Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dreams

I had one of those post-traumatic-stress/post-exam dreams the other night. I was taking my IP Survey exam (the one I don't feel good about), and after it was over we were informed that it was only a practice exam, so we would get another chance. I was so relieved! Notice I called it a dream, not a nightmare.

Technically I'm not done with my classes. I still have a paper to re-draft. For my Information Privacy class, I managed to engineer a three-birds-one-stone process. I wrote one 25-page paper, and it counted as 1) half my final grade for the class, 2) my upper-level writing requirement, and 3) a directed research credit. I was pretty proud of this because my professor admitted that no one had done it before, but she didn't see any reason why I couldn't do it. The unfortunate part is that she can make me re-write it as many times as she wants.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Halfway Through

As an afterthought, I did finish exams. The last one, IP Survey, was brutal. Just too much to write about with too little time. This was my open book exam, and for the record I'd like to put down the technique I plan on using in the future. I'm going to have two outlines, one that is very short and with the most basic elements. The other outline will be filled with details and cases. So if I have time to add in the details I will, but if there's no time I won't get caught up picking and choosing which sub-elements to include.

Also, I was annoyed that my prof didn't give time recommendations for each section. He had 5 short answers worth 50 points each, and one larger question worth 120 points. I'm terrible at math (that's why I'm in law school...) and I really couldn't spend the time working out fractions. It was frustrating.

The Curve

Classic and amusing post on how professors grade exams. Check out the comments following the post, they're also hilarious.

A Guide to Grading Exams

Thanks to Traditional Notions for the link.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Shout Out

Hey, I got a vote for top law blog on this website! Thanks to my anonymous voter, who wrote: "I had to vote twice. This is a blog written by a law student. Usually funny and concise. As a law student I don't do any extra reading. thanks." Much appreciated.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cramming

My girl on cramming, and the humbling experience of law school:

Anne: It really is so much smarter to study along the way, you can't cram for this stuff. Evidence would have been a good one to get on top of ages ago.

me: I mean you can cram, but it's not enjoyable.

Anne: Yeah, tell me about it. I knew much more con law 3 days b4 the exam than I do with evidence. But I will get there.

me: Yeah, can't underestimate the power of your brain.

Anne: I never used to...What an ego blow this law shit is for me.

me: Ahh, for all of us.

Anne: At least we are still hot! Haha.

me: LOL

Anne: My step mom used to always say to me, whenever I would feel bad "Well, at least you will never be ugly." I thought she was so shallow. But it did make me feel better.

me: Bahahha!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

There's Still A War Going On

A friend of mine is in Iraq. I want to show this excerpt from an email I got from him today. So we don't forget a war is going on. So we remember the bigger world out there. I was/am against the war in Iraq, but I know it's this Administration that's to blame - not our soldiers. They all have different reasons for being in the military, and they're following orders. Anyone willing to risk their life for our country deserves respect, and more, deserves all our efforts to bring them home. Pause and remember how precious life is.

"I've had a long, tough week. I spent most of it traveling around the country. Hopping helicopter rides from FOB to FOB(Forward Operating Base). I got back on Sunday. Some Soldiers in my unit were KIA. Whenever this happens we are blacked out, meaning all communication to the outside world is cutoff. I found out today that a friend of mine was killed last night. It makes you pause and appreciate life. Everything that I am currently doing, every simple act, breath, sight, sound, taste, emotion, all these, these people will never experience again. How grateful I am, yet so sad. Death is natural? Not when you die by unnatural means. How is that loss of life justified? I don't know what to say. I have to think it through."

And now I have to study my Wills and Trusts. Ironic. There's an exception to the formalities of wills for soldiers in action, or sailors on a ship.

Monday, December 04, 2006

First Exam

The morning before the first exam is so funny. Everyone you see has the same wry smile on, like 'Here we go again...'

I just finished my Con Law exam. We were all running out of time, lots of bullet-pointing and outlining occurred. I answered everything without outlining, but usually I have too much time, and I went right into the 3 minuted warning on this one. That's good - it'll help the curve. The other anomoly occurred when we got the multiple choice portion. The instruction page said we had 32 questions, and about the same amount of true/false. But the exam only had 19 MC and no T/F questions. A gift of sorts, but definately not intentional.

I have my Wills and Trusts exam on Thurs, so I'm digging right into it instead of having a beer with my comrades. Wills doesn't induce any major excitement for me usually, but the other day I was reading my supplement, and I got so into it. I literally couldn't put the book down; I ate dinner while reading it. Very bizarre.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Day of the Week

During reading period before exams, every day is Sunday: You don't have class, but you have to do school work. And you have something huge and impending hanging over your head.

Virtual Study Grouping is in full effect. Emailing practice exam answers and exchanging outlines, discussion of issues on IM.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Cold

You know it's finals time when it's 8 AM on a Friday and there are already 10 people on your gmail chat. IM is obviously a mixed blessing. It's fabulous when you have a random question ("Is intent an element of intimidation under the 1st Amendment?" Answer: Yes.) because you can get a quick, succinct answer. Remote Study Grouping. But of course IM can be terribly distracting. Great test of will power.

I have a cold, and I'm pretty sure I got it from the same friend who gave me a cold during last semester finals. I'd be furious, but what's the point? Nothing I can about it except suck on Cold Eeze and pop Sudafed. (Note: Sudafed has a slight Ritalin-like effect. Maybe it's the caffeine, but it is a stimulant.) At least it's still reading period. I've imposed a quarantine to protect my friends. Last night a friend of mine stopped by; he remained in his car while I stood on the sidewalk outside my building, chatting.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Single

In those books your family members buy you before you go to law school, I remember reading strong words of caution not to fall in love during your first year. Because either love or school will suffer. But truly I think it's far more dangerous to be single during law school. Very distracting.

It's easy to tell your bf that you can't go out because you have homework...it takes much more will power to tell a date you can't go out because you have to read your Wills and Trusts.

Hypocrites and Capitalism

In the November 27, 2006 issue of The New Yorker magazine:

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran:
"'Why doesn't America stop enriching uranium?' the Iranian President asked. He laughed, and added, 'We'll enrich it for you and sell it to you at a fifty-per-cent discount.'"

Seymour M. Hersh, "The Next Act."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Muscles Under God

I suppose I should mention in passing that classes have ended, and the study-crush begins. Good luck to my fellow blawgers. Unless you're in my classes. In which case I wish you wouldn't mess with the curve.

Last class was Con Law, where I had to advocate briefly in front of the class on why the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegience violate the Establishment Clause. My group and I did excellent, and I felt comfortable up there mentally, but physically my body was simply not cooperating. Some kind of weird shaking going on in my neck muscles. I kept tilting my head, trying to shake it out. Very strange how our bodies defy us at these inconvenient moments.

Also, I have my first law school open-book exam. Any thoughts/advice on how to take the damn thing?

Generalized Grievances

Today a friend of mine was talking about some serious problems he's had with a professor (no syllabus, they read two cases throughout the semester, he showed up late or wouldn't show up, etc.). He wants to withdraw and retake the course, so he met with the Dean.

"Are there other kids complaining too?" I asked.
"Yeah," he replied.
"You guys should do a class action then," I said, thinking in legal-ese.
"Hahah, class action," he punned.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving

 

May we all remember what Thanksgiving was really about.

10 points to anyone who can tell me where this mural is located in San Francisco. Hint: It's outside of my favorite bar in the Mission.
 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Craig's List Win

Update on the Craig's List law suit for Fair Housing Act violations:

Case was dismissed. CL is not liable because the Act specifically absolves publishers of ads, and CL is a publisher.

More details here.

Unsubscribe

So I was receiving emails from a club that wanted me to put myself on their guest lists for events. I kept trying to unsubscribe, but the link for it never worked. In a fit of angry proactiveness, I sent them a threat email citing the Cal. Business Code damages on spammers who do not provide an opt-out feature (described here).

A few days later, of course I got another email from them, telling me about some event. But then, I clicked unsubscribe, and it worked.

Success!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bathwater

Study grouping is so key. First semester I study-grouped, but last semester I didn't, and I think it showed in my grades. Last semester me and another groupie had personality conflicts, so we all studied on our own.

It makes such a difference to have something explained to you by someone at your level, or to explain something. And your groupies fill in the gaps in your knowledge, the stuff you didn't realize you didn't know.

If you're on the fence about study-grouping, do it. If you have drama with a groupie, form a new group. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Of the Week

Bumper Sticker of the Week:
"Linuxgruven"

Product Label of the Week:
On Bounce Dryer Sheets, it says "Discover Bounce freshness in new places*!" And then it has pictures of an easy-chair, a hamper, shoes. The asterick warns, "Avoid direct contact with fabrics."

Come again??

Friday, November 17, 2006

Warning: Profanity

In Con Law, we read FCC v. Pacifica Foundation (438 U.S. 726) from 1978. The Supreme Court decided the FCC was allowed to regulate profanity on the radio. My prof played the George Carlin broadcast that was the target of the case for us today in class (anyone who didn't want to hear it was invited, respectfully, to leave. Naturally no one did.)

Carlin informed us that there are 400,000 words in the English language and only 7 that you can't say on television. In the interest of free speech, I will cite them here:
Shit fuck cocksucker motherfucker cunt piss tits.

(Carlin on "tits": "What's that doing on the list? It's like the name for a snack! Nabisco Tits. Chedder Cheese Tits. Pizza Tits.")

The court said these words had such slight social value that they deserved less protection. The court's beef really was with the intrusiveness of a broadcast like this, which can invade the home and the ears of children, given that a warning at the start of the broadcast might not protect the captive audience. That may be true, but saying the broadcast has no social value is absurd: entertainment and humor are some of the most powerful social values.

Interestingly, during class discussion, the word that was most frequently voiced was "motherfucker."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Patience

It's very strange how innocent the 1Ls look. Even the ones who are clearly older than me, they have this innocent cast, this bouyant confidence in their voices. They haven't been humbled yet.

It's very strange, the people who didn't come back this year. You don't think about them, and then suddenly they pass through your thoughts, and you realize they're gone.

I feel good, I feel like I'm on top of my shit. I have only 3 exams. I prefer to write papers because I can get them done ahead of time. Papers can be harder, and more work, but I find the anxiety of waiting for an exam to be a rougher kind of torture. Waiting, god I hate waiting! That's the reason why I never procrastinate, because I'm so impatient.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting Is Sexy

Don't forget to vote today. To find your polling place (they change sometimes) in San Fran, click here:

Polling Place

Monday, November 06, 2006

Spam

This is good to know. Cal. Bus. & Professions Code section 17538.4 requires that spam have an opt-out feature. If you opt out and they continue spamming you, they can be liable for $50 per message up to $25,000 per day.

I wonder if the source of the spam has to be located in California?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Deposition Tricks

My brilliant Civil Discovery professor offered several tricks for holding depositions, of which he said he never partakes but believes we should know about.

He said he once knew an attorney who cut the legs of a chair. He would trim off three inches on the front legs and two inches off the back legs, so the witness would not only be lower ("So they feel like a little kid"), they would also be constantly sliding off their chair.

And my prof told a story about how he was taking a depo of a witness who was represented by a former student of his. When the former student entered the room, he immediately went to the windows and closed the blinds, as the southern sun was shining towards the chair where the witness was to sit. My professor: "Of course I have no idea how those blinds got open..."

Obligatory Voting Pitch

Vote on November 7th.


Call For Change

Constitutional Candy

Con Law prof on why he didn't bring us Halloween candy:

"If I give candy out, it's like I get a bunch of crackheads talking about the 1st Amendment: [in a high voice] 'I love freedom of speech!'"

Also, his advice on this stressful period before finals, which I'd like to share with my fellow blawgers who are feelin the heat:

"If you find that you can't talk to anyone because you're too stressed out...like if someone says 'Good morning' and you're like 'Shut the hell up!'...or if you're too busy to eat cereal...go out and do something for yourself. See a movie, go for a walk. Do normal adult things and get away for a minute."

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fundamental Rights

My Con Law professor on the fundamental rights sections:

“So we'll start the sections on sexual activity and voting; you may have an interest in one or the other.”

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fair Craig

I remember last semester during Property we studied the Fair Housing Act and learned about how rental advertisements can't state a preference based on race, national origin, gender, etc. Of course we talked about Craigslist, because if you've ever searched on there for an apartment, you know ads are posted all the time saying things like, "Female only," or "Asian only." (The two most common, in that order, I'd say.)

Anyway I just noticed that there's a new flagging function for discriminatory posts, with a link to a page that summarizes the FHA. I wonder how effective it is? When I saw a "females only" post, I thought, 'I should flag it.' But then I didn't because I thought, 'Well some girl might not reply to that post without the "females only."' It's hard too because 1) in a way, people should be able to choose who they live with, and 2) if the ad doesn't say it, that doesn't mean they're not discriminating in their choice. Which I guess is where discriminatory impact comes into play. On the other hand, isn't the publication of discriminatory ads just bad for society?

And I see they're being sued in Chicago.

Here's the CL link:

Discrimination Flagging

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Wack

After getting into the Con Law section on Equal Protection, my prof arranged to have an out-of-class discussion on race in our own lives. About 25 people showed up (on a Friday afternoon!) and we basically went around the table describing our backgrounds and our experiences with racism. It was pretty cool...laughter, some tears, the whole bit. The coolest thing about it though is how it made us into a secret club. When I pass somebody in the hall who was at the discussion, who I've known but never really had a conversation with, we make eye contact and smile.

My Con Law prof is of a fatherly-age and he has kids our age, so every once in a while he'll throw out some slang (One time he actually said "wack." Hearing adults use kid-slang is like hearing a foreigner curse in your language: hilarious.) For example, he made up this hypo in class about the right to contract. He posed the scenario of a bakery that was also a porn shop, and described it as "raunchy." (We debated whether the state had a compelling interest in upholding moral values.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Caveat Spiritus

I was doing some research for my internship; it was for a client whose landlord had an "inspector" take pictures inside her apartment, and then found out later that the photos were taken by a real estate agent and used for advertising. I was researching landlord-tenant issues, and I found this hilaroiusly titled article:

"ARTICLE: CAVEAT SPIRITUS: A JURISPRUDENTIAL REFLECTION UPON THE LAW OF HAUNTED HOUSES AND GHOSTS," DANIEL M. WARNER (Copyright (c) 1993 Valparaiso University Law Review Valparaiso University Law Review, FALL, 1993, 28 Val. U.L. Rev. 207).

No, I didn't read it.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fleeting

This is my second year of law school, and my second year in San Fran. It's interesting how you feel the passage of time when annual events roll around.

Eg: You'll find yourself sipping a glass of wine and surfing the internet at home, when suddenly there's a ripping, roaring, screaming outside...visions of 9/11 flash through your head...and then you remember, damn, it's Fleet Week doing warm ups. ''''''

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wealth

Con Law prof on the LSAT:

There's a high correlation of LSAT scores with first year grades, but there's another correlation that's even higher.

LSAT scores and wealth have the highest correlation.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Rings

Some amusing Wills and Trusts laws:

In California, an engagement ring is a conditional gift. If the person who receives the ring breaks off the engagement, they can be forced to return the ring. In common law, it even depends on who breaks off the engagement. That means that if the person who gives the ring breaks off the engagement, the receiver doesn't have to return it!

Also, if you give a gift because you think you're about to die, but then you survive, you can get the gift back!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Bar

Some fellow lawyers-to-be in my class were talking about a news report that showed that people who win the lottery are more likely to become alcoholics.

A: You know attorneys are 5 times more likely to be alcoholics than the general population. [I can't substantiate that fact.]
B: I think I'd rather win the lottery...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Clerk

So I got a job; well, let's not call it a job yet because I don't know if I'm paid. A clerkship. I'm working for a solo practitioner who does a lot of IP work. Here's how it happened:

This attorney was one of our panel attorneys at my internship over the summer. I referred a lot of cases to their office; they were always willing to talk to anyone. I became friendly with them. My IP professor told me to find part-time work over the semester to get some experience, so I spontaneously called up my contact there. He said he was glad I called, they needed people. I got an interview, and then I got the position.

The lawyer told me she throws cases at the clerks and has them work the way a real attorney would. Sounds perfect. Even if it's not paid, it feels good to walk out of an interview hired.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Net-not-working

We had a guest speaker for my IP Survey class. I should share his advice on rain-making:

"I've gotten almost all my clients through my hobbies. Take up sailing, for example. Find a hobby that rich people do."

Scrutinizing Your Pants

My Con Law professor had an amusing analogy for levels of scrutiny the court uses to determine whether a law is discriminatory under the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

The 3 levels of course are strict scrutiny, intermediate scrutiny, and the rational basis test. Strict is obviously the highest level, rational basis the lowest.

He compared the rational basis test to a pair of baggy jeans: the fit of the law to the purpose just has to be loose.

He compared the strict scrutiny test to Spandex: the fit of the law has to be extremely tight to the government purpose.

What's intermediate then?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Blawyers

Article about our fellow law school blogger Laweyerlike.

Copyright

I cruise around the internet (StumbleUpon usually) to find random photos or pictures to use as my desktop wallpaper. After a few weeks or days I find another photo and change it. Today I clicked on this site with cool photos on it. I clicked on the photo to englarge it. Then I right-clicked to set it as my desktop background, and this message popped up:

"These photos are copyrighted by their respective owners. All rights reserved. Unauthoritzed use prohibited."

Interesting. I've wondered about that before, especially in the context of posting photos/pictures from other sites onto places like MySpace comment boards. It always felt weird to be able to download those images (with Save As for instance). You knew this was coming, and you can't blame them for wanting to protect the expression of their art.

But still. Aren't they trying to get their work Out There? Isn't there something anti-artistic and stuffy about preventing people from using it as their wallpaper? It seems like they could restrict it more finely. (Like s/he is an artist/attorney. I wonder how many of those there are.) Is there an economical incentive? Did someone steal his/her work?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Seance

I'm sitting in Wills. We just concluded our Nalgene Bottle Seance. It's night now, and my prof turned off the lights in the classroom, and we sat in the eerie emanations of our laptops. He asked everyone who had a Nalgene bottle to hold it in their hands (about 6 people of the 100 of us). Then he held up his green Nalgene and put the podium light under it so that a sparkling green spectre appeared on the ceiling. He said, "Look, something's happening!"
"Does anyone have a question to ask the Nalgene Bottle?"
No responses.
"You're going to regret it later: 'Oh, I should've asked the Nalgene Bottle!'"

I wish I could shed some light on the origins and/or purposes of this exercise, but your guess is as good as mine.

Makes interesting blog fodder though.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

To Court

I walked into Info Privacy on Tuesday and my professor says to the 20-odd group of us, "Okay, everybody get your stuff, we're going to the California Supreme Court to watch this defamation case." So we piled into cars and went down there and sat in the overflow room to watch the oral arguments. (The overflow room was awesome. Stadium seating, giant screen, surround sound.)

I couldn't believe how much like moot court it was. Even that ridiculous, "May it please the court, my name is...." The defense attorneys were representing the ACLU and the EFF, basically saying that just because this woman reposted an allegedly defamatory email on a blog, that didn't mean she should be included in the suit. The attorneys were clearly experienced, but their voices were still shaking. The judges tossed them softballs with questions about internet freedom and the ability of the plaintiff to find relief by suing the original defamer.

The defense attorney had this unappealing attitude. His voice didn't shake but he had this obnoxious tone of voice. The minute he got up there, they started pounding him with questions: exactly like they did in moot court. But he clearly didn't remember the number one rule from moot court: Never, EVER, interrupt a judge. (One judge interrupted him, after he interrupted her, and said, "Sorry to interrupt you, but I would ask that you let me finish my question.") I wish we could have gone to something like that before we did moot court, so we'd see how legit it was.

To conclude, I think that clearly the republisher of the defamatory email will get off. Apparently the Fed Cts have all taken the stance that you can't get in trouble for republishing if you don't change the substance of the content.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Reverse Incentives

Another hilarious interlude, from my Discovery prof:

"So the grade from this course will come from two or three short papers, about 3 pages each. If the first paper you guys hand in is good, you'll get assigned two more papers. If the first one is lousy, you'll only get one more paper assigned."
[At this point there was an uproar of confused laughter. A weird incentive plan or did he make a mistake? we wondered.]
He explained:
"Because if the first paper is lousy I don't wanna read a whole extra set of lousy papers."

Great prof.

The Preacher

My Intellectual Property professor (hereafter "The Preacher") on the public domain:

"When can IP rights be reclaimed from the public domain? I envision it as a giant rift, where the rights drop from the heaven that is protection into the rift that is the public domain. When you lose protection, they drop into the public domain. Once they fall from heaven, they can only be prayed out. You must clutch your rosary beads and pray them out by changing the law, or by resurrecting abandoned trademarks."

Case in point: Mickey Mouse's copyright protection was set to expire, until Congress extended copyright protection laws. Mickey resurrected into heaven.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Plan B

Two very amusing things about this article:

"Barr has agreed not to sell the pills at gas stations or convenience stores, to ensure better compliance with the rules."

And:
"Couples in the United States have so much unprotected sex — half of all pregnancies are unplanned — that even if the pills were easy for anyone to obtain, they would be unlikely to cause a major change in abortion and disease rates."

Half of all pregnancies? Wow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Outrun You

Back in the saddle. It's strange being back, but I remained in constructive denial and so avoided the ante-school (anti-school?) anxiety. I actually got into a class (Discovery) that I was waitlisted for, no easy feat. No final, no assigned text, and the first assignment merely advises us to choose our seat carefully as it will be permanent for the semester. Compare to the 45 pages of reading for Information Privacy.

Highlight from Wills & Trusts with my fave prof:
"I've switched over to this new Probate Code book, which is so much better because it organizes the codes by category, and not section number. For example the section on domestic partnerships is in an entirely different place than the section on marriage. So I went to the other Wills professors and I was like, 'Look at this fabulous book! Let's all switch to this one!' And they looked at me and said, 'Are you kidding? It's taken me years to put all these post-it notes in place.'"

And a joke:
Two guys are in the woods camping, and they suddenly see a bear. The one guy starts putting on his sneakers, and the other guy is like, "Are you crazy? You can't outrun a bear." And the one guy says, "I only have to outrun you."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Burglar

So I had both my laptop and my iPod burglarized from my apartment. S/he came in through the kitchen window, which was cracked. Consider yourself warned.

Anyway, I emailed iTunes because obviously I'd lost all the songs I'd purchased on there. It was a sad email, about how I was grieving for all my lost music, was there anything they could do? Everyone told me it was lost forever. Nevertheless, this was the reply:

"I'm sorry to hear that you lost your iTunes Store purchases when your computer was stolen. I know how distressing that can be, so I've made all of the content you lost available for you to download again, free of charge. Please understand that Apple does not offer protection against the loss of your purchases, so this is a one-time exception."

So I'd like to give big ups to "Adrienne" at Apple, who restored me my lost music. Now that's customer service.

Luck

School starting up again soon. I'm keep it buried in the back of my mind, trying to enjoy the dying gasp of summer. This summer has been amazing, I'm not sure why exactly. My love affair with San Fran is in full swing, maybe that had something to do with it. Today's the last day of my internship and I'm sending out resumes for next summer. I'd like some luck...that would be nice. I work hard, and how else can you be rewarded except by getting lucky?

Overheard yesterday in the parking lot at Fort Mason, by a woman:
"I lost my car keys!" Beat. "And my baby's in the car!"

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

You're Nuts

So we got this email at work from someone seeking legal aid. We often get some real characters emailing us, some of whom clearly have mental issues. Here's an exerpt:

"I've been murdered at least twice (possible more) - it was covered up and I was criminally drugged to memory loss about it (the fences behind the house disappeared, trees that were cut down were put back, the county paved new roads and then the new roads disappeared and the old roads were put back) - no one tells me about this - I have to get my memory back to know - I was murdered at my brother's house..." Etc, etc for three pages.

The thing about insanity that always strikes me is that it isn't a line you cross one day. It's a gradual progression - there are people who have traits of psychosis who can still function socially. Take OCD for example: when I leave my apartment, I have to touch my keys, to make sure I don't lock myself out. Even when I put the keys into my pocket moments before I step out, I still have to touch them before I shut the door behind me. If I had to touch them multiple times, if I couldn't leave my apartment without touching them ten times, it would be OCD. People with these psychoses aren't in a different realm, I don't think. They just have the same tendencies as 'normal' people, but they take them to the extreme. And at some point society says, 'You're nuts."

Monday, July 24, 2006

Best of the Weeks

T-shirts of the week:

Worn by a guy with a kilt on:
"So you can see my balls when I stomp your face."

Worn by a baby, with a picture of a pacifier:
"Pacifist."

And an oldie but goodie:
"Fast friendly service. Choose one."

----------------------------

Sign of the week:

Disturbingly, outside of a pet store in LA:

"Where the meat is."

Friday, July 07, 2006

Puzzler

Notice something fishy about this photo? (See below for the answer.)

 

What's a bike doing on the back of a boat?? Posted by Picasa

Fort Mason

And here's Fort Mason Center, the building. I guess you can see why it's not safe in an earthquake. It's always sunny here. The boats have chimes on their masts, which sound like musical cow bells when the wind blows (and it always does). Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge loom in the distance.

  Posted by Picasa

Danger

Here's the afore-mentioned sign on the outside of the building where I work.

  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Livin' the Life

Update on the grades. The one exam I thought was hard I did the worst in. The rest of my grades were variations between 'good' and 'okay.' I think the variations were due to the curve (an easy test means it comes down to extremely small points), but then I would say that.

I'm loving the internship. I spent the 4th with my boss and one of the other interns, at my boss's barbeque. (My co-workers are great). Lots of lawyers there naturally, and I was pleasantly surprised by how young they looked. That's relieving because I can more easily see myself in their place. I have a young face, and I'm short, and I have a hard time seeing myself as an adult. (Grown-up, kids say. That sounds more right to me - you grow up and become a grown-up.)

Greatest part of my internship is that it's only 3 days a week. I'm living the life. I feel like I get so much of my personal life/world in order when I have a weekday off. Bonus time. I'm so effing lucky to have my parents to support me.

I got an alcohol promotion job, but I haven't signed up to any of the gigs yet. Preparing my brain for it.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Dreams

I had another San Fran-New York dream. When I first got here I had dreams of being in NYC, and for whatever reason they always involved the transportation system. Gradually I began to have dreams of being in SF too. Then I had dream of being in SF waiting for the subway (I never take the trains here).

The other night I finally had a dream where I was in NYC...but waiting for the #5 Fulton bus. Instead of putting NYC in SF, I put SF in NYC. Like I'm learning to Walk like I'm from here.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Bumper sticker puzzlers

Bumper sticker oddities of the week:

"I have a dog and I vote."

And, on the back of a man's pickup truck:

"I brake for microtonal windchimes."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Referral Services

So in case it isn't clear yet, I'm working for a legal referral service.

Today this guy calls in with a contract dispute; someone hadn't paid him. I ask him for his contact information, and he tells me the name of his company, which I'll call John Doe Designs. He adds, "I'm the sole proprietor. I mean single proprietor. And straight. [At this point he's laughing.] And looking." I laughed too, and then I said, "Yeah, sorry, we're not that kind of referral service."

The most amusing part is that this isn't the first time I've gotten to make that comment.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Password

I met the other intern today where I work. He's in a band, and his band has a Myspace page of course. One day all the content of their page - photos, music, 900+ friends - disappeared. They eventually determined that a band member's exgirlfriend had the password and took her revenge. (Hell hath no fury and all that.) Me and the intern puzzled over a legal theory to cover this kind of thing. Trespass of chattels? Is an internet site a chattel? Is that considered hacking, since she had the password? Do they even own the chattel, since the site is free?

Moral of the story: Never give your S.O. your passwords.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Working on the wharf

So I started my summer intership today. I gave myself a week of vacation because I thought I'd get bored. I did get bored, but unfortunately that didn't make going to work any easier.

It was a good day anyway. The woman I work with is nice and helpful, and she closed the window when I put my jacket on; she noticed I got cold. Most of the day was spent trying to figure out why the network was down, or the printer, or the new operating system, or the upgraded version of FileMaker. Technical troubles everywhere I turned, and I'm good with technology. Plight of the nonprofits, I suppose.

Most of our clients (all artists) were women, and most of the attorneys we referred them to were men. I was in a good position though. I got to comfort our clients without having to do any of the legal legwork that they needed. (We only refer them to attorneys, we don't give legal advice.)

I didn't eat the entire day. There wasn't a lunch break, and I didn't bring any food. Strangely, I don't think I've ever had a job where I ate the first day. I'm always stuffed full of stress.

I noticed a sign on my building that read: "This building contains substances known by the state of California to cause cancer." And another below it: "This building is not a fall-out shelter and should be vacated during an earthquake." Very comforting.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Neutral

It's weird, but after finishing finals I don't feel that elated. It's not so much feeling happy, but rather feeling not stressed out. Feeling neutral again.

After I got back from my exam, I sat on the couch and read awhile. Finally I whined to my boy, "I'm bored!" He raised his eyebrows and said, "Four hours into summer vacation and you're bored already?"

Saturday, May 20, 2006

First Year Over

Finished my first year of law school! Property was my last exam, 9 AM on a Saturday. Not that the day of the week matters during exam period...it's all about how many days till the next one, as Flossy said. The exam felt pretty easy, but that's usually bad. If the exam felt easy there are three scenarios: 1) you did well, 2) you completely missed the boat, or 3) the curve is gonna be a bitch. I got a cold from my friend a few days ago. I always pitied those poor souls who got sick during finals; now my empathy is for real. I was pretty drugged up for the exam, sudafed and afrin and tylenol. They all seemed to meld into a general feeling of disconnect, but during the exam I never even thought about it. I just sank into the groove without a sniffle. The worst part, actually, is that I can't savor my new freedom as intimately. (I can't taste anything.)

All my exams felt easier this semester. It's all about those practice exams and model answers. It's funny when you get out of an exam, and you start probing people about what they got for this question or that one, but you're hesitant, on tip toes, frightened that they'll tell you about something you missed. There are two camps after an exam: people who wanna discuss everything, and people who don't even want to hear you discussing it, and who may become violent if you do. Which camp you're in depends on how you face that fear of missing something. If you felt good about the exam, you don't think you missed anything major, so you overcome the fear.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Down with Multiple Choice

Why my Contracts professor gives essay-only exams:

"How many judges ask multiple-choice questions in court?"

No More Fun With Finals

I'm in the middle of my second law school round of finals. It feels totally different from first semester; I know this sounds weird, but it's not as fun. Last semester it all seemed so insurmountable, and that gave me this kind of giddiness about it. Like when I was in college and on the diving team, we would go on training trips. And the pool was outdoors, and we'd have to get up at some ungodly hour and then dive into this icy pool over and over again...there was this comedy-of-the-absurd feeling. You'd be laughing about how torturous and ridiculous the whole thing was. That was what first semester felt like.

This semester it's all in the natural course of things. It's all business. Memorizing all these factors is within the realm of possibility - it's just a task you have to plod through.

It's not as fun.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Summer

If you haven't gotten a summer job yet, let me apologize in advance. Because there's nothing more annoying when you're unemployed than to hear somebody say: I got a job! In typical 1L fashion, I'm not paid, but I figure I can moonlight as a bartender/waitress with the struggling actors of the employment world.

Here's how I got it:
1. I researched attorneys on Martindale, searching by my law school.
2. I sent a cold cover letter to an attorney I really liked, who also happened to be an alum of my undergraduate school. I never heard back from him, but more on that in a minute.
3. Looking at that attorney's website, I noticed he was part of a non-profit outfit for artists.
4. I talked to my career advisor, who said I should call them and see if they were hiring. (I know this sounds unbelievable: law school career office advisor actually helped me get a job? Yeah, believe it.)
5. The organization told me to send my resume to one of their departments. I got an interview the next day.
6. I talked to one of my professors, casually, and he happened to have done some work for the organization. He called them up for me.

I got the affirmative call-back the next day.

As for the attorney who never called me: I made a follow-up call to him about 10 days later (as instructed by my career office), but I only left him a voice mail. I was planning on calling him again when I got this internship, so who knows what would have happened. Probably nothing.

Something else I did, which although it didn't get me a job, was informative: I called friends who knew people in SF. They referred me to their friends, who referred me to attorneys they knew.

Lots of good advice, but the main purpose of that networking was to make me feel like I was searching for a job, without ever having to hunt for one. (It's a more refined form of procrastination, like cleaning your room instead of doing your homework.) I just didn't feel like sending my resume out to a ton of places. Job searching is so evil! A terrible task. That tickle that gets your heart racing when you're lying in bed at night. That voice in your brain every day that says, 'I'm going to job-search tomorrow.' That stab of envy when you see somebody dressed up for an interview at school. Bleh, why do I dwell on it?

When my boy heard the news, he was really pleased. He said with a sly grin, "But you know I'm happier for my own sake than for your's..." Meaning, he was relieved to escape the job-search-bitchiness that emanated from me like bad breath after a hot meal.

The best part of this was my thank-you emails. It was so gratifying to share good news with people who helped create it.

Tomorrow is the last day of my first year of law school.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Low-hanging Fruit

(From my Contracts Professor, advice on exam taking:)

The exam is an orchard. Don't struggle to climb one tree and try to pick all the fruit on it, top to bottom. Run around the whole orchard and pick all the low-hanging fruit.

(And on law school exams in general:)

The law school world wants you to think that you everything you've learned in your life is useless, that you have to learn how to think in a completely different way. It's not true. Your knowledge is applicable. And they want you to think that law school is a universe that must consume you. It's not. Your exams are just a blip in your life, and law school is only the beginning for you. It's only the end for law professors. All you have to do is get one job after law school, which you all will, and then no one will ever ask how you did on your Contracts exam.

(It's true. They do tell you that you have to learn how to think like a lawyer, that you have to rearrange your brain. They do try and indoctrinate you into the microcosm of law school.)

(I feel grounded again.)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

420 in San Francisco

What a wild city this is. To what else could I attribute the subject line of this email, received from my school's financial aid office?

"Help celebrate 420 with the Financial Aid Office by reading this!"

It was a generic email about submitting FAFSA forms.

However dubious, it was awesome. Only in San Francisco.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Black and White

The sunshine finally returned to SF so it feels like spring fever just dropped on us.
During class break I had this funny conversation about Blackacre, the infamous piece of property in the world of law school. It went something like this:

Ben: It's always Blackacre and Whiteacre, and the owner of Blackacre is always evil. What's up with that?
Me: Kinda racist.
Ben: Yeah, what about Brownacre?
Lauren: Greenacre? Oh, isn't that one taken already?
Me: What about Land-of-color-acre?
Joe: This is San Francisco, what abour Rainbowacre?

And I don't doubt for a second that countless other law students have had similar conversations...

But did it really need to be named anything? Couldn't they have phrased the hypo, "O owns land and A obtains an easement for her driveway..."?

Then again, no pointlessly amusing conversations are inspired by that.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Pressure Drop

"The CDC's latest survey reported 71 percent of men are overweight and 31 percent are obese. For women, it's 62 percent overweight and 33 percent obese." This quote from this article posted by Dicta made me wonder about social pressure. I mean, less women are overweight as compared to men; isn't it possible that that happens because women feel more social pressure (at least in the US) to be thin?

And we women are always complaining about the pressure to be thin! It's good for our health! I guess you'd have to do an eating disorder analysis to be fair, but still.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Nature of the Bargain

Starting to think like a lawyer - strike that - starting to think like a law student:

The other night my boy was discussing his fantasy baseball league with me. He was trying to decide whether to make a trade. I found myself thinking, "But what is the heart of the bargain? They're bargaining about whose knowledge and predictions of the players are better. This is like the Peerless case, where they were bargaining over who could better predict the price of cotton over time."

I usually restrain myself from brining my Contracts class into conversations with my boy, but I did share this one. It's a sort of implicit bargain, that he won't bore me with baseball talk, and I won't bore him with law school talk. But as we were both in breach...

Class Action Myspacers

I did this on Myspace, but maybe it really belongs here.

Types of myspace users, in accordance with the requirements for a Class Action lawsuit:

1. Numerosity: These myspacers don't care who their friends are, they just want to get as many as possible, and more than you. They'll befriend anyone who asks. They hunt down random bands to inflate their numbers. These are the people with more than 400 friends.

2. Commonality: These myspacers have friends who all have one thing in common, and it's attractiveness. These are the myspacers whose top 8 is comprised entirely of hot girls in provacative poses.

3. Typicality: These myspacers only collect friends who are their friends in Real Life. Accordingly, they have under 100 myspace friends. They consistently decline to approve random guys who hit on them with friend requests. Their myspace friends are the same type as their RL friends.

4. Representation: These are the myspacers who got talked into getting a myspace account, but who make no effort to collect friends or update their profile. You recognize these because their profile only inform you that they're a Sagitarius, and they have no photo. They might have only one friend, Tom. They are only minimally represented as a ghostlike silhouette.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Point system

In San Francisco there's always somebody striking or threatening to strike. Activism, empowerment, all the time.

************************************************

Today was a big day for me - I got 25 points in Crim Pro. You get points for answering hard questions. They don't mean anything of course - as Shatz always informs the visiting prospectives. Someobody else got the other 25 (he split it) but I knew the answer before she added her bit. (The answer was "TLO," the name of a case we covered.) I'd feel even more psyched, but it was a pretty easy question, not a 50 point question. Maybe a 10 pointer. But he was working hard to motivate us because we have this Moot Court brief due, and nobody was prepared for class. And I think he likes to impress the guests with it; it's good showmanship, because he gets to make the announcement that points are meaningless. It was sorta funny the first time he said it.

My dad used to give points out when I was little. Like when we were traveling, "Whoever sees the ocean first gets 100 points!" But our points weren't meaningless. If you got a billion, you got a Ferrari.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Update on Holmes

Update on the Holmes quote:
Some legal pundits have suggested that intent should be removed from Contract law, making it into a sports-like "foul or no foul" standard. However, as Holmes suggested, intent plays a big role in the context of a contract, and "even a dog knows the difference..."

Monday, March 13, 2006

Being kicked

Why is it that people are impressed when you say you're a law student...but when somebody says they're a lawyer, they get the evil eye?

*************************************************

I dig this quote from my Contracts casebook:

“As Holmes once observed, even a dog knows the difference between being kicked and being stumbled over.”

I wish I could elucidate the context, but my brain was too tired to wrap around it. It was in the defenses section, regarding rescission of a contract for legal impossibility versus legal impractibility.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Use it or lose it

People are always turning on the lights around me when I read. Inevitably, they say, "You're gonna ruin your eyes, readin in the dark like that!"

Is there any scientific basis for this theory? The rest of your body is systematically slapped with the use-it-or-lose-it theory. Muscles, that makes sense, because we see them get bigger or smaller in proportion to our gym visits. Your heart needs to get worked out too - but then it is a muscle. Other organs kinda fit too though - if you don't eat a lot, your stomach shrinks. There's all this evidence out lately that one way to prevent/lessen the effects of Alzheimer's is to stay mentally active (they always mention crossword puzzles). Use it or lose it. Your brain is a bunch of neurons. Your eyeball, now that has a lot of neurons too. Who's to say that reading in faint light isn't actually good for your eyes? [Wait, do I have that wrong or is that just a weird saying: "who's to say." What the hell does that mean? Who would say? Who can say?]

Anyway, until somebody can point me to at least a quasi-scientific study proving it, I'm not gonna be bothered by reading in low light.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Not shopping

For some reason all my profs have this idea that we go on the internet during class to do one thing, and one thing only: search eBay. I don't know where they got this idea, because most of us are quick enough on the upshot to close the window when they start wandering up the aisles. And as I sit in class, by far the most popular entertainment I see on laptops remain Solitaire and IM. Usually they come as a pair. Then email, a smattering of CNN. Lately I've seen a lot of people doing Lexis trivia. Every time I see somebody doing it, I try and keep an eye on them to cheat on the day's answer, but I always miss it. They probably randomize those anyway.

So I don't know why they think we're on eBay. Most of my profs seem to be level 3 on the internet savviness scale - meaning they can check email but can't figure out how to make the electronic projector screen retract. But I mean, where would we get the money to shop that often?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Type A

Last night at Zietgeist, discussing whether law students have Type A personalities:

Me: "Just because I'm anal, doesn't mean I'm Type A."
Flossy: (read this out loud for the full effect) "Dude, that's definately a sign of Type A-ness."

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Summering

These giant law firm summer job offers are so strange. Examples:

1. They are all rated, by someone or other, as one of the Top Ten Best _____ Firm, or, alternately, are Recognized as One of America's Preeminent ______ Firms. Luckily there are enough Top Ten lists out there to accomidate all of them.

2. They all provide mentors. Also known as "attorney-buddies," and I'm not kidding.

3. They all offer trips to Napa Valley. I think they're sending the message that they will get us sloshed, but in that sophisticated, attorney way. (But then again, bums aren't called winos for nothing...).

4. They sponsor interoffice softball games. I wonder if softball players find it insulting. Softball is always the sport used to promote comraderie in groups of unathletic, frighteningly pale professionals.

5. They're looking for interns with "academic excellence" and a sense of humor. Do all attorneys undeservedly think they're hilarious or what? If so I'm on the right path.

6. Why are they trying to sell themselves to us? I mean, aren't we supposed to sell our soul for a job from them? Are they really competing for summer interns? This isn't the 90s....

7. Is offering a salary of $10,400 each month a typo or what? Are they saying I can work one summer for them and make half my salary from all of last year? Do I really want to be a lawyer? Can't I just be a summer intern for the rest of my life?

8. Then they hire 95% of their summers after law school. For that, they can have my soul for free.

9. They think they're unique because they have a "one-firm culture." They all offer a "one-firm culture." This is the concept that they are one big firm. Of course that's the culture. They are one big firm.

10. They're all way Too Good To Be True. And way too good to hire a 1L from a ___-tier law school.

(PS. If anyone's hiring, I enjoy cheap white wine, I sprint very quickly to the bus every day, I'm convinced I have an excellent sense of humor, and I integrate easily into preeminent microcosms.)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

E-bitching

We just did our first Real Deal assignment, where you know nothing about the issue and you gotta find the cases and statutes. So-called Open Universe. Persuasive writing and discussion is fun. I think it was the first time I heard laughter in our legal writing class. Actual laughter! Imagine.

I must've spent several days worth of time searching Westlaw and Lexis. You get caught up digressing down the paths of links, keycites, references. Long wormholes, tunnels of stare decisis. Suddenly four hours have gone by and you're scanning some effing patent law case in the District Court of Puerto Rico from 1973.

During class we were forced to read a faux email, which was supposed to be professional but began with "what's up Stan" and ended with a Walt Whitman quote on the existence of God. Our assigmnent was to correct it so that it was more professional. Fall-out from the mass-forwarding of hyper-personal emails of Harvard summer interns bitching to their friends. Message being: don't e-bitch from your work computer. I scribbled on the assignment to FeeFie, "This is an insult to our intelligence." She laughed. Then I looked at her, and she looked at me, and we looked down at what I had written - and I quickly erased it. Irony not being lost on us...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Writing on the Wall

Our grades are finally in. There's something slightly disingenuous about making us pay for our second semester - and start it - before we know our grades on the first semester. But I did okay. Smattering of B's, and one C+ like a hairy mole on an otherwise satisfactory face.

Deadlines for summer internships are already passing, a reality punch in the 1L stomach, a slightly hardened yet still innocently relaxed stomach. I finally stopped running from it and printed out my sad, sad resume. Winced as I removed some stuff from high school.

BTW, when do I get to call it a C.V.? When it gets over a page? When I apply for A Real Job? Now that I'm out of college? I'll have to ask the Office of Career Planning. Hah.

Pearly Gate

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Do I live here or...?

Back from the East Coast. I'm experiencing some serious meteorological discombobulation, if you can dig it. It was kinda cold here in SF when I left...it was winter in NY...now it's positively balmy here in SF. Effin' beautiful really. Green and sunny with a delicious breeze. But disorienting. Do I live here or is this an equitorial third world country with excellent drivers that I'm visiting on vacation?

Selective memory blackouts of NYC, now refreshed:
- how loud it is. Please, blow your horn again! I'm sure it will help the gridlock!
- how goddamn dirty it is. Seriously - garbage bags on the sidewalk? Whose idea was that anyway?
- how crowded it is. I spent more time waiting on line and wading through crowds than it took me to get wherever I was going.
- how gray it is. Concrete growing like weeds.

Never forgot:
- how gorgeously convenient the disgusting subway system really is. I visited the upper west side, the financial district, soho, and brooklyn all in an evening.
- the 24 hour corner deli. Providing toothbrush, single razor, and rubbers.
- awesome cup of coffee for $1.
- bacon egg n cheese on a bagel.
- single slice of pizza. Awesome pizza. Mmm, pizza.