May 2005 Archives

Fancy a trip?

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Looks like I missed the NIN concert in my area, and there's nowhere else to go. Unless I want to take a trip. Not that I would mind going to Sydney or Brisbane (even if it is in the winter), I'm afraid I just can't economically sustain that much fun. Perhaps for the next round I'll have some disposable income.

Here it comes!

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Tomorrow I embark on my great odyssey into the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. It's not an internship any longer, however, as my existing contracting work caused some problems. Apparently, they can't really have someone both as an intern and as a contractor. While I'm somewhat mortified that I caused so many problems, I'm quite flattered that they wanted me enough to change the position to fit my unique situation.

So, I start tomorrow. I'll be going to Cheyenne (around 50 miles away) first thing in the morning, but I'm still not sure exactly what my schedule will be. I imagine that will be one of the first things they will want to sort out with me, and I'm looking forward to having some idea so I can have some stability. Overall, all this tobacco stuff is starting to look fun. It appears that my primary focus will be on smokeless tobacco. It sounds like it will be engaging work and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm not looking forward to the commute, so much, but I'll look into whether, because I'm a contractor, the mileage is tax deductible. That might cheer me up about the commute.

Anyway, that's about it. I'm hoping that I'll be able to start running again pretty soon. I started a couple weeks ago, now that I'm in good enough shape to allow it, but my feet weren't prepared to take that kind of beating. New shoes helped a bit. I expect my feet will toughen up straight away. Oh, and for anyone interested in gifting me, I think that a Wine of the Month subscription from Wine.com would be absolutely brilliant. I'm adding it to the page on this site wherein I shamelessly beg for stuff. That's it, I'll be back maybe tomorrow with a sweet little description of what I expect to be my superfun first day in my new job.

Star Wars

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I saw the new Star Wars about a week and a half ago. I haven't really mentioned it except to some friends in person. I realized, though, that if I continued to stay silent, my geek card would be taken away. While that would vastly improve my dating life, it would render meaningless the considerable sum of money I spent on the Babylon 5 DVDs.

When I mention that I've seen it, the inevitable question is, "What did you think?" My response: "It was decent." That's the short version, so if you don't want more, stop reading now.

When I got out of the theater, I was pretty high on it, but I figured out this is part of Lucas's nefarious strategy to make us like the third prequel. He does this by giving us two pieces of crap before releasing a decent movie.

Specifics? Well, we learned in the last film that Lucas is utterly inept, completely incompetent, at writing dialog, particularly romance dialog. He's a great big picture guy, a visionary, but it doesn't work so well in the trenches. This isn't a knock-down. I'm somehow even worse at that sort of thing than he is, but the difference is that I'm not writing movies. In this case, the dialog continued to bite. The names, too. As Linus said last week, ""General Grievous'? Twenty years to come up with this stuff and the best name he's got is 'General Grievous'?" I'm not sure what happened since the original trilogy. Particularly the radio chatter during the space fight scenes was excellent. It had a sense of weight, of reality that made it feel genuine. None of that here.

Back to the movie in particular, it felt rushed to me. This may be surprising, given the well over two hour length, but it seemed to be sort of a "highlights" movie. So many things to cram into one sitting. I always got the impression from the original series that the fall of the republic was a "many years" kind of thing. It was an epic struggle. The way the movie played out, though, sort of wrapped everything up in a tidy manner. It seemed like the sole purpose was to set the stage for the "next" film.

A better option? Some will consider this blasphemous, but I think TV would have been a better medium for this story. The aforementioned Babylon 5 is proof that a series with an overarching storyline can succeed, and it would have allowed a much deeper exploration of the various stories, characters, and make Skywalker's fall much more, well, plausible. I know there would be a lot of obstacles to such a thing, including the time commitment of the actors, the lower status of TV, etc. There would have been other alternatives, too, more practical ones.

So was it bad? No, I don't think so. It was better than either of the other two. The visuals, as usual, were impressive, so it warrants a visit to the theater. Not at full price, though. If you must see it now, go to a matinée. If not, wait for the discount theater. Overall, the short version of the review pretty much sums it up: It was decent.

Friday Catblogging!

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As promised, we have today a very special Friday Catblogging. This is, in some small way, compensation for missing last week due to my need to do nothing productive for a few days, in which time Friday happened to fall.

First, a little explanation is necessary. Some of you know the secret origins of Jupiter-Cat, the rest of you will be informed. My best friend J picked up a stray cat and named her Bridget. Bridget was pretty young, but it turns out that she was pregnant. Somewhere in the story, her other cat, Ty, comes in. I'm not sure if Ty was there first or if he was acquired post-Bridget. I'm thinking post-Bridget.

Anyway, Jupiter was the only cat in the litter. For a cat's first litter (and in this case last, 'cause no way was J gonna go through that again - say hello to Mr. Vet), often it is very small, maybe one or two kittens. J named him Jupiter because the Tori Amos song, "Hey Jupiter," was playing at the moment of his birth.

J raised him, but when she and her now-husband moved to Seattle, they realized that with three cats it would be nearly impossible to find a place to live. It would be hard enough with two, so Jupiter came to live with Uncle Mackenzie and Cousin Sebastian. He was older at the time and looked much as he does now, but I also got some baby photos from around 6 weeks old. So, without further ado, here's a few baby shots of Jupiter. Some are slightly blurry, but they're still cute.


Jupiter is being cute as mom looks on:



Here's Jupiter learning how cats socialize with each other:


And here Jupiter is learning to do battle with his foes:

Have a great weekend!

Life is short

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It's a hard thing to realize the limits of life. I started reading a book the other day. It's a book I borrowed from my mother the last time I was in New Orleans. I start reading, and my mind wanders and I realize that I will never, never read all the books I would like to read in my life. I could read constantly and get a lot of reading done, but I'd never read them all.

Movies? I may be able to see all the movies I'd ever want to see, if I dedicated my entire life to it.

Music? There's an astounding amount of decent music to hear.

Travel? I'd like to travel a lot, but never will I actually be able to go everywhere and see everything.

There are 6 billion people in the world, and if even 20% are cool and worth knowing (which seems a little low), that's 1.2 million. I'll never know even a small fraction of them. These are all especially true when you account for the fact that I'd like to do as much of all these things as possible.

Life is all about your priorities, so what are your priorities today?

One of mine is Catblogging, so I'll have a very special edition up later today.

More of my work

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I was sending some photos to my friend, and I thought I'd post them.

This is the scarf I made from the remaining alpaca from which I made my friends' socks:

I'll be giving it to my friend who just had a little daughter. I think in a time when all the gifts are baby's, it's nice to get something just for yourself.


This is my first ever attempt at a sweater. It's for the baby, clearly, though she won't fit into it for a while. Because it's my first sweater, the seams are a little (or a lot) crazy. I'll work on that when I make the next one, for which I already have the raw materials.

Comment on the firm-ament

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I recently had the occasion to look up and read the case, Engalla v. Permanente Med. Grp., 938 P.2d 903 (Cal. 1997). In that case, a man who had a health plan through Kaiser got lung cancer. He had it for many years, sought treatment (for the symptoms) many times, and the Kaiser physicians didn't diagnose him properly until it was far, far too late.

The problem, and the issue in the case, was that the plan had a mandatory arbitration agreement. Without getting into the details, it was represented as being a quick, easy way to resolve disputes and had some language that seemed to indicate it was required to be so. Since Engalla was dying, time was definitely of the essence. His counsel made this very clear in many, many letters while Permanente drug their feet for months. This continued until Engalla died.

The point to this is that while I read, I was struck by the efforts of Engalla's counsel, David S. Rand, to make things happen for his client. Granted, he was somewhat limited in options, but he did seem to work hard and without doing so, things might have turned out far differently. Mr. Rand, at the time, worked for Carrol, Burdick & McDonough, which currently has 79 attorneys. This is hardly a BigLaw firm, but it serves to illustrate a point.

I've said before that firm life is not for me, but this case illustrates that it's not necessarily because of the nature of the cases. I went to law school to help individuals and my community. Granted, it may not be as common, but it is possible to achieve those aims in a firm, as the above case shows. Even apart from that, it's clear that the work can be interesting and challenging from an intellectual point of view.

So what's the problem with firms, specifically larger ones? The problem is billable hours. One of the lessons I learned before law school that I hope never to lose track of (and that has helped me immesurably to get through my first year) is knowing what is importand in life. There are two primary reasons for working at a BigLaw firm: Money and Prestige. Now, I won't lie and say that I care not a whit about either. I like financial security, and for others to think well of me (within limits). But there's a lot more to life. There's an interesting exploration of billable hours over at Stay of Execution. It highlights something I've always thought: that many firms' requirements prohibit one from living life. To me, work is a piece of my life, not the other way around.

I've always thought that there were three major areas of life fulfillment: monetary, intellectual, and social. Different people might prioritize these differently. In my case, the order is social, intellectual, and monetary. The first thing I value in my life is my friends, my relationships. Secondly, I want to be intellectually engaged, to use my mind a bit. Finally, I'd like the bills to be paid, but I don't need to be rich. I just want to be able to fix my car when it breaks and not have to eat cat food when I retire. I think that's why I love law school so much. I've met great people and I get to do some deep thinking constantly.

But if I had to spend 2200 hours per year (or whatever) billing clients, how much time does that leave for friends and family? How many walks can I go on? How much racquetball can I play? How many dinner parties (such as they are) can I host? I don't know the precise answer, but I know it's fewer. My job, though I want it to be rewarding, is, at the end of the day, not the most important thing in my life. That's what repulses me about BigFirm life, the pressure to build your life around the firm. The Firm is Mother, the Firm is Father. I'll be the first to admit that I have zero actual experience, but nothing that I have ever read (and I read a lot) has ever made me question this generalization.

But there's nothing about a firm being a firm that requires this. If I found a firm that treated people differently, that had its corporate priorities more in accordance with mine, it would be a different story. This is more likely to happen in small firms, of course, so if I do seek firm employment, that's where I'd do it. Actually, the prospect of working in a relatively small office with a bunch of people who believe in life, not billing, is rather appealing.

True, true. I've clearly been relaxing from the posting for a little while. For the most part I've been working, knitting, seeing my friends in a leisurely manner, and otherwise enjoying the flexibility that comes from my contract work, up until my (probably more structured) internship starts. In the last week, I've finished a pair of socks for myself and a scarf for a friend of mine who is a new mom. I'm looking forward to giving it to her. I know she's been getting a ton of baby stuff lately, but wouldn't it be nice in that situation to get a gift that has nothing to do with the baby? Something that's just yours? I took a photo; I'll post it soon.

Our grades are starting to trickle in. Our property grade is up. I find myself mildly disappointed; it's slightly lower than last semester. What I find really interesting, though, is that if our grades for the last two semesters were reversed, it would be different. I would have been happy with both grades to the point of being ecstatic today. Functionally, they're no different, it's just a question of sequence. It just goes to show how everything is a matter of perspective, I suppose.

I'll post more interesting stuff in the next couple days. I've been thinking a lot about firm life, and particularly my comments on it. I'm going to take some time to explore why the idea of working at BigLaw is repulsive to me. Coincidentally, there are a few posts at other blogs sort of related to that theme for me to share when the time comes.

Back to work.

Tech Stuff

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I have a question for anybody out there.

I use Outlook 2003 for my email, and I use a simple signature for most communications. Now that I am doing more professional-type stuff, though, I'd like to have a signature which includes my full name and phone number, but only for those communications. I'd like to keep the simple initials sig for casual stuff. Ideally, I want Outlook to add a different sig depending on the category of the recipient(s). There seems no way to do this natively, and I haven't had any success finding an Add-On to Outlook that will do this. If anyone knows of something that does this, please tell me, either in a comment or via email.

Thanks.

Quiz et al.

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You scored as Existentialist. Existentialism emphasizes human capability. There is no greater power interfering with life and thus it is up to us to make things happen. Sometimes considered a negative and depressing world view, your optimism towards human accomplishment is immense. Mankind is condemned to be free and must accept the responsibility.

Existentialist

100%

Modernist

81%

Materialist

69%

Postmodernist

63%

Cultural Creative

44%

Romanticist

38%

Idealist

25%

Fundamentalist

19%

What is Your World View? (corrected...hopefully)
created with QuizFarm.com

I'm not terribly surprised. (Courtesy Heidi and Energy Spatula).

I've been working on my contract stuff like a fiend the last couple days, I usually stay in the library after it closes, even. I really liked learning all that stuff in school, but it's really nice to get into the real world. To do legal research and come up with my own opinions, to know that my work will have an impact on a large number of people, it's very exciting. The fact that I'm getting paid for this makes it that much better. I get to do what I like and I don't have to worry about money! I don't know about the American dream, but (with respect to my career) it's my dream. I've grown to love the law. This career choice was a really good fit and I'm quite glad I made this choice.

In other news, a very old friend (G) came through town yesterday, and I got to spend some time with her and the (relatively) new boy. I hadn't seen her in person for somewhere around 2 years, so it was indescribably great to do so now. And, not that it's necessary, the boy meets with my approval. We had fun talking a little about then, now, and soon. When I graduate and move, it will be difficult to leave J, my friend who moved back to Laramie, but it will be easier knowing I have friends in the Pacific Northwest. Plus, you know, it's not Laramie, and at this point I'm ready to be somewhere not-Laramie.

Brand New 2L

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It is less than 24 hours since I finished my last exam. Assuming I passed everything (a safe assumption, though I'm not guaranteeing anything as far as performance), I believe today I am a 2L. It hasn't quite sunk in yet, though I'm starting to realize that I really have little obligation right now. I have some work for my job, but that's it. I can read a book, watch movies, play video games, anything I want. I'm not sure where to start.

Wait a second, I know! A friend and classmate of mine is having some live crawfish flown in from Louisiana and is hosting a little party in Ft. Collins. This will pretty much double my crawfish-consuming opportunities for the year, so I think I'll start there with my new found freedom.

[UPDATE: I'm afraid I never made it to Ft. Collins, for various reasons. But, if anyone wants to send me some live crawfish, I'd be happy to accept them. Until then, I'm just chillin'.]

Friday Catblogging!

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It's that time again. This week I've secured permission to use two photos of Sadie, a new transplant to Laramie. For those wondering (given my apparent genetic risk-factor toward feline accumulation), no, I am not her human.



For the inquisitive, Sadie apparently has interesting dietary predilictions. That is a squash she is eating.

In a few hours, I will begin my last final. I may have time for a quick post before the evening's recreation begins. Then tomorrow I'll most likely be attending our graduation. I don't know many of the 3Ls very well, but the few I have gotten to know I wish the best and it's a shame to see them leave, though I'm sure they're quite glad!

And some now are gone

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I went to a graduation party last weekend for some of my undergrad friends who have that long-coveted Baccalaureate degree. It was a fun time, and since, as much as we care about each other, I'm not super-duper-see-you-every-day-close (which is a pity, they're fabulous), it was a delightful honor to be invited.

As I was giving one of them a hug, one who has already left town by now, and whom I've known for the entire time she's been in school here, I suffered a huge pang of regret. As much as I respect and love these people, I wish that I'd spent more time with them. I have nobody to blame but myself, of course, but the simple fact is that there's a natural limit to how many people can practically be in one's life, and at what level of involvement. I hate that. I love my chosen career and the activities it brings, but I also love a lot of the people in my life. Sometimes I wish I could just retire and be a professional friend. There are so many fabulous people out there and as full of them as my life is, I still only know a tiny sliver of them.

Apparently I'm waxing meloncholy lately on the blog. Times of transition have a tendency to do that to me, and I think overall it's healthy to take some time out and reflect on the big picture. I'm sure things will return to normal soon, however, so don't run away just yet.

Quick Hits

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I'm afraid I have to agree with this CNet article. I'm just not into podcasts, though things might be different for music podcasts. I just find the written word is so much easier to fit into my schedule. I can skim over things, or skip over things, as I please. Plus I can full-out read the same information as would be in a podcast much faster than I can listen to it. I'll keep an eye on the technology, certainly, but I'm not ready to adopt just yet.

I wish I'd thought of this. The guy submerged all his PC hardware (minus hard/disk drives, of course) in mineral oil. I constantly have cooling problems with my desktop PC. I may adopt this solution, depending on how brave I feel. Maybe in a few years when most parts are pretty ready to be replaced anyway.

AmbImb has a good conversation going about blogging summer jobs. In my case, don't expect much. First, they won't be that exciting. Plus I have at least one, probably two, confidentiality provisions in my contract(s).

I've just signed up for Skype, a way to use the internet to have voice conversations. My Skype Name is "macknzie" for anyone interested. Feel free to sign up yourself, if you haven't already. Free worldwide phone calls? Sounds great! A huge part of what sold me is that they have a PocketPC version, turning my PDA into a cell phone when it's connected to a Wi-Fi network. I'm considering using the SkypeIn service, which gives a number people can call me using their regular phones. I just have to decide a) if it is worth the cost, and b) where I want the phone number to be based out of. My friends and family are pretty much spread around the country, so there's no place that would set them all up.

ACSBlog has an article addressing the same general topic as I did on this rant.

I don't care about Michael Jackson. I care that children may have been victimized, and I hope the system gets to the bottom of it, but I don't have much confidence given the effects of celebrity and wealth. As far as learning about the system, the most public cases are probably the least typical.

Incubus was recommended to me from my Last.fm page, so I've been checking it out a bit lately. I'm ambvalent. I like some of it, but not all of it. We'll see.

I dreamed the other night I had a Tablet PC. I think I cried a little when I woke up to the cold, harsh light of reality. And the cold, harsh light of my impending contracts exam.

Speaking of which, contracts is done, and I feel that I did adequately on the final. One more to go, but it's Civil Procedure. And we can't use our outline, only the Federal Rules supplement. Post-It tabs, here I come.

I'd like to say that this picture was taken months ago.

I would like to say that's a shot out my window in February, or even March but - and I think you know where I'm going here - I can't say that. All I can say was this was the view from my window on Wednesday, May Eleventh, 2005 at approximately 8:00 PM, Mountain Daylight Time. Enough said.

Last semester I posted some amusing quotes from professors. Check it out, it's funny. The professors at my school make the whole experience that much better, and I always feel satisfied with my decision to go here. Granted, if I could just transport the entire facility (including faculty) to Seattle, I'd be happier, but it's an imperfect world.

Well, it's that time again, now that classes for the semester are over. Here you will find some amusing moments. Some of them are more amusing than others, and there are probably a few that are only really funny to people in my class. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy them.

We're lawyers, we rule others with our, "quack quack quack." -Contracts

...and he wants to celebrate the Summer Solstice with his Druid friends... -Property

[Hypothetical . . . Pause] By the way, this is what oral arguments are like, the judges ask you questions and present hypotheticals like this. [Pause] Except that they expect you to respond. -Contracts

The Eagles need to be able to flush the toilets. They'll be short meetings, otherwise. -Property

That's gotta be annoying, you're having fun with friends and next thing you know you are out a finger. -Torts

[Displaying what a party's testimony may have looked like] "Well, they may have said something about her being brain damaged . . . I don't recall. . ." -Contracts

I'm having a little bit of a freaky moment right now. -Property

Try [to] do that right. -Appellate Advocacy

We love pigs. -Property

It's always fun to plead a tort. -Contracts

I was approached before class to find out whether or not ghosts have to be disclosed in a home sale. There is remarkably little case law. -Contracts [Coincidentally, later in the semester we read Stambovsky v. Ackley, 169 A.D.2d 254 (1991), which addressed exactly this issue.]

There's not really a different standard for fraud for morons. -Contracts

It may not be a nuisance, but it's certainly annoying. -Property

We don't want to look into why someone would want to move to Utah. -Civil Procedure

I can hardly understand that, but I think I understand it enough to say that it's a bad argument. -Property

What if you were hunting with beagles instead of hounds of imperial stature? -Property

. . .and these are especially dangerous fights because they are packin' heat. -Property

There's nothing amusing about Civil Procedure. -Civil Procedure

Holy contractual oversight, Batman. -Contracts

This is America, we put a dollar value on everything! -Contracts

They were going to kill her and, you know, that's not nice. -Civil Procedure

She's a speech and language teacher, she knows more diphthongs or something. -Contracts

The actual purpose was to discriminate against hippies. -Constitutional

But, and this is a big but . . . that didn't sound quite right. -Constitutional

It’s always nice to see your contracts professor being sued. -Contracts

Jonesin' for a fix

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Blogger appears to be down. This creates complications in my Study Avoidance Plan.

[UPDATE: It's Back!]

Similar to my previous little rant, I feel the need to say something about some of the statements Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. made in this NY Times Article (registration required; bugmenot to the rescue).

Rep. Sensenbrenner is now advocating the idea of an "Inspector General" for the federal judiciary, in order to combat the problem of "judicial activism." Says Sensenbrenner, "I do not believe that creating an I.G. for the judiciary will violate the separation-of-powers doctrine." Let's take a look at that for a moment.

First, it is essential to take a look at what "separation of powers" really means. For a good primer, see the Wikipedia entry. Inherent in the idea of separation of powers is that of checks and balances. So far so good. We can see how such things are carried out in the interactions of the executive and legislative branches. The President has the power to veto legislation, the power can be overridden with enough consensus, and in the meantime Congress has the power to impeach the president for certain actions.

These checks are found in the Constitution, and are pretty clear. The various checks and balances on the judiciary are far also laid out in the Constitution. For example, judges are appointed by the president with the "Advice and Consent of the Senate." Congress also has the power of impeachment of judges. The point to all this is that in no case is any kind of "inspector general" to be placed over the judiciary. Which branch would this IG work for? Would the President have this power, or Congress? What, exactly is this IG supposed to be watching for? Are all judicial decisions to be subject to review by one person? There is a review process for judicial decisions, remember, and it is the appeals process.

Let's analogize this to the other branches. What would Bush say if Congress tried to put some sort of inspector general to oversee the Executive branch? I can guarantee there would be a major outcry. And if the President tried to do the same thing to Congress? The same kind of outcry would happen.

Essentially, what we have here is one or more branches of government that want to keep another in their back pocket. They want to be able to control the judiciary. This cannot be allowed. Our co-equal system is designed to be a kind of tripod. Each branch is falling inward and because they're all leaning against the other two, they support each other. Something like this IG would essentially remove one of the branches and the whole structure would fall inward. It may not be quick, but it would be inevitable. Rep. Sensenbrenner clearly isn't thinking this through and appears to be playing with people's fears. If you say something often enough, people start to think it is true.

Let's take another look at a couple more statements. "'The judiciary isn't supposed to write law, and the Congress cannot determine how a court will rule,' he added. 'But the branches are interdependent entities as well.'" First of all, the judiciary does write the law in certain critical ways. It is naturally bound by legitimate dictates of Congress, but there are plenty of ways that disputes come up regarding things that Congress has neglected to fill in. There are many kinds of claims that actually have never been spoken upon by Congress or any other legislative body. These bodies can and do override these common law claims in various ways, but if they don't, the law stands. Additionally, Congress and other legislative bodies are often imprecise in the language of their statutes. This is necessary to a large extent. It is nearly impossible for any lawmaker to anticipate all possible applications of a law and leaving case by case interpretation up to the courts is an extremely efficient way of making sure that the law keeps justice in mind rather than slavery to the written words.

According to Mr. Sensenbrenner's biography, he is a lawyer. One would think that he knows this. I would venture a guess that he does know this. The question becomes, why would he say such things? I would posit that it is for political gain. Mr. Sensenbrenner is saying things that he knows will get attention and that he knows will resonate with people who have never had the opportunity to study these issues. This serves nicely to illustrate my fears about politicizing the judiciary. It would be naive to think that politics don't play a part in some decisions about cases, but for the most part my experience leads me to believe that the judiciary is the least political branch of government. I feel that on balance, there is a great deal more intellectual integrity than in either the legislative or executive branches. I have a problem with anything which threatens that.

[UPDATE: I forgot to mention How Appealing as the source from which I learned of this article.]

The end is nigh!!

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Today I took my third final of five today. ConLaw. There were some multiple choice questions and two essay questions about one fact pattern. This means that I'm better than halfway done with finals, and means that I'm that much closer than my first year of law school.

This makes me rather sad.

I went to law school to start a career, true, but my experience before school has taught me that a life is so much more important than a career. That career can be part of a life, certainly, but I would not be a happy person if my career took over my life. Others may be, but that's just not me.

This means that leaving some of the people with whom I've built relationships is difficult. Don't get me wrong, finals are important. And I've spent significant time preparing for them, but what truly concerns me is the prospect of not seeing some of my friends for a while. This is in spite of bright prospects for the summer, both professionally and personally. I expect that the summer will be finished before I know it, but I'm still going to miss my friends.

So here's my shout-out to all of you. You'll be missed for the next few months, and I look forward to seeing you again in the fall. I'm glad to have met you and I greatly value our relationships.

Now, I have some contracts and civil procedure to work on, as well as scrambling to squeeze out every last second of quality time with those aforementioned friends. Better get to it.

Friday Catblogging!

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It's that time again! I had a hard time this week because I wasn't paying much attention to my cats, what with finals and all. So, I dug out a few older scanned images from back when I used film for daily photos.


This one is a little strange, but it shows off Sebastian's tendency to lay like that nicely.


Here Jupiter made a little foray into the washing machine. The cognoscenti will realize I no longer have that machine, and haven't for some time. That's how old the photo is.


Finally, Here's a lovely shot of Jupiter just chillin'. If you like, you can get a (small) sample of some of my reading preferences.


I've just finished another pair of socks. In not too much time, I've finished a pair of socks for both the Kicker and the Dancer. These are some of my favorites. They're made out of alpaca, which is a pleasure to work with. It's unbelievably soft, and is arguably the warmest natural fiber in existence (other candidates are cashmere and vicuña). It's also quite amazing how fast these go when using a pretty thick yarn and a pretty thick set of needles. Plus both my friends have smaller feet than I do.

Here is a photo of the socks:


Next up is a baby sweater for a friend with a brand new kid, then either some socks for myself or a sweater for myself. I'll probably also make a scarf for myself with the left over alpaca yarn. I may, for the first time, start multiple projects at once.

Finally, check out the new quote, which I thought particularly apropos to exam season. Have a great weekend!

Well, our first final is done. It was quite an experience. The test itself wasn't too bad, but it was quite the comedy of errors to get it finished. Here's why.

The Plan: Our test was to be 3.5 hours long. We meet in the large classroom just before 1:00 pm and are handed the question. People writing out the exam in bluebooks stay in that room, those of us taking the test on our laptops (using the Exam4 software) split up between two rooms where we've already set up the computers. In exactly 3.5 hours, we turn in our exam, and those of us on computers have already submitted our test electronically using either a connection through a network cable (preferred) or the wireless network. Then, we all go home at 4:30 to drink study for our next exam.

The reality: We werere all ready. The tension level was high, but for the most part we were ready to go. We went into the main classroom and the Asst. Dean told us that there's a problem with the network. Apparently, we couldn't submit anything electronically, but we were strongly cautioned not to panic because we could put them on floppies, USB drives, or CDs, which they provided. We were reassured that this has never happened before, that our tests are safe, and there were profuse apologies.

The irony is, I think the test administrators were more nervous about this than we were. I can't speak for everyone, but it seems like most of us just wanted to take the test and kind of trust that the answers will be find and the law school will get them off our PCs by hook or by crook. The administrators gave us a few minutes to "breathe" anyway, to reduce any tensions. That was nice of them, just in case anyone was starting to panic.

So, we started the exam. Like any law school exam, it took a few minutes (for me, at least) to find my legs and figure out where to start my analysis of the first fact pattern. About 20 minutes later, I was starting to really groove through the issues.

Which is why it was quite surprising when the fire alarm went off.

It's quite a measure of the dedication of my fellow classmates that when it went off, we all kind of looked up at each other, as if to say, "If there's a fire, do you think we can finish some more pages before it hits this part of the building?" and, "If someone just pulled the alarm, I don't want to waste time leaving the building!" It's a measure of the test administrators that we were instructed to turn our tests over before leaving the building.

But, eventually, we did get outside, and kind of gathered outside the front of the building. We could smell what seemed to be burnt popcorn. The irony was that that wasn't the actual cause, but we'll get to that.

So, there we were. And lest anyone doubt this tale of woe, my law school classmate Travis had his cameraphone in his car and secured some photographic proof:

The irony? The entire incident was caused (accidentally, and while I know details I'm not getting into them) by the very same professor whose exam we were taking. I can only hope he cuts us some slack when he grades.

Finally, on a personal note, my computer locked up near the end of the exam. I had highlighted a block of text and was in the process of dragging it to a different place when my (now irrelevant) 15 minute time warning popped up. Well, this seemed to confuse the software and it locked. Admin. gave me more time to finish the exam once I was rebooted and up, but I didn't actually need it. Note to all using Exam4: avoid moving big bits of text when you are near one of your preset time warnings. It's a good thing I'm not much of a worrier.

Here's hoping that the rest of the exams go more smoothly than this one.

Little more news

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It looks like I'm all set for the summer. I've mentioned my contracting work for the WY Health Care Commission before (though I can't go into any details). That's been about 10 hours per week so far this semester, and I expect it to continue through the calendar year. Unfortunately, 10 hours per week, while a nice supplement during the year, doesn't pay the summer bills. I applied for an internship with the state AG's office and didn't get anything. I was set to take a chill summer waiting tables or something (might actually be kind of relaxing), when something came up.

An internship became available in the Department of Health working on the legal aspects of the Tobacco Master Settlement. It should be fascinating work, and pays decently, considering that it's not contract work so I don't have to reserve any tax money.

I got a phone call on Tuesday (while at the body shop getting estimates on my poor car), interviewed on Wednesday, and they offered it to me on the spot. I wanted to work out a way to maintain my prior commitment to my contracting work, so I asked for some time to discuss summer hours with my contact with the Commission. I'm happy to report that I've verbally accepted the internship position for the summer. It's no BigLaw-type salary, but I get to do some legal work over the summer (in two ways!) and I'll make enough to live while there is no school, and maybe enough to save up a little. True, I'll have a 50-mile commute each way, but it's worth it, I think.

At least I won't have to worry about the winter weather. It should stop snowing by June, right? Right?

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