Jocelyn's Other Desk

The writings of Jocelyn Smith, aspiring author, soon-to-be lawyer, once and future politician, all-around opinionated twentysomething.

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Location: Orlando, Florida, United States

I'm a lawyer in Florida, working on three novels, a screenplay, and half a dozen pieces of fanfiction at any given moment.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oh, By The Way...An Update.

I rarely post here anymore, but in case anyone in the human race still reads this and was wondering...

I re-took the Florida Bar Exam in February 2007 and passed. However, the Exam Results online release in April was bungled, leaving me thinking I had failed for a second time (and most likely lost my job) for four hours. My memory of much of that day is a blur, but something led me to look at the results again mid-afternoon, and the rest is history.

My boss called it "emotional whiplash." That doesn't BEGIN to cover it.

So I am Barred, sworn in, and in all my lawyerly glory, free of studying at last. I continue to work on my stories, both fanfic and original fic, and am now cat mother of three darling kittens. My beloved Tara passed away last December, at age 19. I adopted my little fluffies in April, the day before Exam results, and knowledge that they were home waiting for me no matter what went a long way in keeping me out of the pit of despair during those four hours.

At the urging of a mildly-obsessed colleague, I've taken up yoga, and last fall touched my toes for the first time. I can now put me hands flat on the floor--woohoo! (I guess "om" would be a better expression.)

I may post here still now and then, but for anyone still interested in what I'm up to these days (and who I'm annoying) see my LiveJournal. (By the way, it contains numerous pics of my baby kitties, which alone makes it worth a visit!)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What You'd Call A "Professional Setback."

I failed the Florida Bar Exam.

My job is not in jeopardy; I'll only have to take it again in February. But it still stings. Yesterday was a brutal day.

I've been told from numerous sources that this doesn't reflect on my intelligence or my abilities as a lawyer, and objectively, I know this is true. But there's no escaping the sense of self-disgust from failing to manage what 75% of applicants did on their first attempt.

I have my suspicions about where my weaknesses were--I don't think it was any particular area of law, but rather my own emotions. For all my studying and preparing, I was utterly and completely terrified; I second-guessed, changed answers, blanked out on questions where I later recalled the answer.

I now have six months to get ready for the February Bar, and although I'll be spending a great deal of time studying (one of my colleagues at work assured me that "the worst thing about this is that you'll have to study over Christmas"), my second attempt won't hinge on mastery of law.

It will turn on whether I've mastered myself.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Done...For Now.

I have completed the July 2006 Florida Bar Exam, pursuant to the requirements of my profession--and a contingent of the wonderful job I acquired last summer.

But also contingent on keeping said wonderful job is PASSING the July 2006 Florida Bar Exam.

I don't feel terribly confident. Oh, don't get me wrong; I felt okay about most of the sections.

I just don't know if "okay" is going to cut it.

It's natural for a post-Bar-Taker to feel this way, and's going to be a long six weeks.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Feline Profile: The Abyssinian

I have a lot of favorite cat breeds, you will learn that very quickly.

One of my favorites among the shorthaired breeds is the Abyssinian.

Although the breed was originally believed to have come from Ethiopia (then called Abyssinia, hence the name), research suggests they were actually bred along the coast of the Indian Ocean in Southeast Asia.

Abbys are a very popular show cat, one of the crowd-pleasers. They are also called, according to the Cat Fanciers' Association, a people-oriented cat, but not necessarily a lap cat. They are loyal and affectionate kitties, who understand their owners (and have plenty of that uncanny catly ability to "train their owners.")

If you visit a cat show, you may recognize the Abyssinians by their frantic pacing in their cages. They pace when they are anxious.

Abbys have beautiful coats, with a varying color that results from an effect in their hairs called "ticking." Each individual hair has alternating colors, which works to camouflage the cat. Several other breeds also have ticked fur.

The most common color variety of the Abby is the ruddy, the darkest. The other colors include sorrel, chocolate, blue, lavender, sorrel silver, black silver, and fawn, the lightest.

The ticking in their fur gives them the appearance of bristles, but their coats are close and silky. Their faces vary from long, angled and severe, like the Egyptian cats of old, to round and sweet, as you can see from the pictures.

Truly lovely cats. They are very popular in the shows, however, so a purebred Abby is also very expensive.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

T Minus 4: Hope Begins To Glimmer

After spending the day doing practice essays, I did sets of roughly 20 practice questions in three different subjects (none of which I had practiced before.)

On all three, I got roughly 3/4 correct.

Is it possible I'm learning this stuff?

Feline Profile: The Birman

I'm drawing from the inspiration of Steel Spike Heel, wherever she has disappeared to, with a little twist of my own: cat breeds.

Whilst at my friends' wedding last weekend, I had a moment of great squealing over the presence of a darling little cat at the wedding brunch. Barely anyone knew what I was talking about when I said, "It's a Birman!"

So I shall educate any inquiring minds about the different cat breeds.

Today's cat: the Birman.

To the uninitiated in cat breeds, they resemble a Siamese--only with long fur. Another big difference is the "mitts"--the little white ends of their paws. Many cats purebred and otherwise have the classic white "boots", but "mitts" are different. They cover just about half of the paw, front and back. Birmans are one of the so-called "mitted breeds," which includes the Ragdoll and the Snowshoe.

If the name isn't a hint, they are said to have originated in Burma, and there's a legend associated with how this pretty breed came about. They do not appear to be bred from Siamese, despite the resemblence in their markings. They do share a few Siamese characteristics, most notably that their "points" (the dark areas on face and legs and tail) come in different colors. The darkest is the "seal point", followed by "chocolate point," and both refer to shades of brown, which are the most common Birman colors. My example kitty above is definitely one of those two. The different Birmans are identified by their point colors, which also include lilac point, cream point, red point, blue point, seal tortie point, seal tortie lynx point, blue lynx point, and seal lynx point, among others. (Click on the links for example pictures.)

Birmans are well-known for their sweet temperatment; they are intelligent and playful, but also gentle and "unobtrusive if you are busy with other things," according to their Cat Fanciers' Association profile (linked above if you want more info about them.) Their fur is not as long as the famous Persian, but it is thick and silky and incredibly soft.

The darling Birman I encountered at the wedding brunch came to me with a bit of coaxing when we met him outside on the way to the cars. Having been sitting in the sun, his coat was marvelously warm and thick, and he wasted no time nuzzling my hand.

They're one of my favorite breeds.

There Is No Right To Behave Stupidly

Cross-posted to my LiveJournal, because...

I am a blogging fool. You all know it. I admit it, and I'm not pretentious about it. I like writing about me, I like writing about my thoughts, I like writing about my reaction to stuff that goes on, both in the world and at home.

Is my right to blog protected? Sure, as much as any freedom of speech is protected in this country in this day and age (but that's a different rant.)

However, freedom of speech, whether on a blog or in the news or on the street, does not protect a person from being required to answer for what they say. Friendships can be destroyed, and have been.

The same holds true for jobs.

Obviously, Petite Anglaise doesn't understand that, and once again, we get another person making a complete idjit of themself, in which their stupid behavior gets them into trouble, leading them to caterwaul about rights they don't have.

From CNN:

One's "right to blog" does not extend to a wholesale right to chatter revealing and oft-insulting things about one's work and colleagues, dearie. You can and should be fired for that just as you could and should be if you got up on a table and yelled about your boss's "plummy Oxbridge accent" and how "very old school... He wears braces and sock suspenders (although I don't have any firsthand experience of those), stays in gentlemen's clubs when in London, and calls secretaries 'typists" in a crowded restaurant.

Not all businesses have a legal requirement of confidentiality. But all businesses DO have a PROFESSIONAL requirement of discretion and good judgment. You didn't use it. You got caught, you got fired. Your employers were not spying on you or "influencing your day-to-day life" as one rather ignorant commentor put it--you did the equivalent of writing those words on the office bulletin board. It was there for the reading, and you get no protection from your own foolishness.

Grow up. I do hope the court makes the right decision and informs you that you made the bed and must now lie in it, and tosses you and your silly "discrimination" lawsuit out of the hallowed halls of justice.

We all want to rant about work or mock it on occasion--okay, often. That's life. But discretion and professionalism is also life--or at least it is if we want to KEEP those jobs.

I admit I left a rather sharply-worded comment on her blog about the firing. I'm increasingly ornery these days, with less patience for stupidity, and even less for self-pity. (Maybe that last is a bit hypocritical of me, what with my Bar!Whines every damn day, but oh well.)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

T Minus 12--Is This What We Call Improvement?

I did a mock Florida Bar today.

6 hours: 3 essay questions, 100 multiple choice.

Did okay on one essay, solidly bombed the second, mediocre on the third.

Got 52 out of 100 multiple choice right.

That's still better than my mock-MBE score. I shall now commence throwing things.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

T Minus 14--And The Bar Application Barrel Of Laughs...

Went to bed early, had an attack of exam anxiety, was up doing Florida Corporations practice questions at 1 in the morning.

Got about halfway through the set and realized this was NOT going to calm me down. So instead started digging out old tax returns to work on my Bar application.

The Bar Application is not the same as the Exam Application. The latter I have done. The former is what smart people get done before they graduate law school--way before if they know from first year what state they're going to practice in.

Well, I ain't that smart. (I also didn't expect to go back to Florida.)

So now I'm trying to dig out all the assorted addresses of where I lived for a few months back in 2003 and the supervisors of my jobs when I was a teenager. Argh. And I'm missing one box from moving that has a bunch of my financial record stuff. Argh again.

Dang nosy bar examiners!

Technically I have until 90 days after PASSING the Bar to get the Bar Application in, but the Character & Fitness evaluation takes 6-8 months.

The wheels of justice grind slow, and the wheels of the Bar Association grind even slower.

And make no mistake--it's us between those wheels!