I am an east coaster now. As such, I have plenty of bias. You can read all about it at my fancy new blogspot blog. It has a fancy latin name, which means instant credibility (why do all those judges use a dead language? To mask the weakness of their arguments of course). So visit the new blog, leave a comment, tell your friends, and send me lots of money to help me pay off my $130,000 law school debt.
Thanks for reading.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I am an east coaster now. As such, I have plenty of bias. You can read all about it at my fancy new blogspot blog. It has a fancy latin name, which means instant credibility (why do all those judges use a dead language? To mask the weakness of their arguments of course). So visit the new blog, leave a comment, tell your friends, and send me lots of money to help me pay off my $130,000 law school debt.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
I was heading into the City on Sunday night to go see a small show (i.e. not Lollapa-whatever), with a friend. We were taking I-88, and I was explaining to my friend how much all the construction on I-88 sucks because if I am good at anything, it is in pointing out the obvious. He replied to this by asking when the last time I was on I-88 was.
I drew a blank. Literally. I told him that I knew I had been on I-88 in the last week, but for about two minutes I could not remember what business I had attended to in the City.
It likely would have been longer had he not said, "Oh, the Bar Exam right?"
So my efforts at blocking out the entire bar exam experience have been quite successful.
I tried reading after the bar exam. It may have been my choice of book, but nothing was sticking. I would read for ten minutes, then flip back a couple of pages, and it was like I was looking at the words for the first time. Horribly frustrating. To compensate, I picked up a young adult book and was able to read the entire thing, albiet in twice the amount of time it should have taken me.
I am not sure when I will be able to start reading again. Hopefully soon. I still have about two months to kill.
Why waive Scott Eyre when you could have waived Bobby Howry?
In ten days I will unofficially become a resident of Virginia. Weird.
Law School is over. The bar exam is over (hopefully). Looks like that is about it for this blog . . .
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Done. Not much else to say. Pretty sure I passed, but it will take another few months to know for sure, and by then I will be working and in DC. So it would really suck to fail.
Pray for me.
Oddly enough, I got a summons for jury duty today. Weird.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Finished day one. Lots to talk about, but I am as brain dead as you are. Therefore, I called in some favors, and Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog is available for free for another day.
Screw the cram session, relax, and watch an awesome musical.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I have no interesting thoughts today. They are all law related.
But the next person that says "Good Luck" to me is going to get punched. I did not just spend the last two months [sometimes] busting my ass so that Luck would factor into it.
But it does.
[I just had a thought. With this whole pen and pencil thing, I am afraid the Bar Exam is going to end up like that test Will Smith took in Men in Black.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
It's only the rest of my life.
I always knew I was destined for Broadway. Failing may just be the push I need.
of course, I cannot sing, dance, act, direct, work lighting rigs, see color, act all gay, wear tight pants, jump, build things, do makeup or hair, have a creative thought, write, think outside the box, or juggle. Shit, lawyer is about the only job for which I am qualified.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Re Handwriting: If my "u" looks like a "v" and my "c" looks like a "u" and my "r" looks like a "v" or "u" and my "e" looks like an archaic Alchemist symbol for sulfur, then whenever I write the word "occurrence" will the Bar Exam Grader constructively know that my answer stinks?
Friday, July 25, 2008
Alright, now I am starting to get stressed out. Usually I only get a little stressed out the night before the exam. But here it is, three evenings ahead, and I am not sure I can take it anymore.
All the professional attorneys that I have talked about the bar exam have all made a similar comment. Something like, "By the time you get around to taking it, you are so stressed out, that you do not even care if you pass it. You just want it done and over with."
I am starting to come around to that line of thinking. I really do not much care anymore. Sure there is still a lot of work to do (written, unconditional, promise to pay, order or bearer, a sum certain, of money, with no extraneous undertaking--Is that all the elements of negotiability? feel like I am missing one, and hence the problem (note: have not looked at commercial paper in at least five days)).
I think the persecuted crack smoker said it best, "I want my life back."
I have been doing a bunch of advanced questions on StudySmart in lots of 17. Current relevant percentages: Property: 73%.* Evidence: 40%. I get property. I like property. I like property because you read the question, figure out the answer, then look at the options and pick the one that conforms to the answer you already decided. Evidence (and Torts and K), you have to read the damn entire answer 90% of the time. Aww fuck it. "D" for esquire right?
In addition to the regular stress of the Test, others things weighing on my mind:
- I had to go to the Wal-Mart today to get a new battery put in a watch. This is annoying for several reasons. First, I have not worn a watch in years. I do not even know the last time I wore one. So for the last couple of days I was wearing a watch that did not work, just so I could used to it. Annoyance. Second, I had planned on using a pocket watch for the exam, but because the bar examiners do not allow watches on the table (the constant looking down at a watch situated on my leg would look suspicious), I have to practice wearing a watch. Third, I swear I am not driving more until I have to, wait this should be next
- I am not driving any more unless absolutely necessary. In the last couple of days I have either gotten stuck behind some slow ass dick, railroaded, or almost sideswiped by some ass who ran a stop sign. Fuck that. I am living off iced tea and butter for the next three days.
- Conan was on vacation this week. How am I supposed to sleep if I cannot drift away to the smooth stylings of Conan jokes that I have not heard before? Fuck him.
- I check to make sure that my pink voucher is sitting on the table where I left at least 20 times an hour.
- I think I am up to about 2 1/2 packs a day. This is getting ridiculous. I am quitting within a month of the bar. For serious.
- I waste too much time with stupid blog posts.
And I just realized that it is Friday. So no daily show. I guess I should just study for another hour.
*seriously, how was I supposed to know that right of refusal is not subject to RAP when it was given to the first leasehold, even though the leaseholder subsequently assigned the K such that the right of refusal touched and concerned the land? Yeah, what I just wrote does not even make sense to me and I probably fucked up the law on that somehow, but just goes to show how fucked up that question was.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Two unoriginal thoughts today (that is why there is two), blatantly stolen from the works of Joss Whedon.
Captain Hammer sings:
Don’t worry if it’s hard,
if you’re not a friggin' ‘tard you will prevail
There are moments in your life that make you, that set the course of who you're gonna be. Sometimes they're little, subtle moments. Sometimes they're not. I'll show you what I mean . . .
. . .
Bottom line is, even if you see 'em coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are. You'll see what I mean.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I have spent the last few days doing a lot of writing. I had originally intended to do a full day of Exam Writing just like the real Bar exam (with the exception of three essays instead of an MPT, with 12 essay topics, it would have worked out well), but I decided that that idea was stupid. Not wholly stupid, but the reasons behind the decision were stupid. I was not doing it to test my knowledge, but rather to exercise my hand for the grueling six hours of writing.
I figured out a couple days ago that there was a better way to do my training; one that is conducive to learning (i.e. memorization). I decided to just re-write my notes. The lecture notes that is. But to make it feel like I was doing more than just re-writing my lecture notes, I pulled out the mini-review (literally) and the big outline, to cross check anything I was unsure about and find the random factoids (err, lawoids), that Kaufman neglected to mention because he was too concerned with spending 20 minutes on getting the correct exam answer for some question rather than an exhaustive survey of the law.*
This was a ridiculously long process. I started, I think on Friday (might have been Saturday, my short term memory is shot (because I have to remember all these rules and exceptions and exceptions to the exceptions)), and wrote for as long as I could. I think it was about eight hours. Then, the next day, I continued the process, but could barely write for five hours. Yeah, that was Saturday, because Sunday I took most of the day off to go buy a new computer (more on this at some point, I have a lot of bitching to do about my old computer). Sunday was not a total waste, because I outlined Family Law (such Fun! Wish I could do that again), even though my arm was still in pain and I could barely grip my Dr. Grip. (I had originally intended to use cheap pens, and by cheap I mean the box of 36 Papermates I bought at Office Max for $2.50 because I fully expect that is what will be given us for the bar exam, but that lasted about two hours. Fuck those pens, it is not just the fact that they are skinny, but also the shitty rollerball they have. A crappy pen requires more force against the paper, while my sweet Dr. Grip, despite its name, glides elegantly across the page, depositing the ideal amount of ink to form a letter with minimal effort. (not as great as a ceramic pen, but good enough that it does not bug me incessantly.))
So, to shorten this up, because yous probably have shit to do, the plan worked. I wrote for six hours today. There was not a lot of pain, just mostly a lingering a soreness, such that I am confident that I will have the ability to write for six hours without the pain bugging me.
Granted there is one problem. I decided to celebrate the finishing of the outline writing by drinking a Bud Light. However, my arm/hand is so exhausted that I could not twist off the top. I do not know if that is more pathetic or sad. At least my bottle opener still works. If I still cannot twist off a top by Sunday, I will be worried about arm fatigue.
But now I suppose I should start worrying about actually knowing the stuff that is going to be tested.
*Not a bad thing, just not how I would have taught it. I get a little leery about this approach because at least three times during BarBri, the instructor would say something like, "Then in February '07, they caught us off guard by including this fact which requires this analysis." BarBri is rightly reactionary, and they rightly focus the lectures on the most heavily tested areas (and previously tested areas), but I get all paranoid by these statements. It has gotten to the point that I am positive that there is going to be one question on the essay where I am just like, What the Fuck is that? Thankfully, I have come to grips with this, i.e. the fact there is going to be something on the exam where I have absolutely no clue what they want me to talk about. My plan is to take a deep breath, put on my bull shitting pants and start each line with these letters, no matter what:
Monday, July 21, 2008
Brand New is coming to Chicago just a couple days after the Bar Exam. Of course, by the time I found about it, the show was already sold out. Dang. I really probably could have used something like this after the exam:
Nevermind. I am too damn old for that now. I think I might just sit in an empty bar sipping a scotch, while Perry Como plays on the jukebox.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
For that those that are unaware, I am a Joss Whedon fanboy. I have all the Buffy, Angel, and Firefly DVDs and am eagerly anticipating his new show.
But anyway, he has a new internet production out. It has Doogie, Mal Reynolds, one of the potential slayers and lots and lots of songs. Plus, hilarity.
So if the final week and half of bar study is getting you down, or you just have 45 minutes to kill, check it out. Oh, and it will only be available until the 20th (FYI Act III goes up on Saturday), so watch it.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
BarBri homework tonight was to write two MPTs. Seeing as how in two and half weeks I am going to have write almost constantly for six hours, I figured 180 minutes of MPTs would be good practice. So I self-scheduled them back to back. When the finish alarm went off for the first one, I would begin the second.
It did not work out that way. If you are unfamiliar with an MPT, it involves 45 minutes of reading, then 45 minutes of writing. I made it through 25 minutes of writing the first one when my right started to hurt. Bad. Three years of taking notes on a computer in law school has severely hampered had writing endurance. This could be a problem, because I am hand writing my exams.
I did make it through the first practice MPT by doing the ol' hand shake every three minutes to keep the blood flowing. It was rough. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and take it. Even when it is practice.
However, I am no masochist. I did not immediately start the second MPT, but rather took a 30 minute break (coincidently, same time as the Simpsons). Granted, this break was extended by the 35 minutes it took me to prepare to write the second MPT, but my hand still hurt while I wrote. So just looked into my inner Brett Favre, popped eight vicodin, and made it through. Not really, I sucked it up and took it like a man.
I am already planning on self-scheduling two writing days in the next couple of weeks where I write nine essays and an MPT over the same schedule as the actual bar exam for the sole purpose of right hand endurance.
But the thing that really concerns me is this. I hold a pen in a fucked up manner. Remember in second grade when they gave you those pencil grips to teach you how to hold a pencil correctly? I hated those damn things, so to this day, I still hold a pen the same way you would grip the handle on a pull start lawn mower. It is not that delicate.
Before this whole bar study fiasco started, I was well aware of this limitation. So I compensated. I went out and spent 12 hard loaned dollars on a Doctor Grip Pen and a Doctor Grip Pencil. This is by far the best pen for a person with a neanderthal-like pen grip. It is a pretty sweet pen (though no match for the $25 pen I used for five years until I lost it, or the ungodly great $300 pen (pictures of this make me salivate)), and was anticipating the massive benefits that this would reward me.
Turns out, I wasted my money. As those taking the IL bar know, there is a new rule states you cannot use your own fucking pen. Alright, I understand that no matter what anyone does, someone is going to cheat on the bar exam. It is a fact of life. I am sure that people at my law school cheated (no personal knowledge of course). I am sure that people at your law school cheated. Hell, even I cheated once in my life. But if I was sitting next to a person who took apart his pen, pulled out a little scroll of paper, I would report it. Assuming I saw it. But isn't this why there are proctors. They should not be paid to read Danielle Steele novels for six hours.
Now I am going to be stuck writing with a shitty skinny Bic pen for six hours. Have you ever used a Bic pen for extended time? The first thing that happens is that the roller ball gets out of whack. Suddendly there is ink leaking all over the place. My law school books are filled with ink stains from the rollerball in a shitty pen releasing more ink than it should have. Then, when the rollerball gets so damn clogged, you have to actually wipe the excess ink off somewhere. In my law school books, I just did that on the page, I mean fuck it, I will just sell it later. On the Bar, I am sure the examiner does not want to see a huge ink stain in the creases of the bluebook (or whatever they give us to write on, I have no clue. I do know that there is no scratch paper to take care of this problem). Plus, PLUS, these pens invariably suck. You know how you have disposable razors to shave your face and/or legs. And about 1 out of four of these razors are super razors. Razors that work so damn well you never want to get rid of them, but eventually you do because you have used it for two months and it does not seem right to use it anymore. Then you put on a new razor and it just fucking sucks. Not close, leaves tons of stubble, making you wonder if it would be wrong to pick the discarded super razor out of used dental floss and used up deodorant dispensers. Its that 1/4 of the razors that make you truely appreciate the 1/4th that are super. The same is true of cheap pens. A couple work fine. One works fantastic and you actually use it (assuming you do not lose it first) until the ink is actually gone. Then there is that one that is a turd, that makes it three minutes beofre your hand and shirt and paper are covered in ink. Fuck that pen.
They give you two pens at the start of the essay. I bet I get two stinkers.
Do not even get me started on the pencils. Thankfully, they have a sharpener at the front of the room. YAY! This is not good for me. I went through one whole piece of lead in my mechanical pencil on the practice exam. When I take a multiple choice test, I mark the crap out of it. In a fact pattern I simultaneously make notes in the margin while I continue to read. I see a fact, I mark everything that the fact could implicate, even if it is irrelevant (at least at this point, my recall is not absolute yet). Regardless, I underline, write incomprehensible notes, and make unascertainable abbreviations. But hey, it works for me. If two pencils get me through an hour I will be impressed.
I usually try not to rant about trivial shit, but this is just fucking stupid. If this was a constitutional issue, it would pass a rational basis test, but not rational basis with bite. Looks like I am doing my two practice writing days with a shitty Bic. When my hand cramps into a claw after July 30th, you will know who to blame.
Odd results from the practice MBE. I got 47% of the Torts questions correct. Seriously, that sucks. What the Fuck? Torts is easy. However, if the 12 hours of MBE review was good for anything, it was good for understanding why I missed the tort questions I did. With a bit more studying, I am going to get 30 out of 34 on the torts section. Of that I have no doubt.
Oddly, my best score came in property at 75% correct. You can all take a second to curse me. It makes sense. If there was any topic that I hated the most in law school and hardly tried at, it was Torts. If there was any subject that was hard to understand, and hence I spent a shit ton of time on, it was Property. I actually delayed my Property II exam a day after studying for it for four days because I was I was so unsure of the material, even though it left me with one day rest between my other four exams. It is nice to hear that law school is actually going to help me on the bar.
In non bar related news, after I finished taking the MPT, I decided to scroll through the hundreds of unread posts in my Google Reader, and happened upon MJD's annoucement that the new Pro Football Prospectus was out. One minute later I was starting my car, heading to the local borders. I had a bunch of shit I wanted to write about this, but the post is long enough. I may delve more into my fanboy love of football outsiders later. If you are so unlucky.
Monday, July 07, 2008
"See, the sad thing about a guy like you is in 50 years you're going to start doing some thinking on your own and you're going to come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life. One, don't do that. And two, you dropped one hundred fifty grand on a fucking education you could have gotten for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library "
---Good Will Hunting
I have recently been getting a lot of hits from what I assume are people who are entering their first year of law school in the fall (i.e. What to expect from law school or Hardest part of law school).(Every one else is interested in diamond rings). So this is my attempt to distill my knowledge into a short primer (and to take a break from bar study because two hours of that shit fries your brain).
Starting simple. What is the hardest part of law school. That is easy. Final exams. Next question.
Alright, here is some more detail on that. The vast majority of law school classes have one exam. And that is it. That is your grade. Unlike in undergrad you are not going to be able learn everything you need to know in one 24 hour bender the day before the exam. Well you might, but not many people can. So you have to go to class. You have to take good notes. You have to do the assigned reading before class. You have to brief those cases you just read. Granted, this only applies if you are trying to do well. But you should follow those tips for at least the first year, do your best, and then see where you stand. (This is also an option).
The long and short of exams is that 14 weeks comes down to two, three or four hours. Keep that in mind on a Wednesday afternoon when all you want to do is go out and get hammered because your brain is already fried.
As long as we are talking about exams, let's take a look at the classes. First year your classes are likely to be Criminal Law, Torts, Con[stitutional] Law, Contracts, Property, Civ[il] Pro[cedure], Crim[inal] Pro[cedure], and some sort of writing class. Now, the important thing to realize at the outset, is that each of these topics (save Civ Pro) are tested on the MBE. Civ Pro is going to be on the essay portion of the bar exam. Each class presents its own challenges, except for Torts, Torts is fucking easy.
I hated contracts. I still hate contracts. But that is probably because the text book did not even discuss how a contract is formed until my second semester. Also, conditions, still do not understand them. They should be easy, but I read that shit in the Bar Bri outline, and I am more confused than ever. And that is my contracts rant (though I somehow did well in contracts class. To be fair, I probably thought I understood it better when I took the test than I realize how poorly I understood now. Confidence is key.)
Of those classes, Con Law is the one that really only presents an abnormal level of difficulty (but note, Crim Pro is virtually a Con Law class too, but solely focuses on the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments). Supreme Court Judges like to use big words. And they love to spend eight pages explaining something when a half a paragraph would suffice. They love to refer back to every case the Court has ever decided in the same opinion. And they love to obfuscate what they said in those cases. Plus, it is the one class where dissents actually matter. Other than Con Law I can think of one case off the top of my head where a dissent mattered (Palsgraf; but I did just take the BarBri Torts class a couple days ago).
In addition, Justices hate to be clear. They cannot just lay out the rules as you learn them (Rational Basis, Strict Scrutiny and Intermediate Scrutiny), but continually use different language for the same test. It is highly annoying. So here is my trick for Con Law. Wikipedia. It is like a ready made case brief. For instance, if you read the SCOTUS opinions for Hamdi and Hamdan, they are almost impenetrable (and fucking long, but casebooks edit the cases they present). But read Hamdi or Hamdan on wikipedia and they almost make sense. (or just read about the case that came down this term)
The other hardest part of Law School is finding a job. But you should not worry about that now. Because the best part of Law School is that you have three years where you do not have to work. Some people do. I did not (other than a summer assoc position, but that does not count really). Sure, the cover charge is steep, but I have the rest of my life to work and I love to stay up until four and sleep until noon everyday.
Yeah, there are other good parts too. Making new friends, learning stuff, getting blitzed the day finals end, etc. But really, none of the best reasons for going to law school are the reason you are going. Keep that in mind too.
More thoughts on law school coming soon.
Today was the BarBri MBE practice test. A fun filled six hours of practice guessing, practice #2-ing circles, and practice holding in one's piss. In retrospect, not really that fun, except for the fact that it was merely practice and there is still a three weeks and a day until the real thing. Still seems a long ways a way. It felt closer at the end of May, before classes started and I was staring at a giant pile of books I would have to read multiple times in the next two months. Now, eh, plenty of time. I am considering taking the week off (other than class of course) to rest up for the two week surge of rudimentary understanding. I probably will not though. The last five days have consisted of (Wed.) me going to a concert in the city and getting shit-faced, (Thurs) actually studying (but skipped class), then going bowling and getting shitfaced, (Fri) going to a wedding (yeah, what the fuck right), and getting shit-faced and passing out at 9:30 missing the fireworks, and Sat. and Sun. were highly uneventful, involving listening to the Property I lecture that I missed and forcing myself to read the Property lecture notes. Yep, that is all I did on Saturday and Sunday.
But today was practice real thing. Because I am nerd, I graded my own test when I got home (actually, graded a.m. exam at lunch. Had to know you know). I am pretty happy with the results. Raw scored a 131. Should have been a 132 but I made a transcribing error on my answer sheet. They, whoever they are, say that your score goes up 20 points between practice and the actual thing so I am hopefully looking at a 150, which means I should have taken MI's bar.
But there were several shocking things I learned over the course of the Practice Test:
- I Was legitimately surprised at the number of of answers I knew were 100%. In that there were shockingly few of them. In law school, I only had one multiple choice test out of 5 or 6 where I was not positive I got at least 75% right. Here, it was maybe 20%, if that.
- What the fuck is up with intoxication questions? Shit, every other question has some jackass getting loaded. It seemed excessive. I wonder if the actual bar exam is similar. Needless to say, six hours of reading about defendants and tortfeasors getting plowed made me a little thirsty. This liquor store across the street appreciates your efforts Conviser.
- I know nothing of the elements of any crime. I knew them pretty well about three weeks ago, which incidentally was the last time I looked at the Criminal Law Outline. Arson, Common Law Murder? I know they have something in common, no clue what it is. I have not bothered to look it up.
- Ditto for Torts, except it has probably been four weeks. I know a lot of this stuff, but I could not articulate it. An essay on Tort or Crim. Law would screw me at this point. On the exam, I played the "One of these things is not like the other" game.
- Back to arson for second. Those arson questions were ridiculous. There were like six of them that involved arson. Who the fuck cares about arson? May as well ask me a mayhem question (though I probably have a better shot at getting this one right. Hard to forget what mayhem is).
- I Love the Constitution. There is a lot of good stuff in the Constitution. Why I have to know if something is EPC or Due Process of the 14th Amendment or Art. IV something when I could find the answer in two seconds on Wikipedia is beyond me. I know the fucking test, lets move on.
Boils down to poor reading comprehension skills. Sure, it is time pressure and all that, but it does not excuse not understanding why every single word is used in the fact pattern and or answer. Something to work on. As I have mentioned before, I have not been practicing taking tests, so maybe that comes with more exposure.
I think I had some overarching point. But it is lost to me know. If this needs to be continued I will post it, sometime in the next year or so.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
If you are taking BarBri, you know that they give out an outline of all the assignments plus homework that you should be completing as you go. I am sure that everyone has tweaked it to suit their own tastes and study habits. This is how I tweaked it.
In my opinion, doing a bunch of practice problems is an inefficient time waster (and a little redundant too). I have always believed this to be the case, with the exception of math problems (i.e. testing a process rather than rote learning). In law school, I may have looked at one or two prior exams, but only to get the tenor of the questions rather than what was being tested or to "practice." For a final exam, one has only a day or two to learn a semester worth of material. That time is too precious to be spent doing busy work. The better approach is focus on the material and keep reinforcing it, by writing the elements out, re-re-reading an outline, etc. Why focus on application of one narrow portion of the material when that time is better spent knowing all the portions.
But, because Conviser has been teaching this longer than I have been alive, I initially deferred to his methodology. I did some of the first set of Torts problems, the so-called easy ones. And I got three wrong. Hooray for me. But what does this do for me? I can answer the easy tort questions. But the thing that bothered me was that when I was answering the questions, I knew my grasp of the material was shaky. I had to think through the problems. I had to close my eyes and visualize the elements for whatever tort the question was asking about.
That is not how I want to take a test. I want to get to the point where I read the question and I know the answer. If it is a torts questions, everything tort related flies through my mind, I see it as an old computer that ran on punch cards, and I go through all the punch cards in a second, know what I need, and go back to that punch card in the next second.
I am not going to get to that point by doing a bunch of practice questions, then having to read the analytical answer to see how I got it right. I do not want to have to read the analytical answer. I want to just know it.
That does not mean that I will not do any practice questions. I will do them, but not until I feel ready. Then I will spend four hours on some near-future Saturday doing nothing but Torts questions. That way, I can really tell that I know the material inside and out, because that sort of testing process will tell me that either, i) yes, I know all the material, even the material that the questions did not address simply because of the number of questions done; or ii) that I am screwed.
The same rings true for the essays. Same thing for the essays. I knew the answers for the practice essay I did, but again, my superficial knowledge made it difficult to effectively answer the question in the way that is required when one poor soul is grading a hundred of these things a day. So forget practice essays too.
Knowing the material is the most important thing. Each essay is worth an incapacious five points. And I would think that at least two of those points are going to be awarded for a black letter law recitation. And with a point or two for analysis (the easy part of the bar exam, unlike with a law school exam), that is the magic 3 you need for bar passage.
However, the essays have a distinct difference from the MBE, which will make practice a necessity. Issue-Spotting. Thus, when I finish my four hour tort exam, I will crack open a book of essays, and just pick out the issues, think in my head what I would write about, then check to make sure I am right. Of course, the key with issue spotting is that you have to know the law to understand what the issues.
So, study now, practice later, like in a month. Shit, this is going to be a lot of work. Back to it . . .
. . . Or am I just trying to justify my own laziness?
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
In trying to figure out ways to amplify my bar study process, I thought of Ryan Holiday's post on Meditative Isolation (though he might say that I have no idea how to achieve my goals). Ryan talks about methods of isolating the right and left side of the brain by listening to the same song on repeat dozens of time. This helps with concentration and inspiration, and in a larger sense, creativity.*
I am not too concerned with inspiration or creativity. All I care about is concentration and memorization. Read the outline. Know the outline. Memorize the outline. Seems easy enough. But with 21 areas of substantive law [possibly] tested, the task is about as hard as it sounds. I need every edge I can get. A more recent post by Ryan clued me in to what I needed. He stated, "From a glance I can feel what song I listened to as I read [each book I have], if I was stable or depressed or excited or hopeful."
With my Holmes-like powers of deduction (Ollie, not Sherlock of course), I deduced that Association is the key. For instance, when I read It, the only CD I listened to was Soul Asylum's Let Your Dim Light Shine (forgive me, I was 14, my musical tastes had not matured). Now whenever I listen to that CD I think back to the plot of It (though in looking back on it, there was a lot I did not understand. Stupid underfunded sex-ed class). It is an odd feeling to hear a song and think back to the part where Bev remembers the time she and the six boys experiment with sex to solidify their bond and Ben (the fat one), goes further than the others, because as Bev remembers, "she felt sticky inside." (Not sure if I remember that because of the music or because I was whacked out on junior high hormones at the time. Nah, probably the later, but still, I have only read the book the once). It seems obvious to me in retrospect that the album should be associated with that book, what with lines like: "But she saw the world through the eyes of a child / And remembers how good it was, and how good it felt"; "No one told me people could be so cruel / Nobody told me about any of this in school / Still nobody understands the things that I don't understand"; " She walks into the evening air / She disappears in the darkness / All that's left's the faint smell of her hair / She's done wondering what it's like to be liked by everyone." To give only a couple examples.
So, it begs the question, can this really work for learning black letter law? It is still reading, it is still knowing, but hell, it does not have to be understanding. There is a masturbation scene in It that I would not understand until a couple years later. But still, 13 years later, I remember what happened in the book (though, in addition to the reasons stated above, it may have been because I was reading a King novel, an action my mother was not too particularly keen on my doing at 14).
Understanding is most likely essential to answer a multiple choice question in 1.8 minutes. Everyone has to be a micro-Will Hunting. Regardless, everyone has to understand, so that requirement is a nullity. Understanding has to happen.
Recall is the major issue. With that, I think that music can be a huge help. Specifically, listening to the same album over and over for each. Ryan listens to the same song, but I hardly have the patience for that. For me, the music is not about isolating myself, I am already isolated, it is about the constant, the moor (yes, I realize that the way I used moor is only a verb, not a noun. I am trying to say that the music is mooring me to the material; keeping me in it, tied to it, removing distractions, preventing cavitation).
Deciding that yes, one CD per subject would be a good idea, I went about finding the 21 albums that I would utilize. At the outset, I was unsure if this would be an easy or difficult task. With as near as I can guesstimate (6000 songs / 15 songs per album; horribly rough) I have 400 albums to choose from. However, I quickly decided that I was going to have to limit the albums I chose to the most recent ones I have purchased. For instance, Panic! at the Disco's A Fever You Can't Sweat Out already has a nice association with a vacation I took to Michigan, and The Who's Tommy, while a great album, has negative associations in mind (fucking slut (hmmm, that is redundant)). I decide to eliminate the vast majority of my collection based solely on the fact that I may already have some mental association with it (easier than spending 15 days listing to all those songs).
So with those parameters in mind, I quickly "cover flow"-ed through my albums on my iPod and came up with 23 albums. I was not keeping track, but 23 turns out to be a pretty good number. From there, I took away two albums to total 21. Then came the tough part. Finding the proper album for Real Property (three days according to BarBri) and Contracts (also three days). The first was easy, Say Anything's In Defense of the Genre, simply because it is a double album. Contracts was much tougher. My only other double albums are Garth Brooks Live (yeah I know, but Garth was a great (the greatest?) entertainer of his day, his live album is worthy of owning), Meloncollie and the Infinite Sadness, All Points BUlletin, O.A.R. Live, The White Album, Beethoven concertos, Beethoven symphonies, and probably a couple more I cannot think of right now. They are all old and failed to meet the first requirement. So I picked an album, but feel that the two auxiliary albums might come into play here. We shall see.
Shit. I got distracted and completely forgot how I was going to conclude. Whatever; Graham Colton,** you and Criminal Law are on the clock.
* He also states that silence is most conducive to concentration and inspiration. I cannot study in silence, my mind wanders to easily; or more accurately, goes off on irrelevant tangents. There is a relationship between where my mind goes and what I am trying to learn, but studying for the bar is not the proper time for this activity. Hence, when part of my brain can focus on the music and the other part can focus on the black letter law, I can stay on task (unless I have had four hours of sleep the last two days. Then I cut my losses and blog).
**Had no idea he was associated with American Idol until I looked up that wikipedia page.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
[Scene] Mount Sinai circa 1200 B.C.
God [in booming epochal voice]: MOSES!
Moses: Ahh! What!
God [ominously]: HAVE YOU BEEN MAKING FALSE IDOLS?
Moses [nervously hurried]: NO! What? No, of course not. God? Is that you? Where are you?
God [incredulously]: I am the bloody burning bush you ponce.
Moses [gears cranking, not comprehending]: Bloody. . . and . . . burning . . .. Ponce?
God: Oh, Jesus . . .
Moses: That's a good name.
God: . . . forget it. Turn around, see the fire. That's me.
Moses: Uh, O.K. Whatever you say, your highest holy burningness.
God [feigning annoyance at the superlative style]: Did you bring the tablets?
Moses: Yes, oh Great and Merci--
God: Good. Put them down, we won't need them for a while. Today, we are going to start at the beginning.
Moses: The beginning? Do we have enough time? I mean, that bush can't burn forever . . .
God [making whatever expression a burning bush can make to show that it is going to patiently wait for the realization that previous statement was idiotic]:
Moses: . . . uh God? You there?
God [flicking out a burning ember onto Moses' foot]:
Moses: Ow! I thought you were a merciful God!
God: Oh, just wait until I tell you about Job. [under breath] What I did to him is going to pale in comparison to what I do to you [returning to normal] I am eternal, all-powerful, omniscient, yada yada yada, the bush will burn for as long as I wish it.
Moses: What if I pissed on it?
God: Remember your foot? How would like that three feet higher and a hell of a lot hotter?
Moses: My apologies for my impudence my lord. So the beginning?
God: Alright, pay attention. This is pretty complicated. Do you know what gravity is?
Moses: Like degrees?
God: Um, are you referring to degrees of temperature?
Moses: Is that what you want me to be referring to?
God: Sort of, but not really. We are not quite there yet.
Moses: Then, no.
God: So what degrees are you referring to?
Moses: Um . . . gravity . . .[awkward silence] . . . like, um weightiness . . .
God: [excitedly] Yes, exactly. Like weight.
Moses [overly enthusiastic]: O.K.! [gives bush the thumbs up]
God: [dryly] You have no idea what I am getting at do you?
Moses: Sure I do. Gravity is like weight. The beginning is so very important and serious, so I should pay extra special attention.
God: No, no, no and no. But sort of yes, but more accurately, NO! Gravity is the force that holds you onto this earth. It is why things are heavy.
Moses: Aren't things heavy because they are big?
God: Not necessarily. Compare a rock with leaves balled up in the same size as the rock.
Moses: What's a leaves? Do you want me to go?
God: Argg. Fucking desert. Forget leaves. Compare a rock with balled up cloth. Same size. Different weights. But gravity pulls on both objects the same. Let me show you. Take off your frock and ball it up. . . . Good. Now pick up one of the tablets. . . . Nice work Moses, there may be hope for you yet. Now get up on that rock over there. Good. This is the tricky part. Hold out the frock in one hand and the tablet in other so they are at the same height. Good. Now, how much heavier would you say the tablet is than the frock.
Moses: Oh, about a third of a talent.
God: Good. So the tablet is much heavier than the frock. Because of this, you may think that the tablet should fall faster than the frock. But gravity exerts its force on all objects equally, so they will all fall at the same speed. Go ahead, drop them. They will hit the ground at the same time.
Moses: Uh, won't the tablet break? It is six cubits off the ground.
God: Do I have to give the all-powerful speech again? It won't break.
Moses: O.K. [drops objects. They hit the ground at roughly the same time] I think the tablet still hit first.
God: That is just air resistance. Next time we will use your head. Anyway, gravity is a force that is exerted from the very center of the Earth. At the center of the Earth is a huge mass that is tightly compacted. You know how when you pick up wet sand, you can crush it between your hands into your hands into a smaller denser ball?
God: Good. Now imagine all of the grains of sands across the Earth crushed into the same size ball.
Moses: [closes eyes. Sways back and forth] Hhhhmmmmmmm. I do not mean to offend you your eminence, but I do not understand how that is possible. I have been to Egypt, there is sand as far as the eye can see, yet you pile up all that sand, it is still much larger than the largest pyramids.
God: Yes, I know that it is hard to conceptualize, but I am trying to explain to you the power of gravity. It was gravity that created the Earth.
Moses: But, I thought you created it?
God: Yes, but only evanescently. You think I want to be a burning bush? I would much rather be a cougar, or a Tyrannosauruses Rex, that would scare the hell out of you, hell, I would rather be a camel. The world works according to certain rules that even I cannot change. One soul per body. I cannot push out the camel's soul for my own gleeful purposes. That is the essence of free will. [whimsically] But maybe, if I could have a son, a child, part me, with a tangible presence on the earth, carrying out my dreams, a messiah maybe . . . [trailing off]. But, that is a discussion for another day. I created the universe. I created physics. A nudge here, a nudge there is all it took once I figured out the math. Moses, I figured out how to get three atoms of oxygen to bond with each other.
Moses: Is atom like gravity?
God: Adam? We have not even finished the creation of Earth yet. Don't get ahead of me.
Moses: My deepest regrets at having offended you your illustriousness.
God: Don't do it again. The mass, at the center of earth is what exerts gravity. It is a force that goes off equally in every direction. And before you ask, the Earth is round. Just accept that as fact.
Moses: Round? Huh. I mean, interesting your um . . . godliness.
God: So this dense mass formed, and it pulled lots of other matter to it through gravity. So, you understand gravity now right Moses?
Moses: Yes sir.
God: Good. Because your understanding of gravity is essential to the rest of the story. Gravity is how all the stars were formed, how the sun was formed, the moon, and of course the Earth. You understand this yes?
Moses: Yes. Crystal Clear.
God: OK. Now, we have to go back to before the Earth was created. Before the Universe was created. In the beginning, there was just me. And I had a thimble. And inside the thimble was all the matter ever created.
Moses: Wow. So, if the Earth fit in the thimble, then how big are you?
God: NO! It was a thimble that is the same size as a thimble that you have. Just an ordinary thimble. Like the one Aaron "borrowed" from Miriam. Remember the sand analogy? Same thing, just more matter in a tiny space. The power of gravity. Is this making any sense?
Moses: It is your divine word. I heard sometimes you speak in riddles. I am slow of wit. I know the riddle about what is more beautiful than your face, but I am having trouble solving how you can fit the Earth inside a thimble. Unless it is a very large thimble of course.
God: Oh, Moses smell the roses. It is not a riddle. Follow this. All matter was in the thimble. I exploded the thimble. All matter spread throughout the universe as space dust and gas. Some dust and gases formed clouds. At the center of these clouds, the dust and gases came together to form hugely dense areas. Like the sand. As they got more dense, its gravity increased. At the center, the core pulled in gas, and eventually became the Sun. Further out, more dust came together to become the Earth. Now this all happened over millions of years. It is a very slow, and lonely, process. But, eventually, all that swirling dust formed the Earth as you see it now, thanks to it being the exact right distance from the Sun, among other things. Understand?
Moses: I thought dust was created by dead skin cells? Is that part of the riddle?
God: Damn you Moses! One more mistake out of you, no matter how trivial, and you are barred from entering the holy land. Seriously. [muttering] I knew I should have waited for the Greeks.
Moses [crying]: Oh Holiest of Gods, I mean the one and only true God, I mean, my Master, I am your humble servant, please do not smite me down as I bow before you, on my hands and knees, I beg of you, for I am fallible, I falter in front of your brilliance, for I am weak, unfit to hear your divine prose, I am but one man, and you are all men, I am not worthy to appear in your presence, please, for I will let my people go, you can find them a new shepard, but spare my life, for even now, I will express unworthiness by kissing your feet, placing my face in the fire, to kiss the base of this magnificent bush, and--
God: Get up Moses. Sheesh. Have some dignity. That was a just a test. Yeah, a test. Or, a riddle. No, just a test.
Moses: [still weeping, wiping snot from his nose] Did I pass?
God: Oh yeah, you passed. Passed with flying colors.
Moses: I learn at your feet, oh great one.
God: Sure you do. You learn. Close your eyes. . . . Here is the lesson. There is no truth but the truth as I give it to you. There is no meaning but the meaning I subscribe. Now listen and listen carefully. This is my truth to tell. Memorize it. Share it. Spread it. For this is how I created heaven and Earth. On the first day, I looked at what I had to work with. Not much. Water. Some firmament. I moved across the Earth taking stock. On the second--
Moses: I do not mean to interrupt your sacred narrative, but was this during the day or at night?
God: Oh yeah, forgot that part. On that first day, I said let there be light. That made night and day. Certainly it had nothing at all to do with the Earth's rotation's rotation around the Sun. So that first day, surveyed the Earth, made night and day, and took a nap. That second day, I separated the firmament and the Earth, to make Heaven and Earth. Oh, and I made the sky blue. Do you want to hear about diffuse sky radiation?
Moses: [quizzical uncomprehending look]
God: Okaay. I put some water in the sky and left some water on the earth. On the third day, I called the Earth the Earth and the water the Sea. But when you retell this Moses, try to make this day sound, oh I don't know, busier somehow.
Moses: Like, you planted grass that day too?
God: Sure, that works. Thanks Mose. The Fourth day I made seasons and dabbled more with night and day. Night was too dark, so I figure out a way to reflect light to make most nights not so dark. The next day I filled the seas with all the creatures therein and the land with animals that were the size of 250 men put together.
Moses: No way. That is unpossible. That animal would be, well larger than the pyramids!
God: Yeah, sure, that was another riddle. No giant animals. Just birds. So what day are we on here?
Moses: Fish and fowl were the fifth. Did you take Shabbos on the sixth?
God: No, that is the seventh day. I still had one more day of hard work left. On the sixth I uh, shit, did I make cows yet?
Moses: No your excellency.
God: I made cows on the sixth day, and a bunch of other animals that walk on the land. Then I made man and said, Man, all this is yours. Enjoy.
Moses: Wow, you truly are a great god. Created all of this in only six days. An amazing Earth that provides us with sustenance and a temperate climate and a night that lasts justs as long as I can sleep. It is mind-boggling how perfect you got it. But God, why are the Egyptians so evil to the Jews?
God: Oh, Moses. I made man in my image. I have free will. Man has free will. And now, I shall tell you what a God does with his free will . . .
[scene closes on Moses sitting cross-legged, staring intently into the burning bush, as the Sun slowly sets in the background]
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I have conditionally graduated from law school. I still have one grade outstanding, but I sure as hell did not write a 43 page paper with the intention of getting an "F", so I think that I am permitted to put "Quasi-Dr." on my letterhead now.
Unfortunately, my utter laziness caught up with me this semester. The two exams I took were multiple choice which seriously inhibits my utilization of the one talent I can genuinely attribute to law school, bull-shitting. One exam was so hard, there is no point in discussing it. But I did well enough on it.
The other exam was easy, except for about 10 of the 70 or so questions. All those questions came from a class that I skipped. Being lazy, I did not bother to get anyone's notes for that class, figuring that a) there would only be three or four questions from that class and b) if push came to shove, I would survey the statute book during the exam and find the right answer.
So, I was wrong; on both counts. Some of the statutes necessary to determine the proper answer were not in the statute book (it was only state statutes, and some questions referenced federal statutes). I had the textbook with me, but that proved just as worthless. I suppose there was a reason that there was no assigned reading for that class. Conversely, some of the statutes that were needed were in the statute book. That helped, the annotations however did not. For all of the questions that had an answer contained in a statute I had access to, some of the annotations clearly contradicted the plain language of the statute. So, like a good lawyer, I looked at the most recent cases, the effective date of the statute, and what the statute really said. (Remember, this is while I am taking the exam). In quite a few cases, the statue and the annotations simply did not jive. Needing to make a decision on how to answer the question (already narrowed between two answers), I drew on my prior experience that annotations fucking suck. Numerous times I have seen annotations (at least for the states), fuck up the true holding of the court. So, I went with the language of the statute.
But who knows if that was right or wrong. I could have just as easily screwed up another part of the exam (I did skip about five classes, but most of the stuff was easy. This particular class was hard because there was no text/statute to help understand it). So I got a B+ on that exam. Even though I have known that grade for a week, I am still a little annoyed. At myself really (even though, I had to attend a mandatory function during the class in question). Should have tried harder. Should have gotten notes. Should haves are not going to help me now; now that the 4.01 dream is dead. For the first time ever in law school, my GPA is actually going to go down, regardless of the grade in the remaining class. Annoying; humbling.
Now, I am stuck in IL studying for the IL bar. It is in a good location. There is absolutely nothing out here to distract me, other than watching Cubs games everyday, though the mute button helps limit that distraction. I am spending about 8 hours a day studying (for the last two anyway), trying to study my way through the annoyance of my final law school semester. Or at least force my way through laziness. It is tough though, after reading black letter law for five hours, I lose the ability to focus my eyes. I figure this might be a bonus though, because with double vision I read everything twice. Win-Win.
Yeah, that is enough for now. Over under on the next post is 13 days. Place your bets.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Don't let the timestamp at the bottom fool you. It is about 5:30 a.m. right now. In about three hours I will be taking my first final. I have had about a week to study for it, but did nothing of substance until a couple days ago.
Around 11:30 tonight (last night?) I was halfway through the final read through of my 103 page outline and realized that there was no way I was sleeping tonight without some help. Help comes in many forms. My desired sleeping aid is Tylenol PM. That was out because it takes at least two hours to kick in and knocks me out for about eight hours. Nyquil was also available, but anyone familiar with Denis Leary knows that a Nyquil coma does not relent to even the most fastidious of alarms. That left one alternative, Alcohol. Granted, drinking the night before an exam is never a good idea, but a couple of drinks to tire oneself out cannot hurt.
So I had a couple drinks. Got through the rest of my outline and went to bed. But bed did not take. My mind was racing, running through how all the damn articles of the UCC intersected with each other. Make no mistake, I was tired, but my mind does not bend to the will of my exhausted limbs and torso. After an hour visualizing the flow charts for forged indorsements and presentment warranties, I gave up. Granted, that was about 4:45 a.m. Even if I fell asleep when I wanted to, I was only look at an two hours (2 1/2 if I slept in) of sleep. At 4:45 it seemed reasonable that I would probably be sharper mentally without sleep that I would be with an hour and a half of sleep. After all, the 3.4 I got in undergrad was a direct result of taking exams upon 24 waking hours.
Of course, I am much older now (at least five years), but I refuse to bow down to the necessity of sleep. If marines can go 96 hours without sleep, I can make it 23. After all, I spent the last week getting at least 10 hours a night. I should be good, what with my coffee, and my soon to be run to the gas station for red bull and Five Hour Energy Drink, followed by a McDonalds bagel and coffee. I will probably piss every 30 minutes during the exam, but it is a small price to pay.
Oh and none of that is the key to getting an A. This is the trick. About 13 minutes before the exam is scheduled to start, I put on Flying At Tree Level 1.0 by Brand New. Then I listen to Jet Black New Year by Thursday. Those two songs get me properly amped to take an exam.
That is all.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
This is the time of year where I write an essay telling everyone to watch the hockey playoffs. Usually it involves tens, if not fifteens, of youtube clips. Well, none of that this year. Except for a short essay of course. But sadly, it is not about the playoffs.
You may know that my team is the Blackhawks. And essentially, for the last nine years, or ever since I graduated from high school, the Hawks have slowly been killing my hockey soul. The team sucked, the ownership sucked, and basically everything about the Hawks was pathetic. Original Six to Original Shit (or something like that). I still paid attention even though I have spent seven of the last nine hockey seasons out of the state. I could not pick a new team. I am no sports bigamist.
This year though, things were different in Chicago. Ironically, it began with death. As a consumer and a fan who spent around 25 years devoted the Hawks, I am not sad that Bill Wirtz died. It is nice that he did charity work, took care of his former players (at least the guys that got paid jack shit in 60s and 70s), and was responsible for 1/3 of the alcohol imported into Illinois. Oh, and was a multi-billionaire. But he single-handedly destroyed hockey in Chicago. And, together with Jeremy Jacobs, is responsible for hockey moving from being America's fourth sport to a fringe sport.
And so it was that "Dollar Bill" was gone. Rocky Wirtz took his place. Toews became my favorite player, and along with Kane, are the best nineteen year olds in the league. This is new. This is huge. (And it bears mentioning that they have this guy named John McDonough running the show.)
We thought we had a foundation in the past. We remember Tyler Arnason, Mark Bell, and Kyle Calder, the ABC Line, that was going to lead the Hawks to the elusive promised land (Not the Stanley Cup, we just want to make the playoffs). That did not pan out. In truth, they were all only average, at best players. (check out their stats this year. Arnason, the best of the bunch had 31 points.)
But Toews and Kane. These guys are the real deal. They are own Crosby and Malkanin. OK, they are not that good, yet, but they are both the real deal. And Bill will not be around to run them out of town like he did to Roenick and Belfour. Toews and Kane make Chicago a destination for free agents again. Because, hey this is novel, Hawks home games will be televised. Attendance is up. I went to this game, and it was un-fucking-believable. The best one I have ever been to.
In short, for the first time since 1992-ish, Hockey is back in Chicago. And for the first time, I know that I will not be.
You see, this was going to be my divorce. A clean break. I would be a hockey widow, albeit for a short period of time, but unattached nonetheless.
The Washington Capitals, whose history is just about as disastrous as the Hawks, have this dude on their team named Alexander Ovechkin. And he is fucking good. Not Crosby good, but close. Very close. And he will likely be playing a 20 minute metro ride from where I live. Over the summer, the first week I was in DC, I went to a hockey Bar in Alexandria to watch a game of the Stanley Cup finals. And though the bar was small, hockey is alive and well in DC, even though the Caps missed the playoffs that year. This year they did not, but barely (do not let the three seed fool you, the got that because they won the divsion, and in reality, were only 3 points better than the Hawks).
Had I made the conversion then, it would have been understandable. If I declared in May '07 that I renounced my Hawk Fandom and moved on to the Caps, you all would have understood. But now, I cannot do that. Hell, after Dollar Bill died, I probably would have shifted back to the Hawks anyway.
But still, it is decisions like this that can shape the rest of our life. Slightly at least. I will probably still go several Caps games, they will be my back up team when in ten years this Hawk thing gives me an ulcer and probably colon cancer. But until then, I will just have to make sure that the Hawks are not playing on WGN that night.
Friday, April 04, 2008
One of my fellow classmates asked me if I was going to graduate with a 4.0. I told him that I was not sure. As of right now, my GPA is a shade below a 4.0. My school, in its infinite wisdom, gives a slighter higher points rating for an A+, which, at least in the abstract, makes achieving higher than a 4.0 a possibility. If I like anything, I like projects. Especially projects that really mean nothing. So I set about determining if I could achieve a 4.0.
Doing this required my first furlough into my previous grades. Do not get me wrong, I eagerly anticipate getting my grades, but once I get it, I forget about it and move onto other things. I have a very micro view of grades. This project, which really only took about ten minutes, was my first foray into a macro view of my grades. And what I learned was startling.
I have spent the last four semesters making up for my first semester. In each of the last four, I have had a GPA equal to or greater than 4. But my first semester, while good (probably excellent for most), put me in a position of fighting an uphill battle for the rest of my 2.5 years in law school.
But, I am happy to report, that I can achieve a 4.0, and possibly higher. Granted to accomplish this, I need at least one A+, and two A's. A tough accomplishment when you look at it like that. I am not too worried about getting A's, but getting the A+ is going to require some extra work. I mean, last semester, I had two graded classes, did nothing but show up most of the time to class, studied my ass off for two days for each exam, and got an A in each.
But seeing that a potential 4.01 or 4.02 is within reach, it almost makes me giddy. Almost because I do not know if I can get myself into that kind of study mode again. [At least in law school, all bets are off for the bar].
When I came to law school, and the succeeding two years, the goals were simple. Get the best grades, get the best job. Well, I got 1A down, and though it is arguable if I got 1B, it does not really matter anymore. I have a job. I just have to graduate. I could get D's in my remaining classes, and still graduate with a GPA over 3.5. I still get my degree. I still start working when the summer ends.
The motivation I once felt is completely gone. Right now I am in this quasi really want to be done with school, really do not want to be done at all state. It was the same thing when I graduated from Undergrad,* only now more pronounced. Because I know that working full-time sucks, paying rent sucks, paying car insurance sucks. Basically growing up sucks. When is the next testing date for the MCAT?
So lazy me wants to dick around, and not give a shit, while studious me wants to get perfection. And when put like that, even lazy me sits up and takes notice. That lead me to do something I have never done before. I put all my CALI Awards up on the wall, right above my bed. Getting those awards actually felt good, considering the work I put into getting them. They are up just to remind me that, yeah, you put forth the effort, you can get what you desire (sort of, Elisha Cuthbert still is not answering my e-mails).
Well, that, and it is a reminder of what I gave up to get them. Considering it is a Friday night and I am not going anywhere. At the least, my GPA will represent the fact that, yeah, I was here the last three years.
*It is funny how big a deal people make about getting a 4.0 in undergrad. If I had put forth half of the effort in Undergrad that I did in Law School, I easily could have had a 4.0. Live and Learn right.
Monday, March 31, 2008
None of you listened to me back when I told you to watch Arrested Development. Well, you now have the opportunity to kick yourselves for not watching on your own time. Every episode, free (with the exception of about 45 seconds of commercials), streaming on your computer, for, did I mention, free, whenever you want. On Hulu.
This made me do a double take.
The guys at KSK did a book draft (it is a long offseason), and the fourth pick made me rub my eyeballs to make sure they were working.
Will Leitch, the editor of deadspin, picked fourth and chose The Long Walk. I have read that book so many times, I practically have it memorized. It was shocking to see it show up there. It is not like it is a classic of American literature or anything.
[I will now go back to finish reading that post].
Saturday, March 29, 2008
ESPN has chronicled the last 99 years of the Cubs and why they could not win. It is way too depressing for me to read, so some one please send me the cliff notes.
[f.y.i. CUBS SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111!!!!!!!!! rofl!!1111!!!!!! lmao!!!!1111!!!!! is not accetable]
Oh, and for the two (one?) person that still checks this blog, I highly, highly recommend the Tucker Max, "Hey. I am making movie" blog. It is fantastic.
Monday, March 03, 2008
My memory is some what shitty. I think back to high school, and I really cannot remember much of it. I draw upon my high school hockey memory bank and the only things I remember are the times I utterly embarrassed myself (it was only twice, I swear), or did something halfway decent (e.g. my first goal, and . . . uhhh, there was uh, that time I got a penalty for kicking some kid's stick into the neutral zone (total bullshit by the way)).
Going back further is even more fruitless. Maybe not. I just surprised myself by remembering the names of my K-5 teachers. But with the exception of the time we went to the Mall to show the community how we learned in fifth grade (oh and the time I failed a math quiz because I was so ingrained with the subtraction process that I could not do 15-7 without crossing out the one and carrying it over, even though it resulted in a mirror image of the question. . . live and learn you know) elementary school is a blur. We could try talking about college, but as my IL bar app. proved, I could not even remember which professors taught which class.
Hell, I cannot even remember what I had for lunch two days ago. I could probably make an educated guess based on the food in my pantry, but by no means would I make a wager on it.
So then, the other day, one of my friends had a picture appear on one of those social networking sites. It was a picture of him and President Clinton shaking hands. And in the deep recesses of memory, I pulled out a nugget of knowledge that had long been dormant.
Back in Clinton's first term, when I was about 13 years old, I began to have these things called hormones raging through my body. I eventually learned that the only to prevent myself from walking around with an erection all day was to make it spit every now and then. As luck would have it, my father also had a Playboy subscription at the time and chose to store his Playboy's in his chest of drawers. As was my wont at the time, I would occasionally borrow the magazine and take care of business; generally between the hours of 3 and 5, when I was home but my folks were not. Ahhh, I have fond memories of Drew Barrymore's pictorial (link is wikipedia proof, not actually pictures).
But at some point during this time frame of stealthily pilfering my pop's mags, I would get bored and read the articles. And one of these Playboy's was a few pages on the year in sex (1994? I would guess that, it was probably in the same issue as Drew's pictorial. Needless to say, that was my favorite one). Included among Anna Nicole marrying that old oil guy and Elle Macpherson doing something fucking hot and the cast of Seinfeld in bed with the sheets pulled up to their necks was an innocuous photo of President Clinton shaking hands with some dame. Included was the quote (as near as I can remember) "Shaking hands with the President is a full body sexual experience."
So when I saw my friend shaking the hand of Mr. Clinton, the memory of that singular passage came back, I immediately Googled it, found a reference, and laid a solid gold comment on the picture.
Then I got to thinking about this. I read that 13 years ago. Right now, I am really trying to remember what I did last week, and am mostly shooting blanks.
Memory is a funny thing. But I am confident when there is something that I need to know at one particular moment of my existence, I will be able to recall it. That has to be why I do so well on exams, yet constantly forget to call people back.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
A couple days ago, my roommate gave a burned DVD with two movies and 500 songs, which are purporting to be the 500 top rock n roll songs of all time. I watched the movies (Across The Universe, which is fucking awesome, and No Country for Old Men, which is fucking awesome until it ends--sorry, I am not an arteest, I want fucking closure, but the Sports Guy wrote about the annoying ending, so go find that if you wish), and decided to check out the 500 greatest rock songs of all time.
So at first glance, the 500 top rock n roll songs seem all good. There is 36 Beatles song (about 6 of which I did not already have), a bunch of Stones (I am not a Stones fan, but I can Jump that Jack Flash with the best of them), almost as much The Who (who are better than the Stones in my Opinion), and a ton of Led Zepplin (eh, good but whatever). Clearly though, the Beatles come out ahead, especially when you add the George Harrison, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney songs (totals 45; that is 9% of the greatest rock songs ever written by three guys (sorry Ringo)).
My only problem with the list is that Heart appears three times. Why does this bother me? Because it clearly means that Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and the two other great bands from the 90s are no where to be found (U2 makes two appearances, with Sunday Bloody Sunday and New Years Day). So, I am quite positive that this list must have been composed around 1985 (R.E.M. is absent also). Which is fine with me. Hell, I need to build up my classic rock library. I love Elton John (not in that way), and I suddenly went from zero Elton John songs to 11. That is a whole record!*
But anyways, after I finished throwing shit around my room at 2 a.m. because the ending of No Country for Old Men pissed me off to no end, I decided to add these 500 songs to my iTunes library. That was easy enough, until it turned out that the artist was listed as "Various Artist" and the track numbers were non-existent. This is unacceptable. So I just spent the last three hours meticulously typing in the proper song and artist names as well as the proper track number out of 500. Once I got to track #50, I wanted to stop, but realistically, there is no way I could. No way I would be able to sleep knowing that there were 450 dangling orphans out there. Fuck you crazy mental idiosyncrasies.
Anyway, I will probably still post sporadically, when there is something on my mind. But I could really give two shits about law school. I just want it to be over. And I want the bar to be over. And I want it to be the two months of nothing I have between the bar and the day I start my first ever real full-time job. Course, that time will go by fast, but still--I will take laziness to new heights those two months. They will write books about me.
But, I took down all of my previous posts because at this point, there are things I do not want an internet record of, and instead of reading all 200 entries (or whatever it was) it was easier to take them all down. I still have them, and may post them in, oh, let's say December, but no guarantees. Until then, I will try to be more guarded about what I write.
And in keeping with that tune, I have never been diagnosed with any mental health disorder. The whole OCD subject line is just a joke or something or other.
*Also of note--One Beach Boys song. Bull shit. I am not a huge Beach Boys fan, but that is a slight and a half. Additionally, the list seems to forget the roots of Rock n Roll. I am not an Elvis fan, but come on. And I was so pissed that Buddy Holly did not make an appearance on this list that I used one of my iTunes gift card X-mas gifts to purchase some Buddy Holly album from iTunes (it had 26 songs, not a bad deal).
Friday, February 15, 2008
Friday, February 01, 2008
Then I realized that my neighborhood where I live at law school is also full of brick streets. Sure, it is a nice throwback, but the uneven pavement that fucks up my suspension and causes my car to scrape brick is decidedly unfavorable. So I had to ask myself, why do I surround myself with brick streets when I know they suck? Do I have some sort of brick fetish? I have nothing against bricks. I am ambivalent towards bricks. But I never really looked at a brick that way, you know? Think about it; a nice rectangular shape. Fits into places. Makes building easy. Maybe I could see myself in bed with one.
OK, definitely not. I cannot help that cheap rents follow brick streets. But I got my the final documents I needed for my bar today. I was able to obtain my final undergrad professor recommendation yesterday (after much more work than should have been necessary (at least for lazy people like me)). And I am $712 poorer thanks to the egregiously large IL Bar filing fee. But I have jumped through the first hurdle. I recalled all of my prior bad acts, found two professors who would tell the Bar that I got a "B" in their classes, and managed to manipulate six people into being character references. Not bad for a days work.
But here is the thing. You look at anyone's life under the microscope and you will be disappointed. The only way we learn is to make mistakes. Everyone fucks up, and they want us to get all paranoid that a couple of fuck-ups in teh past my screw up my entire life. I am not talking now to the people who never been arrested or had a speeding ticket, but you all should know, that when someone is too perfect, you can tear them down too. I think the bar application is more about self-awareness.
I have never been convicted of a felony, but I have two major misdemeanors and a couple speeding tickets on my record. On top of that, I was disciplined by my undergrad for telling a cop I was 21 when only 19 when he caught me with a beer. This resulted in my undergrad charging my with a dishonesty violation. Had I been to law school before this happened, and if the school was required by the 14th to give me due process, I would know that I have a right to lie to that cop. Sure, lying to a cop is not the best idea, but the fifth amendment is premised on the fact that we are allowed to lie to cops.
A couple years ago I got a public intoxication. See, I had learned my lesson. That lesson was, Do not lie to cops. So, I told the cop the truth. I was on a porch and quite drunk. The cop wanted to give me and the others on the porch a public intox. I explained, as calmly as I could, why the cop could not give me a public intox. I was on a fucking porch. There is a zone around the home that is considered to be the home. We call it curtilage. The cop did not appreciate my reasoned, though slurred, exposition of the law, put me in the back of the cop car and later gave me a ticket.
What did the other law students on the porch do? Nothing. At least I fought tyranny. And the sad end to this parable is that I ended up paying the goddamn ticket because it was only $80 and would have been a major inconvenience for me to show up to court (cost benefit analysis), and everyone else got the charges dismissed. Why? Because they were on a fucking porch.
This is what I have learned as a lawyer. There is always a story. Rarely is anything the same. In appellate eyes they are the same, but at the human level, there are no set of circumstances that are the same. All the red marks on my bar app have a rational explanation, and I only wish the opportunity to be heard. I only hope that my interviewers listen to me on the human level rather than the disinterested final disposition level.
Anyway, I filed my IL character and fitness application today. I am officially registered to take the IL bar. I cut it about as close as possible, tendering my documents to an overnight carrier at about 3:30 p.m. today. Thank god. one less thing on my mind.
But to be safe, as a cheesy as it sounds, I think I am going to walk into my character interview and play The Reason by Hoobastank for the attorneys (them being the persons the song is directed towards):
I'm not a perfect person
As many things I wish I didn't do
But I continue learning
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know
I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
and the reason is you