Thursday, April 26, 2007

Just What We Needed . . .

So I am working on my Con Law Outline and I get to Locke v. Davey. Rather than reading it again, I head over to Wikipedia to get the holding.

For Background, this case involved a kid who wanted to be a preacher and was enrolling in college to study theology. The state took back the scholarship it gave him, because it violated the state's constitutional provision of absolute division between church and state.

The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the state. And, probably because of that, the fucking kid decided not to be a preacher. I will let Wikipedia explain:

"Joshua Davey, the student who lost this case, enrolled in Harvard Law School in 2003, shortly before the case was argued before the Supreme Court.[2][3] He graduated in 2006, having served as a managing editor for the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy in his final year.[4]"

Just what we need, more lawyers and less preachers.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Short Guide to Taking Finals

In lieu of actually studying for finals, I decide to write up some guidelines on how I take exams. I don't care whether it helps anyone or not, I just do not feel like outlining.

Go To Class

By now it may be to late to reconcile this, but for future reference, the best thing you can do is to go to class, and rather than playing some stupid flash game online, actually take notes and pay attention to what the professor says.

In class I do not take notes so much as take dictation. I do this because when I go through my notes to prepare my outline, I have the Profs terms and phraseology, which can then be replicated on the exam.


Different methods work for different people. One thing I do is when I am incorporating a rule from a case into my outline, I include a brief description of the pertinent facts because it gives the rule context. Then, when writing the essay it is easier to understand how the rule relates to given facts. Of course, this blows up my outline, as they generally end up being forty pages or so.

I also do not outline per se, since I do not use the standard outline format. I incorporate the headings from the book, but write everything in sentence format rather than shorthand. It makes the process of outlining a bitch, but at least for me it pays off.

Taking The Exam

Despite what people tell you, there is a silver bullet for an answering an essay question. Simply apply the facts in the question to the law.

I am amazed that some people (during an open book exam) will write out an answer to a question, and when something in the facts relates to what they wrote, they copy the stock answer. This I do not understand in the slightest. You have to approach the exam in such a way that everyone knows the law. Once you pass the bar, each lawyer is entrusted with knowing the law. Profs write exams the same way. Everyone should be on equal footing from the standpoint of knowing what the law is. A final exam is not a treatise on the law. It is taking the law (which all fifty kids in your class know) and applying it to the facts. Hence, the exam is all about the facts. I spend much more time writing about what facts are important, and why they are important than just regurgitating the law.

Obviously, the law is important, but the facts are just as important.

My second point in taking an exam is that, despite what the Profs may say, length is important. Explaining a little bit about why something isn't applicable may just get you a slightly higher grade. Granted, you can't just write for the sake of writing, it has to be correct and relevant, but if you have extra time, it never hurts to show off how much you know by adding something that does not really add value to your answer, but distinguishes you slightly from everyone else.

In terms of length, I usually shoot for 1,000 words per hour. Sure, 16 words per minute is not that much, but when you factor in the time to read the question, it bumps up to about 25 wpm. I am not sure if this is a lot, a little or whatnot. For me, it is just how things generally turn out (though I generally end up writing more than that, and on occasion less. And I know this because I take my exams on the computer. For you with the bluebooks, you are fucked).

I also recommend taking a few minutes after reading the question to map out in your head or on paper, the general structure of your essay. What point you will address first, the law, etc. I am sure that no one just jumps in and starts writing, but closing your eyes for a minute, and just thinking about the question cannot hurt.

Also, read the question and the facts twice. It is never good to miss a key fact.

Additionally, when you first get the exam, make sure you know how many questions there are. I took an exam last semester that, for whatever reason, I thought had only 3 questions, and when I was halfway through the third question, with about 30 minutes left to take the test, discovered that there was a fourth. I still got a decent grade, but I do not think I ever typed so fast in my life. I am sure that typos abound.

Some people suggest rereading your answer when you are finished. I don't. Have faith, you probably got everything the first time. By rereading you are just wasting time.

Unless you have time to reread, but I still do not recommend it. You look much cooler leaving the exam 30 minutes early. Plus, there is the inevitable second guessing yourself. You will do enough of that after the exam, no need to do it during the exam. Be a Romantic, its more fun that way.

As far as multiple guess exams go, I cannot help you. I think multiple guess should be banned in law school, and I have no interest in taking such exams. I usually do not do so well on those. However, I do recommend that you bring in a Magic 8-Ball to help you on the ones you are not too sure about.

I think is all that I have. These have just been my opinion, I disclaim all the standard warranties that are guaranteed by anonymous blogs. Any questions, let me know.

(Also, I have never taken one of those, "How To Do Well On Exams" seminars. I came up with all this, on my own, right now, while flipping between Hockey and the Cubs, so the advice above is not likely to be all that good anyway)

Friday, April 13, 2007


Remember in junior high and high school, when you had to take all those bullshit classes where you would say to yourself, "When am I ever going to need this?"

Though I know I learned the difference between "genus" and "species" at one point in my life, I am chagrined to mention that I just had to look up the difference on Wikipedia.

Who the hell knew it would at one point become relevant? I thought it only applied to animals.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It is Things Like This That Explain My Male-Pattern Baldness

You know I love hockey. If you scroll down, you will see about 20 youtube hockey videos in one post. And I watched about 100 to narrow it down to those 20.

So you can undoubtedly understand that I had hockey on while doing my reading last night, until I realized I was doing too much watching and not enough reading (even though the TV was on mute), and forced myself to turn off the TV. Hey, you should forgive, I was tired and had a lot of work to do. The Pens were getting crushed anyway. Much later, I flipped the TV back on and saw that Vancouver was up on Dallas 4 to 2. I think it was the third period, and the Canucks have Luongo, so I figured the game was over, finished up my reading and watched an episode of Firefly on DVD. By now it is about 1:30 a.m. Extremely tired and ready for bed, I start surfing the channels looking for something decent, since Adult Swim is showing crappy anime now.

Lo' and behold, I come across the ESPN ticker, and what the fuck? The Canucks and Stars are still playing! It is the Second Overtime! This is great. One great part of playoff hockey is the fact that the game will not end until someone wins. So get under my covers, put the sleep timer on 60 minutes, and wait for someone to win.

Only no one does. The second OT ends with the score tied 4-4. 20 minutes later, the 3rd OT begins. 3 overtimes, now I am invested, I am not sleeping until this thing is done. Sure I punked out on the beggining and middle and the first end of the game, but I am here now and that is what matters right?

Besides, the Third OT was fucking awesome. A couple of "pings" (when the shot hits a post), no penalties and of course, no goals. But also no commercials. The 3rd OT ends at 2:50 a.m. with the score still tied. With 20 minutes until 4th OT starts, I flip to the Cartoon Network and catch the last bit of Futureama and the first bit of Family Guy. 3:10 rolls around, and I go back to Versus (the network that broadcasts hockey).

[pause for dramatic effect]

They are showing a pilates infomercial. My mind starts racing, what the fuck is this? Is this a commercial or an infomercial (but in my heart I know). I wait a couple minutes. I know the 4th OT has started. I know that I am on the right channel.

I know that I am fucking pissed.

I have to get out of bed, and turn on my computer (which takes five minutes to turn on). Stewing, and stewing some more, I sit there. It is quarter after three in the morning and I have to be up in five and half hours (that is, if i do not mind going to class in my skivvies and not peeing or brushing my teeth before I leave). My computer boots up, finally, but no, it cannot be that easy, because my sound card isnt recognized. I have to uninstall it and reinstall it so that I can hear sound.

While I wait an eternity for my computer to accomplish this relatively simple task, I check out the hockey message board,, check out the game thread, and discover that other people are facing the same dilemma. Fuck Versus I think.

So anyway, I get the sound working, go to and get the radio feed and listen to the last five minutes of the game, which ends around 3:30 am on one of the Sedin Brothers Goals. Vancouver Wins. The GM Place is going nuts.

Sure would have been nice to see that.

So during that five minutes while I was listening to the game, I fire off an extremely angry letter to Versus, letting them know of my absolute displeasure.

I figured this would be the talk of the blogdome today, after all, everyone had the BigLead's back when Cowherd crashed their site and they have been all over Dice-K and Imus. I thought this was up there with MLB trying to put Extra Innings on DirecTV only.

But sadly, no one seems to care. I found two blog entries talking about this. This one (written as it happened and similar to what I would have written at the time, though I would have had about 200 more "fuck"'s) and this one, which makes the astute "Heidi" reference (also, mad props to that guy, Greg Brownell, because he is the one that got a hold of the AP, and made this a newsstory (it is likely Versus would have ignored it had they not been contacted by the AP)).

So all my favorite blogs never mentioned it once today, be it Shanoff, Deadspin, WithLeather, AwfulAnnouncing, NHL Fanhouse, OffWingOpinion, and all the rest.

A fucking travesty. However, based on the AP article, as well as the messages on Hfboards indicating that several people still had the game on Versus, Me thinks that blame rests with one party.


Yeah, I said it. It seems that my cable company is the party most likely to blame for cutting off the game. It would be great to be able to switch, but you know, the whole monopoly thing and trees cutting off access to a satellite. I was forced to use Time Warner in Undergrad as well, and let me say, they really do suck (it took three fucking tries before they could figure out to hook my house up with cable, even though the people that lived here previously had it).

And they are going to wonder why we haven't paid out bill in three months.

So, in sum, I am very pissed to have missed the end of the sixth longest game in NHL history (though I did get to listen to it on streamed internet radio!). I am very pissed that no one in this country cares enough about hockey to mention this (though the AP story was on ESPN's NHL page). I am extremely pissed that the NHL did not contract around this with Versus, which in turn would have contracted with the cable companies to prevent pre-empting live programing such as this. (And if Versus was that smart, I will happily testify as to my pain and suffering in a court of law, showing that by Time Warners actions, Versus has lost their expectancy interest in me watching any future non-NHL programming on the network).

To conclude, read this. It has nothing to do with this bullshit, but it might pique your interest in the hockey playoffs, then when TV fucks you, you will understand my pain.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Ice is Getting Foggy

Ahh, this is my favorite time of the year. Opening Day was a week ago, and the Cubs are still in the pennant race, the NFL draft is a couple weeks away and I am ODing on mock drafts, and quite possibly the best part of this time of year, finals are just around the corner. It is difficult to trump outlining six hours a day (I assume, I haven't started yet).

Oh, and the Stanley Cup playoffs are starting. You should watch. Hockey is fun. Check your local listings for Versus (that is a TV channel, probably at the high end).

And just to get you fired up, here is a kick ass hockey fight from several years ago (blatantly ripped off from WithLeather).

And, to get you even more excited, here are a couple videos of Sidney Crosby, the 19 year old wunderkind.

("Crosby beats Kolzig like he's a rented mule")

More of the same, but with commentary by Sid the Kid

The obligatory "Tribute" Video

Yeah, so maybe I have a little man crush on him. But check out the playoffs, and you will develop one to.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Manipulating Kids is Fun

A long time ago, in a suburb far far away, I was a little kid. Though I cannot recall my exact age, I do distinctly recall being much shorter than I am now. I was probably in the six to ten range. It was before fourth grade (likely much before), of that I am positive, because when the following takes place, my best friend was my neighbor [Cindy].

Cindy was a tomboy, and we used to have a blast playing tackle football in the backyard, as well as playing He-Man and G.I. Joe. This was not exactly a Calvin-Susie type of relationship. She was the one that taught me how to curse and convinced me that Santa was not real (though the title of this post may imply that this will be about Santa Claus, it is not, that is a post for another day (check back in nine months)).

She was also kind enough to give me the painstaking play-by-play of the most recent The Simpsons episode (first season!) on Friday afternoons, since the Draconian Regime controlling the remote in my household had censored that particular show. Ahh, a girl who would play football, Nintendo and G.I. Joe. You can see how no one has measured up to her since then.

Enough digression and back-story. Now that I have started writing this, I realize that when the following occurred I must have been six or seven. The Simpsons debuted in 1989, putting me at the ripe ol' age of 8, and I know that this happened before that, because, sadly, The Simpsons recaps were the beginning of the end, as she would soon for junior high, and leave the poor elementary student in the dust (ok, extremely over-simplified and likely inaccurate, but it will do for our purposes today).

So being a six or seven year old, there were two things I liked to do. Play and get dirty. Usually they went hand-in-hand, but there were plenty of times where practicing sliding into second base was a lot of hard work. Dressing up and looking nice meant one thing: Church. If there has been anything that I have consistently hated from age six to twenty-six it is Church. Sure the reasons have changed, but back then, they were just as pure. Why wear uncomfortable pants and an itchy sweater when you could wear shorts and a T? I may be a godly man today had I been allowed to wear shorts to church.

You can imagine, that when Cindy's father approached me on one fine spring day in '87 (or '88), and asked me to participate in some stupid fashion show, I was not enthused. In fact, I think that was the first "What The Fuck" look I had ever given to an adult. I told him no, simply and emphatically. No, no, no, no, no, no. Had I a larger vocabulary I may have said something like "Fuck No" or "Hell No" or even (had I listened to more gangsta rap and less Vanilla Ice) "[n-word] please."

Had I been a bit older, I would have been well-versed in the whole "No means No" phenomenon, but, unfortunately, I wasn't. Cindy's Father, knowing my naivety, kept pushing and pushing. You know how it works, they keep asking, explaining things differently, and after a while, it begins to sound like a good idea. I may have been young, but I understood what it this ordeal would mean three things: Wearing Nice Clothes and Having Others Seeing Me In Nice Clothes and Missing Out On A Saturday. With those three things in mind, I stuck to my guns, stood steadfast, and refused to consent, despite the fact that Cindy's Father had recruited my parents to begin leaning on me.

Then he started making promises. And one promise made me cave. He promised that after the fashion show, he would take Cindy and myself to McDonald's.

Ok, stop laughing at me. First, I was six. Second, you have to understand the time period we lived in. I was raised in a household where we could only have soda on special occasions. Cable television was a pipe dream. Hell, I could not even watch the Simpsons. You think my parents were big on taking me to fast food joints? They sure as hell were not. We had fast food twice a year; one the big drive to summer vacation destination and on the depressing drive home from summer vacation destination. For me, eating at McDonald's was exotic, the equivalent to eating a $60 dollar steak today.

So I caved. I caved because I liked hamburgers boiled in grease and hollow french fries. I sold out all the ideals a six year old harbors for a $5 meal. And Cindy's Father knew he could buy my childhood for 40 bits.

But we shan't forget the real point of this story. For one day in my life, I was a male model. Walked down a runway. Turned. And of course, did not smile (mostly because I was miserable). And that is just an FYI to all the ladies out there. Me, former male model.