Sunday, December 30, 2007

Music Reviews

Santa (and my B-day, and Christmas and B-day money) brought me four new albums this week! So I thought I would review them for you!


One Cell in the Sea by A Fine Frenzy
This album is okay. I like her voice and her ethereal style, but there are only a few songs that really catch my attention. I really like "Last of Days," though. There's just something about that song and it's sound that I really like. Her lyrics don't really grab my, but I do like the musical stylings. That being said, you can download the entire album (of fourteen songs!) for only $7.99 on iTunes!


Begin to Hope by Regina Spektor
I just got this one but so far I like it a lot!


Translated from Love by Kelly Willis
I heart Kelly Willis. This album is still growing on me, but "Don't Know Why" and "Translated from Love" are immediate standouts, in my opinion.


Dwight Sings Buck by Dwight Yoakam
My brother-in-law got this album for Christmas and I liked it so much I bought it for myself! I really like Dwight Yoakam's voice, and all the songs on this album are great! I have found them stuck in my head all week long!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Memories

Don't the boys look cute in their reindeer antlers?



I wonder how they like them...


Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Xmas (Finals Are Over)

A summation of my finals experience this semester:

Ouch. Vaseline, please?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Question

Q: How long will it take four 3Ls to figure out the difference between subject-matter, personal, specific, and general jurisdiction?

A. Too damn long.

(For the record, I was right in regards to subject-matter jurisdiction, and it took me quite a long time to convince the others.)

A Point to Ponder

Is it a coincidence that Microsoft Word's spellcheck tried to turn "depe├žage" into "defecate"?

Me thinks not.

More Thoughts

I realize that it's called Die Hard for a reason, but I can only suspend belief so much. Falling out of a helicopter and getting up and walking away? Getting kicked in the face multiple times, then slammed into a shelf only to get up with full strength, and still maintain full fighting abilities after getting hit by a car and ran through multiple walls while on the hood of said car? Sorry, Live Free or Die Hard, I've seen enough UFC fights to know that real people go down with significantly less effort.

Also, it is somewhat concerning that I'm more preoccupied with mentally planning my own birthday celebration than studying for my Conflicts of Law final. Hmm...

Thoughts

Turns out there are some downsides to staying in your apartment sans television or internet access for about two days straight. One, you really have no idea what is going on in the world, or even your own country. There are massive winter storms in the midwest? Huh. Good to know. Two, you learn that you don't need the Internet or television to avoid studying for finals. Books and DVDs work juuuust fine.

As does a podcast subscription to Oyez. Because I was avoiding studying at all costs, and because I'm a huge dork, I listened to the entire oral argument in Boumediene v. Bush on Monday. In case you are not familiar, that is the case dealing in part with the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Here's what I learned:

-Scalia's a dick. Big surprise.
-Breyer isn't too good at hiding the ball on what his opinion is. But he was kick-ass in questioning the government's attorney.
-The amount of questions each justice is inversely related to their predicted vote. Roberts and Scalia hounded the Act's challenger, and said almost nothing to the government's attorney. Breyer and Souter were pretty quiet with the challenger, then let loose on the government. Damn you, Kennedy, with your even split!
-I wonder if the government's attorney was pissed that he had to be the one to argue this case. He sure sounded pissed at times.
-Bless her heart, but Ginsburg's questions severely disrupt the flow of the argument. You almost wonder if she just woke up and decided to ask a question she had thought up ten minute before.
-I'm pretty certain that Thomas was the only justice who didn't ask a single question.

Here's my favorite except from Breyer:

JUSTICE BREYER: They get additional process. The question, I guess, is whether it is an adequate substitute for having withdrawn the writ of habeas corpus.

On that question, suppose that you are from Bosnia, and you are held for six years in Guantanamo, and the charge is that you helped Al-Qaeda, and you had your hearing before the CSRT.

And now you go to the D.C. Circuit, and here is what you say: The CSRT is all wrong. Their procedures are terrible. But just for purposes of argument, I concede those procedures are wonderful, and I also conclude it reached a perfectly good result.

Okay? So you concede it for argument's sake. But what you want to say is: Judge, I don't care how good those procedures are. I'm from Bosnia. I've been here six years. The Constitution of the United States does not give anyone the right to hold me six years in Guantanamo without either charging me or releasing me, in the absence of some special procedure in Congress for preventive detention.

That's the argument I want to make. I don't see anything in this CSRT provision that permits me to make that argument. So I'm asking you: Where can you make that argument?


GENERAL CLEMENT: I'm not sure that he could make that argument.

JUSTICE BREYER: Exactly.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

My Dream of Being a Pig Farmer's Wife

When I was little, I had my life all planned out. I was going to be a nurse, and I was going to marry the love of my four-and five year-old life, Kyle. My pet name for him was Tuh-tee. I don't know why. Kyle was going to be a pig farmer, which I thought was just perfect because pigs were both of our favorite animal. It could only be fate.

Now I'm thinking marrying a pig farmer might not be such a good idea after all.



(Also, Kyle got married when he was like eighteen, which is probably not uncommon for people who have big childhood dreams of being a pig farmer, now that I think of it...)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Defense of a Certain Professor

Those friends from my law school will understand this post, the rest of you might not care.

Having taken Constitutional Law from this professor last year and Federal Courts this year, I feel I am as qualified as anyone to speak about his teaching credentials. I should probably start with a disclaimer that it is rather difficult for me to dislike or talk negatively about a professor. If he or she is a horrible person but a good teacher, I will respect them for that. If he or she is a nice person but a horrible teacher, I will think kindly of them for that.

I haven't spent enough time outside of class with this professor to know whether or not he is horrible or nice in his personality, so I'm not qualified to speak on that issue. And I will admit that I didn't like his teaching style at the beginning of last year's Con Law class. I didn't like his style, so I wrote him off and paid little or no attention during class. Unfortunately for me, I also paid little or no attention to the reading until the end of the semester when I realized how badly I had screwed myself over, not only because I had not been reading, but also because it wasn't until then that I started to understand the professor's teaching style.

I hear so many people say that he is a bad teacher and that they don't learn from him. I personally wonder about that. I came out of his Con Law class with a thorough enough understanding of the content of the law to get a B in the class. I learned the elements of an Equal Protection claim. I learned the theories of Hobbes and Locke. I learned about fundamental rights. I learned about the Takings Clause. If I learned all of that from spacing out 3/4 of the semester, how did everyone else learning "nothing"? Let's drop the hyperboles, okay? The truth usually is not that you didn't learn anything, but rather because you didn't like the way he taught it to you.

He expressly told our class that his teaching method is one that assumes that we've all read the materials and come to class prepared. I often didn't do that, and that's why I wasn't able to appreciate his methods until very late into the class. Personally I appreciate the fact that he goes deeper than just the black letter law of the case, just the holdings. I like that he points of inconsistencies between holdings written by the same justices, how he points out hypocrisy. If all I wanted from class was a regurgitation of the case, I could read it by myself in my spare time. But we're paying tuition for a reason.

Yes, he's a liberal. So what? I've been through five semesters of law school now, and he is the only professor I've ever had here that made his personal political views a part of class. The conservatives in my class just go apeshit over this, and I just roll my eyes. Sure, it's easy for me not to be bothered because I agree with a lot of what he says, but do these conservatives really expect everyone to coddle them? So you have ONE teacher in law school that makes it clear what he thinks of the majority on the Supreme Court. Can your psyche not handle that? Grow up, I say.

I honestly believe that he's not making his "far left" views clear just for the hell of it, but to point out the opposite extreme in order that he can get the students to fall somewhere in the middle. Yes, he refuses to concede his point to anyone that speaks up in class, but that's just part of his style. What are the conservatives so afraid of? That just because our professor is liberal all the students are going to accept his view hook, line, and sinker? Give us a little credit—we can think for ourselves and decide what we believe with or without the professors opinion. Most of the cases are written from the "right" (i.e., conservative) perspective, so why shouldn't the professor bring up the other perspective? Why not try to balance the scales?

Right now everyone is up in arms about him because of some snafu on their final exam. Look, I just took a final from him, too, and it sucked. I felt like I was sucker punched. But even if I were to concede that it wasn't a well-written or executed test, that doesn't change the fact that I learned a hell of a lot about federal courts from him. I have little to no patience with students who are in a professional program and whine and complain about their grades. Yes, grades matter, but learning matters more. It is spoiled brats like that who drove the brilliant organic chemistry professor at my undergraduate chemistry program out of teaching Organic Chemistry. The doctors kids that wanted to follow in daddy's footprints were getting C's—how would they ever get into medical school!—and they complained so much and so many took a summer O. Chem program to avoid the professors class that the administration caved. Now he teaches intro-level chemistry to the general studies students and the nursing and dental hygiene majors. A professor—who is not an organic chemist—is left with teaching O. Chem. And every single student in that department is missing out on the opportunity to learn Organic Chemistry with a deep and thorough understanding of the subject matter.

I'm not comparing our professor here to my Organic Chemistry professor, but I am comparing the complaining students to the students that drove him out. Haven't we all had to deal with things in life that aren't necessarily pleasant? That don't come easy? Haven't we all had professors that could be better teachers? For pete's sake, we're supposedly going to be attorneys! Can't we handle some adversity without falling apart and whining all the time? So it's not easy for you to learn from his methods. Well, I am able to learn from them, and I'm probably not alone. So stop complaining—the world (and the law school) does not revolve around you.

That's my piece.

Hmm

I am somewhat amused and dismayed that the second more frequent keyword search that leads people to my blog is "I hate law school." Someone even used "I hate hate hate law school."

I don't hate law school, so why is it leading them here? Apparently I hate enough things and mention law school enough to cause them to land on my humble little site. Huh.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My Marathon Day of Finals

After taking two law school finals in one day, only one thing comes to mind. If you love the movie She's The Man even one half as much as I do, then you can practically quote it and you will recall the scene where Viola wakes up in the middle of the night so she can shower in the boys dormitory and all she says is...

"I get to take a shower, I get to take a shower."

Seriously. I just unloaded Lord knows how much information from my brain, and all I can think is that I am one big ball of grease. But who takes a shower the morning before an 8 a.m. final that they ARE ABSOLUTELY NOT PREPARED FOR?

In retrospect, my decision not to spread my finals out was not necessarily a bad one. One of my classmates just told me that I am "bad ass" and he's going to call me "The Terminator" from now on.

I don't know... I just seem to remember that in undergrad I had to double up on finals all the time. And that was back when I took hard stuff like Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Calculus I, Calculus II, Developmental Biology, Cell Biology, and Genetics. Kinda puts puny little Wills and Federal Courts in perspective.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Note On Studying From Borrowed Outlines

At my law school there are legendary outlines that have been around at least three years now from a former student who pretty much wrote a treatise for each class. Seriously, we're talking about 60+ pages in 9 point font, color-coded, with graphics in some cases... it's insane. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say, "Oh, I'm just going to use the So-and-So outline," like they're talking about an E&E or something. It's kind of funny.

But this guy was not infallible, and secretly I wonder if the outlines have been diluted over the years to screw us all up, because there are inconsistencies and flat-out WRONG statements that I've seen in there. I think anyone who only relies on these outlines is a fool. Sure, they're great for gap-filling in your own outlines, but you have to know what you're looking at in order for them to be useful.

But I digress. The point of this post is really to rejoice in the fact that my mind has not been completely taken over by law school lingo. I'm looking at this outline seeing "SOL" written in a number of places. Now, to me SOL means "shit outta luck." I seriously have it in my class notes from this very class, saying, "if we use the late vesting rule, the Regents are SOL."

Apparently this outline author means "statute of limitations." Hehe. Took me a while to figure that one out.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

MPRE Musings

Braveheart says:
McDoodle did very well.

Braveheart says:
113 or something

Litigious Mind says:
She is an ethical girl

Braveheart says:
There is a direct correlation between whore-ishness and MPRE score

Litigious Mind says:
hahahaha

Braveheart says:
That explains why you and McDoodle are so high

Braveheart says:
And me and ComicBookLover have an 85

Braveheart says:
hehe

Litigious Mind says:
That is so going on my blog

At Least I'm Ethical

Well I have somewhat recovered from my weekend pity party (although my studying has suffered because of it). And the good news is that I passed the MPRE! Yay! I'm not too ethical after all!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

More Ramblings from a Disappointed Law Student

I'm starting to wonder if law is really the right thing for me. I like studying it, learning about it, etc. But I can't help but think that there is a game going on that I'm not cut out for. I've never been interested in working for a big firm, making a lot of money, or making a name for myself. All I want to do is help people. And I want to help people through the appellate process. I enjoying nothing about law school more than doing legal research and crafting a written argument for a case. It's all I want to do, it's where my passion is.

But I don't seem to be what employers are looking for.

I'm going to graduate in the top 10% of my class, with law review experience, a published case note, moot court experience, and a "best brief" award. I've done all these things so I could have the luxury of choosing a job in my area of interest upon graduation. But appellate judges don't seem want me as their clerk.

I've always bucked the system a little bit by not pursuing summer internships with big firms, and instead doing pro bono work at a public defenders office. Maybe it's time for me to buck the system a little more. I tried to play the game that they tell you to play with my credentials, the clerkship game, but it didn't work out.

I guess I just need to forget about what someone with my credentials is "supposed" to do after graduation. I thought that my experiences and interests made me a shoo-in for a clerkship, but that turned out not to be the case. Maybe they don't want someone who is genuinely, honestly, and eagerly interested in appellate work and research and writing. I don't know. All I know is that I'm pretty disillusioned right now, and that any ego that law school has built up in me has effectively been obliterated.

And what does it say about the law school system that I have accomplished so much, and yet still feel like a complete and abject failure because I will possibly graduate without a job lined up?

More on Law School Job Searches

Well, if there has been one thing I've learned from looking for a job, it's that I don't take rejection well.

At all.