Jim's Polka

The life of a former software engineer, now a law student

Thursday, September 30, 2004

It Has Begun (First Week)

Short version: the first week has been great. This is just a first impression, but my section seems to be completely free of assholes. In fact, everyone I've talked to so far (which is probably 75% of the section) is really cool. I've already got my little clique that I hang out with. We've begun the process of shunning all outsiders.

Our professors seem like genuinely nice people. I'm not expecting them to be easier on us because of that, but it's nice to see. In our semi-study group today, the vote was split pretty evenly on who we'd most like to go out for a beer with.

And I had my first law school geek moment this week. A bunch of us went to a small sandwich place off-campus for lunch on Tuesday. We proceeded to have an animated discussion on the day's CivPro reading as the others in the restaurant stared at us in (disgust/dismay/fear). Yup, I'm still a geek.

Oh, and Prof Contracts is interested in using the non-compete agreement I signed for my last job as a class exercise. And, D's also, if she has to sign one for her new job. That should be amusing.

My only other story is about Prof Torts, who likes to use props in class. He had us demonstrating the various situations described in this week's cases. I got a stick with which to accidentally hit my classmate. He got a helmet.

It Has Begun (End of Orientation)

This is the first time I've been inclined to post in a few days. Something about starting school sucked out some of my desire to spend extra time in front of the computer.

Anyway, the rest of orientation went pretty well. I met the new head of Career Services, who is pretty amazing. They recruited her from the business school, and you can tell (she had a slide with "VISION" on it in big letters). Apparently, she did an excellent job at the business school, which is a good sign for the future.

The last thing we did during orientation was a presentation by a woman who specializes in organizational relations. She had us take a dumbed-down version of the Myers-Briggs test. I already knew I was an ENFP, so it was not a big shock when I came out that way again. So, anyway, we all took the test, then she had people who were at the extremes of the various axes come down and do some exercises that demonstrated the differences. Amusingly, we played exactly to type. We Ps were unfocused, while the Js talked about their to-do lists. The Is talked about how they would rather be contacted by e-mail than talk to someone in person. We Es said they'd prefer to talk face-to-face. (I came out at the extreme on 3 of the 4. Guess which one wasn't.)

Anyway, it was actually a pretty nice exercise. She had some pretty good advice on how to relate to different personality types and how to deal with the issues that come up. And it was good for some laughs, too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

First Day

I just got back from my first day of orientation. Now, I'm pretty tired. For one thing, there was the horrible strain of having to set my alarm clock for the first time in almost a month. But beyond that, it was just a long day. I don't really have any complaints, just the fact that they were squeezing so many different people into such a small period. Everybody seemed very nice, and the professors were all very enthusiastic, which is good to see.

At lunch, we met our peer mentors. They seem like a pretty good group, and not too stressed out. One of them seems to be trying for the role that Energy Spatula has carved out for herself as the "don't worry about it, just relax and have another beer" peer mentor. But, even the self-confessed super-obsessive studier didn't seem too crazy. (Although there was something mentioned about studying 12 hours a day for 3 days over Thanksgiving.....)

Then I went to buy books. Ouch. That's all I have to say.

Oh, also, one of the peer mentors said that the worst part of 1L was orientation. I think I see where he was coming from. It'll be nice to start classes.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The New House

The house is great. It's so pretty. Three floors, three bedrooms 3.5 baths. Hardwood floors on the middle floor, where the living room, dining room and kitchen are. All new appliances, all in stainless steel. Gas cooking. Gas fireplace. Excellent location on several major bus routes, including the one to school. I could go on and on.

There are only two real problems. One is that they forgot to put a cable jack in the bedroom that we've decided to use as an office. Whoops. We'll be able to deal with that, but it is an annoying oversight. The other problem is that they built the stairways kinda narrow and with two turns in them. So, the movers weren't able to get the couch up the stairs. It's sitting uselessly in the garage right now. We've built a TV-watching area that we refer to as the "love nest" from a bunch of cushions and a futon (sans frame) acquired from Freecycle. I've been wanting to get a new couch anyway, so this isn't the worst thing that could have happened, but it's something we're going to have to think about when we get a new one, as well. On the bright side, the movers did manage to get the (upright) piano up the stairs. I think I called them heroes for that.

Amazingly, we've managed to unpack almost everything. There's a few boxes of old textbooks waiting to be dealt with, but I'm not in a hurry to unpack those. We've even hung a few things on the walls.

Oh, and a good sign for the neighborhood - when I went to my first class happy hour last week, I found out that the bar they'd chosen was a block and a half away. Not bad at all.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Sports Notes

A mixed bag for me this weekend:
  • Yesterday, I watched both of the college teams I root for fall just a little short. Since my alma mater's team waited till I left to get good, this is something I'm used to.
  • Both of the pro football teams I root for won. I watched and enjoyed the Seahawks game. Unfortunately, the chances of a Ravens game being televised out here are vanishingly small. The fact that they beat the Steelers makes it even sweeter.
  • I think that was Ralph Freidgen, Maryland's coach, in the Under Armor commercial. Very nice.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

So Much To Say

A lot has happened in the last few weeks that I haven't had a chance to blog about. I'm getting to the point where I'm afraid to start posting about it because it's such a huge overhang. So, I'm just going to bite the bullet and get started.

First, there was the process of moving out. The movers were scheduled to come on Monday morning (Aug 30th). Except for a break Friday night to go to a friend's wedding, we spent the 4 days before doing nothing but packing. Even so, we were up until 2 am the night before finishing things up. To our great shock, the movers were beyond punctual. They showed up at 7:30 am, ready to get started. The building wouldn't let them use the elevator until 9, so they did the packing we were paying them to do (computer and dishes, mainly) and took inventory. According to D's meticulous manifest, we had packed 99 boxes and 10 suitcases. The professionally packed stuff added 10 more. And that's even though we did our best to cull stuff before we started packing.

Anyway, the driver of the moving truck scheduled delivery for the 7th, which did not give us much time for the trip. We were feeling the pressure the whole way over. Our movers have a truck tracker on their web page, sorta like UPS. When we checked his progress on the second night (when we were in Illinois), he was 500 miles ahead of us in South Dakota. That's a lot of pressure.

So, I think we would have had more fun on the trip if we hadn't had to do it so fast. While we did manage to stop at Mt. Rushmore (my top priority), we skipped a drive through the Badlands and we didn't get to stop at the Spam Museum either.

I gave the quick summary of the trip already, but I have a few notes to add. One, we spent the night in Missoula, MT on a game day, which meant we paid more than we thought we should and had trouble finding a room. I'm not really sure what we could have done to avoid it, though.

Also, I was surprised at how beautiful Idaho was. Montana was pretty great, too, but it went on for waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long. Idaho was beautiful and done in 70 miles, which is what you're looking for at the end of a long trip. In particular, the Idaho side of the pass on the border with Montana was just spectacular.

Eastern Washington was about what I expected. I'd kinda been there already visiting my inlaws, so I wasn't surprised at the desert. We saw a bunch of dust devils on the way across, which was new to me and very cool. One of the big farms along the road had posted signs naming all the crops they were growing. After driving past farms for 5 days without knowing what we were seeing, it was nice to finally get some answers.

I'm sleepy now, so I'll pick up this up tomorrow. Stay tuned.......

Sunday, September 12, 2004

I Win!

For being the 4000th hit to his blog, Robert wrote me a poem. I am too lucky for words. :-)

Saturday, September 11, 2004


We don't have a landline phone. The only books on our shelves are the ones that came in the car with us. We don't have a couch in the living room.

On the other hand, we have broadband. It's starting to feel like a home.

Saturday, September 04, 2004


So, here's how I've spent the last week or so (the short version). Last Friday, we went to a wedding. It was fun. Saturday and Sunday, we spent all of our time packing, finally finishing at 2 am Monday. The movers arrived at 7:30 and had all of our stuff out by 1 that afternoon. We cleaned Monday evening and Tuesday morning, then got on the road after lunch.
Tuesday night: North Lima, OH
Wednesday night: Rockford, IL
Thursday night: Sioux Falls, SD
Friday night: Gilette, WY
Tonight: Missoula, MT

Yesterday, we stopped at the Corn Palace, Wall Drug and Mt. Rushmore. Today, we drove almost 600 miles. Tomorrow, God willing, we'll arrive in Seattle and I'll never have to drive again.

One reason we have to do this so fast is that our movers claim that they will be delivering on Tuesday morning. If all goes well, I will be singing their praises here. Unfortunately, we still have to get the cable set up, so my internet access will continue to be spotty.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Travel Notes

  • Gary, Indiana can bite me.
  • I'm not so high on Chicago traffic, either.
  • On the other hand, D got a job offer today, as we were driving across Indiana.

Moving. Bad.

I'm writing from a hotel room in Ohio. The last few days have been incredibly hectic, so this is pretty much the first opportunity I've had to use the computer since Friday. We spent the weekend packing, up until 2 am Monday morning. The movers arrived earlier than expected at 7:30 on Monday morning. We stayed around till yesterday afternoon to clean up and then got on the road. Today we're hoping to make it past Chicago. Wish us luck.