So I was sitting down to type up this post and I realized that I didn’t post anything during the month of February. Sure, the last post was on January 31st, so it was “kind of” like February, but still, I figure it’s time for an update.
If it wasn’t obvious from that fact that February slipped away from me, I’ve been busy – though I have to say that on the whole certain things I thought were going to be terrible have ended up not being so terrible. For instance, my First Amendment course has turned out to be pretty laid-back and manageable. The Federal Courts class that I came within a millimeter of dropping kind of sucks, but it doesn’t suck to the point that I thought it was going to suck. And, while my schedule on Wednesdays and Thursdays most definitely sucks, my schedule on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday does not suck (though Friday does a little – but it’s Friday), so having 3 of the 5 days not suck is nice. So, on the whole, most of my classes haven’t been that bad, plus my research assistant position hasn’t been too crazy this time around (after a pretty rough start at least).
Now, lest ye’ think I’m an optimist, I have to say that one of my classes has turned out oh so much worse than I possibly imagined it would be. Why? Group Project. I think anyone who has survived through group projects doesn’t need an explanation of why a Group Project worth 100% of your grade is a horrible, god-awful idea. Not only that, we’re going to make a group project your entire grade AND curve the class. Add in neurotic Harvard students and you have, without a doubt, the second worse class I’ve had in law school (Legal Research and Writing will never be dethroned – which coincidentally also involved group work). To say I uh.. despise.. that class would
probably be a massive understatement. Then there is the journal. There is nothing I can complain about with my journal that I haven’t already complained about so, QQ – there, I complained.
But enough about law school, I’m kind of over it and honestly a bit tired of blogging about it.
Let’s talk about more interesting things.
First, remember when I mentioned that Pig was going to adopt our third puffin? Well, awhile back his certificate arrived!
Actually I just realized that I already talked about Grubbert last time. Oh well, I’m leaving it up here because Pig (and puffins) are awesome. Pigsten is awesome too, so here he is again with his quartz. I was going to talk about that again too.
I guess that’s the downside of only booting up the blog once a month, you forget things (thanks citalopram). Oh well, these things are awesome and worth revisiting. What I didn’t share last time was Pigsten’s block party he had on his box.
Pigsten has several brothers and sisters (or friends, we aren’t entirely sure) who live in our bedroom. They, along with Pigsten, came to live with me in Denver courtesy of Meem (though Pigsten didn’t really become “Pigsten” until New Mexico). So they came out to play for a day or so and everyone enjoyed
SB’s Pigsten’s quartz.
Speaking of parties, February is special in that it features SB and Valentino’s birthdays, back to back. Which translates into a lot of cooking and baking for yours truly (with help from Tristen, Pig, and Pigsten of course). A running tradition is that SB and Valentino pick out a cake and the rest of us make it for them. This time SB and Valentino settled on a cake with cherry icing and sprinkles!
Pink has been pretty much a constant, as have been heart decorations.
Valentino is 4 and SB is 40.
Pigsten wasn’t quite sure what to make of the cake – at least until he started tunneling inside of it. He likes colors – a lot.
SB also brought home everyone some flowers. Naturally Pig and Valentino wanted to eat them (remember bears eat flowers!) but we got them to hold off for a few days.
We don’t have a proper vase, so we made due with a Department of Justice stein and rubber-bands. 🙂
Pigsten was drawn to the color, the smell, or both. To him the flowers were kind of a magical playground.
As for me, I didn’t get anything right away, but a couple nights later I got back from one of my late classes and found this waiting for me!
A sure fire way to make me happy is to get me beer. I’m not even picky when it’s a gesture of good will. You can give me bad beer and I’ll still be thankful for it. Don’t bite the hand that inebriates you.
Of the new beers in that Harpoon sampler, I think The Craic stood out to me the most (in a good way), though they were all good.
I later expanded my beer stock to go with all the late-night law school work I’ve been doing.
Of course as I type this I no longer have any beer (sad, I know) as SB and I finished off the last two I had for Mardi Gras (in no small part so that we could get the Mardi Gras 2017 badge on Untappd).
In other festive news SB and I took advantage of one of the gift cards Meem got us for Christmas and went to Orinoco, a Venezuelan restaurant with lots of tapas! It was sort of a belated Valentine’s Day date for us. Unsurprisingly it was quite good, considering that SB and I love tapas – especially bacon wrapped dates. In fact each time we have them we normally take a photo and send it to Meem and Daryl 1 to make them jelly.
Another big event in February was that we had our first – and probably only – sizeable snow for this winter.
For about 48 hours things were pretty nasty and a lot of schools and universities ended up closing for a day or two. For its part the law school decided to stay open (when other nearby universities were closed). I say law school, because Harvard University itself was closed. Yes, this made no sense to me either but it’s a thing out here. Apparently the university can close, but individual schools can choose to remain open. The result is that some schools were closed, others were open, and some did half days. The law school made everyone come in during the morning, then realized things were getting bad enough that they shut the school down at noon. For me, in undergrad and K-12 it was always “school’s open” or “school’s closed” (we had half days as well) which applied across the board. Here it seems a bit feudal in that schools are like little kingdoms and they do what they want because its their hot body.
So yeah, lots of snow for a couple of days.
It did that lovely thing were it rains –> snows –> rains –> snows again. So you get the snow with layers of ice embedded and beneath it. As a result I didn’t run for over two weeks while waiting for the sidewalks to de-ice to the point I felt comfortable using my fairly worn out running shoes on them.
But, by and large, snow doesn’t tend to slow Boston down much, so life went on. Heck, from what I heard the T even did decently this time around (for the T, which isn’t saying a lot considering they have the highest light-rail derailment rate in the country).
While a lot of people complained about not getting a full snow day, I was a bit more neutral about it. A lot of it stems from the fact that the ABA requires a set number of hours of class time each semester, so if you get a snow day you have to make it up (depending on the particular class I would say “have” is relative). The downside is the make-up classes are normally at a way worse time of day (super early morning or late Friday afternoon for instance) or in the case of one of my classes they schedule a makeup class and make you do an additional project you wouldn’t have had to do to otherwise. So yeah, the two times I’ve had weather affect my law school schedule it was nowhere near as awesome as similar events during undergrad. Subsequently I’ve been on campus a bit later than normal trying to get some make-up stuff done, plus just normal stuff.
The good news is that no matter how late you are there are some awesome snuggles to be had once you are home.
Once the snow had passed, the weather did pretty much a 180 and got unseasonably warm for about 1.5 weeks and we broke some temperature records (of course now we’re expecting -4 degree wind chills this weekend). In the past I’ve mentioned the skating rink in the Science Center Plaza, well, after problems keeping it frozen last year – coupled with higher temps this year, they just did away with the rink and went with outdoor bowling and curling lanes (though the standby fire-pits + s’mores are there as always).
Skating rink or not, this is a cool central area of campus to hang out at. I was waiting to meet up with SB for our Friday date night and there was ample people-watching to be had during the nice weather to keep me occupied.
They have the area done up with lights, tables, benches, food trucks, the lanes, etc. It’s really quite nice.
Another nice thing was that we actually were aware of International Polar Bear day this year! Since we have a resident polar bear, we celebrated by cooking one of this favorite things – salmon! In fact this was free salmon since a nice manager at Star Market gave SB a demo box to try out. We ended up making sandwiches with it and apple-wood sauce. We had chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. Valentino approved!
He loves him some salmon (and strawberries – and really all berries and fish – and seal, you get the point). Now, Valentino’s love for salmon isn’t the only amor in the Taco household lately. Rosita has recently fallen for a plant named Javier who lives in our neighbor’s apartment. If you look closely you can see Javier in the window across from Rosita.
So we kind of have a Romeo and Juliet drama playing out here lately, heck they even have the initials right. Oh! Speaking of plants, I discovered a super cool application recently. Credit goes to SB for showing it to me and telling me about it. It’s called “Plant Nanny” and as the name suggests, it’s all about taking care of and raising plants. However, what makes Plant Nanny so awesome is that you get to be healthy while you tend to your plants!
The basic premise of the app is that you put in some information about yourself (weight, activity level, etc.) and then the app calculates how much water you should drink in a given day. So, at it’s core Plant Nanny is a water tracker. Yet it’s more than that because it links your plant’s health to the amount of water you consume. So if you drink too little your plant gets dehydrated and sad, and if you don’t fix it your plant will die! Since the plants are super cute this kills your soul and compels you to drink more water.
Plus, to make you even more emotionally invested in your plant you get to name it, pick a pot for it, pick a background for it, etc. Once your plant has grown enough, you can plant it in a garden where it will generate seeds for you. Here is my first plant named “Babby Plant,” she is a Devil’s Ivy and is now living happily in the garden and growing seeds.
You can use seeds to buy more kinds of plants, more pots, more backgrounds, and drops of “water of life” (which can either 1: resurrect your dead plant, 2: quickly re-hydrate your dehydrated plant, or 3: speed up the growth of your hydrated plant). Seeds can also be purchased with real money, but it’s entirely unnecessary to do so unless you chronically don’t drink enough water or are seriously impatient.
Of course if you’re a person who already drinks a lot of water (like me, I sometimes drink more than 200oz a day) different plants have different difficulty levels. The more the difficult the plant the more seeds it will yield once its in your garden, but before that it has to be more consistently watered and is quicker to become dehydrated (and die!). Oddly enough the cactus is the first more difficult plant you can unlock – I say it’s odd because cacti are generally pretty easy to take care of (I have four in real life, one of which is 7′ tall).
After “Babby Plant” I decided to try out the cactus (Devil’s Ivy and the Dandelion are free – the next plants cost seeds, but the cactus is only 3 seeds) and of course named it “Little Friend.”
Little Friend and I got off to a rough start. I planted him before bed, and then by the time I woke up he was already dehydrated and sad! 🙁
Fortunately after about 4 or 5 bottles of water he bounced back to his usual self. In the next photo he is singing, though he still looks a little frustrated with me. 🙂
We’ve since made amends and Little Friend is growing big and strong!
In fact Little Friend has since generated his own little friend (so getting into Three Amigos territory)!
As of me writing this, this is what Little Friend currently looks like:
Yay flowers! My guess is that once he hits the next phase he’ll be ready to join Babby Plant in the garden and then I’ll have to decide my next plant friend!
Update: Yep, “Little Friend” is now hanging out in the garden with “Babby Plant” and I’m now raising “Dabney” the dandelion – she likes boxes!
Anyways, I like Plant Nanny because 1) It’s free 2) It’s cute 3) It encourages you to drink more water and 4) If you already drink plenty of water it rewards you with cuteness.
While I suppose the sadness/death serves a motivator to drink more, I don’t like that a lack of water causes the plants look super depressing and sad – and then can die (I haven’t had any deaths yet, but I dislike the thought). Of course you can always use the Water of Life to save them, but I prefer to spare them from dying the first time around. I’ve been told that if you aren’t Jesus it’s kind of inconvenient.
While my plant buddies (real and digital) have yet to made me sad, I did have a sad moment earlier this week when I finally retired my old brown shoes. If you know me personally, or have read about my blue jacket or maybe my 50 cent folders and patched jeans, you’ll know that I value things – as another example the inside of my backpack is held together with duct-tape, but it works. No, I don’t really value the acquisition of things (I prefer experiences) but once I own something I try to take care of it and I certainly don’t get rid of because it’s not “in style” or even “fully functional.” Case in point are my brown, American Eagle shoes from Payless Shoes (not the tweener American Eagle coo-kids clothing store, but the bargin-bin shoe line from Payless).
I bought these before I even visited Boston for the first time. I bought them because up until that point in my life, the only shoes I had really ever consistently owned were tennis shoes, dress shoes, and work boots. Well, there are times when tennis shoes don’t quite cut it, but dress shoes aren’t really necessary. So SB took me to Payless Shoes and I found these bad boys for something like $27. Little did I know it but they’d end up being probably the most used, abused, and trustworthy shoes I’ve owned thus far in my life. What was eventually a budget purchase to try to blend in during admitted student weekends at top law schools (I didn’t) turned into shoes that not only carried me for over three thousand (yes thousand) miles, they also carried me through the snowiest winter in Boston in recorded history (my fancy snow boots came a year too late), and not only that, I’ve literally climbed mountains (in the snow – with no tracks, I don’t recommend it) with these shoes. These shoes also, in an odd way, represent a transition from my pre-law school self, to my nearly post-law school self. I had hoped they would last me all the way through law school, but sadly they reached the end of the road when the big February snow hit. The shoes themselves were fine in dry weather. But the slightest hint of rain or snow would result in your feet being soaking wet (and with Raynaud’s this is an issue, not just an inconvenience).
The problems were many – the soles were separating from the shoe, the shoe itself was cracking open, the inside of the shoe was worn completely through the fabric and over half way through the rubber (it turned your socks black in those spots), but the real killer was that in a couple places the sole got so worn and cracked that it cracked open. As a result, if the ground was wet, whelp, so were your feet.
For a good while I was ok so long as I avoided puddles (not an easy feet in the dark on old brick sidewalks) but eventually it got so bad that I ended up with wet feet even if I touched nary a single puddle. Starting off a 10+ hour long school day with soaked feet (wool socks can only repel so much) was a downer. Even treating the shoes with moisture protecting spray didn’t help – they were simply too worn.
So, with GREAT reluctance I switched out my shoes for an even more expensive pair of American Eagle brown shoes from Payless. I tried to find my exact style, but unsurprisingly they don’t exist anymore (though some overpriced used ones are on Ebay, no thanks). So I went with the descendants of my shoes which cost nearly as much and.. didn’t fit right at all. In fact, the fit was so off that the size and style I needed didn’t even exist anymore in that line, and it’s not like I have abnormal feet. So I ended up returning those and trying out a pair from Sketchers.
They look similar to my old shoes, I guess similar enough that it doesn’t bother me. They are pretty comfortable, though not 3000 mile broken-in comfortable. That said, I have a hard time shaking my mental image of Sketchers as they existed in the 90s – a try-hard brand “skater brand” with an annoying plastic strip that would make a “zip/clacking” (sketching) noise as you pulled them through. It was the coolest thing in the world to just pull, un-pull, and pull those again and again. It was never appealing to me, even 90s me. But, like everything else from that period, Sketchers appear to have have gotten older, a bit more mature, more straddled with crushing student debt, and instilled with a growing sense of disillusionment.
Ok so maybe they’re just shoes, but the Sketchers I remember didn’t look like the pair I now own, and I am more than ok with that.
Anyways, I have some school work and job applications to get back to, so I’ll wrap things up here. Based on the amount of work I have in the pipeline, coupled with a trip I have coming up, I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me again for another month. But, in light of those things the next post could be pretty exciting even if it’s slow getting here. 🙂
Until next time,