Friday, September 29, 2006


I am super stressed. The lsat is tomorrow and I have two language placement test today. I hate language placement test. I have taken loads of them I always do terribly, then I get put in the wrong level and then have to be like 'Seriously though I'm not an idiot. No really. Yeah, yeah, I can't spell in English either." It is very humbling. French went like the today. We had an oral too, which I don't mind, except all the person was like "tell me about yourself." I think most people would find that awkward in English as you are like"I'm a person...I have teeth?" The woman didn't ask any questions either, she just stared at me with her clipboard. I think I am hating French again. Basically what I am saying is that I would fail an English placement exam.

THE IMPORTANT THING, as mentioned above I am super stressed about the lsat and I would greatly appreciate any encouraging/discouraging words anyone would like to leave.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I was elected to some sort of leadership/speaking position by a game of rock, paper, scissors today. The position was that coveted. Now I have to figure out what I have to do.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Oh what the hell...

Of course you can raise them together! You just need to start with two puppies so you can say,'No! Bad flesh-eating plant! Never do that again!'


I realized not so long ago that I don't have any non-animated shows. As such, a five year plan was started. Here is a list of some of the shows I am/want to get into:

My name is Earl - I've never seen it. I love Jason Lee though. I even suffered through 'A Guy Thing' just for him.

Entourage - loads of people love this show. I've only seen two episodes (a newer one with a fat guy who stole a shrek doll, not so good, and the pilot, a little patchy), but I have the first season on my shelf so I will be watching it. It seems like a real guy show, maybe the counterweight to sex and the city? I think I will really like it.

Weeds-I loved the pilot and Mary-Louise Parker is great. They dropped two of my favorite characters right after the pilot though, and later episodes seemed to lack a direction. Still, the music is really good so I'll be giving it another go.

Battlestar Gallactica-I like sci-fi. I like battles, it seemed like a good fit. I watched the first season though I am not sold. I'm curious about the bigger plot lines, but the actual episodes I don't enjoy that much. I feel like enjoying watching a show is required to consider it a 'show.'

Lost-Never seen it. Everyone from epileptic cows to librarians seems to love it though, so I figure I ought to try it.

Let me know what you think of any of these shows or if you have recommendations.

Rejects so far:

The Office (both versions) - I can't take it. I know the performers are good I know it's parodying office life, I know it is an acquired taste. Watching it was painful.

The 4400-I like Ira Steven Behr, saw one episode and it was pretty bad. I would excuse on bad story, but all of the performances just seemed weak.

Diplomatic Camp

Over the summer one of my friends took to calling my program here 'diplomatic camp.' I really liked that. I am currently in the middle of my second multi-day orientation and parts of it are pretty campy.

Anyway, according to the student handbook for every piece of work we hand in we'll have to sign the 'Pledge of Honesty' (That just sounds so much more intimidating than 'honor code'). The pledge goes a little something like this:

On my honor as a student of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, I submit this work in good faith and pledge that I have neither given nor received unauthorized assistance

Now I had an honor code in high school, it seemed a little silly, and I took a few classes at Barnard where they make you sign the honor code for every exam, that seemed a little out of place for a college. But an 'honor pledge' for a graduate institution people? Come on. I was debating various reasons not to sign it, including that as a would-be lawyer my honor is pretty shaky to begin with.

I just don't get honors codes. I don't think anyone who was going to cheat was deterred by an honor code. Its just like what there is doing is bad, breaking the honor code isn't really that much worse unless they are a klingon warrior.

I really just want world leaders to work on an honor code, so when you bring in the genocidal president to the Hague they can say, 'well you killed 300,000 people, which would have been okay, but you broke the honor code, tsk tsk, now that makes it serious."

Oh, color my cynical.

Fun with the LSAT!

So as it turns out, blogs can be a pretty fantastic source of guilt. Now I know I have a big Vienna post coming where I have to tell people how I've settled in, post pictures, and go of on some German related tangent. That's not happening...yet. I do feel bad about it which is funny, since I'm pretty sure with Ruth heading back to Columbia my blog lost its only reader.

So yeah, the lsat is Saturday. That's while this won't be the aforementioned post. Ugh. Words do not describe how much I want it to be over and how much I don't want to feel like I mucked it up after I take it. I have been taking an lsat once a week for the last three months in addition to doing three plus hours of work on the other days. I want to be done, but I also want to feel like all of my preparation has been worthwhile. Pity me.

Over the summer I bonded with my Kaplan class, we had fun, teased the teacher, and picked on the lsat. None the less, it wasn't exactly a team exercise. Everybody was talking about the scores you needed, how much money you could make if you went to school X, and how it all came down to numbers. It was a little soul crushing. I really don't like a lot of tomorrow's lawyers. Generally I don't like their reasons for being lawyers (i.e. show me the money!), but I don't know that my reasons are so much better than mine or necessarily what mine are for that matter. For me, I came to the realization a long time ago that I didn't want to do something academic career wise, but that I would like to do something involving different languages and countries interacting with each other. At the end of the day with a law degree (and the proper experience) you can do that while making a bit more than with most things. All of that sounds great, but at the end of the day the money does matter a bit to me too, especially if I wan to try and live in oh-so-expensive New York. Am I already going over to the darkside?

My Dad wants me to go to business school. I think that's pretty much the death star

Yeah so in my pre-lsat haze I have dreams of the whole lsat thing not working out and me becoming a hobo, I'm learning to accept it.

Just in case the whole hobo things doesn't work I encourage you to leave comments telling me what I should do with life.

Also, come Friday I may ask for electronic words of encouragement.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Austria is pretty frigging Beautiful people

Yeah, the palatial museum above is right near where I live, I'm just saying.

So I was oriented hard this week. I hate orienations. It offends my individuality or something. I have been through so many for so many different countries and so many different programs and it just seems like if you have some common sense and cultural knowledge there's nothing covered in an orienation that is going to greatly increase you knowledge, and if you don't its already a little too late.

That being said, the other Fulbright students are a pretty cool bunch (as a rule more the recently undergrads than hardcore PHD candidates). I was really worried conversations would be really dull as everyone tries to be as inoffensive as white bread and pauses would only exist as people come up for air after reciting the title of their overly wordy research projects, but by the end of the first day I had already told one person I would laugh at her death and another accusing another of trying to abduct Austria children and people were still talking to me, so that was cool.

It also has to be said that Austria and Vienna are ridiculously pretty. Yes they stole from the Italians, yes Vienna was completely untouched by the war, but still, pretty. Vienna is also just cool because there is a lot going on, but it is a very compact city and very walkable.

Despite having another orientation coming up and taking the lsat this coming Saturday, I am excited and having a good time.

My First Austrian Friend

So I made my first real Austrian friend today. She was cute, blonde, and full of energy. She was also about six years old. I fear others will not equal her.

I was sitting in the Museumsquartier (a big sort of courtyard with loads of museums and free wireless which is why I am here) where she came up to me and asked me why I had a computer. I told her so I could read things, but by then she'd already moved into indentifying the letters on my keyboard (the computer was definitely way cooler than me). She did pretty well, which is more than I can say for some other people who have sat down to my computer and been bewildered by the doubled up Cyrillic and Latin letters on every key. Also, and I respect this, she had no problem with confidently telling me a 'D' was a 'P' and then defending her claim. I think she could have taken me.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Airport Blues

It's 6:30 am British time and I am sitting in the airport waiting for my connection to Vienna. I just had to go through secuirity AGAIN, being asked if I had any liquids and having to take my shoes off and such. I really don't like taking off my shoes.

There was pretty sad scene at what I am assuming was the second secuirity check, where a Gabonese couple were being told the bottle of champagne they recieved as a 50th wedding anniversary present was going to be confiscated and tossed. They hadn't gotten the liquids memo (and didn't really speak English). It looked like the guy might help them out though.

On the plane to London I sat next to a Polish girl. I recognized the book she was reading was in Polish and a law text book so I started up a conversation (first in Russian, but moving to English after that freaked her out). She was pretty cool she had been working at foxwoods, which she hated. She said it was really kitschy, but she got to travel so all in all it worked out.

Being in London in anoying. I traveled almost eight hours and I still feel like I am in the US (at least compared to the places I usually travel to). Leaving soon though.

Disclaimer: I can't spell and this airport computer won't let me use blogger's spellcheck, overtypes whenever I try to add a word, and won't let me copy or paste. Fun.

Note: You know the notice "bags left unattended will be seized and destroyed," the destroyed bit always seems overly harsh to me, especially as I am sure they just put them in a closet.

Oh, Those Wacky Germans


*The last damned is mine

Vienna Bound

T-minus 0

I am still a gushy about last night, despite missing my train and making it home around 4-ish am. Cooper 35 is a great place, both for ambiance, price, and quality. Also, and this is a big one for me, you can hear people! At heart, I am a conversationalist, but far too often cool places aren't good places to talk to people. Again so happy.

Special awards for the evening go to Mike, who's travel to and from New York added up to more than his time in the city (much appreciated), and Ruth, who despite not being there. I know was only kept from coming by half a continent and medal rods protruding from her leg. She's got moxie kids. A special demerit goes to Edward, for stabbing me in the tongue.

The funny thing is you might think being so amazed by my friends would make me sad as I won't see them for a long time, but it didn't. It was just like: look at all these awesome people! They are funny, slightly off color, and have social skills! Realizing I had somehow managed to get close to such great people, gave me hope for my future Vienna friends.

(Tangential note: In elementary we would sing the song about old and new friends, you know, the one about "one is silver and the other is gold.' I always found that song extremely depressing. Whenever you moved, your friends kept being made of inferior stuff. Sure, first gold and second, but then third you have bronze and a few moves later your looking at tin and mud people).

So because I had such a good time and was so appreciative I was going to write a little blurb for each of the nineteen people who came about how awesome they are. I *was* going to do that till I remembered with stuff like that I usually just jumped to my name, read it, thought it was okay, then read everyone else's, and then tried to determine my relative worth to the person based on comparative entry length, content, and degree of enthusiasm. I couldn't deal with that sort of pressure. Also, knowing I am getting increasingly tired writing this I knew the first few would get big entries along the lines of "X is amazing. I am continually amazed by his energy, wit, creativity, and amazingness. He saved me from drowning. Were I to give up my heart so that I would die and someone else could live,I would do it for him" and towards the end people would get stuff like "Y is great, really good guy." See in comparison that looks bad and everyone would hate me. So instead, here are some pictures of me scaring people:

Me: Look everyone! -cricket- Antonella came to my party!

Antonella: YOUR PARTY! Riiight, of course, I completely didn't forget where it was going to be and was not coming here to have drinks with other people. Umm, is it too late to tell you I can't come because I have cancer of the knees?Ummm...-cough-

Me: Oh Antonella, you and your kidding, from the relaxed look on your face I can tell you really want to be here.

Me: Emily, its so great you came! Now I can finally tell you all about the half-Kazakh half-Volga Germans I met while I was in in a Kazakhstani Soviet era children's' puppet theatre!

Emily: greeeeat....(inches away)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I love my friends

I love my friends. Tonight was great. I was worried at first people wouldn't get along with the people they hadn't met before, but everywhere I was concerned I turned around to find a great conversation in progress and people finding a commonality that hadn't even occurred to me. I love you guys.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Mad Dash

T-minus Three

At Exactly 11:35 I arrived in the city today, at exactly 1:15 Eastern Standard Time I left.

I spent more time time on the train than I did in the city.

Why you ask? Could I not bare the gray apocalyptic weather? Nah. Getting of letters of recommendation stuff in before I left and meeting with someone in the Law School. I don't think I'll get in, but what the hell, we only die once.

So besides feeling old when I wondered why the campus felt dead and then realizing it was Friday around 12:00, I had a cool little interlude on the Subway.

This older woman entered the subway and stayed standing near the door. I asked her if she would like my seat, she declined and then explained (I don't think her sight was to good) that she preferred to stand near the door so she could count the stops. She explained how she only went seven stops so she kept seven fingers up and put one down for each stop she passed and when the seventh one went down she knew to get off.

She had a really lovely accent that I couldn't place, all the more so because I couldn't gleam and clues from her indeterminate ethnicity. So a few moments later I asked her where she was from, complimenting her on her lovely accent. She said she was from Jamaica, but said her accent wasn't pretty, saying that if you heard her next to an English person then you would know what a pretty accent was. I disagreed, as there are some pretty harsh English accents. She went on to say that in Jamaica people and cultures were all mixed together, Indian, African, and White. After that she asked me where I was from, I told her just from Long Island and she told me I was very refined, adding a few moments later 'not that Long Islanders are not.' I told her I knew what she meant and with that we reached the seventh stop, I wished her well, and that was that. I knew she had a great story to her life, and though I only brushed the tip of the iceberg, it was a great moment of just realizing the richness of NewYork and New Yorkers.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


It's rainy and I am pissy so here is a cartoon:


So I really want to be an old school diplomat. My fantasy pretty much looks like this:

Click to enlarge

I don't really care who I am, provided I get to wear a sash. Now maybe you can understand my glee at finding out the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna was previously known as the 'Oriental Academy' and the 'Imperial Consular Academy.' The fact that diplomats don't wear sashes anymore seriously hinders my desire to be one.

Next Time: Why barristers are better than lawyers!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Things I know about Austria

T-minus five till Vienna

So I am leaving soon for Vienna, and as that day approaches I find myself wondering what it will be like. Now, I have never been to Austria, let alone, Vienna, and though I know there are similarities, I know there are differences too. So here is a list of things I know about Austria:

If you call an Austrian a German they usually get mad, goes for Austrian-Americans too.

The German name for Vienna is 'Wien,' hence Wiener Schitzel is Viennese Chicken Cutlet, a Wiener is a Vienna sausage, and the last name Wiener just means someone from Vienna, like New Yorker means someone from New York.

Austrians like to call Austria 'das bessere Deutschland,' or the better Germany, some Germans agree.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has a weirdo accent even in German and even for Austrian German.

The Sound of Music bombed in Austria and most people haven't seen it, ergo don't make jokes about being glad you didn't have to flee over the alps to escape the Nazis to break the ice.

Austrian stereotype says "Beethoven was Austrian and Hitler was German."

Austria and Vienna were split up into weirdo zones after WWII like Germany and Berlin.

If you look in the phone book in Vienna you may very well find more Slavic last names than German ones.

Although Schwartz means black and Negger could mean Nigger, Schwarzenegger's last name probably just means 'black plower,' and not 'black nigger.' -Sigh-

The German word for Austria is Ö–sterreich, which sounds like ostrich, hence the picture above.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Parent Octopus: I am going to let you go now Benjamin. Just remember: there's no way you can break anything.


Things German

T-minus seven days till Vienna

So I got to speak some German today for the first time in weeks, it was bit like 'oh, I can still do that, oh good.' The woman I spoke with had an amazing story and really spoke German very well. She is half-German, half-Hungarian, and was born in Yugoslavia in the thirties. After World War II her family fled to West Germany where they lived in refugee camps for some time and then she was able to get work in England as a servant in a castle, and then eventually come to the US. The fact that there are amazing people like here just hanging around suburbia does give me hope.

We had a lot of fun talking about Austria-Hungary, England, and the US. We both agreed the English were hard to get to know and rather cold. There were a lot of people I liked in the UK but I found it very hard to get to know them or become close and as a result most of my friends were other foreign students. She had found the same thing. So we had some fun making fun of the English together.

All in all it was really interesting and I got a contact in Budapest, so hopefully I'll be Hungary bound at some point in the coming months.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Dreams Do Come True!

So Reuben Williams is one of my favorite improv groups at the Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre. It has some of my favorite people from Dillinger on it and is just generally a very funny and very good group (the crazies make improv fun people). So their Saturday night show is called "As Seen on TV" and in the second half of the show they take a member of the audience, go through his or her wallet, and make tv shows for a network that person would watch. Granted it often makes fun of the person more than making shows he or she would actually be interested it, but its still pretty cool to watch because A. truth is stranger than fiction and B. You and you life get to be the suggestion for over 25 min. of improv.

So for over a year I have been trying to be the person they would pick. I was either not in a good place to be seen by the person picking, directly behind some fat lady so it looked like I was trying to get her picked (besides being obstructed), or just not quick enough. Well finally this past Saturday and on my last trip in to UCB before I leave for Vienna it happened, I was chosen and it was great.

There were some fun scenes with a translator character speaking in "beep bop boops" and helping people order food on the streets of New York and more interestingly speaking with a Jamaican maid, who spoke English, for her employer (also in "beep bop boops") and convincing her to perform oral sex on her employer. Then there was the cola museum, based on the receipt for the Constitutional museum they have in Philly that I went to with my brother, which was just really dull, so a guy pulled a knife and demanded some dirt on the museum. By far the best though were the St. Petersburg Metro scenes. I had had a St. Petersburg metrocard in my wallet so I explained how the doors on the subway cars in Russia don't open once they close, even if there is stuff in them. Sure its dangerous, but it means people don't throw themselves into the subway car's closing doors. So in the show there was a great scene about woman getting stuck between the doors repeatedly but not moving when they arrived at stops (cleverly mad up ones at that) and just having the crap kicked out of her by the doors. Then at the hospital she was also attacked by doors. Oh it was great, and the show was called "Russian Transit Mishaps," which of course made me think of Ruth.

It truly was my own network with mentions of Kazakhstan, cabs in New York that worked like the ones in Russian and Kazakhstan, and plenty of maiming. Yeah maiming.

Haunted House

So on the note from last time, me living in a haunted house, I had an interesting experience the other night. I was up at 4 a.m. like I do, watching a movie and about to go to bed when suddenly lights are being turned on in the other end of the house. Now to recap, my whole family was away at the time and there was nobody else who had any business being in my house a 4 a.m.

So overcoming my initial feeling of fear and helplessness (i.e. remembering I'm not that small or weak) I go over and check it out. Granted the light were on and it was pretty obvious I was there so I didn't think it was a burglar, but you never know.

Anyway, it turned out to be our cleaning lady, who is very nice, she thought we were all away. I'm not sure whether she had decided to start her day super early or had had trouble sleeping and decided to get some work done, but it was random. On the bright side, I actually wasn't asleep when she came this time so my room got cleaned, both because she vacuumed and because I ran up to pick up my things when I realized she wasn't a burglar because I don't like people seeing how messy I am.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Zie Germans

Secuirity Guy: Right, both right.

Suburbia be Damned!

T-minus 10 till Vienna

I really hate Suburbia.

To be completely fair I am not even sure that I can say where I live counts. I mean, where I live there aren't even street lights or sidewalks, but there isn't any farm land anymore either.

Anyway, what I don't like is that is so impersonal, you can easily go days without any human interaction. Sure you might pass people in your car, but you aren't exactly going to make small talk on the road. My biggest problem is that most of America was made for the car. Now cities are tricky because on the one hand at least most of the bigger ones predate the car, but have usually been altered to make wider roads for cars. The emergence of the suburbs was well after the car was the primary mode of transportation. Because of that, there was no reason to make things closer together or promote pedestrian stuff. Suburbs were possible because of the car, but also necessitated it.

Just remember, "The Suburbs are a terrible place to raise a child" - Jean-Claude van Itallie

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Time Keeps on Slipping

T-minus twelve days till I leave for Vienna.

I feel like I am living in a haunted house right now. I'm home, but everyone else is gone (including the dogs) and there are lots of unexplained noises. Basically, my life is like a bad episode of Scooby Doo (granted an improvement). Its sort of fun, and I get to think things like, "hmm If I died doing this it would probably be days before anyone noticed." Its sort of like when I pulled a rib muscle and thought that I was having a heart attack...for a whole month. Still though I don't fear death, because that would mean I wouldn't have to take the lsat.

So this is a fun entry. Upbeat, full of death, something for everybody. Fortunately, nobody reads these. Yeah so death, lets run with that theme. I don't really mind it in my case. If I were dead I certainly wouldn't have to do anything about it, I mean decay sure, but that's pretty easy. Mike might end up dissecting me for his anatomy class and my fat might leak out, which would be awkward.

I still fondly recall (read: am haunted by) a dinner conversation I was a passively party to when I was ten. It was at a restaurant with my grandparents and some friends of theirs and they were all talking about friends of theirs who died well, this must have gone on for at least half an hour. That was awkward, but it gets creepier each year as only three of those people are still alive. And on that note, good night.

Monday, September 04, 2006


So I had a very nice weekend. On Friday I got to see my friend Lindsay who I hadn't seen in ages (literally years upon years), it was great to catch up and see that she still had all of her uniqueness and also to hear where she was directing her energy these days. Then I went to Villanova and see my brother, and that was great because he is really well set up and doing well so I was happy to see that. Then on Saturday night I got to see a whole bunch of philos from school, and the amount of joy seeing those people together again just made me so happy. We went and saw Everett at his new cafe, which was perfect fit, and the evening ended at the Abbey which couldn't have made me happier. On Sunday Edward and I got to catch up, seeing New York's newest Klimt at Die Neue Galerie and then explored the park. I don't do justice too all of the nice moments or how happy I was to see all the people, but it was wonderful and I am just to see that so many of the people I care about are in a good place right now.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Freshmen in Bloom

So I am at Villanova visiting my brother. It is rainy and my feet are wet. None the less the freshmen are out and puking drunkinly about. It reminds me of my college days...when puking freshmen also made me feel old and unable to relate. Amsuingly, my brother lives in an all guy dorm and they have separate stalls for #1 and #2, one with a picture or a baby peeing on Bush and another with a soft serve-esque load of poo. What will students do in Vienna? How will I be able to feel old and out of place there? Are the best of binge drinking days still to come? Stay tuned to find out.