March 2004 Archives

Can I Get A Witness?


Dear Friends,

It's time once again for some poor, unsuspecting civilians to help me out in my trial class. This time I need some witnesses. This will involve slightly more work than being a jury. Actually, quite a bit more work, but more fun.

To begin with, I need someone on the evening of Thursday, April 8th, to play Bobby. Bobby is a supervisor at a drycleaning company who is suspected of burning down the building for the insurance. I'm on the defense team, so I'll be arguing that Bobby didn't burn down no damn building. Bobby has a gambling problem and a prior arson conviction. He also just bought a new Cadillac. I'm pretty sure Bobby can be played by either a man or a woman.

Later, on April 29th, I may need some people to play witnesses in a criminal trial. The defendant is a man who shot his wife, and is claiming self defense. I'll be the prosecution, so I'll be arguing that he ain't had no self defense. I'm not sure who the witnesses will be.

What the job will entail: I'll give you some case materials and "prep" you (a few meetings during which I teach you how to be a good witness). You won't necessarily have to memorize anything, since you'll be able to have stuff with you on the witness stand. You'll be direct-examined (most likely by me, possibly by my partner, Jennie, who's very nice), and then cross-examined by one of our opponents. During cross examination you'll do me proud by being evasive and generally difficult. During direct examination you'll endear yourselves to the jury with your gypsy magic.

Time commitment: In addition to the time taken to review the materials and the prep time, your examination will take a total of about 30-40 minutes between the hours of 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. The location will be the federal courthouse in San Francisco, which Gene, Sean and Kristina can tell you is a very happening place.

Compensation: Since this involves more work than the jury selection exercise, I may be persuaded to throw in some cold hard cash in addition to the customary drinks and balls-viewing. Of course, I still haven't managed to arrange anything with my last batch of volunteers, but I hope you won't hold that against me.

I think that's it. Comment or e-mail me if interested, ya humps!

"Hey! Pepe! Don't rim-job your sister!"

A Brief Lesson in Comparative Geometry


It's the first day back from Spring Break, and I'm in a bit of a mood. Specifically, I've decided to finally speak out on a topic that's been bothering me for several months now. In fact, as you can see, it more than bothers me.

Yes, every time I sit down at one of the hopelessly inefficient computers in one of the three Boalt Hall library computer labs, I have to rotate the mouse pad 90 degrees. I don't know who's responsible for this. Maybe it's the cleaning crew, maybe they don't own computers and can't comprehend the correlation between "thing you move the mouse on" and "thing that the mouse moves moves around on," and think that the vertical orientation is best in terms of space saving. Maybe everyone else on campus only moves the mouse cursor in very narrow, vertical paths. Whoever the collective culprit, I'd like to think that I can somehow shame people into arranging mouse pads the way God intended it.

Also, I've temporarily replaced the index page with a shameless self-promotion for my current political aspirations. You'll note that I've cleverly used bold for emphasis. I'm smart like that.

Next week: Why you shouldn't lower the goddamn swivel chairs all the way the hell down.

Spring Broken

| 1 Comment

A new strip is up, once again betraying my morbid fascination with strippers and kidnapping. I'm still doing my revisionist dating. I guess Thursday is the new Monday.

Much as I hate to admit it, I'm slightly more like the guy on the left than the guy on the right. I approached Spring Break with a long list of shit to do. Let's take a look at the standings.

Shit done:
Finished Entertainment Law outline to date
Outlined first two weeks of Legal Ethics
Finished reading the book I'm writing my Legal Ethics Paper on
Bought some stuff to make campaign T-shirts

Shit to do:
Get Legal Ethics outline up to date
Start Evidence outline and get it up to date
Actually make campaign T-shirts and campaign flyers
Finish San Bernardino County Bar Association Scholarship Application

There's actually a lot more on both lists but I imagine they're boring enough as is. Besides, no matter how much crap I have to keep me busy during this break, I have the comfort of knowing I'll never have to go through this again.

Seacrest out.

Outside Heart


I'm in a doctor's examination room, and the table is leaned up so it's more like a dentist's chair. The doctors finally tell me why I've been having trouble breathing. It's not my lungs after all. It's my heart. It's on the outside of my body. All the way outside, in fact. It's suspended in liquid in a large beaker on the counter. They hand me the beaker and let me hold it.

And there it is, a perfectly formed heart. It's not connected to me physically, but it seems to be linked to my breathing. When I inhale it contracts. When I exhale bubbles come out of it. This makes it even harder to breathe, since I can feel the heart resisting the contractions, and I can't figure out how the air gets into the heart if it's suspended in liquid. This makes me uncomfortable and I'm unable to breathe normally.

They can't put it back in until tomorrow, and in the meantime they need to keep the heart there. I can't take it with me. As I leave the room I imagine for the first time this gaping hole in my chest where my heart is supposed to be, and I also realize that, as long as I'm not looking at the heart, struggling in its breathing/beating, I feel okay. But still, I should probably have them put it back in.

Meli and I go to the appointment desk. We're going out of town tomorrow so I ask for the earliest appointment, hoping for 8:30. Unfortunately no one can see me until 11:45, and it's going to cost like four thousand dollars to put the heart back in.



Proving once again that my attention-whoredom outweighs my reason, I'm running for Academic Affairs Vice President in this year's ASUC election. My platform is that, as Academic Affairs Vice President, I'll promote academic affairs, meaning affairs between professors and students. Specifically, I'll work to undue the harm created by ousted Boalt Hall Dean John Dwyer by lobbying to repeal the UC Regents' ban on professor-student dating. I won't take up space on this blog with my campaign antics, but those of you wishing to keep up with my progress can check out my campaign blog, you bunch of weirdos.

My last foray into ASUC politics was in 2001, when I ran for and accidentally won the position of Student Advocate. My only opponent (and the only legitimate candidate) dropped out of the race at the last minute for reasons unlikely to become clear at this time. I was elected by default, fooled everyone in the ASUC into thinking I was actually going to stay an extra semester and take over the office, resigned at the Student Advocate Office end-of-the-year banquet where I was supposed to make my official acceptance speech, graduated, got a job at a law firm, applies to law schools, got rejected from most of the schools I wanted to go to, started at UCLA, transferred to Boalt, got married, and wrote this blog.

But what if it didn't go that way? During and after the 2001 ASUC elections I came up with an idea for a novel about someone who ran just such a joke campaign and won - legitimately, based on unexpected votes rather than last-minute resignations - and for a variety of reasons was, in fact, forced to stay an extra year and take over the office. I've made several attempts to get the idea on paper (well, screen, really), and after writing a few episodic segments, some of which are funny and most of which are not, I've come up with a new approach that's probably also a terrible idea.

What I'd like to do is create an interactive weblog novel. I'll make up a person, make up a blog to go with this person, and create a blog detailing his fictional campaign in the current ASUC elections. From there we'll find out about his unexpected victory and his failed attempts at extricating himself from the situation. Then, when school starts up again next year, the fake action will resume, in blog form, and by the end of the year there should be a coherent story. The other fake characters will periodically comment on the blog and (here's the fun part) so will real people! Holy crap!

This idea is both highly ambitious and probably really stupid. If you people don't succeed in talking me out of it by the end of next week I'll start the fake campaign blog after Spring Break.

Possible problems to throw in my face:

"You already have a blog and a comic strip and a whole nother campaign blog. How much reading to you expect people to do? You're not that funny."

"You have no idea how busy you're going to be next year. You think you'll have time to make up internal SAO office drama while you're taking Federal Fucking Courts?"

"Why in God's name would anyone care about the ASUC?"

"Okay, okay, wait a minute. You're going to have real people write comments, and then try to publish this thing? Do you have any idea what kind of copyright and joint authorship issues that raises?"

I'm sure there are more, but those are the two that spring most readily to mind.

Two Legs Bad. Four Legs Delicious

| 1 Comment

Happy Animal Rights Awareness Week.

I had this whole other post going but then Netscape ate it, so you'll just have to wonder what I had to say about all the skin coming off my right thumb. But fortunately Zembla is back in business, and he's much more entertaining than I am.

Seacrest out.

Cat Dreams


I've noticed that on sunny afternoons Ruby starts getting restless. She wanders around the apartment, chirping and murmuring. She doesn't want to be picked up, she doesn't want to be pet, and she seems uninterested in the store-bought cat toys that litter the apartment. In short, she just seems entirely dissatisfied with her surroundings. I figured that she was succumbing to the malaise of being an inside cat. A malaise, incidentally, that Pepe is immune to given the fact that he is (1) much stupider than Ruby and (2) extremely lazy. Pepe is the kind of cat who lies down while he's eating. He doesn't crouch on all fours. He actually flops onto his side and leans his head into the food dish, unwilling to burn a single unnecessary calorie.

Anyway, Meli and I just flipped on some Animal Planet show about cheetahs hunting various herbivores, and Ruby is absolutely enthralled. She had been lounging in the middle of the floor, and when she noticed what was on TV she immediately trotted over and perched herself in front of it, her gaze fixed on her larger African relatives chasing their prey across the wide plains of the Serengeti. Every now and then Ruby has tried to attack the TV screen but I've never seen her devote her attention to the action for such a prolonged period of time.

So it's pretty cute. I mean, you know, sad, but cute.

Equal Time


From: Matt
Subject: equal time
Date: Thu, 04 Mar 2004

Dear The Daily Californian,

I noticed that you gave ASUC Presidential Candidate Misha Leybovich some free publicity this morning. As a respectable news organization I'm sure that fairness and balanced coverage are your ever-present and over-arching goals. Accordingly, I look forward to an article devoted to my own bid for ASUC office. I'll be running for ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President. I'll likely be the only Boalt student, let alone grad student, running for an ASUC Executive Office. No doubt you'll want further information for your article about me. I can be reached at this e-mail address, or by phone at (310) XXX-XXXX. I look forward to meeting your ASUC correspondent and discussing my candidacy.

Very truly yours,

Matt [...]
Boalt Hall Class of 2005



Interesting story about the impending public release of Justice Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court papers. The article focuses on the fact that Roe v. Wade came perilously close to being overturned in 1992, saved only by a last-minute switch from Justice Kennedy. Apparently Kennedy was the "switch in time that saved a woman's right to choose." Heh. This should also come as particularly irksome news to pro-lifers since Kennedy was appointed only after the Senate rejected Robert H. "Bork Bork Bork" Bork. Bork, of course, makes Antonin Scalia look like Thurgood Marshall and would have been chomping at the bit to overturn Roe.

In addition to the always exciting abortion stuff, this passage caught my eye:

It's been more than a decade since intimate details of the court's inner workings were revealed in Justice Thurgood Marshall's papers, which elicited bitter criticism within the court because the papers include secret memos and unpublished draft opinions in controversial cases.

I've discussed the reclusiveness of the Supreme Court before. I still don't understand what they're so afraid of. Do they think we don't know that each case is heavily debated within the Court, and each opinion goes through multiple revisions? Are we supposed to think that each opinion emerges perfectly formed, like a solid gold turd? The release of things like Marshall's and Blackmun's papers, and the resulting glimpse inside the inner workings of the Court, can only help advocates craft their approaches to legal issues and arguments in a more effective way.

In any case, the article goes on to say that most of the other justices will take care to see that none of their business is made available after their deaths. And given the fact that Justice Rehnquist is a fucking undead zombie already he seems to be doing a good job.

The Road Head Defense


This just in.

MIDDLETOWN, Connecticut (AP) -- A woman charged with causing a fatal car crash in 1999 says that she couldn't have been behind the wheel because she was performing a sex act on the driver at the time.

Heather Specyalski, 33, was charged with second-degree manslaughter in the crash that killed businessman Neil Esposito. Prosecutors allege that she was driving Esposito's Mercedes-Benz convertible when it veered off the road and hit several trees.

But Specyalski claims that Esposito was driving, and she was performing oral sex on him at the time, said her attorney, Jeremiah Donovan. He noted that Esposito's pants were down when he was thrown from the car.

The article goes on. I'd love to see this become a standard defense in all criminal and civil trials. "My client couldn't have been insider trading that afternoon, because he was going down on his wife on their way to a baby shower." "There's no way Mrs. Henderson could have knocked over that fence, and we've got the throat cultures to prove it." "The prosecutor put on a convincing case and a stirring closing argument. But in the end he couldn't overcome the dreaded Road Head Defense."

Here's this week's strip. Some might think that I'm ripping off a joke from The Simpsons ("I'm not wearing a tie!"), but the more dedicated TV geek will realize that the Simpsons writers and I have simply drawn from the same parody pool. Both jokes refer to an episode of L.A. Law where Harry Hamlin pulls this on a witness he's cross examining. When Harry does it it's obviously more dramatic. And, you know, handsome.

I think I was inspired to revisit my future in litigation after a few particularly good weeks in my trial class. Now that I've more or less conquered the initial performance anxiety I've been trying to find creative ways to conduct the assignments, which has made the whole process more fun. I may have hit a limit last week when I subjected individual jurors to leering, sexualized comments during my closing argument, but damned if I didn't have fun doing it. Having Molly play my sexual harassment plaintiff was also good times. She gave an outstanding performance, and a four-hour class is somehow more tolerable when your wife is across the room.

Before I gush any further we'll see what the rest of the semester brings. I get the feeling things are about to get much more intense.

Other Blogs

Law-Type Blogs

Other Webcomics

Log Archives

eXTReMe Tracker

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2004 is the previous archive.

April 2004 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 5.04