Jim's Polka

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

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Since I'm reveling in all of the non-school things I'm doing, I'll throw out one more. We're going to see the new Star Wars this weekend, too. It's a delayed anniversary celebration. Or a very spread-out celebration, anyway, since we did go out to a very nice dinner last weekend. But the Star Wars part is special. We saw Attack of the Clones the day after our wedding three years ago, so a special trip to this one seems appropriate.

I should note that I'm not the big geek in that story. Going to see Attack of the Clones that weekend was D's idea. Although I certainly didn't fight it...

I Don't Know How I'm Expected To Concentrate

So, when I say wonderful weather, this is what I'm talking about.


Wow! It's hot around here. It got into the upper 80s today. And best of all, no humidity. I know I've said it before, but it's great around here when the sun is shining. All I want to do is lay out on the lawn and do nothing. In fact, that's what I did at lunchtime yesterday. I went outside at 11:30 and didn't come inside until it was time to go to ConLaw at 1:30. People came and went, but I stayed.

Which is why my arms and face are all red now. I even have a little tan (burn) line on my nose from where my glasses are. But, you know what, it was totally worth it. I still have a quarter's worth of outlining to do in all of my classes, as well as a paper on the Commerce Clause for ConLaw, but somehow I don't mind so much.

Law School Prom is this weekend. I have high hopes of showing off my dancing skills.

Friday, May 20, 2005

So Cool

This is great. In addition to being able to walk to the Safeway across the street and the [deleted name of organic market] 5 blocks away, I just found out that there's a farmer's market opening up 3 blocks from my house. I love city living.

Update: I put a little too much info on my address in this post, so I edited slightly. Sorry.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Competition Results

Well, we didn't make the cut. We lost on the second night. Although I'm happy to have my free time left, I am a little disappointed. There was no question in my mind that the best argument was on the other side. But there was also no question in my mind that the worst argument was on the other side. I think that the judges gave the latter a little too much credit, which pushed them over the top.

However, years of involvement in ballroom dancing competitions has given me a lot of perspective on this kind of subjectively-judged competition. First of all, sometimes judges make bad decisions. Often, however, they just have a different set of criteria from what you think they should. That may or may not be the appropriate criteria, but you can't really make them change it, no matter what you think. (That's why they're the judges.)

One team made the cut and then withdrew. They couldn't deal with all the extra time it would take. A couple other teams were not thrilled to make it, for the same reason. As for me, I have a wife who was much happier to have me at home yesterday evening. I did have way more fun doing the arguments than I expected. And I got to watch the finale of Gilmore Girls yesterday. Now all I need to do is catch up on the episodes of The OC that I missed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Happy Anniversary!!!

Three years ago today, D and I got married. I still think it was the best choice I ever made. The fact that she's still willing to put up with me is a great reassurance.

Unfortunately, because of the competition, we couldn't do anything to celebrate. We do have big plans for Saturday - dinner and Star Wars. We saw Attack of the Clones the day after our wedding, so it seems appropriate to celebrate the anniversary with the third movie.

Appellate Advocacy

Two days ago, I tried to write a post complaining about the upcoming appellate advocacy competition. Loosely summarized, it said "whine whine whine no time whine whine whine". Of course, I said basically the same thing before the other two competitions also. But, Blogger lost the post. That sucked.

I just got home from the second night of the competition. Everybody does two nights, then the best teams advance to the elite 8. (Actually, there are three ladders, so there are three Elite 8s.) You do one night on-brief and one night off.

And, I have to say, both nights were a huge amount of fun. We had a hot panel, yesterday, so I barely covered any of the stuff on my outline. One of the judges had something like 20 years of appellate criminal experience, so he knew a lot more about the topic than any of us did. He asked a ton of really good questions. The other two judges weren't shy either. It was intense, but really exciting. Both teams did well, but my team won by a few points. As for me, I was just happy that I kept my hands under control and wasn't flailing everywhere. (D is always moving drinks out of my gesticulation range when I talk.)

Tonight the panel was pretty cold. We went on at 8 and they had already done one argument, as well as working the whole day, so they were a little tired. We were arguing on-brief, representing the government. I stood up, responded to all of the petitioner's points and sat down with two minutes remaining because I had nothing left to say. Actually, the high point was in the first minute. When my partner was up, she got asked a question that had more to do with my issue. She said "My co-counsel will be addressing that in more detail, but here's the short answer..." and did the best she could. Then the hand grenade ended up in my lap. So, I answered the question before I went into my argument. The same judge asked a followup question. I didn't know the answer and told him so. The judges told me later that they respected my bravery for answering the question before starting my argument and that I got more credibility for telling them when I didn't know the answer. That felt pretty good.

I don't know if we won tonight. I thought we were a little better, but it's always hard to say. I'm also pretty sure that I don't want to advance to the next round. I've done well enough to feel satisfied with my performance. I don't need any more validation.

Anyway, what I really want to do is watch the season finale of Gilmore Girls. (which I missed for the competition)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Class Selection

It a pain in my butt. (Luckily I have a new couch to sit it on.)

So, I put in my request for the Tech Law clinic. I ended up number 2 on the waitlist. The good news there is that I talked to the prof running it and he says that "If you're really interested, I'll let you in." I told him I am, in fact, really interested, so he said I'm in. This is excellent. The work for the class seems really interesting and the professor's pretty cool, as a bonus. He's a fellow East-coaster, which is good. I feel like I need to hang out with a few people from the East Coast, just so I don't end up with a fragile, avoid-confrontation-at-all-costs TVPNM psyche. (You can tell the natives around here. They're the ones who complain about how abrasive the New York people are. Me, I'm not abrasive, but somtimes I like hanging out with people who are.)

Anyway, today was the due date for submitting class requests for next year. It's not exactly registration, just putting in for the lottery in the popular classes. Regardless, I spent a while yesterday trying to figure out how to make it all fit together. Unfortunately, the school seems to be into letting the professors pick the times for their classes without much rhyme or reason. So, you end not able to take two classes because they overlap by 10 minutes. Very annoying.

Anyway, one way or the other, I'm not going to get to take everything I want next year. Hopefully, that won't be too big a deal in the long run.

I have been spending the last day or so breaking in the new couch. Yesterday, I took a nap on it. Today I watched an episode of The OC on it. And the very good news is that now that the furniture is all in place, I've confirmed that the PS2 and XBox controllers reach to the couch. So, life is good.

Monday, May 09, 2005

How Did This Happen?

Somehow I've reached the point in my life where I own two sofas. And they're both in the garage. I don't understand.

Actually, what happened is that we finally got around to buying a sofa, after 8 months sitting on the floor. The new one arrived on Saturday, but the people who delivered it can't get it inside the house. It's the same problem we had back in the fall - the stairs are too narrow for the sofa to get inside. So, tomorrow, some other guys are going to come and hoist it in through the doors to our deck. It means a couch that was already pretty expensive is going to be even a bit more expensive. But, then I'll have a comfy place to watch "The OC" so it'll all be worth it.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Hit With the Stick (Self-Inflicted)

Well, I needed something to get me blogging again, so when Evan went looking for someone to pass the book meme to, I had to grab the chance.

So, on to the questions...

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
Hmmm... that's a toughie, especially considering that everyone's probably claimed all the really trendy books. OK, I'll go for Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brien. Because sometimes what you really need is a fun novel that can also teach you how to sail an 18th century warship.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? Lorelai Gilmore. Oh, and Thursday Next.

The last book you bought is: The Transparent Society by David Brin. I got it at the book-signing, but I've been so busy since then that I haven't had a chance to read it. I usually try to stick to fiction during school, so it's probably going to have to wait until after exams.

The last book you read: Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde. It was my second time through the book, I think and the first time reading the British version we got in the Great White North. I finished it last week, which put me in the position to move on to....

What are you currently reading? The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde. After my fever dreams about federalism a couple weeks ago, I have to make sure to read something light before I actually go to sleep.

Five books you would take to a deserted island: Difficult question. If I'm going to be stuck with these, I'd better not pick something that I can read too quickly. I'm going to cheat a little bit and include a series or two.
First, the obvious - The Lord of the Rings.
The Aubrey/Maturin books by Patrick O'Brien. There's 20 of them and I've only read 3, so I'd have a lot more to read. Also, see above for the practical value of the books. I'm not sure what to go for after that, so I'm going to take a quick walk around the house and look at the bookcases.
Practical Chinese Reader. This was the textbook I used when I was taking Chinese classes a couple years ago. I stopped as law school got nearer, but I figure if I'm going to be stuck on a deserted island, I might have more time to study again. I'd probably want to cheat and bring the language tapes, too.
How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. They're not kidding. Well, maybe exaggerating a little bit.
I'm not sure about the last book. I'll come back tomorrow after I get some sleep and fill this in. (Appellate brief is due tomorrow morning. We just finished.)

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons)? And Why? Well, most everybody I read who would do this has already done it, so I'm going to go a little further afield. So, this goes out to my brother Andy, who should have started a blog by now anyway. And to D, who blogs at Livejournal but won't let me link to her. And to whatever third person would like to claim it.

Now that's enough for me. Time for bed.