December 2003 Archives

Greetings from Berlin


Meli and I are killing time in the Ostbanhof train station in Berlin before our train to Munich, and we just bought 2 Euros worth of internet time apiece. So for those of you who've e-mailed me I won't have time to answer just yet, especially considering the fact that I'm spending most of my time adjusting to this god-damned European kezboard.

I have a lot of emotional things to say about the last few days and the coming week, so I won't get into them now. Besides, I may as well wait until I can post some of our honeymoon pictures (watch for the "zu den Affen" pic). Instead, let me just say this: My German is terrible.

As a case in point, consider my experience at the pharmacy, or "Apotheke" this morning. My annual sore throat doesn't care that I'm on my honeymoon, so on our way out of the hotel this morning we stopped for some drugs. I managed to explain to the pharmacist about my Halzschmerz and bought some lozenges and multivitamins. What I didn't get from the pharmacist or the label of the multivitamins was that they were alka-seltzer style tablets instead of chewables, which I realized only after my mouth was overtaken by fizzing, chalky disgustingness. I also couldn't get our cabdriver to explain why there are so many giant plaster bears around Berlin.

But I'm having a wonderful time. We're heading into Munich this afternoon, and after a few days there it's on to Spain until the first. I'll come back with lots of pictures and more embarassing stories (including the one about me having my fly open for half the wedding photos).

Bonus Cartoon Monday

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I was overcome with a sudden burst of terrible, terrible inspiration today shortly after being bitten by a cat suffering from borderline personality disorder.

She bit me on my boob.

New Dean for Boalt


After a semester of pestering students for their input, Boalt has named Christopher Edley, Jr. as the new dean. Edley will replace John Dwyer, who resigned last year amid allegations of unauthorized fingering.

A few highlights:

Edley will be the first African-American to serve as dean of a "top ranked" law school. I'm not sure where the cut-off for top ranked is, but it must be somewhere above Ole Miss and SIU.

Edley said:

"The mission of a great public law school is different from that of an elite private school because we must consider not only the excellence of our training and scholarship but also the access to and inclusiveness of our enterprise."

Now, he may have meant the same thing by "great" and "elite," and used different words to avoid redundancy, but it still sounds like he's taking a Bad News Bears approach to taking charge of Boalt. Adding to this perception is interim dean Bob Berring's excessive concern with U.S. News:

"This is a great coup for Boalt Hall and the University of California," said Berring. "I think that Chris Edley will take us to the next level of excellence, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun to be at the law school over the next few years. He's going to introduce new ideas. He's going to take seriously the fact that we should be a top five law school, and he's going to challenge the faculty, students, alumni and community to be part of that process."

The top five are currently Yale, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia and NYU. Boalt shares number 10 with Cornell. UVA and Michigan, the only other public law schools in the top ten, are ahead of Boalt at 9 and 7, respectively. Also noteworthy is that, while Boalt has a number 10 ranking, because it shares the slot with another school it's really in the top eleven, which has less of a ring to it. If Our Savior helps us oust NYU it'll clear up that incongruity and show the Cavaliers and Wolverines what's what.

But take the rankings for what they're worth. I tend to place them in the category of LSAT review courses: They wouldn't be necessary if they didn't exist. There are too many complaints about U.S. News to get into here.

Of Fools and Liars


Yesterday I had my first Boalt final (Securities Regulation), and my only in-class essay exam of the semester. The professor agreed to make it a two and a half hour exam instead of the usual three hours, and swore up and down that we'd be able to finish it in time. Well, I didn't, and neither the three people I informally surveyed afterwards. In addition I was thoroughly flabbergasted by the lack of an "Is it a security at all?" analysis (I had Howey, Foreman, Reves, and even Landreth steaming in my holster), as well as the fact that both fact patterns were based heavily on private litigation rather than straightforward Section 5 analysis. And the policy question came screaming out of left field like a gremlin driving a Gremlin. I was not pleased. Especially considering that Securities Regulation ended up being my favorite class this semester and I thought I had the shit down pretty well.

I'm told not to fret about my performance because of Boalt's pass/fail policy. Boalt's pass/fail policy is a filthy, wretched lie. It's not a pass/fail policy. It's a pass with high honors/pass with honors/pass/fail policy. We have grades here at Boalt, they're just set up differently. How can you have Order of the Coif if you don't have grades? Liars! All of you liars!

Two of my remaining three exams are 24-hour take-home essays. This also fails to please me. One professor even said that his exam was exactly the same kind of thing he'd give for a three-hour. Then why give us 24 hours? Sure, timed essay writing is a useless skill, but it's one that I happen to possess, and I'd like to enjoy some level of success before I enter the legal profession and transform from a pretty good law student into a crappy lawyer. Come on. Really. The people who need 24 hours to demonstrate their talents can make up for their low grades with their charming personalities during job interviews. Me, I got nothing except what the paper says.

The fourth exam is in-class multiple choice. And while the likes of Steve may relish the thought of such things, I see this as yet another way of hiding my useless, useless talent for hastily written complex legal analysis.

And so, Matt is not pleased with his final exams this semester, and will likely be less pleased when grades (yes, I said it, GRADES) arrive in January. But fortunately he'll be able to blame his multiple P's on his wedding planning duties, because nobody knows that Molly has done almost everything in that department.

Google Giggles


Type "miserable failure" into Google, without the quotes, and hit "I'm Feeling Lucky."

I Love Class Action Litigation


Today I got a letter from Schwartz Refund of Jacksonville, Florida telling me that I've been identified as a member of the class of Citibank credit card customers eligible for a refund under the terms of a settlement agreement reached in a class action lawsuit. Attached thereto was a check for zero dollars and three cents.

But the lawyer was handsomely paid and the company was handsomely burdened, and that's enough for me.



You know, I like songs about vaginas as much as the next guy. By which I mean not at all. And that's why I've lost all patience with Tori Amos. Okay, sure, "Cornflake Girl" was fine because it was about female genital mutilation (as opposed to so-called male genital mutilation) and that's a serious issue. And I can even handle "Raspberry Swirl" because it shifted the focus from the sexual parts of the female anatomy viewed as pleasing to men to the one that's pleasing to women. And that's empowering, because everything that women do is empowering. But what the hell is the story with "A Sorta Fairytale"? Is she just slipping in genital imagery to see if she can? Why would you pull back the hood while you're driving? If you're going for a metaphor there it would be the top. I pulled back the top. If you're pulling back the hood of the car while driving you've got some problems. Unless you're talking about the kind of hood you wear on your head, in which case what the hell does that mean?

I mean, really.

Continuing the Theme


Special thanks to Tyler.

Worlds Saddest Sign


"To whoever stole my laptop:

"Please copy the files onto a disk and leave it where someone can find it. I need to hand in my thesis soon and I need my last three years of research.

"This is URGENT!!!"

Posted outside the Boalt library.

Multuple backups, people.



My first semester back at Berkeley is about to come to an ungratifying end. After discussing the issue of why this semester has sucked so hard with the few people on campus willing to talk to me, the general consensus seems to be that the first semester of the 2L year is universally sucky, mainly because of the added stress of OCI. The people who say the first year is the hardest are underestimating the ability of law students to adapt to new educational environments. Once you get the swing of things the first year hain't that bad. But the second year is kicking my ass in ways I never could have imagined.

But there is hope. Now that the summer job(s) (a)is(re) secure(s) there won't be much to worry about next semester, apart from my continued inability to integrate into the greater law school community. And then there's third year, that glorious time when grades truly don't matter and you live life in the shadow of the bar exam, which you don't really have to start worrying about until summer anyway. But just to be sure that third year is as easy as possible I'll be taking a dickload of units next semester and hopefully get this god-damned writing requirement overwith, assuming I can come up with a paper topic that doesn't get laughed out of the fucking room by every professor within earshot.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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