Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Quick game of "one of things is not like the other," from Yahoo's description of Sara Silverman's concert film Jesus Is Magic:

Despite the current political climate, she takes on such pitch-black topics as September 11th, unwanted body hair and the Holocaust and spins them into decidedly un-PC comedic gold.
Did you see it?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I set my alarm this morning exclusively for a free bagel breakfast; I went to said breakfast in sweatpants; I'm currently wearing a sweatshirt I've worn at least 4 times since its last laundering; and I'm listening to a carefully selected playlist of First Amendment-related tunes.

If you guessed that my last final is this afternoon, you'd be absolutely correct. It will be followed by a day and a half of drinking, then heading home on Thursday. Other than a likely trip to D.C. for part/most of the week between Xmas and New Year's, I'll be home until about January 7th.

Oh yeah, the 1st Amendment playlist:

  • Let the Idiot Speak, Old 97's
  • Santeria, Sublime
  • Paperback Writer, The Beatles
  • Blasphemous Rumours, Depeche Mode
  • A Little Less Conversation, Elvis
  • A.M. Radio, Everclear
  • Screaming at the Wailing Wall, Flogging Molly
  • Sensitive Artist, King Missile
  • The Laws Have Changed, New P0rnographers
  • Please Play This Song on the Radio, NOFX
  • Sister Christian, Night Ranger
  • The Sound of Silence, Simon and Garfunkel

Sunday, December 18, 2005

With only a week to go until "Holiday," I thought it was time to bring back my favorite carol for the whole Family. (Thanks, 365 Days Project!)

Friday, December 16, 2005

As suspected, Wednesday sucked. The morning test was all multiple-choice yet much harder than I'd expected. The afternoon test was 60% multiple choice, which I did first, and then a two-part essay. Unfortunately, the second part was not quite what I was anticipating, so I may have floundered a bit--the saving grace (if any) being that I had some extra time since I finished the multiple choice quickly.

With about 15 minutes left in the second exam (Enterprise Organizations, i.e. Partnerships and Corporations), my brain decided it was done for what I thought was the rest of the day. The proctor called "10 minutes left" and I realized I'd spent 4 or 5 minutes staring off into space--not thinking, not typing, just semi-catatonic. I snapped out of it just long enough to write two sentences in conclusion and called it a day.

I remember long ago hearing a stereotype that law professors don't so much read essays as they go through exams with a checklist of concepts and buzzwords, and grade accordingly. I doubt this is true, but it's my best chance of success in EO, as I wrote a lot of sentences that had something to do with answering the question, but I didn't feel as though any one sentence had much to do with its adjacent sentences.

I was proud of myself for continuing my practice of getting psyched up for the exam by getting to the room early and listening to exam-appropriate music: in this case, Liz Phair's Shitloads of Money and Reel Big Fish's Sell Out.

I noted that I thought my brain was shut down for the rest of the day; in fact, week would have been more apropos. Wednesday night I watched Heat and drank beer. On Thursday, the most productive thing I did was go to the gym. Second-most productive? Returning Heat and other DVDs to the public library. Add on four hours at the dining hall, an hour of billiards, half-hour in the sauna at the gym, 18 holes of Golden Tee, and two bars and all of a sudden a study day is lost. Today I scheduled study time with a friend--we've now been here for 5 hours and I'm on page 5 (of 167) of my class notes.

Every minute that goes by, I'm a minute closer to pass/failing First Amendment.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

They had a "finals study break" event at the student union tonight, clearly an event designed for the undergrads, but it's across the street, so what the hell. Certain events we stayed away from: swing dance lessons (not so cool for a group of 3 guys), make your own music video (ditto, plus you didn't sing), and stress bingo (not sure what the point was). But we did partake of free billiards, and then the "build your own gingerbread house" event.

Actually, it was a build your own house out of graham crackers, candy, and icing. After some false starts, we finally got something somewhat structurally sound together--"we" meaning Tim and James, because no good came of me touching anything. I did add the observation that given all the candy and icing, Dr. Graham would have been spinning in his grave.

At some point I will learn that you can't expect to make jokes about 19th-century health faddists ("Hey, really Fletcherizing that food over there, har har") and alternative medicine practitioners and expect something other than blank stares. That point has not quite come yet. In the meantime, everyone should read (or, I suppose, watch) The Road to Wellville so that you can start catching up.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I have two exams this coming Wednesday and another next Tuesday. I'm trying to navigate between two instincts--the instinct of slack and denial vs. the law student instinct to study a subject to death. I've been putting in several hours a day of solid work, and I'm not going crazy with stress, worrying if I have every little duck in a row; I think I'm onto something.

The last two nights I've been to two movies as part of the program of relaxation. I'd recommend either one--two of the best films I've seen in a long time. Word of warning: I haven't seen very many movies in a long time. Neither one is exactly the feel-good movie of the year, and I knew I wasn't exactly with my normal crowd last night when I made the "it was really sad when A-Rod died" joke, and no one got it. I'd write something long about Syriana if it weren't finals week--suffice it to say that I thought it was a lot like Traffic, in that widely dispersed characters were treated fairly and with respect, while the movie maintained a tone, a voice, and a point. Great stuff.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Two excellent, general-purpose sports blogs have come to my attention recently: the mighty mjd sports blog and Deadspin. The best thing to come across Deadspin since I've been reading is, shall we say, a unique offer of goods and services in exchange for Rose Bowl tickets. The mjd highlight has been the Canadian equivalent of the Super Bowl Shuffle: the 1987 Calgary Flames' Loverboy-influenced "Red Hot"video.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

In my 11th grade math class, some students once balked at the teacher's policy of not giving full credit if you didn't show your work or if you made a mistake in your work, but still ended up with the right answer. His response went something like this:

Mr. P: So if you get the ball at the 50-yard line, and you run to the end zone, it's a touchdown, right?
S: Right.
Mr. P: Always?
S: Yeah.
Mr. P: What if you ran out of bounds on your way?
S: Oh, well that's different...
Mr. P: What if your teammate committed a holding penalty?
S: Well, no.

I thought this made a key point very succinctly: we may be a results-oriented society, but process counts. You take math class not to actually solve a particular equation but how to solve equations in general. Or, at another level of abstraction, you take algebra in junior high not because you'll need to know algebra as an adult, but because you need to learn how to work through processes systematically, and how to reason abstractly. We care about process in other areas too: due process is critical in many areas of the law, we feel better about elections even when our candidate loses if we are convinced the process wasn't rigged, we expect our financial transactions to work smoothly, etc. A large society is based on processes--simple and complex--that work the way they are supposed to. Results are great, but without a well-functioning process, getting a good result is random chance, and just because you get a good result in any one instance does not mean that you will continue to get good results if you are following a faulty process. A good result obtained using a faulty process can actually be detrimental, because it hides the underlying problems.

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2006 Rose Bowl.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I don't know what it says about me that I've been:

  • spending much of my weekend summarizing and paraphrasing, provision by provision, Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, and
  • if not "enjoying it" per se, at least not particularly hating it,
...but now that I think about it, I have some guesses.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I've never published a press release here before (other than fake ones for alleged humor value), but for this glorious cause I will break with that tradition:

Law Students Get Arrested

Michigan Law Students Take on a Different Sort of Cause

Contact: Jay Surdukowski ( 603-219-2795.

Law students across the country are sweating, stressing, and cramming for final exams this month. Students at the University of Michigan Law School are no different….but they have also launched a fight to keep their favorite TV show on the air between study groups and all night library vigils. The Arrested Development Club is taking on a very different sort of cause.

Fox is About to Make a Huge Mistake

The Emmy award-winning comedy that has arrested the hearts of millions of Americans is being threatened with cancellation by the foxy morons at Fox. The episode order has been cut down from 18 to 13.

Taking Action

The Arrested Development Club is determined to do its part in helping to save the show by writing Fox executives and urging them to renew the sitcom for a fourth season. Michigan Law students are putting their lawyerly skills of persuasion to work to stop a comedic miscarriage of justice.

Photo-Op - Monday, December 5, 2005 – Save Our Bluths Day/Campaign Kick-Off

The University of Michigan Law School

Hutchins Hall – Outside Room 100

625 South State Street

Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

Fast Facts

  • Only law school Arrested Development club in the country.
  • The Club makes frozen bananas and hands them out between classes.
  • The Club holds viewing parties and has a lending library.

For more information on the Club see:

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Two thoughts about this ad, which was running ad infinitum while I was home last week:

  1. Thank my lucky stars I have Tivo at school and don't have to put up with this shit.
  2. I hope to God that some of those foreign workers can act.