December 28, 2004


Who knows if this is too early, but I'm feeling better. I made a new friend this semester, J. He had plans to take off for Thailand before Christmas to go beach hopping. I bit him farewell and best wishes after our last final together and thought nothing more of it. Sure, he was traveling alone for the first time in his life, but I've done it many times, and really, we all survive. We grow. It's good for us.

Unless of course, we're beach-hopping during a Tsunami. When the news of the big waves came to me, I immediately felt guilt. He'd asked whether he should cancel his trip since his traveling companion had bailed on him. In response, I goaded him, chided him, and challenged his masculinity in order to encourage him to go it alone. How horrid would I feel if his decision, which may have rested a little, or possibly even quite a lot (given the fact that my pressures came during finals) on my words, resulted in his injury, or worse yet, his untimely demise. I've been trying to relax and tell myself that life goes on, it's out of my hands and I must wait 'til next semester when surely, he'll arrive on campus with amazing stories of being in Thailand during the aftermath of the big earthquake. But I couldn't help but wish there was a way of knowing that it was going to be okay. I couldn't help but feel guilty that this new friend of mine, whose parents I briefly met, may not be okay and may not be able to contact his parents, and even if he had, it would be uncouth for me, the recent acquaintance whom they don't know, to call and check in on him. I also couldn't help but realize that he was probably one of the best friends I'd made in law school thus far, possibly #2 behind H.

So, you can imagine my happiness when tonight at dinner, F's boy, D, who regularly works in Singapore and had the low down on the waves, told me that very few tourists go to beaches on the West side of Thailand (where the waves hit). For the most part, the tourist beaches are on the East coast. When I heard D's words, I released the air that I had unknowingly lodged in the bottom half of my lungs for at least 24 hours. Why have the news articles neglected to inform me of this? Regardless, I'm fairly certain that J wouldn't venture to 3rd world beaches, and as such, he is safe. Here's to hoping I didn't stoke his adventure-traveling-alone fires too much with my bravado.

Also, and more importantly, here's good thoughts to all in that region who need them.

Happy New Year All. Be thankful for what you've got.

December 27, 2004

Cooler than I will Ever Be

Jeremy outed himself as Anonymous Lawyer.

Rock On J.

Seriously. If I had to guess, I would have pinned it on you or Wings and Vodka

Off to sulk in my mediocrity. On a beach.

The Other Side

Family on two coasts: visited.

Gifts wrapped and unwrapped: yes.

Thank You notes: most written and sent.

Emergency back up gifting for people who surprised me with gifts: tomorrow, a la Harry and David.

Books read so far: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (Courduroy? Courdoroy? ...), Perdido Street Station.

Books left to read: In a Sunburned Country, The Golden Age, The Phoenix Exultant, and anything else I get my grubby mits on.

Bags lost by Delta: 1.

Bags successfully arrived on same flight: 1.

Number of forms I handed to people in line waiting for baggage claim forms: 7.

Explanations I gave about how baggage claim forms could be filed: 2.

Satisfaction that I am in law school, on vacation, successfully home, and not working for Delta, the day after the Comair debacle (Fortran???): high.

Enjoyment from 2005 summer associate holiday gifts: elation and surprise at the first, a collection of random holiday stuff; serious adoration for the firm who sent the second, a bottle of coveted wine that is already sold out. I'm slightly leaning towards firm two as of now (they've obviously got my number). Stay tuned.

Happiness at the plans for a New Year's sunny beach destination: immeasurable.

December 19, 2004

A year reprieve

Well, I'm done. Federal Courts was one of the more difficult, I-don't-have-enough-time-to-address-everything-here type of exams that I prefer. I walked out, discussed it with a few people, picked up K and drove home. Thanks to working for the judge, I will only have one final next semester, if any. So basically, I don't have to do another finals streak for an entire year.

Like the last one, this episode was an exhausting 18-day push filled with pizza deliveries, flashcards, diet coke, reading 'til I couldn't see, a billion gallons of green tea, stress, and about 16 nights of not enough sleep. In order to preserve my sanity, I ran 38.12 miles and put up with Bryan Kest's philosophical musings for 5 hours of yoga. I think it worked, and suspect I'm still sane.

When K & I got home, L was already here, visiting from Los Angeles, and H showed up shortly thereafter. We all drank wine, told stories, and laughed. I tried to believe that I was actually done, but it didn't sink in.

Then, L drove us to D's birthday party. L was a surprise, and D freaked out, screaming and crying, and all of that good stuff. I joined the real world just in time to hang out with my closest friends (all gathered at the same place, a rarity), have ice-cream cake and champagne, meet B&C's new baby, and watch a videotape of S on college jeopardy. Wow, 80's hair. Of course, after seeing someone on college jeopardy, playing X-box trivia in order to beat him is a moral imperative. Yeah, my team lost. I think I may have sabotaged it. Really, whose idea was it to give me more questions to which I did not know the answer?

Despite all of last night's activities, it still hasn't sunk in that I'm done. L and I went to bed at 3 AM, but my body woke at 8 AM, sleep-deprived, with the foggy morning-after headache, but amped on adrenaline, and ready to get some studying done. Also, I woke from a dream where L was handing me evidence and D was some sort of judge, quizzing me on the proper ruling, in a pseudo-courtroom.

Cheers to normalcy. May it return sooner, rather than later. I could really use some sleep.

December 17, 2004

Truth Hurts

beep, beep

--Yeah, I know, I'm probably going too slow. [bt looks down at the new gadget]

--11:01 mile? This thing has got to be broken. It must not have a good link to the GPS and is missing a data point or something. There's no way I'm running at below a 10 minute pace. [speeds up]


--That's better.

silent for quite some time

--Shouldn't this damn thing have beeped the mile marker yet? I know it's been a mile since I last hit the lap button.

beep, beep

--Oh, good. [Looks down] What do you mean "Speed Up?" Where's my mile time? [Looks again] Really? It's only been 0.85 miles? Huh. I guess this route isn't as long as I thought...

beep, beep

--I know, I know. I'm SLOW today. Stop it already. [speeds up]

beep, beep

--Look, gadget [lifts arm to sky while running in case the extra few inches will help
it receive the signals]. I know I set you to yell at me whenever I dropped below an 11:00 mile pace. But really, can't you cut me some slack? It's finals. I'm new at this. I figured a 9:45 mile wouldn't have many places where the runner was below 11:00 min/mile pace. I see now that I am wrong.


--Thanks. Now, where am I? [looks down] Really, it's only 3.85 miles to this point? I could have sworn it was at least 4.2...

beep, beep

--Right. [speeds up] Thanks so much, you helpful gadget [thinks about "accidentally" breaking gadget].

--So, let me get this straight. I was off on the distance of this route by almost 10%, so then my pacing was off too...

Rad. I'm slower and I run less distance than I thought. God bless technology!

December 16, 2004

And then there was one

Evidence? The 4-hour exam is complete.

The worst thing about it? It was too easy. (Update: the new worst thing is that I've heard through the grapevine that many people thought it was very difficult. Rad... now I'm either the one who missed the complex shit, or the one who's getting screwed by the curve.)

Sound like I'm complaining? I am.

Ridiculous? Maybe.

But given a choice between an impossible exam and one that just about everyone will feel good about, I'll take the difficult one, thanks. Because when everyone else feels good about the exam, I start to feel terrible. Not in the competitive sense, but in the, oh-shit, I've seen what a steep curve does to easy exams sense.

Bummer. If my guess is correct, this exam is going to come down to, who incorrectly read one/some of the multiple choice and who made small assumptions the professor didn't intend from the fact pattern? I'd so much rather lose points because I missed something difficult than because I missed something stupid. C'est la vie, I suppose.

To recover, H, J, and I went for mexican food and margaritas. Then H and I sat on the couch and surfed reality TV for about 4 hours. With wine. Maury and Judge Judy are SMART when you're in post-exam state.

Last night, I refused to start studying again, so I hung out with E and watched the rest of The Conversation. It's an excellent Francis Ford Coppola movie that ends in the form of a question. I went to bed thinking about the movie's plot, the scene ordering, and the nature of the main character's paranoia instead of the evidence exam. It was perfectly unrelated to anything about finals.

After almost 9 hours of Zs (!!), and yoga, I'm going to hit the books for one last subject. 3 days to go.

December 14, 2004


Start with one 4 mile run.
Add 7 hours of federal courts outlining and general confusion over the subject matter.
Top with 6.5 hours of evidence flash cards and evidence discussion with a willing idiot-in-crime.
Back up every important file on the laptop and garnish with 1 hour of downloading previous exams and registering the ridiculous exam software plus making certain that it functions in secure mode to avoid last semester's computer nightmare.

Chill and serve: one exhausted, harried, slap-happy, but still alive 2L.

Key word chill. Only two to go.

December 11, 2004


I hate shopping. I hate crowds. I hate mass consumerism. Ikea is my idea of hell. Yeah, I'm a ball of fun for the holidays.

Predictably, Christmas gift-giving, for me, has turned into an excuse to plan days throughout the rest of the year when I'll visit, cook, take people out, meet up with them in a cool locale or even [if I must] take them shopping (the little sister and mom often go for this option).

Obviously, there's an exception for children. I'll elbow my way through hordes of bitter soccer moms if it means getting the last leapfrog for my niece. (On a side note, they have leapfrog products for high-school students? Cheating never felt so cute!)

But, the last few years, I've noticed that I've gotten better about shopping. Growing more tolerant with age? No. Getting sucked into the American way? Perhaps. But really, it's the magic of the Interweb. On-line shopping was designed for people like me. So much of the reason I don't buy crap (other than the fact that most of it's crap) is the whole process of buying crap. The lines, the crowds, the stupid stores, the noise, the huge selection of a bunch of stuff you couldn't pay me to take home... you see where I'm going here, right?

Last year, I completed much of my Christmas shopping before I arrived in my hometown and actually gave out material presents, I even wrapped them. Granted, I had some of them shipped to my Mother's house and all I had to do was show up, pick out a roll of wrapping paper from her selection of 1 billion and I was good to go. But I call this efficiency, not laziness.

Anyways, the point I'm oh-so-slowing getting to here is that the timing of finals before the holidays has made me a better Christmas shopper. On-line shopping for family and friends is preferable to studying for the 14th straight hour. So far, I've taken care of my dad (even recruited some siblings, so I'm up on the Karma scale), several friends, E, and I also managed to order some books for myself for the break, as well as a self-indulgence I couldn't resist:

A GPS timer and trainer for my running escapades. It is the coolest gadget I've acquired in the last few years. Tonight, as a study break, E and I took it outside, allowed it to sync up with the satellites and walked around the yard, laughing at the 23-40 minute mile pace it desperately tried to average into a useful metric.

Oh, and studying is going well, thanks for asking. I'm meeting and surpassing my goals. No. Really...

December 10, 2004

Two down

Two to go.

The 24-hour take home is a cruel joke. Extending the stress of an exam into a 24-hour marathon is not a gift. I'm way more wiped out than I would have been had I taken an in-class exam (for starters, I could have slept the other 20 hours...).

It does have one benefit: the time period after the in-class exam, where everyone (or at least everyone like me) spends a few hours mulling over the exam and slapping themselves on the forehead, thinking, "oh shit, I forgot that point" is actually included in the 24-hour window. By the time you turn it in, there's no point you can claim to have forgotten.

For example, I woke up this morning at 6:30 after about 4 hours of sleep to realize I'd forgotten an important portion of the analysis on one of the questions. If it had been an in class exam, I would have been long finished and I wouldn't have had the "opportunity" to make good on my realization. But, I also would have stayed in bed.

C'est la vie.

December 8, 2004

Finals Snapshot

Rained all night. I know because I had too many ridiculous stress-induced dreams and woke about 8 times--each time shaking my head at the hilarity of my subconscious and the continued downpour.

Now, after 7 hours of studying I have an over-caffeinated buzz that threatens to become a headache. My stomach is threatening to strike and it must have recruited my tongue because food is tasteless. My eyes are exhausted from all the reading and my body is exhausted from the high work-out/low sleep ratio.

It's 4 PM on the day before my first exam and I am torn by compulsions to sleep and work maniacally at the same time.

Yup... sounds about right.

December 7, 2004

Reality Check

Finals suck. But really, it could be much worse.

A friend of mine, L, recently was screwed out of a promotion by one of the members of her group, T (who has lots of friends higher up in the company). Oddly, T somehow always manages to end up with the credit for L's work. Anyways, L wasn't promoted, but to keep her from quitting, they promised her a project to "prove" herself, which she needed to complete in the next 3 months. Of course, a couple of weeks later her manager's manager gave her a "fire" to put out which would take 2 months and wouldn't allow her to complete the project in time to meet the 3 month goal for the promotion. When she talked to management about it, she was accused of not being a "team player," and it was hinted that she didn't deserve the promotion anyways if she didn't know how to put the team needs first. Rad.

Just another reminder of why school really is better than the real world in many ways. At least grades just randomly screw you over--it's nothing personal.

I wouldn't choose L's work crap over the month of vacation I've got coming to me. Who would? (oh, right, except people who don't want to die with $1,000,000,000 of school loan debt...)

December 6, 2004


Engineering is not a good prep for Con Law. I'm in class with people who knew lots of useful crap about American history before they showed up, including several, like my friend D, who took Con Law in undergrad at very prestigious schools from very prestigious Con Law scholars. Today, D came over and we busted through two old exams from the prof. I feel better about my chances on this exam now.

In other news, I pulled off a 6.2 mile run with no pain, and I don't hate everything about college football anymore. Things are looking up.

December 5, 2004


Texas, college football powerhouse that it is, is going to the Rose bowl.

Guess I've got some good karma coming my way for finals.

December 4, 2004

Elk Bolognese

My father recently gave me 3 packages wrapped in what looked like brown butcher paper labeled "dead elk stew." (Yeah, Pa's a little bit of a redneck...) Turns out, the brown butcher paper was actually a brown lunch sac (the french spelling adds class, you see...) and my dad had wrapped the meat himself in celophane inside the bag. So much for being thankful that he'd finally started taking his game to the butcher. (Okay, maybe a little bit more than a little redneck.)

I've never cooked with Elk, but given what I know about venison, buffalo, and other big game, I figured it would be, well "gamey." And, a little tough. So, what better to use it for than a bolognese sauce?

Impressed with my brilliant idea, I figured Google would save the day with a selection of recipes, but I was wrong.
What? Only 3 mentions on the whole Internet for Elk Bolognese? I tried "Elk Lasagna" and found a similar dearth.

At this point I figured I must have made some horrible mistake--how could I be one of the first people to think of elk as a substitute in this country-style italian recipe that has more variants than just about any other recipe I learned in Italy? So I looked into the nutritional properties of Elk. I decided that not only would it work, it would be the lowest cholesterol, healthiest lasagna I've ever made (not that this means anything except on the lasagna scale since I still use butter, pork, mozzerella, ricotta, and parmigiano).

Anyways, the moral of the story is, Elk meat chunks, buttressed with a little more ground pork than normal used as a replacement for veal, prosciutto, and chicken livers in a bolognese sauce--DELICIOUS!!!

The lasagna won accolades for the best I've ever made, which is particularly impressive because I used the no-boil barilla lasagna sheets instead of making the noodles by hand (my procrastination does have limits). The meat chunks fell apart in people's mouths and were flavorful but not gamey.

Okay, I really must study now.
Proceeding Apace

My ankle seems to be better. I ran an easy 3.27 miles this AM and it's not in pain, so I proclaim myself healed. I'm hoping to hit the books by 10 AM today for the earliest start on a study day during this finals period. I'm really having trouble motivating, which is unfortunate, but I feel like I'm starting to get the requisite level of stress that will allow me to get up at 7:30 after today.

Yesterday, for example, it was the best I could do to do roll out of bed in time to go grocery shopping and do Power yoga 3 by Bryan Kest at 11 AM (If you are an experienced yoga student looking for a great yoga workout, I recommend this DVD for the workout but warn you that Mr. Kest talks TOO MUCH and his philosophical sound bites combined with his jersey accent are a bit much to take.) I finally hit the books after noon--not exactly awe-inspiring commitment.

Add the fact that we had guests over for elk (thanks dad!) bolognese lasagna last night and you can imagine that my study day was not particularly long.

Here's to my study days getting longer and my efficiency going up. I've got an entire Fed Courts Outline to create, all of the cases in evidence to make flashcards for, about a billion evidence practice problems, and oh, yeah, that hairy ball of a mess called con law, where my outline is ostensibly complete, but I feel completely unprepared...

December 3, 2004

Guess I'll have to switch to macs

IBM is getting out of the laptop business. After the troubles I've had with cheaper laptops from lesser vendors, I finally got myself a thinkpad. It rocks. I guess I'll have to drive it into the ground and hope there are quality replacements in 7 years or whenever I finally admit that it's dead.

In other news, yet another mistake has created a new favorite recipe. Last night while emailing back to professor Con Law about a dormant commerce clause question, I forgot about the soup on the stove.

Accidentally Roasted Carrot Soup

1. Dice 1/4 onion and 4 cloves of garlic.
2. Sautee in a large pot with olive oil 'til the onions are clear.
3. Add 3 cups of baby or chopped carrots, briefly stir.
4. Add 4 cups of broth.
5. Allow to boil until the broth has entirely boiled off and the carrots are stuck to the bottom of the pot.
6. Add 3 cups water. Stir and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
7. Remove the carrots with a slotted spoon and puree them in a food processor.
8. Return the puree to the liquid in the pot and stir.
9. Serve immediately.

December 2, 2004


I was doing all right. Finished all of my reading. Almost done with the con law outline. Not too stressed and feeling like I had a decent schedule planned out for the next few weeks.

Last night, we moved up another notch on the gift-sushi ranking and received fried hamachi head as the chef's addition to date night. Seemed like a good omen.

Today, after a leisurely morning of studying for a bit, I left for a 6 mile run. At mile 1.5, I veered off the path to avoid two soccer mom-type women who were walking and talking abreast, taking up the ENTIRE path. Immediately after passing them, I rolled my ankle on the uneven terrain.

I stopped and must have grunted in pain because they turned around to ask me, "oh, are you all right?"

"No, I'm not all right, my ankle hurts, my running schedule is going to be all messed up for finals, and now I have to go home instead of finishing my run. I can't help but feel that this is partially your fault for not understanding trail etiquette--if you see someone coming, go single file 'til they pass!"

Okay, so I didn't really say that. But I wanted to. Instead I told them I was fine, tested it out, and decided to run the 1.5 miles home to try to beat the swelling.

Now I've got ibuprofen in my system, ankle wrapped for swelling, and I'm off to H's for a day of studying. Any pull you have with the healing gods would be much appreciated over here.

November 29, 2004

Almost Halfway There

Thanksgiving with the family was everything it could have been.

First, we celebrated on Friday instead of Thursday, which meant that I got an extra half day of studying before the feast and was able to drive from 3 PM 'til 6:30 PM on Thanksgiving day. Talk about no traffic.

Second, my cousin from Washington flew in, I also got to see my other cousin, niece, brother, sister, father, aunt, uncle, and brother's in-laws. It was a big, full, long table with my father at one end and my 3-year-old niece at the other, each ably commanding the appropriate level of respect that is due to the head of the table.

Third, the turkey turned out perfectly, which is important since I was the designated cook (getting up after a night of drinking with my brother the construction worker to put the 22 lb. bird in the oven by 9 AM was fun...)

Fourth, the entire event was merely a 4 on the drama/annoyance scale of 10, which may be a family record low. Furthermore, in a shocking display of maturity, my parents both contributed very little to the things about which I could complain. Wisdom may very well come with age. How great to like them more as they grow older. I'm certain this has nothing to do with me maturing past the oh-so-pleasant ages of 14-23. Thankfully, I have cousins and siblings in this age range (not to mention fellow law students) to remind me that perhaps some of my earlier annoyance with my 'rents stemmed from my youthful idiocy instead of their unreasonableness...Nahh...Not me.

Fifth, and most importantly, after the 1.5 days of family crap, I was ready for a break. And I got one, in the form of a trip to Amador Wine Country with E on Saturday. Tasting good wine and buying multiple cases to stock the house for finals and the holidays was an excellent way to escape from the trauma of repetitive childhood patterns and remind me that I'm an adult with a wonderful life, an excellent partner, and overall, a million things to be thankful for, including my wonderful family (through wine-induced rose-colored-goggles they are perfect). E and I agreed that the Amador trip will be a regular addendum to Thanksgiving or Christmas with my family. I couldn't be happier with this plan.

Sixth, the freezer is now full. While most people leave Thanksgiving weekend with leftovers of mashed potatoes, yams, turkey, stuffing, and pies, I left those things with the local family. Instead, my father and brother, who are straight out of the hunting and fishing channel filled my trunk with 3 pheasants (thank goodness my father pays to have those birds cleaned by professionals now that he doesn't have children at home), 8 pounds of elk meat (the brown butcher paper helpfully labeled in sharpe pen "dead elk stew"), and about 20 pounds of alaskan salmon. We could have had venison as well, but we opted out, which just means I'll be looking for a good venison recipe to prepare for the whole family back in the homeland over Christmas week. Anyone know of any good recipes for backstrap?

Looking back, I see that I really couldn't have grown up to be anything but a food and wine geek. I was raised on freshly killed game, 4-H raised pork, beef and rabbit (raised 'em myself--that'll teach you about the value of life and where meat comes from, I'm an unapologetic carnivore, thank you very much!), and fish caught and cleaned by family members. My grandparents had a farm that my grandfather worked himself until I was in my mid-teens (and even in his later years he had a strong influence with the people who leased the acreage), so we ate home-grown persimmons (hate them), walnuts, sugar peas, lettuce, and more. When you've gone that route, just about anything farmed or raised in a mass-produced manner won't cut it. See... I really didn't have a choice.

After a reluctant return to my real life today, where I spent 8 hours studying and dealing with the faulty plumbing in our house, I had to focus on the positive, which is this:

I have too much to be thankful for to enumerate. Not the least of those things is that in a few short weeks, I will be halfway through law school. Half. Way. Done. Wow.

November 25, 2004

If I Ran the World

Everyone would just understand that forbidding teachers from showing students historical documents that reference Christianity is censorship. The history of this country DOES include quite a bit of Christianity. You might have heard. Systematically hiding a portion of the truth from people on any issue is never a good idea. [link via Mean Mr. Mustard.]

On the other hand, while people would be very against censorship, they would also understand that state-sponsored discrimination in the name of religious freedom is a laughable oxy-moron.

Perhaps we need to focus a little more on those historical God documents in school to explain to people that the purpose of religious freedom is to PREVENT discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs, not allow for it.

Regardless, happy thanksgiving Y'all. Be thankful.


In response to a comment, I looked a little further into the teacher story. 'Til I see more details, I'm going to go with the mainstream media on this one. I'd love to know more about the reality of the handouts if anyone has verifiable facts--obviously I have no first hand knowledge. But, I find it hard to believe that not a single 5th grade parent of this guy's students (in the San Francisco Bay Area) wouldn't make it known if the handouts were actually as atrocious as feared...


E thinks I'm completely missing the point and the comment is a troll. E also thinks I cannot refrain from troll-baiting in response as it is my blog-given duty. Huh. Humans, amazing we ever manage to communicate anything, ain't it?

November 24, 2004

Productive like your mom

Well, it's almost that time of year again and since it worked reasonably well the last time around, I plan on keeping a ridiculous running schedule to keep me sane. Technically, classes aren't over yet, but all of my professors canceled today's classes in acknowledgment that most of us wouldn't show up regardless.

Given the free pre-finals study day, I planned on spending today in a familiar pattern: wake reasonably early, go for a long run, shower, burrito, and study 'til my eyeballs fall out of my head.

But, the stress just isn't there to make me maintain the level of focus that I most certainly need. Instead, my day so far has shaped up to look more like this:

8:00. Alarm. Snooze.

8:20. Alarm. Snooze.

8:40, roll out of bed and climb into running gear. Check temperature: 48 degrees? I can wait a little bit 'til it gets warmer, right? Catch up on reading some of my fellow bloggers, the news, email. Search for reviews of heart rate monitors.

9:20. Epiphany. Since I'm externing next semester, I won't have homework, except for one class. I'll have more free time. I could train for a race...

9:45. Finally convince myself that it's reasonable for someone like me to train for a half marathon in less than 3 months (the time between my return from winter travel and the actual race).

10:00. Print confirmation slip for the half marathon. E wakes up, sees me in my running gear and asks how my run was. Right.

10:20. Finish sending emails to my running-inclined friends asking if they want to join in the fun (or just some of my training runs).

10:55. 65 degrees out, and sunny. Finally leave for my long run.

11:40ish. Lose my way on the new trail and guess at how to get home. Keep running. Really warm at this point. Wonder if I was thinking straight when I was concerned about the cold.

12:18. Return from the run. No idea of my pace, because no idea how far I ran. Assume the best (when you are slow like me, and you got lost, and you hit stoplights, best case scenario is 7-7.5 miles in 83 minutes, it was probably closer to 6, but the beauty of not having a mapped route is that I can assume it was 8, at least). Pound water. Shower.

1:00-2:00. Go with E for burritos. It's a popular destination at 1 PM. Wait in a long line. Finally get burrito and stuff myself silly.

2:00. Begin evidence flashcards.

2:45. Call the fam to confirm thanksgiving details.

3:00. Call best friend who's unemployed. Catch up.

3:40. Return to evidence. Focus for about 15 minutes.

3:55. There are ants. The kitchen is disgustingly dirty. Impressed with my own ability to ignore the HUGE impulse to sweep and mop.

4:00. Check on E (who's working from home) and ask how work is going. Discuss ants. All of a sudden, I'm very concerned about being a supportive partner.

4:20. Return to evidence.

5:00. Go into the office. Check email. Blog.

5:20. Finish this entry. Plan to head back to the evidence book with the best of intentions.

Funny, after such a long day of work, I'm still invigorated and ready for more. I must be getting better at this whole law school thing.

November 22, 2004

When all else fails

And you should be studying for finals...

Take a quiz.

Apparently, I'm AVERAGE as a human being, a Sober Emotional Destructive Leader (aka "Dictator") and an Expressive Practical Physical Giver (whatever that means) in relationships. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, if you ask me.

Fear it.

November 19, 2004

Playing the Lottery

A few days ago, I had a depressing conversation with S, a 3L. She externed for a Federal Appeals judge last summer. Not a famous judge, just a regular old Cirucuit Court of Appeals judge I'd never heard of.

I mentioned that I was thinking about applying for clerkships and she tried to easily let me down. "Ummm.... I can tell you that you probably shouldn't pin your hopes on it. I only know 3 people who got interviews with any federal judges and one of them is probably #1 in the class as well as Editor-in-chief of law review." Interviews, mind you, not jobs.

She then described being in chambers during the application process and how 700 applications arrived for one position. The clerks had to do the first sorting rounds and they came up with the proxies of top 10% at a top 20 school. That got 'em down to 200. For round two, they limited it to top 5 people at a top 20 school with speaking experience like moot court or trial team, journal executive board, and one other extra-curricular activity. That got 'em down to 80. Somehow, they rolled dice and pulled 30 to interview from there. One of those lucky few got the job.

It was her opinion that everyone who applied to the circuit judges also applied to the district court judges within that circuit because there aren't enough circuit judges to go around. Hence, in her opinion, why students from my school aren't getting calls for interviews.

Makes sense. Frustrating. But what do you do? I guess you just put your packets together, mail them out, and hope for the best. It's like playing the lottery, but the tickets cost much more and the odds are slightly better.

The reality that the chance at a federal clerkship is a near nullity for people at my school is depressing, but, on the other hand, it does help weight the likely paths in the dependency madness of E's and my future.

November 15, 2004

Natural Law

I'm on call this week in Con Law. I normally do my reading and I'm not embarrassed to speak in class, so historically, when I've been on call, nothing really changed. But professor ConLaw has a habit of calling on people with questions like:

So, how would Justice Jackson, based on his dissent in some-case-we-read-two-months-ago, respond to Justice Breyer's concurrence in this case?

Right. So it's a little more difficult to be prepared in con law. So, I really paid attention while doing my reading for today. I read slowly, took notes in the margins, identified key phrases, and even read the relevant chemerinsky chapter (something I've been reserving for after I outline the section).

Sure enough. Professor Con Law called on me today. The conversation did not go as planned:

Prof: BT, I'm going to pick on you. Do you think there is such a thing as "natural law?" Are there discoverable laws about what is just wrong or right?

BT: Ummm, that's a fairly philosophical question...

Prof: [laugh] Welcome to the class. But seriously, do you think there are things that are just wrong?

BT: There are things that society as a whole decides are wrong...

Prof: But what about you? Are some things just wrong?

BT: I don't think we can affirmatively say things are just wrong.

Prof: But what about genocide. Wouldn't you say genocide is wrong?

BT: [conceding] Yes. I would say that genocide is wrong.

Prof: How do you know that?

BT: I don't. I've just put in enough time to form my opinion on this issue and I believe it's wrong.

Prof: You believe it. So if you were president, you'd go invade a country that was committing genocide and you'd tell the American people that you *believed* we needed to do it.

BT: Well, I'd have back-up.

Prof: What do you mean?

BT: I wouldn't be the only one who believed genocide was wrong.

Prof: Okay, so I'll give you back up on the genocide thing. But what about equal protection for women? Would you say that equal protection for women is right? Isn't it just something that is fundamentally good?

BT: Here, today, yes.

Prof: But it's not a moral imperative? Women in some cultures don't deserve gender equality. It hasn't always been correct?

BT: If aliens landed, I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't be so concerned about alien equal protection. But if it turned out that they were nice, one hundred years from now, alien equal protection could be seen as a fundamental right.

Prof: Well, if aliens landed, we'd be the ones who'd need to worry about discrimination.

BT: Good Point.

Not what I was expecting...but fun.

November 14, 2004


Yesterday, in the interests of falsely pinning some certainty to my approaching future, I repeatedly pressed E about where we could live and where we couldn't, whether we could handle each location for one year or two, and what E would do (quit job, telecommute, find a new job, go back to school) in each location.

Long term, we know we want to be here. But for the short term, there's absolutely no reason we can't go live anywhere. Which is awesome and disconcerting at the same time.

Last week, E tossed out the idea of getting a Masters in Leiden, Netherlands. I'd love to live in Europe for a couple of years. But a decision like that takes planning. When? How? What will I do while E's in school? How long would it take to get bar equivalence? I like the idea, but given my current set of plans, it won't work 'til around 2009 at the earliest, and that's assuming equivalence is less than 3 years.

Yesterday, I added to the pile of infinite options with a discussion of whether I would apply for clerkships, and where. I think that I, like much of the law school herd, will let the decision be made for me. I'll throw together a ton of packets for clerkships targeted at a large number of judges all over the country. And, if, for some reason, I'm blessed with a clerkship, we'll go wherever the hell it takes us. And we'll call it a little mini-adventure. The issue to be decided upfront is where would we be willing to go on the mini-adventure and what is not an adventure and more like torture.

Ideally, while we're hanging out on a mini-adventure, E will apply to schools and assuming admittance somewhere, we'll leave the clerkship just in time for E to start school (ideally back here, but you never know...). This makes practicing law for me contingent upon where E gets into school. E's start date for school is contingent upon whether and where I get a clerkship. The bar trip is contingent upon all of these things and more.

And of course, all this preliminary decision-making is before I've even worked in chambers or done litigation. I may hate chambers or litigation in general.

Cart before the horse a little bit? Almost Always.

But hey, it's better than studying for finals. In fact, it's kind of reminiscent of the LSAT logic games. Which is comforting, since as far as I can tell, those games have nothing else to do with law school.

November 12, 2004

Helpful Hint

Turns out, bacon grease has a flash point of about 450 F.

If you make bacon in the oven (mmmm...) and then take out the roasting pan and put it on the stove to remove the bacon...

Make sure you don't put it on a lit burner.

That is all.

November 8, 2004


A UC Hastings student organization (Hastings Christian Fellowship) is suing the school because the school will not fund them unless they sign the anti-discrimination policy, which states that the organization will not discriminate on the basis of religion or sexual orientation.

Unfortunately, HCF is of the opinion that requiring the group to sign the non-discrimination policy is discrimination.

HCF's complaint is filled with all sorts of interesting blather, including the choice quote on page 5, which states:

A person who engages in homosexual conduct or adheres to the viewpont that homosexual conduct is not sinful would not be permitted to become a member or serve as an HCF officer. A person who may have engaged in homosexual activity in the past but has repented of that conduct, or who has homosexual inclinations but does not engage in or affirm homosexual conduct, would not be prevented from becoming a member or serving as an officer.

A few questions:

1. Really? You think a publicly funded university should give you money and resources so that you can exclude people on the basis of their sexual orientation?

2. San Francisco? You figured the best place to bring this suit (because it's funded by two national christian activist groups) was San Francisco? California?

3. When the hell are you going to serve the school with the complaint? Apparently, Hastings is refraining from public comment until they actually receive the complaint, and although it was filed on October 21, the school hasn't received anything as of yet.

4. If it's that important to your organization to discriminate on the basis of religion and sexual orientation, why not forgo the $230 in funding you would have received had you signed the policy, and ask the national orgs to pony down the legal fees they'd save when you abandon your suit. With that kind of dough, you can hold your meetings in the swankest mason lodge money can rent. I'm sure they'd be happy to let you discriminate.

What's wrong with naked? It's cheap and classic.

(E, on lingerie)

No motivation today. Skipping the workout as I type. Will probably suffer from non-workout sleep issues. Will probably then be tired for tomorrow. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

I think my subconscious knows that laziness will cease to be an option some time around next Sunday. I'm not clear on exactly when, but somewhere around 2 weeks before the last day of class my adrenaline levels double and I become this uber-efficient and ridiculous work-a-holic. Whatever works, I guess...

Regardless, the nap I just took, the chocolate shortbread I just ate, and the sitting at the keyboard IN MY WORKOUT CLOTHES will not be an option in the near future.

November 6, 2004

Making the Most of It

In an effort to fully utilize the free weekends I have between the hell that was the first part of this semester and the fun that promises to be finals prep, I went all out this weekend.

Sad part is, I'm writing this on Saturday at 10 PM and will be staying home for the rest of the evening. Tomorrow, my rock star plans are to go for a run and outline for con law.

Regardless, I'm pretty impressed with what E and I pulled off over the last 24 hours or so:

  • Drove to my sister's, picked her up, met up with 5 friends and had a 3 hour Italian dinner. Shut down the restaurant.
  • Rolled to a bar with some of the people who work in the restaurant (one of those weird friend of a friend connections gone bezerk) and closed the bar down.
  • Got back to my car to find that it had been booted. Rad.
  • WALKED with the rolling luggage in tow back to my sister's.
  • Crashed for a few hours, only to be woken by my sister's roommate who had to work at 5 AM (or so it seemed).
  • Inserted Earplugs. (Note, leaving earplugs as a standard item in the luggage is one of the smarter things we've ever done. They've come in handy more times than I can count, often used to drown out drunken snoring of happenstance roommates-for-the-night.)
  • Woke. Showered. W&V showed up and made some random concoction called a red tide. Sounds healthy, no? But, you can't turn down a gift drink, so... we toasted and drank in preparation for the alma mater's football game.
  • Walked to the football game. Hit a few bars, but spent most of the time chasing down friends and trying to orchestrate the madness of too many people, not enough parking, traffic and all else that comes with game day. Had a burrito at a joint that I'd only visited at 2 AM as an undergrad--it wasn't just the alcohol hunger, their food is actually fairly good. Eventually, we found our friends at the game.
  • Screamed and cheered 'til I was hoarse. The team won, but barely. It was a poor, ugly showing, but we'll take the gift win, Lord knows we're due.
  • Walked from the stadium to the parking lot by the bar from Friday, paid the attendant to get the car un-booted. At $60, it was expensive, but not that much more than game-day parking, so no harm, no foul.
  • Headed out to dinner with a different group of 7. Italian, again, different restaurant. Stuffed ourselves silly, again.
  • Drove home. Can't move. Exhausted. Content.

November 3, 2004


The mood at school today was what you would expect for a very blue city in the biggest blue state in the nation.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a little skeeved out about fundamentalist religious freaks being appointed to the Supreme Court, and I'm annoyed that Bush doesn't seem to have a basic understanding of economics. But, perhaps I'm used to "losing" elections because when you have a set of values like mine, you don't align with any candidate, ever. Whenever I vote, I'm compromising some of my values at the expense of others. I shudder to think that most people actually endorse EVERY position of the politicians they vote for. Think for yourself, people!

But, truly, the big picture is that the world will keep on spinning and the day-to-day fundamentals of my life are fairly isolated from the president.

This reality seems to have escaped many of my fellow students as evidenced by quotes I actually heard today:

If this keeps up for another four years, there will be a revolution!

I'm going to have to move. I just can't stand to live in this country anymore.

We should just secede.

Are you kidding, if California tries to secede, they'll just blow us to smithereens. You think Falloujah is bad, it's nothing compared to what they'll do to San Francisco!

RIGHT! Of Course! You all sound so reasonable, well-thought out, and intelligent. (Okay, I'll give one to the "I'm going to have to move" dude. If you really need to move, go for it. I've got back-up plans for Australia if this country ever goes completely to shit. But, people, go travel! We are so far from hell, and you have NO idea!)

Honestly, I'm embarassed to have voted for the same candidate as these people. I don't join parties specifically because I'm scared to be associated with their wackos. But, in theory, the law students of a particular party should be some of the better educated and less ridiculous. So much for theory.

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned moderation?

November 1, 2004

It's a Hell of a Town

L decided to move back to the bay area. Generally, I'm happy when my friends move so that they are closer to me (truth be told, I'm almost as happy when they move to be farther, but choose a really cool place where I can visit and have a place to stay). But L, he's one of those ridiculously multi-talented freaks. He studied at both the California Culinary Academy as well as MIT. He also happens to be one of those amazingly cool, extremely worldly multi-linguists. All 2 of my readers should know me well enough to realize that anyone with L's qualities is the kind of person BT would really like to hang out with. So, I'm stoked he's moving back.

Anyways, I made plans to meet him for lunch today at one of the tres chic deli/cafe/gardens nestled in the food enclave of Hayes Valley. After morning classes, I crammed my books into my locker and headed out, my arms light without the weight of the multiple bags I've been lugging around lately.

The day was clear, and I walked leisurely, enjoying the view of city hall, the opera, the symphony, and the random hearts (okay, so the hearts annoy me, but it's for a good cause. And they're hearts. So it's not like I can speak ill of them without sounding like an ogre.)

Eventually, I met up with L. We caught up on what had happened to each other as well as our mutual acquaintances, and savored our oh-so-food-capital-of-california sandwiches (panini-grilled sourdough with sage, roasted portobellos and gruyere). From there, we walked a bit and ended up in a french cafe. Somehow, despite feeling caught up, we talked another 30 minutes over coffee and pastries.

I arrived back at school to find that I'd taken a 2.5 hour lunch. It felt like an eternity. I spent time in the city that the tourists come for, the walk, the food, the views--it was amazing. Also, I had conversations that people who aren't in the first semester of 2L have at long lunches with their friends.

It was good to visit. I've got plans to go back just as soon as I finish chemerinsky, my oral argument preparation for ap ad, my outlines...

October 29, 2004


I decided on the title to this post before I checked to see if it was actually a word. (I often decide upon the word that best fits only to learn it doesn't exist.) Thankfully, for once, I'm not that far off. And churchill, on the germans, I mean, puh-leeze, I've got back up, you know what I'm saying?

So anyways, the point: I've ascended to the title of god of gnocchi. Okay, that's not fair. Or even true. But I've definitely moved from one level to the next. And, I'm fairly certain it's a hidden level and most people don't even know it exists, hence the arrogance. But all of a sudden, I just get the dough. I know when it's going to be soup, I know when it's going to cook into perfectly tender gnocchi. And tonight, while making an entirely new season-centric gnocchi recipe with butternut squash, I made a judgment call and went against the recipe. I asked E to toss in an extra cup of flour while I was kneeding. This can be the kiss of death with gnocchi. An extra cup of flour can turn light fluffy pillows of potato goodness into heavy cement balls. But... I was right.

Over delicious mouthfulls, E and I discussed the best meals that had been cooked at home thus far in the year. We tentatively agreed that the butternut-squash gnocchi in a simple fresh tomato, onion, basil sauce with parmigiano topping was the frontfunner. The sauce, of course, took about 15 minutes and no effort--sautee the onions in the olive oil, add the tomatoes, simmer 'til the consistency is correct and turn off the burner. Before serving, add the chopped basil, briefly heat, add the gnocchi and stir. No-brainer. It is clear that the gnocchi were the difficult starlot of the evening--they were heavenly. Despite their humble beginnings in the form of squash, potatoes, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour, they managed to beat out the filet mignon from last weekend's dinner with company as the favorite for the year (that we can recall...subject to time-dependent decrease in taste appreciation).

Do you understand? Gnocchi beat out filet mignon. I am not kidding. I've figured gnocchi out and may have found my calling. This is the greatest thing that I've accomplished this year. I'm not exaggerating.

That is all.

October 27, 2004

I could have been huge

The discovery of little people who preceded us is easily the coolest scientific breakthrough in a long time. For every person you meet who's fired up about next Tuesday (the scariest day of the year), think of me, even more fired up about evolution and biological pressures and humans who have complex neurological processes in smaller brains than we thought possible. We don't know ANYTHING. And it's wonderful.

In other news, the job search is finally done. I accepted offers with two firms and will be splitting my summer between them. The entire process of OCI, interviewing, getting offers, and negotiating a split (which in silicon valley is much less accepted than other legal markets) was exhausting. I'm thrilled to know what I'll be doing and look forward to working with the people I've met. Add the finished Ap Ad brief and I'm on my way to returning to normal (not miniature) humanhood.

It's a good day. In fact, it's Wednesday, and E and I took date night to a local mainstay of mexican food. One margarita, 2 enchiladas, chips, salsa, rice, and lard-riffic refried beans and I'm done for the night.

Off to sleep.

October 24, 2004

The Speed

It's almost Halloween. Seems like it was just yesterday that K showed up at our house and saw our post-halloween candy bowl, and exclaimed, "Oh... so you were the house with the shitty candy."

Time is FLY-ING and I'm feeling old. I remember last New Years like it was yesterday and am somewhat traumatized at the reality that it's much closer to 2005 than it is to 2003.

When did this happen? And what have I been doing in the interim?

I know what I did this weekend: I spent Friday glued to the computer and books, finishing my journal note proposal and catching up on Con Law reading. Saturday, I spent all day in the BarBri evidence review, because while I didn't have the energy for active learning, I could handle passive learning with H's company, and walked out of the review with a nicely structured outline that will be the frame for my final outline in a few short weeks. Today, I spent almost 12 hours in the library working on the Ap Ad brief. For this semester, at least, this weekend was typical. And I think that may be why time seems to be passing me by.

I'm not making any particularly memorable memories lately. All my spare memory is spent learning legal stuff. I actually like it, so it's not terrible, but it is slightly sad when I realize that when I think over the year, I have many fewer fun images since I started law school than I did in the years proceeding it. I'm not quite certain what to think about that. I suppose I could just consider all I've learned in the last year and my estimation of time would start to slow.

Regardless, I'm shocked and at the same time not surprised at all that I need to catch up in my courses and make a study schedule for finals, yet again. Seems like I just did this last week...

I have one thing to say: Thank goodness for college football.

October 21, 2004

That's how it goes

The comedy of man survives the tragedy of man.
--G.K. Chesterton

I'm in better shape right now than I have been in years. This is an indicator of my stress level, and nothing more. Last year, I realized that I could only handle stress effectively in one way: working out. I'm not complaining. Quite the contrary, I'm amused that my body is slowly starting to resemble an athlete's yet again... it's been a long time.

Of course, along with lots of time spent working out comes injury. And I've got one. I'm actually nursing it properly with ibuprofen and time off the shoes. But, I'm amused. The last time I nursed an athletic injury, I was actually an athlete, on a team. These days, I'm merely trying to deal with the stress that my life creates. Funny.

I talk too fast. I'm confused and frustrated with the amorphous concept of my uncertain future and how I'm going to get there through the madness that will be the Summer after 2L. I'm behind in my reading in every class. I'm unaware of things that are due until one day prior when my classmates mention them. I bust them out when I should be sleeping.

This weekend, which I hilariously planned to spend visiting my brother's family and winetasting has been re-assigned to working on the journal note, catching up on reading, finishing the app-ad brief and sleep. Winetasting and playing with the niece? Who was I kidding?

An additional side effect of the stress is the lack of appetite because my stomach is all messed up. If I keep this up, for the first time in 4 years, I'll have a 6 pack.

How hilarious is that?

October 20, 2004

Best Idea Ever

E gave me credit tonight for the Wednesday date night plan. I admit, I must agree. Occasionally, I have a bit of genius. Good thing too, I needed the cushion of our local sushi joint and the gift-sushi of the "Ace" (we're moving up in the world, apparently, since this gift sushi involves salmon AND maguro!), to explain that I may be angling for a position on a spring moot court team.


Yeah. When asked by a member of the moot court board, I had to admit that I'd willingly undergo the hell of a moot court team for the benefit of the trip, yet again. I may join the cult yet... stay tuned.

In other news, I'm slowly climbing out of the hole of this-child-left-way-behind that is my studies these days. Nothing too exciting. Lots of catch-up reading, writing, but sadly, no arithmetic.

Add a pulled hip muscle, which is getting in the way of my running schedule and my life is well...boring. Predictable. And sane.

What a pleasant surprise.

October 19, 2004


Lessig is promoting a new site: It's full of the ads against Bush.

He's requesting that people who might know someone who actually made an anti-kerry ad or an anti-nader ad get their stuff on the site too. I'm guessing it's a little too skewed at this point to become a true democratic "discussion" but should be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Some of the ads are funny, but most of them are extremist and sound-bitey and all the things that frustrate me about politics in the first place.

October 17, 2004


The moot court competition is over. I'm relieved. I also had more fun on the trip than I could have possibly imagined. I owe the fun much more to the strong alcohol and stress-induced connections with the people on my team than the legal experience itself. Yes, it has been the most useful learning experience of law school thus far, but the friendships I made are college-like in their strength. I know these people way better than just about anyone else at law school. And I really like them. And the trip was fun--dancing, eating well, going out, long alcohol-infused discussions--it was all great!

As for how we fared--middle of the road. Top half. Not too shabby, but nothing to write home about. I wasn't able to argue as many times as I would have liked, nor did I do as well as I wanted to do when I did argue. But, I did better than I did at the beginning. I got over issues that I didn't even know I had. I'm much better at this than I was when I started and that's enough success to justify the effort.

Over the years, I've gotten quite comfortable with being somewhere in the middle. When I'm honest with myself, I care more about exposure to new things and quality of the experiences than being the best. Yes, I'm competitive, but I'm not only competitive in one area--I can't compete at the top of my game in one area at the expense of my game in another area.

So, I'm happily average in a lot of ways. And my moot court experience, which was simultaneously AMAZING and disappointing fits in with the rest of my life quite well--I'll always choose amazing food, wine, and conversations over the esoteric randomness of some particular judge's idea of "better." And I did.

It's good to be back. I look forward to reclaiming my life.

October 9, 2004

The Mother of Invention

E and I watched Men in Black II last night (Technically, I fell asleep watching it...). I wanted dessert. We're not big dessert people, so we don't normally have ice cream or chocolate lying around.

Thankfully, I found a can of peaches. I always have butter, flour, and brown sugar, so I made a make-shift cobbler.

Friday Night Cobbler

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Open and drain a can of peaches. Pour them into a square baking tin.
3. Cut 4 T butter into small cubes.
4. Pour 3-4 cups of flour into a bowl. Pour 2 cups of brown sugar into the same bowl.
5. Add the butter cubes and mash them into the flour/brown sugar with a fork until you have a bowl of crust balls. Add 1 cap of vanilla and half a cap of almond extract. Continue fork-mashing the butter cubes 'til the largest crust ball is about 1 cm across.
6. Pour mixture from bowl over peaches and stir 'til the mixture is attached to the peaches and isn't obviously dry in the corners.
7. Bake 'til the tips of the crust are brown.

Comments: It probably could have used a leavening agent. It was decent as a warm dessert, and satisfied my craving. But the leftovers were even better as breakfast this morning.
Grape Things

I finally was able to enjoy half of a Friday (my non-class day). So, I went to the wine store and picked up some 2003 Cotes-du-Rhone, 2001/2002 Bordeaux, and several other economically priced oddities that found their way into my basket.

The best discovery? Ciardella Vineyards 2000 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir. At $5.99, I took a chance and bought 3 bottles. Last night, E & I had one and I'm about to go back and buy the rest of their supply. Apparently, Thunder Mountain used to use grapes from the Ciardella Vineyards. For whatever reason, they don't anymore.

My guess is that the Ciardella family decided to make their own Pinot. Light, true to the Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot (less earth, medium fruit, not too acidic), and delicious, I'd say they did a decent job. But, given that the Thunder Mountain pinots were selling for $24 in 1999, it seems that the Ciardella family didn't market their product effectively. I wouldn't pay $24 for this wine, but I'm cheap. I will however pay $5.99--in fact, this may be the highest quality $6 wine I've had outside of Europe.

Woo Hoo for grape-growing families that strike out on their own.
More Advice

1Ls, do what you can to schedule fall 2L classes with one day off. I'd recommend Monday. First, the ability to have a day off is one not to be wasted. It's not going to happen in the real world. Second, it makes OCI easier.

I have Fridays off, which is great, but so do half of all 2Ls doing OCI, it seems. This means Friday callbacks are scarce (plus, some attorneys prefer not to schedule interviews on Fridays), so you miss more class on the days you have classes.

Regardless of how you plan it, you will probably be behind after OCI, if you do it, but minimizing the amount of missed class is preferable.

October 7, 2004


If your 2L job search is anything like mine, the things you thought would matter to you during the interview process may not matter as much as you think. In contrast, stuff you never really considered important will really affect you.

Example: one OCI firm was rude to a friend of mine in the screening interview. I don't care how cool they are. I'm not working there and I'm not referring business to them. Probably for the rest of my career. Is this reasonable, or smart? Probably not, it's one associate, who was probably exhausted at the end of a long day of interviews. But that's life. I'm sure firms have made hastier and sillier rejections of me.

Example 2: free sodas are a big deal to me. I always took them for granted, coming from software. Now I realize that not all firms have them. I find it affecting my opinion of firms way more than it should.

Example 3: firms where people say, "so-and-so (the OCI interviewer) says you're a great candidate" seem like so much of a better fit than those where people don't say anything. This is silly. It's much more indicative of the personality of the individual OCI interviewer and the person who shared the info than the firm itself. But really, we don't get enough information to make this decision, so I'm going with any little tiny thing I can find.

Example 4: firms who give a shorter reply period for their offers automatically seem less attractive to me. It's smart negotiating strategy. I should be appreciative of this. And yet, somehow, I like them less.

Example 5: firms within walking distance of cheap good food get major bonus points in my book. Enough points to counteract a 50 to 100 hour billables difference. This makes no sense. I could not save enough time walking to cheap lunches to make up the hours difference, since driving to far places would probably take just as much time.

Example 6: the OCI interviewer really colors my opinion of the firm. If I don't click with that one representative of the firm, it's hard to get over that lack of connection, even if on a callback I meet 5 others that rock.

Example 7: the commute doesn't matter to me. I thought I'd be very conscious of how long the commute will be, given my hellish commute to school. Somehow, it doesn't enter into my calculus. This, too, makes no sense. I know the commute to school is one of my least favorite things about my life. But somehow, it refuses to enter into the equation for next summer. Huh?

Example 8: I always claimed I didn't care about prestige. Yet, I'm finding myself more attracted to firms with more well-known names for the area in which I want to practice. I think this is logical, given the doors that prestige opens, particularly in the prestige-laden field of law. But it's new for me. Who says law school doesn't change you?

Example 9: I thought casual dress was important to me. After visiting a few firms, some on the super-casual side, some on the business side of business-casual, I've realized that I don't care. At all. When did this happen?

In short, unlike what I thought when I started this madness, I can now see myself happily dressing up and working an extra 50 - 100 hours a year in exchange for some combination including at least a few of: free sodas, proximity to cheap food, good training, cool people, and prestige. Basically, I know less about what I want now than I did when I started.

Musings for those that follow

In the last few crazy weeks, I've been collecting useful tidbits to hand out to 1Ls and future law school students who will find themselves in the madness that is law school, and in particular, 2L fall OCI.

OCI isn't complete, the jury is still out on whether I will quit my journal, and really, I don't have enough information on how this will all turn out to actually be qualified to give advice. But that does not stop me.

So, if you'd like my perspective from the middle of the fall of 2L storm, here goes:

1. Moot court is an amazing experience. I've committed more time and effort to my moot court competition than any other experience in law school thus far, including any single final exam during 1L. From this effort, I've gained amazing insight into effective legal writing (multiple employers have commented that moot court briefs translate very easily into motion writing), oral advocacy, the value and difficulty of team work, and lawyering in general. To date, moot court has been the most instructive and rewarding law school experience I've had. I'm also not convinced I'll do it again. At my school, this is blasphemy. To be awarded a spot on a team is a sought-after privilege. The true honor comes with the additional responsibility that the veterans are offered in their 3L year. That I'm not dying for the opportunity makes me an oddity. Of course, I haven't gone on the trip, which apparently is the holy grail. Perhaps after competing I'll be addicted just like the other members of the cult. Only time will tell, but from here, it seems that the amazing rewards of this experience will be diminished because I'll have reaped the majority of the benefits the first time around.

2. Don't go straight through from undergrad to law school. Take time off from school. Get a job. Learn a bit about the real world. Enjoy being young, with an income, and able to have fun with other young professionals. Figure out your interests and do something in that area. Then, and only then, go to law school. I can't tell you how much more pleasant my job search has been because I know what I want to do and how much I'm willing to take from an employer. I don't envy the people who have no idea of their interests, their limits, and their value. Not to mention the fact that a background in the field where you wish to practice goes quite a long way in the interview process. No way would I be experiencing the diversity of options that I've got at the moment if I hadn't put in time in the real world that is valuable and useful to law firms who need lawyers that understand where their clients are coming from. My grades matter less because my resume speaks for my ability. Given the competitive and random nature of law school grades, there's no reason not to earn some credibility in the real world which is much more of a meritocracy than law school finals.

3. The corollary to #2 is: journals aren't as useful to people who have a career before law school. The amount of time they require, when compared to the line on the resume, is completely and totally out of whack. Not a single OCI interviewer or call back interviewer has asked me about my journal. My only concern with quitting is clerkships. I fear that if I want to clerk, I have to tough it out. But maybe I don't want to clerk. Or maybe I only want to clerk for a judge that will take me despite my lack of a journal. Or maybe I'm just tired...

4. If you have a technical degree and think you may want to practice somewhere in the field of IP, take the patent bar before OCI, if at all possible. You'll be thrilled that you did. Furthermore, fitting in time to study and take the exam while working as an attorney is next to impossible. I've worked with mid-level patent attorneys who don't have a USPTO registration number because they don't have the time to attain one. They regret their lack of foresight.

5. Interviewing is all about how much they like you. Be confident and friendly. Don't let your concerns about your credentials, grades, or anything else affect the way you interact with these people--it's too late at this point, so let it go. Again and again, I've heard, "Honestly, the work is the same between all firms in the same region and echelon. If you got the screening interview, you're smart enough to handle the work. And everyone in our bracket does work for the same companies. What differentiates us from them is our people." Yup. That's it. It's all the same type and quality of work. The big deal is, you're going to have to spend tons of time with the same people day-in and day-out. Are you going to like them? Are they going to like you? So be yourself, be nice, and relax.

October 6, 2004


Yesterday, I spent 14 hours at school, which was typical for my current life, unfortunately. Add 2 hours for the commute and 8 hours for sleep, and well... you've got my day. Ri-di-cu-lous. But, I made my bed, here I lie. Also, in fairness, I spent 90 minutes of the 14 hours in yoga class and 30 minutes getting to-and-fro the yoga, hence my sanity.

Today, I commuted 2 hours to attend 1 hour of school. I also went to a 4.5 hour call back, which did not include a meal. I'm exhausted, but thankful for the opportunity to simultaneously interview with multiple firms and get a feel for the industry in my geographic region--never before in my professional life have I had this opportunity. It's amazing and not to be taken for granted. Of course, in order to enjoy this, I'm 350 pages behind in my reading. Rad...

For whatever reason, however, I've managed to stay on top of evidence. My other courses... what other courses? Seriously. I'll be supremely glad when moot court is over and I can slowly crawl out of the hole I've dug for myself these past few weeks.

Wednesday Night Restaurant Review

Tonight, instead of attacking some of those 350 pages of reading (and the cite-check, appellate advocacy brief revision, and re-vamp of the moot argument) I haven't done, E & I kept the wednesday date night tradition alive and returned to Vaso Azzuro, which has one of my favorite local wine lists, and one of the more reasonably priced quality Italian menus around. As expected, they did not disappoint.

E and I sat outside and enjoyed the benefits of San Francisco Bay Area October weather while listening to the sounds of the Caltrain and traffic. E ordered tomato-basil soup followed by pasta alla diavola. Perfetto! I had the house salad and pollo saltimbocca, which was everything I wanted it to be: cheesy, slightly salty, prosciutto-heavy, and sinful. For the second time, we enjoyed a bottle of fleur de carneros and it was just as wonderful as we recalled. Again, I beseech you, if you get a chance, try this fabulously under-valued wine! Oh, how I adore reasonably priced wine lists that accompany quality food preparations.

Vaso Azzuro is in hard core contention for my favorite local restaurant. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that my current life makes me the perfect sucker for a good multi-course European meal with wine. I'm actually relaxed right now... 350 pages? Whatever...I'm going to bed. Buona Notte!

October 2, 2004


The last week was insane, but it's done.

The Journal edit that's due Monday is complete. The rough draft of the Appellate Advocacy Brief is finished and turned in. Somehow, 6 hours of oral argument practice in the last 2 days fit into the schedule as well. I had a great interview with a firm I'm very interested in on Friday, and actually remembered to take the suit out of my locker and bring it home, to get ready for Monday's call back. Friday night, I went against my normal homebody instinct and actually went out with the moot court crew. It made practice on Saturday, when people were slow from the night before, much more understandable.

For Saturday night fun, E and I did the grocery shopping for this week, which will be soup-tacular. Tonight: vegetable udon (currently simmering on the stove). Tomorrow: Butternut Squash Bisque. Monday-Tuesday, Thursday-Friday: Leftovers.

So, I'm back on the treadmill. I'm even going to read tomorrow and catch up a little bit. By no means will I be on top of it by the end of this week, but I think I've passed the point where I slide backwards each day. Here's to hoping I'm right.

September 30, 2004

Grumpy Old Bastard

Turns out, I'm mean to judges in oral argument practice. I don't smile. I'm too agressive. I try to fight when I should be wooing.

I thought I was wooing...

This is going to take some work.

Blessed Be The Proscrastinators

I accepted an externship for next semester with the judge I had identified as my number one choice this week. I'm excited.

I was also quite surprised they offered me the position.

I didn't manage to get my applications to the coordinator 'til about 2 weeks after everyone else. Over the next couple of weeks, I heard about various people and the positions they'd accepted. I figured that my narrow judge pool, 2L status, and late applications probably killed my chances and assumed it was not to be.

Last week, I got a call from Judge #1's office:

Hi this is Admin Clerk for Judge #1. Have you already accepted an externship?

Her question sounded like it had been answered quite a few times with "yes."

No, actually, I haven't.

She was surprised but quickly recovered. She apologized for conducting interviews so late, but the judge had been very busy with a trial. No complaints here!

Just goes to show, things don't always go to the first, the fastest, or the best. Sometimes, they just go to the people who are around at the time.

September 29, 2004

I actually had to say this

Oh, No. Thank you, but I'm certain that's not a good idea. You and I both know that by missing my interview today, I'm starting on too much of the wrong foot. Why don't you just let me apologize profusely for wasting your time, shake your hand one more time, and we'll call it a day.

Yeah. I completely forgot about an OCI interview today. I didn't get the time wrong. I didn't mis-schedule. I just straight forgot. I wouldn't have remembered at all were it not for a helpful acquaintance who expressed surprise at my lack of a suit, saying, "I thought you had an interview today."

"Nahh...." I said. Cool as a cucumber. "I cancelled a bunch of my interviews, you must have seen my name on the list before I cancelled." Right. Wow. I'm an idiot. God bless the acquaintance who noticed my name on the interview list. I arrived several hours late to apologize and they were very nice. They actually offered to try to fit me in at the end of the day--that's where the quote at the beginning of the post came in.

I mean, let's be honest, I wouldn't hire someone who couldn't remember to show up for the interview. Would you?

September 27, 2004

Slap Happy

The brief is off, via both email and airmail. It's a relief, but I'm exhausted and will be going to bed shortly.

One of the side effects of too little sleep in the final crunch to get the brief done is that while reading for class today, I laughed at words that seemed funny to me.

As in, I laughed, out loud, while reading "Federal Courts." Add this to the adventures in the law library and it's quite clear I need a life. Soon.

But 'til then, here are some word gems to keep you amused:

unwisdom. Not Kidding. Real Word. Wow.

denuded. Which I thought must mean "to clothe" or "cover up." You know, to remove the condition of nudity. Again, my linguistic aptitude rears it's ugly head.

And finally, last week, E and I had a nice little discussion of the term canon, and how a restaurant cannot join the "lunch-time canon." E retorted with a list of questionable uses for the word Canon, including the fact that Simpsons Halloween episodes are refered to as "non-canon." I argued that "canon" had some relation to literature and/or rules. Somehow, I lost. I think it was because the Simpsons community seemed to take E's side. Stupid sexy flanders.

September 26, 2004


I stayed in the library 'til it closed this evening. Yeah, it's a Saturday. Yup, I arrived at the library by 10:30 AM. And yes, my moot court team and I managed to miss the warnings and stay past closing, so we were actually locked in the library, in the dark.

Thankfully, security came and let us leave. If only for 11 hours. We'll be back tomorrow for 14 hours of more fun.

I'd heard stories about law students shutting down the library and trying to stay past closing on Saturdays. I thought it was exaggeration. Apparently not. Woo Hoo.

September 22, 2004

Holding On, Barely

At least twice a week, I think that I'd like to quit journal. It's the one activity thus far in law school that I am doing solely for the line on my resume. I don't enjoy it at all--proofreading, cite checking, answering phones, emails--I did all of this stuff in administrative jobs I held between the ages of 14-20. I became an engineer to get away from that crap. I appreciate the hard work done by people who do that type of work, but I successfully spent 6 years not having to do that kind of work for anyone other than myself. A good portion of the journal commitment is basically 40 people working 2 hours per week to do the job of one 40-hour per week administrative assistant.

I'm that person when it comes to journal. I don't enjoy being that person. But... I don't know if I can justify closing all the doors that not doing a journal will close. So, I keep going to office hours, I keep doing the source pulls and tech edits. I keep going through the motions. And soon enough, a year will be over. In any sane world, I wouldn't have to put in another year of this crap since my resume shows I've done it before. But in law... well, there's no accounting for logic...



Ambulance Chaser's Decision to withdraw her clerkship applications is inspiring...
It's a choice

My life right now fits the maxim: I'm a 2L and I'm being WORKED TO DEATH. But, I remind myself daily, it's not required. I chose this life for this month on the hopes that it would pay off in the end. There are more reasonable 2Ls who aren't doing everything all at once (journal, a moot court competition, Appellate Advocacy, courses, OCI, externship interviews for next semester). I waver between jealousy and conviction when I compare my recent days to theirs.

Lately, my typical day looks like this:

  • wake up tired
  • commute
  • go to class
  • go to an interview or two (change into the suit or just wear it all day, regardless it needs to be cleaned one of these days...)
  • voicemail/email between classes and deal with scheduling callbacks, writing thankyous, etc.
  • read/write/research/grunt-work for class/journal/moot-court between classes and interviews (eat lunch while doing this)
  • go to 2+ hours of moot court practice
  • commute home
  • workout (unless I managed to squeeze in a workout between classes)
  • eat dinner with E
  • finish reading/writing/research/grunt-work for class/journal/moot-court
  • sleep

Today, I went to my first class of the semester without having done the reading. Up until today, I was preoccupied with keeping on top of it all. Now, obviously, I'm not. And it's a relief. I'll probably fall further behind in my reading over the next few weeks and pick it up after OCI and moot court calm down. Whatever. Why didn't I slack off earlier?

Overall, I'm enjoying myself in a weird way. I feel very purposeful. I'm accomplishing quite a bit in a short period of time and I feel prepared and qualified to do most of what I'm doing (qualified to babble the same story about myself in 20 minute increments... doesn't take much to keep my ego happy, does it?). I'm certain the decision to aim for a reasonable amount of sleep, a good workout schedule, and healthy eating (okay, so I had nutter butters for lunch today, but in general, I'm pretty healthy) has quite a bit to do with why I feel content.

The decision to give up every hint of a social life for a few weeks was smart. I wouldn't want to do it for a long stretch of time, but for this stretch, I'm glad I did (and warning people worked wonders). I don't think I'd be much fun in a social setting right now anyways.

Given a choice between social stuff and working out when I'm stressed, I'll take the work out every time. Which reminds me, I put 18+ miles beneath my feet last week in addition to 3 hours of yoga. I haven't been this physically active since finals.

Restaurant Review

Tonight's Wednesday Night outing was to Cascal. The outdoor seating is well spaced and much quieter than the indoor din, although the tables are a bit small for all of the dishes that pan-latin food entails.

For starters, E had gazpacho, which was more blended and creamier than what we expected, but quite good. I went for the mixed lettuces, which were average at best. We followed with an order of calamari, which was decent (A- for batter flavor, B- for dipping sauce that was too viscous and not flavorful enough, B- for batter consistency that broke away from the calamari when dipped in the too viscous sauce).

For the main course, we split an order of Bisteca Churrasco. "Rare" came medium, but this is California, what can you do? The entire dish was a huge plate containing grilled marinated vegetables (A-), the Churrasco (B), and a quartered baked potato (A). The side dish stole show. Poblano chile and potato gratin with Mexican cotija cheese and garlic-parmesan crumbs--aka God's Own Potato Mush. DE-Li-Cious. A+.

Unfortunately, I can't comment on the wine list, which looked extensive, because my current life requires Pelligrino, even on date night...

Off to read for Evidence.

September 19, 2004

There is no spoon

If life is about perspective, then I'm recently reborn. The stuff I'm putting myself through is now a privilege.

K's mother was in the hospital this weekend for gall-bladder surgery. The night nurse misread her charts and dispensed way too much dilaudid (like heroin, only strong).

K's mom spent 6 hours in a coma before they realized the mistake. She's alive, but mentally slow. My thoughts and prayers are with K and her family as her mom continues to recover. I'm scared, angry, and full of wonder that such a mistake could occur.

Of course, my first wish is that she fully recovers and there is no need to sue.

But, I must say my second thought was of a savior lawyer (and how simple this case appears to be at first blush--MISREAD CHARTS???). The typical stereotype of ambulance-chasing medical malpractice attorneys went right out the window. Someone should be ready to fight this fight, and K's family shouldn't have to put down anything to get the ball rolling. The contingency system may have its problems, but in cases like this, I'm glad we live in a system where there are options for people without means who may be injured by such egregious mistakes.

September 18, 2004

Because that's the way we are

Received an email from one of the judges I'm trying to get a job with for next semester.

__X___ You will be notified if selected for an interview.

Gotcha. Don't call. Ever. I've been having fun imagining what the over-eager student who made this email a necessity must have done.

September 15, 2004

Opposite Day

Wednesdays were the most hellish day of the week. That, of course, was before moot court practice, journal commitments, and OCI all decided to simultaneously require random intervals of my time over the next few weeks. In an ironic twist, Wednesday is my least demanding day of the week for the next few weeks.

Didn't matter, though. E and I kept up the Wednesday night restaurant thing (despite the break after the worst day of the week rationale being shot to pieces) and hit our local (cheaper) sushi joint.

You've got to have one or two places like that. It's not the best sushi in town, nor is it the place we take visitors, but it's pretty good, and when we take the price into consideration, it's pretty high on the overall satisfaction scale. Add the fact that the chef and waitstaff know us (we're only there about once every week or two) and the gift sushi that we always receive and it's a no-brainer.

Funny thing about gift sushi, though. You can't count on it coming, 'cause that would be rude. So you always have to order like it's not coming and then stuff yourself even sillier when it innevitably arrives. My mama raised me right. I'm not leaving a gift of food behind when I leave. No-siree-bob.

Other than that, law school continues as you'd expect. As promised, I have little-to-no social life for the next few weeks in order to give myself time to get everything done. As a result, I'm staying on top of my work (but barely), getting enough sleep, eating reasonably well, and getting in a decent amount of workouts (although probably not as many as I'd like).

September 13, 2004

Stupid Hippy Rice

As we all know, I'm a bit of a food quality snob. I prefer to shop at the family-run market near our house for basics, and hit the european open-air market, and one of the many specialty importers for more exotic fare.

Food is my hobby. It looks kind of funny on the hobbies section of my resume, but it's true. I like shopping for food, visiting farms, watching food being prepared, making food, tasting it, smelling it, discussing it... you get the idea.


Turns out that some of the hippy brown rice had some bugs in it. They grew up and infested the entire kitchen. Conveniently for them, we keep all grain products in the same cabinet, in what apparently are not air-tight tupperware.

E and I threw out quite a bit of rice, dried peppers (the red decorative ones, really hot--wouldn't you think the bugs would stay away from those?), and oatmeal. Thankfully, the polenta, dried porcini, and farro were safe due to superior packaging.

It's really quite disgusting--I opened the rice pseudo-tupperware to make risotto while the garlic and onions were simmering in butter. I was almost salivating from the smell when I saw an infestation of 2 dozen insects, very upset that I had disrupted their home. Uggghhh...I guess when the hippies say no pesticides, they really mean it. The realization that the bugs we'd been seeing around the house were coming from our food was gross.

There are two good things to come from this, however:

#1 -- farro "risotto" is simmering on the stove. I've often wondered how using farro (spelt) in place of rice would work.

#2 -- I've wanted to branch out and buy some new rice varieties for a while now, but couldn't in good conscience because of the several pounds we already owned. That's no longer a problem...

September 11, 2004

Genmaicha & Mugicha

You just can't mess with the Japanese when it comes to tea.

My favorite hot tea is genmaicha. I have been known to pound multiple pots of it while studying. Last night, while working on my moot court brief 'til 2 AM (woo hoo, do I know how to party or what?), I drank an entire pot. Turns out, it's got a decent amount of caffeine. Apparently, there's enough to make even a diet-coke addict toss and turn for a few hours, regardless of how late it is. Rad.

Well. Lesson learned. I'll have to drink herbal teas while studying late at night. I used to alternate between an orange spice tea and a lemon-grass chamomile tea when I needed herbal tea. Of course, that was before I discovered Japanese roasted barley tea. After its discovery, the Japanese managed to take top billing in both the hot and cold tea categories.

Unfortunately, E & I made short work of the Mugicha we obtained from the Japanese grocery store adventure. Guess I'll just have to go back and get more.

The point is: if you're looking for a delicious, healthy, non-caffeinated, easy-to-make, refreshing, cheap, study beverage, you should find an asian grocery store that carries it, or order some.