com profile] robette_wild was the lead, and was kind of utterly adorable, and the comedy swordfighting cracked me up. It was an utterly joyous production. (Also worth the price of admission: [livejournal.com profile] sccye in a succession of beautiful dresses, and [livejournal.com profile] darwinian_woman being faaar too scary as Death. She has a certain aptitude for gliding. It's very unnerving.) I decided then and there, actually, that I must, absolutely must, be in the next OULES play. I'll play a tree. Maybe a corpse again. Possibly a comic piece of furniture. But for something that made me so, so happy, to have stopped doing it was stupid and self-destructive, even if it does take up time I don't have. I mean... OULES. I was in four plays, played a corpse, a dork, a pirate, a goddess and Nymphadora Tonks, and I never didn't have a wonderful time, I was dropped on my head, beaten with a baguette, tortured by a cheese and watched the world go past from a college roof. It was kind of magical.

Tonight, I ended up watching Dimensions in Time (oh dear, oh dear), courtesy of DocSoc, and should very definitely be in bed now, I think. Tomorrow I ought to do a lot of work, and there is an All Souls open evening that I thought about going to but, on reflection, shouldn't. The appeal is getting to see inside All Souls, and I've done that - for the beating the bounds ceremonies last May - and seeing it a second time isn't worth the horror of what it would do to my non-existent academic confidence. I hate explaining to people about my not-a-real-degree as it is, because, well, it's just a thing, a kind of anodyne thing that isn't a job or letters after my name. I know, I know, I was not made for academia, and I would hate it, but living in Oxford, it's kind of difficult to remember that doing anything else has value. I'm just... not that bright. Not the way academics are, that way they have of being breathlessly confident about things, because, well, I don't have that wiring in my head. All Souls will just make me sad.

raven: placard in red paint: "Leviticus hates your polyester blends" (politics - leviticus)
Things I have learned in the last few days: never, ever commit a capital crime, and even if you never do, don't be black or brown (or anything other than white), because, let's face it, you're fucked. I have mostly been inclined to go home, dig up the Human Rights Act and love it and snuggle it and call it George.

This past weekend was the first of two training weekends being run by Amicus (an anti-death penalty group for which I do my currently precious little pro bono), and it was... well, kind of harrowing, actually. They did it over three days at Freshfields (and I was wryly amused to note that the letter I got instructed me to come in through the back door - i.e., in these hallowed halls, keep your scruffy pro bono arse well out of sight). I went down on Friday evening, and stayed all weekend, and it was worth it but I think I will probably need a long while to recover.

The keynote speakers were both people who had been wrongfully incarcerated, and taken off death row when later exonerated, and, my god, they were harrowing speakers. One of them, Sunny Jacobs, was the partner of Jesse Takfero - a man I had heard of previously as being the last person to be executed by electric chair in Florida, because they botched it and it took thirteen and a half minutes for him to die. Jesus god, what do you say to that? And how do you sit there while someone tells you this? I mean, I've written before about why I approve of Amicus, but having that happen to you for something you didn't do - yeah.

Amicus itself doesn't actually claim to be an abolitionist organisation - being a charity, it can't - but its speakers have no qualms about expressing their views, and I think it's possible to see two threads underlying people's thinking: there are the people who disagree with the death penalty on philosophical principle, and those who disagree with it because with its associated lack of due process, it is leading to unlawful killing. I'm in the first group, I think, despite some well-meaning person asking me over the weekend, well, yeah, but what if it was your family? What if it was your mum/friend/partner was got brutally murdered?

Which I have to admit is quite insulting in many ways - because, you know, when I go around telling people that I believe such and such a thing, I do actually believe it, I don't believe things merely when they're convenient for me. (And this is apart from how much I hate that style of argument - that "well, you'd feel differently if X happened" school. It's not about what I feel, it's about what I think.)

Anyway, that's a digression. As well as talking about the human implications of the death penalty, there was also a whole lot of factual information. I sat in a corner with my pad and paper and listened to lectures on the death penalty in general, how it has been enacted and abolished, how it fits into the American judicial system as a whole, what the Supreme Court thinks about it, why Justice Scalia is a scary scary man, and by the way has nine children, how it all fits in with European Convention on Human Rights, so on, and so forth. Surprisingly enough, I loved it. I mean, I really did. I'd had a week of school and was giving up my weekend, so I was expecting to at least yawn once or twice, but no: I sat there, took diligent notes, looked forward to the next sections. It was incredibly interesting. Mostly, I was struck by how the American judicial system as a whole is really weird. The appellate structure is incredibly convoluted, what they call a voir dire is certainly not what I would call a voir dire and the jurisdiction of the Supeme Court is kind of... strange. There is a thing called a writ of certiorari that I did not understand after much head-banging and have given up as a lost cause.

Again, though, I lapped this stuff up. I can't put my finger on why it is, but I really do love the law in all guises. and I'm beginning to think I made a mistake )

Moving right along. I finished that day, amd [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong and I had considered going to an Indelicates gig that night, but it seemed pretty clear that I wasn't up to it after I'd sat on a Piccadilly line train babbling incoherently about the death penalty in New Mexico, and [livejournal.com profile] apotropaios and [livejournal.com profile] lazyclaire came over and petted me a bit, and after a while I perked up enough to wrap Jon with toilet paper and take pictures. It was a very nice evening, actually, after a very long and quite difficult day - Laura wisely did not tax my brain, poured vodka into me and we watched The West Wing, which was very nice in general and particularly fun because I actually understood the bits about the Supreme Court.

Day two involved an actual case, complete with trial bundles and crime-scene photographs. It was also kind of horrifying, as again, it featured someone locked up for ten years for something they didn't do. The redeeming features were again, the fact it was breathlessly interesting, and also, the people I went through the case with were the sort of people who come to Amicus training weekends and were, as such, the sort of people I like. It was kind of fun to sit around and talk with people who, like me, don't have glorious shiny training contracts with glorious shiny firms, who actually are like me and like the substance of the criminal law, and like advocacy and individuals and just, nice stuff like that. It's always nice to know you are not alone. Afterwards, I didn't go home straight away but wandered around the city for a while, thinking about stuff. I suppose I have this to be grateful: I know what I want to do with my life. I really, honestly do. I just have to pull the whole bloody thing together.

I go back in three weeks for part two of the course, and am actually rather looking forward to it: I had no idea I would enjoy this as much, but I really did. I am looking forward, also, to being a grown-up lawyer some day, maybe, please. Because I do love it, and I'm really ready for something new.
raven: stylised blue sailing ship and text: "Admiral Fail of the Fail Armada" (misc - FAIL)
(Real life is deeply, profoundly sucky. Do not wish to talk about it. Except to those people to whom I have talked about it at nauseating length, for which I am truly sorry, but grateful.)

In other news. Things everyone ought to do: read Master and Commander and Temeraire in quick succession. The thing is, this is totally not my genre at all. Despite my oft-expressed desire to run away to sea, I am actually not really on board with the whole piratical genre (is that a word? I think I've made it up) and did not really like Pirates of the Caribbean and its successors. And equally, I am not good with novels of the sea generally, or historical novels, mainly because I'm not entirely sure I see the appeal. I like spaceships more than history. But Aubrey and Maturin going to sea, and bickering, and Not Getting Drunk, and That Is Totally Medicinal Honest, and bickering some more, and sighing after each other, and then there being a nice digression into rigging! and masts! and topgallants! and mainbraces and the splicing thereof! and then suddenly a ship comes in from nowhere and there is a battle and a boarding and a claiming of swords, and then more sighing, and then someone drinks the wine out of Maturin's asp (Not A Euphemism Honest) and it is the most joyous 400 pages I have read in a long while.

In all seriousness, I don't think Master and Commander works as a novel, because although the characters are wonderfully drawn, Maturin particularly, quirks and nuances and interior monologues of joy and wonder, backstory and all, nothing much seems to be done with them. The plot is mostly sea battles and other diversions, and is great fun, but does not do much beyond immerse you thoroughly into the world. Which, it must be said, it does excellently - I don't think I actually am criticising here. I love the small details, the gleeful touches of humour, and probably if I had read the book at a more formative age I would be even more on board the running-away-to-sea bandwagon.

And then, of course, I had read this, and then I read the first chapter of Temeraire online, and actually understood what was going on: there was a ship, there was a captain, there was a boarding and a stealing of swords, it was all very swashbuckling and such, and then the mysterious prize turns out to be a dragon and all bets are off. (I devoured the rest of it in one go last night.) Why, I ask you, did no one make me read this before? Why did no one put it in my hands and say, "Iona, read this, read this now" in a kindly yet stern fashion? Because it is just wonderful. I guess it is an alternate history of some type, English history changed because both sides in the Napoleonic Wars have, as they have had throughout recorded history, enormous dragons crewed by aviators as part of their armed forces, and I suppose that is all very interesting, but mostly, they are great fun. The world is populated so well, and Temeraire, the eponymous dragon, is hilarious and kind of adorable, and his handler is one of those lovely instances of a POV character you actually like. And, as another bonus, the female characters are really well done, have clearly been actively considered and drawn with personalities that arise as a natural consequence of the world they live in, and I am just totally smitten with the concept.

Moving on. In other news altogether. One may remember that I am incapable of doing anything by halves. Which is to say, I came within a whisper of failing my European Union exam - thankfully not resit level of fail, but got a first in contract law. I'm not really sure what to make of this. Unfortunately my parents now think I could get a first overall, and I wish they wouldn't; it's just setting them up for further disappointment.

God, I wish I really could run away to sea. Or join the French Foreign Legion. Or start a circus with [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col and some lions poached from Knowsley Safari Park.

Edited to add I love [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col dearly and did not mean to imply she should be a circus exhibit.
raven: (doctor who - last one alive)
I was complaining, you see, about how it never snows here. (Well, it doesn't. Places a mere quarter-mile from the sea do not get snow, unless the apocalpyse is coming or you're in Montauk.) It is snowing in London. It is snowing a little in Oxford and Liverpool. And then it started to snow here as though someone somewhere had turned a handle, all in loops and whorls, and I went out for a while. It didn't stick, but came down prettily against vistas of bare trees and slate grey.

the rest is less interesting )

edited to add: fuck this shit, have a poem.

life story )


Jan. 27th, 2009 10:37 pm
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
You know what tempts me, above all other things, to just give in and go for being a corporate lawyer? It's not the money, although I must say, I do fantasise these days of that arcane concept of receiving wages for services rendered. No, the money is not the thing. It is the ease of it. The way I could just sit down for a day and do a stack of applications and answer truthfully and in heartfelt fashion about what a wonderful corporate lawyer I would make, and I could send them off and if I got a job I'd get it and if I didn't I wouldn't and it would be, at least, simple. Instead, I realise more and more that there are no public lawyers, there are no criminal lawyers, those that there are don't want to employ a twenty-two-year-old non-law graduate and those that might have been persuaded into it have been credit crunched.

This rant brought to you by the nagging fear I will never get a training contract ever, which was brought to me by the realisation that I have been applying for these things for two years now, which has been a contributory factor to general crankiness. Other reasons: I have lurgy and rampant claustrophobia, also my cousin had a baby two days ago, a baby with lots of hair and very large dark eyes and the sweetest little face, and because I am a sodding NRI halfway through a sodding law degree, I will probably not meet him until he graduates from college. They haven't named him yet, and probably they will have his janampatri done and name him something incredibly old-fashioned and formal, but I imagine that for several years yet he will answer to "Baaaaaaby!"

(Someone asked me recently if Indian babies look like Winston Churchill. I can confirm that no, no they don't.)

Grrr. I want a job and some free time and maybe some plane tickets. Universe, get on that, please.
raven: image of white Macbook computer with raven perching on it (misc - raven writes)
My exams are over. Which is a good thing on many levels, because I was going insane. Truly, howlingly insane. And oh, not sleeping isn't good at all. I'd reached the point where I was sitting up at three in the morning belligerently mentally drafting a letter to all the people in the world who don't have chronic sleep disorders, which is never a good sign.

(That said, the best advice re: terrible sleeping I have ever got from anyone was from my father, who suffers the same thing with the same severity, and it was this. Are you sleepy? Right now? And are you actually going to fail your degree/lose your job? Then go to bed, now, and sleep. People whom I do not like very much as a consequence tell me that I should push through, "so you'll sleep at night". Er... no. What happens, in the life of the chronic insomniac, is you go to bed, having pushed your exhausted body and brain through the whole of the working day, and then you don't sleep. You lie awake for eight hours, and then as you're dropping blissfully off, your alarm goes again. This way, at least you get some sleep sometimes.)

Anyway! So I had slept maybe three or four hours the night before my EU exam, and maybe another two hours the night before my contract one. And the first one went, well, not that brilliantly - I had things to say, but not particularly specific things, and in no sensible order - but the second one went slightly better. I much prefer problem questions to essays, I think; you can at least work through the thing in order and feel some muted satisfaction when finished. And I have, thank god, finished. And that, bizarrely, is a quarter of the course done, dealt with and examined. I'm pleased, I think; regardless of how well I've done, that was me getting to grips with new university, new course, new skill set, new knowledge and new material, up to exam standard in twelve weeks. Hurrah.

And new friends, also! Afterwards, we went for pizza. It seemed sensible - the initial plan had been to go drinking, until someone pointed out that this would involve drinking at half-past eleven in the morning - to decamp to the city, order lots of food and enough wine for tipsiness, which is not very much when everyone is grossly sleep-deprived and thus the cheapest of cheap dates, and it was good. And we ended up scrutinishing the two-for-one vouchers the internet had provided for exclusion clauses, and writing our order down and putting it on a napkin to give to the waitress, which is what happens when six baby lawyers go to lunch. And I meant to read all afternoon, but instead got home and fell soundly asleep. It was good.

[livejournal.com profile] shimgray took me for dinner, and, note for Oxford-types, Shangai 30s, on St. Aldate's? Really, really good. The food is wonderful, and the dingy aesthetic is pretty cool, although, as Shim noted, the large painting of a naked woman on the back wall does lend the place a certain raffish air. (That said, he was wearing a tie and I was wearing a dress. It was all eminently respectable, even though we were the youngest people in the place by several decades.) And, brownies and cream, and an evening lying around doing nothing but talk and read.

(Speaking of, I am reading Mason & Dixon, an epic Thomas Pynchon novel that I really would recommend, even though I'm only about a hundred and fifty pages in (of seven hundred!); it's on the surface, a historical pastiche about Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon (yes, them) scurrying around the globe drinking and having sex with everything in sight. It's full of jokes and allusions, and at the heart of, the friendship between the two, which is strained and silly and full of endless sniping, and gloriously well-drawn. And if that were not enough, it can rollick along for twenty pages of bodice-ripping and then take an abrupt left turn into more sheer prose, a kind of sparse lambency in the way it builds time and place with so few strokes, and gosh, it's beautifully written. A brief aside, there.)

Tomorrow, I return to school, hurrah. Today, I had a day off, what fresh wonder is this, and meant to run errands, but somehow ended up spending nearly four hours in a café with [livejournal.com profile] magic_doors, talking about politics and Kosovo and academia and disestablishmentarianism and the Age! of! Enlightenment! pronounced just like that, and I remembered the enormous plethora of things and issues we seem to agree absolutely on. It was nice, and so was walking home in the cold, which still has the snap and freshness but doesn't actually make icicles of your extremities, which I entirely approve.

Onwards and upwards. Equity and trusts, criminal law, land law, and public law still to go. Tonight I might sleep!

[One further note. People talking to me on Google Talk, I entirely appreciate it, but please tell me who you are: for some unknown reason it's stripping the names off of people, and so it's kind of like talking to God.]
raven: panel from PhD comics, woman with speech bubble: "Wait a minute... I'm the only female in this class!" (misc - ppe)
My insomnia is, er, bad. Am thoroughly and comprehensively sleep-deprived - am having trouble making my verbs agree, which is always a bad first sign - and I have an exam tomorrow and another the next day. I have just today to learn something, anything, about free movement of goods and people, and while I have all my notes right there in front of me, they're not doing that thing where they go into my head. Cue quiet orgies of self-loathing, which have been something of a feature over the last week or so, but my god I am so tired of failing. \

(Or, at least, having the sort of brain that tells me I've failed so often that I don't know when it's telling me the truth. Although in this instance it probably is. Why I am such a failure as a lawyer, I ask you? It's NOT THAT HARD. You can look it up ON THE INTERNET. In CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER. LOOK. That is the Statute of Marlborough, 1267. That is the extant law that means I cannot drill for oil in my back garden if my landlord doesn't want me to. SEE.) And, also, how? I mean, how can I be taking an exam on contract law when I didn't know what it was twelve weeks ago? How does that work?

...ye gods, I am tired. And I think I've got beyond my caffiene quota for the day and it's only 3.45.

Okay, I'm shutting up, I'm going back to work, let's just call that an interlude.
raven: Matt Smith, head inclined, wearing glasses; text: "eleventh" (doctor who - eleventh)
Today's thing of joy: a card through the door addressed to the women of the Mousehole (well, actually addressed to "my favourite house of inept lesbians"), containing a collective birthday present, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong and Oxfam. I can say sincerely and happily that it's just what I wanted.

Today's things of slightly less joy: I have exams in two days, my tutors are all out-of-office, the university's website (with, I don't know, past papers, syllabi, other trifles) has been taken emphatically offline, I know nothing whatsoever about anything[2], have not slept in what feels like weeks and my wisdom teeth have chosen this weekend for their biannual Extreme Pain Extravaganza.[1]

...how are you, dear flist? What are you doing today that isn't being fail?

[1] Like the Folsom Street Fair, but less consensual.

[2] Beyond, contracts, they're these things, right, that sometimes need signing and sometimes don't. And the EU, right, it stands for "European Union". It's big and does stuff.

*Yes, I know I got my footnotes in the wrong order, that's because I'm just that fail.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
whine, whine )
raven: image of white Macbook computer with raven perching on it (misc - raven writes)
1. The definition of a valuable consideration, from Curie v Misa (1875), is: "either a right, interest, benefit or profit accruing to one party; or a forebearance, detriment, loss or responsibiity given, suffered or undertaken by the other."

No, shut up, I do not care that you thought that was boring, because I have spent the last two days of my life committing it to memory. It and a whole lot of other things, of course, but it remains the most impressive thing that I actually know.

The whole galaxy of things, however, that I do not know, remains a major source of gravity. As I keep telling people at great and aggrieved length, I took Oxford Finals six months ago, there is something deeply unfair in a universe that has me doing exams again six months later. And yes, I know these are not the same, but Finals remain a sterling example of the principle that you can work your body and mind into half-insanity for three months and still fuck it up. Which inclines me to the new and equally general principle that whatever you do, academic life sucks, and in its yet more general formulation, woman is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards.

(Seriously, why am I doing postgrad? I'm congenitally lazy (c.f a life-long passion for baths, and writing stories about other people's characters so I never have to do my own worldbuilding) and intellectually sharp as a rubber band. I love law, but I'm continuously wondering, these days, why I persist in the unnatural delusion that "love" and "am any good at" are somehow co-referential.)

Part of this mood of sweetness and light is perhaps brought on by the fact I am right in the middle of 2009's first bout of insomnia. I'm not sure why, either. I just sort of levitate over a pillow and hate the night. I think I ought to use the time to try and sit and remember cases - for example, Pinnel's Case [1602] - in which one may not suggest to one's creditor that one will pay less than owed unless one offers something to support the promise, be it a "horse, a hawk or a robe" - but thinking about cases leads to thinking about writing about cases which leads to thinking about writing cases in exams which leads to difficulty breathing through one's nose.

It isn't even the productive kind of insomnia, either; not the kind where I beaver away cheerfully and wait for the dawn. This is more the stalking-the-Serengeti type, prowling around the house irritably looking for lions, or something, anyway, all wound up with nervous energy until it snaps into unconsciousness at some unearthly hour of the morning. At which point I dream, about death, usually, and wake up in a bright and obnoxious mood in the middle of the afternoon. I also wonder, at this stage, if my whatever-it-is sleep disorder could actually be diagnosed (after twenty-two years, it may be time to convince my mother than no, I'm not going to grow out of it): I mean, it consists of occasional insomnia, occasional hypersomnia, bruxism, very infrequent sleepwalking, violent nightmares and once asleep, being almost impossible to wake. In short, I never quite got the whole sleeping-through-the-night thing that most people have nailed by the age of six months or so. I have no conclusion to draw, really. Maybe I should enlist a loved one with a frying pan.

...there was supposed to be a second point, wasn't there? Here it is.

2. I have decided, therefore, that I now wish to write romance novels for a living. So there.
raven: (misc - liberal)
The thing is, if you came up to me and said, Iona, do you believe in the death penalty, I would probably say, "Um, what, of course I don't believe in the death penalty" with added implication that the questioner has either known me for less than five minutes or has never listened to a word I've ever said.

But then, I don't think I've ever thought about it. And I went to an Amicus meeting this afternoon, seriously considered devoting a considerable portion of the next year of my life to the organisation, and maybe I ought to be clear on why I think the death penalty is a double-plus ungood idea. Amicus itself isn't an abolitionist organisation, of course; it's there to prevent abuses of death row prisoners and their rights, and, of course, to prevent wrongful executions. And you could say, off that, that it's entirely neutral about the actual existence of the death penalty, but that said, there's something fuzzy about "wrongful execution" - that doesn't just include innocence cases, but cases where the DA was due re-election soon, the black defendant had an all-white jury, that sort of thing - and also, there's the associated journal, which does rejoice in its "Worldwide abolition" section. There's an implicit value judgement, shall we say.

So... why do I think the death penalty is wrong? Unfortunately, my immediate visceral response is: it's barbaric. Which makes sense in the general context of my education; no-one has been executed in this country since the early sixties, and Protocol 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides for complete abolition, and so since 1998, it's been a non-issue. But... yes, it's unfortunate, as you can say "it's barbaric" and then be gently reminded (I mean, I knew this intellectually, but) that thirty-eight American states endorse capital punishment. Obviously that does not mean that seventy-six percent of the American population endorses it, and it doesn't even mean that a majority do, but people do: and these people also necessarily believe it is constitutional and not "cruel and unusual". And there's nothing, I think, essentially illiberal in the death penalty, so that's not why I object.

It's just... why should the state kill? Why can the state kill? There are the pragmatic concerns, and those are easier. I agree, I think, with the people who say just one miscarriage of justice would make the death penalty unconscionable, and there have been, and there are, such miscarriages. (Andrew Lee Jones, the quasi-founder of Amicus, being a prime example.) There are those nutty people who think the death penalty is a solution for prison overcrowding (to which my response can only be, dude, you want your state to kill people because of prison overcrowding), and there are those much more sensible people who think the idea of death row, with appeals and more appeals, and a shortage of attorneys for capital cases, and yet more appeals, squanders resources in itself. There is the problem of saying something ought to be done, and then someone having to do it. (I was reading about the AMA advising its anaesthesiologists to not get themselves involved in lethal injections at any costs if they want to continue to be thought of as ethical physicians.)

In short: the whole thing is sordid and feels oddly primitive. Again, a value judgement, and I don't know, honestly, where the underlying philosophy is here. Is all life sacred? Maybe. I don't actually want to get into that can of worms, and might only say that the state oversteps what it may do with the power vested in it. Is electoral legitimacy enough to sanction this sort of action? I'm not sure. And we definitely don't have a retributive justice system. So, again, I don't know.

In conclusion, I think the death penalty is wrong and will be spending considerable amount of time doing casework for Amicus. In more conclusive conclusion, my head hurts.

In other news! The Internet Watch Foundation is giving rise to so much stupidity it's painful, someone ought to tell Feministing that white-women hand-wringing is really boring, and I don't say this often, but thank god for the Supreme Court. And I'm not saying that today I woke up belligerent, or anything, but I did go to class this afternoon, and a guy said something offensive about transgender people, and I might have yelled at him for being crass and illiberal, thus winning me friends and helping me not to alienate people.

Okay! I need to go and update my CV so it does not say "this woman defies mediocrity in her exemplary unemployability", and probably ought to drink more tea/smash my head into things and go "wraaargh" a lot.

...maybe more coffee.
raven: (misc - thine own self)
Ye gods, I am spammy these days. (No doubt I then won't post for two months or something, to make up for it.) Anyway! Two public service announcements:

-Firstly, I just got a nice little email from the admin-type people at the central admissions board, and it looks like, if I pass my exams this year, I will have a place at the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice (OXILP, usually; one day I'll get over my allergy to abbreviations) for the LPC, and so will be in Oxford for the academic year 2009-10, as well as this one. So that's nice. We all need a plan.

-Secondly, I am changing meds again - from citalopram to fluoxetine - and as such, in the next few days, if I am teary, flaky and scary, it's probably just a consequence of my winning personality but there is at least a statistical chance that it isn't, and many thanks for patience.

(And, just to make up for continuous spam, the Mousehole is rocking to Amanda Palmer. Have these: Leeds United; Runs in the Family. The second one in particular is fucking awesome.)
raven: panel from PhD comics, woman with speech bubble: "Wait a minute... I'm the only female in this class!" (misc - ppe)
So, internets, what have I done today? Mostly... failed. Yeah, failed. But I'm surprisingly cheery for someone who's been ridin' the failroad all the live-long day. Stuff and things:

-Woolworths has gone into administration. I mean... seriously. Woolies. I appreciate I live in one of the few English cities without one, but there is at least one in Temple Cowley. Where do I get my pick 'n' mix now? I am a grown-up! I demand sweeties!

...yeah. Although it pleases me to learn that the one I remember from early childhood, where, one might say, a lifelong passion was formed, was in fact the first Woolworths in this country, having opened in 1909.

-The cat has exploding diarrhoea. Hurrah. Well, she doesn't any more, but the last couple of days have been... traumatic. "Poo on the walls!" wailed [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata, who is a saint. I fully intend to bathe the horrible creature tomorrow; she smells, and has got into the habit of stuffing her little face into my bowls of chocolate cake/breakfast cereal/unripe mango.

(We are currently consoling ourselves, every time the cat does something horrific, with the thought that her tiny furry testicles will be chopped off soon. Some of the men of our acquaintance have expressed concern at the sheer amount of glee to be found inherent in this fact.)

(Also, the end is nigh: the cat has learned to use a computer. At any rate, I left my open laptop in my room, only to return to find [livejournal.com profile] shimgray maintaining a conversation with her over Google Talk. Well, I say conversation; his side of it was "HELLO CAT", and hers, "09?"\'olpp--------------".)

-I own a corset. I'm not sure exactly why this is. It is purple and velvety black, laces up at the front, has lace and trimmings, and I totally don't have the breasts for it, and I love it. I mean... yeah. I don't know why, but I've been in the sort of mood to get dressed up and go dancing. I may have to wait until the next Intrusion (for the initiated, this is Oxford's monthly goth night - because goths only need to socialise once a month) before I can deck self up in corset and glitter and ludicrous amounts of eyeliner, but still.

-I am trying to write some notes about duress and necessity defences in the criminal law, but I keep finding myself looking at the open window of, er, Merlin fic. (Fic! I am writing fic! Should I be happy or incredibly embarrassed!)

-My awful essay on EU preliminary rulings has come back and is, predictably, awful. This is mitigated somewhat by my tutor's style of softening the blow; he is apparently of the opinion that exclamation points make everything better. So: "Not a bad essay! Satisfactory citation! More case law required! Presentation needs improvement!"

...and so on. I am actually very fond of the man. The last class I went to was on free movement of people within the European Union, which in retrospect was a very bad idea. Naturally, this eventually fell into some white-privileged arse standing up and saying, "Those immigrants! They come here, steal our women, take our jobs!"

I paraphrase, but I'm sure you all know the type. So, he said that, and then there was a long pause, while everyon in the class tried very pointedly not to look at me, sitting there quietly being brown, and then tried very pointedly not to look at the Amazing Greek Dude tutor, who is, er... Greek.

And then everyone looked very embarrassed. I had schadenfreude. It was good.

-My braaaaain! Is still a bit of a bugger, really. I've had some serious dips in my mental health this week, and also am beginning to quantify the side-effects of the citalopram. It makes me ridiculously, continuously sleepy, is an appetite-suppressant (which is why I have spent the last two weeks of my life living off fruit and breakfast cereal), and, annoyingly, makes me stupider. At any rate, it gives me issues with my short-term memory, which leads to lots of wandering into rooms and wondering what I went into them for.

(That said, I had a nice moment of affirmation last Friday; having mostly spent the day failing, I had got sick of my lovely lovely land law lecturer looking at me with big sad disappointed eyes and said, "I'm not really fail! I love your subject! It's just that I'm a crazy person!"

Maybe not quite like that. But, anyway, her response was, "You poor old soul," in a very motherly tone of voice, and yeah, I kind of heart her. Anyway, I went to her lecture at the end of the day, and said, "I have a question." (It was not a very interesting question. If anyone really wants to know, it was: if a mortgage of transfer is no longer legitimate in English law as of LPA 1925, and as such the deads of title are held by the mortgagor, how may the mortgagee possess and sell in law and not in equity?)

She got a really horrified look on her face and said, "Oh god, I didn't tell you all that? Everyone, stop it, you can't go yet, thank you so much for asking that."

I don't know why it made me so happy, but it did. Something about oh hi, I'm still sometimes smart.)

-And that's it. Hopefully, no more fail. Or at least, just a little bit of fail, because it's nearly Christmas. Maybe back to duress. Or fanfic. But probably duress.

October 2017

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