Exact Approximations

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sing to Me Hope as She's Thrown on the Sand. Oh, and Ignore Your FRE 403 Lesson.

Ex-Husband and I finalized arrangements to meet March 11th in L.A. to trade-off Daughter, soas he can have a two-week visit. Ex-Husband is freaked out about meeting Boyfriend. Ex has residual issues, but is bringing his own Girlfriend as a buffer. More and most importantly, I get to go the beach!!! Recently, I told Boyfriend that if I do not go the beach soon, my soul shall certainly rot and fade away into nothingness. Even though I will have to settle for an L.A. beach, I shall fall to my knees, dig my extremities into the sand, and most likely cry and cry like a baby. There's something about standing on that line between land and ocean that overwhelms me. It's an analogy regular readers may have noticed gets thrown about here with some frequency.

In work news, Paralegal is "no longer with us." Lex was like "I better work my ass off and not find myself 'no longer with us' too." Two trials are scheduled in the next two months. I am writing limine after limine about shit I don't understandl. Ergo, there is a lot of resorting to the all-encompassing "unfair prejudice" and "confusion of the issues" portions of Rule 403. I tell you, the whole "substantially outweighing" part of the Rule we spent so long on in law school - should be taught differently.

My Evidence Class:

Professor: "Lex.... Wait, Lex is not in class again today. Gunner, yes, you there. Tell me, if I change tangential fact Q slightly to make it cloudy outside, does that sufficiently reduce the probative value enough to outweigh it's admittance as unfairly prejudicial?" Gunner offers ridiculously logical analysis.
Professor: "Good, now Red-Hot, would you agree with Gunner's thoughts that the cloudy conditions could sufficiently reduce probative value and outweigh things here?"
Red Hot: "Well, that depends on whether it was daytime or at dusk. If we were always talking about the event occurring at dusk, or anytime thereafter, the impact of cloudiness is decreased. Alternatively, if it was daytime, than the cloud effect could tip the scales, although we still need to consider the details of facts J, K, L, M and N. O would be inadmissible as hearsay anyhow, so that fact doesn't come into my analysis.""
Professor: "Don't jump ahead, Red Hot, we haven't gotten to hearsay yet. That's another 6 weeks into the syllabus."

Red-Hot: Smiling giggle demonstrative of complete lack of humility. Professor: "See students, this is the type of rigid analysis you must engage in for these types of questions."

Bullshit. The lesson on Rule 403 should have taken two minutes. It would go like this:

Professor: "You never really know if an argument of unfair prejudice will work. It's completely dependent on what the judge thinks, whether his wife gave it up the night before and if the clerk accidently made decaf that morning. Always throw it in, but never, ever hang your hat on it alone. And for the love of God, someone put thrax in Red-Hot's locker. And the one next to hers, since Red-Hot rented it from Ms. Fori for the semester in exchange for an evidence outline. I hear that's where she keeps all the best treatises she checks out at the beginning of the semester and leaves them there until after finals."
Red Hot: "Objection! Hearsay."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

There's Beauty in the Breakdown

Stand behind me, Bar Exam.

Zero confidence in likelihood of successful passage. I blew the ConLaw and Corps essays. And Wills & Trusts, which used hypothetical characters of Rex, Bree, Danielle and Andrew. All I could think was that I had completely missed Sunday's Desperate Housewives. Certified Master of the Mother Fucker Situation.

The morning of Day 2 - I had a dream. I was in a hotel room, attending some conference. Paralegal was there, setting up a table. The table displayed personal items that had been collected, unbeknownst to me, by my father during his lifetime. Sentimental items he had held onto, from a second family I never knew about. Pictures of a happy family together... ticket-stubs from an outing with his daughter, wrapped in a lock of her hair.... a baseball he used to throw back and forth with his son. And a beautiful scarf worn by his wife. I felt no anger. All I could think was that I must find these people, and give them these things. I wanted them to know that my father had secretly held onto tangible portions of his memories. I woke up in a semi-haze, knowing I was about to face the MBE - yet all I could think about was my dream: "why wasn't I mad?" "why didn't I feel robbed?" "why wasn't I jealous?" "why did I want to do something for people I never knew?" It's hard to focus on Warranty Deeds after a dream like that. Yesterday, I was mad at myself for not letting go of that dream five minutes after waking up.

This morning, The Boss asked how it went and I relayed my lack of confidence. But I most certainly did not say "Oh, I totally failed, 1000%, for sure, big loser" -- lest I lose my job now rather than when results come out. Responding to his inquiries, I explained how I blew the simplest ConLaw question. He quickly asked what the "right" answer was - which I promptly provided. I was annoyed by his question. It felt like, I dunno, double jeopardy or something. I also mentioned that I was down on myself for allowing preoccupation with home issues and emotion to distract me. The Boss nodded, in apparent agreement, rather than sympathy.

Anyhow, since the exam and the dream and the talk with The Boss, I found a determination to seek the positive. Here's what I've got:

- I am really proud of myself for taking the test, despite pre-determined failure. I didn't worry myself sick or psych myself out - and I didn't vomit once the whole time I was there. Which says a lot given my recent health. And the quality of the food at the hotel. Uck.

- Yesterday (and this morning), I was upset and disappointed for allowing my personal life to interfere with focused studying. I perceived this as a very bad thing. Later, I realized that I have lived a large portion of my adult life extremely detached. I can honestly say that, for a long time, almost everything I did was intentional, calculated and specifically manipulated to reach a desired result (excluding interactions with Daughter, who has always provided a safe-place for me to feel emotions and be happy). Over the past year and a half or so, I found the ability to once again experience deep emotion in almost all areas of my life. Yesterday, I was mad at myself for forgetting how to turn my emotions off, as I had done so well for so long. Now, I feel grateful that I cannot stop thinking of Brother, all that has fallen apart and the sadness I feel over it. When you have spent a long time feeling nothing, even sadness feels kinda good. I love Brother, and I don't regret that my love occupied me more than a test.

- I view my reactions in the dream as signifying that I am on the path to being a good person who wants to do good things, even for people I don't know or who I may perceive to have wronged me. Looking back, I feel like a bigger person for how I felt in my dream. For wanting something for someone else, only because it would make those people happy. And I wanted that for them, just for them, without any need to have a benefit of my own.

Last night, Boyfriend attempted to console me. Hopelessly, as I remained distraught. I promised him I would be ok, but needed time to feel it out. And now I have.

So I failed the bar, so what? I have the love of my life. I have the perfect kid. I do work I believe in.

Three days ago, I felt like I was going to die.

Today, I feel alive.

Monday, February 20, 2006


I am off to take the Arizona Bar Exam. The last few days have been a crazy-insane exercise in last-minute preparation.... My philosophy is, rather than pre-determining my failure - I will force the bar examiners to make that decision for me.

One thing is certain, I am not hearing the Star Wars music.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Random Philosphical Thought

Reading through a practice Wills & Trusts bar question, I got to thinking about the effect a person's parents have on their children's lives.

My conclusion was: Once you reach a certain age, you can no longer point to your parents shortcomings as a justification for your own. The precise cut-off age varies. But, the line is absolutely crossed once you become a parent yourself. Om.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Catholic Reparations: Denied

The charity folk rejected me. I make too much to receive assistance, despite consideration of my roomate abandonments and medical expenses. Fair enough. It was worth a try. My theory in life is that, to reach most goals, you usually face about ten failed attempts per each single success. It's a numbers game: the more persistent and determined you are - the further you will get by sheer probability.

Something that struck me is I make under 50k a year, placing me at 83% in the income distribution of my county (for a family of four). Maybe that isn't far off from everywhere else, but I was sure there were more people were rolling phatter than me. I grew up on welfare and good stamps, and lived below the 10% level most my life. Perhaps expectations of being a future lawyer, coupled with being around so many well-off kids in law school, really screwed my perceptions of economic realities.

The worst part was it took them three hours to deny me. Not two hours of waiting and then a one-hour meeting. Three hours talking to the volunteer.

Things at the Catholic Church haven't changed much. You go, sit for three hours, feel confused - and leave without any pay-off.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie.

Just Google-Fu'd "Viva Arbusto," because I was too lazy to come here first to hit the link. The #2 hit was Blogshares. According to them, Arbusto-Land is worth $10,334.52. YaY! Arbusto is rich in the fake-blog-market. Mine is only worth $4,959.31.

Business Opportunities Weblog values me at $4,516.32.

Upgrade. I was worth zip not two months ago.

Open offer: First person to give me $500 will be granted all rights affiliated with this blog. I, in turn, will continue to post for your benefit for 6 months. After that, I can be bought off, probably for less.

Getting Myself Into Trouble

I have a meeting with a Catholic Social Services Agency today at 5:30 to try to get a handout for my dire financial situation following the break down of the house. I have no qualms feigning belief, offering up prayers I memorized when I was 5 or even going to confession. In fact, that last one might be fun and provide great material for my blog.

On another note, Boyfriend and I were lying in bed last night, talking about the ethics and privacy concerns inherent to blogging. Where the boundaries lay. Boyfriend is incredibly understanding and patient in accepting my willingness to post just about anything. My situation is a bit strange, as this blog is not completely anonymous. (Well, maybe not strange, that's probably how it is with most of us). Many of my readers are friends and family, and know exactly who and what I'm talking about - or how to associate Lex Fori with my picture in the Boalt Hall Face Book.

Anyhow - I am most certainly permitted to note that Boyfriend is hands down, 100%, by a super-far long way -- the best lover I have ever had. My experiences with Gloworms, Bathtubs and Cabbage Patch Dolls are also fair game. Obviously, I make a point to stop short of disclosing what I consider to be other people's private concerns. There are things about my family I would never get into, although if you're dead - you're fair game. Just so my peeps know. No worries to GRM, Loony Toons Aunt, Step-Father, My Banker, Uncle Reptile or Mom. I watch what I say when it comes to your lives, and will continue to do so. Until you pass away. Then, you better make damn sure you treated me well in your will. Although I guess, as a disclaimer, my ideas of what constitutes private might be a little off. On another note, none of the previous sentences apply to you CECU, you're fair game - dead or alive ;)

So during the conversation, I randomly said sorry to Boyfriend for making him feel uncommfortable in Lex Land. He promptly admonished me for offering an unecessary apology. He had just finished telling me how much he respects my creative authority and I had immediately felt a sense of guilt:
Boyfriend: "You don't need to apologize, you didn't do anything wrong."
Lex: "It's my Catholic Guilt."
Boyfriend: "Come on, how long are you going to play the Recovering Catholic card?"
Lex: "Hey, it's a strong one. Damn near as good as the Race card."

Boyfriend: Knowing I would be the first to call that total bullshit. "Really?!?" Large, suprised eyes. "And where are you going to get reparations? From God?" Laugh. "Who don't even believe in?"
Lex: "No, from the Catholic Church, tomorrow at 5:30." Smile. "Can I blog that you're awesome in bed?"
Boyfriend: "Totally."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Web Comparisons - When Will I Die?

Studying for the bar is boring. I'm gonna fail, so I decided to find out when the rest of me would fail too. I went online and did a few Death Tests. Had to do more than 1, for comparison and integrity reasons. Obviously.

Anyhow, the results:

Nerd Tests has me dead at 74. No details on the how.

Spark says I am going to kick the can at 56 years old. (Friday, July 13th 2035, to be specific. Friday the 13th, go figure.)
Possible causes:
14% cancer
7% cleaning my rifle (nonsense, I am so against owning or using a gun).
7% heart attack
3% suicude

O.K. Cupid has me dead at age 68.8 years (January 2048).
Probable cause - cancer (56%)
Other possibilities:
24% ulcers/bowel toughness
13% overdose
5% drowning of the lungs
2% wounds
O.K. Cupid also notes that I have 15310.1 days left on this earth and already lived 39% of my life. Cheese and rice, 39%. That seems like a lot.

Allrighty. Morbid posting. Good times.

UPDATE - As per Genevieve's comment regarding the boring list most sites give for cause of death, I realized that I had this in my drafts. I took the test months ago, and just never got around to publishing it. Now seems good. And the cause of death is pretty funny.

Being sucked dry by leeches isn't so bad.
You will be sucked dry by a leech. I'd stay away
from swimming holes, and stick to good old
cement. Even if it does hurt like hell when
your toe scrapes the bottom.

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

All Better

I am subject to quickly changing emotions. Two hours ago, I felt like a total asshole (see below). Now, I feel like a total winner.

All thanks to
Arbusto. In his completely arbitrary (although clearly accurate) 2005 Blog Awards -- I took home two prizes!

First, Most Guts, for
The Story of My Father. Yes, that one was hard to do. But I've always said this blog is going to save me thousands in therapy. That post really did help me, tremendously.

And the Top Prize, or what I consider the Top Prize, since I won it and all. For...

All Around Most Consistently the Funniest!!! Hey, if it takes handing my pants to a boy scout to get recognition, just wait to see what I do when of-age Eagle Scouts come asking for donations....

In fairness, I would never have gotten that last one if Arbusto were a regular over at Fresh Pepper.


So two days ago, I posted my wish that Cheney's quail-hunting victim had been more severely injured, so the veep would be subject to more severe public judgment.

Today, that wish came true. A piece of birdshot migrated through victim Harry Whittington's system, struck his heart and caused a minor heart-attack. Now, I don't believe in fate, karma, or any of that other touchy-feely bullshit, so I'm not feeling responsible or anything.

But I do feel like the insensitive asshole of the day...

My bad.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Difficulty of Obtaining Distraction

I just went downstairs, walking laps around my work-building, trying to get out of my head.

The only thing that caught my attention and focus was the fact that a small tract of rocks are always raked perfectly. Like those zen rock gardens. But the surrounding shrubs are completely uneven. I wonder whether the rockscapers are working for different folks than the shrubscrapers.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

That's Why I Say Hey Man, Nice Shot.

Is it kind of sick that part of me wishes Mr. Cheney had inflicted more serious injury when he accidently shot a fellow quail hunter?* Being as my only reason is that he would be subject to more severe public judgment?

* Yeah, it really is. I don't actually need verification.

Prospective Failure

t-minus 9 days until the bar exam. I am convinced I will fail.

Although I have spent a good 6+ hours per day "studying," my thoughts are elsewhere. I am still reeling with sadness and disappointment following the breakdown of the household. I am meeting with some Catholic Service Agency next week to try to get rent-assistance... otherwise, looks like I will be facing eviction. I figure the Catholic Church owes me for the remaining groundless guilt I often feel. It's not easy being a Recovering Catholic.

Daughter and Nephew are both sick. My pre-surgery pains continue. I threw up the other day, a bunch of lettuce that I had eaten 12+ hours prior. That seemed strange, especially since I had eaten other things since then. During the midst of a PMBR Crim-Law practice test on Friday, I got a phone call from ex-husband's "lawyer" - a California practitioner of wills and trusts who failed the bar three times. He offered advice on how to pass the exam, which I quickly disregarded as likely not coming from the best of sources.

Try as I might, I just cannot get down the basics of property and contract law. The Rule Against Perpetuities should be abolished, for a failure to make a lick of sense. I get Torts, ConLaw, Wills & Trusts, Community Property, Crim Law & Procedure and am guessing that state-based CivPro will stick upon review, particularly being as much of my work at MedMal Firm, Inc has involved reviewing these rules. In better news, The Boss, unbeknownst to The Boss, is paying for my hotel, parking and food - at a super-nice hotel within a 2 minute walk to the exam. Mad props to Paralegal and Office Manager for making that call on my behalf.

Ok - back to the books.

Friday, February 10, 2006

BJELL - Selling Me Out?

Dear Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law,

Why do I have 5+ spam mails in my CalMail account every day that are sent to the BJELL mail-list? It's totally annoying. Whose fault is this? Did BJELL sell the list is or is just available somewhere for all spammers to easily get hold of. I mean, I'm on the mail lists of a few Boalt organizations, but none get me as much junk mail as yours.

Although true, take none of these allegations to heart. I'm just having a bad day.



PMBR Contracts Review Lecture

Totally sucks. Most. Boring. Ever.

Not feeling like a rockstar.


Monday, February 06, 2006

Blah Blah Bar Sheep

Dag Nabbit Ian Haney Lopez!!! That was my 1L property professor at Boalt Hall. We did not learn anything about property law. We spent a lot of time on Social Justice issues, and realizing what a small smug arrogant asshole Professor Haney-Lopez can be. But what is a "shifting executory interest" or "fructus industriales and the doctrine of emblements?" Huh...? Mr. Lopez...? Do you even know what that means?!?

Readers can expect to see a ton of bar-exam related posting over the coming weeks.

Today marks my official extended-study period for the Arizona bar exam. I bought PMBR materials from some guy on Craigslist and have been listening to the CDs during my work commute for a couple weeks now. But I hadn't taken any practice MBE questions until today. Uck. I started with a short Torts bunch of 25 questions, missing 7. Clearly, I have some work ahead of me. Fortunately, The Boss has granted me permission to spend half days holed up in the Big Office (the office is #3 on my demand list if I pass the bar and trigger renegotiation). I figure that two weeks of studying 4 hrs a day should be sufficient. I mean, it's not like we're in Cali or NY here. If I can get through the hell that is contracts and property this week, I should be ok.

At least I will be so caught up in the last-minute studying madness, I won't have time to think about how much my family hates me.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

23 Prisoners Escape Yemen Prison - on FRIDAY

The Interpol News Release wasn't posted until two days after the escape. Apparently, the prisoners, with help from outsiders, dug a tunnel from the prison to the less frequented women's section of a nearby mosque.

My question: If the prisoners got out on Friday - why did it not hit the U.S. news until Sunday? Maybe there is some Interpol S.O.P. info that I don't know about - but the delay strikes me as odd.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Mighty, Mighty. Just Lettin' it All Hang Out.

I realized, just seconds after publishing my last post:

I completely forgot to wear a bra today!!!

How the hell did I do that?

And why did I not realize this until after 2:00p.m?

I really do need this weeked to get started.

What is Secret About Publishing Something All Can See?

For awhile now, I've been following two theme-centered blogs: Post Secret and The Rhetorical Letter Writer.

Both are really, really great. I was reminded of Post Secret today when I checked in on WT over at Expressio Unius. I haven't actually sent in a secret to the blog- but I have written secrets on post-it notes and left them in random places, like the bathroom at my local Blimpie's sandwich shop, a cross-walk sign and a backside of the child's seat in a grocery cart. Words cannot describe how good it feels. And I enjoy imagining what the discoverer might think.

Some examples:

"I steal toilet paper from work. Coffee too. And gatorade. Lots of gatorade."

"I pretended to love for financial stability. I faked it from the very beginning."

"I don't think I deserve him. But I'm too selfish to tell him that."

And then there were four.

In July, I moved into a four bedroom house, bringing along Brother, Brother's Son (Nephew), Cousin J., Myself, Daughter and Boyfriend. Cousin J., facing an overwhelming lack of mack, gave up early and left in December - heading back to The Creek (NorCal), where there were plenty ladies who love him long time.

Brother, for the past few months, has worked only on and off, creating a huge financial strain on the house. He approached me Monday informing that he was about to be fired, because he did not have a vehicle. Stunned, I responded that there was little I could do: I had already floated his portion of the rent for nearly two months and was waking up at 5:00am to take him to work. And that was only after the truck I gave him broke down. I explained there was little I could do and if he could not figure something out, I would be forced to breach the rental lease and downgrade to an apartment. Furthermore, I would not take him in that event. We argued back and forth until ultimately it was determined that he would move out. So, today at 12 noon, I am off to take him to the Greyhound Station. Nephew will stay with us for another month until Brother gets set up.

Part of me feels horrible. I realize there is only so much I can do to help family, but I really, really wanted this to work. Unfortunately, I feel taken advantage of and guilt-tripped. The wise aunt I look up to warned me that this would happen and I repeated over and over that I had to try. I am still glad that I tried. But devastated it has not worked out. The worst part of this whole thing is that I know Nephew will suffer the most. He has never had a stable environment, and is about to lose the closest thing he ever had to that. Breaks my heart. I wish his parents would let me adopt him.

I am also super-disappointed in my mother. I talked with her on Monday, where she offered much support, explaining that I had done all I could and this is just how Brother is. Last night, she called - asking how it was that I could give up, why I was initially so determined to help only to abandon now, and pointing to the difficulties this would cause for Nephew. Brother is heading back to Cali and plans to stay at Mother's. Angered, I pointed out that Mother was changing her tune, and that I firmly believed this was simply because she does not want to house him for the next month. Mother didn't agree and immediately got back to questioning my dedication to Brother and Nephew..

I am distraught. Brother is angry with me. Mother is angry with me. I love them both dearly and hate that the situation is awkward because I decided not to go down on a sinking ship. The ship isn't yet completely under, but there is a pretty severe leak. I am trying to figure out how to patch it.

So now I am left to figure out what to do next. In the course of 6 weeks, I lost all the family roommates. Now I am out 1250 per month. My credit is screwed because of medical bills and I know any apartment I can get into will be ghetto. I so don't want to do the ghetto thing again.

There is the option of moving in Boyfriend's Brother (Uncle Reptile) and his girlfriend (My Banker). Boyfriend says they would make great roommates and I agree. My Banker and Daughter get along really well and for that reason alone I feel a strong connection to her. Not to mention that she was the one who looked out for Boyfriend all those years while we were apart. I shudder to think what would have happened if he didn't have a friend like her. She's one of the few girls that I actually really like a lot, and I don't like many girls. Uncle Reptile is Zen, that's always a good sign. His presence is relaxing. The problem is knowing that I can't float the month until their lease is up - but, man-o-man, I want to. I have considered robbing a convenience store down the street that has really bad security - but that seems kinda mean. I've also considered robbing the attorney across the hall that took me out for "bar exam advice" only to later hit on me. But the cost of that would be more than my dignity could handle.

Dag Nabbit, Cheese and Rice. I hate to have all this stress to deal with just two weeks before I am scheduled to take the Bar.


I know this post is of zero-interest to readers. But, well, it's cheaper than therapy.

If today weren't Friday, I would go postal tomorrow at work.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Childhood Fear Revisited -- Return of the Skekes!!!

I just learned that a sequel to 1982's "The Dark Crystal" is in the works.

I am way too excited about this.

Conspiracy Theory Thursday, Part II

Long time readers will remember my first Conspiracy Theory Post about Google, related to my predictions of a future Gmail People Finder Beta, which will allow users to read gmails. I based that theory on provisions contained in Gmail's privacy policy.

Anyhow, strange story in the SF Chronicle today about how Google agreed to censor its Image finder before the search engine was released in China. The example given is Tiananmen Square. When you search the U.S. version for images - you get tanks. When you search the China version - you get a pretty building. Now, I haven't formulated the specifics of the theory, but it all comes down to one thing: Google wants to take over the world (intro weird Twilight Zone music)

I agree with the watchdog site, Google really is kinda creepy.

BTW: any and all comments that readers would like to make, without having them made public, can always email me at ExactApproximations@gmail.com


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Won't You Come Over Check Up On It.

I'm totally into Site Meter. I know Arbusto hates it, but I find it super-entertaining to know how readers get here, where they come from and how long they stay. Site meter leads me to wonder - who is reading from Canada? I have extended family in Ottawa, and am wondering whether it is them? Or maybe an Arbusto Homie? Just curious.

I have had one too many law students from Berkeley find their way to this site by trying to figure out how Boalt Hall students are notified that they Am-Jur'd a class. And because I have never answered that question, I figure I should do my best for future overacheivers finding their way to Lex-Land. As a disclaimer, I never actually got an Am-Jur, but I know someone who did. It comes up on your transcript, a little asterisk mark and then a notation at the bottom. You can see this on the Bearfacts version too. It's the same way with other Boalt awards. I will toot my own horn here and say that while I never got an AmJur or the Prosser Prize (second place) -- I did take home an award for 1L moot court. Much to the surprise of my classmates, seeing as I never went to class. As we all said, I was "taking one for the slackers." Some professors also email AmJur award winners, but that's too much of a personal preference to bank on.

CECU - Where is the State of the Union wrap up? I read your 'between the lines' pre-take, but I am still waiting for your keen analysis. You're on W. duty!!