May 31, 2003

Kidney Stone

So, umm.... yeah. I was sick. And being the stubborn idiot that I am, I didn't bother to go to the doctor when the pain was at its worst. Instead, I went on the 4th day, because food poisoning shouldn't result in a stomach ache that bad and a fever that high for that long, right? By day 3.5, I had re-self-diagnosed with a possible case of appendicitis, which is actually what made me go in.

So, from 9 AM to 2:30 PM yesterday, I saw 3 doctors and had more tests than I can count. I think my primary care physician would have sent me home with a diagnosis of gastroenteritis if I hadn't started crying (literally. tears.) when she palpated my stomach. I have a hunch that she may have felt guilty for underestimating my pain and pressing too hard, but it worked out for me. She pulled enough strings to get me an immediate appointment with a surgeon--in other words--NO Emergency Room!

In just under 5 hours, the surgeon, his observing medical student, the clinical manager of surgery, a lab tech (who was the best blood draw EVER!), a radiology tech, the chief resident of radiology and his attending determined that I had probably passed a kidney stone, and may have a minor case of gastroenteritis to boot.

Woo-hoo. I'm relieved to be on the mend and to know what caused my pain. I also feel a bit guilty about taking so many medical people's time. I guess it was interesting for them, but I have this deep-seeded belief that I shouldn't take up a physician's time unless I am dying--Stupid. As the surgeon said, "Young healthy people never go by the book. You guys always ignore the early symptoms and then come in with just the severe ones. More than half the time, you guys are getting better by the time we finally figure out what was wrong with you."

Well, that was my friday, at least I almost finished my book so I can start Turrow's 1L. I'm going to take it easy this weekend and go back to work on Monday with nothing accomplished on the two projects I brought home. Given that most people go in to the ER and take pain killers in order to pass kidney stones, I feel justified in reading and relaxing for the rest of the weekend before I go back to the grind. Ridiculous logic, isn't it? Whatever, it works for me.

May 29, 2003

Sexual Harassment at Law Firms?

Over at Ambulance Chaser today, there's a sad thread about sexual harassment (permalinks seem to be broken). It was good for me to read. It's hard to keep the reality of ugly issues in mind when you aren't exposed to them.

After reading her post, I did take pause to think about the office of the boutique IP firm where I'm working this summer, where all of the associates and partners are male and all of the support staff are female. But, in order to be registered to practice before the USPTO (which is the main bread-and-butter practice of my firm), you must have a B.S. in science, engineering, or math. Since my firm doesn't do much bio-science work, the female applicant pool is limited by the number of female non-bio scientists, mathematicians and engineers who go to law school and want to practice patent law. It doesn't seem completely unreasonable that there aren't any female attorneys in the relatively small office where I work. Within the next few rounds of hiring there should be a few, and given that there are some female partners at other offices, I don't actually think there's any overt sexual discrimination.

Ambulance Chaser's post also reminded me of a discussion I had with a female friend, k, about her last summer associate gig at a BIGLAW firm in San Francisco. When I joined [current firm] for the summer, they invited me to be on the softball team. They also took me out golfing within the first week.

I asked k whether she had taken part in any similar activities at BIGLAW firm, and she laughed. "No," she said, "In fact, I wrote a little diatribe about that in the summer program review form. Doesn't anyone think it's unfair that all of the firm-sponsored socializing is guy stuff? Did it ever occur to them that most women probably don't want to go to a sports bar, or to a pool hall, or to play softball, or to a baseball game. Most of us would rather spend our spare time getting a pedicure, manicure, shopping, getting a facial, going wine tasting, etc."

And honestly, it had never occurred to me. I like playing softball on my firm's team. For me, it's a pleasant way to spend an evening, and the trip to the sports pub afterwards is a great place to relax, have a few beers, and get to know firm people in a social setting. It hadn't crossed my mind that some of the women who play on our team may do it out of obligation to their careers--as in, it's just more work. Most certainly, if a female partner invited me to go to the mall after work one day, I would go out of obligation, but wouldn't feel comfortable, and I seriously doubt I'd have any fun. K makes a good point, methinks.

If the biggest gender-related issue that comes to my attention during my summer here is the lack of female-friendly social activities, I'll be able to say that this firm's got a clean bill of sexual harrasment health. I hope it is the largest issue I encounter, but thanks to Ambulance Chaser's post I'll be sure to keep my ears open for the rest of the summer.

Still Sick

Yup. Fever for the last two days. Stomach still upset. No fun. On the brighter side, I learned that my supervising attorney is VERY reasonable when it comes to taking sick leave. He looked mortified when I explained that I'd been coming in with a fever for the last two days and told me to take the rest of the day as well as tomorrow off.

He also introduced me to the concept of IRAC (Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion) in order to make a comparison about argument writing in responses to Office Actions. I'm sure IRAC will be covered quite extensively in legal writing and research, but the early introduction doesn't hurt at all.

So, now I'm home for the day and most likely tomorrow as well. I'll be living off of the 4-s diet: Saltines, soup, sorbet and soda. Given that I have a floppy of two assignments, I should be able to accomplish just as much at home as I could at work. Except I'll be more comfortable in pajamas.

Off to sleep.

May 28, 2003


Who knew that you could get food poisoning from edamame? We had some Costco edamame in our freezer. Our freezer repeatedly defrosted itself during April. We eventually threw out all of the meat and bought a new thermostat. Last night, as an after dinner snack, I ate a plate of stringy, tasteless re-re-frozen Edamame. At 1:30 AM I woke sweating with an incapacitating stomach ache and headache. The rest of the night was tossing, turning, water, taking my temperature, and finally moving to the other bed so as to not wake my love any further. Now I've got a slight headache and some small stomach pain, but I'm relatively fine. Although I fear I may actually be coming down with's starting to hurt to swallow.

I met most of the other Summer Associates today. They are all working out of the main office, so I get to go there for lectures and lunch on training days. It was a nice mellow way to start the day, which was good because I'm pretty worthless today after my oh-so-fun night of edamame madness. Now I'm back in my office, smiling at an office action that's covered in red and working my way through the piles.

Basically, I can't wait to leave work today. A short easy 20-30 minutes of cardio, soup, tea, and lounging on the couch with movies 'til I fall asleep.

May 27, 2003


The California Delta was an excellent foil to my current life. I needed to re-center. Three days of absolutely no responsibilities: just the river, sun, cheap beer, barbeques, family, friends, nature, reading, poker, and dirty feet.

It's amazing how many things I can remember about what is actually important when I spend a weekend like that. When did I forget?

Overheard conversations about "our water," "our fish," "their money," and "their golf courses" gave me new things to ponder. Philosophical conversations with friends and family reminded me of the infinity of questions we can ask ourselves. And sun... I'm such a sun addict. Now I've had my fix and the world seems full of goodness and possibility. I'm going to try to keep a mellow sun buzz going for the rest of the summer.

Back in the office today, when Monday gets to be Tuesday... all the piles aren't so overwhelming. The light tightness in the skin of my upper back reminds me of the indulgence I have taken and I smile. I'll get through 1/3 of what's on my desk today. They'll probably give me another 50% of my total workload to attack before the end of the day. And I'm just grinning...because Thursday gets to be Friday this week, and I already got to be lazy.

On the school front, a letter of acknowledgement of my second deposit arrived. The truth that I begin school in August doesn't feel any more real today than it did in March. I know I've been accepted, and I know I've paid some small bills and filled out some forms, but the actuality of giving up my hobby reading for casebooks has definitely not sunk in. Perhaps when Amazon FINALLY gets me the copy of One L that I ordered, my hobby reading will nudge me into accepting its approaching hibernation.


My books came from Amazon. I'm slammed with a response to an office action, making charts that show how prior art renders claims invalid, and a provisional application that has been sitting in my office for way too long without any attention from me. All I want to do is take the rest of the day off and read my pleasure books. In the sun. {laugh} And that, my friends, is the true danger of a good vacation...

May 23, 2003

SCO on its linux sales and how the GPL is to its advantage

Scariest legalese:

"The GPL, by its terms, only applies to software programs or works which contain a notice "placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed under the terms of this General Public License. (emphasis by him)

"The following rules follow from this provision of the GPL:

To the extent a developer who contributes code is not the actual "copyright holder" of the code (i.e., instances of pirated code) as defined by the GPL.
To the extent a developer contributes code to which he claims copyright, but it is in fact an unauthorized (sic) derivative work of a properly copyrighted software, the open source developer does not actually own the copyright and is therefore not the "copyright holder" as defined by the GPL.

"In other words, the GPL itself covers situations where code is improperly or accidentally contributed to the GPL without proper authorization (sic) of the true copyright holder."

I'm off for a Holiday weekend of sun, reading and swimming. Back on Monday.


In an earlier post about lawnmowers I complained about the problems of trying to take the middle road.

While I may be an ideological moderate, however, unfortunately I'm actually a practicing extremist when it comes to many things. Like taking care of my stress levels.

So now, I'm suffering from some pretty intense heartburn and slight nausea. I'm popping Tums, Zantac and Prilosec and promise myself that I will sleep a TON this holiday weekend.

A week from now, I'll be better and able to exist on the occasional tums. That is, until next time when I start to get a little out of control, letting my brain spin in useless circles of what-ifs, denying myself sleep, drinking acidic red wine with dinner even if my churning stomach is screaming save me, saying yes to every opportunity, working out like a mad-man, suffering annoying occasional dizziness, and basically ignoring all the minor warning signs that I know so well.

Given that I've been getting to this point about once every 6-8 months for the last 3 years, I don't have much hope for my ability to recognize the impending spiral of doom and just say, "No." I'm fearful that the frequency of these attacks may increase substantially in Law School.

On the other hand, every time this happens I get just a little bit closer to taking up meditation. Perhaps one day I'll actually do that.

May 22, 2003

Back to the PDA

I've had 3 Palms. They all broke eventually. When the last one died, I bought a paper calendar and lived quite happily with it for the last year. Now that the year is coming to a close, I have to admit that I have to go to the internet and look up addresses and contact info that I've saved in my email inbox on a fairly regular basis. I also have to admit that the prospect of transferring all of my chicken-scratched plans for the months that this calendar doesn't cover as well as contact information is not something I want to do every year.

So, I've decided to go on a PDA hunt for something that can provide me with most of my wants:

1. Small enough that it isn't significantly larger than my current paper calendar
2. Decent handwriting recognition
3. Calendar, notepad, contacts, calculator
4. A remedial spreadsheet application would be nice
5. Finding a linux-based solution would make me feel warm and fuzzy
6. If I could replace my laptop entirely (browser, 802.11b, text editor) I'd go a little larger--but getting something that esoteric to play nicely on the law school network may be a bit too much to ask for.
7. Not too expensive--depends on the coolness factor, but I'd really rather spend less than $200
8. Something that will last for several years and has excellent customer support

Suggestions? Email me at

Wow, it actually was a bomb at Yale Law School.
Tech Update

The climate is dismal...

The mainstream media continues to pretend that the biggest media issue of our day isn't newsworthy. Why? Hmmm... because it's not in their best interest to report on it? Maybe?

openTV of One-Click fame may have found a new IP fight. According to Dan Gillmore, the FSF claims they are violating the GPL.

I can relate to and completely agree with his last 2 paragraphs:

Some people I respect say the GPL is a bad idea, period. They say it's too restrictive of programmers' rights, in the sense of forcing them to open what they've done to the world. Fine: If you don't like the GPL, don't create software from code that used it in the first place. Then put different licensing terms on what you've done.

But legal agreements are supposed to matter in our system. Just because the GPL turns the idea of intellectual property somewhat around doesn't make it less valid.

Of course, as a GPL fan, I would almost like to see this go to court so that the GPL could be legitamized. But, I'm also fearful that our courts may let me down.

I can't write about courts letting me down without thinking of Microsoft, and how their new friendship with SCO is ridiculously suspicious, in light of the history between SCO(Caldera) and Microsoft.

The bright spot today is that the good people at the W3C have done something to stop the egregious abuse of the patent system in conjunction with standards committees.

Back to work.

May 21, 2003

The illusion of work

When supervising attorneys have too much to do to give feedback, much less assign new work, and you have enough work to keep you busy for about 2 hours of your required 8 hour day, while the rest of your work product is awaiting feedback...

1. Blog
2. Read wacky articles
3. Plan memorial day weekend
4. Wish you weren't trying to make a good impression so you could just leave when there wasn't actually anything productive for you to do
5. Instant Message anyone and everyone (if I can't work, then neither can they)
6. Try to remember this feeling so that next week (or tomorrow) when you are slammed, you can laugh at it

May 20, 2003

The road to global warming is paved with good intentions

After more than a month of mowing the lawn with an ecologically friendly mower, approximately every square inch contained a super-weed-grass blade that was close to 1 foot high. Turns out that the hippy mower doesn't do such a great job with the weeds. In fact, it does such a poor job that our neighbor volunteered to mow our lawn for us. He's laughed at us over the last few weeks when we've worked 4 times as hard as he has (push the mower, rake the leaves ourselves instead of having the mower pick them up, use a mechanical edger, etc.) only to end up with a fairly miserable looking yard. Finally, we gave in and let him mow. Our lawn looks better than it ever has.

So now, it's either buy an electric mower, and hope that it is not too inferior to the gas mower, or, just give up and buy a tried-and-true, gas-guzzling, loud, smelly mower. By far the most frustrating thing is that we already contributed to excess consumerism and waste by trying to do the correct thing. I am certain that the overall negative impact to the environment done by the manufacturing of the hippy mower far outweighs the several weeks that we used it in place of a fully functional gas mower. Now, we have to experiment with an electric mower, that may also end up being a dud, or just give in. We'll probably still try to alternate between the hippy mower and whatever powered mower we purchase, but that'll be mainly out of guilt at this point.

By trying to go the middle road (maintain a lawn and yard, but do so in an ecologically friendly manner) we were supremely ineffective in reaching either goal.

Being a moderate is such a pain--at least we're good for scapegoating...
The blog debate

The best summary of the blogwash debate I have read came from a blog. The most empathy-inspiring Iraq information I receive(d) comes from a blog. The blogging ecosystem is a fascinating place.

More and more I find myself going to blogs for commentary, opinions, analysis, and news recommendations. Link ranking is an interesting phenomenon in terms of quality assessment. In today's world, where advertising shapes much of the information exposure that we receive, it's interesting to see a small but growing group of (seemingly) disparate people on the Web volunteering their information processing cycles to filter through data overload for the common good of their community. But, it's important to acknowledge the fears of many: the power to Blogwash currently rests with a group of volunteers. Unelected and unregulated by formal processes.

Will bloggers evolve into a useful, sustainable addition to the information universe? Or, will hubris and bias relegate us to the fringes? There are groups of people who would most certainly claim that either option has already occurred. But, in my opinion, the blogosphere is still in its infancy. It does not yet have enough momentum to guarantee that the current direction will be the final course. I can only hope that link-ranking (or perhaps additional moderation) will regulate the powerful ones enough to hold them to the standards of integrity that they appear to maintain. If we lose the integrity and trust currently governing this space, the blogosphere will degenerate into something that is viewed as more radical and less trusted than the traditional media of today. I can only hope that this does not occur.

"I have a day job. I don't have the time or ego need."
-- -- Netscape Communications co-founder and Opsware Chairman Marc Andreessen doesn't blog.

May 19, 2003

Copyright Maintenance Fees

Lawrence Lessig has posted for help in getting a congressperson to introduce a $1 copyright maintenance fee bill.

I can't help but think that this solution is too easily circumvented. A copyright maintenance industry would spring up in no time. "For just $5, we guarantee timely payment of all future copyright maintenance fees. Don't miss out on the full length of copyright to which you are entitled..."

I believe that the good fight for an intellectual commons needs to be fought, but I'm not convinced that attempting to introduce legislature of this type is a good use of battle resources.

Excellent Weekend

My weekend included: the 7.46 mile run/party that is bay-to-breakers, swordfish, seared ahi, The Matrix Reloaded, good sex, laundry, dishes, a huge platter of mexican food, cleaning, gardening, pinot grigio, sangiovese, romano cheese, herb slab bread, fresh strawberries and champagne, and cake with buttercream frosting.

I'm in heaven (with shin splints).

May 16, 2003

Comments? Anyone?

So, it appears that the days of getting free, anonymous blog comments are over. At least that's what my research shows me. And I can't ask any of my 3 readers for suggestions since I don't have comments wherein I could receive their input. I could host them on a server belonging to me or a friend, but at that point, I'm back to admitting that anonyminity is impossible in today's world and just hosting the blog myself.

So, I guess the solution is to run an interesting experiment:

If you wish to comment, or have a suggestion for how I can get comments to work anonymously, mail me at

The experiment is this:

How long until a mailbox opened at Hotmail and listed in a blog is full of spam? To whom will the spam be directed? Stay tuned, if any interesting mail comes along,
I'll be sure to let you know.
Dress down Friday

The IP boutique where I work is fairly laid back in terms of dress. Business casual to casual. Less casual than the dot-com code-monkey uniform, but you'd definitely stick out if you wore a suit and tie. So, it's friday, and I'm in jeans and a nice solid T-shirt.

Ever since I started working here, I have to look at my clothes and think before I get dressed for work. Do I have any meetings with clients, partners, anyone? Is anyone coming into the office that might see me? If I wear jeans, is this shirt nice enough to dress them up to an acceptable level of dressiness?

There's nothing like walking into a meeting and realizing that you are over- or under-dressed to the point that someone important (client, partner) may notice.

So, I'm happy that dress here isn't business attire since I'd have to go shopping and blow a big old wad of cash instead of getting by with adding a few nicer items to my existing wardrobe. But, the constant thinking about just how casual I can be on any given day--It's almost enough to make me think that business attire wouldn't be so bad after all. There's no danger of being over- or under-dressed. And there's no thinking in the morning when I'm not very capable of it.

May 15, 2003

When your friends do terrible things

I have been told on more than one occasion that I am judgemental and unfair because I assume that people hold themselves to the standards to which I hold myself. So, I'm trying very hard to empathize and listen without passing value judgements. You know, life just "is".

But it's hard to do this when you go out to lunch with a friend, we'll call him Isaac, who's cheating on his wife. He's had the same mistress since about one year after the wedding. It's been 4 years. He claims he can't be honest with his wife, because he cares too much about her and he doesn't want to hurt her. I pointed out that if he really cared too much and didn't want to hurt her, he wouldn't be cheating on her. He then explains that he tried to stop the affair, but he just couldn't.

And all of a sudden, my Zen-like handle on life that just "exists" is lost. I am swimming in a raging sea of thoughts that question Isaac's inability to be honest and fair with his wife, the human condition, and honestly, how he can look at himself in the mirror each day. He is a great, awesome, caring individual. I value his friendship. And I can't begin to understand how he doesn't value his own honesty enough to tell his wife what is going on. Now, whenever I see his wife, I feel uncomfortable in the very personal knowledge that I hold, which honestly is none of my business. I wish he hadn't told me.

To clarify, it's not that I am offended by his lack of respect for the institution of marriage. Society as a whole doesn't take marriage as seriously as I would like them to, but that's tough for me--I can deal with it. What frustrates me is how unfair the situation is. If his marriage was built on an understanding that he was going to engage in extra-marital affairs and his wife had agreed to it before he started cheating on her, I would not see anything particulary offensive about the arrangement. Not for me, but hey, different strokes for different folks.

What irks me is that Isaac posesses many of the personality traits that I would like my future spouse to have. I was shocked when he told me about the affair several years ago. I was shocked again when I recently learned that he never broke it off. Regardless of whether he is passionately in love with her or not, he definitely cares deeply for his wife. And, yet, he can come home from work after a lunch date with his paramour to kiss his devoted wife hello.

I guess the reality that you never really know someone is very frustrating to me. What it comes down to is this: If a great guy like Isaac could do it, couldn't my future spouse?

So, as you can see--I'm going to need some work on the "empathize and listen without passing value judgements" part. Particuarly in cases like this, where I don't have any desire to back up and be impartial. It seems WRONG to treat someone you care about in such a passive agressive manner. But maybe the other alternatives are even more wrong...I'll never know, I'm not Isaac.

May 14, 2003

How it all started

I was laid off from my dot-com in 2001. In hindsight, they did me a favor because I was too lame to quit, but I was pretty sick of it and considering going back to school. Needless to say, getting laid off was not the end of the world.

Of course, they had to do the layoffs on November 15th, 2001 (1st or 15th of the month, Friday, executives in town, all-hands meeting, I can see the warning signs a mile away these days). And, of course, the last day to register for the December 2001 LSAT was November 14th. So, I had to decide between only applying to schools that would accept the February test for the class of 2005, or waiting until Fall of 2002 to apply to the class of 2006. I took the February test, got a new job and

joined the hordes that applied for the class of 2006

From November of 2002 until mid-february of 2003 I received the usual mixture of letters for an overachiever competing amongst my peers--some fat letters, and some thin ones. Like most people applying this year, I was disappointed.

But, I did get in to one of my "I-will-go-there" schools and will be commencing my studies there in the fall. These days, I read student blawgs, work, try to enjoy the last few months of having a regular paycheck, attempt to revel in my freedom, enjoy my social life, and try very hard to do all of the other things that I am guaranteed to miss horribly.

Back to the point: Lately, my days keep me where lady luck saw fit to place me--she smiled greatly upon me after multiple dot-com failures and I managed to get a position doing some semblance of legal work prior to attending law school. I suppose I have my Engineering background and the fact that I'm only allowed near projects where the gritty technical details outnumber the legal details to thank for that.

I think that covers the basics of how I joined the masses of legal people with digital soapboxes.

From the 1-L blogs I read, I am aware that I shouldn't be looking forward to school with much enthusiasm. But, I can't help it--I wish classes were starting now. I'm certain I will curse this post in the future...

So, now that I've successfully procrastinated, I should finish that which I'm avoiding...making dinner, fixing a friend's website, and deciding whether or not opening a bottle of wine is a good idea (I write this because I imagine that the hilarity of what I consider worth avoiding today will amuse me come August/September).
Those crazy North Koreans...
It seems fitting that the day SuaSponte is done with her 1L year is the day I should begin my blog.

I've been lurking at her site for quite some time, hungrily gobbling every useful morsel of information that she can offer that will prepare me. In the process, I feel as if I've gotten to know her and I've been inspired to start my own blog. Ostensibly, I'm doing it for the next generation of 1Ls-to-be since I'll be starting my 1L year in August. But really, I'm probably just like all the other blawgers, I love to "hear" myself talk.

I put off starting the blog for several months--mainly because I was busy, but also because I couldn't figure out what level of anonymity I wanted to maintain. I even went so far as to download a few blogging packages to my server. One part of me says, "Just take credit for it. It's not like it's possible to maintain the ruse of anonymity when you start talking about details of your life." Another voice reminds me, "You should try to be slightly anonymous. You aren't certain you want to be outed."

Voice #2 won. There's a choice left if I start annonymous. Besides, as the title of my blog should hint, I'm a known sufferer of foot-in-mouth disease. I pay for it enough in the real world. I think I'll enjoy my freedom here.

The rest of the story will arrive in time.