Thursday, June 30, 2005

My Family's Dogs

Tonight you're getting a filler post. Why am I telling you this? Ummm.. Because I'm just writing what I'm thinking at this juncture. And I don't have anything truly substantial to write about 'cause tonight has been a busy night of work avoidance. I am the supreme commander of avoiding that which I should be doing otherwise. No joking. In any case...

My mom takes care of 2 dogs, 2 bichon frises named Austin and Benz. Austin is ~5 years old and ~25-30 pounts whereas Benz is more like 1-2 years old (still very much a puppy) and only ~15 pounds.

No. 1 - I *strongly* do not recommend Bichon Frise puppies. When they're young, they are horrible, spastic, crazy little white furry things with teeth. They take a while to housebreak and are very independent, active little buggers. We were crazy to take Benz. The reason we did was so he could befriend and keep Austin company, help make Austin a more active dog.

No. 2 - After 2-3 years or so, they are *excellent* dogs. Very affectionate, very loyal. They're small and, hence, easily moveable. They're rather smart and can have very distinctive personalities.

No. 3 - I don't have a third thought but the list should have a third item so.. ummm... they're white. Except Benz has apricot ears. Yeah.

No. 4 - I thought of another item. Austin and Benz have become very close since we got Benz 1-2 years ago. They like to play together and, even when separated, they often remain close and keep an eye on each other. Benz has certainly helped make Austin a more active dog, keeping him on his toes. Overall, I'm rather glad we took Benz. He's a nice dog now and he's a good friend for Austin. Benz really has helped make my mom's household more of a family. He's also livened things up to no small degree.

Tomorrow Austin goes in for cataract surgery. The vision in one of his eyes is pretty much eclipsed by a cataract. Austin has had surgery before, most notably right after we got Benz, for non-passable kidney stones. Tomorrow's surgery shouldn't be too bad though I'm not sure yet if I'm going to go home sometime this weekend to visit him (and Benz and my mom). I have a BarBri Essay Advantage Session on Saturday. Maybe I'll go home afterwards and also work on that one remaining law school thing. Hmmm.

I'll have to see if I can get my hands on some computer pictures of the dogs. They are rather cute and photogenic.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Today's Miscellany

Two Sites of Interest:

The Superficial - For all your celebrity-stalking needs.

BlogsNow Version 2 - Keeps track of the hot buzz on blogs.

Many News-points of Interest:

Google Earth - "Google Earth combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world’s geographic information at your fingertips."

Freestar Media Release - "Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter's land."

BoingBoing: Will Google survive Grokster?

SearchEngineWatch: Google Relaunches Personal Search - This Time, It Really Is Personal

The Huffington Post's Larry David: The Roving Thoughts of a Liberal Insomniac - This one is just funny. Stream of consciousness at 3:30am. Doesn't get much better than this!

Atom Smasher's Error Message Gallery

Groklaw: AMD Files AntiTrust Lawsuit Against Intel in Federal Court - "AMD has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Intel in US District Court for the District of Delaware. They allege in their complaint that 'for over a decade, Intel has unlawfully maintained its monopoly by engaging in a relentless, worldwide campaign to coerce customers to refrain from dealing with AMD.' They say that in the past several years, Intel's conduct has become 'increasingly egregious' as AMD 'has achieved technological leadership in critical aspects of the microprocessor architechture.'"

Monday, June 27, 2005

But wait, there's more!

Just unrelated to Grokster...

From this Slashdot post we are led to Boffins create zombie dogs.
Pittsburgh's Safar Centre for Resuscitation Research has developed a technique in which subject's veins are drained of blood and filled with an ice-cold salt solution.

The animals are considered scientifically dead, as they stop breathing and have no heartbeat or brain activity.

But three hours later, their blood is replaced and the zombie dogs are brought back to life with an electric shock.

Plans to test the technique on humans should be realised within a year, according to the Safar Centre.
It's a scene straight out of Resident Evil only with less mayhem.. and less zombies... okay, fine, no zombies. (Stupid accurate reporting...)

Elsewhere we learn that MONDAY is the day you are mostly likely to be injured at work. I recommend avoiding work entirely on Mondays. Safest course of action there is.

Google Launches Pay-Per-View Web Video. The apocalypse is drawing nigh. (Or not.)

Building the Ultimate Gaming Desktop.

And because I lean this way.. Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Geek Joke You Know? I found some of them to be absolutely hilarious!!!

Post-Grokster Collection

As you may have heard, the Supreme Court handed down a decision today in MGM v. Grokster in favor of the entertainment companies. I haven't had the chance to read the decision yet so I will not comment on it (yet).

In the meantime, here are some links gathered from BoingBoing.

Grokster press-conference audio (mp3)

Ernest Miller's liveblog of the post-Grokster press conference held today by the RIAA and MPAA.

Hilary Rosen: Killing Napster didn't bring market control - Hilary Rosen -- ex CEO of the RIAA -- has an editorial on Grokster.

Grokster decision in .torrent

Ernest Miller's Notes on the Pro-Grokster Press Conference

Grokster Opinion in 22 page .pdf

Grokster Opinion in 55 page .pdf

Scotus Blog's Grokster post

Ernest Miller's Blog has several posts: Wall Street Journal Roundtable on Grokster, Grokster Loses - Unanimously - Inducement Test?

I'm sure there are more links out there. These are just the ones from BoingBoing that I don't want to miss (for after I read the case, probably in a day or two).

Sunday, June 26, 2005

A Few More

Now that the new Family Guy is over.

Another BoingBoing post led me to Billy Shire Fine Arts.

And a BB post as a public service announcement of sorts: " is an information clearing house about moving company scammers, with tips for finding honest movers." Two quoted passages I want to relay.
One thing I should point out, is that the bids from these companies that I have seen often quote you by cubic footage not by weight. If you get a quote that is priced by cubic footage, that should raise a red flag right away. The reason for this is that if they charge you by weight, they have to provide proof of the weight of your belongings at no charge to you. Current laws regarding the moving industry do not cover moves based on cubic feet.

Once the movers show up and most or all of your things are in their truck, they will hit you with the real price of the move. By then it's too late. Your things are on their truck, and they won't get anything off of it without full payment in cash. They will tell you that if you don't pay up, that they will take the truck and sell everything you own to cover the contract. In my case, I put down a $150 deposit, and was told before the movers showed up that the rest of the $1869 would be due on delivery. When the movers showed up, the price jumped to $5012.50, and the movers demanded half of that on the spot or else there wouldn't be a delivery!
So if you're moving with movers in the near future, beware!!!

I was surfing for more, on BB and elsewhere, but that's all you're getting for tonight. Cheers! (or for the Deutsch among you, Prost!)

I <3 Boing Boing

I really should move BoingBoing's link up to 'Daily' so I remember to surf it more often.

Brian McCarty's art toy photography - Because I like toys and art and it looks pretty cool (at first glance at least).

Alarm clock with bacon-cooking aroma module - Because not only is this Homer Simpson's dream but mine too.

HOWTO cast a silver bullet - Because I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and because, well, ya never know...

Gotta run. New Family Guy episode is imminent.

Ooh, I'm all tingly!

Another BoingBoing post suggests that tomorrow will see the Supreme Court's Grokster ruling. Check out the BoingBoing post for some pre-release notes.

I can't wait to see what happens!!!

Blog Science Ahoy!

I found out about this from a post over at BoingBoing.

The MIT Weblog Survey

I'm also currently attempting to post an image/link of theirs over in my links column (if only Blogger will cooperate, grrr...).

So if you run a blog, please take the 5 min. to go on over, register and fill out their survey. I have no idea why I'm propounding this other than I like the word 'propound.' It's like the word 'pound' only more.. positive.

That'll Teach Me!

I did much better on the multiple choice final exam for which I didn't study, only used outlines from friends, and only attended about half the classes (and didn't pay attention in the ones I did attend) THAN I did on the essay final exam for the class which I regularly attended and paid attention (sort of).

That'll teach me to go to class and pay attention!!!

(Except I have no more law school classes left...)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Inner Conflict

Sometimes, many times, I want to put up a post here about some fairly personal issue that is really troubling me. Often that desired post never makes it to the light of day. Why? Because I know this blog is accessible (or will be) to those looking to learn more about me (read: employers).

I want to keep things honest here. I want to disclose more than I have. In some cases, a lot more. But I also don't want such disclosures to come around in the future and bite me in the ass when I least expect it.

In particular, this eliminates disclosures about strong negative aspects of myself. For example, I was writing one where the first line was: "I am the world's greatest procrastinator." The post was going to explain a little about my law school predicament and the reason the wrap up post has yet to be written or posted. But if I were to write such a post and a future potential employer were to find it, there is a good chance that it would produce either additional questions for me or a second thought on the employer's behalf as to whether or not I would be a good candidate for the position. The former would be annoying. The latter would be deadly.

And so, you, the legitimate ordinary readers, are only receiving approximately 75% (possibly a bit less) of the material that I would like to post.

I don't regret having associated my name with this blog. In many ways, I feel it has led to more honesty and care than less. Plus, it's good practice. Things that I should not and will not say here are also probably, for the most part, things that should not and will not be stated elsewhere. Only my close friends get more than is written here and, sometimes, they get less.

But it's still annoying and mildly aggravating at times. That does not change.

Friday, June 24, 2005

I don't get it.

Before I get into the meat of this post, two quick things. First, thank you's to those who replied to yesterday's post. I don't want to get into it again, in another post, so suffice it to say that I think I'm just not enjoying my path at the moment. Of course that's probably due to residual law school and would-be studying for the bars.

Second, sometimes it's difficult to find a post topic. I'm always loathe to write about recent legal items which I only know about from the news pieces since the news pieces are completely unreliable (in my opinion) for legal news. (Plus I don't want to write anything legally wrong here if I *am* to be a lawyer. That would ironic and bad. Mostly both.) I'd have no problem giving some random, useless entertainment bits like Tom Cruise arguing with Matt Lauer (yeah, Tom comes off a bit crazy these days) or Lohan being knocked around by Herbie (Score, Lohan: 0, Herbie: 1) except those topics are inherently vacuous. I don't want to make that the thrust of my post(s). Unless I want to.

Instead, today we have UConn offering master's degree in homeland security. (More informative report here and here.)
The University of Connecticut wants to launch a new, mostly online master's degree program in homeland security in which much of the learning would take place in a doomed city in cyberspace.

The interdisciplinary program would teach the finer points of guiding cities and companies through terrorist attacks, with many of the scenarios played out in a detailed virtual city called San Luis Rey, dubbed the city where "all bad things happen."

The city would be besieged by various calamities, such as suicide bombers and biochemical attacks, during the 20-month course to help teach students about various policies and strategies.

The city would have all the details of a real city, including an international airport, a water treatment plant, a police chief and even a specific number of citizens. The instructor could make a disaster happen in the city and have students respond and explain their decisions.
First, yay to UConn for being in the national news spotlight. Second, boo for offering a course that is, in my opinion, so pandering. I'm sorry but I just don't see homeland security as a legitimate focus of study.

Yes, we should be prepared for disasters and part of this preparation involves practice and response procedures. But this is enough, this training, to constitute the basis for a master's degree? That's just not right. If this were some special extra course, or maybe courses in college, that would be one thing. But to say, "Okay folks, for the next 20 months we will be studying disasters and how we respond to them. Oh yeah, at the end you'll have earned your Master's degree." How?

I'm picturing Tommy Lee Jones' character's job in the movie Volcano. You too can get an MBA to learn (intimately I assume) what he does.

Again, how?!?!?

And my favorite line...
"There is a big growing demand for people who understand what homeland security is." (CHDS)
Like our president does? If that's the case, 'homeland security' is a method by which one can attempt to ensure the safety of one's populace against unexpected, guerrilla-style attacks, such protection coming at the expense of various liberties, rights and privileges the populace formerly enjoyed.

Since I can accurately define the term, does that mean I'm now in high demand? Or does it simply mean I've made it on the watchlist? (And if the latter, please let me know now so I can budget an extra 6-72 hours for that trip to Italy in August.)

What Is It?

Apologies in advance for this post. In advance, I can say it's one of my more honest ones. More about me than you usually get. It's kind of funny, I always keep some part of me walled off from the world. I don't like to show all my cards so to speak. What's in that part of me I don't tip? It's hard to say. Sometimes I'm very random, throwing out lines that are amusing to myself and almost no one else. Those come from that section, as do my more random movie lines and associations. The way my mind works is through assoications. For example, I don't carry literal definitions of words. Rather, I associate words with sensations, thoughts, inferences, instinct. I recognize negative bases and have "senses" of words. This works for me and works quite well. An offshoot is my memory for movie lines and my likelihood to throw out lines and references at odd times. A lot of the time I rein in the references and don't verbalize them, because I know it's a bit much.

And the original direction of this post has been unwittingly hijacked. Not that that's a bad thing. My original direction had been more depressing, more.. self-pitying. This is better.

So I have this 'hidden' section to myself, as I like to think. It's the part of me that thinks I could be / could have been an excellent evil genius only somewhere along the line I chose to be good rather than bad. I've always held that to truly be good, to truly know good, you also have to be well acquainted with evil and know it just as intimately.

And I lose my thread again.

I guess the overall point here is that none of us truly know another. We don't know who they are, what they think, what makes them really tick. It's an unsettling thought, that no matter how close you get to someone you can never really know them.

I think what scares me, personally, even more is that I don't feel as though I know myself. I'm not positive that law is where I want to, what I want to do with my life. Then I've got a lot of unresolved things with law school yet and it bothers me that this doesn't bother me more. I've always tried to be good at controlling my fears or at least my response ot fear. But that's also a bad thing because if you're not afraid of failing then you lose the drive that keeps you from falling. I don't know where my drive went. I'm not even sure any more if I ever had that drive. I floated through high school then through college, getting by on my natural abilities rather than working very hard for my grades. I've always been rather apt so I've never felt like it's taken serious, concerted hard work for me to accomplish the goals set before me. I seriously don't feel like I've been challenged. I guess law school could have challenged me had I really wanted to rise to the occasion but I didn't and it didn't.

I think I'm lost.

I feel like I'm missing my direction. Like the road I'm headed down is not my own though it is the one I've chosen. But if not that road then what?


Just caught the Robot Chicken episode I must have missed Sunday night. Time to turn in. Tomorrow Night: More deep philisophical discussions such as: If a BarBri student falls in the forest, do the woodland creatures dispose of the body or find it to repulsive to consume? Inquiring minds want to know!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Stern Warning of Things To Come

I picked up the subject line just now from the opening credits of Futurama. (Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, 11pm EST.)
"Ow! My small intestine!"

"Arrr! The laws of science be a harsh mistress!"

(while underwater, Fry speaking to a mermaid)
"Am I gonna drown?"
"Just stay calm and let the gentle currents relax your body."
"Did it just get warmer?"

(Bender the robot)
"In the event of an emergency, my ass can also be used as a flotation device."

(Prof. Hubert Farnsworth)
"This is uncomfortable and humiliating! Now if only they could put it in the form of a suppository..."

"I miss me wife and me oxygen."
"Yes, yes, we all miss our loved ones and gases."

(Fry, after finding out that the gorgeous mermaid doesn't reproduce like we do)
"Why couldn't she be the other kind of mermaid, with the fish part on top and the lady part on the bottom?!?"

(after returning to the surface, Amy asks Fry..)
"What happened to Umbrielle?"
"It turns out I love her but I wasn't 'in love' with her."
(Amy whispering to Leela) "Trouble in bed."
And those from the episode itself.

Today at BarBri we had our first of three sessions on Evidence. Personally I've had a fair amount of experience with Evidence. I took the course, I took Trial Practice, competed in a Mock Trial Competition (my team made the first cut!), and worked a great deal with the Student Trial Lawyers Association. Basically, I know a lot about Evidence already.

So originally I looked forward to today's session. The previous 2 had been on Corporations and were not very engaging. Today's Evidence was worse for me. Since I know about Evidence, very little of today was new material. I found myself pretty uninterested and bored, much more so than usual.

And I get 2 more days of this stuff? *sigh*

Today I learned that I prefer the sessions on law that I don't know very well as compared to sessions on law I am familiar with. The good news is that I'm rather familiar with Evidence and Intellectual Property. (So after Evidence there shouldn't be much more, if any, really boring ones for me. However that may also be a problem...)

Yay Futurama! Woohoo!

ADDENDUM: I was just poking around IMDB, looking at the people who do the voices for Futurama and Family Guy. Get this, the actress who plays Jackie Burkhart on That '70s Show (Mila Kunis) is the voice of Meg Griffith! The irony is palpable! On one show she plays a good-looking, snobbish, arrogant, rich airhead, on the other she's a homely, unpopular outcast! Excellent! [11:36 PM]

ADDENDUM II: I also just refreshed my recollection (hehe) that Patrick Warburton (a favorite actor of mine) voices Brock Samson for The Venture Bros.!

I can't resist some favorite Family Guy quotations:
Chris Griffin: Hey, birthday dude! You want some ice cream?
Stewie Griffin: Yes, but no sprinkles. For every sprinkle I find, I shall kill you.

[riding a circus elephant]
Peter Griffin: Look Lois, the two symbols of the Republican Party: an elephant, and a big fat white guy who is threatened by change.

Stewie Griffin: [to ticket agent] Now listen to me...
[looks at agent's name tag]
Stewie Griffin: Jo-LENE. I've got an army to raise and I must get to Nicaragua. I require a window seat and an in-flight Happy Meal AND NO PICKLES. OH, GOD HELP YOU IF I FIND PICKLES.

Lois Griffin: You should spend some time with our kids, Peter. And with me.
Peter Griffin: Uh, what could me and you do together?
[Lois giggles]
Peter Griffin: Lois. You've got a sick mind.
Lois Griffin: Peter, I'm talking about making love.
Peter Griffin: Oh. I thought you wanted us to murder the children and harvest their organs for beer money.

Little Girl: Ewww your breath smells like kitty litter!
Stewie Griffin: I was curious!

Peter Griffin: Come on. Let's go drink till we can't feel feelings any more.

Peter Griffin: [Peter writing a letter to Fox] If you don't put 'Coach' back on the air i'll be really upset. the skillful acting of Craig T. Nelson will be missed a lot. Signed Peter Griffin.
[White-out spills on the paper, making it say "If you don't put Coach back on the air, I'll kill Craig T. Nelson."]
Craig T. Nelson: [knocks on the door] Hi, are you Peter Griffin?
Peter Griffin: Yes.
Craig T. Nelson: [Hands him a pistol] Make it quick.

Stewie Griffin: [to Peter] When the world is mine, your death should be quick and painless.

Meg Griffin: You could kill all the girls who are prettier than me.
Death: Well that would just leave England.

Stewie Griffin: Mother, I come bearing a gift. I'll give you a hint: it's in my diaper and it's not a toaster.
Lois Griffin: Meg, can you change Stewie?
Meg Griffin: Fine, but this time if a boy calls, please don't tell him I'm wrist deep in poopy.

Peter Griffin: [after "Family Guy" returns to Fox with new episodes, after a few years off the air] Everybody, I got bad news. We've been canceled.
Lois Griffin: Oh, no! Peter, how could they do that?
Peter Griffin: Well, unfortunately, Lois, there's just no more room on the schedule. We've just got to accept the fact that Fox has to make room for terrific shows, like "Dark Angel", "Titus", "Undeclared", "Action", "That '80s Show", "Wonder Falls", "Fastlane", "Andy Richter Controls the Universe", "Skin", "Girls Club", "Cracking Up", "The Pitts", "Firefly", "Get Real", "Freaky Links", "Wanda at Large", "Costello", "The Lone Gunmen", "A Minute with Stan Hooper", "Normal, Ohio", "Pasadena", "Harsh Realm", "Keen Eddie", "The Street", "American Embassy", "Cedric the Entertainer", "The Tick", "Louie", and "Greg the Bunny".
Lois Griffin: Is there no hope?
Peter Griffin: Well, I suppose if all those shows go down the tubes, we might have a shot.

[Brian and Stewie are on a German tour bus]
German Tour Guide: You vill find more on Germany's contributions to ze arts in ze pamphlets ve have provided.
Brian Griffin: Yeah, about your pamphlet... uh, I'm not seeing anything about German history between 1939 and 1945. There's just a big gap.
Tour guide: Everyone vas on vacation. On your left is Munich's first city hall, erected in 15...
Brian Griffin: Wait, what are you talking about? Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and...
Tour Guide: We were invited. Punch vas served. Check vit Poland.
Brian Griffin: You can't just ignore those years. Thomas Mann fled to America because of Nazism's stranglehold on Germany.
Tour guide: Nope, nope. He left to manage a Dairy Queen.
Brian Griffin: A Dairy Queen? That's preposterous.
Tour guide: I vill hear no more insinuations about the German people. Nothing bad happened. Sie werden sich hinsetzen. Sie werden ruhig sein. Sie werden nicht beleidigen Deutschland. (You will sit down. You will shut up. You will not insult Germany.)
[throws his hand up in a Hitler salute]
Brian Griffin: ...uh, is that a beer hall?
Tour guide: Oh yes, Munich is renowned for its historic beer halls.

Announcer: And now back to The Newlywed Game.
Host: Kiyero, how did Nick answer the following, "The last thing I would ever give my wife is, blank"
Kiyero: A little spending money.
Host: I'm sorry, that's incorrect. Nick actually said, "The Antidote."
Kiyero: Nick what are you talking abou--[falls down dead]

Chris: Yo did you all check me when that hottie was all up in my cool aid? Yeah I was looking to break off a little sumthin sumthin, but my crew gave me the 411 on that skank and she's all about the bling bling.
Peter: [slams on the car breaks]
Lois: Peter, whats wrong?
Peter: He's speaking in tongues Lois. Our son is possessed. [takes out a bible] Meg start at psalm 41 and don't stop reading until I tell you. [splashes chris with holy water] The power of christ compels you!
Chris: [screaming]
Peter: The power of christ compels you!
Chris: [screaming]
Lois: Peter stop! He's not possessed.
Meg: Yeah, he's just taking street. Lots of kids do it.
Peter: Oh, well, that's kinda weird.
Sorry but I got caught up in reading them all. There are just too many!!! [12:00 AM]


...I am simply tired. And I can't think of a single, interesting thing to relate. My mind is a blank slate. *yawn* More on this tomorrow, hopefully with content thrown in.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Oh the humanity!

Instead of going to bed yet (grumble grumble), I poked around the web a bit. Links ensue.

Bar Exam Blogs courtesy of a girl walks into a bar (exam)...

Congress Assaults the Courts, Again courtesy of The Legal Reader

A website I should have linked (did I already? I forget..) long ago: Overheard in New York. Absolutely hilarious.

John Lithgow's Commencement Address at Harvard University this year. Because John Lithgow rocks.

Legal Guide for Bloggers at Confessions Of An Exhausted Mind originally drawing material from somewhere over at Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground (f/k/a Notes from the (Legal) Underground).

I just read some of the EFF stuff. I'm a bit wary about the EFF as a matter of practice, they rub me the wrong way, see too many things in black & white. (I'm all about the grays, baby! Shades of gray!!!) Their posts, while not uninformative, are a little over the top in my opinion. The DMCA items are good but the rest is fairly redundant to most common sense. Most of what people think is generally fair, with regards to free speech and quotations/linking, is actually pretty good. Citations are a plus. Transformative use/commentary is a plus. Etc. Use your head and you'll probably be okay. That's what the majority of the EFF stuff boils down to. Besides, barring some really nasty stuff (and I mean clear defamation), most blogs are not going to incur anyone's wrath, let alone liability. But hey, I'm sure some people appreciate the EFF's articles and assistance.

And because I'm still out of it (now and forever more):
"Oh ... and er ... interesting rhythmic devices too," continued Arthur, "which seemed to counterpoint the ... er ... er ..." He floundered.

Ford leaped to his rescue, hazarding "counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor of the ... er ..." He floundered too, but Arthur was ready again.

"... humanity of the ..."

"Vogonity," Ford hissed at him.

"Ah yes, Vogonity (sorry) of the poet's compassionate soul," Arthur felt he was on a home stretch now, "which contrives through the medium of the verse structure to sublimate this, transcend that, and come to terms with the fundamental dichotomies of the other," (he was reaching a triumphant crescendo ...) "and one is left with a profound and vivid insight into ... into ... er ..." (... which suddenly gave out on him.) Ford leaped in with the coup de grace:

"Into whatever it was the poem was about!" he yelled.
from here which is in no way connected to an actual reprint of a portion of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In no way. (Go buy the book. Or else trolls will eat you.) (Hmmm.. the link is genuine but probably wrong though it's Google's fault, the business appears genuine so the product probably is. In any case, I disclaim all liability. Why? Because I said so!)

Happy Father's Day!

Google has a new doodle up for today. And if you think I'm linking that you are sorely mistaken.

Probably catch the new Batman movie this week.

I'm going to bed early tonight so I can wake early tomorrow and write the essay I was supposed to write tonight. This is true laziness at work. This is your tax dollars at work. Okay, not your tax dollars. Satisfied? Are you happy now? HUH???

Yeah, I'm a little.. off tonight. I blame life. Who or what do you blame?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Essay Advantage

Today I attended the first of three 4-hour sessions in the BarBri 3-day New York Essay Advantage Series. This program is above and beyond the normal BarBri course. It's designed to help you maximize your essay score for the NY Essays and MPT. Throughout the morning I took some notes to post on my pad. They follow. (Follow what? Follow this!)

The No. 1 skill is Reading Comprehension. Reading fast, identifying the issues and focal points in a speedy manor.

If you know enough about the law to apply and such, you use the suggested IRAC method.

If you don't know enough (and this is the big one), you should use the alternative method they suggest.

The method proposed is nothing new to me. My mind works that way naturally. If you don't know enough:
  1. pull facts known together
  2. based on known rules and mere inference/guess/whim/sense of propriety, decide on the outcome you like
  3. formulate and state a rule that leads to that outcome
  4. reason from that rule, applying the facts, in effect having worked backwards

From observed facts you reason a hypothesis (theory) to explain the behavior. Here, for the essay, from the known facts you formulate a rule to apply to them to achieve the desired outcome. Alright, in explanation this doesn't quite sound the same but in my head it makes a lot of sense. Somehow.

Anyways, today's session was helpful but not quite in the direct manner of adopting a new strategy. The specific implementation (strategy) was a little helpful. The time pressure observed and the guidelines proposed were very helpful. The identification of the issues and discussion thereof (though not the foremost purpose of the seminar) was very helpful.

For my purposes, I could have spent 30-60 minutes instead of the 4 hours and gotten the same out of it. I actually started zoning out and ignoring the tape for portions that were of no help to me.

Why is the bar exam all about regurgitation? In practice you will always look up the law to quote it verbatim and appropriately cite and support it. This is why I like the MPT part so much - it assumes no knowledge of the law and is based solely on applying random law to a new fact pattern in a practical manner.

For the NY day of the bar, we have 50 multiple choice questions and 3 essays in the morning then 2 essays and the MPT in the afternoon. BarBri suggests doing the mult. choice first then the essays. However, since my hand starts hurting after a good amount of writing, I think I may write 2 essays, then do the mult. choice, then do the last essay, to spread out the writing and give my hand a break in the middle.

The other day, on the radio, I heard that Mars will be very close to the Earth in July-August, as big as the moon in the night sky (August) and that this happens every 5,000 years or some such. Then I googled this and found one suggestion that this is an urban legend (also see this). Ah well. Stupid radio morning show...

Caffeine is a prerequisite to my 'productive' mornings now. Dunkin Donuts' coffee is damn good.

It's kind of funny. The essays are graded in 1/3 of a point increments, rounding up or down to the nearest whole point. We're told to chase these 1/3's of a point. But that's kind of odd considering an individual 1/3 of a point this will only realistically help us 1/3 of the time (when going from ___ 1/3 to ___ 2/3). Of course increasing your score on an essay by one whole point is a big deal as this is worth a number of NY mult. choice questions and/or a number of MBE questions.

Application of the law has never been a problem for me, it's the memorization, the recalling of necessary law. See Fed. Tax Exam. I went into the exam (all mult. choice) with a number of outlines given me by a friend. (Perfectly allowable as we were allowed to bring in anything non-electronic.) I knew very little if any Fed. Tax as I had attended approx. half the classes and paid attention in very few if any of those I did attend. Even so, armed with the outlines I managed to pull off a decent passing grade. Let's just say that for the amount of time (or lack thereof) that I put into that exam, I had an excellent return. Locating and applying law - easy for me.

One big thing I learned today is that I really need to be reviewing the basic law asap and hitting it hard. I can learn and remember most of what I need but since that's my weakest point, I need to hit it now and repeatedly do so from hereon out. Once I know more law, then I need to practice these essays. & This is why I love the MPT oh so much... *sigh*

Not that they say knowing law isn't important, not at all - that's implicit. Rather it's the assumption that you know the necessary law. When it comes to patents, copyrights, and trademarks I know quite a bit. I know some of what's in other subjects but it varies wildly. And some I know very little. Unfortunately, the big ones are in this last category - Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Torts, etc.

It's the fact that knowledge of the law is inherently tied into a good analysis. That's my problem.

There is a recurring weakness in Dunkin Donuts' styrofoam coffee cups and lids that potentially results in coffee occasionally dripping out of the lid-cup edge 'seal'. I have seen this on multiple occasions now.

I should generally carry Tylenol with me to these review sessions in case I need it.

And that's what I wrote down today for the blog.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Fast Food Review

In Hartford, I live a stone's throw away from a shopping area on the main drag, Farmington Ave. What this means is that in that area and in the immediate vicinity I have access to quite a few fast food places. This becomes more significant when you realize it's rare that I cook anything, let alone make my own dinner. For fast food, in the area we have: Burger King (BK), Taco Bell (Bell), Subway and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). I am ignoring the various restaurants (Braza, Monte Alban) & bars (The Half Door, The Wooden Tap) & coffee house (Tisane) & delivery/take-out places (pizza - South Whitney & Prospect Ave. & Aladdin, chinese - No. 1 China & China King &...).

Here's my brief review of the 4 fast food places:

Although not my favorite, Burger King ain't bad. The service is fairly reliable, speedy enough, and the menu selection is decent. Recently BK switched out their vile caffeine-free Diet Coke for the caffeinated variety of the same. Since then, I am happier with them. Plus they sometimes have decent toys.

Taco Bell is by far the worst. The service stinks. Absolutely aweful. I've stood at the cash register for 5 min. straight before, waiting for the cashier on duty to come back to the register and notice that he/she has a customer whose order they should take. Plus I once found a piece of pastic (ewww!) in a quesadilla of theirs. However, there are 2 redeeming features to Bell. The food is dirt cheap. There's a Pizza Hut To Go located at the same place. Although I have not availed myself of the pizza, I have no doubt that it puts the Bell food to shame.

Subway is the closest of the 4. It's just around the corner. The food is the best of all, good subs with good meat and good fixins. Plus, it can be economical when I buy a 12" and eat it over the course of 2 meals. (And they know me there from my frequent visits! Italian BMT 4tw!) I like Subway. I actually feel bad about including them in the category of 'fast foods' since the food is so decent (imo).

Kentucky Fried Chicken also has decent food. I like the chicken, biscuits and potato wedges. Anything else is just a bonus. The problem with KFC is two-fold: there's inevitably a line and the service isn't very fast. It's not that they don't know you're there. Unlike Bell they know, they see you. It's just that it takes them 5-10 min. to put together each order. If there are 2 people in front of you, it'll be a good 10-15 min. until you can order and wait for your food. Very annoying, though I think it's worth it for the chicken. (That was tonight's dinner.)

There you have it! Subway > KFC > BK >> Bell.

Yeah, I should eat in more often but that almost goes without saying. Cheers!

Let's See...

Today we learned what the MPT (not sure what that stands for) portion of the New York Bar is like. Apparently the Bar Examiners expect us to draft some sort of practical memo or such within 90 minutes, using given facts, law, etc. Fairly interesting, really. It's nice to see some portion of the bar directly relating to practice. The MPT is very practical. After today's introduction, I'm rather glad I have the work experience that I do. I'm sure it will serve me quite well for the MPT, seeing as I have a good amount of experience in drafting practical memos on legal subjects. (That was one of the more enjoyable aspects of my former employment.)

And time to go to sleep. 7am rolls around oh so fast.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Fox "News" Channel

Early this morning (Wed. morning), I was going through my usual morning ritual of watching BTVS (Buffy The Vampire Slayer for the uninitiated). I accidentally flipped to Fox News. See, Fox News is channel 34 and FX is 33 with all its Buffy-goodness. (Mmmmm... Buffy...) Fox News has a morning show, surprise surprise. There were 3 hosts sitting around, smiling, talking amongst themselves.

They were discussing what instrument one of the hosts' children (a 4th-grader) should take up.

Yes, you read that correctly. They discussed the clarinet. They discussed the tuba. The french horn. The drums. The saxophone. The trumpet. The oboe. The piccolo. Then of course, after discussing it for a few minutes, that host had to run off camera to call up his son and make a suggestion (trumpet I believe).

Does anyone else see something.. odd here? A nationally-shown news channel, their morning show, at approximately 7:30 in the morning EST.

And that is why I shall henceforth refer to it as The Fox "News" Channel. I may not know what's going on in the world today, but I damn well know which instrument the host's son should take up! (And in the end, isn't that what really counts?)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Tuesday Special

Hung out with 3 other law students at Braza tonight for the Tuesday Special. Burger & a beer for only $5. All 4 of us are studying for the bar at the moment, 3 NY and 1 CT. So what did we talk about? Studying for the bar. Law. 1st year courses. Whenever you get law students together, invariably the conversation will turn to law school and law. Always. It's almost sad. Except I'm used to it by now, inured one might say. Ah well, what else is dominating our lives these days? Exactly.

Monday, June 13, 2005


I am alive and mostly well. Physically just tired, no longer sick. Mentally.. well.. yeah. Apologies for the long hiatus. I shall attempt to resume regular posting of at least one a day (starting today, hehe).

The worst part is how post topics flit through my head when I'm not near a computer and/or an internet connection. *sigh*

Need must sleep go now. More BarBri tomorrow. Topic? Good question. Too lazy to look it up right now. Too lazy full sentences to make. Yes? Yes. Sleep go post now yes computer go night night then me brush teeth collapse on bed and darkness take me until alarm rings breaks morning over me hits then more repeat as today and last week and tomorrow and the next.


And that my friends is your brain on Bar Exam studying. Next up: More!