September 30, 2004

Grumpy Old Bastard

Turns out, I'm mean to judges in oral argument practice. I don't smile. I'm too agressive. I try to fight when I should be wooing.

I thought I was wooing...

This is going to take some work.

Blessed Be The Proscrastinators

I accepted an externship for next semester with the judge I had identified as my number one choice this week. I'm excited.

I was also quite surprised they offered me the position.

I didn't manage to get my applications to the coordinator 'til about 2 weeks after everyone else. Over the next couple of weeks, I heard about various people and the positions they'd accepted. I figured that my narrow judge pool, 2L status, and late applications probably killed my chances and assumed it was not to be.

Last week, I got a call from Judge #1's office:

Hi this is Admin Clerk for Judge #1. Have you already accepted an externship?

Her question sounded like it had been answered quite a few times with "yes."

No, actually, I haven't.

She was surprised but quickly recovered. She apologized for conducting interviews so late, but the judge had been very busy with a trial. No complaints here!

Just goes to show, things don't always go to the first, the fastest, or the best. Sometimes, they just go to the people who are around at the time.

September 29, 2004

I actually had to say this

Oh, No. Thank you, but I'm certain that's not a good idea. You and I both know that by missing my interview today, I'm starting on too much of the wrong foot. Why don't you just let me apologize profusely for wasting your time, shake your hand one more time, and we'll call it a day.

Yeah. I completely forgot about an OCI interview today. I didn't get the time wrong. I didn't mis-schedule. I just straight forgot. I wouldn't have remembered at all were it not for a helpful acquaintance who expressed surprise at my lack of a suit, saying, "I thought you had an interview today."

"Nahh...." I said. Cool as a cucumber. "I cancelled a bunch of my interviews, you must have seen my name on the list before I cancelled." Right. Wow. I'm an idiot. God bless the acquaintance who noticed my name on the interview list. I arrived several hours late to apologize and they were very nice. They actually offered to try to fit me in at the end of the day--that's where the quote at the beginning of the post came in.

I mean, let's be honest, I wouldn't hire someone who couldn't remember to show up for the interview. Would you?

September 27, 2004

Slap Happy

The brief is off, via both email and airmail. It's a relief, but I'm exhausted and will be going to bed shortly.

One of the side effects of too little sleep in the final crunch to get the brief done is that while reading for class today, I laughed at words that seemed funny to me.

As in, I laughed, out loud, while reading "Federal Courts." Add this to the adventures in the law library and it's quite clear I need a life. Soon.

But 'til then, here are some word gems to keep you amused:

unwisdom. Not Kidding. Real Word. Wow.

denuded. Which I thought must mean "to clothe" or "cover up." You know, to remove the condition of nudity. Again, my linguistic aptitude rears it's ugly head.

And finally, last week, E and I had a nice little discussion of the term canon, and how a restaurant cannot join the "lunch-time canon." E retorted with a list of questionable uses for the word Canon, including the fact that Simpsons Halloween episodes are refered to as "non-canon." I argued that "canon" had some relation to literature and/or rules. Somehow, I lost. I think it was because the Simpsons community seemed to take E's side. Stupid sexy flanders.

September 26, 2004


I stayed in the library 'til it closed this evening. Yeah, it's a Saturday. Yup, I arrived at the library by 10:30 AM. And yes, my moot court team and I managed to miss the warnings and stay past closing, so we were actually locked in the library, in the dark.

Thankfully, security came and let us leave. If only for 11 hours. We'll be back tomorrow for 14 hours of more fun.

I'd heard stories about law students shutting down the library and trying to stay past closing on Saturdays. I thought it was exaggeration. Apparently not. Woo Hoo.

September 22, 2004

Holding On, Barely

At least twice a week, I think that I'd like to quit journal. It's the one activity thus far in law school that I am doing solely for the line on my resume. I don't enjoy it at all--proofreading, cite checking, answering phones, emails--I did all of this stuff in administrative jobs I held between the ages of 14-20. I became an engineer to get away from that crap. I appreciate the hard work done by people who do that type of work, but I successfully spent 6 years not having to do that kind of work for anyone other than myself. A good portion of the journal commitment is basically 40 people working 2 hours per week to do the job of one 40-hour per week administrative assistant.

I'm that person when it comes to journal. I don't enjoy being that person. But... I don't know if I can justify closing all the doors that not doing a journal will close. So, I keep going to office hours, I keep doing the source pulls and tech edits. I keep going through the motions. And soon enough, a year will be over. In any sane world, I wouldn't have to put in another year of this crap since my resume shows I've done it before. But in law... well, there's no accounting for logic...



Ambulance Chaser's Decision to withdraw her clerkship applications is inspiring...
It's a choice

My life right now fits the maxim: I'm a 2L and I'm being WORKED TO DEATH. But, I remind myself daily, it's not required. I chose this life for this month on the hopes that it would pay off in the end. There are more reasonable 2Ls who aren't doing everything all at once (journal, a moot court competition, Appellate Advocacy, courses, OCI, externship interviews for next semester). I waver between jealousy and conviction when I compare my recent days to theirs.

Lately, my typical day looks like this:

  • wake up tired
  • commute
  • go to class
  • go to an interview or two (change into the suit or just wear it all day, regardless it needs to be cleaned one of these days...)
  • voicemail/email between classes and deal with scheduling callbacks, writing thankyous, etc.
  • read/write/research/grunt-work for class/journal/moot-court between classes and interviews (eat lunch while doing this)
  • go to 2+ hours of moot court practice
  • commute home
  • workout (unless I managed to squeeze in a workout between classes)
  • eat dinner with E
  • finish reading/writing/research/grunt-work for class/journal/moot-court
  • sleep

Today, I went to my first class of the semester without having done the reading. Up until today, I was preoccupied with keeping on top of it all. Now, obviously, I'm not. And it's a relief. I'll probably fall further behind in my reading over the next few weeks and pick it up after OCI and moot court calm down. Whatever. Why didn't I slack off earlier?

Overall, I'm enjoying myself in a weird way. I feel very purposeful. I'm accomplishing quite a bit in a short period of time and I feel prepared and qualified to do most of what I'm doing (qualified to babble the same story about myself in 20 minute increments... doesn't take much to keep my ego happy, does it?). I'm certain the decision to aim for a reasonable amount of sleep, a good workout schedule, and healthy eating (okay, so I had nutter butters for lunch today, but in general, I'm pretty healthy) has quite a bit to do with why I feel content.

The decision to give up every hint of a social life for a few weeks was smart. I wouldn't want to do it for a long stretch of time, but for this stretch, I'm glad I did (and warning people worked wonders). I don't think I'd be much fun in a social setting right now anyways.

Given a choice between social stuff and working out when I'm stressed, I'll take the work out every time. Which reminds me, I put 18+ miles beneath my feet last week in addition to 3 hours of yoga. I haven't been this physically active since finals.

Restaurant Review

Tonight's Wednesday Night outing was to Cascal. The outdoor seating is well spaced and much quieter than the indoor din, although the tables are a bit small for all of the dishes that pan-latin food entails.

For starters, E had gazpacho, which was more blended and creamier than what we expected, but quite good. I went for the mixed lettuces, which were average at best. We followed with an order of calamari, which was decent (A- for batter flavor, B- for dipping sauce that was too viscous and not flavorful enough, B- for batter consistency that broke away from the calamari when dipped in the too viscous sauce).

For the main course, we split an order of Bisteca Churrasco. "Rare" came medium, but this is California, what can you do? The entire dish was a huge plate containing grilled marinated vegetables (A-), the Churrasco (B), and a quartered baked potato (A). The side dish stole show. Poblano chile and potato gratin with Mexican cotija cheese and garlic-parmesan crumbs--aka God's Own Potato Mush. DE-Li-Cious. A+.

Unfortunately, I can't comment on the wine list, which looked extensive, because my current life requires Pelligrino, even on date night...

Off to read for Evidence.

September 19, 2004

There is no spoon

If life is about perspective, then I'm recently reborn. The stuff I'm putting myself through is now a privilege.

K's mother was in the hospital this weekend for gall-bladder surgery. The night nurse misread her charts and dispensed way too much dilaudid (like heroin, only strong).

K's mom spent 6 hours in a coma before they realized the mistake. She's alive, but mentally slow. My thoughts and prayers are with K and her family as her mom continues to recover. I'm scared, angry, and full of wonder that such a mistake could occur.

Of course, my first wish is that she fully recovers and there is no need to sue.

But, I must say my second thought was of a savior lawyer (and how simple this case appears to be at first blush--MISREAD CHARTS???). The typical stereotype of ambulance-chasing medical malpractice attorneys went right out the window. Someone should be ready to fight this fight, and K's family shouldn't have to put down anything to get the ball rolling. The contingency system may have its problems, but in cases like this, I'm glad we live in a system where there are options for people without means who may be injured by such egregious mistakes.

September 18, 2004

Because that's the way we are

Received an email from one of the judges I'm trying to get a job with for next semester.

__X___ You will be notified if selected for an interview.

Gotcha. Don't call. Ever. I've been having fun imagining what the over-eager student who made this email a necessity must have done.

September 15, 2004

Opposite Day

Wednesdays were the most hellish day of the week. That, of course, was before moot court practice, journal commitments, and OCI all decided to simultaneously require random intervals of my time over the next few weeks. In an ironic twist, Wednesday is my least demanding day of the week for the next few weeks.

Didn't matter, though. E and I kept up the Wednesday night restaurant thing (despite the break after the worst day of the week rationale being shot to pieces) and hit our local (cheaper) sushi joint.

You've got to have one or two places like that. It's not the best sushi in town, nor is it the place we take visitors, but it's pretty good, and when we take the price into consideration, it's pretty high on the overall satisfaction scale. Add the fact that the chef and waitstaff know us (we're only there about once every week or two) and the gift sushi that we always receive and it's a no-brainer.

Funny thing about gift sushi, though. You can't count on it coming, 'cause that would be rude. So you always have to order like it's not coming and then stuff yourself even sillier when it innevitably arrives. My mama raised me right. I'm not leaving a gift of food behind when I leave. No-siree-bob.

Other than that, law school continues as you'd expect. As promised, I have little-to-no social life for the next few weeks in order to give myself time to get everything done. As a result, I'm staying on top of my work (but barely), getting enough sleep, eating reasonably well, and getting in a decent amount of workouts (although probably not as many as I'd like).

September 13, 2004

Stupid Hippy Rice

As we all know, I'm a bit of a food quality snob. I prefer to shop at the family-run market near our house for basics, and hit the european open-air market, and one of the many specialty importers for more exotic fare.

Food is my hobby. It looks kind of funny on the hobbies section of my resume, but it's true. I like shopping for food, visiting farms, watching food being prepared, making food, tasting it, smelling it, discussing it... you get the idea.


Turns out that some of the hippy brown rice had some bugs in it. They grew up and infested the entire kitchen. Conveniently for them, we keep all grain products in the same cabinet, in what apparently are not air-tight tupperware.

E and I threw out quite a bit of rice, dried peppers (the red decorative ones, really hot--wouldn't you think the bugs would stay away from those?), and oatmeal. Thankfully, the polenta, dried porcini, and farro were safe due to superior packaging.

It's really quite disgusting--I opened the rice pseudo-tupperware to make risotto while the garlic and onions were simmering in butter. I was almost salivating from the smell when I saw an infestation of 2 dozen insects, very upset that I had disrupted their home. Uggghhh...I guess when the hippies say no pesticides, they really mean it. The realization that the bugs we'd been seeing around the house were coming from our food was gross.

There are two good things to come from this, however:

#1 -- farro "risotto" is simmering on the stove. I've often wondered how using farro (spelt) in place of rice would work.

#2 -- I've wanted to branch out and buy some new rice varieties for a while now, but couldn't in good conscience because of the several pounds we already owned. That's no longer a problem...

September 11, 2004

Genmaicha & Mugicha

You just can't mess with the Japanese when it comes to tea.

My favorite hot tea is genmaicha. I have been known to pound multiple pots of it while studying. Last night, while working on my moot court brief 'til 2 AM (woo hoo, do I know how to party or what?), I drank an entire pot. Turns out, it's got a decent amount of caffeine. Apparently, there's enough to make even a diet-coke addict toss and turn for a few hours, regardless of how late it is. Rad.

Well. Lesson learned. I'll have to drink herbal teas while studying late at night. I used to alternate between an orange spice tea and a lemon-grass chamomile tea when I needed herbal tea. Of course, that was before I discovered Japanese roasted barley tea. After its discovery, the Japanese managed to take top billing in both the hot and cold tea categories.

Unfortunately, E & I made short work of the Mugicha we obtained from the Japanese grocery store adventure. Guess I'll just have to go back and get more.

The point is: if you're looking for a delicious, healthy, non-caffeinated, easy-to-make, refreshing, cheap, study beverage, you should find an asian grocery store that carries it, or order some.

September 8, 2004

The Supremes

One of the cooler things about my school is proximity to Courts of all levels. Last year, I had to attend oral arguments at Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a federal district court, and a California trial court. Today, I added the Supreme Court of California to my list.


There is something very serious and real about watching death penalty appeal arguments before 7 justices. Today, I felt like a real lawyer-to-be, like what I was learning really mattered. Normally, I feel like the law matters, but not at such a ridiculous, awe-inspiring level. The attorneys were very prepared, animated, and engaging. The justices asked questions that I would have asked (curiosity for its own sake has a place behind the bench, apparently), and were generally well-prepared and interested in the issues they were hearing.

On a side note, the security was the strongest of any court I've visited. When I arrived, I watched 4 Southern-California-boy 1Ls get rejected at the second metal detector. Basically, the bouncers told them that their shoes weren't nice enough, and oh, the whole shorts and t-shirt thing didn't cut it. Amusingly, the girls they were with were admitted in tank-tops, bare midrifts, low-rise jeans with g-strings hanging out, and flip-flops. I had a flashback to my club-going days.

Wednesday Restaurant Review

Tonight E and I hit an old favorite, Celia's Mexican Restaurant. Chances are, if you live in a city in the San Francisco Bay area, there's a Celia's near you. There are way more than the one website implies.

A friend whose brother dated someone in the Celia's family told us that the recipes all come from grandma Celia and that all of the stores are owned by extended family. Regardless of the truth of this quaint idea, E&BT vouch for the consistency in quality between the 4 or so Celia's we've visited. For us, it's synonymous with authentic fare, excellent margaritas, and eating so much that we swear we'll never eat again. You should all try it.

Welcome back Mean Mr. Mustard (2.0). Sure, I'm a few months late. But, then again, when was I ever hip and on top of things? Seriously, though. He's a really good writer. Ascerbic as hell, but then again, what the hell else would you do with all that talent?

Also, if you're looking for a good post-apocolyptic book, I heartily recommend Oryx and Crake. If you didn't get enough of Madame Atwood in high school, now's your chance. I plowed through it over the holiday weekend when I should have been doing something related to school.


September 7, 2004


Ideas I mistakenly brought from my previous life to Law School:

1. Email will be answered within 4 hours at the latest. If people are unavailable, they will have an away message response. (Now, I'm ecstatic to get any answer at all, and consider myself lucky if the response arrives in 2 or 3 days.)

2. Contrapositive to #1 -- it is imperative that I check my email at least 4 times daily. (Quite the opposite, in fact. Email inboxes are the collectors of all information in law school, useful or not. Why filter it yourself when your fellow students will all be discussing the majority of the important things you need to know?).

3. In public places like meetings or presentations, everyone has their phone on vibrate, or off. (Apparently, class is not like a meeting or a presentation. Go right ahead and let that baby sing the latest 50-cent riff...)

4. In group projects, all members of the team are interested in making the lives of their teammates reasonable liveable. Note, I did not say that they succeed--I'm not an idealist. But it was my impression prior to law school that most people at least tried to give the impression of wanting to reach the end goal of group projects in the real world. In Law School, I've seen several people not the least bit concerned about the fact that their work reflects not only on them, but on others as well. Of course, see #5 to understand why and how they can get away with this...

5. Everyone has a life. (One of the most shocking realizations about law school is that some people really don't have a life. It's actually possible. The majority of them are miserable, of course. But still--it's actually possible to NOT have ANY life what-so-ever. I say this coming from Software. Where people sleep under their desks. In sleeping bags. To avoid paying rent and be close to the happy hum of their CPUs [tangent: you wouldn't believe the noise in E's and my office. I lost count, but I believe we've got about 5 CPUs in here...]. But there are people in law school who are worse than the software freaks because they don't even seem to like what they are doing...)

6. Smart == Experienced. In general, in software, people who know what they are doing have done quite a bit. It doesn't matter how quick you are to start with, experience really does level the playing field quite a bit. Law school is very different. There are plenty of people who are very smart by law school standards but they have no experience anywhere outside of the classroom. Most likely, they will succeed in their careers after they acquire a modicum of experience. But in the meantime, I can't help but be confused. How do people get to be in their 20's without having lived at all?

7. I'm open-minded. Law school has shown me that I'm much more judgmental than I'd like to admit. I spent several years developing a comfort zone in the science-engineering world. It's a good world. But I chose to leave the promised land of meritocracy and logic, which made me seem open-minded. Funny-that. Because, out here in the nether-lands, I've got a lot to learn. Particularly about assumptions, and thinking I know anything about anything. Wish me luck.

September 2, 2004

Hint #3

When you fill out the disk for your final exams, be sure to spell your professor's name correctly!

Yup, BT mispelled professor Tax's last name and there was a huge red circle around the wrong letter with a line through it on the first page.

Much to my chagrin, the professor's name is at the top of EVERY page, so it's not like he could forget that I was an idiot (or worse yet, didn't respect him enough to know how to spell his name). The borderline grade with a minus I received is now much more clear.

September 1, 2004

And in the Best Website Category

The NSA has a kids page.


Sigh of Relief

Wednesday is the toughest thing about this semester. Each week, I dread it and when it's passed, I breath a sigh of relief. I have to be out the door by 7:30 AM and I'm guaranteed to make it home by 7:30 PM assuming no extra work at school and no traffic (raaaiiiiiggghhhhhttt).

Thankfully, E and I put together a plan to deal with Wednesdays. For the rest of the semester, we will be going out to dinner immediately after I arrive home.

Restaurant Review

Tonight, we went to Amber India and ate ourselves silly on Papadum, Kadai Paneer (mmm... fried cheese), Sukhi Bindhi (E's got to get warmed up on Okra--we're headed back to the South for Labor Day weekend), and Kulfi Falooda (pistachio ice cream, of sorts, on top of a clear noodle concoction).

The restaurant is billed as one of the best Indian food restaurants in the Bay Area. I must say, we have to agree. Sure, it's no Saravana Bhavan, but they moved out of town. Plus, Saravana Bhavan was a different animal--an experience in true ethnic dining, with the feel of a diner, guaranteed that if you weren't Indian, you'd be oddly visible, and strictly South Indian vegetarian fare sans alcohol. Amber India, on the other hand, has tablecloths, linen napkins, servers in ties, and let's not forget the wine and beer list as well as a cocktail menu--nights like tonight a Kingfisher is a necessity with the spicy food. It's a BT&E recommendation if you get the chance.

After a long restful dinner full of converstion, I'm totally recovered from the day. One thing about law school that is nice: predictability. We can depend on Wednesdays sucking and use it as an excuse to go out. Stay tuned for more Silicon Valley Restaurant reviews, assuming I can find the time...