October 29, 2004


I decided on the title to this post before I checked to see if it was actually a word. (I often decide upon the word that best fits only to learn it doesn't exist.) Thankfully, for once, I'm not that far off. And churchill, on the germans, I mean, puh-leeze, I've got back up, you know what I'm saying?

So anyways, the point: I've ascended to the title of god of gnocchi. Okay, that's not fair. Or even true. But I've definitely moved from one level to the next. And, I'm fairly certain it's a hidden level and most people don't even know it exists, hence the arrogance. But all of a sudden, I just get the dough. I know when it's going to be soup, I know when it's going to cook into perfectly tender gnocchi. And tonight, while making an entirely new season-centric gnocchi recipe with butternut squash, I made a judgment call and went against the recipe. I asked E to toss in an extra cup of flour while I was kneeding. This can be the kiss of death with gnocchi. An extra cup of flour can turn light fluffy pillows of potato goodness into heavy cement balls. But... I was right.

Over delicious mouthfulls, E and I discussed the best meals that had been cooked at home thus far in the year. We tentatively agreed that the butternut-squash gnocchi in a simple fresh tomato, onion, basil sauce with parmigiano topping was the frontfunner. The sauce, of course, took about 15 minutes and no effort--sautee the onions in the olive oil, add the tomatoes, simmer 'til the consistency is correct and turn off the burner. Before serving, add the chopped basil, briefly heat, add the gnocchi and stir. No-brainer. It is clear that the gnocchi were the difficult starlot of the evening--they were heavenly. Despite their humble beginnings in the form of squash, potatoes, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour, they managed to beat out the filet mignon from last weekend's dinner with company as the favorite for the year (that we can recall...subject to time-dependent decrease in taste appreciation).

Do you understand? Gnocchi beat out filet mignon. I am not kidding. I've figured gnocchi out and may have found my calling. This is the greatest thing that I've accomplished this year. I'm not exaggerating.

That is all.

October 27, 2004

I could have been huge

The discovery of little people who preceded us is easily the coolest scientific breakthrough in a long time. For every person you meet who's fired up about next Tuesday (the scariest day of the year), think of me, even more fired up about evolution and biological pressures and humans who have complex neurological processes in smaller brains than we thought possible. We don't know ANYTHING. And it's wonderful.

In other news, the job search is finally done. I accepted offers with two firms and will be splitting my summer between them. The entire process of OCI, interviewing, getting offers, and negotiating a split (which in silicon valley is much less accepted than other legal markets) was exhausting. I'm thrilled to know what I'll be doing and look forward to working with the people I've met. Add the finished Ap Ad brief and I'm on my way to returning to normal (not miniature) humanhood.

It's a good day. In fact, it's Wednesday, and E and I took date night to a local mainstay of mexican food. One margarita, 2 enchiladas, chips, salsa, rice, and lard-riffic refried beans and I'm done for the night.

Off to sleep.

October 24, 2004

The Speed

It's almost Halloween. Seems like it was just yesterday that K showed up at our house and saw our post-halloween candy bowl, and exclaimed, "Oh... so you were the house with the shitty candy."

Time is FLY-ING and I'm feeling old. I remember last New Years like it was yesterday and am somewhat traumatized at the reality that it's much closer to 2005 than it is to 2003.

When did this happen? And what have I been doing in the interim?

I know what I did this weekend: I spent Friday glued to the computer and books, finishing my journal note proposal and catching up on Con Law reading. Saturday, I spent all day in the BarBri evidence review, because while I didn't have the energy for active learning, I could handle passive learning with H's company, and walked out of the review with a nicely structured outline that will be the frame for my final outline in a few short weeks. Today, I spent almost 12 hours in the library working on the Ap Ad brief. For this semester, at least, this weekend was typical. And I think that may be why time seems to be passing me by.

I'm not making any particularly memorable memories lately. All my spare memory is spent learning legal stuff. I actually like it, so it's not terrible, but it is slightly sad when I realize that when I think over the year, I have many fewer fun images since I started law school than I did in the years proceeding it. I'm not quite certain what to think about that. I suppose I could just consider all I've learned in the last year and my estimation of time would start to slow.

Regardless, I'm shocked and at the same time not surprised at all that I need to catch up in my courses and make a study schedule for finals, yet again. Seems like I just did this last week...

I have one thing to say: Thank goodness for college football.

October 21, 2004

That's how it goes

The comedy of man survives the tragedy of man.
--G.K. Chesterton

I'm in better shape right now than I have been in years. This is an indicator of my stress level, and nothing more. Last year, I realized that I could only handle stress effectively in one way: working out. I'm not complaining. Quite the contrary, I'm amused that my body is slowly starting to resemble an athlete's yet again... it's been a long time.

Of course, along with lots of time spent working out comes injury. And I've got one. I'm actually nursing it properly with ibuprofen and time off the shoes. But, I'm amused. The last time I nursed an athletic injury, I was actually an athlete, on a team. These days, I'm merely trying to deal with the stress that my life creates. Funny.

I talk too fast. I'm confused and frustrated with the amorphous concept of my uncertain future and how I'm going to get there through the madness that will be the Summer after 2L. I'm behind in my reading in every class. I'm unaware of things that are due until one day prior when my classmates mention them. I bust them out when I should be sleeping.

This weekend, which I hilariously planned to spend visiting my brother's family and winetasting has been re-assigned to working on the journal note, catching up on reading, finishing the app-ad brief and sleep. Winetasting and playing with the niece? Who was I kidding?

An additional side effect of the stress is the lack of appetite because my stomach is all messed up. If I keep this up, for the first time in 4 years, I'll have a 6 pack.

How hilarious is that?

October 20, 2004

Best Idea Ever

E gave me credit tonight for the Wednesday date night plan. I admit, I must agree. Occasionally, I have a bit of genius. Good thing too, I needed the cushion of our local sushi joint and the gift-sushi of the "Ace" (we're moving up in the world, apparently, since this gift sushi involves salmon AND maguro!), to explain that I may be angling for a position on a spring moot court team.


Yeah. When asked by a member of the moot court board, I had to admit that I'd willingly undergo the hell of a moot court team for the benefit of the trip, yet again. I may join the cult yet... stay tuned.

In other news, I'm slowly climbing out of the hole of this-child-left-way-behind that is my studies these days. Nothing too exciting. Lots of catch-up reading, writing, but sadly, no arithmetic.

Add a pulled hip muscle, which is getting in the way of my running schedule and my life is well...boring. Predictable. And sane.

What a pleasant surprise.

October 19, 2004


Lessig is promoting a new site: p2p-politics.org. It's full of the moveon.org ads against Bush.

He's requesting that people who might know someone who actually made an anti-kerry ad or an anti-nader ad get their stuff on the site too. I'm guessing it's a little too skewed at this point to become a true democratic "discussion" but should be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Some of the ads are funny, but most of them are extremist and sound-bitey and all the things that frustrate me about politics in the first place.

October 17, 2004


The moot court competition is over. I'm relieved. I also had more fun on the trip than I could have possibly imagined. I owe the fun much more to the strong alcohol and stress-induced connections with the people on my team than the legal experience itself. Yes, it has been the most useful learning experience of law school thus far, but the friendships I made are college-like in their strength. I know these people way better than just about anyone else at law school. And I really like them. And the trip was fun--dancing, eating well, going out, long alcohol-infused discussions--it was all great!

As for how we fared--middle of the road. Top half. Not too shabby, but nothing to write home about. I wasn't able to argue as many times as I would have liked, nor did I do as well as I wanted to do when I did argue. But, I did better than I did at the beginning. I got over issues that I didn't even know I had. I'm much better at this than I was when I started and that's enough success to justify the effort.

Over the years, I've gotten quite comfortable with being somewhere in the middle. When I'm honest with myself, I care more about exposure to new things and quality of the experiences than being the best. Yes, I'm competitive, but I'm not only competitive in one area--I can't compete at the top of my game in one area at the expense of my game in another area.

So, I'm happily average in a lot of ways. And my moot court experience, which was simultaneously AMAZING and disappointing fits in with the rest of my life quite well--I'll always choose amazing food, wine, and conversations over the esoteric randomness of some particular judge's idea of "better." And I did.

It's good to be back. I look forward to reclaiming my life.

October 9, 2004

The Mother of Invention

E and I watched Men in Black II last night (Technically, I fell asleep watching it...). I wanted dessert. We're not big dessert people, so we don't normally have ice cream or chocolate lying around.

Thankfully, I found a can of peaches. I always have butter, flour, and brown sugar, so I made a make-shift cobbler.

Friday Night Cobbler

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Open and drain a can of peaches. Pour them into a square baking tin.
3. Cut 4 T butter into small cubes.
4. Pour 3-4 cups of flour into a bowl. Pour 2 cups of brown sugar into the same bowl.
5. Add the butter cubes and mash them into the flour/brown sugar with a fork until you have a bowl of crust balls. Add 1 cap of vanilla and half a cap of almond extract. Continue fork-mashing the butter cubes 'til the largest crust ball is about 1 cm across.
6. Pour mixture from bowl over peaches and stir 'til the mixture is attached to the peaches and isn't obviously dry in the corners.
7. Bake 'til the tips of the crust are brown.

Comments: It probably could have used a leavening agent. It was decent as a warm dessert, and satisfied my craving. But the leftovers were even better as breakfast this morning.
Grape Things

I finally was able to enjoy half of a Friday (my non-class day). So, I went to the wine store and picked up some 2003 Cotes-du-Rhone, 2001/2002 Bordeaux, and several other economically priced oddities that found their way into my basket.

The best discovery? Ciardella Vineyards 2000 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir. At $5.99, I took a chance and bought 3 bottles. Last night, E & I had one and I'm about to go back and buy the rest of their supply. Apparently, Thunder Mountain used to use grapes from the Ciardella Vineyards. For whatever reason, they don't anymore.

My guess is that the Ciardella family decided to make their own Pinot. Light, true to the Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot (less earth, medium fruit, not too acidic), and delicious, I'd say they did a decent job. But, given that the Thunder Mountain pinots were selling for $24 in 1999, it seems that the Ciardella family didn't market their product effectively. I wouldn't pay $24 for this wine, but I'm cheap. I will however pay $5.99--in fact, this may be the highest quality $6 wine I've had outside of Europe.

Woo Hoo for grape-growing families that strike out on their own.
More Advice

1Ls, do what you can to schedule fall 2L classes with one day off. I'd recommend Monday. First, the ability to have a day off is one not to be wasted. It's not going to happen in the real world. Second, it makes OCI easier.

I have Fridays off, which is great, but so do half of all 2Ls doing OCI, it seems. This means Friday callbacks are scarce (plus, some attorneys prefer not to schedule interviews on Fridays), so you miss more class on the days you have classes.

Regardless of how you plan it, you will probably be behind after OCI, if you do it, but minimizing the amount of missed class is preferable.

October 7, 2004


If your 2L job search is anything like mine, the things you thought would matter to you during the interview process may not matter as much as you think. In contrast, stuff you never really considered important will really affect you.

Example: one OCI firm was rude to a friend of mine in the screening interview. I don't care how cool they are. I'm not working there and I'm not referring business to them. Probably for the rest of my career. Is this reasonable, or smart? Probably not, it's one associate, who was probably exhausted at the end of a long day of interviews. But that's life. I'm sure firms have made hastier and sillier rejections of me.

Example 2: free sodas are a big deal to me. I always took them for granted, coming from software. Now I realize that not all firms have them. I find it affecting my opinion of firms way more than it should.

Example 3: firms where people say, "so-and-so (the OCI interviewer) says you're a great candidate" seem like so much of a better fit than those where people don't say anything. This is silly. It's much more indicative of the personality of the individual OCI interviewer and the person who shared the info than the firm itself. But really, we don't get enough information to make this decision, so I'm going with any little tiny thing I can find.

Example 4: firms who give a shorter reply period for their offers automatically seem less attractive to me. It's smart negotiating strategy. I should be appreciative of this. And yet, somehow, I like them less.

Example 5: firms within walking distance of cheap good food get major bonus points in my book. Enough points to counteract a 50 to 100 hour billables difference. This makes no sense. I could not save enough time walking to cheap lunches to make up the hours difference, since driving to far places would probably take just as much time.

Example 6: the OCI interviewer really colors my opinion of the firm. If I don't click with that one representative of the firm, it's hard to get over that lack of connection, even if on a callback I meet 5 others that rock.

Example 7: the commute doesn't matter to me. I thought I'd be very conscious of how long the commute will be, given my hellish commute to school. Somehow, it doesn't enter into my calculus. This, too, makes no sense. I know the commute to school is one of my least favorite things about my life. But somehow, it refuses to enter into the equation for next summer. Huh?

Example 8: I always claimed I didn't care about prestige. Yet, I'm finding myself more attracted to firms with more well-known names for the area in which I want to practice. I think this is logical, given the doors that prestige opens, particularly in the prestige-laden field of law. But it's new for me. Who says law school doesn't change you?

Example 9: I thought casual dress was important to me. After visiting a few firms, some on the super-casual side, some on the business side of business-casual, I've realized that I don't care. At all. When did this happen?

In short, unlike what I thought when I started this madness, I can now see myself happily dressing up and working an extra 50 - 100 hours a year in exchange for some combination including at least a few of: free sodas, proximity to cheap food, good training, cool people, and prestige. Basically, I know less about what I want now than I did when I started.

Musings for those that follow

In the last few crazy weeks, I've been collecting useful tidbits to hand out to 1Ls and future law school students who will find themselves in the madness that is law school, and in particular, 2L fall OCI.

OCI isn't complete, the jury is still out on whether I will quit my journal, and really, I don't have enough information on how this will all turn out to actually be qualified to give advice. But that does not stop me.

So, if you'd like my perspective from the middle of the fall of 2L storm, here goes:

1. Moot court is an amazing experience. I've committed more time and effort to my moot court competition than any other experience in law school thus far, including any single final exam during 1L. From this effort, I've gained amazing insight into effective legal writing (multiple employers have commented that moot court briefs translate very easily into motion writing), oral advocacy, the value and difficulty of team work, and lawyering in general. To date, moot court has been the most instructive and rewarding law school experience I've had. I'm also not convinced I'll do it again. At my school, this is blasphemy. To be awarded a spot on a team is a sought-after privilege. The true honor comes with the additional responsibility that the veterans are offered in their 3L year. That I'm not dying for the opportunity makes me an oddity. Of course, I haven't gone on the trip, which apparently is the holy grail. Perhaps after competing I'll be addicted just like the other members of the cult. Only time will tell, but from here, it seems that the amazing rewards of this experience will be diminished because I'll have reaped the majority of the benefits the first time around.

2. Don't go straight through from undergrad to law school. Take time off from school. Get a job. Learn a bit about the real world. Enjoy being young, with an income, and able to have fun with other young professionals. Figure out your interests and do something in that area. Then, and only then, go to law school. I can't tell you how much more pleasant my job search has been because I know what I want to do and how much I'm willing to take from an employer. I don't envy the people who have no idea of their interests, their limits, and their value. Not to mention the fact that a background in the field where you wish to practice goes quite a long way in the interview process. No way would I be experiencing the diversity of options that I've got at the moment if I hadn't put in time in the real world that is valuable and useful to law firms who need lawyers that understand where their clients are coming from. My grades matter less because my resume speaks for my ability. Given the competitive and random nature of law school grades, there's no reason not to earn some credibility in the real world which is much more of a meritocracy than law school finals.

3. The corollary to #2 is: journals aren't as useful to people who have a career before law school. The amount of time they require, when compared to the line on the resume, is completely and totally out of whack. Not a single OCI interviewer or call back interviewer has asked me about my journal. My only concern with quitting is clerkships. I fear that if I want to clerk, I have to tough it out. But maybe I don't want to clerk. Or maybe I only want to clerk for a judge that will take me despite my lack of a journal. Or maybe I'm just tired...

4. If you have a technical degree and think you may want to practice somewhere in the field of IP, take the patent bar before OCI, if at all possible. You'll be thrilled that you did. Furthermore, fitting in time to study and take the exam while working as an attorney is next to impossible. I've worked with mid-level patent attorneys who don't have a USPTO registration number because they don't have the time to attain one. They regret their lack of foresight.

5. Interviewing is all about how much they like you. Be confident and friendly. Don't let your concerns about your credentials, grades, or anything else affect the way you interact with these people--it's too late at this point, so let it go. Again and again, I've heard, "Honestly, the work is the same between all firms in the same region and echelon. If you got the screening interview, you're smart enough to handle the work. And everyone in our bracket does work for the same companies. What differentiates us from them is our people." Yup. That's it. It's all the same type and quality of work. The big deal is, you're going to have to spend tons of time with the same people day-in and day-out. Are you going to like them? Are they going to like you? So be yourself, be nice, and relax.

October 6, 2004


Yesterday, I spent 14 hours at school, which was typical for my current life, unfortunately. Add 2 hours for the commute and 8 hours for sleep, and well... you've got my day. Ri-di-cu-lous. But, I made my bed, here I lie. Also, in fairness, I spent 90 minutes of the 14 hours in yoga class and 30 minutes getting to-and-fro the yoga, hence my sanity.

Today, I commuted 2 hours to attend 1 hour of school. I also went to a 4.5 hour call back, which did not include a meal. I'm exhausted, but thankful for the opportunity to simultaneously interview with multiple firms and get a feel for the industry in my geographic region--never before in my professional life have I had this opportunity. It's amazing and not to be taken for granted. Of course, in order to enjoy this, I'm 350 pages behind in my reading. Rad...

For whatever reason, however, I've managed to stay on top of evidence. My other courses... what other courses? Seriously. I'll be supremely glad when moot court is over and I can slowly crawl out of the hole I've dug for myself these past few weeks.

Wednesday Night Restaurant Review

Tonight, instead of attacking some of those 350 pages of reading (and the cite-check, appellate advocacy brief revision, and re-vamp of the moot argument) I haven't done, E & I kept the wednesday date night tradition alive and returned to Vaso Azzuro, which has one of my favorite local wine lists, and one of the more reasonably priced quality Italian menus around. As expected, they did not disappoint.

E and I sat outside and enjoyed the benefits of San Francisco Bay Area October weather while listening to the sounds of the Caltrain and traffic. E ordered tomato-basil soup followed by pasta alla diavola. Perfetto! I had the house salad and pollo saltimbocca, which was everything I wanted it to be: cheesy, slightly salty, prosciutto-heavy, and sinful. For the second time, we enjoyed a bottle of fleur de carneros and it was just as wonderful as we recalled. Again, I beseech you, if you get a chance, try this fabulously under-valued wine! Oh, how I adore reasonably priced wine lists that accompany quality food preparations.

Vaso Azzuro is in hard core contention for my favorite local restaurant. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that my current life makes me the perfect sucker for a good multi-course European meal with wine. I'm actually relaxed right now... 350 pages? Whatever...I'm going to bed. Buona Notte!

October 2, 2004


The last week was insane, but it's done.

The Journal edit that's due Monday is complete. The rough draft of the Appellate Advocacy Brief is finished and turned in. Somehow, 6 hours of oral argument practice in the last 2 days fit into the schedule as well. I had a great interview with a firm I'm very interested in on Friday, and actually remembered to take the suit out of my locker and bring it home, to get ready for Monday's call back. Friday night, I went against my normal homebody instinct and actually went out with the moot court crew. It made practice on Saturday, when people were slow from the night before, much more understandable.

For Saturday night fun, E and I did the grocery shopping for this week, which will be soup-tacular. Tonight: vegetable udon (currently simmering on the stove). Tomorrow: Butternut Squash Bisque. Monday-Tuesday, Thursday-Friday: Leftovers.

So, I'm back on the treadmill. I'm even going to read tomorrow and catch up a little bit. By no means will I be on top of it by the end of this week, but I think I've passed the point where I slide backwards each day. Here's to hoping I'm right.