Box office results for Episode III

After tallying up the numbers from the past few months, Episode III: Revenge of the Bar Exam did not perform as well as expected. It couldn’t reach the high standards of Rent or Office Space, but thankfully avoided the abysmal ratings of Doom.

Given the Star Wars analogy, I’d like to compare myself to George Lucas by declaring that I don’t know when to quit, so another chapter to the saga (”A New Hope”) will be released later this year. I hope it outperforms its predecessors…

Episode III, Day 2

Yeah, I was definitely frustrated after the first day. The capper came that night when I was messing with my computer and my little brother called. I had fun talking to him (and his girlfriend in the background), but the consequences were dire: I ran out of time to use the hot tub. It was shut down for the night, so I crawled into bed with enough time to get six hours of sleep. When I woke up, I was wide awake. Then I looked at the clock: I’d slept for five hours.

I pulled the covers up and dozed for another hour until my alarm went off. I thought about getting packed up and heading downstairs for my usual hot breakfast ritual, but I changed my mind for a couple reasons. For one thing, I still had half of that Subway sub sitting in the fridge—since I was grabbing lunch with a friend that afternoon, it seemed kinda silly to keep it around. For another, no hot tub the night before. Consequently, I got out of bed, shaved and jumped into a hot shower for a couple minutes. (Not nearly the same thing, but sometimes you have to make do with what you’ve got.)

Freshly cleaned and clean-shaven, I ate my sub, packed up all my stuff and brought it out to my car. Thankfully, I wouldn’t have to worry about my laptop being dysfunctional until I got home–the second day is two three-hour sessions of 100 multiple-choice questions. I usually escape the room with about twenty minutes left to go because I don’t like going over my work again. Okay, scratch that: I don’t like going over my multiple-choice questions again. I can be very particular about what I write in here (or any other essay, for that matter), but when it comes to filling in little bubbles… I figure if I didn’t get it right the first time around, I won’t be any smarter when I look at it again and come up with a better answer.

Even though I took extra time to clean up, the lack of breakfast at the Liffey meant I got to RiverCentre fairly early again. There still wasn’t a whole lot for me to do outside the testing area, so I went right in, signed in, checked my stuff at the coat room, went back to my seat from the day before and waited for things to get started. And because I didn’t have my laptop there, I didn’t need to worry about the “Cruel” proctor getting pissy for running a non-SofTest program again.

When it was getting close to the starting time, we got our usual instructions: “Stop writing after I call ‘Time’; fill in the bubble completely; don’t fill in more than one bubble per answer or the scoring machine will get confused, chew up your answer sheet and spit it out on the wall, we won’t be able to read anything manually and we’ll just give you a 0 because we’re lazy.” You know, just for that little boost of confidence before everything hits the fan.

“You may begin.” Everyone opened up their books and started making little scribbles that vaguely resembled circles all over their answer sheets. Usually next to the numbers that signified the questions they were answering. I cruised through the test (as usual), got stuck on a couple tough questions (as usual), finished early (as usual) and got the hell out of the room as quickly as I could (as usual). Not much different than when I’ve taken the exam before (as you may have noticed by the previous sentence), but I felt a little more confident about my answers this time around.

So I got my bag and coat, sat down and drank my final bottle of Gatorade, then waited for my friend to finish the test so we could grab some food. I waited for a pretty long time. You’re not allowed to leave the testing area when there’s less than ten minutes to go—I don’t know whether he needed the full amount of time or whether he got trapped inside because of the clock, but regardless, I was sitting around until the entire group started filtering out of the testing area. Thankfully, the sun was shining, so I found a nice spot where I could absorb some rays, lean against a pillar and see everyone leaving the room.

We went to grab some pizza, I found out a little about what was going on in his life, I answered some questions about the show and being on TV in general… nothing spectacular, but the pizza was pretty good and we got to walk around outside in the sun to get to and from the restaurant. Plus the test wasn’t over yet.

Even after drinking that Gatorade plus another big bottle of Mountain Dew, I had a problem: I started to nod off during the afternoon slot. I don’t know why it happens, but when I’m really dehydrated after lunch, I usually get really warm and really tired (which sometimes put me in a bad spot during a couple really tedious afternoon classes at William Mitchell). Just like last time, I wasn’t doing the tired-head-bob so much, but I was definitely resting my pencil on the page and leaving streak marks across the little bubbles.

Thankfully, I found a way to solve the problem: I couldn’t help the dehydration part, but since I was wearing two shirts, I took off the outer one and took the rest of the exam in just a t-shirt. Dropping a layer was just what I needed—I felt more alert and much less likely to leave drool stains on my answer sheet. I don’t know whether it ultimately affected my cognitive skills, but like I said, if I didn’t get the right answer the first time, there’s not much point in going back to stare at it some more.

About twenty minutes before time was up, I handed in my materials and left the building with one more bar exam under my belt (and I’m hoping it’s the last one, ’cause this belt is starting to look a little tattered…). But the fun wasn’t quite over yet, which wasn’t because of the overcast sky. That was kind of a pisser—it was nice and sunny the entire day before and during lunch that day as well. After finishing the exam and getting outside, it was cold, gray and I saw a couple snowflakes coming down. I don’t think God was trying to warn me not to get my hopes up, but it sure didn’t make me feel any better.

Then I got to the hotel’s parking garage, ready to jump into my car and drive home. Except I couldn’t get out. I ran my key card through the slot and it kept getting rejected. It turned out that the guy in the truck ahead of me who had to back away from the exit was having the same problem, so we went up to the front desk of the hotel to find out what the hell was going on. The girl behind the counter said we could have pushed the “Help” button when our cards wouldn’t work, but she jumped onto the computer, pushed a couple buttons of her own and we gained the ability to leave again. The magic of computers was not on my side on those two days.

Once I got out of the garage, I made it home with no problems. Drove home, dumped all my stuff on the floor and turned into a vegetable for a couple days. I didn’t update my blog (you may have noticed the recent lack of entries), I didn’t write many e-mails or instant messages… my contact with the virtual world shriveled up into almost nothing. I’m still in recovery mode to some degree, but at least I’m using my laptop again, especially since it thinks the wireless card still exists. Now if it suddenly decides to delete SofTest at random, that’ll make life a whole lot nicer. Not as nice as getting a passing score in the middle of April, but close enough for now.

Episode III, Day 1

My laptop stabbed me in the back—it took so long to figure things out and fix them that I didn’t have enough time for a long soak in the hot tub tonight. Man, life is poopy sometimes… I’ll write about it tomorrow.
_ _ _ _ _

Okay, even though I usually write this stuff when it happens, I was a tad frustrated and also wanted to preserve a little more sleep that night if at all possible. It didn’t work out like I wanted.

I got into bed early enough that I could pass out for six hours. There was just one problem: I couldn’t sleep. I rolled around for a while, then turned on the light and ended up finishing the most recent Stephen King novel (“Cell”) in less than an hour. I wouldn’t have read for that long, but you know when you get towards the end of a book and you can’t stop reading because you just want to finish it off and see what happens? Yeah, me too.

So now I was down to five hours of sleep, but I was still tossing and turning. I eventually got up, surfed the Internet for a while, then crawled back under the covers for a little more than four hours by the time my alarm went off. So much for getting to bed early…

I had plenty of time to get dressed and head downstairs to The Liffey (an Irish pub that’s attached to the hotel—I put the tab on my hotel bill) to eat a nice, hot breakfast. I suppose I could have done a little more cramming that morning or skimmed through a book or something, but I figured if I didn’t know the material by then, tough noogies for me. When I was done eating, I headed out into the cold fully loaded:

Heavy jacket and stocking cap. Laptop. Black pens. Backpack with study materials that I didn’t use. A 6″ Subway sub. A bottle of Mountain Dew. A bottle of Gatorade. An energy bar. A bad attitude. I was ready to rumble. That was the plan, anyway…

I got to RiverCentre pretty early for registration, got my nifty name badge, checked my bag and coat at the desk and decided to head into the testing area right away. Hey, it’s not like I was going to accomplish anything by sitting around outside. So I found my seat, plugged in my laptop and got it running (Yaaaaay!), then put on some headphones, crank up the tunes and play Solitaire while I waited.

There were proctors wandering around the room already and one of them stopped to ask me if I was listening to music to relax—when I said I was, she decided that was a really good idea. And then another proctor came over and told me I wasn’t allowed to run any program on my computer aside from SofTest, the one we use for testing. The song playing at that moment? “Cruel”, by Tori Amos. Boy, ain’t that the truth…

Oh, and as a side note, I found out that RiverCentre also had a wireless system that didn’t require a password. I just connected to the network, then took a peek at my e-mail before “Cruel” proctor told me to shut it down. Grumble grumble grumble…

Eventually, it was time for the instructions for the morning session. “Here’s what to do during the MPT [Multistate Performance Test or something] section of the test: don’t talk, don’t leave the testing area screaming like a crazed lunatic and don’t keep writing when I call “Time” or we’ll tear up your essay and use it for toilet paper (and still submit it if you really want us to).” Same old, same old, really… When she said “Go,” I went.

This time around, I felt like I knew what I was doing, like I knew what I was supposed to write and how I was supposed to write it. (I’ll feel much better if that was how I was supposed to write it, but that’s what makes waiting until the middle of April to get the test results so much fun!) Sadly, I still didn’t finish the essay, but I got closer and I’m happier with the results.

Same thing with the other two essays in the morning: it felt like I knew the subjects, I was writing decent material and explained what I was writing–I probably missed a couple things here and there, but that’s what partial credit is for, baby! If you get a bunch of “sorta-not-really-crappy” answers, you’ll probably get a higher score than if you write two really good answers and get no credit on the others. So overall, I think the morning session went better than the last two times.

After I left the room to pick up my bag with lunch ‘n’ stuff in it, I saw the back of a former classmate, so I snuck up behind him and flicked his ear. At least that was the plan… I was trying to barely catch the edge and completely missed. I didn’t try to be as careful for the second swing and definitely caught his attention that time. We got to say “Hi”, I found out he watches lots of reality TV, he found out that he missed my appearance on reality TV… he already had plans for lunch, but we decided to grab some food together on Wednesday so he could get some juicy details.

It was nice and sunny outside during lunch, but also really frickin’ cold (remember, we’re talking about Minnesota in February here…), so I found a nice, fairly secluded spot in the building that had some decent rays shining in and chowed down on my sandwich and other dining materials. When I got up to throw away my trash, I was confronted by two people, one of whom was a second former classmate. The first girl was asking if I played on her Frisbee team (she never specified whether it was ultimate frisbee or frisbee golf, but given that I don’t think I’ve played either of those more than once or twice, it didn’t really matter). The classmate then clarified that I was a famous TV star! She didn’t seem entirely convinced and mentioned Frisbee again, but I guess part of my being famous is that people recognize my face, but don’t have the slightest idea who I am. Woo hoo!

The third time’s not charming

Once again, I’m sitting in my room at the Holiday Inn, ruing the inevitable, waiting for the Tuesday morning sun to come and rear its ugly head. For me, this is Episode III: Revenge of the Bar Exam. (Hopefully, I have a better fate ahead of me than Anakin Skywalker, who turned into a lava-baked Krispy Kritter because he went over to the Dark Side. Which I’m doing by becoming a lawyer. Shit.)

The day didn’t start off too bad. I woke up, read some of the newest Stephen King novel, washed clothes—you should always face your darkest fears in a clean pair of underwear—got everything packed up (I hope) and headed out of the house. I went to Rainbow Foods to pick up some supplies and decided to grab my dinner at the Lee Ann Chin’s inside. What I discovered there was that whoever makes the bamboo chopsticks for that place needs a copy editor with some marginal English skills. Here’s what it said, errors and all (I split it up into columns with breaks between each line, since some of those breaks kinda make sentences).

FRONT: Welcome to Chinese Restaurant.
Please try your Nice Chinese Food With Chopsticks / the traditional and typical of Chinese glonous history / and cultual.

BACK: Learn to use your chopsticks
Tuk under [blank space] thurnb / and hcld firmly
Add second chcostick / hold it as you hold / a pencil
Hold tirst chopstick / in originai position / move the second / one up and down / Now you can pick / up anything:
PRODUCTOF / CHINA

I’ve made jokes about using those chopsticks to pick up women before—”Hey, c’mon baby, I can pick up anything with these things, so why not you?” Given the spelling and grammar on the wrapper, I’m not sure if I can accept their claims as legitimate anymore.

So I got supplies there, though I learned my lesson after last time: I bought an eight-pack of Gatorade bottles along with the usual Mountain Dew. As much as I can use the caffeine, it’ll be good to have some non-diuretic stuff to drink so I won’t get dehydrated and almost fall asleep during the exam again. After Rainbow, I made a quick drive-by at Subway for a foot-long sub that’ll suffice for two lunch breaks and hit the road.

I got to the hotel with no complications, checked in, brought my first load of two up to my hotel room and found a large bunch of flowers sitting on the desk. My first thought was how it was such a nice gesture and wondered who would send it to wish me good luck. Then I looked at the tag. Yes, the tag had Room 422 written on it. The tag, however, displayed the name “Carol Hanks.” I’ll admit, I’ve been called a lot of names in my life, but Carol Hanks has never been on that list. Not even close.

I was a little confused, so on my way back to my car, I stopped at the front desk to tell them about the flowers. The guest services guy looked in the computer and saw someone named Carol. He also saw that Carol had a reservation sometime in March. Woo hoo! Premature delivery = free flowers for me! (Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way—I guess there was a name screw-up or something, so someone came and took them away from me. I didn’t even think to take a big sniff before they were gone… damn.)

So now I’m at my desk in front of my laptop. And the room’s mirror is right in front of the desk, so every time I look up from the computer screen, I see a familiar scowl. (Yay! I’m not a vampire yet! I may stay up at night and be on the verge of becoming pure evil, but I still have a reflection!) And seriously, what kind of expression would you expect? Ecstasy? Joy? A level of happiness so high that I can’t help but drool all over myself? I’m taking the bar exam tomorrow!

Hopefully, that scowl will be gone in half an hour or so. I promised myself I’d get more than five hours of sleep, a bad trend that’s continued through the ages (see: a year and a half). Thus, if I get ready real quick, I’ll fulfill that promise. By getting six hours instead of five. Time for bed, kiddies! Story time will continue tomorrow as usual. Until then, sleep well and have lots of happy dreams—I’ll try to follow your example.

The suspense never goes away…

Much like the last time I took the bar exam, I thought the results were supposed to be mailed within two months of the testing date. (I know, waiting for two months is a loooooong time…) Consequently, since I took it at the end of July, I was expecting a letter in the mail on Friday or Saturday…

Nothing.

I thought that if it didn’t arrive on Monday, I was supposed to call the office in case the results had been misplaced or something. Checked the mail this afternoon…

Nothing.

I called the office–the results will be mailed on October 7th and may God have mercy on my soul. (Okay, the computerized voice on the phone only said the first part, but still…) Man, this waiting stuff sucks.

Bar Exam Aftermath, Take 2

It was a little disappointing this time around, mostly because I didn’t have any big plans. No hanging out at a bar with classmates, no friend playing a concert at a local club, no booty trap—nothing. I just drove home. Poop.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t nothing. When I got in the door, I plugged in my cell phone so it wouldn’t die when I launched my evil plan: call some of the guys from California and start harassing them. I checked my e-mail and surfed around a couple random pages to waste some time, then grabbed the phone so I could taunt Chuck. “You’re still studying and I’m not! BWAH-HA-HA-HA!!!”

Alas, t’was not to be. And I can’t imagine how nutty I must have sounded when he checked his voice mail, but given that he hasn’t called me back… maybe he figured they sent me straight to the loony bin after I finished the exam, but gave me one final phone call that I wasted on him. But like I said, he hasn’t called me back. (So this is what it feels like when a guy dumps you…)

Next phone call: Scarlet. She sounded a little upset that I called Chuck before her, but when I explained that he was still studying for… I don’t remember what exam it is—it’s not the boards, but it’s important for him to do well if he wants to get into a decent program versus Billy Joe Bob’s “What’s This Sharp Thing Do? …Ow!” University. Anyway, she understood. We talked for about half an hour, after which I was feeling relatively sane again. The urge to give people a ring, cackle into the phone and hang up again was gone. For the time being.

Once again, I called Justin to find out whether he had plans for dinner. Once again, he told me he did. (Once again, I remembered he told me about said plans before, but I’d forgotten. I get the feeling my mind was occupied by something else when he did, but I can’t imagine why…) He was helping his friend Dale (and his wife whose name I can’t recall) pack up all the crap in their house so they could move out by Friday. And once again, he mentioned that I’d probably get dinner if I helped them as well.

Well, who could turn down an offer like that? I ended up heading over there, helped squeeze some big-ass leather sofas through a not-so-big-ass door—I imagine the process would have been a little easier if they hadn’t already packed the Astroglide—and carried a couple boxes into the truck. And I helped keep the dog occupied. And I helped lighten up the kitchen counter by eating a couple pieces of the pizza that was on there. It didn’t feel like a whole lot of work (especially the eating part), but given that I was still a bit out of it from the exam and everything else… they still appreciated the help.

But this was the quality moment of the evening. Dale’s neighbor was helping them move and I don’t recall what brought it up, but Dale told him he was in the presence of someone famous. He looked at Dale, then Dale’s wife, then me—I raised my bottle of Gatorade towards him (“Yep, it was me”). There was a blank expression on his face. “Did you ever watch Beauty and the Geek?” “Yeah, a couple times.” I raised my bottle of Gatorade towards him again. It took a few moments before his eyes lit up. “Oh yeah! I didn’t recognize you!” That might explain why I haven’t had to worry about stalkers around here—I’m incognito even when I’m cognito… I don’t need a disguise when no one realizes it’s me to begin with.

I was still feeling a tad sleepy on the drive home (I never nodded off, but there were a few points when I started drifting towards the middle of the road). I got back, turned on the TV and watched The Tonight Show for a while—I would have gone to bed right away, but I wanted to wait for a little while before taking my night dose of my meds.

Perhaps that was for the best since I was still sitting there when Mom called home to ask how I did. I told her I thought it went better than last time, then told her about how I was falling asleep during the afternoon session. She proceeded to insist that I was tired because I hadn’t developed a proper sleep schedule for the exam and she didn’t drop the issue right away—it was the closest I’ve ever come to hanging up on my mother.

But she was sure I did fine and loves me very much and I was kinda fading in and out of the rest of the conversation. When we finished talking, I dragged myself out of the recliner, did a menial job of brushing my teeth without toothpaste, threw down my drugs, got into bed and didn’t bother setting my alarm. That was probably for the best since I woke up eleven hours later, fell back asleep and was woken up by my phone over an hour after that. I think that made it official: I was really tired.

Since getting up, I talked to Brent (older brother) and I’ll be heading over to his place on Saturday to have lunch, watch Constantine and get back all the movies he’s borrowed from me recently. The phone call was from the publicist at the WB—I’m getting interviewed by someone from the local paper on Monday. (Why the hell do these people want to talk to me now when the show ended a month ago?!) I also walked the dog, gave two kids a swim test for the Scout camp that’s next week, watched a pair of movies and wrote these last two blog entries. (Only walked the dog once, though—so much for a theme…) As for the rest of the week… hey, I bet Chuck is still studying for his exam! BWA-HA-HA-HA!!!