Diary of a 1L
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Saturday, November 29, 2003
4:38 PM

I can't believe it, folks, but I'm getting hooooongry. With all I ate on Thanksgiving, I shouldn't have to eat for a week. I've been studying for sort of a good amount of time...about...um...almost five hours, I think?

Thursday, November 27, 2003
11:53 PM

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Here's a Thanksgiving card for you! [Oops, the link's gone. More fun next Thanksgiving!]

Wednesday, November 26, 2003
4:57 PM

One exam down (well, really two if you count Legal Research), three to go. I feel like I worked hard to prepare for the exam, and I feel that I know a lot about contracts and a lot more than I did when I started. Even if I end up at the middle of the pack or even below, I'm satisfied with my own performance.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003
6:21 PM

Okay, soon I'm going to the Linworth Chili Supper. My little brother and fellow alumnus said, "Whaaaa? Scrooge has been cured?!" Yeah, yeah. Free food and getting away from the law school are reason enough, plus I really did like some of my teachers from high school and some of the people I went to school with.

I had a serious "bad trip" kind of study experience this afternoon. I think the fairest way to put it was that I fell in with students who are far more motivated, knowlegeable, and intense than I, which, as you might guess, is rather frustrating, intimidating and less than helpful. It brings to mind my secret curse, muttered under my breath so many times as a physics major at the University of Chicago..."Damn you, Benjamin Zwiebel!!!"

11:42 AM

Also, I'm starting to think about growing my beard back. Opinions? No, I'm not going to post a picture of myself here.

11:34 AM

I'm tired of preparing for this exam. I know this stuff well enough. If Clovis doesn't like my exam, tough. Well...maybe I'll go a little longer.

8:35 AM

Okay...let's see...28.5 hours left until the exam. I feel pretty comfortable that I have a "B" level understanding of the subject, and I wonder if it's at all realistic to think I can pump myself up to an "A" level understanding in the amount of time left. It would be reassuring to know that I'm in good shape if I've absorbed, say, 80-90% of what we did this semester. But I suspect that to do awesome, rather than merely good, you need to know 100% of the material and be able to apply it in an awesome fashion.

Sunday, November 23, 2003
5:17 PM

I'm down to 26 pages...I think I'm hitting diminishing marginal returns for my slashing efforts.

1:49 PM

Alrighty...my outline is down to 31 pages. I think it might have some holes in it, though. Hopefully, I can fill them as I use the outline to do some practice questions.

9:36 AM

No joy in Mudville today, folks. You can't win 'em all, but you sure would like to!

Friday, November 21, 2003
4:09 PM

My Contracts outline is down to 76 pages, and it now has a word list and nifty table of contents! Check it out!

9:54 AM

15 more minutes...then it's all Contracts, all the time, for 122 hours and fifty minutes, except for sleep and college football. And eating. And slacking off.

9:27 AM

Has everybody really gotten called on twice in Criminal Law this semester? I don't remember getting called on a second time.

7:57 AM

Contracts exam and blah blah blah...all that really matters now is The Game. With Cooper, you could pretty much assume we were going to lose until proven otherwise. With Tressel, I really think we have a chance in every game. In fact, the most by which we've ever lost a game under Tressel is 12 points in 2001 against Illinois. Other than that, we've lost by 7, 7, 3, 3, and 2. We've never really been blown out under Tressel, although we don't usually blow out other teams either.

I'm kind of embarassed...the Law Dork made reference to my blog again. What's embarassing is that he was sitting about three feet in front of me at the "What I Did Last Summer" thing and I didn't introduce myself. I should've...Please Excuse My Demureness And Shyness.

Thursday, November 20, 2003
5:55 PM

The law gives power to a certain set of values. But whose values are they? Are they the values of the majority of society? Not necessarily. Maybe they're the values of the elites of the U.S. and England in prior centuries. Maybe they're the values of lawyers as a class of people. They're not my values.

In particular, I don't believe that if you make a mistake and hurt someone that you deserve to lose your career and life savings. Nor do I think you're entitled to be "made whole" if someone causes you harm by accident. That's not what the law says, but that's what I think it should say. There are a lot of bad things that can happen to you in life, and you may just have to grin and bear it, no matter how awful it is. It isn't fair that you should get compensated just because there's someone to blame when someone else who is, say, hit by lightning has no remedy. But that's not how the law of torts is.

I also think bad people deserve to have bad things happen to them. I include myself: if I do wrong, I don't expect any favors or mercy. At the same time, I don't believe that it's my duty as an imperfect person to correct the actions and thoughts of others. Unless I'm perfectly good, and I never will be, my duty is to make myself better. The criminal justice system should prevent crime, not judge people morally. But I'm not going to lose sleep over the suffering of a bad person who deserves it.

I can get my mind around the law of contracts. It's a tool that helps people get things done together. We don't judge parties to a contract. We enable them to make commitments where uncertainty would otherwise get in the way.

I'm not sold on "The Law" yet. If law doesn't reflect the values of society, then hiring a lawyer is basically just an exercise of power against someone else. It's no better than hiring a thug to club someone in the knees when you're mad at them.

9:46 AM

Here's a fun exercise in either speed reading or maybe critical reading. Quick! Read this, and see how long it takes you to figure out just what is prohibited by the Honor Code!

Shouldn't the substantive Honor Code be in a separate document from the (unncessarily complicated) procedural aspects of the Honor Code?

8:10 AM

There really was a judge named Judge Learned Hand. There was also a Judge Friendly. Here are some judges who never really existed:

Judge Solomon O'Wisdom
Judge Schooled Foot
Justice Justice Justice Justice
Judge Nicholas Picky
Chief Justice Chewy Kahuney
Magistrate Judge Arbitrary P. Appeasement
Lord Chancellor Stinkum Stankum

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
3:40 PM

I think there are other people who just want it worse than I do. Isn't it only fair that if they want it more and they work harder that they should get better grades than me?

Monday, November 17, 2003
4:02 PM

Sometimes I can't wait for class to be over so I can stop feeling guilty about not paying attention. Then I don't really care.

3:35 PM

I'm just gone for today. I'm too tired and distracted to concentrate. Hopefully I'll be able to make up for it with the Gilbert's book.

1:44 PM

I thought my writing assignment for Criminal Law was so interesting at one point that I couldn't wait to talk to other people to see what their take on the problem was. I have so little desire to revisit that paper now.

Sunday, November 16, 2003
5:37 PM

I feel like I'm on much more of an even keel as far as school goes. I feel a lot more like I can just sit back and get stuff done and not get too stressed out over it. I feel like I can get into a flow and put in a good amount of time but not too much. Call me crazy, but at least for now I feel in control.

3:20 PM

Okay, the Contracts outline is now down to 128 pages. When I get to, say, 30 or 40 I'm think I'm set. Actually, I'd really rather get it to 20 or so but I don't think that will happen.

Saturday, November 15, 2003
10:32 AM

Okay...I now have a 184-page Contracts outline! Now, now...settle down...it's basically a concatenation of all my notes and case briefs in one file, plus the UCC and Restatement sections we talked about in class copied over from Westlaw. My plan, which I hope will lead to a good grasp of the material, is to pare down these zillions of pages of total crap down to maybe 10 or 20 pages of super goodness. I had also started before with a bottom-up approach where I made a skeleton outline and started filling it in. Maybe I'll have the two approaches eventually meet in the middle.

Friday, November 14, 2003
12:06 PM

Okay, I'm not in the library...I'm in the lounge! And I'm learning how to be a Starbucks employee by osmosis. Did you know that "Venti" is called "Venti" because venti means 20 in Italian?

Thursday, November 13, 2003
2:07 PM

Law school, and I would presume the practice of law too, can be a lonely, lonely proposition. It sometimes makes me wonder if I wouldn't have been less lonely as a programmer. I didn't want to be a professional hardcore coder because I was worried I would be alone all the time. Well, here I am.

Yes, I'm fishing for more e-mails. If you're nervous about exams or whatever, e-mail me if you want. I'm a good listener. I'll try to write back too.

8:51 AM

Actually, if people are going to study here, they may not have Frappucinos simply because they are loud to make.

8:51 AM

Er...well, of course...I could just walk over and ask. Naaah...too lazy...or too studious.

8:49 AM

This new lounge is super nice. If they have Frappucinos here, I'll never, ever leave.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
5:25 PM

I just got a spam e-mail with a return address of "Matriarchy M. Perplexity"...that's actually pretty cool. BALEETED!

12:50 PM

With all of the stuff going on around here, I did a search for "Christian Legal Society" and found an article with one answer to one of the questions that I'm most interested in: How can it be moral to defend people you know to be guilty? The question and answer are at the bottom of this article. I think this particular answer is kind of thin, and I'm surprised the interviewee seems so comfortable with the mainstream position, given that he's against pretty much against most mainstream legal stuff.

11:46 AM

I finally got called on in Civ Pro! This is a huge class. I'm doing Evans v. Jeff D., 475 U.S. 717 (1986), as we speak.

10:29 AM

Margaret Cho has a blog! I love Margaret Cho. Love, love, love her.

7:59 AM

I can sense things starting to change around here. I think people are starting to get more intense. It's kind of easier to tell at this point who is ambitious and who is going to do what they need to do to accomplish their goals. There's nothing wrong with that and more power to them. If I had such a definite long-term goal, I think I would push hard and be very motivated to get there. I do have one long-term goal: I want to write a book, any kind of book, and get it published. I suppose I'm advancing toward that goal bit by bit when I write here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003
5:10 PM

Report on my "day off":

I did a practice Contracts exam, clocked almost exactly to the suggested time of 40 minutes (39, as it turned out). I also did my reading for tomorrow for the same class. My mom called me on my new cell phone, and I discovered I haven't quite gotten the concept yet: I'm here in the reserve room and I'm near the windows. When the phone rang (or rather vibrated), I started trying to walk fast to somewhere where I wouldn't bother people by talking. The thing is, at the same time I was walking away from where I could get a signal. Oh yeah, that's right! Wireless! Uses electromagnetic radiation converted into sound! Said frequency of radiation can't go through walls 'n' stuff so well! Right...okay. Maybe I just need to take physics again to get less stupider.

Monday, November 10, 2003
9:48 PM

Crap...forget what I said about clicking through to the "Bop Gun" sample on Amazon...it's actually the middle of the song. What I wanted for my ringtone was the guitar riff at the very beginning. Here's a link that will play you the operative part of the song.

9:26 PM

Okay, here's the thing about The Matrix Revolutions. As a sequel, it...well, it's really not a true sequel to any real movie. It's sort of about the same thing as the first movie, and it kinda follows from the second movie, but the strands of any sort of coherence or logic are so fouled up that the most credit you can give it is if you consider it entirely on its own.

So, pretend with me, that we live in a world where the first two movies never existed, and we all went to the theatre to see this strange new movie with an enormous budget, done by these unknown directors, with everybody and Cornell West in it. What we would have is a movie that would pose far, far more questions than it would answer. In a way, it would be something like 2001. Just imagine the fun of asking yourself after seeing this movie, and not the others, "what the hell just happened?" Imagine trying to infer from only what was in front of your face who the players were and how they were related. I can assure you that minds would blow in such a situation.

This movie is a dismal, dismal failure as a sequel. In one sense, it's impossible to imagine how these guys could have screwed up so badly. Maybe once they got rich they started taking a lot of drugs. But in another sense, this is an amazing movie. It is such a maladapted, strange, and perverse specimen of cultural fauna that we can only conclude that this is a creature that is too strange to live. Yet it does, like some kind of H.R. Giger nightmare.

Well, I've prattled on long enough about things I know nothing about and which are not at all related to law school. But whenever the spirit moves me to be this talkative about something, I better let it all out, because most of the time I'm amazingly writer's blocked.

9:52 AM

Just think...in less than two months, we get to start learning about different stuff!!! That's pretty exciting. We've been learning the same stuff for going on forever. Bring on the new stuff!!!

7:11 AM

Okay, I gave in again...yeah, "uncle" is the word...I now have a cell phone. I'm the last one on my block! The thing is, I'm here pretty much the whole day every day, and I can't make local calls from here for free. So if I need to make appointments or check my messages at home or anything like that, I have to shell out 50 cents.

I'm a bit disappointed because as far as I can tell I can't make my own ring tone. I had the perfect thing picked out! That riff at the beginning of "Bop Gun" is really cool and chromatic and (needless to say) funky. It would have been so perfect! If you don't know the song, you can click on that link and listen to the first 30 seconds on Amazon and hear precisely what I'm talking about.

Saturday, November 08, 2003
4:59 PM

Calling trick plays in football "trickeration" is totally played out. However, I just heard a new term (to me): "trickonometry". That's alright with me the next...let's say...eight to ten times I hear it. Then I think "trick play" or the classic "trickery" will more than suffice, thank you very much.

Friday, November 07, 2003
1:21 PM

I don't like it when the professor makes fun of someone in the class and other people in the class laugh at them. If you think it's hilarious that the professor is humiliating someone, I think you can and should keep your enjoyment to yourself.

8:50 AM

Okay, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiit just a damn minute:

(from the Moritz College of Law grading policy)

For second- and third-year courses, the grade distribution is based on the past average letter grade performance of the students as a whole who registered for a particular course. A professor receives a grade distribution for the students enrolled in his or her course that semester. There are no names on the grade distribution, so the profile in no way focuses on an individual student. For example, an Evidence professor might receive a distribution stating that, based on past performance, 20 students would be expected to receive As; 30 students would be expected to receive Bs; and 15 students would be expected to receive Cs.
Does this mean what I think it means? To wit: if a bunch of people with high GPAs sign up for the same course, then they all get A's no matter what, but if a bunch of people with C averages all sign up for a course, then everyone in that course gets C's no matter what. Doesn't this promote a cynical strategy for people with low first year grades to just try to find out what classes the top students are signing up for and sign up for those? If I'm the only C student in a class full of A students, don't the odds favor me stealing an A from someone else?

8:40 AM

I wonder what percentage of law students have an attorney in their immediate family. The only attorney is my family is my second cousin, and he's only been an attorney for a year. On the other hand, a lot of people in my family are in medicine or related fields. I couldn't do that kind of stuff because I'm squeamish about blood and guts.

Thursday, November 06, 2003
3:12 PM

The Political Compass is silly. Just try taking it and try providing what is clearly the "right" answer to each question. I just did so and came out almost all the way to the left and libertarian. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...now what does that say about the author of the quiz?

It's a good idea, but I think it's impossible to pull off in practice, at least not when there's only one person involved in picking the questions and deciding what the answers mean about a person's political views.

2:25 PM

Whaaaaaaaaaaa!!!! I don't wanna outline! It's Thursday afternoon, I could have a nap! Or go visit the cats!

11:04 AM

I like the green Hornbooks from West with the pocket in the back. Pretty much every time I take LaFave or Calamari and Perillo or Dobbs or whatever off the shelf here in the reserve room, the first thing I have to do is turn to the inside back cover and fiddle with the pocket and marvel at its pocketiciousness.

10:56 AM

Oh yeah...I gave in to temptation and bought a commercial outline. I got the Gilbert Torts one on the recommendation of "Law School Confidential". Some people (such as...professors) make it seem like you're a big lazy cheater if you buy a commercial outline. I dunno, maybe I'm guilty as charged. Some days I just can't get into it and it's easier to read what somebody else thinks. I guess I vainly suppose that other people use my site that way. Incidentally, that part of the site is getting over twice as many visits per day as this part. I don't know what, if anything, that says about...anything.

9:54 AM

I didn't think I had posted that thing about The Matrix Revolutions! Well, I lied. My promise to see that movie last night did not constitute a contract (groan). Maybe I'll test my will by trying to not see it, since everyone says it sucks. Or else I'll go whole hog and see it in IMAX. The IMAX theatre is virtually within walking distance of my apartment, anyway.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003
3:38 PM

Some of these classes go way too fast (well, really one in particular, but I don't want to name names). It's not just that it's too fast to take notes on, I can't even think that fast. I don't see how it would be useful to say something to the professor at this point, though. If things were going to be done differently, they would be done differently by now.

Anyhow, after this class, I only have three more this week. That means plenty of time to outline contracts and all that good stuff.

3:12 PM

I will soberly attend to my duty this evening and see the mandatory letdown that shall be The Matrix Revolutions. The previous Matrix film was the worst movie I ever really had to see.

2:16 PM

Thank you if you e-mailed me the past couple of days to say hello. Sorry if I haven't responded. It's not like I got 50 e-mails or anything, but I've just haven't been home much the last couple of days, and that's where my vanity e-mail addresses get forwarded to. Not that I'm presuming that you're just dying to get an e-mail back from me, but I think it's polite to respond. So, sorry for my slowness.

11:11 AM

Nobody has said "stare decisis" in any of my classes. I thought they had to say something about that!!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2003
10:00 AM

I mean, seriously, I wish I hadn't looked at that book just now! Besides, it's distracting me from the reading I'm actually supposed to be doing!

9:55 AM

Skimming through "Law School Confidential" is really depressing. An hour per class session for each course and 60-120 pages of outline for each course? How can I possibly care enough to do that?

Monday, November 03, 2003
12:17 PM

At the gym last night, they were showing a bit on the People show on CNN about Denzel Washington. The sound wasn't on, and neither was the closed-captioning. I recognized a lot of the movies that he was in, but they seemed to show him on a major network drama when he was pretty young, and I didn't know what it was. So today I looked up Denzel Washington on the Internet Movie Database, and found that he was on St. Elsewhere. I always have to look at the trivia, so I did, and it said:

The final scene of the final episode featured one of the most unexpected plot twists in television history. The twist has since been copied at least once: Newhart (1982).
Needless to say, I was intrigued. So I looked up this famous episode of St. Elsewhere, and the actual ending sounds sort of clever, sort of stupid, although I can't really judge having never seen the show. But then a little tidbit about the credits of the final show came up, and I've been on a downer ever since. You can look it up if you want. Suffice to say, I'm kind of unreasonably sensitive about pets, especially cats, even patently imaginary ones. Ugh...so disturbing.

So that's how my mind works.

9:22 AM

No Civ Pro this week! I could catch up on so much stuff, or get ahead, or outline...zowie!

By the way, if you're reading this, please feel free to send me an e-mail if you feel like it. It's okay if you don't have anything in particular to say. I just like getting e-mails from people reading my blog, even to just say hello. It's not like I'm deluged with fan mail. Thanks!

Sunday, November 02, 2003
6:25 PM


4:26 PM

I'm getting there...I think one of my memos is in good shape and the other one is getting there.

3:44 PM

Dispatch from the front lines of the paper (non-)writing war


There are so many more interesting things to do in this boring, boring library than work on this paper. For example, there's...um...looking at people. Also...uh...reading the news and playing games on Yahoo. I wish I could tell myself that I'd be due for a great nap after the paper's done, but in reality, I really should go to the gym when it's done. So I have pretty much nothing to look forward to and every reason to continue to stall. I have eight hours until the library closes. Then I have eight and a half hours more until the paper is due. This really should be a snap! A snap!!!

1:37 PM

Whoa....dude....bad trip. I somehow ended up looking up Commodore 64 web browsers. That has very little to do with this paper.

1:05 PM

So how long have I been here? How much work have I done? How much eye strain have I incurred? Is it time for a break, or it is time to print a draft? Is my paper going to be good?

11:33 AM

Okay, time to start wasting time while trying to finish my first big writing project of law school! I was really bad at doing papers in college. I couldn't stand having to write a certain minimum number of pages. It was terribly hard to convince myself that anyone really wanted to know what I thought about the topic of the paper. Even if they did, it was beyond my contemplation that they could stay awake through 5-7 pages of me talking about that subject.

It's going to be a banner day for this blog! Probably more entries than ever before, as I STALL STALL STALL my way to victory!


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