January 2005 Archives

You Can't Miss This

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Last night I went to Drag Queen Bingo for the first time (in Ft. Collins). I'd wanted to go a couple times before, but something always seemed to get in the way. It was an absolutely fabulous time. I don't think I've ever laughed like that, or if I have, I must have been far more toasted than I was last night. Everyone should find some drag queen bingo in your area. For the locals, this will probably be the next opportunity.

And now that I'm on the topic of dates, there are a couple more to remember.

On February 21, Jackson Katz will be speaking at UW in the Union Ballroom. You can read all about him at the link, but I will say that I've seen him speak a couple times, and he's really great. Men and women should all go.

Then, on March 10th the Guerilla Girls will be on campus. I've seen some of their projects, but I've never seen them. This is gonna be great.

So, all you law students, mark your calendars now!

More Harm than Good

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This disgusts me. (Link via How Appealing.)

The thing is, this couple was together for eight years, apparently made a conscious decision to have a child around the second year of that, and now the natural mother is trying to deny custody on the grounds that Texas doesn't recognize same-sex parenting issues.

Aside from both parties being the same sex, there's absolutely nothing about this relationship and family that is at all different than any other. It disgusts me not just because this plaintiff is playing off the cultural status of the queer community, but also because the ultimate goal is to completely cut a parent out of the picture. Granted, there are some fully sufficient reasons for denying custody, however absent such an assertion, this is just plain scummy tactics.

I'm glad the Supreme Court of Texas refused to hear this case, and I hope they smack it down just as hard if/when it comes up on appeal again, after the principal case.

Yeah, I know, ever the optimist.

Drinking Game

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I have a new fun game! While reading for Civil Procedure (at least in this personal jurisdiction part, I don't know how the rest of it goes), just take a shot everytime you see the word avail.

I guarantee, you'll be in a fit state for class. Or your money back.

Sleeping in Class

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Professor Froomkin's recent post got me thinking of a few creative ways to assist the student in question in keeping awake (Note: nearly all of these require collusion with all other students in class):

1. Bring a sharpie and go to town.
2. When class is over, everyone get up quietly and leave. Make sure to tell the other professors with class in that room about the situation. There are then two ways to deal with this:
   2a. Leave the student there all day, or as long as it takes to wake.
   2b. Encourage other professors to call on the student.
3. For the next class, create a pop quiz. Make it the most outrageously difficult and/or odd quiz ever. The other students should just take it in stride. Watch the panic ensue.
4. Write a bunch of incomprehensible gibberish on the board and when class ends, remark about how important it is.
5. Two Words: Air Horn.

Test

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Makes Sense

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Orin Kerr was apparently on Nightline last night, and had this to say about it. The reason I'm posting is this line: "Still, it's a bit odd to hear a pornographer try to explain Justice Scalia's dissent in Lawrence v. Texas." For some reason that just strikes me as funny.

Uh oh.

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My thumb itches. This can't be good.

This is gonna hurt

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Well, my potential racquetball partner did cancel, but there will be no shaming because she did call. I ended up spending that time practicing on my own.

Which is kinda too bad, because I lost track of time. By the time my water bottle was empty I had been going for almost 2.5 hours.

Something tells me tomorrow will be a rough day. I think it's good that we rescheduled for Wednesday because it will take me that long to regain feeling in my legs.

Friday Catblogging!

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We have two additional cats for you this week, as my New Orleans trip supplied me with a near-inexhaustible supply.

the first is Boots Bandit. Those cats realy love a nice cat tree.


The next cat just happens to be the litter-mate of my big fat cat, Sebastian. His name is Freddie. I quite like this photo, actually.

And that's it for the cats this week.

Oh, and I seem to have found a person or two willing to play more racquetball with me. I'm scheduled to play on Sunday with a classmate of mine. I'm mentioning it so that if she backs out I can shame her. You know who you are.

New Hobby

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Yesterday, I played racquetball with Travis. It was the first time I'd ever played, and I think I found a new hobby. It was so much fun, I loved it. Of course, today I hurt in new and mysterious places, but I suppose that means I worked out muscles I just wasn't getting to before.

So if anybody wants to play, give me a call. I'm all about running into walls for fun.

Hmmm...

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I've just finished reading the U.S. v. Frazier decision, mentioned below, and it doesn't seem very good. The reasoning for the Fifth Amendment issue, allowing silence as evidence of guilt in some situations, seems pretty shaky. Now, I haven't been at this whole law thing too terribly long and it may be mighty presumptuous of me to criticise the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, but I'm going to do it anyway.

The argument seems to be, essentially, that the silence of a suspect cannot be used as evidence of guilt either post-Miranda or when under an "official compulsion to speak." 2005 WL 30486, 6 (8th Cir.) The court went on to say that even though Frazier was under arrest at the time in question (and had not been Mirandized), he was under no compulsion to speak. The court states that "an arrest by itself is not governmental action that induces the defendant to remain silent." Id.

The problem I see (and this is not limited to this opinion - there was precedent in support of this construction) is that for anybody who happens to know his rights, the logical thing to do when arrested, whether Mirandized or not, would be to clam up. Generally there's an assumption that if a suspect is Mirandized that he doesn't know his rights and should thus have more protection under the law in order to guarantee those rights.

In this case, however, the assumption that the defendant did not know his rights is being sort of turned on his head. In effect, it is a punishment for those who do, in fact, know their rights. So clearly I see a problem there.

But that's not all. There's another major problem. The court goes on to say that regardless of what their decision about the Fifth Amendment issue, it doesn't matter because it didn't make a difference in the resolution of the case. What I get out of that (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that their entire discussion is irrelevant to the resolution of the case, and is therefore dictum.

My (newly gained, and quite probably incomplete) understanding is that generally courts avoid deciding constitutional issues unless they have to. It seems like this court went out of their way to decide a rather important one, but then went on to say that regardless, it didn't matter. This seems like more than just an issue with the Fifth Amendment, it seems like a poorly-written opinion.

Of course I welcome anyone who is willing to tell me how wrong I am, but please tell my why, as well.

Note on Statistics

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Travis brought up some good stuff in the comment in the post below, so much so that I feel justified noting a few things in a brand-spankin'-new post.

The following is a bit of a simplification, so please, no hate mail.

Statistics is taking individual data points and combining them to get information about groups. This is the direction of statistics. It does not work the other way. This is an important point, so know it, breathe it, live it.

As an example: If you were to survey the height of men and women in a sample of a given sample of a population, let's say University of Wyoming undergraduate students, for example, you would probably find that the average height of men is larger than that of women. There's a chance you won't, which we won't get into right now, but let's say that is indeed what you find.

Assuming you can generalize to the general population of UW undergraduate students (not much of a stretch), there are two ways that you can use this information. One is working up, as in "male UW undergrads are taller than women UW undergrads." This would be a (roughly) correct generalization. Another way to use it would be to say that a given man is taller than a given woman (without measuring). Now, you will be right more often than you are wrong, in aggregate, but the statement itself is poor because you really have no basis for the decision. Statistics cannot be used to take the general and apply it to the individual. It just doesn't work.

So, to say that "men are more likely (whether for genetic or other reasons) to be violent criminals, rapists, child molesters, sexists" may be right more often than wrong, but it puts the focus in the wrong place, which should be that those activities are most often performed by men. Which is very true, and we should do some things about that. But that's a subject for another post.

It's a subtle point, but one that we all need to keep in mind. Statistics are squirrily. They have a tendency to take on a life of their own, and they seem to have an instinct for self-preservation. Let's keep them leashed and working for us, shall we?

hmm...

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Eugene Volokh trips a little:

Iowa State University bans as "sexual harassment" a wide range of speech, including "derogatory or demeaning comments about women or men in general, whether sexual or not." Saying -- even quite accurately -- that women are genetically less likely to be good at certain things may well be seen as "derogatory or demeaning." (After all, it apparently made some biology professors feel like they were "going to be sick," made their "heart . . . pound[]," presumably not in a good way, made their "breath . . . shallow," and made them "extremely upset.")

Of course, saying that men are more likely (whether for genetic or other reasons) to be violent criminals, rapists, child molesters, sexists, or for that matter fools driven by their genital organs would also be "derogatory or demeaning," and thus sexual harassment.

The problem is that derogatory comments are by their very nature are not true, or at least they are highly arguable. Men having genetic superiority is one of those things that there is no evidence to suggest is true. When someone finds the math gene, I'll buy it, but so far, no credible evidence of a genetic element.

Similarly, the statement about men is arguable. Perhaps what the esteemed professor meant to say is that violent criminals et al. are more likely to be men. There's a critical difference.

New Job

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I got my new job. I'm quite pleased. I'll be contracted to work for the Wyoming Healthcare Commission and assisting with the research and data organization related to a study developing an alternative to traditional tort compensation. Not tort reform, most of what people want there is just a club aimed in the wrong direction. I don't know much yet, but I'm looking forward to get into the research. It appears that in time, I may become an expert on alternative compensation systems in medical malpractice.

Someone, I think it may have been Evan or maybe Federalist no. 84 mentioned that the way to get a well-read blog is to become an expert in a specialized field. I don't know of any blogs with this particular focus, so maybe in a while I'll start an additional blog around these issues. When I know enough to start a constructive dialogue.

Anyway, I have work to do if I want to go see HLS Prof. Randall Kennedy speak tonight.

Still Catching Up

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There's an interesting post over at The Volokh Conspiracy about the 11th circuit opinion upholding a Florida gay adoption ban. Apparently, SCOTUS just denied cert.

This brings up another issue related to law school: I now have a list of cases, a lot of them in pdf format on my computer, that I want to read, but have not had time. One of the downsides to finishing law school will be that I won't be exposed to so many areas of law, but one of the upsides will be (with any luck - I don't plan on working for a big firm or anything) the freedom to read a few more cases recreationally.

Professional Conduct

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Over at Crime and Federalism, there's a post
about an alarming ruling from the 8th Circuit. This ruling is explained a bit in that post and while I've located the case, I haven't had occasion to read it yet (getting ready for my interview tomorrow).

It does bring up an interesting dilemma though: what to do when you have an argument, etc. that you should pursue as an attorney but you find loathsome and, while legal, unconscionable. I've been thinking about this more in the context of the death penalty, considering I would like to be a prosecutor when I grow up.

These issues are also distinguishable from cases in which one may disagree with a law. I see a problem with things like three strikes laws or the current incarnation of drug laws, but I don't think I would have a problem enforcing them, while simultaneously working for modification.

So how does one reconcile an argument which one finds personally so repugnant? I know all the arguments about divorcing oneself from the role, and the justifications that if it weren't me, it would be someone else, but I want to hear something that will mean something when I see the chemicals go into my defendant's arm and I see his eyes close for the last time.

Keeping the Fire Alive

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I'm surfacing from my several-hour dive into the wondrous mysteries that are personal jurisdiction, and it occurs to me the reason many, including myself, find the general subject of Civil Procedure to be so tiresome.

In all the other classes, at the heart of the cases were people. Particularly in Torts and CrimLaw, it was easy to relate to persons involved with the cases. CivPro seems to be much more distant in that respect. Not that there still aren't people involved at the heart, but the opinions just don't get into that. The fact summaries for other cases focused on what happened to bring the suit into court. Who was harmed? Why? What do they want? What will happen if they don't get it? So far in CivPro, the facts are about who served who, and where. That doesn't make for a great emotional investment in the people involved.

Maybe I should start making things up. Not too much, of course, but just enough to make it engaging. For example, maybe International Shoe Co. actually sold "devices of a personal nature." That would be why they had commissioned salesmen and just mailed the merchandise to the consumer. It would also explain why the salesmen "rent permanent sample rooms, for exhibiting samples . . . or rent rooms in hotels or business buildings temporarily for that purpose." International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 314 (1945).

Yes, that will do nicely.

And yes, I know exactly how important and useful it is to know this stuff cold. And I will. I just may have to work a little harder.

Ouch

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In this post, Federalist No. 84 presents his critique of Congress and really misses the boat, in my opinion. In response to the Gonzales confirmation hearing, during which the now-infamous torture memos were brought up, F84 questions the "moral authority" of Congress:

There's nothing that says the Geneva Convention is the sole law of war. Indeed, the Uniform Code of Military Justice already governs the conduct of all soldiers, sailors, and airmen and many other federal criminal laws apply overseas. Why doesn't (didn't) Congress enact an OLC-proof federal law against torture? Since the President and other executive officials (supposedly) want torture, but Congress is serious about fighting the issue, then Congress won't have any difficulty overriding his veto.

Of course, Congress has not redrafted the anti-torture statute, has it? It kinda makes you wonder if anyone in Congress has the moral standing to attack Mr. Gonzales.

Here's the part that falls down: There's somehow an implication there that this somehow relieves Gonzales of responsibility, or makes his behavior less serious or (dare I say it?) culpable.

I am very disappointed that Congress hasn't taken more affirmative steps to put some limits on this president and on some of these policies. That doesn't mean that Gonzales should get off without criticism (or, in a perfect world, denied confirmation).

If two children are in a store and one starts shoplifting, does the fact that the friend doesn't blow the whistle somehow mean that if he criticizes the shoplifter that he's lost the moral authority to do so legitimately? I think that the shoplifiting would be considered wrong regardless.

So let's get to the two separate issues that are going on here: 1) Gonzales is not fit to be our Attorney General; and 2) If there were such a thing as congressional malpractice, we'd be knee-deep.

Oh, and that's true across all political boundaries, as far as I can see.

Happy MLK Day!

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I went to our school's/community's MLK Event tonight, and it was pretty fun. They even had a drum group from Zimbabwe (Kudzidza) there, which is new compared to last year. There are a lot of events going on and there's no way I'll be able to make all of them, what with my other obligations and all.

It is a good time for reflection, however, and remembering exactly what you believe and, more importantly, what do you do on a daily basis to further that belief? Another question to ask is why you believe what you do? Is it just because that's how you were raised or have you actually thought about it? I can respect someone whose ideology is better than mine if they have considered the issues and articulate why they believe what they believe.

But I digress. I have some more CivPro to do if I'm going to get ahead enough tonight to not get behind this week.

Dazed and Confused

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I've been going around in sort of a daze this last week, something that will change, I hope, with this week. Somehow it seems like none of it's real. To start off, I got good grades. I was expecting to pass and all that, but I did far better than I ever thought I would.

That alone hit me pretty hard, it was kind of hard to concentrate, but in addition to that, a job opportunity is kind of in the process of falling into my lap. I'll spare you the details, but for a while I was expecting something to mitigate my good fortune (I'm sorry, Mackenzie, but I accidentally screwed up on the grading sheet and switched your grade with someone else. You actually did far worse than you think you did.) As it turns out, I have a job interview on Wednesday. For a legal job. And it would start right away at about 10 hours a week, which I can handle.

Professor Contracts I told us that if we weren't working harder than we ever had in our lives, we weren't working hard enough. I can only assume that she was right and that the 14-hour days, 6 days a week I put in the first semester are paying off, but I still am in a sort of shock about it. I'm doing stuff like putting the remote control in the refrigerator I'm so scattered. (I haven't done that, exactly, just stuff like that.) Maybe this whole being a lawyer thing will work out after all. Maybe I really will be the first person in my family to really choose something I love (and I do love the law) to do for a living.

It's a nice idea. So maybe I should get back to doing my reading.

Friday Catblogging!

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Here we are on Friday, and since I'm no longer a recluse, it's time for Catblogging.

The first cat is Dot, who lives in my parents' guest room. She just likes it there and freaks out if people try to take her out. She's really friendly, though, almost pathologically so.

Dot1.JPG

This is Masked Bandit. I don't know much other than the name. You can also see miscellaneous other cats in the background.

Masked Bandit 1.JPG

Catching Up

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So while I've been catching up on my weblog reading, I encountered the Snoop Dogg Shizzolator, courtesy of The Hot Librarian. Here is what my site looks like. I can't say I've laughed this much in a while. Not since the lizard attack video.

On a completely unrelated note, I've had all my classes so far, and it's looking pretty nice. I'm particularly going to like ConLaw, I think, with the parallels to modern politics.

Self-Talk

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Me: Wake up! It's time to go to the gym!

Body: *Sniff, Blink* Huh? What time is it?

Me: Time to get back on the saddle.

Body: Wait, we're not going in there, are we? It's been a while.

Me: Yeah, well, you were sick. I was being nice.

Body: You're not being nice now, I don't want to get on that thing.

Me: Come on, the bike is your favorite.

Body: You know, maybe tomorrow. *Yawn*

Me: No, we've put this off long enough let's go.

* * *

Body: Oh, my dear God, what are you doing to me?!

Me: Oh, don't be such a baby, it's not that bad.

Body: Where are my lungs, I can't feel my lungs!

Me: Don't you think you're being a little melodramatic?

Body: Somebody please slit my throat! Please? *Whimper*

* * *

Me: See, that wasn't so bad, was it?

Body: . . .

Me: Oh, so now you're not talking to me, is that it?

Body: . . .

Me: Yeah, that's real mature. How would you feel about food that's too spicy for dinner tonight? Huh? You wanna play?

Body: . . .

Me: This can't end well.

Back!

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As my mother called to note, I've been a bit of a recluse for a while. I have sort of taken the last week to claim my alone time while I still can. I sort of assume that this will be the last bit I'll have in a while. Not that that's bad, but it's important to savor while you can. Last week I was savoring semi-tropical weather and hanging out with family (who graciously paid for pretty much all my expenses). This week I haven't even been reading the news. You can't imagine how many blog entries I have to catch up on. I was savoring hanging out with my cats, playing video games, reading (3 books), constructing a new pair of socks and watching a few movies.

Which brings me to my next point: See. Garden. State. Now.

I've wanted to see it for a while, but this is the first time I've really had the opportunity to do so. Of particular note is Natalie Portman's performance. She was fabulous in The Professional, but while she's been in a few small parts here and there, she will always be known for Star Wars. I was not particularly enthusiastic about her work in those movies; perhaps the last movie will redeem, but I doubt it.

Which is why I was glad to see Garden State. For some reason, I have a strange attraction for movies wherein the central theme is about getting on with living life rather than hiding from it. See also Girl, Interrupted.

Now comes the second semester of law school. A few of our grades are out, three as of this writing. I won't go into it, though regular readers will know what I think of grades, but regardless of what I think, they still keep doors open. I did better than I expected, so I suppose I don't have a future in Janitorial Science after all. Of course, I still have two classes left, so perhaps I shouldn't put away my mop after all.

The Guest Blogger and winter

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Yeah, I'll back up the pretty good year that Mackenzie mentioned. I don't really want to go into any detail, but it was a pretty good year.

I think that it's raining now. I can hear the thrumming on the library roof. I can't see it because the architect of my library didn't believe that librarians (or humble library associates) need windows. It's strange to be here sometimes. I remember when the Guns N Roses song November Rain came out I thought Axl was singing about mythical imaginary stuff. (Alright, give me a break, I was what -- 14 -- and had lived almost my entire life in Wyoming where the only November precipitation is white.) Sadly, it's not, November rain is just damned cold rain. So is January rain.

I managed to break my Christmas jinx this year. Every year since 2000, I have broken down on the side of the road trying to get where ever it was I was going for Christmas. (One very memorable Christmas day I broke down at a ranch house 30 miles south of Laramie and spent the morning drinking tea and playing Memory with a 5 year old.) This year without a trumpetted fanfare, I managed to make it to my destination and back without once having to hike a mile to find that the nearest payphone is broken or otherwise impaired.

Last Vacation Entry

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This will be my last vacation entry. This afternoon, I board a plane to return to the wintery north. I just had one last story to share.

The other day the MackenzieParents decided to show me another neighborhood in New Orleans that they would have liked to live in. For those who know, it's the Marigny/Bywater area. It really was cute, there's something about seeing houses that can be all shuttered up, all windows and doors included, that screams, "cozy."

Anyway, on the way out, when we were no longer really in that area, I saw a really nice mansion, complete with columns. This isn't so unusual in the area, but it had flags flying from the top. This isn't unusual either, but one of the flags was a rainbow flag.

Now, I will fully acknowledge that seeing such a thing (I saw another one on a bar in the Marigny area) doesn't mean the same thing as it would to someone queer. From my place of privelege that's impossible, as much as I may sympathize and share values, I just don't have a lot of the life experiences to back it up.

All the same, I must admit that seeing the flag there made me feel more comfortable, at ease, like things were just more friendly.

It's a nice feeling, and one that a lot of my friends deserve to have, as well. Preferrably all the time, not just when a colored cloth is waving on the wind. Let's work on that, shall we?

On the Beach

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On the way to the beach, I am reminded of an eternal, immutable fact of life: Mini-vans are the ultimate aphrodisiac. Cruising around in the back of MackenzieMomís Mercury Villager is the best way to meet girls. Control yourselves, ladies, I canít go out with all of you at once.

The drive itself is rather pleasant. Basically go south from New Orleans for a couple hours and youíre there. Along the sides of the highway are lots of trees and a waterway or two. Most of the houses, particularly closer to the ocean, are basically on stilts, about 12 feet or so above the ground.

Once on the beach, we drove up to a picnic table (yes, you can drive on the beach. You can camp there too) and had our late lunch of fried chicken. After a suitable rest period (though not quite long enough, but it went fine) that I spent reading and drinking champagne mixed with orange juice, I went for a little run.

I went up the beach about 2 to 2.5 miles or so. This is where I found out that I hadnít quite waited long enough (you know the feeling), but it wasnít too bad. It was better on the return trip. Not a real long run, but enough to get up a sweat and a hell of a lot more than Iíd gotten in the last two weeks.

On the way back I ran into MackenzieMom and MackenzieDog heading my way. They turned around and we went down the beach a while.

All in all it was a little cooler than weíd expected; I had to wear a light sweater, except while I was running. I did get to chill a little and get some photos, which I will post when I regain access to some hardware which will allow me to pull them off my camera. Which will likely be when I get back to Wyoming, unless the stuff that the cats stole turns up before tomorrow afternoon.

But it was a delightful little trip overall. Tonight I expect to be dining in a place on Bourbon street, one of the few places which has decent food and music. (Most of the stuff on that street is crap; one has to go to restaurants and clubs on other streets Ė or even out of the quarter Ė to get decent food and entertainment.) Quite a nice day.

Year in Review

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Now is the time for the obligatory year in review post, I hope youíll agree.

Like many first-year law students, this year has been full of changes. Last year at this time, I was working at a job I loved, but under unpleasant circumstances. I was in a relationship at the time with someone I loved very much, but there were problems. I knew Iíd be applying for law school (in fact, I believe I had most of my application materials ready about this time), but I was only applying at one school: the one I could afford. As a consequence, I had no idea if I would be successful (though I figured I had a good chance). In the process, Iíve gotten a bit more healthy: I eat less and exercise more. And my best friend moved back into town, which, totally selfishly, makes me happy.

On the work front, I obviously resigned my position Ė and so did nearly everyone else. It has taken a lot of adjusting, and Iím still not entirely sure Iím finished with the adjustment process. The job was my life for four years of my life, and its influence can never be erased. And Iím not sure I would want it to be. I met some of the strongest, most inspiring people through my work (and a good many from the other end of the spectrum, as well) and it was very difficult to leave.

Iím not going to talk about my relationship much because of its personal nature and the fact that it very personally involves another person, but I will say that I wish things had turned out differently. That, and I remember the good times with a great deal of fondness, and I always will.

And as far as law school, that is sort of the purpose of this weblog, more or less. It has been an adjustment as great as quitting my job, perhaps greater. Iíve been forced to confront the fact that Iím older than I think of myself. The difference is not that great, but its enough that Iíve had to change my self perception and realize that Iím not quite 23-25 anymore, which is where my self-perception sort of froze a few years ago.

Iíve also met some really nice people in my class. Itís nice to be among such a group of bright, motivated people. I feel like just being around them is helping me stretch myself further than I ever would without them. Whether weíre going back and forth over equal marriage rights or tossing around the state of contemporary feminism, I can always count on a good conversation.

I think my little fitness program sort of speaks for itself. I have more energy, I donít get out of breath as easily and when I do I recover fairly quickly. I donít need to sleep so much at night, but I sleep better. I feel stronger, and I think I look better (though Iím obviously biased). Iím not exactly where I want to be yet, but Iíll never again be where I was.

Finally, my best friend and her husband moved back into town. While Iím sure itís a bit of culture shock going back to Wyoming after being in Seattle, Iím glad that sheís around. Iíve really been grateful for her support through all the changes Iíve mentioned. Weíve been doing the long distance thing with periodic visits for about four years or so and I like knowing that we can call each other and go have some tea or a drink when one/both of us needs it.

There it is. There have been ups and downs, but all in all, a pretty good year, as Tori Amos says.

Suggestions

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Iím not a big fan of New Yearís Resolutions. To a large extent, I kind of feel like if thereís something wrong with your life it really is better to fix it immediately. And if itís something for which one needs a particular time to start, to commit with oneself, itís going to be tough regardless. When I decided to get in shape, there was no way I was waiting until the new year. So my general advice is to start doing whatever now, and keep up with it regardless of the season.

Oh, and donít overdo it. Youíll just burn out.

So, rather than resolutions, I have suggestions to myself. Nobodyís good at following their own advice, so I try to change that to advice to myself that I will follow.

  • Continue fitness program. Pretty much a given, I think. Iíve gotten to the point where my body feels poor if Iím not active, at least a little. Thatís the one thing thatís killing me about this trip: being sick and unable to exercise much.
  • I donít know what my first semester grades are, but Iím sure I can do better (I just hope that thereís a reasonable limit to how much better I can do). I suggest that should probably work a bit harder.
  • Make good relationship choices. Big topic, but it basically encompasses a whole suite of suggestions to myself. They are all boring and mundane, so I wonít go into them. Iím sure there the same things everyone tells themselves to do.

Well I think thatís about it. Weíll see what the New Year holds. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them, just make sure theyíre anatomically feasible and donít involve any livestock.

New Yearís Eve Fun

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So, itís time to provide a little narrative of the party in my own little corner of the world.

Last year in the Quarter they had a really cool celebration with several local bands/groups/individuals playing in the street for free followed by the fireworks on the river. This year, however, the bands that they had lined up pretty much sucked.

We (MackenzieParents and I) decided that we were going to a club instead, though we still intended to make the fireworks. So we decided to go to the Funky Butt. For those not in the know, itís a little club on the edge of the Quarter, and is not in a particularly nice part of town. One really wants to stick to fairly well-populated streets, and one really would rather turn right out of the club rather than left. Then go around the corner.

We parked a significant distance, but it wasnít too far and was only $3. We walked up Bourbon street for about a block, and it was naturally packed. The smell hadnít really gotten going just yet, but it was starting. We promptly left Bourbon and went up a couple other streets to the club, all with plenty of people.

We got there and were sort of expecting a significant cover, but it ended up being $30 per person. Yeah, it was a bit steep, but we were going out for the New Year, so we didnít want our plans derailed. Besides, there really wasnít much else to do.

Upstairs, it is clear that there arenít too many people there. Some of the first bandís members are hanging out. We had some drinks, but the band didnít start playing for nearly an hour. Thatís not unexpected around here; the bands sort of start when they damn well feel like it. The place filled up a bit more and they eventually felt like it, but there were some rather significant technical problems. They were surmountable when they were doing instrumental only (some pretty good funk, if youíre interested), but when they eventually got some vocalists, thatís when the problems were crippling. The vocals ranged from Feedback to Off. I suspect that they were trying to stretch their sound system further than its capabilities. They were clearly skilled, but the technical problems kind of ruined their performance.

Eventually, they finished. Between sets, the New Year arrived. This could have been really cool, the club could have given us party favors and they could have made a big production of it. Instead, while people were milling around, midnight sort of came and went. People were showing the club owner their cell phones, and there was a rather cute woman near our table who was trying to get everyone to start kind of an arbitrary countdown. Eventually the owner got the same idea and just started counting down.

I actually donít mind an arbitrary countdown; the day itself is kind of arbitrary, so I donít think thereís really anything wrong with fudging by a few minutes. The real problem I had was that it was severely disorganized. Took some of the magic out of New Year in the Quarter. And the champagne was terrible, but it was free. Anyway, then the next band started, which was far better. The owner is the title member of the band, and he plays the trombone. Really, he wasnít all that good; the trumpet player was much better. Overall, I enjoyed the music a lot.

Needless to say, we missed the fireworks.

We ended up leaving about 2am. The second band had been playing about an hour and a half and showed no signs of stopping anytime soon. We were planning on going to the beach the next day (didnít happen) and wanted to be able to get up at a reasonable hour.

The walk back was pretty uneventful. You had your hordes of drunk people, the drunk guy sitting on somebodyís porch with a pile of vomit between his feet and his head down, the periodic small liberated piles of vomit at various intervals. And that wasnít even on Bourbon street. Bourbon street was still shoulder to shoulder packed with people, and showed no signs of quieting down anytime soon. We didnít touch it.

So there it is. Overall, it was pretty fun and Iím glad we went. I donít get to hear really good live music too often, and since Iíve been rather ill on this trip I havenít particularly felt like going out much. Itís just not New Orleans with out enjoying some of the local talent, though.

Stopgap New Year Entry

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I've just arrived back at Chez Parents from our New Year Celebration. We're going to the beach tomorrow, so I have to get some sleep, but I thought I'd go ahead and give a short lineup of the posts I have planned for the next couple of days (mostly so I'll be sort of obligated to do them).

  • Taunt my readership on my New Year Celebration activity(ies). This is harder than it sounds because it was cool, but not too exciting.
  • Taunt my readership on my trip to the beach. I anticipate this will be quite easy.
  • Obligatory Year in Review post. Also quite easy. I remember a pretty good chunk of 2004.
  • Obligatory New Year Resolutions. Pretty easy; I've either been doing them or I'll be setting pretty low goals for myself. Or both.
  • Write poetry/short fiction and/or post it. It's likely that I'll write something; I've already been writing a bit more. It's less likely that I'll post it. I tend not to want to publish things I write (other than blog entries) until it's actually been published in something not-run-by-me. If I get enough comment requests, though, I may put up the two pieces of my writing that have already been published. The poem I consider rather mediocre, but the microfiction piece I am fairly proud of.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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