Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 31, 2010 in Randomness
Back in July, I took my first bona fide vacation in ages when 雅雅 and I went to visit Nan and Pops for Independence Day and took a roadtrip through the Outer Banks of North Carolina on the way back.
This past week was so much better!
First, my employer closed down the office on both Thursday and Friday for Christmas. I don’t get paid time off or anything when they’re closed, but it did let me leave out of here on Wednesday night and spend more time with family.
Speaking of family, those of you who were readers back during Father’s Day or who are friends with me on Facebook might recall that it had been an incredibly long time since I last saw Son of TDot. Well at some point recently he asked his mom about who I was and if he could see me, so she arranged for the three of us to have lunch on Thursday
We met up at the food court of a local mall for what was probably one of the most nervous moments I’ve had ever in my life. It was amusing as I walked up because his mom was standing with her back to the direction I was coming from with Son of TDot facing my way. He saw me from about 75ish feet away and gave a look like “This guy looks oddly familiar”… and I basically gave him the same look, because I thought it was him but hadn’t seen him in so long I wasn’t sure
It’s not surprising to share similarities with your own offspring, but some of it still took me by surprise. His hair was cut short like mine and he looks a lot like I did when I was 12. We ended up independently ordering the same thing for lunch: a 10-piece chicken nugget meal from McDonald’s with a Sprite for the drink. His favorite subjects in school were the same as mine (science and history). He loves playing with Legos (I’ve still got a box of mine in the closet). He also loves RPGs, specifically Kingdom Hearts — a spinoff of the Final Fantasy series I play myself, so a good chunk of lunch was spent with the two of us talking video games
He also has allergies in the winter like I do, to the point where he keeps tissues in his jacket pocket. The look on his face was priceless when I pulled out my own batch of tissues from my coat pocket too
I know he was nervous and I suspect his mom was nervous (and Lord knows I was nervous too), but all in all it was pretty awesome and I’m hopeful that it was the first meeting of many more in the future
The snow that was predicted (top) and what fell (bottom)
The next day was Christmas Eve, which is when the family gathers at Nan and Pops’ house to exchange presents with each other. If you count the various denominations of currency/gift cards as one gift, 50% of my Christmas presents were toothbrushes (an electric one and a travel one). It’s almost like my family was trying to tell me something…
Everyone got along this year, which is a switch from years past when there’s usually a bunch of arguing. And I enjoyed being able to finally afford presents for everyone in the family — even if it meant they all got NCCU Law paraphernalia
Then of course there was Christmas, my 3rd favorite holiday of the year after Independence Day and Thanksgiving Dinner was tasty and it was fun getting to hang out with the family.
Y’all already read about Snowmageddon 2010, my road trip back to Durham. The photo on the right shows the difference between what was forecast when I left for Virginia Beach and what had I actually fallen by the time I was driving home. The red dots respectively show Nan and Pops’ house in Virginia Beach and my apartment here in Durham.
It was a bit of a white-knuckle experience but in hindsight it was pretty cool
Our view from the hotel room
雅雅 and I then headed down to Orlando the next morning for the Champs Sports Bowl, where we got totally spoiled by Nan using her frequent traveler points to reserve a hotel room for us at the Grand Bohemian in downtown Orlando. We were automatically upgraded to the “concierge level” on the top floor because of it, which included among other perks a VIP lounge with its own bar just steps from our door
The photo shows part of what I woke up to on Tuesday morning
In a fitting dose of irony, however, our trip to Orlando happened to be accompanied by near-record low temperatures for Florida We had to bundle up as we were exploring downtown, and had to double-bundle up before heading to the stadium.
But I think one of the coolest aspects of the trip (aside from the weather) was being able to connect with dozens of friends from undergrad, all of us in a different city of a different state, traveling from across the country to reunite in support of our alma mater. It was a fun realization
Then of course there was the game itself, my very first bowl game that I attended in person
My new red NC State hat!
I upgraded my black N.C. State hat that I’ve had since 2000 with a new red edition to help add to the red shading of the arena — which complemented the shading of the post-game crowd after the Wolfpack followed up with a huge 23-7 win!
It was definitely a lot of driving over the past week, but it was well worth it! It’s been an amazing year, and I’m incredibly blessed to have an opportunity to end it the way I have.
Now I’m recharged and ready for the Spring semester to get underway
Hope all of you had equally amazing vacations, and have a fun and festive New Year’s Eve!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 30, 2010 in Things TDot Likes
Not only did Tuesday include one of the most awesome-est football games I’ve ever seen in my life, it also marked 10 years ( ) since I first became a member of the online message board community called The Wolf Web
Partial Screenshot of the TWW homepage
TWW was started back in April 2000, at the tail end of what turned out to be the dot.com bubble. Even though it wasn’t officially affiliated with N.C. State University it quickly turned into the de facto social network for the Wolfpack nation.
So on that December 28, as I was sitting in the offices of the McKinney & Silver ad agency trying to find ways to kill time (I was working as their under-utilized courier back then), someone suggested I check out the site as a way for me to stay connected to NCSU while I wasn’t enrolled in school… and I signed up
I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours of my life got spent talking with folks on that site since then
There’s little I can write in this entry to adequately describe what TWW was like back then. There were all sorts of people. All sorts of debates. All sorts of controversies. If anything of interest was happening on or near the N.C. State campus, odds were good you could get real-time and accurate information from TWW — something local news stations actually did on multiple occasions (I’m looking at you WRAL) well before stuff like Facebook and Twitter were even invented.
Some of News14's hacked closing reports
Students went to TWW for the news and gossip, like when a faculty member’s online nude photos of herself got discovered and she went to the press claiming they were photoshop’d instead. But there were also plenty of times when the TWW membership created the news themselves.
For example, when the NCSU Campus Police made their blotter publicly available on the web without taking the appropriate steps to secure it — they included the username and password in the source code — folks on TWW exploited the lax security and started posting fake entries (typically including derogatory remarks toward the police).
Similar hilarity had ensued a couple months earlier in February 2004 when the Triangle was crippled by a massive snowstorm and News14 Carolina made a poorly-moderated web app for reporting (and later editing) event closings. TWW found out, and I’ve got about a dozen screenshots like the ones on the left from some of the entries that were added
The also played a decisive role in 2007 when a certain non-traditional student decided to run a campaign for Student Senate President against a guy who happened to like our University’s arch-rival
I spent the next 2 years regularly recruiting student leaders from them, hitting the boards for info and suggestions, and putting the concept of “netroots” activism into practice — not only proving it could be done, but getting to thumb my nose at people who said it couldn’t
Awesome photo courtesy of TWWer ambrosia1231
There were a fair share of somber moments too, as you’d probably expect from a massive community of people spanning ten years. I found out not too long ago that a friend I had met through the site — and who took what is probably the single best photo of 雅雅 and I ever — passed away in October
But she and her husband, perhaps not surprisingly, met through TWW too (cue the “awwwww”). For every sad moment in the past decade, there seems to be a counterbalance by at least a dozen or more happy ones
Even though The Wolf Web’s heyday in the mid-2000s has long past, and it’s been fighting the “this place seems like it’s on the decline” perception since at least 2004, I’ve been blessed to meet dozens of really cool and interesting people since I signed up on that dreary December day ten years ago.
TWW kept me tied to N.C. State when I seriously thought I was never coming back. It provided a forum for me to develop my debating skills. Its members got me elected to office. And it kept me occupied and out of trouble for God-knows-how-many hours of my life
Not to mention giving me a topic for a blog entry
So to the creators and members of The Wolf Web: thanks
Have a great night everybody!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 29, 2010 in The 2L Life
After a trip up that went a lot faster than the ride down, I’m finally back home in Durham
Lots to write about tomorrow and over the next few days, including a quick rundown of what has become the most stellar vacation week ever in the history of my life, along with my $.02 on last week’s net “neutrality” vote by the FCC, my New Year’s resolutions, a (finally) updated Site Stats entry, and a bunch of other stuff I’ve got partially drafted but never seem to actually get around to finishing in a timely-enough fashion for y’all to read it
Until then, I want y’all to read this entry from Jack Whittington over at World Wide Whit. It’s one of his older pieces but highlights a philosophy he shares along with myself and Keith Lee at An Associate’s Mind — and you’ll be seeing it again and again over the year(s) ahead
And then take a non-law-related detour to check out this great highlights video from N.C. State’s 23-7 stomping of WVU in the Champs Bowl yesterday
More tomorrow! Good night y’all!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 27, 2010 in Wolfpack Athletics
Good evening everybody!
I’ve had such an incredibly amazing year that I almost can’t believe the amazingness is continuing right down to the end, but as I mentioned at the end of yesterday’s entry I’m currently writing this post from the not-quite-as-frigid-as-NC climate of the Sunshine State!
The drive down was ridiculous, as a 1-car barely-an-accident in the northbound lanes of I-95 in South Carolina somehow created enough attention that rubberneckers successfully slowed both of the southbound lanes of I-95, creating a backup for 40ish miles — and since there are only 2 lanes to I-95 for the entire stretch of SC, it took 雅雅 and I ~3.5 hours to travel those 40 miles
SC+GA+FL are now added to the list!
But the wait was worth it! Florida seems very cool so far, our hotel is amazing, and I just ordered room service for the first time in my life (delicious!). Then tomorrow I’ll get to see a lot of my old friends from undergrad plus explore a new state plus enjoy the obligatory pre-game tailgating plus get to see some Wolfpack football!
And I got to add 3 more states to my “Gotta Get to All 50 Before I Croak” list
Your normally-humble author is getting spoiled…
I’m not sure if I’ll have an entry here tomorrow night after the game, but if I get back to the hotel at a decent hour I’ll try to cobble something together. In either event, have a great night y’all!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 26, 2010 in The 2L Life
If you’ve flipped to a news show at some point today, odds are good you’ve seen at least one story on the blizzard that hit the East Coast over the past day and a half. It’s not exactly the type of stuff that would make people from up north flinch, but it ended up setting records in several parts of the Southeast — including being the most snowfall Virginia Beach has gotten since I was born 29 years ago
In other words, after praying for snow on Christmas for most of those 29 years, Mother Nature decided to cooperate on the one year I had to drive back home to Durham the next day
I left Virginia Beach around 10:00am this morning, figuring since the snow wasn’t projected to stop until 3am-ish tonight it’d be better to get out sooner rather than later. The downside in leaving so early was that there had essentially been no plowing or significant road treatment of any kind done on any of the highways between Virginia Beach and Emporia…
…so a leg of the trip that usually takes 1.5 hours ballooned out to 3.25 instead
31mi east of Emporia VA around 12:15pm today
For a stretch I was stuck debating which was worse: (i) the overcompensating pricks in SUVs barreling down the highway at near-full-speed with their headlights off, blazing past me just to later spin out into a ditch, or (ii) the people who acted like they hadn’t seen snow before, crawling along at 5mph and holding up the only lane of traffic
The wind made the whole adventure even more adventurous, with visibility dropped to 50ish yards and occasionally having a full-blown whiteout as the snow falling combined with snow blown off the trees.
To give you an idea of the conditions, I took a couple pictures when I was about 31 miles east of Emporia. The top photo is the view from outside my windshield, and the bottom photo is the view out the passenger side window at the same point.
Fortunately by the time I got to North Carolina all of the highways were totally cleared, so it only took me about 2 hours to make it the rest of the way home Kudos to the NCDOT and the various municipal plowing authorities for doing what Virginia didn’t bother to do in a timely fashion
Now I’m here getting everything re-packed to head down to Orlando for Tuesday night’s Champs Sports Bowl featuring my alma mater… where I’m pretty sure there won’t be any snow
Needless to say I’m looking forward to it, so I’m heading to bed — have a great night everybody!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 20, 2010 in The 2L Life
…that Christmas is only 5 days away
The pace of things has gotten really insane over the past 1.5ish weeks. Laundry still needs to be folded. Dishes still need to be washed. Living room still needs to be cleaned.
And at some point I need to get presents for folks
I’m enjoying it so far, but if I happen to disappear from the blawgosphere this week please send medical personnel with an IV of Diet Mountain Dew or some comparably caffeinated beverage…
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 19, 2010 in Law School Roundup
Good evening y’all!
I mentioned back on Tuesday that the 6-years-old Law School Roundup had found a new home over at KatieLuper.com as its founder Evan Schaeffer focused on his growing legal practice. Katie was looking for a partner to split the Roundup similar to the arrangement Evan and ImNobody worked out over the past couple years — so I jumped at the opportunity
Each week, one of us will take a browse through the blawgosphere and pick out a handful of entries to post here. For some info on how it gets done, read through Evan’s 2006 entry on how he did it; I’ll be using that entry as guidance myself.
So without further bloviating on my part, here’s the Law School Roundup for the week of December 12-18:
If you want to be included in the Roundup, basically you have to (i) be a law student, (ii) write new content during the week of the review, and (iii) Katie and I have to know you exist
You’ve already got #3 in that list covered if you’re in my blogroll to the right — and if you’re not, just send me an email (see the bottom of my About page for the address) or add law:/dev/null to your own blogroll so you show up in my logs.
And make sure to check back over at KatieLuper.com next week for Roundup #248!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 18, 2010 in Randomness
Qualified for my concealed carry permit today
One of the things I enjoyed growing up in a military-heavy city and living in the South is that firearms have been a normal part of life. They’re not regarded as these mythical creatures with minds of their own to be avoided at all costs. They’re machines that serve a purpose — and should be respected accordingly — but just like automobiles and other tools they’re totally harmless without a human user behind them.
During the summer, the kids in my neighborhood would even gather up all the water guns we could find, split off into teams, and roam the neighborhood playing a game that was a cross of hide-and-seek and capture-the-flag. My first “real” water gun was even molded to look/function like a single-action Beretta (though painted bright orange so law enforcement wouldn’t confuse it for a real gun ).
I don't think he's getting up
But since moving to North Carolina I’ve eschewed firearms, since state law requires educational institutions to be Easy Target Zones and up until last year I lived on campus.
Until, in a bit of serendipity, I discovered one of the 1Ls at NCCU Law is a former Chief of Police and firearms instructor. He mentioned he was running a concealed carry handgun training course out in Maiden so I signed up.
Though I didn’t realize at the time I’d have to leave around 4:30am to be there when it started
After several hours of reliving through CrimLaw to get re-educated about when the use of deadly force in self-defense is justified under NC law, we headed out to the open-air shooting range. The actual qualification routine requires shooting 40 rounds from 7/5/3 yards in a certain timeframe, with at least 28 rounds hitting the target.
I was a little nervous since it was my first time firing a real handgun (in my case a .22 Ruger Mk I) instead of the fake Beretta from my youth… but it turned out pretty well. Sufficiently so that I asked to try from 25 yards against one of their metal knockdown targets about half the width of the paper — and hit it 8-for-8
Where was this precision when I tried winning stuff at the State Fair?
Anyhow, now I’m back in Durham and get to go fill out a bunch of paperwork with the Durham County Sheriff’s Department before waiting a few months for my permit to come through. It was a fun day
I hope all of you have a great night — and check back tomorrow for a surprise
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 17, 2010 in The 2L Life
My memory’s a bit fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure I’ve only received 3 international phone calls in my life.
One was to my family back when I was a kid, from my dad when he was deployed overseas with the United States Navy. Another was from QuietStorm when she studied abroad in the UK back in 2004. And the other one was…
In one of the most certifiably weird moments of my life, I was sitting at my desk during my lunch break at the internship when I got a phone call. From Mexico.
Given my history of being called for political polls and telemarketers and other wastes of time (and not knowing anyone who lives in Mexico) I decided to let it go to voicemail and if it was important they’d leave message.
Then they did
The first thought running through my mind was “This has gotta be a scam.” So I dialed my voicemail and started listening to the message.
The first words were “Hi Greg, my name is [Some Person]. My [former spouse in a Midwestern state] and I want to hire you…” — at which point I thought definitely a scam — “…for advice on how to help our [kid] at [a UNC-system institution].”
The caller left their Skype contact info, and also said they’d call me back in 30 minutes if I didn’t have Skype. A prospect which, being the still more-or-less-brand-new guy at the job, I figured was probably a bad idea since I wouldn’t be on my lunch break anymore when they called back.
So I fired up Skype and called them myself
Turns out the call was legit. Their kid is a highly-accomplished student facing the most serious penalty a university can provide, for what I’d consider a fairly minor (and notoriously common) offense… all due to the UNC system’s zero-tolerance “circumstances don’t matter” anti-drug policy. They were looking for background info on how the judicial process operates, what they should do as next steps, recommendations for attorneys in the area, and so on.
I’ll forgo the rest of the details and our conversation back-and-forth — I’ve got a rant about zero-tolerance policies for another day and time — but the crazy part is that so far as I’ve been able to tell I don’t know these folks, haven’t heard of them, and have no apparent connection to them of any kind beyond the fact the kid and I attend separate institutions in the same statewide University system.
And like a dummy I didn’t think to ask how they found me
On the exceptionally-slim-but-nonzero chance the kid (or either of the parents) happen to read this entry, I hope things turn out better than they usually do for folks who find themselves in the crosshairs of the student conduct folks. And if they don’t, it’s nothing that can’t be overcome through patience and perseverance; very few punishments in life are permanent.
Consider: if they let someone like me get a degree, damn near anyone can do it…
Just thought I’d share that particular oddity from my day Have a good night everybody!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 15, 2010 in Randomness
…about people (like me) who complain about how @#$%ing cold it is outside:
Enjoy scraping ice off your windshield while standing in freezing rain before you go to work tomorrow morning.
And when you’re done, feel free to drive back north
That is all.