Legal Quandary

Monday, September 25, 2006

All Those Bad Things I Said About Dell?

I might take some of them back.

I sent my laptop in for repair last Tuesday and it came back fixed this morning. I've only had it up & running for about 15 minutes, but I think all the things that have been annoying me about my laptop for the past 2 years might be taken care of. Which would be really cool, because although we *could* have bought a new laptop for me, the plan was actually to buy one for Mr. Q, since he's a student again now.

Whe-woo! Now to get our own wireless system up and running again so that I don't have to rely on the unwitting generosity of my neighbors anymore....

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Still A Cat Owner!

Lance came home!

My next door neighbor knocked on my door a little earlier and said he'd seen a cat out by our garage that looked like Lance. After about 45 minutes of hunting around the backyard (he'd run when the neighbor tried to catch him), we found him hiding in the bushes.

He's lost a lot of weight, but he's home safe!

Tomorrow's assignment: Give Lance a bath and get him tags!

Thanks to everyone who sent good wishes!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Another Boring Update Post

I've been busy trying to finally get the house settled and the family on some kind of routine. Within the last week...

- We have a home telephone again. You wouldn't think this was a great accomplishment, but apparently the phone companies hate us, and it was a minor victory when our phone finally worked on Thursday. Email me if you need the new number....

- We have home internet access again. I think Earthlink has finally pushed me over the edge. I wound up talking to someone in the Phillipines to try to figure out why the cable company in Ohio didn't come out to install our cable connection when they were supposed to. Turns out Earthlink didn't completely update our address and this particular cable company doesn't provide service in Seattle (you know, where we lived a couple of years ago), so the order was rejected.

- My laptop finally went Tango Uniform. I spent over an hour on the phone (using up my cellphone minutes!) with someone in India trying to trouble shoot what I knew to be a hardware issue. It's hard to trouble shoot a laptop that won't even turn on - I don't care how many times you remove the battery and hold the power button for 20 seconds. I'm sending it in for service and they've promised to return it to me in working condition, but I'm not holding my breath. I'd welcome any recommendations as to which laptops to consider as a replacement.

- I have developed an extreme hatred of companies who outsource their technical customer service to other countries. Yes, it may be cheaper for the company to route these calls to New Delhi (or wherever), but I DON'T LIVE THERE! If calls must be outsourced, please try to do so to a country with a sense of urgency. It should not take nearly an hour to tell me what I already knew: My laptop's busted.

- Because I trust Dell so completely, I bought a hard drive enclosure to try to transfer the important stuff off the laptop hard drive and onto the desktop. This was impeded by the fact that I am a technological idiot and had no idea that I needed to/ how to remove the adaptor from the hard drive. Also, the sales "dude" from Best Buy - less than helpful. Did I mention I'd be buying a new laptop? Yeah, well there's no chance in HELL that it's coming from Best Buy given the level of customer service from Nick, the computer sales guy.

- Lots of time has been spent obsessing about the fundraiser for EC's choir. The school was "proud" to announce the return of this "popular" fundraiser. Popular with whom? As a parent, I'd really much rather just write the choir a check for 35 bucks and call it good. As a consumer, I've really never felt the need to pay $8 for a roll of wrapping paper just because some company has figured out how to reduce their overhead and con my kid into peddling their wares - in exchange for the chance to win some cheap "prizes," and the promise to share a portion of their pure profit with the school. Did I mention that I hate these damned things?

- I've spent an extraordinary amount of time looking for our cat, Lancelot. He apparently escaped the night before we left for Tahoe. We've gone door to door. We've driven around and around the neighborhood. I've called and visited all the animal shelters. He's an old kitty, so part of me is a little afraid that he just went away to die somewhere. But if you see him, could you let me know? Thanks.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

And Bingo Was Tomato*

We're back from Tahoe. We were there for a family wedding, so we didn't get to explore nearly as much as we would have liked. Partly because it was such a short trip (Thurs-Sun), and partly because we squeezed Lil Q's "Cinderella Birthday Party" in, since she turned 4 the day of the wedding and we thought it would be fun for her to be able to invite her cousins to her party. We also made a last minute drive to Carson City because EC managed to forget her shoes for the wedding. In true pre-pubescent form, somehow this became my fault.

We eventually found some shoes, and had a great time at the wedding. It was a beautiful day. The groom wore a kilt. The flower girls wore fairy wings. There were bagpipes. Karaoke was sung (though not by me.) Much wine was consumed.

I guess we'll just have to go back sometime. Oh well... =)

*Lil Q's version of the popular children's song B-I-N-G-O...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Impending Radio Silence

We're headed to Lake Tahoe for the weekend! Whe-woo!

Expect approximately ZERO posting.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

High School Reunion

I went to 3 different high schools. I stayed at one for sophomore and junior year, but started at another for my senior year. Then we moved to Germany in the middle of my senior year. I would have graduated from that school, except I won a scholarship which had a condition that I had to graduate from a school in my home state.

I've never been to any of my high school reunions. There's only a couple of people I keep in touch with. B - the guy I dated all through high school, and J, who I still email with even though she's the one who introduced me to Roundboy.

BUT…I keep running into one girl I went to HS with. We'll call her "BJ." She was a nice enough girl, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that we were friends. We wound up in some of the same classes and activities, but mostly ran in different crowds. I distinctly remember a conversation after swim practice one day where she talked about being able to get backstage at concerts by flashing the band. Even in high school, she was well-enough endowed that she probably knew what she was talking about. Let's just say I was a late bloomer. (At 5'9 and 121 pounds, there's just wasn't that much body fat there…)

Flash forward 10 years. BJ was literally the first person I was introduced to when I moved to California. Mr. Q and I went to a party hosted by one of his friends, and there she was. We reminisced for a few minutes and traded notes on the people we kept in touch with, and then things got awkward when the pictures from the last Hash came out - including one of BJ topless in the hot tub. Although she hung out with one of my friends, I maybe saw her twice more the entire time we lived in California.

So yesterday I was dropping off Lil Q for pre-school and who should appear but BJ. Turns out she got married and has a daughter in Lil Q's class. What are the odds of that?

Maybe this time I should try to cultivate a friendship....

Computer Genius Needed

I bought a Dell laptop in the middle of 1L. It got me through law school and the bar exam, but lately its had some "issues".

By issues, I mean that for the past year or so, I've had problems with the power button. I can shut down in stand-by mode, but where I used to be able to just hit a key or mess with the touchpad, I now have to hit the power button. And even then, sometimes it just sort of refuses to do anything - especially if I've been using it for a long time (like, say, in a class.) Even more recently, it just sort of shuts down without any warning, and won't start back up for 20-30 minutes.

I won't deny that law school was pretty rough on my laptop - the constant moving from place to place, being used for long hours, being bounced around on buses and the Metro.

There was also that trip down the escalator in the Frankfurt airport when the backpack slipped off the luggage cart....

I know I have lots of stuff to delete in order to reduce the amount of memory I'm using. I need to update my virus software and run a scan. But I don't really have high hopes that either of those things will do much.

Does anyone smarter than me have any ideas? Or do I just come to grips with the fact that I'm probably going to be in the market for a new laptop soon? Do I even bother having someone look at it?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Ass You Kick May Be Your Own

Today's workout was the best I've had in 4 years!

That's not saying much, since the last time I really worked out was about that long ago, but it was still nice to get back to the gym without having the nagging suspicion that I really ought to be doing some reading.

But I get the distinct impression that I'm going to be really sore tomorrow.

Never one to do things by half measures, I've got a call in to a personal trainer to try to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing with all those weight machines sitting around the gym. I'm pretty sure you've got to actually lift things in order to reap any benefits...

All in all, a pretty good day, health wise. I went grocery shopping while I was still in my exercise holier-than-thou mode, which prevented me from buying a bunch of junk. We even signed up for a family YMCA membership (very close to the house!) so the kids and I can go swimming.

EC had her swim team trials this evening, but we won't find out for a week or so whether she made the team or needs a few more lessons. It's been a while since she's really done much other than splash around with her cousins, so she was a bit rusty. She's got an awesome backstroke (something I never mastered), but that's balanced by the funkiest breaststroke I've ever seen.

Hey Garbanzo!

Where you bean?

I've been back for over a week and I've only managed to get one lame little post up. Much of this is due to having to rely on my neighbors' unwitting generosity in providing me with wireless access since Earthlink seems incapable of getting its act together. In a nutshell, here's what I've been up to. I'll warn you now that it's long and rambling, so I totally understand if all but the 3-4 of you who know my in "real life" decide to skip on over this.

- Back to school shopping (thankfully, not for myself. Yet.) Clothes, notebooks, paper, you know the drill.
- Getting kids to school orientations. I don't know how these manage to suck up as much time as they do. EC started school last Tuesday and seems to be settling in pretty well. Lil Q starts a 2 day a week part time "enrichment" program tomorrow.
○ This means I'll be able to go to the gym twice a week. Hooray! I feel so fat and lazy after 3 years of next to no physical activity, a summer of studying for the bar, and going to Germany where it seems like I ate nothing but full-fat sausages and triple-cream cheese. Shhhh - If you listen very closely you can actually hear my arteries hardening.
- We celebrated EC's first day of school by spending about 4 hours in the ER. She'd bragged early in the evening that she'd gone all day without injuring herself. Then she copped an attitude at dinner. Mr. Q sent her to sit on the stairs to cool off - a punishment usually reserved for the 3 year old. This upset her, so she punched a step, thus injuring her right hand. Luckily it wasn't broken, and we left with only a bruised hand and a bruised ego. The moral of the story? Never underestimate EC's ability to injure herself in new and different ways.
○ BUT…we celebrated the second day of school here.
- Unpacking. Slowly. The kitchen should be done this week. The kitchen is the hardest because I always end up arranging things a couple of times. I'm almost done with the pantry (or pantery, if you prefer.) This will leave only 2 bedrooms, the living room, the basement and the office.
- Cleaning the house. I'm always sort of amazed and disgusted at how dirty it turns out the previous residents were. At this point I'm more or less convinced the last woman did exactly 2 things while lived here. Those things would be "Jack" and "Squat."
- Going to Spouse's Orientation for Mr. Q's Masters Program. I won't say it was a total waste of time, but seeing as how I just graduated from law school, I think I already knew he might have to study at night. Some of the other spouses wives (let's just be honest…it's an engineering program - all but two of us are wives) seemed a little surprised. His first 4 weeks will be spent in "refresher" courses. For my part, his schedule just refreshes my memory as to why I am a lawyer and not an engineer. To wit:
○ Introduction to Fourier Analysis, Intro to Probability and Statistics, Analytical Tools for Electromagnetics, Calculus and Differential Equations
- Catching up on some of my reading. Just for fun.
The Anonymous Lawyer by Jeremy Blachman. I actually started this while I was studying for the bar. That was a mistake, as I noted here, though I still managed to finish it right before I left to take the bar. I must confess that I didn't really "get" the Anonymous Lawyer in blog form. I was aware of it and checked it out once or twice, but I really think the idea was a lot more effective as a book. Or maybe that's just because I am lazy and never bothered to go back and read the blog archives. Anyway, I really liked it. Sure the main character is kind of an SOB - but I think that's the point. He's the jackass that people like me would love to be if 1) we thought we could get away with it and 2) didn't have consciences and stuff. I snickered a lot and laughed out loud often enough for my family to ask me what the heck I was reading. My only complaint was about the ending - I didn't really see how it could turn out much differently, but was hoping Blachman could find a way to pull it out. I had heard a rumor that the ending was a little different in the "real" version. (Yes, I had an advance copy. Yes, I'm delinquent in posting about it, but I think taking the bar, moving, and being without real internet access adequately explain that.) However, when I checked at Barnes and Noble last week, the ending seemed the same. I will probably buy extra copies for some of my non-lawyer friends. I don't recommend it for bright-eyed 1Ls. Wait until they're already disillusioned 2 or 3Ls.
The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld. The author is a law professor, but thank goodness the book doesn't read like it. It's historical fiction about Sigmund Freud's visit to the United States. I was a Psych major in Undergrad, so I was pretty excited to see how Rubenfeld would spin Freud into a semi-fictional character. My main disappointment with the book (and this is minor and nitpicky) was that Freud turns out to be sort of a minor player, acting mainly as a mentor to the main character, Dr. Stratham Younger. He tends to show up at dinner parties and meetings at opportune moments to give some brilliant flash of insight and then we don't hear from him for another 30-40 pages. This isn't to say that I didn't enjoy the book though. It's an interesting story and well written (I had an advance copy of this book too, so I'm trusting they'll work out the typos before it goes final.) This is the book I had with me when we were stranded on the tarmac on our way to Germany. As soon as I finished it, EC (the 12 year old) picked it up and started reading and she loved it. She kept telling me how much she enjoyed reading a book that was interesting and challenging. The funniest part about her reading it was that she suspected Carl Jung of being the murderer. At one point she thought Jung might have been the Chinese man mentioned in the story. (I know this sounds a bit far-fetched for normal people, but Mr. Q's family is full of people with a very German last name but who look Chinese because they are between 30% and 50% Chinese.) She was even more impressed with the book when I explained to her that both Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung were prominent psychiatrists. Since I was a little brain-dead when I read it (mostly coming home from taking the bar), I plan to re-read it…as soon as my mom brings it back later this month. She picked it up as soon as EC was done with it and seemed to be enjoying it when we left Germany.
Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Since EC and my mother deprived me of the opportunity to immediately re-read The Interpretation of Murder, I obviously needed another book to read, so I picked up this one and Persuader by Lee Child. I won't really go into the Persuader, because it was pure brain candy (not that there's anything wrong with that - I read a lot of brain candy.) Anyway, I'm not exactly sure what I would call Johnathan Strange, but it is anything BUT brain candy. It got off to a very slow start, but the characters were just quirky enough to keep me reading until I was hooked on the story itself. This book was also different from most fiction in that it contained footnotes. Lots and lots of footnotes - some of them quite extensive. I've scanned the reviews on Amazon and other people seem to either love it or hate it. I don't know that I really fall into either category. I'll admit that I spent the first couple of hundred pages (my version was well over 1000 pages long) wondering when Johnathan Strange was going to show up. All in all, it ends up in my plus column and I'll probably read it again in a month or two.
○ I've also re-read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and the Brethren (Grisham) in the past 3 weeks. Both fall solidly into the brain candy category. I'm currently reading a Lawrence Block novel, Tanner on Ice. Based on MLP's recommendation, I'll probably start reading A Prayer for Owen Meany tomorrow.
- Watching movies.
Gone With The Wind came on TV while we were in Germany. My mom and I were perfectly content to watch it in German, but EC felt a little left out. Also, helloooo, it's nearly 4 hours long. I've always felt Scarlett O'Hara and I would have gotten along well, though I can never understand what she sees in that wimpy idiot Ashley. We've been watching about an hour a night, so at this rate we should finish it Wednesday evening. Lil Q has been watching right along with us and I was surprised to find she was enjoying it. She likes all the princess dresses.
National Treasure. Ok, so I'm several years behind the times - what else is new? Yes, there were times I had suspension of disbelief issues, but one of the best movies I've seen in a really long time. And I understand this quote now.
The preservation room. Enjoy. Go ahead. Do you know what the preservation room is for?

Delicious jams and jellies?

- Buying a Grill and testing it out. Grilled pork tenderloin with grilled veggies....mmmmm.
- Going to Baseball games.
○ We drove to Cincinnati to watch the Reds lose to the Giants tonight. Which is really ok with us since Mr. Q is an East Bay kid. A couple of "gentlemen" reeking strongly of cheap cologne and beer tried to start something with Mr. Q who went to the game wearing his Giants jersey with a Reds cap. (A signature Mr. Q move.) Luckily either something exciting happened in the game or the beer guy came around again and they were easily distracted.

It'll be another busy week in the Quandary house. EC has swim team evaluations tomorrow evening, and we're traveling again Thursday night. This time for a family wedding - being held on Lil Q's 4th birthday, so we're trying to squeeze in a little birthday party for her while we're there.