Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ernesto and ...

Ernesto came and went. Nothing happened. It was so windy and loud last night that it kept me awake for hours but apparently it wasn't even a hurricane. Terrific. Can't wait for the next one -- one that's an actual hurricane.

Another blogging hiatus until Sept. 5 at the earliest when I get back in town. One commenter asked me if I could please complain about something, but I have nothing to complain about. So if you have any suggestions, let me know...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

no Ernesto

Not here after all. It's drizzing. Wind is light -- nothing even remotely approaching hurricane or trop storm status. It's really fucking humid out there. Nothing else to report. The boredom is setting in. God I'm bored. I'm actually tempted to study. Well, maybe not. We still have power, obviously...


Ernesto is here. I guess. Sort of. It's pouring out. The TV shows Ernesto actually far south but the outerbands are affecting us. Whatever. It's pouring and windy.

I've done everything I can. The shutters are closed and it's dark in the house. I hate closing the shutters. I have lots of ice and water and plenty of the kind of food you can eat without cooking. The air conditioning here at home is set much colder than usual (so that when we lose power it'll take an extra hour or two to become intolerable tonight). I brought our mailbox inside (after Wilma it ended up in the backyard). I'm drinking a can of Schlitz Malt Liquor. It seemed like a good idea to buy a couple of cans when I was buying ice.

Gas stations either had long lines or were out of gas today. Most that I saw were actually out of gas. I have more than half a tank and since we're going out of town on Thursday I'm not going anywhere if this place (as in all of South Florida) gets shut down. I think the reason they run out of gas is that everyone gets 10-20 or more gallons than they need so they can run their generators. Last summer we bought three five-gallon gas containers when they were on sale at Target. It would've made sense if I'd filled them up, but I didn't. Instead, they're sitting empty in the shed. Next time, I guess. The reason we bought them even though we don't have a generator is because after Wilma there was an actual gas shortage and people like my wife who had to get to work despite the storm actually needed gas (her employer provided her with gas). So after Ernesto blows over I'll get 15 gallons of gas and store it in the shed. I think you need to put some kind of chemical treatment in there to keep it from going bad. I had no idea gas went bad until I started reading about this stuff online. Still have no idea what I need to get to keep it from going bad but I'll figure it out.

The only remaining loose end is that my wife is at work. As of now she's planning to drive home during the worst of it. Here's hoping she gets home safely.

And I even downloaded AOL so that I can go online during a power outage using dialup. Stay tuned!

They got smart and cancelled the Friday make-up classes. That was a good idea. Thank God we had that 7 a.m. class yesterday morning, so now next Friday we only have to make up one Lit Skills class. I'd hate to have four lit skills classes next week. I guess we only have three.

The school was eerily quiet today. I saw Professor Torts in the library. He asked me how I got in there. He didn't realize it was open until noon. I think he thought I snuck in or something. Yeah. As if I would try to sneak in the library. Actually, when I left I thought it wouldn't have been such a bad place to ride out the storm -- assuming they keep the air conditioning on. Plenty of space, power, computers. I could sleep, read, eat snacks. But I left. And now I'm home. Waiting. Waiting is the worst part of hurricanes by far, at least until the power goes out. Then that's the worst part. OK, no more complaining until there's actually something to complain about.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Thinking about Ernesto

Ernesto is coming. Classes are cancelled Tuesday and Wednesday. That means my next class is next Tuesday. They scheduled lit skills make-up classes for Friday morning. I’ll be out of town unless the airport blows away on Thursday. (By all accounts the storm will be long gone Thursday morning so we should have no problem flying out of here.) That was a good idea to schedule make-up classes on the Friday before a long weekend. I’d say at least 75 percent of 2Ls and 3Ls (including me) don’t have class on Fridays. Think anyone besides me is planning to leave town? Terrific planning as usual…

People are panicking and waiting in long gas lines. A guy I know said he witnessed a near brawl while in line for gas. What is wrong with people?

I guess the same people who always line up for plywood are lining up for plywood again to cover their windows. I’m glad my house has shutters. But what’s the deal with these people who line up for plywood time and time again? I’m fascinated with these people. I mean what do they do with the plywood after each hurricane that they need to get back in line the next time?

My favorite part of Hurricane Wilma was the eight days we spent without power at my house. It was made more annoying by the fact that all my neighbors have generators. All of them. Generators, in case you’ve never heard one, are REALLY LOUD and when you have to sleep with the windows open because it’s so hot and everyone has a generator except you, life is miserable. Why don’t I just get a generator, you ask? I’m sure I could afford one of the cheap ones, which are only a few hundred bucks. But they last maybe six hours and you have to keep refilling them. When I get my first big law job I’m buying a generator. A big one. Maybe even one of those massive ones that you install with an underground tank. That’s my new dream. I used to fantasize about a 60-inch LCD TV. Now all I want is an extra $15,000 for a stand-by generator.

As far as the last post about the non-makeup makeup days, yeah, if you like being the type to say “I told you so” feel free to tell me you told me so.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Class, class and more class

See if you can explain the logic behind the dean’s e-mail about the post-Thanksgiving class days.

He wrote this: To help minimize the number of make-up classes needed in the event of storm-related cancellations, the schedule this fall includes three class days after Thanksgiving.

In my mind, that means the logic goes like this: We might lose school days this semester because of hurricanes. Therefore, we’ll build in three extra class days after Thanksgiving break. We’ll use those days as make-up days.

But wait. The dean’s e-mail also says this: If we don’t lose class days to storms, some Professors may choose to cancel their classes on the day before Thanksgiving and/or on the three class days the following week. However, these are scheduled as class days.

So what gives? The post-Thanksgiving days aren’t make-up days. They’re regular class days. But they might be used to “minimize the number make-up” days. Huh? How is that possible if they’re regular class days? Have I done a poor job of learning basic reasoning skills during my first two years of law school or am I missing something?

By the way, I'm sure you don't need this blog to tell you, but Ernesto is on his way. Fortunately, today's cone of death has it missing us, but as we've been told about a million times, these things shift direction all the time. Awesome. Not really.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

the last word on parking

You know what gets on my nerves? People who think they have the solution to this school’s parking problem. They think, as this woman posted on the professor’s blog, that the solution is to get here early.

Brilliant! That works if, say, your first class is at 9:30 a.m. or maybe even 11 a.m. If you think you can roll in at 9:20 for that first class, well, it obviously doesn’t work that way. And that can be frustrating but that's the way it goes. You need to be here before 8 a.m. Too bad. But that’s not what I’m complaining about and I don’t think that’s what most students get upset about.

(I’m not claiming to have the solution to the parking problem either. I’m just pointing out the absurdity of denying that parking would be less of a problem because people don’t get here early enough.)

The problem, see, is twofold:

First, law school is not an 8-5 job. People spend upwards of 10-15 (or more!) hours a day on campus. (Especially 1Ls, who have been known to go several weeks in a row spending inordinate amounts of time doing work for law school) It’s not unreasonable to want to leave for a few hours when you have a large gap in your schedule. But if your first class is over at 11 and your next class isn’t until 4:30, you’re screwed. You can’t go anywhere and come back if you want to park nearby. While most 3Ls and some 2Ls with early registration times have control over their schedules, that still leaves about half the students with no control over when they can schedule classes. So these people are within their rights to be upset at the parking problem.

Second, a large percentage of students here (2Ls and 3Ls, at least) have other things going on besides classes. For instance, many of us have jobs! Yes, it’s true! And that includes internships, clinics, volunteer activities, etc., (and many law students actually have lives outside of school and don’t want to be chained to the law school campus for nine hours a day and would rather come and go). And if we’re not lucky enough to be able to create a schedule that leaves us entire days without a single class, we have to go back and forth between jobs and school. That’s a huge problem. Last semester I had to leave my job – which was a 10-minute drive from campus – an hour before class so I could find a parking space or leave time for the shuttle if I couldn’t find somewhere. (and don’t get me started on the inefficiencies of the shuttle). I know someone who has no classes earlier than 2 p.m. on any day so she can work mornings most days. That’s great. It would be even better if she could work until 1:30, pull up to campus, and then show up on campus just in time for class.

So once again, I don’t have a grand solution to the problem. But at minimum, it makes sense to acknowledge that there’s a problem and getting here early is not necessarily a solution to the problem.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

advice? who needs it?

Last year I posted some advice for incoming 1Ls. Everyone thinks at the beginning of their second year that they're wiser and therefore qualified to give advice. As a 3L I don't really have anything different to say than what I said last year.

So here's some advice from Rambling Without Cause. I'd have to disagree vehemently with No. 3, which says "your professors are really in awe of you. you're younger and have them outclassed in terms of untapped potential." Keep in mind that RWC goes to one of the best law schools in the country, so things might be different there than here, but I've never once thought any professor felt this way about students. Actually once or twice Prof. Business Associations and Con Law II (they're the same guy) gave out that vibe but he's the only one.

I also would strongly disagree with No. 5: any stress people experience during 1L is wholly a result of them so choosing to be stressed. Look, the first year is stressful. There's no getting around it. Hopefully everyone can manage to limit the stress and keep things in perspective. It sucks that they make it so stressful and such a brutal process, but your 1L year is not the time to fight the system if you want to be an attorney. Worry about changing the system later. You will get stressed sometimes. People experience varying levels of stress and handle it in different ways. Some ignore it. Others keep it as motivation. Some let it affect their lives. But don't get stressed about the fact that you're stressed. It's a brutal experience and although it's a good idea to understand that law school won't always be this stressful, it is stressful.

Oh and I'm one of those people RWC should avoid based on his tip No. 9. Oh well. To each his own. I won't try to convert anyone to my system but even though I'm now a 3L I still use different colors. Hey, when I get called on or re-read (skim, actually) before class all I need to know is to look at the orange highlighting for the holding, green for issue, pink for procedure below, etc.

Friday, August 18, 2006

so what's new?

I was trying to think about what's going to be different this year than last year and I couldn't come up with much because basically, things seem the same. But here's a short list of what's going to be different and my thoughts about each of these changes -- with my attempt to spin them in the best possible light so that you understand that I'm planning to be much more positive from now on:

  • The school year now ends two days after Thanksgiving instead of the day before. That makes sense. Good idea to make the year end later when in all likelihood we'll have to extend the semester once we end up missing days because of hurricanes (especially now that they plan to cancel school at the first sign of rain over the Bahamas).
  • They fixed up the student lounge. Fantastic! I didn't go in but it looks like they got rid of the couches and desks and ripped up the carpet. So it's a sterile room with more space for setting up chairs but nowhere to actually do the lounging.
  • Westlaw added more options to "buy" with your research points. That's cool. I have lots of points -- more than 20,000! (I know this proves my nerdiness).
  • Now we can only print a set number of pages, then after 1,200 pages, you have to pay. That'll work great. I'm sure no one will have any complaints about things like oh, I don't on any given day at least two printers are broken, which means you send something to a printer and it just disappears into cyberspace, meaning under the new system you'll still get "charged" with having printed it.
  • Some of the classes, including Trusts and Estates with professor Elements, were suddenly cancelled. I know several people who are angry about that because it threw off their schedule. I assume the reason is that Professor Elements is not doing well. I knew he was sick but have no idea how he's doing. Here's hoping he gets better -- if in fact the reason for cancelling the class is that he's sick.
  • Remember all those parking spaces that were supposed to open up this year because students were going to move into the new University Village, an on-campus apartment complex? Guess that'll take a little longer since anyone who had been planning to live in UV now has to spend the first few weeks of the semester in a hotel. Yeah I was really confident that this would alleviate the parking crunch. Not really. Parking will never get easier here. Despite the improvement to the parking lot this summer (re-painting the white lines on the too-small spots) they failed to actually address any of the real problems like that one third of the first row is flooded and therefore unusable after heavy rain (which happens at least twice a week here) and there are no clear markers identifying that each lane is one way (on the row closest to school there is not a single sign indicating which way people are supposed to drive), so people who aren't regular users of the lot are always going the wrong way, creating huge jams. Awesome -- another year of scratches on the car, frustration maneuvering around the lot and - hopefully - shuttles that never run when you need them.
  • Did I forget anything? Any other changes?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

back to school...soon

School starts again in a few days, so I figure I’d better fire this thing up again.

Yesterday I spent a couple hours at orientation for my small role in the process. It involved sitting at a table and talking to 1Ls. I know what you’re probably thinking – oh my God, they let you, Some Guy, near the incoming 1Ls? Was that a mistake? What were they thinking? But rest assured that I was on my best behavior and made not a single negative comment. The thing is, although I have been down on law school over the past eight months, my intention isn’t to bring down anyone else. If others want to be disillusioned and frustrated with the entire law school process, I’ll let them figure that out for themselves. If not, well, that’s great. But invariably, just like in each of the last two years, I guarantee you at some point this semester I’ll walk past a group of 1Ls and catch snippets of their conversation that will include comments like “I feel like I’m paying $34,000 a year for high school all over again” and “Hey, tell me again why I’m working so hard? When exactly do we see the payoff?”

Anyway, so I remember orientation two years ago. I wasn’t so worried about the orientation part but the worst thing was all the waiting. I guess it was nice to not have to go straight to work but the anticipation of that first class was unbearable. I just wanted it to get moving already.

Now I can honestly say that yesterday was the first time I was even a little bit excited about going back to school. I’d kind of been dreading it over the summer but now I don’t dread it as much. After all, I chose to be in law school and theoretically I could quit at any time. But I won’t. Not when I’ve come this far.

Now I just have to find a job and avoid losing my mind over the anxiety of finding a job in the meantime…

Friday, August 04, 2006


No blogging for about a week or so...