The thing about law school that sucks is grades. Curved grades. Ours came out today. I did fine, objectively speaking. I did not do as well as last semester, though, and I worry about what that means. Did I get complacent? Did I change the way I studied, to my detriment? (In at least one respect, I think I did.) Or was my performance nothing more than a reflection of the professors and classmates I had this semester?
It’s hard to know. Last semester, none of my grades surprised me. I honestly felt I had earned each of them. This semester, I feel that bafflement that people often talk about with law school grades–the sense that, surely, they must be arbitrary? I have no idea why two of my grades came out as they did. (The other three seemed pretty spot-on, though I still have a vague sense of arbitrariness with two of them.)
‘Tis better to know than not know, I suppose. And I don’t think my grades change anything. I think only a stunning change–positive or negative–would have had any sort of impact on anything grades-dependant. But my pride is a little wounded. I thought I had this thing figured out, and it turns out, I don’t. Or at least not as well as I thought I did.
I would just like to note that homemade brioche is probably best served lightly toasted and smeared with Nutella. YUM.
Randolph Jurisprudence and Cella Bella posted their third-track playlists earlier this weekend, and invited me to join in. So here’s mine. I’m not entirely happy with it, but I’m posting it anyway, because I think it says a lot about the way I buy and listen to music.
First, the rules required that the song be the third track on the original album–so no compilations, best-ofs, or soundtracks. But all I have are compilations, best-ofs, and soundtracks. Or individual songs purchased individually. As it turns out, the Belle & Sebastian song below is one such, that just happens to be the third track on its album. But I don’t own the album, just the song.
Think about what this means for music! The fact is, most of the songs on my playlist are from albums I’ve owned for no less than five years. (Aimee Mann is one exception, but I only have her music because someone gave it to me a year or so ago. I would have been more likely to buy single tracks than the entire albums. The Dixie Chicks are another exception, but Home is just an exceptional album, in my opinion.) The reason it’s so short, too, is that, of the complete albums I own, these are really the only nine songs I like enough, and that “fit” well enough to make a cohesive playlist. I suppose I could have thrown in some of the experimental instrumental music I have–or some of the English choral music I have–but I’m not sure the first would fit in any playlist, and I don’t know if songs from the latter would fulfill the “original album” requirement.
So here’s my Track Three playlist. I don’t like it. It’s too flat, too boring. But it has its own message. Hopefully that message doesn’t also include a postscript about how crappy my taste in music is.
- Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, The Beatles (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)
- Red Vines, Aimee Mann (Bachelor No. 2)
- Please Do Not Go, Violent Femmes (Violent Femmes)
- Travelin’ Soldier, Dixie Chicks (Home)
- Weather, Jackopierce (Bringing On The Weather)
- Perfect World, Liz Phair (Whitechocolatespaceegg)
- Lost In Space, Aimee Mann (Lost in Space)
- If She Wants Me, Belle & Sebastian (Dear Catastrophe Waitress)
- With Or Without You, U2 (Joshua Tree)
Here’s the rest of the brioche adventure.
I didn’t take any pictures of the first, overwhelmingly large, rise. So these photos start with the punching down after the brioche had risen in the fridge for an hour. (So, first rise, punch down, second rise in the fridge, punch down/knead.)
Once I got the dough into a rough ball, I covered it with plastic wrap–tightly!–and set it in the fridge overnight. This morning, I pulled it out to find that, while it hadn’t risen much, it was a lot firmer, and easier to work with. So I kneaded it a little more (just a little!), used a dough scraper to chop it into four pieces, and rolled those into balls. All the recipes say to work quickly at this stage, and they were right. Working quickly, the dough was easy to form. But if I slowed down at all, it got sticky again.
I placed the balls into a greased loaf pan, and let it proof (rise some more). When that was done, I brushed the top with egg wash.
Halfway through the baking, I rotated the loaf and brushed on some more egg wash.
Once it was finished baking (the sides of the loaf were golden, and the top gave a hollow sound when tapped), I pulled it out of the loaf pan and set it to cool on a wire rack.
I sliced into it, to see how the crumb turned out–and it’s BEAUTIFUL.
Now I’m off to make French toast!
If you didn’t already see the announcement, I’ll be taking over the law-student-authored half of the Law School Roundup. Much like E. Spat, I’ll be wanting you to send me links with suggestions, of course. If all goes well, you can look for my first Roundup here, next Sunday. For now, of course, be sure to check out this week’s Roundup over at Evan Shaffer’s Legal Underground.
*You SING it, like we used to at summer camp.
I intended take pictures through the entire process, but I forgot. But today I’ve been making brioche, just because I’ve wanted to make an egg bread for a while. Right now, the dough is cold-rising in the fridge (apparently a necessity for brioche, because it’s so tough to handle that it needs to be chilled) and I’ll probably bake it in the morning. I’ll report back after we’ve had a taste.
For now, I’m a little nervous, because I may not have kneaded it long enough (in the KitchenAid stand mixer). While brioche dough is supposed be sticky, it apparently should also clean the bowl when it’s done kneading (my recipe didn’t say this, but others do). My dough never actually cleaned the sides of the bowl, though it did pull away easily when scraped it out. It doesn’t seem to have suffered–the texture of the dough after the first rise was fine (and BOY! did it inflate in a scant two hours!) but I worry about what that will do for the crumb when I actually bake it. The next time I deflate it (normally, requiring a “punching down” but with brioche requiring more of a “lifting of the edges”), I may do a quick knead-by-hand in the bowl. Just to be on the safe side. I’m also worried because I used bread flour (I want a sturdier bread for French toast) and most of the recipes out there call for all-purpose. Bread flour, having a higher protein content, is really good for chewy breads, but brioche is not generally considered “chewy” or “sturdy.” So I worry that I’ll end up with a rich, chewy bread that is worthless UNLESS I make French toast with it.
So I’ll post pictures of the final product, tomorrow morning, if I remember. If it turns out well, I’ll post the recipe.