Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bits of Sanity, Like So Many Streamers

Go a-floating away in the breeze. I say breeze because the a/c is on and I'm inside. The day began at 6 AM when I went to finish off my reading and send in discussion questions. Because obviously that's what you do at 6 AM (evidently, exercise is for the weak. Contradictory, I know.). However, the problem with doing that is that you're completely burnt out by about 1:30 PM. And then you top that suck salad off with a small helping of "I scheduled my dinner reservations too close to my last class" and you decide that, screw it, you're done for the day.

I have, however, discovered a new source of entertainment and joy. This would be the world of online dating....on behalf of another person. Because people who are no good at writing things obviously need a future lawyer to take over. Particularly one who writes in, as my friend called it, an "anti-grammatical" style. I prefer to think of it as my speech idiosyncrasies oozing over and infecting my writing. You'll all be grateful to know that I scrub my text of all idiosyncrasies when writing actual legal documents, papers, emails, and law review articles. Apparently I'm abusive with the use of parenthesis, commas, and all manner of ellipses. (Oxford comma style!) But, evidently that is also charming to some, so suck on that, grammar!

Aaaaaannnnndddd, then my brain shut down and decided that it's time to be done with things.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On Law School Dating (cont'd)

So, what I failed to mention in my last post, or, rather, failed to fully flesh out for all of y'all is the phenomenon of "lawcest." Now lawcest is exactly what it sounds like: dating and/or hooking up with another law student; thus, law school incest = lawcest. There are gradations according to the severity of the offense. They are as follows:

The worst offenders -
         Serial law school daters. These are the people who either have dated every single other single person in your small section, or even the law school at large. There's at least one in every law school. No exceptions. If you can't think of anyone, and you're single, it might be you. These people were likely the type of person who had gigantic public breakups in high school. They may still carry on this less than proud tradition. Alternatively, people who conduct less-than-subtle trysts with fellow law students. These may not rise quite to the level of a "relationship," and therefore do not qualify them as "serial daters," but that doesn't make them any less bad. They get sloppy at events and may have made out with every eligible person in their small section (during the first year) or even the whole law school (after the first year).
          Now, I'm not going to make excuses here, but to a certain extent, if you're single and disinclined to do online dating, get set up, and/or get repeatedly hit on in bars, this is unavoidable at a certain point. We get it, but it doesn't mean we have to like it.

Less bad -

      Sloppy hook ups. Bound to happen sooner or later. There will be some event or you'll be out after exams and blowing off some steam (seriously, the world will just seem brighter after exams), and inevitably you will decide that the world is far less terrible than you'd imagined during your grueling hours in the lawbrary. In the blink of an eye, you'll go from casually conversing with that sort-of attractive classmate to either a full-on make out session (high school style), or you'll be walking out the door hand in hand. It's entirely possible that no one will notice. Sometimes this happens when the entire room is too schlitzed to know the difference. The rule of thumb, however, is that someone will always notice. You'll do the walk of shame the next day (well, one of you will), and it will either gradually evolve into dating (like an adult!), or there will be a few more sloppy hook ups with the same person, or  that will be that and you'll both move on.
        If you're not one of the ones taking part in any sloppy hook ups during law school, it will be profoundly irritating to you that people do this in public. When you see one in progress you will immediately question all of your life choices, and then walk your tired butt home. In the immortal words of Danny Glover, you will tell yourself that "I'm getting too old for this shit." The embarrassment will fade, and you will either re-offend or you'll conduct yourself respectably.

NOTE: Less bad gets IMMEDIATELY upgraded to "the worst" if you have loud fights, disrupt traveling teams or clinics of any type, or if you leave a trail of trampled colleagues' feelings along the way.

Least bad - 

      Law school couple. These are the ones that find each other at some point during the 3 years in which you are all roped together like a herd of cattle in a single building for incalculable hours a week. They will either handle this maturely or immaturely. The mature ones start seeing each other on the DL and it slowly evolves to a point where people suddenly realize that they're together. There's also the mature varietal that crops up over night - friends since nearly the beginning and then suddenly they take the plunge and are revoltingly happy. There's also the couples that meet day 1 and stick it out for all three years. These are likely to end up in long-term relationships. So long as they're not all over each other in the hallways/generally in public, it's perfectly acceptable. All relationships have their ups and downs, so, as long as it's not being publicized to the entire school in a truly stomach turning manner, you're a-ok. (I really can't be too judgy here, I'm guilty.)
        The immature couples are on par with "sloppy hook ups." They will disrupt things, strangers will know too many details about their personal lives, and their eventual break up will be a peace-shattering, polarizing event. Basically, too much feelings, and gross, and do not want.

The best - 

        You've heard the myth that they exist, and indeed they do! Law students in healthy, functional relationships with non-law school people. These usually result in marriage (if not already married entering law school). I applaud them. They are functional adults. Many of them bring their wonderful spouses to hang with the law students. Some have awesome children. Some have pets that function as children. These people win. All the win. This, however, is not lawcest. Unless you have two law students that are married to each other. In which case, holy crap you're not human.

I've been meaning to post this for at least a week, but I had many things to attend to. Sorry loves!

Thoughts on Censorship

Now, I know censorship is an unpopular idea. Perhaps one of the most unpopular of the unpopular ideas. Being a law student, most censorship insinuates a violation of free speech, and of liberty. But is all censorship bad? I ask this as a serious question, and it's one I'm not sure there is a good answer to. Honestly, we talked a little bit about it in my Human Rights class today, and even under the UN Convention on Civil & Political Rights the answer is unclear. In the wake of the Boston bombings, the answer has become less clear to me. Maybe it's because people, in this overly connected age of ours, feel the need to share every thought as it occurs to them, rather than processing first. Who knows. What I do know is that I feel conflicted on the topic. As an American, I believe in the right to free speech. And on its face, censorship is revolting. Repugnant, even. But then you see and hear some of the horrid, disrespectful, and downright insensitive things that people have to say, and you start wondering - in an age with no sense of social propriety (or so it would seem), would a little censorship be so bad? Is it right for people to so hastily and haphazardly process events for others, be their interpretation correct or no? Is it right for other people to tell you how to feel or how to think? I think not. I mean, I think for the most part that people agree that everyone should think for themselves, but I guess my question really is this: after something major happens, can we all just keep our damned opinions to ourselves for 24 hours? Hell, even a single hour? And to the newsmedia, I pose the following question: at what point did you realize that you stopped producing actual news? Did your soul die a little when you realized that you no longer do any of the things that got you into the business in the first place? It's cool if it didn't - sometimes we all do stuff for the money; if I were you though, my soul would have died a little. I know that's not all your fault - you're beholden to ratings and readership, so you print and report what sells. And what sells is what gets people's blood boiling. And that's a little sad.

What I think has been really lost here, though, is the ability for modern society to censor itself. I'm not saying the government should step in, and I'm not saying that mom and dad should tell you what is ok or not ok to say. What I am saying is that we've lost the ability to self-regulate. Case in point, perhaps, is this blog. Food for thought.

(SEE? I DO POST INTELLECTUAL STUFF EVERY NOW AND THEN!....mostly that was me yelling at me for the largely senseless drivel I post)


Shocking, to say the least; utterly devastating, to say the most. The events of the last 36 hours (for those of you who don't know to what I am referring, google "boston marathon 2013") have deeply saddened at least one country, if not the world. The tragedy of those minutes that seemed like hours is almost unspeakable; to target such a celebration of life and such an outpouring of joy is unforgivable.

Now, this particular tragedy is close to me, since I lived in Boston for a number of years, and used to work about three blocks from where the first explosion occurred. I still have a number of friends who live and work in the city - some of whom attended the marathon yesterday. While I can't begin to fathom the kind of monster who finds blowing off limbs for no apparent reason either acceptable or even palatable, the violence of it is only part of what gets me. The only thing I can even compare the other part of what I'm feeling to is what people probably felt during the 1996 Centennial Park bombing at the Atlanta Olympics. The feeling that something near sacred to you, with the existence of a single event holding such intrinsic value and heritage that it hurts to imagine it being something other than what it is.

What "Marathon Monday" or Patriots day was, at least to the multiple thousands of college students and residents in the Boston area, was a celebration of life, an outpouring of joy, international cooperation, and the good in humanity. I suppose you could say much the same of any major sporting event, but think about this for a second - Boston dedicated a whole day to it. Every year. After living there, I can tell you - the city literally grinds to a halt. I'm pretty sure that the only places doing a high volume of business were liquor stores, Dunkin' Donuts, and 7-11. There were college students lining the streets from near dawn to the end of the race, cheering, holding signs, and more often holding booze. Kids on their dad's or mom's shoulders downtown thinking that one day they'd be as fast as the marathoners. And after the last person crossed the finish line, the city erupted into a party. A celebration of the fact that, no matter how long it took, everyone crossed the finish line - after 26.2 miles, quite the accomplishment! I don't think I ever saw anyone angry on Marathon Monday. And, despite the public drinking (which, strictly speaking, was blatantly illegal), I never personally saw any arrests or skirmishes.

To me, now being geographically far from Boston, the mere fact that this happened at all was a desecration of a sacred memory. For everyone that has left Boston, one angry and militant action, much like one drop of blood in a bucket of water, has poisoned the tradition, the pride, the celebration. I'm even more offended that people got seriously injured. A graduate student died. An eight-year-old died. And a woman who left her job to take care of her sick grandmother died. Those that know me, really know me, know that I don't really do tears or feelings, so they'll get how much this means when I say the pictures and the news reports legitimately make me tear up. It also sickens me that a member of the human race is capable of carrying out such carnage.

To the people who have started speculating that it's a conspiracy, whatever, freedom of speech. My only question is this: how would YOU feel if someone you loved just got maimed by some psychotic, terrifying event and all a bunch of people could talk about was that it was a "fake flag" operation? Personally, I'd feel like I'd been violated. Frankly, I do feel that way. You have every right to think and say those things, but for the love of humanity and for the sake of not furthering the paranoia, fear, and hurt that the bombs themselves caused, please don't put them where grieving people will look. Better yet, and I know this is asking a lot (but it is just a request), keep it to yourself and give people time to process things. Who knows, maybe some of them will end up agreeing with you, but at this point in time it is (a) inappropriate, and (b) puts you (in my mind) on par with sexual predators. That might be taking it kind of far, but that's how I feel about it. I feel violated that you took something so tragic, so horrifying, and pounced on the opportunity to make your message heard BEFORE the people physically and emotionally affected by it even had time to process what had happened. Having experienced the death of a loved one, I can tell you that the most disrespectful and inhumane thing to do is to use SOMEONE ELSE'S tragedy to further your own ends. So, really, just shut your face. Or Twitter, or whatever.

That all being said, Bostonians are some of the most resilient people I've ever met, and are incredibly giving and kind, as the news reports have proven. You all are in my thoughts and in my heart. I may no longer live there, but when I left, I left a little piece of my heart in Boston. And to my friends there, I'm so glad I know you're all safe. Now, just keep each other safe.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ah, Facebook!

We all, by now, are well familiar with the pervasive technological pestilence that is Facebook. We're all guilty. We're all (more or less) addicted. Let it be. I cannot, however, speak highly enough about being utterly paranoid and making your security settings as high as it is possible to go. Everything you put on facebook is public information. Just let that sink in for a minute. EVERYTHING. Once your pictures are on there, you no longer own the rights to them. Same goes for videos, music, and any other content.

Now, being a person who hopes to be full-time employed one day, I'm hyper paranoid. There are ALL the security settings on my account. Including a fun feature that requires me to enter a randomly generated code every time I log in from a new device. Irritating? Yes. Preventing weirdos from hacking my account? Absolutely. I also get automatic email notifications regarding every change to my account. Again, I do these things because I'm mildly paranoid, particularly having learned about the shoddy and basically nonexistent state of US internet privacy policy. Yeah, that's right, I said it (and, yes, I do understand that a particularly intelligent computery person could totally track down my identity from this blog...but it sounds like a lot of work).

Anyway, the point is that I have never been more pleased with my choice to be paranoid. Just half an hour ago, I got email notifications (SIX of them, to be exact) that I had requested to change my password. I did no such thing. I was happily logged into my account, sitting in Federal Indian Law. (What? It's totally a thing. Look it up. Also, I  heart this professor. Also, it's basically a version of Fed Courts that actually makes sense, so go cry about your life choices to take the insanely hard class.) I notified facebook of each and every attempt. There hasn't been another. But, rest assured, there WILL be updates if it happens again. I then proceeded to deauthorize every single account that I didn't have personal control of. This is a reminder to all of you. Check how many devices you have authorized, deauthorize a few, and then up your security settings.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Things that have happened in the week since this particular term began:

I've determined that it isn't hugely important to read for my Human Rights class, but is absolutely imperative for every. single. other. class.

I've contracted i deep-seated desire to DIY things, despite both my lack of time and minimal skill.

Evernote might be both the best and worst program to ever enter my life. I've already started accumulating recipes. I might have a problem.

THERE IS A WAY TO DIY YOUR OWN IN-N-OUT BURGER. That was an earth shattering one. It's also way more involved than you would think.

Buzzfeed is a weirdly appropriate place for me to spend inappropriate amounts of time and indulge my slightly OCD side.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Journal Pros and Cons


  • Prestige
  • An office
  • Free Food
  • Friends
  • Parties
  • Working with practitioners and faculty
  • You get to be an editor of things
  • Helps with getting a job
  • Makes you look like a successful adult


  • Additional demands on your time
  • Other journals will try to make you sound less prestigious
  • You HAVE to write a comment
  • You get shamed for not wanting to publish
  • You're still just PRETENDING to be a successful adult
  • Tight deadlines
  • Work you get to do in your "free" time
  • Uncomfortable familiarity with the bluebook

Take it or leave it.

Bonus, here's a badass quote from the Iron Lady herself.

On Law School Dating

I've mentioned this before, but for many, law school is the destroyer of worlds in terms of dating. In some ways it falls along the lines of dating in college, just much MUCH worse.

In undergrad you're getting your footing as an adult. If you head off with a high school sweetheart in tow, it either ends in marriage (or some commitment along those lines) or it ends in some sort of fiery explosion of epic proportions and you end up wishing the other person dies in an inferno. Now, kindly remember the level of stress you experienced in undergrad....or total lack thereof. Now multiply that by at least ten. Or more, if the ABA is to be believed: Combine that level of stress (and believe you me that it is nearly constant) along with the sheer volume of work, the requirements that you network (no matter how bad at it you are), and just generally be some semblance of a functional human, and it's just bad news bears for your love life usually.

I know multiple people who have gone through several relationships in the last two years. Some came into law school with a long-term significant other, others found someone along the way, most ended in a fiery inferno of disaster. Simple truth: people your dating actually want to see you every now and then, and when they see you, they want you to do things other than stare like a zombie at the TV, drink a bottle of wine and then pass out for 12 hours. The problem is, for most law students (note that I said MOST, not ALL), that sounds like a damn relaxing and wonderful weekend night. You'd think that then the obvious choice would be to date someone IN law school so that they understand all the demands on your time - Not generally an excellent solution. You will see this person almost on the daily; you're competing with them for professors' attention, grades, and jobs; at some point they might be your arch nemesis; you will almost certainly annoy the ever-living crap out of each other at some point. Most law students aren't great at seeing to their own hierarchy of needs and those are the ones they're constantly immersed in, so to ask them to consider a second human being is the most utterly ridiculous of propositions. To be fair, this isn't always the case - there's an exception to every rule, BUT do not make the naïve and slightly idiotic mistake of thinking that you're the exception from the get go.

The counterpoint to breakup infernos of epic proportions are people that get married and have kids during law school. More power to them; it's not a reaction I entirely understand. Frankly, that could be a sign of their maturity, and my lack thereof, but that's the other extreme. Notice that I haven't mentioned some lovely middle ground. That's because it's all but nonexistent. It's like the Protestant concept of heaven and hell - there is no purgatory. Now, what all of this drives us of the non-marriage persuasion to do is this: become serial daters. Good strategy for maintaining sanity in law school? Not even slightly. Inevitably, breakups happen to serial daters at the WORST POSSIBLE TIMES. As in when your entire life has tossed itself off a cliff and is rapidly hurtling toward the bottom of an endless toilet bowl.

Bottom line: unless you're with someone that has the patience of a saint and is infinitely understanding, law school will either explode your relationship in fantastical fashion, or you'll be married in no time (despite living in the shadow of crippling debt).

My advice on pursuing that blossoming relationship as you enter law school?

Take it from Ms. Margaret Thatcher, people.

Repeated Realizations

Mostly this:

So, there ya have it. Truth bomb.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What the....

While diligently taking notes on human rights, my eyes did happen upon possibly one of the dumbest company names ever. I do mean EVER. "Staff me up" So, basically, not only can the person who created this not speak english properly, not know any semblance of proper grammar, but also likes to sound like they're serving Staph infections to all of the people. Seriously? Did all of your PR/Marketing people just fall into this job after having a trust fund and never listening to themselves speak? Because, really, that sounds disgusting. I can only hope that it's not a catering staffing company....because gross.

I've Made a Huge Mistake

You may or may not have noticed by this point that I am a procrastinator. Possibly the Queen of evidenced by the fact that I'm sitting in class and writing this. Winning? Or not. Whatever.

The point is that I've been telling you all of these wonderful things about my professors this quarter, and that is all true enough. Wonderful, they are. The problem is this: I have between 100 and 300 pages of reading to do PER NIGHT. On top of journal work, clinic work, trying to get my life together, and trying to be some semblance of an adult. I'm good at all of none of this. My solution: blog about your fails to finish your insane amounts of reading. Totally makes sense, right?

On the upside, my gloriously wonderful professor spent the first hour of class on less than 10 pages of reading. That would be the reading that I did. Reason #457 why this man is an excellent professor. Yesterday we got to talk about our favorite science memories in my seminar class. Love. Also, so much story time.

But, with respect to the sheer amount of reading that I am supposed to be doing on the daily, I've made a huge mistake. And I need more highlighters. ALL THE HIGHLIGHTERS. I'm starting a highlighter graveyard in my backpack.

An Open Letter the CA DMV

Now, you may or may not have guessed by now that at some point, I lived in the Golden Gate State.  To be clear, I haven't lived there long term in over 6 years. It's a lovely, sunshine-y state with beaches and seemingly infinite miles of freeways and often hippies galore. However, other than the lack of seasons, there is one MAJOR downfall. I'll outline it below, after the jump.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Simply the Best

Let me start this with a rallying war cry, "Steve Holt!" Whew, now that's over, let's move on. Now, a little background.

This quarter just so happens to be what is known in the high education biz as a "condensed quarter" which means more class time, less flexibility with sick days, and TONS of reading in a really unreasonably short period of time. What we have here is 8 weeks of class (and keep in mind that some classes only meet twice a week, or even ONCE a week!), and then bing bang boom, it's Finals! Surprise! You weren't ready for that were you? Good. The less prepared you are, the better? Something like that. Honestly I don't at all understand the institution's reasoning for this, but it does mean that those of us who consistently feel compelled to take on 500,000 things get to be stressed out for two months straight.

All I can say is thank the almighty flying spaghetti monster for my friends. They give me sanity and perspective and decompression, and really all the good things.

On the upside of all of this madness (MADNESS? THIS IS SPARTA!!!), is that I have some truly incredible professors this quarter, which will make the 300+ pages of reading every other day just a tiny bit better. One is my professor crush (not in a romantic way, you sickos!), one is possibly the most wonderful and adorable professors ever, and the last just spews sayings that I want to write in a notebook and keep for all of time. Seriously, the last one has a whole facebook group dedicated to the magical things he says. I have never laughed harder in a law school class. I'll just give you a tiny sampling: "Have they had a fire drill yet this quarter? No? They’re negligent. Remember that when you burn to death." Magical, right? He's like a unicorn amongst a swarm of orcs. He's the unicorn of law school professors. There, I said it. That being said, his class has an ungodly amount of reading. 177 pages for the FIRST DAY. No joke. 

Oh, to explain what I mean by "professor crush" it's a professor who (a) appears to be an actual human, (b) who so wows you with their intelligence that it borders on intimidating, (c) tempts you to add "like a BAWSS" to everything they do, (d) actually cares about their students, and (e) go above and beyond. It's a rarity, but I now have several. It might be a problem, because I only want to take their classes. Blessing and a curse, I guess.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013


All of that complaining I did about having class at 8:30 AM before? To quote Game of Thrones to my former self, "You know nothing, Jon Snow".  Seriously. When we're talking the before-10-am-hours, 15 minutes can make or break you. In my case, they break me.

The problem is this: I wouldn't give up my early class for anything. It's with one of my favorite professors, and it's a class that I'm using to substitute for taking Federal Courts - the gunner-iest of all the classes. So, despite the fact that I'm going to have around 300 pages of reading for every single tuesday and thursday of every week until the quarter ends, I'm going to stick it out from pure stubbornness. And I do have stubbornness in SPADES.

On the upside, all of Tuesday and Thursday is basically the hours of law professor comedy. It's great. So great. And so shamefully nerdy. Love.


Hey, y'all (I'm not Southern, but who DOESN'T appreciate the ease of "y'all"?)! This blog has officially passed the landmark of 1,000 page views! Thanks for listening to me whine, I guess! I can only hope that it has brought you literally minutes of entertainment! Please know that a good portion of this blog is hyperbole and that it is my venting mechanism/sanity-keeping mechanism as I trudge my way through the perils of law school.

Huzzah! And Congratulations to all of us!

The Quickest Way...

To feel inadequate is to take a class with a bunch of LLM students who do human rights work. I've been in this class for 9 minutes and now I feel utterly inadequate as both a law student and a human being. People have worked in war torn regions and have done "peace building" and immigration work, and all kinds of things. It's honestly like that scene in Legally Blonde where they're all introducing themselves with these insane accomplishments and PhDs, and she goes, "I'm Elle Woods, and this is Bruiser Woods, and we're both gemini vegetarians..." Seriously, that inadequate. Except I'm totally aware of it.

Also, the quickest way to my heart for a professor is to (1) mention environmental issues in the first 20 minutes of class, (2) provide a printout of what should have been a for sale course packet, and (3) color code everything. GLORIOUS.

Back to the Grind

Because I planned my schedule well (I hope), I don't have any class on Mondays. Which will inevitably lead me to doing all kinds of clinic work on Mondays. ALL KINDS. I mean, really, we have a case going to trial soon...which we will hopefully know the dates for as of today. UGH.

Anyway, today is my first real day back. That means that I had to drag my sorry butt out of bed at 6:30 AM in order to make my 8:15 class. I made it at 8:20. We're off to a good(?) start. Well, here goes nothing. At least I get TWO classes with one of my favorite professors of all time today. Seriously, he's wonderful. (and unfortunately remembers there's that. And probably a bunch of cold calls - one so far...and it hasn't been an hour yet)

On the upside, in preparation for today's reintroduction to attempting to be a person, I actually remembered to buy coffee and I have eggs and quick frozen meals. Thank god. It's like half real people I'll actually eat things. Sort of. Given that I'm eating a small cup of oatmeal from the cafe right now...I have yet to fully succeed. It's a start though.

Well, back to class and worrying about the status of my case, and the presentation I'm giving to practitioners next week. Cue internal hyperventilation now.


So, here goes the briefest of recaps.

Finals week came and went and was horrifying and sleep deprived and also involved my hosting an eighteen year old cousin for a week. There was a lot of eating at restaurants, which was a lovely change of pace, and will require less cleaning out of my fridge. There were tourist-y trips, and post-PR final, there was a paragliding adventure! It was supposed to be skydiving, but what with the lack of sun and rain and whatnot, there was only one company doing jumps and they were booked (which is what I get for trying to book things two days before doing them).

Anyway, it finished, and then I almost immediately jumped onto an airplane to a place with sunshine. Two friends joined me later that same day. Margaritas were had, salads eaten, sunshine soaked up, and beach days passed. Well, two of those so far. Anyway.

Laying out on the beach, even if it isn't quite as warm as I want it to be, is the best decompression. Particularly when combined with beverages made in a blender. And cheesy 90's rap. I came back slightly tanner, 1100000x more relaxed. Then spent Easter (which, honestly, I just see as a family and friends day, along with a valid excuse for both mimosas and obscene amounts of food) with a friend's family. There were both mimosas and tons of food, along with hot tub-ing, pretty views (it was basically in the countryside....basically), a lovely dinner, so much sunshine, and a slight sunburn. Unfortunately this also meant that I didn't get nearly as much preparation for class done as I'd hoped. Luckily I had Monday off....during which time I slept a lot.

The end?