Thursday, May 14, 2009

Quick update

I realized that I hadn't posted here in a long while and thought I'd give a little update.

Today is May 14, 2009. In a few days, Katie and I are going to Phoenix to bring the rest of our stuff back East. Well, technically, we'll still have one small storage unit in Phoenix, but the bulk of our stuff is coming out here as we expect to be out here for a while now.

Law schools... I decided, after much consideration, to attend Brooklyn Law School with very generous scholarships. As of today, I am also still on the admissions waitlists at both Georgetown and Fordham. Either of these schools would have been great to attend, but all along I've thought it was completely unlikely that I'd get accepted. Even now, I have to say, if one of them did accept me I'd almost undoubtedly change my plans, but I sure would miss the prospect of free tuition.

So, all else being equal, we're planning to move to NYC, probably to Brooklyn, in early August. I'm really excited for it, and for the start of school. This move date won't give us much time before classes start, but it's OK because we're poor anyhow and probably couldn't afford to capitalize well on a lot of extra time in the city. (Anyhow we got stuck with a full-summer lease when we had to move out of our little Comm Ave studio.) I'm hoping to move to Brooklyn Heights or one of the surrounding neighborhoods in order to be close as possible to school, but we'll see where we land as it's very expensive over there. Prospect Heights is a more reasonable neighborhood and still fairly close, as well as being the neighborhood where our BK friends live, so we very well might end up there.

Guess that's about it for now...

Friday, March 13, 2009

If repealing Bush's puny marginal tax cuts makes Obama a socialist...

Then prepare yourselves to meet Presidents Ronald "Marx" Reagan, Richard "Trotsky" Nixon, and Dwight "Lenin" Eisenhower.




Anyone have any idea why I decided that wanted to be a lawyer?

I decided to be a lawyer because our world is full of people using language in nefarious ways, exploiting words like "socialist", "freedom", "diet", "healthy", "responsible", the list just goes on and on and on.....

I think that the law is a way for me to use precise language to advance something good, at the heart of the matter, where it counts.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Law school update

So, here's the final tally for law school admissions:

ACCEPTED:
Brooklyn Law
Northeastern
American

WAITLISTED:
Fordham
Georgetown (!)

DENIED:
NYU :(
George Washington

So, I'm really trying to decide between the three schools that accepted me, and to ignore the very slim possibility that I'll get an acceptance from the schools that placed me on their waitlists. But it's complicated, and here's why...

So, I love Northeastern. It's a very liberal school, very public-interest and social justice oriented, and it's widely considered the top school for public interest lawyers to attend. It places very well in San Francisco, which is, for now, where I think I'd like to head after graduation. They are known for their one-of-a-kind co-op program, which places students in four 3-month legal internships during the last two years of school; this means that upon graduation, I'll already have a year of experience in my chosen areas. It's here in Boston, which is a city I know fairly well now and really love. There may be a good dual-degree opportunity for me there, but since I didn't apply to the other component this year, there are no guarantees. The atmosphere there is collegial and almost nurturing but still academically and intellectually challenging; learning that law schools could be like that, as opposed to the classical adversarial/competitive idea of law school, is what piqued my renewed interest in law in the first place. Finally, instead of grades they give detailed evaluations, which I think is an interesting and possibly superior means of evaluating student performance. To be honest, I have thought for a long time that this is where I might go.

But then, there's American. It's also liberal and public-interest oriented, with a bit more emphasis on international law. It's in DC, which sketches me out a bit, even though I like DC; I haven't spent much time there, and I'm just not sure how I'll like living there. I'm also not certain how American places on the West Coast and other areas outside of DC, but I aim to figure it out. It's better-known (and better-ranked) than Northeastern, though this isn't necessarily the case in public-interest legal circles. Here's the real clincher: I've also been accepted to the Master of Public Policy program there, so I could do my optimal dual degree program at a great law school and a truly excellent school of Public Affairs.

Finally, there's Brooklyn. This was the friendliest law school I visited back in '05, with great facilities and a surreal location in Brooklyn Heights. The public interest component there is definitely good enough, with plenty of clinical opportunities, courses, and connections. The truth is, whereas I really like this school, it just doesn't quite compare to the opportunity at American. (Up until last year, Brooklyn offered the dual-degree program that I want, but recently stopped offering it. I kept the school on my app list because I liked it so much.) However, I'm going to visit all these schools again in the next few weeks, and standing in the shadow of the Federal Courthouse while looking up at the main law school building sure is something... and so is New York. As they say, if I can make it there....

:/
Any thoughts? I'm not making up my mind until I do visits, but that time is drawing nigh, and I am spending most days obsessing over the choices....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Heartbreaking

I don't know why, but right now I am more affected emotionally by the Prop 8 goings-on than I have been at least since the election.

There's so much anger on the other side about the possibility of an overturn, and I feel that so much of this anger comes from misinformation and ignorance... People don't understand how our political system works, people don't understand that gay people are just like everyone else, people don't understand that same-sex-headed families deserve access to the same civil protections as others.

This just breaks my heart. It is sometimes very difficult to feel happy about any little thing when there are whole segments of society operating to deny me and mine rights that they believe are fundamental and innate! By that kind of logic, yes, we are second-class citizens. I try very hard not to feel victimized by any of this nonsense, and just to live my life, but some days it's really hard, and today is one of those days.

I'm sure some people are thinking, "Hey, you're in Massachusetts now, so why not go ahead and get married?" And I do want to speak to that... We really do want to, but it's just so complicated! The only way I think it makes sense for us to do it is if we stay here in MA for school. Even so, despite the fact that there is full equal marriage here, it will be very, very complicated. We will have to file our state taxes as "Married filing separately", but our federal taxes will still be filed under "Single". For the purposes of anything administered by the state, we will be a married couple; for all federal purposes, we will have no legal standing whatsoever towards each other... Additionally, it will be our responsibility to keep track of what's what, and where.

We would also lose the opportunity to draw up the kinds of legal contracts that would protect us more generally, since those contracts are filed with localities and would be redundant to the marriage compact. However, it is the practice of most other localities and states to honor those kinds of general civil agreements, such as power of attorney or medical-decision agency, no matter which state they originate in. Many states either have laws specifically preventing the recognition of gay marriages from other states, or no specific legal obligation to uphold them. Technically speaking, standard contracts would protect us better in these cases than a proper marriage would, since there are few standing legal precedents for denying the validity of civil contracts on account of the sexuality of the people involved. Unless, of course, there are children involved, in which case lots and lots of places will deny the validity of legal same-sex civil agreements.

So as a married couple in Massachusetts, all our legal rights and obligations toward each other will dissolve every time we leave the state. For example, here in MA, our health insurance would be administered based on our status as a married couple; due to that, there's really no guarantee that it would have to be recognized as valid in other states. Just one example. Say we had kids... here in MA, our kids would belong to both of us under our marriage. Every damn time we left the state, say we wanted to take our kids to Disney World, we'd have to worry about whether the place we traveled to would recognize our shared parentage. People who are parents should consider this.... it hits home. And the opposition says that they want to protect families?

Even worse would be if we get married here and end up moving elsewhere for school. New York's public entities are under executive order to recognize gay marriages from other locales, but private entities (like some insurers, for example, but not others-it depends on how much New York state law regulates their business) are under no such obligation. That seems like a whole new can of worms. And DC has pretty strong domestic partnership law, but it's possible we'd have to dissolve our marriage (i.e. get a divorce!) in order to register as domestic partners in DC. It's also possible that we'd have to live in Maryland, where the domestic partner laws are very limited and where gay marriages from other places are expressly not recognized.

So, I'm just so disheartened about this today. Which is sad, because the opportunity to be legally married to my wife should be a thing of happiness, not sorrow.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Law school update

Got another admission today, from Brooklyn Law. So far that's three admits (from my 'safer' schools), one rejection and one waitlist (these from my top 2 choices). Now I'm just waiting to hear from Fordham and George Washington, which is funny because those are the two schools for which I really have no means to make any prediction!

Gotta say, I'm on pins and needles! 'Course, I set it up to likely get at least one acceptance each in Boston, NYC, and DC, which I have done. So that specific choice hasn't been narrowed at all... gotta wait and see what GW and Fordham decide!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What is up?!?!

That's about it. What's up with you all?

Naw, just kidding. I got some stuff. It's so weird, I was cranking out between 2 and 4 posts per day leading up to the election, and now... nothin'. :) I really think I got so plugged in to the news cycle that nothing seemed new or interesting enough to blog about... although that doesn't explain why I haven't been blogging since I got home. Which I suppose could be due to a whole new set of factors anyways.

Here's a thing... lately I have been reconnecting with a whole cast of random characters from my past on Facebook! There are people with whom I had nothing in common in high school, but with whom I now have tons in common. There are people with whom I was great friends in high school, and whose lives, values and interests are radically different from my own. There are people who I was sorta friends with in high school, and with whom I don't necessarily have tons in common, but who I just think (and often have always thought) are the most interesting people ever, and who make me wish I had known them better all along!

There are people who I knew from work, people I loved, people I had crushes on, people I detested, people who changed my life and people who never made one ounce of a difference, and people who I never thought would ask to be my Facebook friend. I understand that they're not really asking for my friendship, but I do think that they are asking me to take part in their lives in a way, and that makes me happy. It makes the whole "social networking" thing worthwhile despite all the annoying things about it. Importantly, these folks are generally supportive of, or indifferent toward, my sexuality. Despite having formed the thrust of much of my writing so far on this blog, it doesn't come up too often on Facebook, especially since the die-down of the Prop 8 frenzy. However, it is perfectly obvious.

On a completely unrelated note, Obama is a smart guy. That's all. He is really a smart guy. Say what you will.

I have got to get on the ball with my health and health-related goals. I gotta quit smoking, gotta lose weight. I wonder how many other blogs say the same thing, especially right now with the New Year and all. But really.

S'poseta start snowing again tonight, and we're all excited. So far I would say we're adjusting to the weather extremely well. We're well-insulated individuals.

Oh, a law school update: So far I've heard from 4. I got into the two schools I already mentioned, was rejected from NYU (no big surprise there), and got on the waitlist for Georgetown. While it's sort of nice compared to an outright rejection, being waitlisted, especially by a competitive school like that, is pretty much like being rejected. So now I'm waiting to hear back from Fordham, George Washington, and Brooklyn. I think that Brooklyn will accept me, but I'm not sure about Fordham and GW. If I get in to either of those schools, I will be not a little bit surprised!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back in business yo

Well, I just noticed my last blog post, and that's ridiculous! December 18th? My apologies to those of you who actually check this blog, I hope you will check it again sometime soon and enjoy finding new updates aplenty.

Soooo... I've heard back from two law schools so far, and each of them has admitted me! They are American in Washington DC, and Northeastern just up the road here in Boston. I have to be honest and say that I did expect to get into both of these schools... but it's nice to know for certain that I definitely will be able to attend a quality school like one of these, and it's also nice to be batting 1.000, at least for the moment!

Katie and I did the drive from Phoenix to here quite nicely... Didn't hit much weather, spent a great night in New Orleans (which we adore), saw some old friends, got to drive by the hotel that Barack Obama's been staying in, slept in some amazing hotel beds (oddly), and even hit decent traffic near rush hour in New York. Basically perfect!

So of course Katie is here with me now, and I'm just really happy. I missed her so. :) We are on the hard-core job hunt and are getting to know our (mostly) new friends who live across Comm Ave from us. I worked with one of them at Progressive in Phoenix and we happened to move to different sides of the same street in Boston! So Katie and I have been hanging out with her and her roomies & their other friends, who have proved to be delightful individuals that we get on really well with. So that's nice.

Other than that... Oh, yeah, inauguration's tomorrow! I gotta say, I'm really excited. Woulda been nice to go down there for it, but dang, there are a lot of people there right now, and apparently a lot of people making kee-raaazy money off of it. The hotels and vacation rentals were insane. And it's just a bit too far for a day trip.

I will stop here for now I suppose... But I'll be back soon!