Diary of a 1L
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Friday, October 31, 2003
12:34 PM

Did you know that a person from Utah is called a Utahn? One Utahn. Two Utahns. That's weird. I don't think I've ever seen that one before...lemme think...

Connecticut people are called Nutmeggers, at least colloquially...
Illinoisans? Shouldn't that be Illini?
New Jerseyites? Not New Jerseyans? Like Wesleyans?
Michiganians should definitely be Michiganers, as in like meshugeners.
New Hampshirites

9:33 AM

Det's see...Walls Andersonte...that's got to be an anagram too. "Assonant dweller"? "Alas, slender town"? "Nerds eat all snow"? "We aren't sans doll"?

Thursday, October 30, 2003
4:42 PM

I stayed after a Contracts practice exam review session, and somehow stumbled upon some kind of freshman seminar here in the law school. They're talking about leadership, which seems pretty flaky, especially because I notice that they're going to watch "I Am The Cheese"...I mean, "Who Moved My Cheese?" which is the "Celestine Prophecy" for the new millenium.

Sometimes I wish I could start over with college, except at a much easier and funner college. Like this one!

11:01 AM

Homestar Runner now bears my full endorsement. Early on, I found it objectionably pointless. I thought Homestar was basically just a Brak clone, while arguably Strong Bad looks like Brak and talks and acts like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

I have come around. I think the primary virtue of H*R, in a word, is persistence. It's a whole that's bigger than the sum of its parts over time. It's like a really big painting where any idiot (Flash skill aside) could produce each individual stroke, but it takes dedication, creativity, and smarts to put the pieces together into a satisfying whole.

So check it out. Seriously.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003
12:46 PM

AHA! I discovered an advantage to being frustrated, confused and overwhelmed! When I'm not stressed out about schoolwork, that's when I start getting real socially awkward. It doesn't help that I can't see five feet in front of my face and can't recognize people until they've almost already passed me in the hall. (Note to Mom: Not literally true. Don't worry! I'll get my eyes checked.) So, "if you don't know me, then pardon my shyness."

10:58 AM

Where's Ms. Law v. Life? She hasn't posted since Saturday. See, she never said that she was lusting after her supervisor! That's important info for kibitzers like myself.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003
2:36 PM

Hi Carla! Thanks for saying you like my blog!

Monday, October 27, 2003
4:01 PM

I've got all my fingers and toes crossed...I wish, I wish, I wish that we don't get to Palsgraf today in Torts. That would be just loverly.

12:56 PM

Did I mention I have a writing assignment due for Criminal Law a week from today? Maybe that's why I'm stressed out. I think I may already have enough research to forge ahead with the actual writing. I don't think I can hope for better than a B in Criminal Law, so maybe I should just get it over with so I can stop getting distracted from my other classes.

12:42 PM

What's the kind of graduate school where you get to eat ice cream and watch cartoons? That's what I want to be in. Actually, I guess the idea of law school is that after I graduate, I'll be able to make $30,000 a year working 20 hours a week so that I can spend the rest of the time watching cartoons and eating ice cream.

10:15 AM

At this moment, I feel like I would rather work at McDonald's for the rest of my life than read another word about anything related to law.

9:08 AM

I think I may have hit on something important: when I study in the library, there's no way for me to take a short break (like five or ten minutes), because every time I take a break I have to pack up all my stuff and put it in my locker and then go back and take it out later. If I studied more at home, I would be able to go for an hour and then stop for five minutes and then go for another hour and stop for ten minutes, and so on. When I study at the library, I'm basically forcing myself to either rally through a solid three or four hours of studying or else punt after two hours (like I feel like doing now) and blow off the rest of the time until class. Maybe I need to study more at home. Unfortunately, I can't possibly park unless I get to school by around 7:30 or 7:45, and then I don't have class until 11 most days. So what am I going to do until then if not study? Maybe I could go to the gym in the morning instead. But I think I'm safe in saying that most normal people don't try to study for four hours straight every day. That's just lethal. I need a different way of doing things.

Saturday, October 25, 2003
11:55 PM


On a brighter note, my hero for the day is Joe Glannon of "Glannon" fame. Glannon rocks!!! I was required to buy Glannon's Torts book, but not his Civ Pro book, which I later found out pretty much everybody buys, and for good reason. So, if you haven't checked out Glannon, look in your library or look here.

Why does Glannon rock? What makes him tick? There's a clue on his faculty page at Suffolk...he has a teaching degree! That's not a bad idea at all. It certainly works for Fairman.

3:37 PM

New blog! Two of my dormmates at the U. of Chicago do this blog, entitled "Reg Rats". They're nice people, and much smarter than me, which incidentally reminds me why I regret going to that school. I don't think I like being actually smart as much as I enjoy appearing smart. That's kind of a mean thing to say about myself, so let me temper it with a nice thing: I think I like appearing and being nice better than appearing smart. But I'm always insecure that people will think I'm insincere.

Friday, October 24, 2003
12:58 PM

You know what I like (among other things)? Not having shoelaces.

Thursday, October 23, 2003
7:15 AM

If somebody started pushing it hard now, it probably wouldn't come to pass in my lifetime, but...I think maybe we should get rid of some or all of the states.

The more I study U.S. law, the more it seems like the biggest flaw in terms of efficiency is the state system. Modern transportation and communications have made the country smaller and smaller, yet we still have these 50 sets of laws made up to conform to the supposedly unique character and makeup of all these different states. But the states are getting less and less unique, and it costs a whole lot of time and money to administer 50 different legal systems that are different for no good reason except tradition and because we like the "S" in "USA". Then you have a federal system that has to wade through the muck of all the state systems (c.f. Erie problems and pretty much all jurisdiction problems).

It could be argued, on the other hand, that if you get rid of the states, you don't really save anything. You either just shift lots of power to the federal government, which is far more detached from where the action is and potentially far more inefficient, or you create a jumble of thousands of city or county governments that would develop an even greater number of bodies of law.

I think there's an economic argument, though: one state may not be the most efficient or desirable number, and 1,000 counties with the power of states may not be efficient either. However, there is some number in between that is best, and there's not much reason to believe that we magically hit upon the lucky number of 50 and it's just perfect. Maybe we had the right number when we were at 13.

The political resistance to this would be enormous, but I think we could save a lot of money and hassle if we could consolidate some of the states, especially the smaller and less populous ones. What if we consolidated states along the lines of the Circuit Courts?

I guess it's obvious that I think that by this point the idea of 50 independent countries all getting together into one groovy federation is a silly, outdated and overwhelmingly costly fiction.

Okay, now let's see if I ever get elected to public office!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003
3:20 PM

Ugh...why am I here?

2:33 PM

I got my Contracts practice exam back and I was so let down. I think I'm getting way too emotionally invested in this process. I was so unenthusiastic about the possibility of going to law school a year ago. I shouldn't get stressed out over something that I didn't really want to do all that much in the first place.

12:57 PM

One unexpected effect of writing a blog is that you suddenly and inexplicably start to read other people's blogs, where you previously had zero interest in doing so. I guess partly I just look at other blogs to see if they mention me.

8:46 AM

Bleh...I just don't feel like doing this today.

8:25 AM

It's a rough week all around. I think maybe the stars aren't aligned. Or the gods are malign.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
8:46 PM

Just to clarify, one of my fellow 1Ls died unexpectedly. I got the impression when we were told earlier today that it wasn't really public knowledge yet. A more general e-mail was sent out later in the evening, so I figured I could say something here. I wasn't just gratutiously trying to wax poetic on the subject of death.

3:29 PM

My third year of college, a girl who lived in my dorm committed suicide. They gathered us all together in the house lounge for an emergency meeting and the Dean of Students or the Dean of the College informed us that she had been found dead in her room. Coincidentally, the room where she was found was the room where I had lived my first year. I knew this girl because I was an Orientation aide when she was a first-year and I was a second-year and because she was a friend. In some way, though, in the time immediately following her death she became a closer friend in my mind than she really had been.

No matter how close or distant from you the person who died is and no matter how expected or unexpected the death is, there's a sort of pall of mortality that decends over the lives of everyone who was even acquainted with the deceased. But there are some lessons here, maybe even some positives. First, some things are more important than others. Sometimes the fog of grief actually lets you see your priorities more clearly. Futhermore, living through today's grief can help you live and function through the grief that may come in the future. In being thus prepared, you can be in a better position to help others who grieve with you.

Going a bit further back, I made a friend in late middle school/early high school who found out she had leukemia probably just a few weeks or months after I met her. I knew for most of the time she was my friend that there was a good chance that she would die soon, and then she did. I went to her funeral and was a pall bearer. I am grateful to have known her, not the least reason being that she introduced me to death in just about the gentlest possible way.

1:24 PM

Feeling much better today. I think it's the caffeine.

9:32 AM

I'm getting plum tuckered out of this law school stuff. The whole system is set up to reward us for going through the motions and going through them fast rather than lingering on any one issue or case that is interesting to us. It's pedal to the metal 100% of the time, and then we blow off the other two years when we could stretch out the important stuff such that we would actually learn something.

7:22 AM

The Erie problem sure is a swell reason to abolish diversity jurisdiction.

Monday, October 20, 2003
3:57 PM

I just don't feel like being a law student today. I'll make up for it some other day when I get all crazy-go-nuts and stay until 10 PM.

1:09 PM

Well, I feel like quitting law school for the first, and probably not the last time. I don't have any good reason for this; there's just sort of a general malaise. I probably won't feel the same way tomorrow, or even in an hour, but I thought I would mention it just so that you (dear reader) know you're not the only one who feels that way.

12:35 PM

Well, it's a miserable day so far. But like I keep reminding myself, not every day has to be so great. It could also get better later. I need to think of something I can do that will make me feel like I really have things together. I just need to give myself the illusion of having it together so that I can buy time to actually have it together.

10:18 AM

Late for class today for the first time. I also missed the Iowa game because I left too late to get parking and I had to turn tail and head home in shame to watch on TV. I don't have it together.

Sunday, October 19, 2003
10:09 PM

By the way, wanna know how I spent high school?

10:03 PM

My dad asked me: "You know that picture on your website from that cartoon, where you talk about all the different torts in that episode?"

I sez "Yeah."

He goes, "Well, do you think that's legal, having that picture on there?"

I sez "Well, I don't think I'm going to get in trouble for it, but I would suspect it's not kosher."

And he goes: "HA! Another tort!"

12:13 AM

My former colleague who is now a 2L at Harvard told me that law school was more like a 9-5 job than any other education he had pursued (which included not just high school and college but also part of a Ph.D. in philosophy). The way he saw it, you show up, you do the time, and you get your degree.

I think it's also like a 9-5 job in that it's kind of monotonous. Over time, I'm thinking less and less of why I am where I am and what I'm doing there. It seems ridiculous to think about being anywhere else or doing anything else.

Yet it's kind of a good monotony. There aren't really any crises or surprises. People are generally reasonable and pleasant to each other, which is quite unlike some of the jobs I've had in the past, especially when I temped.

Law school, in my experience so far, mostly consists of mature, intelligent, reasonable adults sitting around being mature and intelligent and reasonable, with a lot of sitting by yourself with books in between. But then what?

Thursday, October 16, 2003
8:19 AM

That flash animation the login page of Westlaw is so annoying...so very annoying. I'm happy when I can get logged in before she starts doing the "Walk Like An Egyptian" dance in front of the pyramids. The one before that was annoying, too...if I didn't get logged in before the sunglasses magically appeared on the Westlaw chick's face, I was like arrrrrrrrrgh! Make it stop! Make it stop!

7:30 AM

I can't believe I stayed up that late...again...to watch tens of millions of people's hopes and dreams get crushed...again. It was like watching a dying person getting zapped by those hospital zappy pads and hoping they'll come to, but they never do. If there's such a thing as justice in the world, you won't find it in baseball. Nobody likes the Marlins. Stupid Marlins! Nobody likes them. Millions and millions of people like the Cubs. It's so unfair. Stupid Marlins beat the Indians, the only team I really care about. Nobody likes the Marlins; they were going to contract the Marlins! Bllaaaaargggh!

This is one thing I like about professional wrestling (when it doesn't suck as it does now): You can safely expect that the good guys will win in the end.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003
7:26 AM

Can you believe that Cubs game??? What a downer! Why did I stay up so late??? And the Sox lost too? Why am I watching this crappy sport? I don't, usually. What's gotten into me??? And shouldn't I be talking about law, or school, or being miserable and angst-ridden? Oh wait, that's why I'm watching baseball.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003
4:10 PM

I'm sooooooo sleeeepy...

Monday, October 13, 2003
1:09 PM

I seriously feel nervous as if it were the first day of school all over again. ACK! I hope it gets better by the end of the day, or by the end of the week, at least.

12:45 PM

Everybody got a haircut over Fall Break. I need a haircut.

10:56 AM

It's weird not having had to be sociable for a whole week and now all of the sudden being like: "Hey!" and "Good to see ya!" and "You look mahvelous." Sometimes I get annoyed at having to look like I have it together. In high school, I was sort of morally opposed to doing anything to socialize myself. There's still a bit of that left over: Do I hafta tuck my shirt in? Do I hafta shave? Do I hafta smile? My mouth hurts!

Sometimes I'm lazy and I wish I could just be friendly by proxy. I wish I could just hand out little cards that say, "Yes! I like you today!" I mean, I really do! I'm just really lazy!

Saturday, October 11, 2003
7:21 PM

My mom said that she was going to write in my guestbook: "Movies, schmovies. Get back to work!"

11:40 AM

WHOA! See my sucky United States Chess Federation rating, good as of September 1992. This is why you need to Google your own name once, at least maybe twice a day.

1:16 AM

I like not being forced to write a minimum number of words.

Friday, October 10, 2003
10:26 PM

Waiting to see Kill Bill was more exciting than actually watching it, but I still liked it. I wish they hadn't split it up, but I guess other people can't sit still for four hours.

I bought Glannon's Civ Pro book and I like it. One of my concepts for my website was to try to write some hypos about Simpsons or South Park characters, and that's sort of what Glannon does, except it's mostly just the names, and those names are all public domain.

But, I mean, think of all the torts in "Scott Tenorman Must Die". You could write a whole exam based just on that episode!

Maybe I could make a career out of writing Glannon or Emanuel type law school books, except they would be fun and cool with a lot more pictures and swearing.

9:32 AM

I really, really enjoyed The School of Rock, even though it could have been much better as a movie. It's just really fun to see kids who are really good musicians having a good time. I don't know if I'm quite sold yet on Jack Black, and I'm definitely not sold on Tenacious D. They're basically like Ween except less funny and less talented but with a lot more clout in Hollywood.

The movie was an excellent ROCK 'N' ROLL experience. I only have one complaint: if you're going to do "It's A Long Way To The Top", you must, must, must have bagpipes. They should have had a kid around for the whole movie who isn't a good actor and doesn't seem that good at anything but who suddenly appears with the mighty bagpipes during the closing credits and rocks out. This may not be an unforgivable oversight, but it is an obvious one. Shame on you, Jack Black!

Thursday, October 09, 2003
4:03 PM

I wish it would hurry up and be 5:30. There's only so much Civ Pro outlining I can do.

1:18 PM


10:44 AM

I taught a "Street Law" class today and I think it went pretty well. I was not terribly impressed with the classroom teacher. I came early and sat through what I thought was a study hall. About ten minutes before the end of the period, the teacher started going over the answers to some kind of homework with multiple choice questions. This consisted of the teacher reading the question and having kids in the class call out answers ("B!" "D!") until someone said the right one. Then it was on to the next question.

Here's the shocker, though: I talked to the teacher between periods and said "So, I understand that I'll be working with the A.P. Government class." He says, "No, the class that just ended was the A.P. class. The next one is just the regular class." (shudder)

Public education is bad. Real bad. Could that be my fish to fry?

Wednesday, October 08, 2003
12:03 PM

It's really tiring to try to do stuff when you're not really required to do anything. I'm trying to do a little catching up, a little outlining, and a little shopping around for extra books to maybe buy (like Prosser and Keeton, perhaps). But knowing that I could be home napping or at my mom's house hanging out with the cat doesn't help matters. What does help matters, and what I think is a good aspect of law school, at least for me, is the "credible threat" of being called on any day at any time. This is a great incentive to do the work you need to be doing. However, it is zero incentive to make up work that you already got away with not doing when you shoulda done it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003
4:49 PM

Why is law school designed to be so difficult and competitive? Is law school optimally organized to produce the most competent, well-prepared lawyers? I think it is pretty clear that it is not. Again, I cynically posit that the underlying purpose of modern legal education is to protect the legal services cartel. However, I think there are bigger fish to fry. I think the best thing for me to do is to use the legal education system as I see fit (including kicking competitiveness in the teeth) and then toss it aside like an old piece of fruit when I know what I really want to do.

I'm still a little woogley, but I think it was worthwhile to come in and study for a couple of hours. Tomorrow morning, I'll get up early and really get things moving and grooving.

Monday, October 06, 2003
9:57 PM

Vicodin is addictive. They prescribed me Vicodin for the teef, which makes me a little nervous. If I start acting really cagey (U.S.) or dodgy (U.K.), I might be addicted to Vicodin, so please haul me into rehab. Of course, I'm hoping that posting this will eliminate any such possibility.

8:44 PM

Where's my teef??? No more teef.

Sunday, October 05, 2003
9:00 PM

The gas face for the day (as opposed to the laughing gas face mask, which will be duly presented to me tomorrow morning) goes to John Stossel for being a jerk and a bad reporter.

While I was looking at colleges, Stossel went to Brown University and basically riled up the students off-camera, then turned on the cameras and got his footage of the "loony, left-wing" students. Let's see just what else he's done:

- He produced a real hard-hitting piece of journalism called "Is America #1?"

- He interviewed these kids and coached them to all say "yes" or "no" as appropriate, in unison, to questions that they obviously had no clue about. "Are scientists unanimous about the existence of global warming?" No kid is going to say "what does unanimous mean?" They're just going to say "yes" or "no" to make him happy.

- He did a bit on professional wrestling and revealed that...gee whiz!...it's not real! He got himself slapped by "Dr. D" David Schultz and then cried on camera and sued the WWF and settled for $280,000.

This is all a shame, because I don't really disagree with his politics (though he's probably not sincere anyway), I just object to him being a self-serving SOB. Cato cuddles up to Stossel, and I actually agree with about 85% of what Cato says. They should dump him like a bad anti-dumping agreement.

10:39 AM

Aaaaahhhh....the luxury...no class for a whole week. I bet by the end of the week, it will be like I never was in law school at all and I'll have forgotten everything. Then again, I might go study and outline every day and generally be lame.

For now, it's lunch with my dad at the Ethiopian place, then...yeah, well, studying I think.

Friday, October 03, 2003
11:28 PM

Whooo! Fall break! Now I actually get time to think about what I think about law school so far.

One thing about law school is that it is slavishly devoted to tradition. Consider this: why did Langdell invent casebooks for the "case method"? Here's a description of why he wrote the first casebook ever:

A response to the European educational practice of the expository textbook as the basis of study, Langdell invented herein the use of original authorities to teach legal principles in his classes at Harvard. He posted lists of leading cases on the bulletin boards or announced them in class beforehand. The students prepared for class by going to the library, taking down the reports, and studying them. The process was both injurious to the library collection and inconvenient for the students [emphasis added]. It was very soon apparent to Langdell that having done away with the traditional textbook, the law library was not a satisfactory alternative. No library had, or could afford, the number of duplicate volumes of the court reports that were required so that all students could have easy and equal access to the cases. Langdell's solution was the casebook. This innovation in legal education publishing led to the proliferation of casebooks that continue today.

Now, consider the paragraph above very carefully. What do we have now that we didn't have back then? Hmmmmm....WESTLAW!!! And free printing! Why do we still need casebooks for $100 each???

Why is law school three years long? Why not more or less? Why are our first year classes the ones that they are? Why not spend three years studying those core areas, which are apparently important enough that everyone must know them? What the heck did we do in college that was so important to prepare us for law school? I think a smart and motivated high school graduate could do just fine in law school.

I cynically suspect that everything fixed and traditional in law education serves, whether intentionally or not, to preserve the maximum amount of money and power for the existing cadre of attorneys. We shall see!

9:04 AM

We're talking about a case in criminal law class where somebody got this really bad mouth infection and died. This is making me suddenly really nervous about getting my wisdom teeth yanked. Yaaaaaa!

Thursday, October 02, 2003
8:04 PM

My hero and role model for the day is Jake Austen, who incidentally has a new book out about poker. Jake is at least a triple threat, fronting masked rockers The Goblins (although you didn't hear it from me), producing and puppetronicizing the Chicago public access cable kids' dance show Chic-A-Go-Go! (on which I've made several appearances) and editorating the comics and music rag Roctober. He's also a radio personality and a dad (I want to be one of those when I grow up!).

The night before I moved back from Chicago to Columbus, Jake and a couple other people took me out for beers and Mexican food at about 2:30 AM, and he gave me all this cool Goblins stuff, including a poster signed by the band that I put up on the wall of my bedroom.

In summary, when I grow up, I want to be just like Jake Austen. Which begs the question: Just why am I in law school?

7:31 PM

I found it pretty funny that C-Murder got convicted of murder. He would probably have been better off if he'd been Stab Master Arson.

7:25 AM

Studying in the reserve room at the library is like going over to somebody's house to play with their Nintendo or their complete set of GI Joes or Star Wars action figures. It seems amazingly and inexplicably fun, but if I actually owned all these hornbooks and Restatements and Nutshells and stuff I'd never even open them.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003
3:46 PM

I got called on in Torts. I tried to make a joke about drinking in church, and some people laughed, but you never know if they think you're funny or just a smartass.

11:46 AM

I can't believe that anybody really likes those Verizon "can you hear me now" commercials. I want to think about television commercials as little as humanly possible.

9:06 AM

At least it wasn't Sheila Mae Kisson.

8:51 AM

"Minute Saik" is an anagram for "Mike is a nut". True enough, and I like anagrams! If someone wrote me a fake message, they sure went through a lot of trouble to make sure I'd like it.

8:02 AM

"Living legend at ONU"? Don't get me wrong, Mike Shecket loves attention. Mike Shecket paid $65 to name a damn website after himself. But, or so, this is too good to be true (e.g. I don't think Ohio Northern is at "onu.com"). If you're really reading this, please sign my guestbook. My mom signed it! Or write me an e-mail. Don't be a stranger! I mean, you totally are a stranger now. Fix that!


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