ilona the pest

insecurity + narcissism = awesome!

Monday, July 24, 2006

flying to NY this morning

oh god.

Friday, July 21, 2006

google searches

i was just looking at my site stats ('cause i'm narcissistic like that) - it's really fun looking at the google searches that got people here. the funniest one from today was "Freaking OUt About Bar Exam NY July 2006". :)

to whoever you are: don't worry, it will be okay. we will get through this.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

punk vs. not punk

some of you (okay, just jk) have been giving me a hard time about my now-prior appellation as "punk rock lawyer", suggesting that i am not fit to claim that label. there's some merit to that. i definitely used to be a lot more punk rock than i am now. but to me that term doesn't just include the 15-year-old with a mohawk, living on the streets of berkeley and listening to the sex pistols. i think it can encompass a lot of different possible traits and interests and styles, with the central theme of an attitude of defying conventions and supporting others who do the same. (here's what wikipedia thinks it means.)

what is left of my youthful rebellion?

(1) i cling to a few external signals of outsider status, like weirdly-cut and -colored hair and a lip piercing.
(2) a lot of the music i listen to is, if not "punk" per se, than at least loosely-defined "post-punk" or "indie".
(3) i am a big admirer of any art or music or culture that represents the DIY (do-it-yourself) ethos, and i try to contribute, too, a little (playing music, writing, etc.).
(4) i'm an (armchair) activist with a lot of pretty-far-out-of-the-mainstream political views. even though i don't do a lot of political stuff out in the real world, i try to be aware of and analyze and fix or avoid fucked-up dynamics with political implications in my personal life.
(5) i'm a sex radical! :) okay, TMI. but i try not to let mainstream puritanical ideas of what's normal or PC restrict my quest for an always-interesting, fun, satisfying sex life. and i think everyone deserves that.
(6) i try to be proud of the things that make me quirky and weird compared to other people (e.g., being a nerd, having weird aspirations like competitive scrabble playing, being gay-or-formerly-gay-or-bisexual-or-whatever-it-is-i-am) and i like pushing past my embarassment and talking about things that other people are embarassed to talk about (e.g. being obsessed with silly things, having no friends, being insecure).
(6) &c.

so, whatever. i guess i'm punk rock the way that my parents are hippies. i.e., not so much, currently - but, sort of, in spirit.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

new phone + new hair color

this past weekend i got a new phone, 'cause i had dropped my old phone about a hundred times and it was super-way-past dead - i had to squeeze it in a death-grip just to make the microphone work. so i needed a new phone, and i figured it probably was a good idea to take this opportunity to upgrade to one of those fancy little "pocket PCs" that lets you check email and surf the web too (since i'm going to be re-entering the work force, and traveling a lot, and reading & writing lots of important emails). i got a verizon xv6700, which is basically like a treo but, um, has a bigger screen and a slide-out keyboard instead of the keyboard just hanging out on the front. (thanks to evhead for tipping me off to this phone.)

it's been really fun playing with all the features, including the camera phone! i've never had a camera phone before. actually i've never had any kind of digital camera before, so it's that much more novel and exciting to me.

to inaugurate the camera phone, i thought i'd post some pictures that i took today. background: i've been taking lots of ridiculous/vanity/indulgence study breaks lately to soothe my fevered brain: haircut last week, phone shopping, other shopping, and then - here's the relevant part - i got my hair professionally colored today. i love it! i basically gave the colorist lady free rein - i just said i wanted it to look interesting, and hip, and fun, as kind of a last hurrah before i get sucked into the working world for good. my haircut before last week was super-asymmetrical, but now it's more evened out. i guess that in the hair world asymmetrical==fun, so she made a valiant effort to restore the asymmetricality by putting a bunch of blond highlights on the right side of my head and black highlights (ok, "lowlights") on the left side of my head. and she made it a little darker all over.

so i took these pictures to illustrate the dichotomy. first is the blonde-highlighted side - see, it's all sweetness and light:

and then the dark side - gloomy and goth-o-riffic:

i am endlessly creative when it comes to avoiding studying.

Monday, July 17, 2006

orange sorbet

turns out you can make orange sorbet just by pouring straight orange juice into the ice-cream maker. (no sugar needed.) but, it doesn't taste as good as the grapefruit sorbet - especially this time of year. you can only find really bland-tasting oranges in the summer. i bet tangerines would taste better.

but, the texture still gives the illusion that it's delicious. it reminds me of a slurpee.

plus it's healthy.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

updates: sorbet, fashion validation

(1) i hit the jackpot on the second batch of sorbet. it was AMAZING. totally gourmet. my absolute favorite dessert, when i go to a fancy restaurant, is a yummy citrus sorbet, perfectly fruity and tangy and with an interesting, crumbly, soft texture. batch #2 was exactly my dream sorbet. i made it with 2 cups of juice, consisting of 2 grapefruits + 1 orange, and about 2/3 cup of "simple syrup" (made of equal parts water & sugar). amazing. i loved it because it was so delicious, and also 'cause it was such an amazing deal - i gladly shell out $6 or $8 at a fancy restaurant for a tiny scoop of this stuff, but i can make a giant tub of it at home for the price of two grapefruits. i really love a good deal.

(2) yesterday i got my hair cut at the ultra-hipster, expensive salon that i go to. well, the patrons aren't all hipsters, but the ladies who work there are intimidatingly fashionable. i wore my new dark blue "habitual" jeans, which are my new favorite jeans. (they are in danger of becoming my new every-single-day jeans. but i love them so much, i can't help it. hm, that's sort of a pun on the name of the brand. oh well.) and not one, but TWO of the uber-hip employees complimented me on them. needless to say, that put me in an excellent mood for the rest of the day. vanity is a powerful intoxicant.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

grapefruit sorbet

i recently got myself an ice-cream maker for free, from, with points i've racked up over the past three years using lexis-nexis for research during law school. yes, i sided with them in their never-ending blood feud with westlaw, and this is my reward. i think it's a pretty good deal.

the ice-cream maker is really cute, and seems to work great. the first thing i tried to make was grapefruit sorbet, because i love grapefruit juice (and we have an awesome juicer), and because the recipe was really simple - sugar, water, zest, and juice. but the first batch that i made came out pretty inedible. it's way, way too sugary - like eating spoonfuls of straight sugar. ick. perhaps i should have found a recipe other than the one that came in the cuisinart instruction manual/recipe booklet?

anyway i'm starting over today, cutting the amount of sugar in half. i'm a little nervous - like, does the sugar serve some essential purpose in creating the proper consistency, other than just sweetening? - but it's kind of fun to experiment. it's an excellent procrastination device: i'm doing something important! i'm contributing to science! er...yeah.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

update on the continuous pill

hmph. well. maybe it's not the dream solution i thought it would be. after almost two straight months of taking the hormone-laden birth-control pills continuously (i.e. without the typical monthly week off), i confess that i've been experiencing a tiny bit of "spotting" recently. maybe my body likes bleeding more than i thought. (lord only knows why.) this could also explain why i was so freaking weirdly emotional over the weekend - i cried at therapy, i totally sobbed through a preview for this new movie about 9/11, and i got in a terrible mood and picked a fight with my boyfriend. so maybe i'm having a bit of pseudo-PMS. i'll wait a while to see if this stuff clears up on its own. if it gets too annoying, i guess i could go back to having a period every two or three months - if i must.

no more class!

yesterday was the last day of bar review classes! what a relief to have those over with. this morning i slept until 9:30 - so decadent. ah, freedom! glorious freedom!

oh, no, wait. now's the time when i start studying 12 hours a day to make up for all the studying i haven't been doing. and the bar exam is less than two weeks away. CRAP.

Monday, July 10, 2006

seattle update

someone just posted a comment asking for a seattle update, so here you go. the whole weekend was super fun and relaxing. hanging out with the ex was really fun and not awkward at all. we wandered around the city, visited the pike place market and watched fishmongers toss real dead fish back and forth to each other, ending up by hitting a woman in the audience in the head with a (stuffed) fish. hilarity. then we had dinner in the rotating restaurant on top of the space needle, which was lovely. the ex even declared my boyfriend to be her long-lost twin brother - so i guess they had plenty in common after all.

the most fun thing was wandering around the rock n roll museum/sci fi museum/experience music project (where we jammed on keyboard and guitar). the classic moment was when we got in a little fight, and i disappeared when his back was turned to go off and pout and teach him a lesson (i know, so mature). then when i finally started looking for him, i found him in a little drumming studio soloing like a total rock star, with a big crowd of people gathering around the door and taking pictures because he's basically the best drummer you've ever heard. jerk. :)

sweet pickles

does anyone remember the "sweet pickles" series of children's books? that just popped into my head today for some reason. there were all these different animals who lived in this town, each with an annoying personality trait that matched the first letter of their species. like, yakety yak talked too much. and worried walrus, um, worried too much. it looks like there's a wikipedia entry about the series, if you're curious.

what an obnoxiously preachy premise! i guess it's kind of similar to those mr. and miss whoever books, conveying important life lessons like "don't be bossy," "don't be whiny," "don't be vain."

...okay, fine, on second thought, i probably could benefit from a refresher course on some of those.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

subterranean homesick blues

yesterday my therapy appointment was at a different day & time than usual, and i vastly underestimated the rush hour traffic, and i ended up getting to therapy about 25 minutes late (for a 50-minute session). i called my therapist about 10 minutes before the appointment time, to let her know i’d be pretty late. but i still felt terrible. i felt guilty, like i’m a bad patient, and i felt stupid for wasting half of the time that i’d have to pay the full price for anyway. i almost wanted to skip altogether, but i made myself suck it up and go.

when i walked in, i immediately started crying. and crying. and crying. why? i have no idea. it was really surreal. usually i have a pretty reasonable connection between my brain and my emotions, but at this moment that was completely severed. my brain was just like, “wtf?” while my heart was apparently completely miserable and determined to show it. i’m not usually a big crier, although i cry occasionally at therapy, so i think my therapist was a little thrown, too.

the only explanation that i could come up with was that i’m subconsciously really sad about leaving my therapist when i move in a couple of months. i say that it’s subconscious ‘cause the rest of me really doesn’t feel all that sad about it at all. i mean, i think of her as more of a friendly acquaintance who’s a very pleasant and kind person. kind of like a really nice co-worker or something. but not the kind of person that i’ll pine for when i don’t get to see her every week. i think she must be in some way (subconsciously) sort of a mother-substitute for me – relationships with those figures in my life tend to tap into the deepest feelings in me, and i tend to take those separations the hardest, ‘cause that’s such a primal, important relationship, and my relationship with my actual mom has not been all that great for most of my life.

so when i showed up late i think it made me feel very aware of how little time we have left together, and it made me uncomfortably aware that this is a professional, doctor/patient relationship, not a mutual friendship, as i usually like to pretend. (of course she loves to listen to me talk for an hour straight each week about every silly thought that goes through my head. who wouldn’t do that for free??)

i felt a little weird and bummed out for the rest of the day. i had the rare chance to hang out with my friends in berkeley in the evening, but i was too tired and depressed to move off the couch, so i watched two episodes of law & order, part of the movie “monster in law” (until my boyfriend made me turn it off because it is so ridiculous and awful) and then the movie “the producers.”

then i had stayed up so late doing those nothing things that this morning i was too tired to get up to go to the all-day bar review class to go over the simulated multi-state exam. oh well! screw it. i need to focus on the NY part of the exam anyway. (oops, i wrote about bar studying. sorry.)

oh yeah: i have a new email address. it’s so, feel free to write me if you have any questions or thoughts about this blog, or anything else.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

buckling down

okay, for real, i'm starting to buckle down. i literally did NO studying over the long weekend, other than scoring my practice test on friday evening. it was awesome.

but now i'm realizing that the test is less than three weeks away, so it's time to get serious. i think it'll be okay - i've always been a crammer, rather than one for long, drawn-out studying. and it usually works out for me.

i just started taking some practice NY multiple choice questions, which are absolute murder. i hear they're pretty hard for everyone, but it's quite a sobering reality check. on the upside, though, getting scores of 40% is definitely motivating me to get to work learning those "NY distinctions"! so fun.

my goodness this is boring. i promise that from now on, i'm really going to try to post about subjects other than studying for the bar. really. it's just that most of the time lately my brain is focused on either studying or something entirely mindless, like watching reality shows on MTV or VH1. (have you seen that new show "cheyenne"? it's mostly annoying, but a little bit endearing. i like how in the show she's less beautiful than she looks in her video - she has some zits, kind of a funny shaped nose, and she's a little dorky. that makes me like her more.)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

generation (non-)gap

on the plane from SF to seattle last night i had planned on reading or napping the whole time, as usual. then i ended up in a row with two fascinating seat-mates, and we ended up talking for almost the whole two hours. they were two teenage boys from washington, ages 14 and 15. these days, i hardly ever have the chance to interact with anyone younger than, oh, 22, so it was a really novel experience.

the most interesting thing was realizing how smart they were. i tend to think of 14-year-olds as closer to children than grown-ups, but i was pleasantly surprised to realize that these were basically fully-formed adult human beings - they're just lacking a lot of the information and experience that i've picked up over the past 10 or 12 years. (don't i sound like a zoologist or something?) it made me feel a little closer to, and more forgiving of, my own 14-year-old self. i bet a lot of her insights would still feel reasonably interesting and important to me today. maybe i'll start posting some entries from that diary to see if you agree.

right now i'm at this in-between age where i'm not sure whether i'm a teenager or a grown-up - although ever since i hit that mid-twenties peak i've been trying to face facts and view myself as basically a grown-up, albeit a
pretty youthful and creative one. so it was kind of comforting to realize that i really do still fit in, 90% of the way, with teenagers. we have most of the same vocabulary, cultural references, sense of humor. it's nice to know i haven't completely gone over to the dark side yet.

it's funny how hanging out with 15-year-olds can make you feel younger than being the youngest person in a room full of 30-somethings. a little regression now and then is healthy - i guess that's one reason people have kids!

more about bar studying

we were at this internet conference today, but i just came back to the hotel room on my own -- ostensibly to get some studying done, but of course i'm blogging instead. nature abhors a vacuum - in this case, the primitive, instinctual part of my brain views study-time as vacuous, just waiting to be filled in by more stimulating activities. so.

but just in case you were wondering, i did score the practice test that i took yesterday, and there's good news! i would have received a passing score if it was the real test. i g
ot a (69%) (that's an attempt to shield those of you who find it distasteful to talk about sensitive subjects like money and grades). so i guess this means i don't have to study anymore! haha, just kidding. but i am not going to freak out the way that a lot of people freak out. i will probably pass, and that's good enough for me.