Sunday, October 31, 2004

So, um, wow.

I don't think I've ever been at a game that could quite compare to yesterday's rivalry comeback super-mega excellent Braylon Edwards-fest. I was at a 53-52 Pitt-Temple suckfest where Pitt came back from 19 down, but that was mostly about incompetence on both sides. This was good teams, though, and great players making great plays.

Standing on steel bleachers for four and a half hours is exhausting. It's even more so when you spend much of the final hour hoisting crowd surfers--both the standard pushing up variety (Mullet Man's ex visiting from Jersey, hoisted for each point after each score, which accumulates very quickly in overtime), and the passing from row 1 to the top of the stadium variety. We passed through section 32 a person in a lobster costume and a person in a chicken costume, the latter twice.

So if I looked tired today, it's because I passed a lobster and a chicken yesterday. That'll take some wind out of your sails.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

El Testator takes away Chris' freedom, with the help of the ever-present beer straw. Posted by Hello

El Testator poses with'80s jogger dude. Note the brilliant beer straw solution (as first posited by Norm Peterson) for dealing with the small mouth hole. Posted by Hello

Apparently, when I blog while extraordinarily drunk, the following things happen:

  • The self-pity gets ratcheted up. Slightly.
  • The distinction between commas and periods goes out the window.
  • The stream-of-consciousness level stays pretty much the same, which is to say, hey, look over there!
  • I can still form full sentences. Mostly.
  • I abbreviate a whole lot more.
  • I can still make the links work.

All good to know...

So here I am, sitting at home after the law school Halloween party. There were some good mitigating factors: at least 8 people did not know who I was (hint: there aren't THAT many 300-pounders in the law school), at least 8 people asked if the temporary tattoos were real (no, but after tonight I'm tempted to make them so), and at least 8 people took embarrassing pictures of me that they will no doubt email and that I will no doubt post. OTOH, here I am at the end of the night, home alone as always. I've been meaning to post more about this, and maybe I'll get time to soon, The costume, BTW, was a Mexican wrestler ("El Testator"), and in addition to the Los Straitjackets mask, I bought some temporary tattoos, spiked glove and wristband, and an evil bandanna. for around the neck. It's probably my most elaborate costume since mom made me this incredible Orko in 6th grade. Also cool is that I finally have the biceps to carry off evil-looking temp tattoos w/o looking like a total moron.

Last night I laid down to take a nap at about 8 p.m. and woke up at 7:30 a.m.; funny what a screwed up sleep schedule (often filled w/ lacking) will do to you,

The political section of today's entry is provided via Ms. LaSalle, through our mutual friend Jeetander, and basically discusses why our current president is a stupid head who should be voted out. Jeetander was soberer when he wrote his bit, though, so it's more eloquent and whatnot. My contribution ends up simply being that I'm driving voters to the polls all day on Tuesday; hopefully it will help contribute to the most important political victory of our lifetimes. For those of you who know me, you must realize just how important this is in that it has actually made me overcome the apathy and do something on Tuesday; no mean feat.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Actual conversation among law students at a bar within the past week:
LS1: Is it kind of odd, maybe self-stereotyping that the Women's Law Student Association is holding a bake sale as a fund-raiser?
LS2: I can go you one better than that.
LS1: Oh?
LS2: The Black LSA is having a date auction; yes, they're auctioning people!

I bring this up only because it sparked in my own mind one of my favorite jokes that only I get, which I thought I'd explain here in case I ever make it. I watched a whole lot of Superfriends as a kid, and I have a very distinct memory of one episode with Darkseid, the lame-o last season villain. The basic premise was that there was some auction bringing together all the various bad guys from across the universe to bid on WMDs of one sort or another (not that they called them that, but, you know), and the big item at the end was some color of kryptonite (I'm not enough of a geek to keep my kryptonites straight) that would take away Superman's powers forever.

So Darkseid shows up at this auction, and he's clearly the lord-god-king bad guy, and no one's messing with him. When the kryptonite comes up for bid, the enthuasiastic auctioneer suggests that the bidding for such a rare item should begin at 100 million bleans. At this point Darkseid pipes up for the first time, in his super-deep evil voice, and says, "ONE BLEAN". All the other bad guys and the nervous auctioneer are too intimidated to say anything at this point.

For some reason, this has always stuck with me, and so whenever there is a situation that involves jumping in with a ridiculously low figure for some goods or services, I always (at least in my own head) come in with a bid of ONE BLEAN!

(IIRC, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and maybe Batman infiltrated the auction as bad guys from some ice planet or something and ended up overbidding Darkseid to the shock and dismay of all, then getting discovered, then sneaking the kryptonite away so Superman could come in and kick some ass; or maybe it all backfired and Superman ended up getting delorted, and all hell broke loose and evil reigned supreme. I don't really remember, but it's beside the point anyway.)

Monday, October 25, 2004

Today's case-related wackiness: We're reading a Property case on implied warranty of habitability, which is basically the idea that if you rent a residential property that has serious code violations, you can stay and withhold rent in proportion with how badly the violations diminish the value of the property. This replaced constructive eviction, where you could only withhold rent if you also abandoned the premises.

Anyway, the case we have for explaining this involves a horrific slumlord who refused to fix locks, windows, electrical outlets, raw sewage in the basement--just a bad bad bad landlord in every way. The court talks about how in our modern urban society, most rentals are not farmlands (where the old doctrines developed), but urban residential properties with tenants who can't be expected to take on all the maintenance of apartments themselves, etc.

So, you're wondering, where's the wacky part? Well, the modern, urban society they discuss, with slumlords running all over the place, is freakin' Rutland, Vermont circa 1974.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Obviously, I'm not counting games where a team I actually root for wins. Apart from those, however, given my deep-seated hatred for JoePa, this may be my favorite football result ever.

Friday, October 22, 2004

It's funny, you spend a couple of years typing out some of your more random thoughts for your own edification and with the hope of amusing 100 25 maybe 5 of your friends, and at some point along the line you forget that you're actually publishing for anyone who happens to wander by, and you're actually, in essence, publishing to the world. So you get burned a little bit when you forget that a little too much, and start typing out things that really aren't for general consumption--not out of malice, but just because sometimes you don't think things through--and then parts of that world take you up on your invitation to read what you've written. And thanks to the magic of google and archiving and spiders and whatnot there's really no way to take back those things that you put out there, so you throw up your hands, take your whackings where they're due, say you're sorry even if you have to do it without really saying you're sorry, and you move on with the understanding that you'll be more careful after that, for your sake and others' sake too.

Yeah, it's kinda like that.

Sometimes in Property you have to read a sentence like, "As stated in complainants' brief, the liability of defendant to complainants depends upon whether the transfer of the leasehold interest in the premises from Rogers is an assignment of the lease or a sublease."

But sometimes in Property, you get to read a sentence such as, "Like the parties here, after Joe Piscopo and his wife married in 1973, they focused on one goal -- the facilitation of his rise to stardom."

So it pretty much all evens out in the end.

(Dukeminier & Krier, Property, 5th ed. p. 486, 413 respectively, for the morbidly curious.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Some things I have learned in the last 48 hours or so:

  1. You can call it something else, but wherever you go, the DMV is still the DMV. I went to change my car insurance yesterday, which turned into changing my insurance, driver's license, and plates, which turned into only the first two because I apparently lost my title in the move. Super. And though the customers at the "Secretary of State" (i.e. DMV) here didn't look as eager to die as those in L.A. always did, the wait was still long and soul-sucking.
  2. Car insurance in Ann Arbor is about half the price of car insurance in L.A., for better coverage.
  3. If you impersonate your twin brother and have sex with his girlfriend under the false pretense that you are actually him, you have not committed rape. Substitute the word "wife" for "girlfriend", and you have. Go figure. (Every day in classes I see more and more practical examples of what all this "defense of marriage" nonsense actually encompasses rather than some bullshit about "sanctity"--a million legal things change, small and large, when people are married.)
  4. It is possible for someone who managed to enroll at a top 10 law school to say something as cavalier as, "she's a feminist," as a full rebuttal to an argument presented in the casebook. People were almost too stunned to be offended.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

The Average Mulder may be slightly overstating the case. Very. Slightly.

I always had some confidence during today's game, because Vinny Testaverde was prominently involved, and I knew we could expect Something Stupid from him at some point. We got it. After that, it was some old-fashioned Steeler football, pounding it down to the goal line in the last few minutes, and Jerome rumbling in for the winning score. Big Ben continues to roll; not much else to say there.

A few observations from the basement:

  1. I am so overboard on Big Ben that I briefly suggested we put him in on the last play for Hail Mary defense. The rest of the crowd pointed out you may not want to expose your franchise QB that way. Good point by them.
  2. Seattle did that thing I hate, where they were down by 10 inside a minute left, they get down to the 20 yard line, and they don't go for the field goal. Instead, they run out the clock trying for the TD. If you kick, you have a chance to recover an onside kick and try some long passes. If you run the clock down to almost nothing getting the TD, you don't have time to get the ball back and get into FG range.
  3. I don't know if Duce Staley is a smart man, but the peanut gallery suggested today that the Steelers should have a dumb guy RB who's not tall, so he could be nicknamed The Short Bus.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

If you need something to check three times per day, or at some other interval if you are more or less concerned with November 2nd than I am, I strongly recommend the Current Electoral Vote Predictor which currently has neither candidate over 270.

I helped put the F back in Freedom last night. I was highly entertained; things were overwrought, but you should expect that from a Parker/Stone production. The Mr. Mestophiles joke just about knocked me out of my chair, but I won't ruin it for you here.

After the movie, a bunch of us went to karaoke night at Mitch's. I had a tough lead-in, as one of the girls in our group did the new official most popular song at UM football games, Living on a Prayer. (A few weeks ago the band played it at halftime, and about 60,000 people sang along with the chorus; they've been playing it as quarter music since then.) She also had the distinct (some might say "unfair," in karaoke) advantage of actual singing ability.

However, I put my Mad Skillz on display with a 6-minute version of Rapper's Delight, which included both the Superman and the "ugly food that stanks" verses. No one who saw it would deny that I have, at worst, the skillz to pay most of the billz.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Property is definitively my favorite class right now. Contracts is hard and weirdly abstract in unfun ways. Criminal is straightforward and apparently easy, and our professor's pretty good, except he does my least favorite classroom game: guess the word I'm thinking. "C'mon, you can do it, what is it, what am I thinking, rhymes with schmintent, c'mon..." (while 80% of us are trying to telepath [or, alternately, IM] to the person on the spot, "SAY INTENT RIGHT NOW OR I'LL HUNT YOU DEAD!!").

But Property is cool. Even when we're not learning about geese and foxes and adverse possession (property is quite literally theft), we're learning this bizarre old-fangled stuff about estates, remainders, fee simple, and conveying property generally. One of my favorites is that there's a conditional estate called a "fee simple subject to a condition subsequent." If we hadn't renamed just a few weeks ago, this space would now be called "Subject to a Condition Subsequent," which is one of the best turns of phrase to describe the human condition I've ever heard.

The bummer, though, is the Rule Against Perpetuities. Basically, weird future contingent interests disappear if they don't succeed or fail within 21 years of the death of someone alive at the time of the will. I find this upsetting, because I was starting to hope I could carve out a practice as the lawyer representing people who show up 300 years down the line with the other half of some ring (or a birthmark), entitling them to reclaim Blackacre from the Bed Bath and Beyond that was built on its old site. So I'm going to start lobbying to get a Rule For Perpetuities.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Charles Nelson Reilly on Joe's recent obsession with writing about Ann Arbor bars nobody else cares about. Posted by Hello

The last two days had a weird bender-ish quality to them. (No, Craig and Mike, not a Bender-ish) quality. Due to certain Thursday and Friday things, I felt by mid-Friday afternoon that I needed to start early, so I finagled a guy one floor down into walking over to Dominick's. Dominick's is an outdoor cafe style bar, nice open patio in the back, that is seasonal and is a popular law school first stop because it's very nearby, its open all day and closes at 10, and sangria flows pretty fast and pretty cheap. Also, if you go to Dominick's you can pretty much count on running into other law students.

So we went and ended up sitting with this table of 5-6 other 1Ls, some of whom I knew a little bit, because they're in my section. (I'll talk about the section thing another day. Short version, we share most of our classes. Also key detail: I knew them a little, downstairs guy knew them not at all.) A few things resulted from this. One was my first trip to the dining hall drunk, for dinner. Two was an invite to a debate party. Three (indirect result) was that at said dinner, some people said, "Hey, do you want to go to Dominick's with us?" So more sangria was in order.

Then I cabbed it over to the debate party, where downstairs guy had already arrived, and was the only GOP person in the room. The night is slightly blurry, but by shortly after midnight only GOP man, our hostess, and myself were left. Not awkward. At all. It became clear that I was a third wheel, but she kept encouraging me to stay, either out of misplaced politeness or some other bizarro motive. Eventually, I took the lack of hint and she called me a cab.

The next morning I went to an apartment tailgate for the Little Brown Jug game, and our hostess from the previous night had begged off for want of sleep. Yeah.

The game was nerve-wracking, both because it was close and we were mostly down, and because the scoreboard kept flashing, "Temple 16, Pitt 6," but all's well that ends well I suppose. At the game a Berkeley grad I'm friends with said there would be various Cal and USC fans/grads gathering at a sports bar for the big game of the day. Again nerve-wracking, but 3 for 3.

The night's plans were a small wine-and-movie gathering off-campus, that turned into a wine-and-whine party, but I was fine with that since I'd already seen the movie that we didn't end up watching. It was the type of grown up party where people baked things and put garnishes from Trader Joe's on things. After the prior 24 hours, it was probably the type of quiet night I really needed. As much fun as I'm having in and around the dorm, I do feel like I need to start hanging out with the grown-ups more at some point.

Friday, October 08, 2004

In response to Mr. Frankowitz's comments:

  1. Why would you get the idea that I have any self-respect?
  2. I would have to own property in order to take out the 2nd mortgage I'd need to drink regularly at the places you suggested.
  3. When lots of law students are hanging out regularly at Rick's and Mitch's, Charley's looks pretty damn respectable by comparison.
  4. OK, yes, I've spent my fair share of time at Rick's and Mitch's too. So what?

The concert last night was a blast. I hadn't been to a full-on mosh pit type of event in several years, and while I wouldn't want to do it too regularly, it was fun in a very visceral kind of way. As Flogging Molly started, we were right in the middle of the pit, and everybody was cheering hard, pumping fists, etc. Then, about three nanosconds after the opening chord, I had been pushed about 20 feet without trying at all. The first two songs were crazy like that--the whole floor was being thrown to and fro at random. I went down twice, but was none the worse for wear. Actually, one of the coolest things about the show was mosh pit etiquette--as soon as someone started to go down, 5 to 10 people would instantly get to work surrounding them to keep other people away, and helping them back up. And then, of course, going right back to beating the hell out of them.

After the early madness, we made our way a little more toward the fringes, where the action was a little less heavy: a lot of pushing people back into the pit, but not so much with the getting pushed. After that, there was just a lot of jumping around, a little bit of dancing, and a lot of noise. It was hot, sweaty, smelly, and loud--in short, a great show, and about as opposite from law school as you could imagine. The only downer was that they didn't play the Lake Tanganyika song, but I'm over it. Mostly.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Sorry, Cees. Better luck next year.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Cheap joke of the week (and a true story): This is the picture I put on the cover of my Legal Practice binder. Posted by Hello

In case the brief Dutch literature lesson wasn't quite your bag, I present (courtesy of the excellent blog little.yellow.different) the Speak and Spell emulator. Knock yourselves out.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Nobel Prizes are being announced here this week with Lit on Thursday, so once again DEK and I will be rooting for Cees Nooteboom (apparently pronounced Sace Note-uh-bome). Go Cees!

Our Cees thing started several years ago when I posed a simple puzzler: Name a famous Dutch author. Not counting non-literary types (say, Erasmus), it's basically impossible. You can't even look at the Nobel laureate list, which has some pretty obscure names, because no Dutch have ever won one, even though just about no other European country of any size can make that claim. So I went looking for a Dutch author. I found Multatuli, who can be summarized as Multatuli:Indonesia::Harriet Beecher Stowe:U.S. slave states, but who's not exactly a household name. We also asked the most literary-minded quiz-bowl people we knew, and they came up with nothing.

Then I came upon a Nooteboom book at a used book store (I can't even tell you which one, but it was <100 pages), read it, thought it was pretty decent, and we looked him up. It turns out he's relatively big in Europe. So every year we wait for The Netherlands to finally know the honor and glory of the recognition that will come when Cees is one day anointed. The only question is, is 2004 the year? Find out Thursday.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Any suggestions for a drinking game for watching the VP debate tomorrow night?

In the room I watched last Thursday, here were some words that made us drink:
Bush: Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, flip-flop, nuke-you-ler, Crawford
Kerry: Vietnam, tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, North Korea

So far, I'm thinking the words "trial lawyer" and "Halliburton" will be prominently involved, but I need suggestions.

I just have a feeling tomorrow night will be excellent, if meaningless, theater. Kinda like Ionesco, except with fewer rhinoceri. I assume.

This just in!: USC fans are totally over it. I mean completely. Absolutely over it. I swear.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Some things that might be helpful in understanding the photo below:

  1. The picture and the actual bar trick itself were done by a fairly sloshed woman at the next table over from us at the bar last night. We were all very impressed, and we got her to email me the photographic evidence.
  2. If you can't quite make it out, she has balanced two toothpicks and two forks on a salt shaker. If this were the 17th century, we'd burn her as a witch for that (and, presumably, for the ability to transfer images via telephony, but that's a separate issue).
  3. I was probably extra amused because it was about 1:45 a.m., and marked the third consecutive night I was at a bar beyond last call, almost undoubtedly a first in my life.
  4. Mostly for Mr. Frankowitz's benefit: Good Time Charley's, Leopold's, and Good Time Charley's, respectively.
  5. Yes, apparently pictures taken from a Sprint PCS phone, especially in a bar, do look like still images from Swill.
  6. The individuals in the background are Usman, who is from Pakistan and who sits in front of me in Property surfing cricket scores, and some guy I met for the first time last night, which means according to law school protocol that I will not remember his name until we are introduced between 3 and 6 more times.

The coolest bar trick ever. Posted by Hello

Friday, October 01, 2004

Sad news today in Steeler Nation.

I always liked Justin (first name easier to spell), because he was one of those guys who was drafted in a round that doesn't exist anymore (11th, in his case). I also thought it was cool that he went to the University of Maine and actually looked like a Black Bear. It is sad, though to see again what happens to a lot of NFL players once their careers end--here, Strzelczyk went kinda nuts, led cops on high speed chases, threw beer bottles out their car windows at 8 in the morning, and had previously had crazy gun issues. It's a little too reminiscent of Mike Webster's sad later years. Come to think of it, is this an NFL thing, or just a Steeler linemen thing?