Archive for October, 2008
Tomorrow is Halloween and there is a costume contest at school. Hilarious! We’re encouraged to wear costumes to class and there is also a charity auction (stuff the Profs donate like dinner with them or, well, I’m not sure what all though my Crim prof is offering a very long and rather competitive bike ride).
I LOVE doing costumes, but haven’t in quite a while. This year, I have a doozy! Amazing since I just learned about the contest on Monday. I’m not telling what it is, yet (a few regular friends have heard already…but shhhh), but I promise to post a picture tomorrow or over the weekend.
I have had to do some prep, of course, to make the costume. Yesterday, instead of getting right to work on my Property reading or finishing my assignment for Legal Skills (blech), I played with glue and glitter and, well, I don’t want to give it all away…you’ll see. Today, after class, I finished up a few things before taking a bit of time to veg in front of an episode of Law & Order and watch Obermann. Now, I’m sitting down to my reading so that, in Contracts and Civil Procedure, I can answer the tough questions tomorrow and stay on-point.
(There is a teeny hint in that, btw)
I’ve handed in my 14-page Legal Skills assignment. On Thursday, we have something else due for that class, though I can’t tell the extent of the assignment from the information provided on the syllabus. I think it looks extensive though as it is called an “Outline of the Discussion Section” of our memo.
I love law school…except for Legal Skills. It is the bane of my existence. Of course, I think we need to learn how to write memos and do research, but there has got to be a better way than how they are teaching it. For me, I’d much rather be taught about the tools for research, then given an example or two of the kinds of things we need to learn how to put together (like memos), and then given an assignment to do it–without all the intermediate steps!
Take the peer edit we did of our statement of fact sections…they guy who reviewed mine is, well, not my peer. His paper had (I am not exaggerating) probably 100 comma errors. He also got the law itself wrong–the case is about the tort of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) and he called it a “labor statute issue.”
Then there was how we did the review itself–we had to take our yellow highlighter or crayons (I am not kidding…crayons…in law school?!) and highlight the “thing doing the action” in each sentence. Yes, you and I know that as the subject…why it wasn’t called that, I have no idea. Anyway, then take the pink highlighter (or crayon) and highlight the “action word or words” in each sentence (yes, the verb/s). Make sure the “thing doing the action” comes before the “action word”! Also highlight any “it,” “he,” “she,” “they” etc. and make sure you know what it is referring to!
How about “avoid passive sentences and check your pronouns for clear antecedents” there, Sparky?
Anyway, I’m just frustrated with the class and the teacher makes it so much worse. I tried to give her a compliment yesterday when I ran into her in the hall, but she was incredibly cold in response.
So, anyway, I’m considering blowing of my afternoon class today to play catch-up and work ahead as I can. I also need to pick up a couple of things for my Halloween costume (I’m wearing it to class on Friday).
It’s 5:30 pm as I write this…and about 85 degrees (down from about 90) with 7% relative humidity and a dewpoint of 16ºF. My skin feels like it is about to peel off, it is so dry.
It was in the 50s when I walked to the bus stop this morning. Makes it kinda hard to dress.
I loathe Santa Ana season. Chandler (Raymond, not the one from Friends) definitely had it right:
Those hot dry winds that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen.
We’re just about half-way through the school term. Professors are starting to suggest trying some of the old posted exams to get an idea of what to expect for the final and they are mentioning pretty regularly that if one has not yet started to outline, well, one had better hop to it!
I’ve got my outlines started and I have been keeping up with them, mostly. Over the weekend I did some Contracts flashcards and got most of them right. I haven’t done any official practice exams yet, but I think that will be on the agenda for this weekend. And I’ve stayed up-to-date or better on all my reading.
None of this is that hard to do. It is time-intensive, of course, but not really hard. Mostly it’s fascinating and sometimes it’s even fun. But it does take time. Still, I’m also regularly blogging for the business and just got my new book out, so it is clearly possible to get the work done. It just takes the doing of it.
What amazes me is that there are clearly students who are not doing the “easy” stuff–the reading. That is the basic step to succeeding in law school! What the hell are they thinking? For example, yesterday, in Property, the prof called on someone to present the case we were to have read (and, frankly, many of us had read the case well over a week ago). The guy selected clearly had not read it (it was an easy case, too) and was trying to BS his way through it. It was painful. And it pissed me off a bit because it wasted my time. Our Property prof is a very kind man who would never humiliate a student (many of us think he’s a bit like George McFly–in a good way) but yesterday I think that lazy student could have used at least a “Well, obviously you are not prepared!” or something.
I should say that I’m still not really happy with my work/not-work balance. I don’t feel like I am being as efficient as I would like and I know that sometimes I put off doing what I need to do (like writing this now is more engaging than doing some reading I could be doing this morning). I feel like I need a better schedule, but I also think that a lot of that has to do with the dynamics of being married and going to school. It’s difficult to find the right balance. Still, I am getting my work (mostly) done and so I’m not really complaining.
At the very least, you won’t find me BSing my way through a case if I get called on.
I write this post on my lovely new MacBook. It is pretty darn smurfy. The box it came in was, however, tiny and I inadvertently kept some odd family tradition alive by taking a snap of it on my car in the parking lot of the mall where I bought it (John having done the same with their iMac purchase). Considering that is a Miata trunk, you get the idea of how teeny the box is.
I got it Wednesday evening and am already glad for the new machine–it’s lighter, faster, and gives me a temporary aura of coolness amongst my classmates. It’s also much more likely that I will take some notes on it during class, which I had been avoiding because my old machine was so loud–that is, its keyboard alone was loud enough for people to remark on it. When the iBook would kick into “jet engine mode” as I called it (the fans would get massively loud), there was no way I could have it open in class. This is much friendlier.
It is taking some getting used to–the buttonless touchpad is cool, but if you have it set to touch=click, it is very sensitive. I may have to turn off that option if I don’t get better at controlling it this way. It’s very easy to accidentally launch apps, for example.
Today I only had one class, Contracts having been cancelled again for the prof to lecture someplace else, and so I drove to school rather than taking the bus, I happily loaded my fancy bookbag with the new Mac in its well-padded pocket, and zipped down to CivPro. Class went well, even if my head did try to explode over trying to understand something about trusts that I really didn’t need to know as the point of the case for us was about notice, not trusts, and afterwards I got into the Miata with its top down and headed up the 5 for home. Music playing, the sun shining, and it being a Friday afternoon with a Legal Skills memo behind me and the weekend in front of me, I was happy. My fancy bag and Mac were riding shotgun (the bag barely fits in the trunk when full), and all seemed right with the world. The traffic was getting heavy (it was about 2:40pm…the start of rush hour on the weekend) but we were traveling over 75 easily.
Then I saw something fly out of the bed of the pickup a few cars in front of me. The way it flew, I thought it had to be a long plastic bag or something–it seemed almost floaty. And then I realized it was just aerodynamics having fun with a 5 or 6-foot metal ladder. Holy crap on a stick. It flopped long-ways between lanes (with the traffic, so to speak) as I tried to slow to anticipate how to avoid it. Then it made one last flop, flipping over its edge and landing dead center, cross-ways, in my lane directly in front of me. I had a car on both sides of me, and a Fire Chief’s truck on my tail, and no where to go, but I knew I could not clear that thing. A thought flashed through my head that if I went airborne, my bag would probably fly out and I’d lose my new Mac! (the fact that I’d probably be killed did not register until later). At the last second, I edged to the right and somehow managed to JUST miss the ladder and the Mercedes in the next lane.
This all happened in maybe 5 seconds or so.
I still have no idea how I did that. Fate smiled on the new MacBook, I think.
I’m still exhausted, but after a fun Contracts class (yes, I think that proves I’m twisted) I’m emotionally doing better than I was earlier today. And I have CivPro shortly which I usually enjoy too–even when it makes my head explode.
See, I actually enjoy my classes. I find myself, every so often, just sitting in a class thinking “I am so lucky to be here–this is FUN!” I had a moment like that in Contracts earlier. I’m pretty sure the prof noticed my odd smile and I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t think I was half-stoned or something.
Really, except for the pressure of having to do VERY well for the scholarship, it is fun to be here. I may bitch and moan about Legal Skills (a lot) but, when it comes to the substantive classes, I just love the discussion and the thinking that happens. I’m so surprised to see students playing on their laptops during class–even when totally wiped out, my brain wants in the game! I had one day in CivPro where my guts were seriously not a happy camper–before coming to class I had been running to the loo often, sorry “over-sharing” but it matters in the story. Anyway, I told the prof before class that I may run out on him and not to be insulted–that I was ill. Instead of drifting through the class, I stayed glued to my seat and asked and answered questions–mostly forgetting the odd noises and discomfort from below. How could I not? It was fascinating stuff and trying to wrap my head around it, to get the nuances and see how things might work together, or not…I just love it. Who knew issues surrounding personal jurisdiction would be so engrossing, or findings in Property or attempt in Criminal or just about everything in Contracts?!
Oh, and, I have just been approached by the school to possibly blog on their site about my 1L experiences. I guess they want the perspective of a crazy older student…we’ll see. I was happy to be asked, though–not everyone was.
So yes, I’m still up against that wall I mentioned earlier, I’m still utterly exhausted, but now I’m more leaning against it, in a half-loving kind of way. It’s my wall and if it keeps me propped up enough to be conscious for class, then it’s a good thing.
This week, especially today, I’m feeling like I have run head-first into the proverbial wall. All the little annoyances are piling up and combining to screw up my dreams even more when I do sleep, but I’m not sleeping well anyway, and the Santa Ana winds are dying me out so much that I feel hungover though I haven’t had a drop to drink.
Hell, if I’m going to feel this bad (head-filled-with-mercury feeling) I’d at least like the pleasure of tying one on.
But still, even feeling like poo I have been getting more exercise first thing in the morning to try and help the old bod stay in shape and weather the stresses. Aerobic activity and the business news, a combo more befitting a true capitalist, but I’m fascinated by what is happening in the markets and the economy. Anyway, I’m hoping this added exercise will translate into more energy, not less. So far, I think the lack of really good sleep is winning unfortunately. C may get banished to the guest room for a night or two for some quiet sleep for me.
Classes are actually okay. I’ve survived the first memo in Legal Skills–tonight I only have to triple-check my Bluebook citation formats and print the sucker. That means turning it in a day early and having only to show up for CivPro on Friday (our Contracts pro is lectuing in LA or something so we get a day off). Ahhhh. I’m pretty well caught up on my outlines, except for CivPro but that will definitely happen this weekend (I was waiting to get through personal jurisdiction before really formalizing that one and we’re just about there). I’ve purchased some flashcards to get moving on memorizing the memorizable well in advance of any exams.
But still, I have that feeling I’m not doing enough. This seems to be a normal feeling for 1Ls, though. As are the wacky dreams.
Add to all that I’m doing the large expenditure I’m about to make (new MacBook…finally!!!!) and the release of my newest book (to pay for that ‘puter, thankyouverymuch), and, well, I’ve definitely hit the mental wall. At least for today. I bet by the weekend, I’ll be much better. The Santa Ana winds should be gone by then too.
(so don’t worry Dad)
I have a big break between my classes on Mondays. One class at 9:25 and the next one isn’t until 2:40. Normally, this gives me lots of time to read, work on my outlines, etc., but today I have a meeting at 1:30 with my Legal Studies professor to go over my first draft of my first memo.
I am not looking forward to the meeting and it seems to be creeping into my consciousness while I try to do other work.
I’ve got my memo written and I think it’s okay. In fact, I think it’s pretty good. I think I write well and it definitely addresses the issue, cites relevant authority, and even goes one step beyond what I think most others will be doing. On top of all that, this assignment is graded credit/no credit, so it’s not like I have to worry about getting a high grade on it. And yet, I’m in knots over it. Why? Because this prof is off-putting and one of those people who you couldn’t make happy no matter what you did. I think if she won $1 million, she’d find a way to bitch about it.
So, I guess I’ll work on it some more, to make sure there is as little even vaguely wrong with it as possible. Hopefully, I’ll find some way to please the woman and just be DONE with the assignment.
You can tell it must be fall by how insanely hot it is here! Yes, these are Santa Ana conditions and yes, there is the chance the city could burst into flames (again) at any time. Have you noticed the humidity?
This is autumn in San Diego. Unbearably hot and dry during the day. But the skies are an amazing blue.
(image from the weatherchannel.com at 2pm today)