Since returning from my three week placement in New Mexico I’ve been re-acclimating to normal life back here in the Boston area. While I enjoyed my time with the New Mexico AG, I wasn’t really pleased about having 1 day between getting back from there and the next semester starting. When coupled with the lack of time between the holidays and leaving for New Mexico, I kind of feel a little slighted on the holiday break front. Of course, to be fair I had 2 days between my final day at the AG’s office and the start of classes, but my crazy trip home ate into that time quite a bit.
Speaking of that craziness, my suitcase is now off in unknown lands being repaired or replaced, I have no idea.
[Edit: They couldn’t fix it, so they are sending a replacement]
It doesn’t look so terrible in that photo, but that’s after I bent the back back up. It took two hours of my day to get to the airport, drop it off, and then get back to the law school but I supposed that spending the money on public transit is far less expensive than buying a new suitcase. MIL and FIL originally bought us this one, so we’ll just have to wait and see if we actually get it back, or if they just replace it.
I also retired my trusty New Mexico water bottle.
That water bottle saved me a lot of money. I bought it at Logan Airport on January 4th and used it until I returned here on January 23rd. Yes, I washed it. I also used two other water bottles, but this was my main one. If you’re wondering why the cap doesn’t match it’s because one day the bottle fell out of my backpack and shattered the plastic lid, so I acquired another lid to replace it. All in all a solid purchase in my book.
Getting back in the swing of things also meant taking stock of my most recent round of bottle caps (beer caps). After dumping in my beer caps from New Mexico it was time to refresh the mason jar once more.
And here are all the unique breweries (or brewery cap variants) I’ve acquired thus far. Keeping in mind (as linked above) that these are only those breweries I’ve encountered since March 22nd, 2015.
I’m pretty proud of our collection. I wish there was a way of incorporating can-tabs into the collection, but those are fairly boring. All the extras have either been recycled or given to people for crafts. Have no fear though, the mason jar is already getting filled up again, especially because Harpoon came out with an amazing new sampler.
Part of the reason it’s so amazing is of course the beers offered, but SB and I have a more personal connection to this sampler because we probably saw it being made back when we visited Harpoon in December. While we were there they were working on packaging these “IPA Adventure” boxes – though I hadn’t seen them anywhere in stores yet. Lo’ and behold, I return from New Mexico and they are on the shelves. Way cool. We went to Broadway with the specific intention of getting one of these packs after SB had noticed it the weekend prior.
The classic, one of my favorite IPAs. Despite them redesigning the bottle, the recipe is just the same as always. This is a good entry English-style IPA and I never hesitate to recommended it, which should be obvious considering how many times I’ve mentioned it on this blog.
Another frequently mentioned beer: this time it’s Harpoon’s Take 5 Session IPA. Believe it or not “session” and “ipa” can go well in the same sentence together, this is a shining example. I’m still not a huge session person when it comes time to drinking beer independently of food, but I still like to mix things up with a good session beer from time to time. [I’m drinking one of these as I type actually!]
It’s been awhile since I’d had the Long Thaw, but it’s as good as ever. As one of my earlier entries into “colored” IPAs it will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s a nice blend of the traditional IPA bitterness, coupled with orange and coriander which makes for a refreshing beer that honestly could do well year round rather than just seasonally. [Drank one of these too.]
As their Imperial IPA offering, Leviathan is poised to become the “120 Minute” IPA for Harpoon. While still not to the alcohol levels of that mythic Dogfish Head beer, Leviathan clocks in at 10% ABV, a slugger by Harpoon standards. SB and I first sampled this in the Harpoon tap room, so this was only my second time ever having it, and the first time having it in a bottle. I remain impressed. It has a strong aroma, with lots of touches of fruit. While it definitely has that IPA bitterness, it hits you alongside the sweet malt body. From what I’ve been able to tell, Harpoon builds their IPAs off the same “base” yeast, so the extra fermentation here, coupled with a load of dry hopping, make for a potent yet drinkable beer. Unfortunately it’s given me raging heartburn each time I’ve had it, but that hasn’t stopped me from drinking it. 🙂
And, I must also give a shout out to SB for supplying me with some beer for when I got home late on the 23rd (or rather early on the 24th) – which is only right considering she drank all the beer and pop I had.
Samuel Adams is of course our other “hometown” brewery (of course there are many more, but Samuel Adams and Harpoon are kind of the “big” ones – and ole’ Sam is the bigger of the two), so it’s only fair that I toss in one of their beers for good measure. While Cold Snap isn’t new to us, its one of those beers where its seasonal restrictions make us really crave it (effective marketing) since we can’t have it often. This is a good all around witbier, kind of right down the middle – in typical Samuel Adams style – so it’s always one I seek out when it’s available. Its a good balance between the spices of a winter warmer and the citrus flavors of a spring beer. Good stuff.
Another beer-related thing that SB was kind enough to bring home was beer flavored ice cream. Yes, beer flavored ice cream.
Now, if your initial reaction was anything other than positive then you need to reevaluate your life. I kid. But really beer ice cream is good. I’ve been mixing beer and ice cream for at least 8 years or so, and I have to say that if the mixture is done properly, then it’s really good. So, when I heard that a mass-market brand such as Ben & Jerry’s was attempting beer ice cream, I was pretty excited. My excitement was only bolstered when I found out that it was New Belgium’s brown ale (and since I was still bummed that I was in Ft. Collins and didn’t get to visit New Belgium, I was happy to revisit my Colorado days), so that was just an added plus. Now, was it good? Of course it was. It was both good ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s) and good beer (New Belgium) – so it was a good concoction that I’d recommend to both beer lovers and ice cream lovers.
We also had some weird “ice wine” that we’d found in our basement around the holidays. Yes, you read that correctly, we found it in our basement.
Now, we don’t have any cool Cask of Amontillado type story, there is a “common” table in the recycling room downstairs where people put things they don’t want. These items range between absolutely, undeniably, trash and genuinely interesting/useful. Someone had left this still sealed bottle of wine (we’d already opened it in the photo above) and an opened bottle of Kahlua. The Kahlua obviously fell into that “trash” category, but this wine was interesting enough that I took it – especially once I saw the price tag.
If you can’t see the numbers, that is $27.99 for that little bottle, which makes it probably the most expensive wine per ounce that anyone in this house has ever had (and may ever have). I did a little digging and it turns out that North Branch Vineyards is a small winery in Montpelier, Vermont. Interestingly, the bottle isn’t supposed to be sold outside of VT, but VT is close enough that this bottle could have easily been purchased there and transported here. So, a small New England winery, coupled with the fact that ice wine is apparently an expensive wine to start with, made for a 28$ itty-bitty bottle of wine.
So how did it taste? Well, from what I’ve gathered ice wines are a dessert wine and are especially sweet and they are also fairly high in alcohol content for a wine. That said, I’m not the best person to ask when it comes to describing wine, to me it tasted like a rich family’s cough syrup, which I suppose might be accurate. We only drank about 1/5th the bottle, then used the rest in a blueberry banana bread as a reduction for the fruits, that was yummy. It was also much better than throwing out the majority of a 28$ bottle of wine (which isn’t something I’d do anyways, but still).
Of course it wasn’t all alcohol here, I also started working on some tea that stepmom got us for Christmas since I’ve been trying to drink tea more often ever since I started back up again in Santa Fe.
This “blooming” tea does exactly that, bloom. When you add the hot water the tea ball blooms into a flower.
Ok so you’ll just have to trust me, there is a flower in there – the hot tea kept fogging up my phone camera.
Ok you can see it a little better there, but for the sake of simplicity here is the flower outside of the tea.
You can just leave the flower in the tea and drink the tea with the flower in it, it was quite tasty. You can actually steep each bud twice, so I let it dry then used it again. While the tea was good, the best part was watching it bloom and not knowing what to expect.
And in case I appear too healthy with my tea, here is Valentino with a Diet Coke.
While I’ve greatly limited how much pop I’ve been drinking since the New Year, it’s hard not to share a Diet Coke with a Polar Bear, when, you know, have a Polar Bear.
Aside from all these adventures out and about and at home, I’ve also been in the process of settling back into my school routine. And while getting started again is never easy, I did make better grades last semester than I have in all of law school so far, so that was a plus.
Now that I’m officially a 2.5L I’m even more busy than I was last semester, and while I’m not thrilled about that, it has been nice to be back on campus. Hopefully this year I’ll actually get a chance to ice-skate and chill by the fire pits in the Plaza.
Of course even if I don’t manage to find time to go fall down in the skating rink I can always hang with one of the myriad of snow-bros that pop up around campus (sadly no giant snow squirrels as of yet).
And Thomas II’s door guard is still standing diligent, despite his stalk being broken in the line of duty.
It’s also been nice to see the millions of squirrels around the law school area again.
I like following them and talking to them, not sure how they feel about it – or the people who stare at me.
They tend to be everywhere here and I totally love it.
Another thing that I love is that in one of my HUGE classes (largest this year) I lucked out and scored my own little desk way at the back of the room.
And while I have to share it with Tristen, it’s far better than being stuck in the middle of one of the huge rows and being pretty much incapable of getting out and only having like 2″ on each side of you to move around in. The newer classrooms/buildings don’t have this problem as bad, but considering that the building where this classroom is – Austin Hall – was built in 1882, I don’t think they cared as much about these personal bubble things.
Another cool thing was that I got to go to a talk with Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, who, like many other powerful people (such as Jim Koch and someone named Obama) is a Harvard Law graduate.
While I can’t claim to be a MLB fan – having not really watched anything since the Atlanta Braves at my Meem’s house when I was younger, and not actually seeing a MLB game until I went to Denver – it was cool to listen to him talk about the state of the game and how his career path led him to MLB Commissioner status. Also lots of inside dirt, always inside dirt.
But anyways, I’m definitely going to be busy this semester. I’ve resumed my clinic and this time it looks to be even more busy than before. I have a forthcoming brief in the D.C. Circuit (which involves working with a partner) and then beyond that I have to craft an entire regulation for the City of Boston. It might not sound like much when condensed to one sentence, but the amount of work involved is kind of extraordinary. While I do like the people in the clinic and I generally like the work, I cannot lie, I’m glad that I’ll be taking a “clinic break” next semester, if not for the rest of law school. You of course only have to do clinics a semester at a time, but I gave my word that I’d do the clinic for a year, so I am. Coupled with my AG clinic, I’ll have devoted 10 months of my life to clinical work, which is a lot more than most students do.
[Edit: As an update to this, I may have potentially lost my brief with the clinic (client might be pulling out of the litigation) and had my regulation project “stolen” from me and given to someone else, meaning that for the second semester in a row I’ll have been promised one thing and then forced to do something entirely unrelated – I am not happy about this. I will update as I know more]
On the flip side, I’ll be doing less work with ELR this semester. If you remember from my previous posts I wasn’t really in a good place with the journal. It wasn’t that I disliked the people, by and large I like the people, it was that it was a ludicrous amount of work for seemingly no payoff. So, I went into this semester wanting to be a submissions board member, however, it turns out that those positions – independent of any other duties – have been phased out. Now you are are submissions board member in addition to another position, I guess that they found that people solely being submissions board members weren’t “connected” enough to the culture and ideologies of the journal. This, unfortunately (for me) makes a lot of sense. So I was left with the option of either dropping down to a Line Editor again, or quitting (because staying on as a Technical Editor was not happening with my D.C. Brief in the clinic). After some consideration I decided to drop down one slot to a Line Editor again. I was asked to be more, but unlike last year I held firm and called the bluff and yeah, I’m a Line Editor. However, the new Editor in Chiefs for next year have already reached out to me wanting me to do more next year because they need more qualified people to save them. I’ve already sent them an email saying “no.”
Speaking of the Editor in Chiefs (yes, plural this time), the new ones I not who I voted for. First, if you are wondering if its odd to have two EICs, no, not really. I’d say about 50-60% of the time there are actually two EICs for a given journal. In ELR’s case it tends to flip flop around, but I think that by and large people like having a co-EIC because then you can secretly blame them for all your failings while they do the same. Anyways, after making it very clear that there wasn’t a chance in hell I’d be running for EIC, I decided which people had the Taco seal of approval, and which most decidedly did not. The bad news: My choice lost. The good news: The person I hate didn’t win either. Instead I got some largely neutral people in there that I don’t really know. Could be worse, of course since I’ve sort of colloquially told them to eat shit via email, we’ll see how this relationship pans out (If you are wondering, I say that I said “eat shit” because in this high-brow world of micropenises, penis-envy, narcissism, and extreme inferiority complexes, merely standing up for yourself [telling them no] is equated with killing someone’s family). Regardless, I’m really going to miss the current EIC, he is my broseph and was one of my 1L mentors. Sadly he will be gone soon, and while he has generally been willing to accept my “black sheep” status in the ELR family, I have no idea how the newest board members will react to someone who is qualified to fulfill high need positions, but turns down nearly every single one of them (including being the Online Editor, who rests right below the EIC(s) in the hierarchy).
In non-clinic, non-journal news, my classes run a bit of a gamut.
My “Role of the State Attorney General” class is turning out to be pretty awesome and has a low workload. Getting a former State AG and State SG to teach a class just results in all sorts of fun. It’s probably the most “real” law school class I’ve had thus far and it also provides a lot of incite into the political side of law.
“Animal Law” is also looking to be interesting, which didn’t surprise me since I have an interest in the subject matter. I wasn’t so sure about how work-heavy it would be, but as of right now it seems to be manageable, which is nice considering that it is a night class.
From there it’s downhill.
While I was super excited about my “Administrative Law” class, its turned out to be excruciatingly boring so far, I mean, yeah, it’s giving 1L’s “Legislation and Regulation” a strong run for its money as the official “Most Boring Class of Law School” so far. At the very least, Admin will certainly rank as the most boring 2L class. I’m actually a bit baffled by this, because I like admin law, and the professor I have is super high ranked and hard to get into, but holy hell, the format of the class is boooooring. In fact I realistically see this class as the class where I work on other classes, while in class.
Finally, “Legal Profession,” which is my required ethical/professionalism course is turning out to be even worse than I had expected. While I’d heard the class was boring, its not only boring (but not to the extent of Admin law), but it’s also stupidly time-consuming and has team projects, yes the utter bane of my existence. In fact, you have to “teach” two classes in the semester with your team. I am, oh so thrilled. But, this class is required to graduate, so at least I’ll have it done during 2L.
Speaking of being done with 2L, the whole idea behind this “crazy” year (and the even more crazy second semester) is that it will buy me some chill time during 3L. See, all this focusing on practical stuff like clinics, SPOs, and internships has left me a bit behind in the more doctrinal/black-letter areas of law. So, for 3L, or a the very least 3L Fall, I need to buckle down and start taking some more black-letters classes in order to fill in some gaps (Constitutional Law, Tax Law, Corporations, Federal Courts, etc.). While this will make for a thoroughly non-engaging semester, it will also have the benefit of giving me more free time because all I’ll have (if I do it right) are exams at the end of the semester. While I might end up throwing in a seminar or reading group if I see one I like, the plan for now is to be very doctrinal for at least half of next year.
But before I get to that point I have to finish 2L and then my 2L summer. As an update on my 2L Summer Job in Montana, I will say that Bozeman is f*cking expensive. I mean, HOLY GOD. Want to stay within walking distance of downtown Bozeman and not have 30 roomates? Expect to pay 2500$+ a month. Want to have no roommates? 3000$+ Yes, for Montana. I about shit myself. I’ve done a lot of digging since realizing how expensive Bozeman is and I’ve found out a few things. First, Bozeman, or the “BoZone” is like a little colony within the state of Montana. Similar comparisons might be Austin, TX and Bloomington, IN. Bozeman is also home to Montana State University. It’s also apparently gorgeous and close to all sorts of outdoor stuff and is decently close to Yellowstone. As such, it gets flooded by rich people from California (who everyone hates, mind you). This creates an atmosphere of rich liberal yuppies who have no problem paying 3000$ to stay in an apartment in downtown Bozeman. While I am liberal, I am neither rich nor a yuppie, so I can’t afford 3000$ on my scrawny public interest lawyer income (which will be about 16.25$ an hour next summer). So I have to look outside of Bozeman. Which is what I did and I actually found a place about 10-15 minutes north of Bozeman that is really nice and costs less than my condo in Denver did last summer.
The problem with that is that there is essentially no real public transportation in Bozeman other than a few bus loops that are built around getting people to from MSU and downtown. While these buses are totally free, which is awesome, they don’t service an “affordable” area for me. So I either need a bike, or a car. The problem is a bike is that even the “bike-commute” zone (for us non-steroid users) still lies in “expensive land,” so car it is. Problem with the car? Have you ever looked up how much it costs to insure a rental car for over 10 weeks when you have no car insurance? Yeah. Don’t. This situation is developing though, so I’ll update as I know more.
So, with all the interconnected pieces of school, clinic, journal, summer housing, summer transport, summer car, etc., I’ve been pretty chaotic these first two weeks of the semester. This has been compounded by the fact that they’ve been doing invasive work on our apartment building.
By invasive I mean that they’ve actually been coming into
my Tristen’s domain. It’s all part of some “Window Renovation” project. Truth be told, I don’t know exactly what they are doing. They came into the apartment at 8:30am, and where here for 1.5 hours making a lot of noise and dust. When they left we still had the same windows, however, they open and close much easier now, and they actually lock! Yes, for the first 1.5 years we lived here we couldn’t actually lock any of our windows. Not that I care, living up this high, but we having working locks now. Though in fairness only one out of the four apartments SB and I have lived in actually had windows that locked, I think some landlords just invest in shit windows. But ours work now, yay! Let’s hope they stay out of our apartment for awhile though, I had to move so much, and then they left a bunch of dust and screws behind. But I suppose it’s a fair price to pay for easier to use windows and a bathroom window that no longer has mildew inside the panes.
Speaking of being dirty, it was recently bath time for the boys, which is always a crazy day. However, before the path Tristen had to have one of his “war wounds” patched up.
After his operation (he came through just fine), it was time to prepare the bath.
Once the water was ready and the suds had been dissolved into the water (otherwise the boys get “starchy”) it was go time.
Pig jumped right in. This was actually his first bath, as the boys were long overdue for a cleaning. Generally we clean them twice a year, but it had been nearly a year this time. Needless to say they had a lot of dirt to get rid of. Valentino, always one to enjoy this baths, was also no issue.
After some convincing Tristen also got in, he is never too thrilled about losing his “manries” filth. After a nice long bath and cleaning session it was time for the boys to dry.
The drying process involves towels, dish drainers, and a box fan. It can also take upwards of 10 hours. This time we actually didn’t try Tristen out enough (he resists the process) and so when we woke up in the morning there was a damp spot in the bed, so they spent some of the next day in front of the box fan again and this time everyone finished drying.
While bath time can generate some stress between the bath itself (Tristen) and the lengthy drying process (everyone), there was something excited that happened recently. Namely we sent our form in for our adopted Puffin.
Over the past several months I’ve been on a huge Barbara’s Puffins kick.
Seen here: Pumpkin Puffins, first discovered in New Mexico.
This yummy cereal comes in a variety of flavors and so far I’ve liked all of them. What I like even more is that Barbara’s has a program in which you can send in twenty UPCs from Puffins, yes – just a child – but there is no age limit, and an adoption form and then you adopt a Puffin from the Gulf of Maine. Aw Yiss. As you can see from the envelope above, we collected 20 UPCs for our Puffin Fund and have since sent the form on its way. In fact, we are now working on Puffin Fund 2.0. As for the Puffin’s name and all that, well I’m going to save that as a surprise for once we get our adoption form. If you don’t think I can make an entire post about my cereal-box Puffin adoption then you don’t know me well enough.
But, that pretty much wraps this post up. For the first time this year I’m “up to the present” on my blog (at least as of writing, if not posting), which is nice. From here on out I should probably resume my semi-normal semester posting schedule.
Until next time,