Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I see your habeas corpus, and I raise you a bouquet garni.

This week has been rough.

It started last Thursday, when the faculty advisor to the Journal of Fun and Wonderment told me that we needed to stop production on one of our articles (Our article that is holding up the release of the entire next issue. Yes. That article.), because there were some 'changes' that needed to be made. Said changes were delivered to me, handwritten, because our faculty advisor is somehow incapable of operating a word processing program, and I spent Valentines Day weekend peering at Darwin over the top of my laptop, muttering obscenities. WTF, guys. He has basically re-written the article. I have pointed out to him numerous times that (a) this is a waste of everyone's time, and (b) the authors are going to pee themselves when they find out that he wants to do this.

To be fair, this is not necessarily all that different from how I would have spent Valentine's Day weekend, but it prevented me from catching up on several weeks worth of reading and writing about things like 'collateral attacks on state judgements,' and trying desperately to catch up in my new favorite class "Fed Tax: The Terror of Failure 2.0." Then again, my Fed Tax book would never email me to tell me that it hopes that the extra work it has created for me hasn't prevented me from enjoying 'this beautiful winter day.' Answer: Yes, asshole. Yes it has.

I spent the remainder of the weekend working on an article which was full of completely unsupported assertions which needed dealing with. In ordinary circumstances, I would send it back to the slackers horrible demon children 2Ls who should have dealt with the article to begin with: but I've been swamped, and I should have taken care of this literally months ago, so now, I sort of have to just deal with it myself to speed the thing along through our pipelines. This is basically The Suck, and it's my own fault. I got through the final round of edits on the article, and emailed the author with 57(!!!) spots where some kind of supporting material was needed, asking him to provide the citations. He emailed me back to tell me he would "consider my suggestions."

I get 10 Lenten bonus points for not responding "Consider THIS. BOO-YA."

In addition to Mr. I Have A Feeling But No Support For It, I have 7 or 8 other different idiot authors breathing down my throat about when their articles are coming out, and two faculty editors equally neurotically asking the same question. The fundamental problem? I cannot move in any direction until (a) my idiot authors do whatever it is they've been told to do for literally months, or (b) the faculty editors actual give me the feedback/edits/whatever the hell it is they do that they've been promising for, literally, months.

It has recently occurred to me that our faculty editors have far too much power and far too little an idea of what actual happens when an issue goes to print. In other recent news, faculty should never be allowed to take sabbatical. At least, not if they are going to sit around the law school and stick their fingers into projects they can only slow down.

You know that classic image of the little man, shaking his fists up at the sky? I am that sad, ineffectual person.

I could delegate, but then again, my second-in-command recently emailed me from the office to ask if there was a the office. So. You know. The competency level in these parts is not super.

So yes, if you're thinking about running for an Editor position, my advice to you is this: Don't. Stop right now. Seriously, I mean it, you silly gunner. STEP SLOWLY AWAY FROM THE CHICAGO MANUAL.

My cell phone is dying. So is my car. And my laptop. And my desktop in the Journal of Fun and Wonderment office. I haven't checked on my iPod recently (am currently on the get-fat-till-graduation workout plan), but presumably, if it's electronic and/or mechanical and associated with me, it's probably on the fritz. Don't get me started on classes.

...what I'm trying to say is: Today was the day that I realized that I was teetering on the brink of sanity, just appropriately poised for the regularly scheduled 10 o'clock conniption.

So, I took myself to the grocery store. I bought a ridiculous amount of produce and nice cheese, and I took myself home to engage in my secret not that secret oh come on everyone knows you're a huge food nerd coping mechanism. I chopped and I simmered and stirred. I remembered how delightful the smell of browning butter is. I thought nostalgic thoughts about making pasta sauce with my mom as a kid, and I lovingly scraped and scooped and stirred with the awesome wooden spoons Darwin got me for Christmas. I took many deep breaths.

At times like these, I need to cook. Not the quick, throw-the-chicken-on-the-grill cooking- luxurious, high-maintenance, labor of love cooking. I need to stand over something that simmers and sniff it like a connoisseur. I need to find exactly the kind of delicious cheese to go with my pet project, and nibble at it while I think important balsamic thoughts. It's not just that cooking makes me happy. Deep in my not that secret heart, it's because if I chop, and I stir, and I loose myself in all of these textures and smells, and I master just this one thing, I can go to bed at night having accomplished something. Nobody asks for seconds on my property theory papers- but no one turns down an extra spoonful of my gravy, either.

And sometimes, it is important to take the time to keep yourself sane (even if emailing Mr. I Have A Feeling would have been momentarily rewarding). Or at least well-fed.

So now, it's 11 o'clock on a Wednesday night, and I am simmering my life a batch of french onion soup back into submission. If it doesn't come around soon, I'm going to throw some rosemary at it. And if that doesn't work, I'll have no choice but to move on to turkey and homemade stuffing.

Consider yourself warned.


Obiter Ovum said...

Oh how I hear you. Before my rebirth as a Law student I was a Chef. When some crappy asingment gets me all emotional and crazy cooking soothes. I recommend a copy of Larousse Gastronomic - The Chefs Bible. It has lovely fench clasics in every page i just opend it up and my finger landed on Enchaud (boned pork fillet rolled up with string and cooked an a casserole) YUMMY !. Home cooking = peace and happyness

All rights reserved to my snotty and generally self-deprecating writing. And if your comments bother me, I'll delete them. That's right, pumpkin.
...How dreary—to be—Somebody!
How public—like a Frog—
To tell one's name—the livelong June—
To an admiring Bog!
-- Emily Dickinson