October 2006 Archives

Interesting News

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Here's what the Court of Appeals for the Eigth Circuit did to South Dakota's abortion law.

Assuming it follows precedent, it seems clear what will happen when North Dakota's total ban comes along.

Fall Back!

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I love the return to standard time in the fall.  I'm not sure why, but in the winter, I hate getting up at 6:30 or 7:00 and seeing it pitch black outside.  This is ironic because in the summer I get up at 4:30 and it's just as dark.  I think it has something to do with the cold, or maybe that I stay up later in the winter.  No going to bed at 9 p.m. here.

But now, I can drag myself out of bed at 6:30 again.  It's my preferred time to get up so I can have a little tea, check on a few blogs, and--if I'm busy--get a little early work done.

Now if I could just regain some sort of workout schedule, I'd really be happy.  I declare November to be the Month of Fitness.  Even though my feet won't allow me to run yet, I can arrange some other activities.  I may not be able to do them as long at a time as I would like, but I'll still do something.

Fight the Calendar!

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I'm taking today off.  I probably shouldn't, but I'm going to anyway.  I'll be more efficient tomorrow if I do no work today whatsoever.

Instead, I'll be watching Battlestar Galactica, listening to podcasts, playing Lego Star Wars (I'm stoked for the new one, but I won't buy it for myself--there's a hint) and Psychonauts, and . . .

Making green chili!

That's right, kids, it's the first time this year.  I'm ready.  The beans have been soaking overnight, the pork roast is ready, and I have fresh onions and garlic and stuff.  It will be delicious.

I may even share.  A little.

End of the Job Hunt

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Well, that's that. This week I accepted a position clerking for Justice Burke of the Wyoming Supreme Court. It's at least a two-year position. That means I'll be moving to Cheyenne in less than a year. I'm excited about the experience. It's a chance to learn so much about writing very quickly, and that's experience I really want and need. I consider myself a decent writer as a law student, but I realize I'm still on my shaky baby legs when it comes to the legal world as a whole.The job isn't in the Pacific Northwest, where I've wanted to live for a while, but I don't mind that considering the experience I'll be getting. In any case, it will give me time to take the Washington or Oregon bar so that it will be easier for me to get a job out there if that's what I'd like to do.

And that's the last you'll really hear about my new job. Naturally, I would be pretty reluctant to talk about any job, but this one even moreso. Not everyone may know this, but clerks are bound by the same code of conduct as their judges, so if there's anything you can't imagine a judge doing, it's the same for me. I'm sure the blog will change, too, but I don't yet know how just yet.

Just speculating, my commentary on a lot of things may be curtailed. Perhaps I'll change the blog's focus a bit, probably to make it more substantive, but away from what I usually write about right now. I'm toying with the idea of turning it into sort of a legal information commentary thing. I like the idea of posts designed to educate a general audience about how the legal system works overall and applying that to things in the news. Something that would be more education than commentary. But I'm not sure that would look like.

So what do you think? You're my readers (both of you), so what would you like to see? There's plenty of time to figure it out--I have months, at least.

What I'm Reading (still):

The Autobiography of Mark Twain (Perennial Classics) by Charles Neider

Have a great weekend!

More Heroes Stuff (Spoiler!)

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This morning I watched last night's episode.  Very interesting stuff.  One wonders what could harm the cheerleader who once woke up on a morgue table--after the autopsy had begun.

I also think it's fairly obvious that Peter's power is not flying.  Nor is it painting the future.  He obviously can exhibit any powers of other people around him.  It should be interesting to see what happens when he faces off Sylar, the telekinetic guy.

I have to say, this show had a huge potential to be pretty hokey.  Things could have been very, very bad.  Fortunately, it has some pretty good writing and (with an exception here and there) excellent acting.  I hope these positives continue, because I'd hate to see this show slide into the dark side.

[Note: Villain spelling corrected after further research.]

Weather Woes

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I'm coming back from Seattle today.  Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating.  I've just checked the internets and while my flight isn't delayed, there is snow expected in Denver and in Laramie--which probably means all points in between.

Bummer.

Yesterday's Seattle weather was pretty nice, but I could have used a bit more overcasst (I actually like it).  Today it is shaping up to be that sort of day here, but I'm leaving.  Oh well.  At least I'll get home and see my cats.  Even if you enjoy travelling, there's something about the feeling of coming home that is very pleasant.  It has to do with the familiar, I suspect.

Word Games

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Since I started focusing on writing, I notice things more in what I read.  I have a tendency to want to cut wordiness out of things like magazine articles and web pages.

I notice other things, too.  In a recent issue of Maximum PC, someone who wrote an article twice used the phrase "throw the baby out with the bathwater."  I don't think it means the same thing as this person thinks it means.

First, context.  The article was discussing the new Microsoft DirectX graphics API.  That's computer-speak that you don't need to worry about.  The important part is that the article was discussing the fact that Microsoft is not building on the previous versions of this digital widget--it's just building a new version from scratch.

The author described this as "throw[ing] the baby out with the bathwater."  From the context, the writer seems to think that basically means tossing everything out and starting over.  I've always thought, though, that the phrase means something more like making a solution to a problem that is worse than the problem because you remove the point of the whole thing in the process.  Sadly, as I write this, I have no internet access.  (I'm in the Seattle's Best coffee shop on the corner of 2nd and Cherry in downtown Seattle, if you're interested.)  I'll have to look it up.

In the mean time, am I the only one who thinks of these things as I read?  Am I the only person who wants to fix all these things?  I don't know exactly what law school has done to me, but this seems to be part of it.

Maybe once I'm in practice and I can cut down my hours from 14 per day 7 days per week to a more-reasonable 10 hours a day for 5 days per week.  That should help.

I'm Riding on a Jet Plane

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I'm off today for the big city.  After much discussion, my friends finally convinced me to fly rather than drive the 18 hours it would take.  Given the weather lately, I'm glad I succumbed to their charms.

But here's another issue.  I used to love flying.  Mostly the takeoff and landing part, but the security and sardine quality of being packed in never really bothered me.  What is bothering me now is the restrictions on liquids for the carry-on.  I'm going to be gone for two days, and I don't want to check anything.  (The last thing I need is to spend all this time and money and have my suit sent to Albuquerque when that's nowhere near my interview.)  But for this trip, I have to buy new containers or toiletries that fit within the 3-oz. limit.  In Scott Adams's case, the security people didn't even allow him to bring on three ounces of liquid just because they happened to be in 4-oz. containers.

So, here I am, wasting my time and money to fix this.  It's worth it for the job, of course, but it's still very inconvenient.

Heroes! Yet again.

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I just watched Heroes. Macknzie like. Great show, and like the serial aspect of the show. I'll definitely be watching. And I'll contiue watching the iTunes version. Viva la revolucion! I love it, and I'll continue to do so.

I'm Wiped!

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Man, I'm tired.  This has been a super-busy week, and it's not over.  Last week, the first-year students turned in their closed memo, so I had to have them all graded (for citations) by this morning.  (Closed memo may not be a universal term: a memo students must write using only distributed cases.)  I spent all day Saturday--and I mean all day--grading papers, and I still had a half-dozen or so.  I won't say any more about it, but I will share that this is truly a situation of, "this hurts me more than it does you."

On Friday, I had to practice my oral argument and go to a couple interviews.  Monday, I had a trial for my trial practice class.  Today, I had to go argue a case before the Wyoming Supreme Court--the same one I practiced on Friday.  In a few minutes, I'll be a witness in other students' trial practice trial.  Tomorrow are all kinds of events, such as a lunch panel, candlelight vigil (October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month), knitting group, etc.  Thursday I leave for Seattle for a Very Important Job Interview.  I return on Saturday.

My argument seemed to go well, which is nice.  I represented the State of Wyoming in a criminal appeal.  It seemed to go pretty well.  There was only one thing I wish I had said, but it was in my brief so the court will still have it.  It did end up being shorter than I had thought, but I don't think there was much more for me to say. 

I suppose the good thing is that it's only Tuesday, and the week is basically half over.  Still, I could really use a bit more sleep.  I also hope the weather clears up by Thursday.  It's snowing a bit today.  I think I'll have to go to the Denver airport WAY in advance if I'm to not miss my flight.

What I'm really looking forward to, though, is settling in at home and watching the latest episode of Heroes.  I know it aired last night, but I don't watch TV--I'll just download it to iTunes and watch it that way.  And relax a little.

Heroes!

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I watched the third episode of Heroes, the new NBC show, last night. Like Battlestar Galactica, I have to watch this one over iTunes. Ironically, this is the perfect TV delivery system. I'm not interested in any more than two or three shows at a time, and at $2 per episode, it's still a lot cheaper than cable.

I really like Heroes so far. I'm a sucker for that sort of thing, though. I hope they've learned from such pioneers as Babylon 5 and Earth: Final Conflict. What do I mean? Well, these were two of the first U.S. shows to actually plan out a storyline ahead of time and let it unfold over the course of the series. Of course, I will admit that Earth: Final Conflict sort of imploded lass than halfway through. That was poor implementation, though.

What I'm seeing in today's TV realm is a little more of that serial drama. I hear that Lost is along the same lines, though I'm waiting for seasons one and two to work their way up my Netflix Queue, then I may get the season three episodes on iTunes. We'll see how I like it.

Anyway, it's a good trend. I think it brings the public back to true storytelling, about conflict and relationships, and all that Homerian epic sort of stuff.

Also, since I'm on the subject,the first episode ofBattlestar Galactica finally showed up this morning. I bought the Season Pass, which means I get all the episodes and only pay once. Sadly, there's no discount, but at least I get the episodes as they come in. Of course, in this case, I had acquired the episodes through other means, but I still want to buy them and support this delivery method.

Now let us hope this 4-5 day time lapse is not the norm.

Gentle Prodding

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An interesting case came out of the Wyoming Supreme Court today, Hembree v. State, 2006 WY 27, No. 15-158 (Wyo. October 11, 2006). Substantively, it's a fairly standard search and seizure case, though it does have some language helping todefine the scope of an extremely important Wyoming case, O'Boyle v. State, 2005 WY 83, 117 P.3d 401 (Wyo. 2005).

What I find interesting is the first three paragraphs of the discussion. Essentially, it appears to be a gentle admonishment about the quality of Hembree's statements of the issues. I particularly likethese paragraphsbecausetheyare a good way to handle a situation where counsel needs to correct something, and the court needs to communicate that. The first paragraph explains what the proper rule is and how the appellant's statement did not conform. Hembree, 2006 WY 27 at Par. 8. The second gives the reasons this is important. Id. Par. 9. The third explains how the court handled the situation in this case. Id. Par. 10.

This is all a very professional discussion, which is why I like it. There are no cutting remarks about the counsel involved, no effort to publicly demean them. It is simply a notice that this part of advocacy needs to be done differently. That seems a reasonable, civil, professional way to go about this. If it were me, I can tell you I would rather 1) have some indication that I needed to change something (rather than blindly go on with what I've been doing); and 2) have a reminder in Hembree's form than some diatribe. Perhaps if someone repeatedly made the same mistake a more pointed reminder would be warranted, but generally I think that sort of thing is inappropriate in a published opinion. It seems to me that is what both disciplinary systems and the "grapevine" are for.

To give you an idea of the extreme end, check out Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp., 147 F. Supp. 2d 668 (S.D. Tex. 2001). I don't think my imagination is adequate to comprehend what the lawyers must have submitted to provoke such vitriol. I know lawyers don't do things perfectly every time, and I've seen lawyers' sloppy work from time to time, both pointed out in classes and in the "real world," but this had to have been pretty bad.

Anyway,take a look atHembree. It is a good example of professionalism.

BSG Animus

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I've been told that the first season-three episode of Battlestar Galactica is supposed to appear on iTunes 24 hours after the episode airs.

I'M STILL WAITING!

I hate checking the iTunes store every 8.328 minutes for this episode. By my calculations, it's late. I'm here, willing to give my money. Please!? It's here, in my hand. I'm dying to pay. For the love of all that is holy, take my money!

Ok, I guess I'll watch another Carey Grant movie and see if the episode shows up somewhere in there.

This is killing me!

[UPDATE] By my clock, it is now 1:45 a.m. on October 8, 2006. In case you're wondering, the episode is still not up. You may be wondering about what brings one to such extremes regarding a simple TV show. I will say that what brings me to that story is what brings any human to any story: it is about the human experience.

Ok, so that sounds a little presumptuous. The fact is, all stories (at least the good ones) are all about the human experience. Essentiallly, what does it mean to be a human? I submit that one of those things is love, however we define it. The beauty of it is that our definition is (by definiton) correct. I love the Dancer, I love MackenzieMom, and I love the next MackenzieMate (whoever that is--it could be anybody).

But back to Galactica. Drama, be it Shakespeare or Wilde, shows us a little bit about what it means to be a person other than ourselves. I urge you to explore that. Reat "The Taming of the Shrew." Read "Much Ado About Nothing." Read "The Importance of Being Earnest." You won't be disappointed. BSG does that. It's a human drama, and I love it for that reason.

Of course, I wouldn't have gotten into it if not for MackenzieMom. Curse you!!

Friday Catblogging!

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The job search continues! I'm getting some inquiries, and I even will be going to a TVPNMin a couple weeks for an interview. I haven't heard back on most of my applications, though I did just call someone in the same area and was told the hiring had been completed. This even though the listing specifically says notices will be sent when hiring has been completed. Ah, well. I have a few other prospects, too.

But enough about job hunting. Let's get to the cats. It's something different this week. Sebastian was lying on my lap last night, so I tried to take some cellphone shots. They didn't turn out all that well, but they're kinda cute. Additionally, I was trying to use the flash, which on my phone is pretty bat. It comes on well before the picture is actually taken, so Sebastian is squinting in all his photos.

SebastianSleeping

SebastianSleeping2

Now, here's the Book I'm Reading. I'm skipping over "Wicked" because I finished it this week and started something new. Don't worry, though, this will take me a while.

What I'm Reading:

The Autobiography of Mark Twain (Perennial Classics) by Charles Neider

Have a great weekend!

Why?

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This morning I woke up to the news of the guy who went into the Amish community and killed students. It literally brought tears to my eyes.

Why is that? These things happen all the time, and the number of kids abused in various ways every day dwarfs the direct casualties in this latest incident.

This is different, though. The effect on the community is devastating, and thus it is devastating to me. I have to say thatI respect the Amish a great deal. They, the Quakers, Mennonites, and similar religious sects evoke my deepest respect. These are people who truly follow what they believe, and nothing elsegets more respect in my book. While I may not agree, I support absolutely their lifestyle choice and I consider it part of my duty to help support their ability to believe how they want to believe and live as they would like to live.

So I don't know what to do about this, exactly, though I am well-aware that any measures we may take are probably inadequate. Whatever you can do, please do so. Not because the Amish are more deserving, but because they are less prepared. In one sense, they may be a different community than we, the internet-savvy. In another sense, as a U.S. citizen who believes that we can believe many different things and still be one nation, they are part of my community. And I embrace them as much as I do anyone here--perhaps more than others.

Book Review

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This weekend was relatively leisurely.  I didn't have quite as much work to do as usual, so I took Saturday off.  I think it's the first time all year where I took an entire day away from work.  It may be the last, too, with Thanksgiving break being a possible exception.

As a result of my day away, I got to read a bit.  I finished "Becoming Justice Blackmun" and am about 2/3 to 3/4 through "Wicked," which I expect to finish in short order.  Next up is Mark Twain's autobiography.

I enjoyed "Becoming Justice Blackmun" overall, though there are a few criticisms I had.  At first, I thought the book would pretty much be "here's what we know about Warren Burger through the papers of Harry Blackmun," but it got away from that a bit later.  I'm really interested in the personality of people when I read biographies, which is not that often.  I felt like a lot of the information in the book didn't go toward Blackmun's real personality as much as I would like.  To the extent it did, I didn't really think it went deep enough.

I read "The Brethren" the summer before I started law school, so I found it fascinating to compare the two.  To the extent there was any overlap, the two books seemed to be consistent.  The Blackmun biography was a bit more favorable to Blackmun, naturally.  To the extent it painted the relationships between the justices, though, it was very consistent with "The Brethren."

The part about Blackmun's law school years was interesting.  I don't think any law student could possibly read that part without comparing law school experiences.  One illustration in the book shows his transcript, which can be interesting for any law student.  It's also heartening to look at those grades and his rank and know how successful he was.

Overall, I would recommend "Becoming Justice Blackmun," particularly for a non-lawyer who wants to learn more about how the Court works.  I would recommend "The Brethren," too, but it is a bit more dense.  I actually prefer that style, though.

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