Friday, May 30, 2008

Honduras keyboarding skills

So this is my first time checking out the ol´ interwebs from our little B&B (charming!) here in San Pedro Sula. We have had a great first day here, and I learned how to lay blocks and bricks and do things with cement and mortar. It feels great, compared to aimless academia.

So here´s a funny thing about the keyboard here. It´s different! Which would be fine -- I mean, I can find most everything if I pause and look down -- but there is a certain social networking site for which my password contains the tilde. And many of you know I also often sign my emails with the tilde before and after my name. My little squiggle. Because it´s a separate key on U.S. keyboards and I think it´s cute. But in Spanish it is part of the letter n-with-tilde so that is one whole key on the keyboard! Which is great if I need to say, like, El NiƱo, but not great if I need to sign into that particular social networking site to update my status!

By the way, the social networking site to which I refer is not Myspace, for which I have a different password and which I enjoyed using in Spanish. Note: they say my-singular profile, and so on, versus my-plural-photos, but then they say ¨mis blog¨as in my-plural-blog. Isn´t that weird?

Yeah ... I´m building and learning. OK, gotta go!

No malaria yet! But I am officially obsessed with it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Honduras Departure Eve

Twenty-four hours from the moment I write this, where will I be? Well, actually not Honduras yet. I'll be in El Salvador, on my several-hour layover. I am trying to figure out how easy (possible?) it will be to leave the airport and check out San Salvador, since I have six+ hours. We'll see. Then, it's Honduras time! And Thursday night (the 29th) I will be in San Pedro Sula meeting my fellow Habitat for Humanity Global Village team members and if I can help it not meeting any dastardly malaria-parasite-carrying critters. Mosquito Coast, here I come!

Actually, I did just watch that movie (from Netflix, natch) to get into the mood. I wonder if I should have picked up the Paul Theroux book to take with me? It is my first foray into Central America! The land of beaches, jungles, Mayan ruins...the land that forever confuses norteamericanos, who can never quite figure out to which continent it belongs...the first land in all my travels to get me taking malaria pills.

Over the last day or so I've been wondering: why do malaria pills have to be so creepy? I mean, I'm thankful that they exist and all that, seeing as I am totally one of those canaries in the bug bite coal mine (to mix a metaphor): if there is a bloodthirsty insect anywhere around, it will find me. First. But, so, malaria pills seem to be both the traveler's salvation and the bane of his/her existence. Everyone complains about them, endlessly discusses them, debates them, hates them. They all come with a bazillion side effects warnings; I'm not usually susceptible to most pills' side effects (and I don't ever vomit, just on principle) but the malaria pill side effects are all like "You might get dizziness and the nausea right on through insomnia, hallucinations, depression, maybe even suicide...." Hello?

Rare side effects aside, I learned that the medication I'm taking was invented at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in the 1970s. Not only is the very thought of taking a pill invented by the military really creepy, accepted worldwide malaria med or no, but as I think about that time I can only think I might actually be morally opposed to this pill as well. What, was it invented to keep the war in the jungle going -- the useless, senseless, tragic, nasty war that never should have been launched? Shudder to think.

Anyhoo, that's the malaria update. I'm still going to wear long sleeves a lot and douse myself in mosquito repellent. Especially when we visit the Mayan ruins. And at dusk. And stuff. Maybe it won't be so bad during the daytime house-building? Maybe I can attack the buggers with hammers? Or power saws?

Once again, I want to offer up my heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to this trip. I am so pleased that so many of you recognize what a good organization Habitat for Humanity is and I can't thank you enough for your donations. But here you go, your name in lights!

*Amy S.*Blaine*Carla*Chet*Crystal*Glory*Heather D.*Heather S.* Jeanette*Jenn*Jill*Joyce*Karen*Kim*Lesley*Lillian*Maeve*
Marcia*Megan*Mike* Melissa*Shelly*Stacey*Steve*Tom*Wendy*

Monday, May 19, 2008

I can see clearly now...

Things That Are Not Finished
my reading of Infinite Jest
the Democratic primaries
the campaigns of the potential Democrat nominees
my (very brief) trip to Phoenix to meet my newest nephew, Kyle

Things That Are Finished
the worst law school semester ever!!!!!!

It sucked - for me and those around me. Well, one "those" in particular. I am not alone in my opinion that there should be a support group for law school significant others. This semester was tedious, yet stressful. Compelling, yet mind-numbing. Awful, and unyielding. These are the semesters that try men's souls. Teardrops. Teardrops. Knowing in the depths of myself I do NOT WANT THIS CLINIC JOB EVER AGAIN. Even the end-of-clinic party caused problems. But now it is DONE. Done, do you hear me?! And the rejuvenation has begun.

I've heard the mantra about law school: first year, they scare you to death; second year, they work you to death; third year, they bore you to death. Well, I wasn't particularly frightened last year (too jaded, I guess) but I am certainly ready for a little boredom. Bring it on. (Because that's easily fixed. I am quite good at entertaining myself. I am as easily amused as they come.)

Oh, also, I like the desert.

But we knew that.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

It is not over until it's over, people

OK, seriously, I was happy to let us all agree to disagree and just keep on keepin' on but one friend too many on the bandwagon has pushed me over the edge. The friend that broke the blogger's silence, if you will.

Let me state this carefully. I'll go real slow-like so you can all understand: Hillary should not drop out.

Now, this has nothing to do with my or anyone's preference for one candidate or the other. This has to do with two simple facts:

1. If you want your candidate selected earlier, have your nominating convention earlier (not in August).

2. HOW in the hell can you punish/attempt to prohibit states having their primaries earlier, and then get mad that the candidate isn't selected earlier? Let me get this straight: you don't want states to vote sooner, but you want the results sooner? Go ahead, tell me one part of that that makes sense. Go on, I'm waiting.


All right then. That's all I've got.

But what I don't got: sympathy for this whole we-need-a-candidate now -so-we-can-unite-against-McCain theory. First of all, who says I'm even going to unite with you? But way to assume there. Secondly, where the bloody wounds were you in 2004, when we (and be "we" I mean "all sane people") really needed to unite against someone(specifically, a demon)? You were off hemming and hawing about John Kerry and still accepting that the war in Iraq was necessary and that Michael Moore was "exaggerating." UGH.

And besides, when you say "unite against McCain sooner" what I hear is "start the endless barrage of attack ads sooner" and quite frankly maybe I'd just as soon wait.

So chill the f out, people. If you're just at a total loss and looking for something to do while you wait to see who the Democratic nominee will be, here are a few suggestions:

  • Plant some flowers
  • Spend time visiting someone at a nursing home
  • Babysit for a couple you know who haven't had a night out
  • Write to your Congressperson about Iraq, McCain, or whatever else is bugging you
  • Make a sandwich with fresh vegetables in it
  • Sing a happy song
  • Walk (instead of driving)
  • Read a novel
  • Volunteer somewhere. Anywhere.
That's just for starters. And all of those things will contribute something positive to the world, unlike all your whining about why a candidate doesn't drop out.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Scrutiny but unequal

I'm studying for my Constitutional Law final. This is my second semester of Con Law, or as I like to call it, Con Law II: The Sequel. I have a professor who is eerily brilliant about all things Constitutional, particularly when they involve ye olde common law jurisprudence rearing its head in the modern world (cf. writ of habeas corpus/Guantanamo).

I have learned a lot about Con Law this year, and I am terribly interested in learning more, but every once in a while I feel frustrated. Not necessarily by the issues, such as religion in schools (Get. It. Out!) or all the hoops one has to jump through to keep abortion safe-legal-rare (although on some level I rather admire the whole trimester theme/scheme as it really fits with my sensibilities about terminating a pregnancy, namely that the blastocyst freshly implanted in the uterine wall is not in any way shape or form -- literally -- the same as the viable fetus at eight months.) (And by the way, it's not a "fetus" in the first few weeks. Why doesn't anyone ever call out the wackjob anti-abortion peoples on their misuse of the term?)

But I digress. This is not about abortion. This is about the fact that Constitutional Law is a bunch of crap when it comes to equality for women. (So then maybe it is about abortion in some weird way?)

Why? I'll tell you why: what's up with intermediate scrutiny? I mean, I appreciate all that Ruth Bader Ginsburg did and that she was in a tough situation when the Court would not apply strict scrutiny to gender-based distinctions. But what a bunch of crap that is. For those who need a primer, basically (REALLY basically) laws violating equal protection get varying degrees of scrutiny. The court had "long" ago decided that a racial distinction must be examined with "strict scrutiny" to see if it should be upheld, which it can only be if it serves a compelling government interest. (Example: the University of Michigan can include race in its admissions decision-making to serve the compelling government interest of diversity in the school.) But if the distinction is based on something less egregious, say, an economic class distinction, then the court employs less scrutiny, subjecting the law only to a "rational basis" test. (Is there some rational basis for the law related to a legitimate - though not compelling - government interest?)

But gender? Try as they might, the ACLU and other rights activists in the 1970s couldn't get the Court to apply strict scrutiny to gender-based discrimination, so in the end they finally got the Court to invent a new tier, intermediate scrutiny, thus compromising. I'll say they compromised. Why should a law/policy discriminating against women be subject to less scrutiny than a law/policy discriminating against [insert race here]?

It's utter crap, and I've been thinking about it a lot today as I review for my exam. I also think it's quite crap that "natural mothers" and married fathers get more assumed rights than "unwed fathers" - and not just in custody battles, but in everything. I have more to say about this, but I need to get back to studying.

No wonder there's a bandwagon of evangelical fervor for Obama and such backlash against Hillary. It's the law of the land.