May 31, 2006

Our Little Dance Continues

I finally got my last grade today. Unlike Kristine at DA, our grades sort of trickle out as the Profs. get them done. My no-final classes were first, with Evidence right on their heels. I’ve heard that Prof. usually turns in his grades about three days after the exam.

Am I happy? I suppose I am. They are actually my best grades so far in law school, which is nice. Actually, it is my best semester since high school. I’m afraid, though, I’m more concerned with actually doing a good job at practicing law in my summer job to worry too much about grades. Then, it’ll be time to try to find a job.

No rest for the weary.

Posted by Macknzie at 06:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 28, 2006

X-Travaganza!

Well, the newest X-Men movie is out. Last night I hosted a small get-together I liked to call the X-Travaganza. It was just a little potluck, then we watched the first two movies before we went to the third. It was funny: I was cautioning everyone to get their tickets early, but it really wasn't that full.

And I can see why.

This movie was disappointing. It lacked the spark, the storytelling, and the character development of the first two movies. I won't give away anything, but it was somewhat mediocre. It wasn't awful, but it could have been much better. Of course, that won't stop me from owning the movie one day, and it won't stop me from having another X-Travaganza in a couple weeks, either. I'll drink less, though.

In other movie news, it appears the Da Vinci Code film is getting some stinker reviews, too. It doesn't surprise me. I thought the book had an interesting idea but was poorly written. It sounds like the film probably does the same thing. I don't think I'll see it in the theater. Netflix, maybe.

Posted by Macknzie at 01:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The X-Travaganza

AAh, it is a beautiful thing.

Tonight I hosted the X-Travaganza. I can say to those invited who didn’t make it: you missed a good time (but call me; we’re doing it again). It was fun, but if I’d known there would be few people, I would’a actually spent some time cooking something. I was originally thinking about authentic Cornish Pasties, but it seemed too much.

Now, we’ll see. Tomorrow I expect I will post my opinions of the new X movie. I have to think about that a bit. In the mean time, I’m still on the Office 2007 Beta. I’m sure I’ll offer some feedback on that.

Until then, I’ll see you.

Posted by Macknzie at 01:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2006

Office Fun

So, here we are. I installed the new version of MS Office yesterday, or at least the beta thereof. It’s tough to tell how I feel about it without a bit more use. I will say this: it certainly looks pretty, and there are some drastic interface changes. Outlook, in particular, has some interesting new features. As does Word. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this in Word right now. Theoretically, I can go ahead and blog from Word. If you’re seeing this, that means it worked.

Go ahead: try it for yourself.

Posted by Macknzie at 01:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 26, 2006

Friday Catblogging!

It appears we have a new crop of photos from New Orleans.  Here are today's entries:

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Have a great weekend!

Posted by Macknzie at 12:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 25, 2006

Have Fun!

Those who know me long may notice that I avoid the phrase, "good luck."  there are a few reasons that I think are worthwhile.

"I'd never yell 'Good luck!' at anybody. It sounds terrible, when you think about it."

So said Holden Caulfield, of Catcher in the Rye.  And I believe it.  Salinger never goes into why it's a terrible thing, but we can guess.  To say 'good luck' to someone is to imply the recipient needs said luck.  'Nuff said.

My favorite little exhortation is that the subject should 'have fun.'  I think some people believe I'm being sarcastic.  But I'm serious.  Before an exam, a date, lunch, any of those times I will tell a person to have good luck.  I like to think there's something deeper to it.  It's a caution to remember what's important in life.  Sure, you may be about to take a three-hour exam, but we really should be having fun even during these times.  Learning is fun, and the chance to play around with the material is pretty fun, too.  Plus it takes real work to actually fail a class, even in law school.

More importantly, I think it reminds us not to take things too seriously.  Relax.  Chill.  There are more important things in life than, well, just about anything you're about to do.

Never forget to have fun, no matter what you're doing.

Posted by Macknzie at 07:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Back to Work

As you may have guessed by now, I'm back to work. My internship with the criminal division of the Wyoming AG's office started on the 15th. I'm still getting my bearings, but I'm really enjoying it. I already finished one draft of a brief and have started a second. I'm sure there will be plenty of room for improvement, but the general impression I got is that I was far quicker than average on that brief. The next one is more complicated and will take me significantly longer.

Of course, I can't really talk about the cases I'm working on, so don't expect to find much of interest on the blog. If anything, I'd prefer to be over-cautious.

I did come across an interesting case from Texas, though. In Valdez v. State, 2 S.W.3d 518 (Ct. App. Tex. 1999), the defendant was charged with aggravated assault of a child. He tried to introduce evidence of his reputation in the community for being a non-pedophile. I thought this was terribly funny, because I could just see two guys around a fence, chatting.

Guy 1: So, what do you think of that Valdez guy?
Guy 2: He seems solid enough. Nice guy.
Guy 1: Yeah, that's what I think, too.
(pause)
Guy 1: He doesn't seem to be one 'o them pedophiles or nothin'.
Guy 2: *spits* Nope, definitely not not a pedophile.

The Texas appellate court didn't go for the argument, naturally.

Posted by Macknzie at 03:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 19, 2006

Friday Catblogging!

There has been so much going on this week that (as just occurred to me) I forgot Friday Catblogging yesterday!  Oops.  I'll make up for it today.  If you were here yesterday and there were no cats, sorry, but you're not crazy.  I set the date of this post for Friday so the post will appear on the correct day. 

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That pretty much does it for the NOLA kitten photos I have received to date.  Barring more guest spots, next week we will probably return to the trusty Sebastian and Jupiter.  Maybe I'll have their summer shave done by then, though somehow I think it will take a bit longer than that.

Have a great weekend!

Posted by Macknzie at 11:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 18, 2006

Beat the curve? Or does the curve beat you?

I really like my law school, and one of the reasons I like it is that a professor that drastically curves grades is seldom to be found.  I suspect some may do a bit of curving, but not to the point that I notice.  There is only one I am aware of who curves very strictly.

I don't like curving, and I think it is actually harmful.  I think adhering to a strict curve actually removes incentive for students to really work hard for their grades.  In the particular class I have, the grades are curved drastically, but I think the reasoning applies to both that situation and a single-exam-based grade.

For example, I have received good scores on the assignments in this class prior to the final.  Does this mean anything?  No.  This grade will probably be curved to such an extent that it is unlikely I will get a grade consistent with my assignment grades.  Sure, for some people, getting good grades on the assignments leading up to the final means they have a shot at the single A that will  be awarded in the class.  The problem, though, is that we all know that there will only be one A.  The chance of any one of us receiving that A is pretty slim.  Given the cost-benefit analysis of how much work we would put in to receive that A, who in their right mind would do it?  I know I didn't.  I figure I could kill myself to <i>stand a chance</i> of getting that A, or I could do a lot less work and probably have a good shot at an A- or something.  Considering my priorities lie with the quality of life rather than the quality of my grades, I know which I will choose.

Then there is the other side of the equation.  What if I haven't done all that well?  Maybe I have some disappointing grades.  In that case, it is likely, with this extreme curve, that I'll end up with a B or variation thereof.  What incentive do I have to increase my knowledge of the subject so I can get a higher grade?  None, because I will never get a higher grade with the insane curve.  Basically, since the curve pulls everyone to the middle, most people are guaranteed some kind of B regardless of what they do.

Overall, it ends up removing incentive.  The high up students have a pretty drastic diminishing return on any investment of time, and the lower down students (for the most part) only have to put in minimal effort to get a decent grade.  If grades were "what you get is what you get," things would be different.  Anyone who could get an A would work hard to increase their knowledge, while those of us on the lower end would maybe work hard to bring it up as much as we could.

To all law professors: You may not think so, but students will probably work harder and genuinely learn the material more when their grades are independent of their classmates than with a sharp curve.  Take it for what it's worth.

Posted by Macknzie at 11:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 17, 2006

Slightly more personal post

Normally, I don't do too many personal posts here.  This is not an anonymous blog and I'm very aware of the fact that it could be found by employers, professors, fellow students, etc.  In fact, it has.  This is on top of the fact that I get at least a couple searches every month for "Mackenzie Williams Weblog" or somesuch.  That's pretty specific.

Still, this meme E. Spat. picked up appeals to me for some reason, so I'm going to take it and run.

I AM: excited about my new job, but a little nervous.
I WANT: a 36-hour day (but just me).
I WISH: the woman of my dreams would approach me and introduce herself as such.  *sigh*
I HATE: arrogant people.
I MISS: mountains, and hiking in them.
I FEAR: never being able to leave Wyoming.
I HEAR: pain.  Everybody's pain.
I WONDER: frequently, and about nearly everything.
I REGRET: not breaking up with my ex-girlfriend sooner.  I caused her unnecessary pain.
I AM NOT: a typical man.
I DANCE: only when I'm extremely drunk.  So, very rarely.
I SING: badly, in the car.
I CRY: infrequently, and usually at movies.
I AM NOT ALWAYS: as confident as I seem.
I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: food, like pasta.
I WRITE: with a fountain pen.
I CONFUSE: when I try to make jokes.  Sorry, my mind sometimes works in different ways than others.

Posted by Macknzie at 05:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 16, 2006

New Job

I had my first day today working for the Criminal Division of the Wyoming Attorney General's Office. It was interesting. I did a little bit of minor work on a habeas case and started working on an appeal. And by "working on" I mean I read the record. It sounds like the summer will be full of experiences. Everyone seems to want me to be exposed to a little bit of everything. Tomorrow I'll be tagging along to the federal District Court for a hearing, and in the next couple weeks one of the lawyers wants me to poke my head into a forfeiture hearing he's getting ready for.

Overall, it sounds like everything will be great. I was pretty exhausted last night, but I also got up earlier than usual yesterday. When the weather warms up a bit, I hope to run in the mornings before work. That's right, I'm a fair-weather runner. I'm not sorry. Until things get a bit warmer, I'll have to run in the evening, which is still pleasant.

I have some other semi-serious posts in the works, so I should have no lack of things to post about. I may from time to time mention things from my job, but by necessity it has to be general. I suppose some issues I work with may prompt a post about those issues, though. We'll see how it goes.

Posted by Macknzie at 05:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 14, 2006

Graduation

Busy day yesterday, but good.  I went to graduation with a friend, which was interesting.  It put me in mind of us being up on that stage next year.  A year is not that long, and if it is anything like the last two or so, it will pass by far too quickly.  It will be rather sad.  I'm already aware of how much I'm going to miss my friends.  I'd like to take them all when I move, but I might face an unlawful imprisonment suit if I tried it.

After the graduation, I went to Fort Collins.  One of my classmates is from New Orleans, and every spring he has live crawfish shipped in for a boil.  It was really excellent.  I've had some good crawfish before, but I don't know that I've ever had them that fresh.  They were alive less than an hour before.  It was really nice.  I called my mother to brag.  I felt pretty justified, considering she called me from JazzFest both weekends.

They happened to be in Riverside when I called.  It sounds like it hasn't really gotten that much better since my December visit.  She reports that there is still debris and overturned cars everywhere, though they appear to have cleared the streets of the houses that had floated there.  It sounds like that breach is still leaking, too.  Alarming, considering Hurricane season is about two weeks away.  It sounds like they are usually less severe in the earlier part of the season than later (as Katrina was late last year), but it's still alarming.

Anyway, I got home about 9 pm.  All I did was have fun all day.  It was really nice.  No homework, and the only thing I have to prepare for is hosting dinner (ravioli and tomato sauce, all from scratch, if anyone's curious).  It feels good to be done with school for a while, though I wish more friends were staying in town.  Well, it's time to get back to cleaning and cooking, so it's a short, light post today.  I'll probably heavier fare upcoming.

Posted by Macknzie at 12:07 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 13, 2006

I'm a 3L! Reflections.

Two weeks.  Four exams.  Assuming I passed everything--and it seems a pretty safe assumption--I am now a 3L.  Monday, I'll start my new summer job and be unleashed upon the world to practice law.  It's funny to me that I will be handling criminal cases, cases with quite a bit of responsibility.  These are cases that, if I screw up, could result in criminals going free.  It's an awesome responsibility for anyone, particularly a law student.

The exams were pretty standard.  They more or less went from harder to easier.  There was quite a bit of variation, but with the exception of one exam, I thought they were pretty fair (more on the one in a later post).  Even the extremely difficult one.  I'm glad I didn't take tax.  They had their last exam this morning, and it sounded like the exam was just as glamorous as it sounds.

Overall, I don't think it has really hit me that the semester and school year is done and I'm on the final leg of my little legal adventure.  It only started to hit me tonight saying goodbye to a very close friend that we won't be able to hang out or see as much of each other, and that's pretty hard.  Besides, it foreshadows what we'll be doing next year, but we'll be going off in different directions after graduating, which will be far harder.  I've met some of the greatest people in my life here, and it will be hard to see that go.

But there's no need to wax maudlin at this point.  We've still got another year together, after all.  Plus, seeing as how we'll soon be entering the professional world, we hopefully will have the financial resources to visit from time to time.  Of course, lawyers don't really make a ton of money, so I'm sure that will be somewhat restrained.  Mustn't get my expectations terribly high, particularly as we start putting down roots and our other obligations increase.

Regardless, I'm glad to be done with exams, I'm delighted to start my exciting new job, and I'll miss those of my friends who will be out of town for the summer.  You have to know the bitter, or the sweet just isn't as sweet.  Bonus points for who can name the movie (either the original or the remake--that's a hint!).

Posted by Macknzie at 06:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 12, 2006

Friday Catblogging!

Today, it's the special 4-photo edition because MackenzieMom is sending me photos faster than I can post them!  The incredible richness of cat photos is a nice change.  Today, the kitten series continues.

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Now that I'm done with final exams (as of Wednesday), my regular posting should resume tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

Posted by Macknzie at 10:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 05, 2006

Friday Catblogging!

I'm off in a little bit to take my Criminal Procedure exam.  Before I go, here's your weekly dose of feline goodness.

Have a great weekend, and congratulations to those graduating!

Posted by Macknzie at 07:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 04, 2006

Laptops

Evan reports that the Great Laptop Debate continues. Apparently some professors are banning laptops in class because, for one reason or another, they feel computers detract from class.

I tend to disagree with that assessment, but I also think law professors can do pretty much what they want to in their classrooms.

I'll be the first to admit that there are times in class when I am doing something else with my computer. I might be reading or writing an email, or, yes, even reading a weblog. More commonly, though, I have an IM session going with a classmate, and we often have a discusssion going in class about the topic. I definitely feel that is an enriching experience, because it allows us to be engaged in the topic even when not being called on. I've also used my connection to look up cases or facts online when they came up. I don't play games in class. Not even solitaire. I did a couple times last year, but I didn't like it--games are for game time.

On the other hand, I tend to think professors can do pretty much what they want for their classes. In ConLaw terms, I tend to apply the rational basis test. This means (for the non-law types out there) that if their actions are rationally connected to the result they are trying to accomplish, they're fine. It's a pretty easy test to meet, and it would be in this case.

If they banned laptops in my school? Well, I'd be disappointed, but I certainly wouldn't organize the Million Law Student March or anything. Although in my school, I suppose it would be the Two Hundred Twenty-Five Law Student March (the number in all three classes). I would shrug and go about my business, although I would be irritated at the school for taking such an action after spending all the money to have ethernet connections for each seat.

Frankly, I have bigger things to worry about. Like three more final exams.

Posted by Macknzie at 08:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 03, 2006

Man Down!

Well, that takes care of the first final. It was a pretty tough exam, but I'm cautiosly optimistic. I don't want to say too much because a) people in my school tend to read the blog, and it's a bit gauche to discuss the exam so openly; and b) it is possible not everybody has taken it yet. We can move our exams around if we have conflicts or too many in too short a time.

I will say that there was one question I had not adequately prepared for. I think I managed to get the correct answer, but there will be no style points, I'm afraid.

In other news, I am:

Spider-Man!

You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.
























Spider-Man
80%
The Flash
65%
Green Lantern
65%
Superman
65%
Batman
65%
Robin
53%
Supergirl
48%
Iron Man
40%
Catwoman
40%
Hulk
40%
Wonder Woman
38%

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Posted by Macknzie at 10:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Evidence

I'm off in a few minutes to take my first exam of the semester: Evidence. It's a tough subject with a lot of rules, and the only book we get is the rules supplement. I think I'll do reasonably well, though, as I've been working very hard.

I would like to share a little something I've learned about tabbing. I've followed this, but not articulated it here. Tabbing is a delicate art. Remember that tabs are there to help you find what you need quickly. Too many tabs are bad. Too few tabs are bad. Find the delicate balance.

And it may seem silly because you would think it's right up front, but always tab the table of contents. Trust me.

Posted by Macknzie at 07:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 01, 2006

Light Posting

I might be posting pretty light for the next week or so. I'm in the process of studying for final exams. Today, for example, I worked on Evidence and Criminal procedure, which I have Wednesday and Friday, respectively. The exams in both determine my grade in the courses. I'm nearly done with my CrimPro outline, and I've been immersing myself in drills for evidence, such as the CALI exercises. They're pretty helpful, but brutal.

On another note, I learned today that if you eat your homemade tomato sauce (originally created for pasta) with a spoon, it magically becomes tomato soup. It makes me believe in the divine.

Well, not really. But it was pretty good anyway.

Posted by Macknzie at 08:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack