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It’s October already?? O_o

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 10, 2011 in The 3L Life

Remember when I wrote that I enjoyed being in over my head?

I’ve changed my mind :beatup:

It’s safe to say the semester is going by entirely too d*mn fast when we were more than week into the month before I finally realized it was October.1 Midterms are this week for the 1Ls and 2Ls, and a string of papers are due for me. I’m ready for this month to be over and we just fast-forward to Thanksgiving so I can breathe for a few days…

  • The big news story from the past couple weeks has been the death of Steve Jobs last Wednesday from pancreatic cancer :( The good folks over at MacRumors have this comprehensive entry of news and reflections. I found out via a Drudge Report app alert (on my long-sought iPhone) in the middle of a reception I was attending, followed by a flurry of text messages from QuietStorm, 雅雅, and several classmates asking how I was dealing with the news.2 Steve’s been my role model for over a decade, and the combination of his own talents and his gathering other talented people around him at Apple has definitely enriched my life (and helped me get assignments done on time). Though a good many of us suspected he didn’t have much longer following his resignation as Apple CEO last month, the news still sucks. My heart goes out to his wife and kids :heart:
  • On a less depressing note, Wednesday was a whirlwind day in general — starting with me dropping off Samson for his last round of heartworm shots! :D He had to stay overnight at the Durham APS for two separate injections, but after another few weeks of activity restrictions he should be heartworm free and able to resume life as an active dog! :spin:
  • After dropping off Samson and heading to class, I then drove down to my alma mater for a videotaped interview with staff from N.C. State Libraries. A couple years ago they created a page in their “Historical State” archive chronicling former Student Body Presidents… and at some point expanded it to this Student Leaders page where they’re including folks like me too :surprised:  So they had about two-dozen questions on stuff that happened in Student Government when I was around back in 2006-2009, covering stuff like my role as a Senator when I wrote or sponsored 49 different pieces of legislation, the extensive drama surrounding the Spring 2007 SSP election,3 my first term as Senate President when I had a less-than-cooperative relationship with the Executive Branch, and so on. Makes me glad I did a decent job as SSP, otherwise my incompetence would be enshrined for all eternity :beatup:
  • Right after the NCSU interview I went out west to a reception for incoming UNC-system President Tom Ross, held at the Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering shared by UNC Greensboro and NC A&T State. I’d been to receptions before back when I was UNCASG President; I expected a sit-down dinner thing where you make small talk with 6-7 other education-oriented folks seated at your table, eat, and exchange pleasantries before departing. This was apparently more of a “make friends and influence people”-type thing, because the place was swarming with politicos, judges, fundraisers, and other people famous by NC standards, with no fewer than 4 different “liquor stations” where attendees could imbibe a variety of beverages.4 In general I’m not a particularly huge fan of these types of big, unstructured social events — see, e.g., my abject terror/awkwardness during the “mixer” at 1L Orientation two years ago — but I appreciated the opportunity to catch up with some folks I hadn’t seen since my term on the Board ended :D
  • Plus I got to meet Governor Easley!5 I saw him while talking to someone about the state budget and the budget cuts going on across the UNC system, and finally worked up the nerve to say hello. I tell him I’m a 3L at NCCU Law and the current SBA President… and he starts motioning other people over to come meet me instead :crack:  It easily ranks among the most surreal experiences of my life
  • My lapel pin collection, now with pins from all 17 UNC institutions! (the top 3 rows)

    …and when the event was winding down, on the shuttle back to the parking lot I had the serendipitous opportunity to meet Dr. J. Todd Roberts, the new Chancellor of the N.C. School of Science & Mathematics (North Carolina’s residential high school for high-achieving students). :D I noticed the NCSSM lapel pin on his jacket when his wife asked if  I had enjoyed the event. I replied that I had, then asked if he was “the new guy” running NCSSM.6 We exchanged introductions, and I somewhat-imperiously asked if they sold NCSSM lapel pins anywhere; it was the only institution still missing from my collection, where I had gathered lapel pins from all 16 other UNC institutions. He told me they didn’t, and he really needed his for President Ross’s inauguration the following day… but he offered it to me anyway! I basically pledged my undying loyalty to NCSSM right there on the shuttle, and sent the school a $50 donation when I got back to Durham — right after filling the one remaining gap in my collection :spin:

  • I wish I could say academics were going quite as well :( I’m currently sitting on a legitimate, bona fide “F” in Tax right now. Right alongside another “F” in Appellate Advocacy I. Fortunately both courses still have 80%+ of the grade still remaining to be earned, but the current standings highlight that I’m in deep sh*t academically. I’ve been trying to pare back my extracurricular activities to focus more on the papers and other miscellaneous stuff we have to do. It’s a deep hole to climb out, and will be taking me awhile to get there…7
  • To highlight how bad things are going, I was walking through the law clinic earlier today when Prof Tax herself called my name — in that “Go straight to the Principal’s Office young man” tone of voice that I think all teachers, from K-12 to college, have innately mastered — to make known she wasn’t happy with my sub-standard performance in her class. I pleaded my case but at the end of the day I’ve just been doing too much non-academic stuff. I promised I’d be in class on time tomorrow and work to catch up.
  • (On a somewhat-related note, I really dislike paper-based classes :mad: My colleagues gravitate toward them because it’s easier to get an A on a paper you can pour hours of time into — but I just can’t seem to find the time. I miss going through a couple weeks of hell studying for exams, having a test, and being done. Having four different classes with various papers due at various points over the semester currently qualifies as the most grating experience of my law school career…)
  • Even so, I’m still trying to write a brief to apply for our Moot Court Board8 :beatup:

There’s more stuff to write about, but I think I’ll cap it for this particular entry because I really need to get back to reading for class.

I hope all of you had a great Monday, and have a great week! (and a great October! ;) )

  1. And the only reason I noticed was because the 1Ls were panicking about midterms. []
  2. And yes, I’ll confess I cried a little when I got home :beatup: []
  3. For more details see Technician’s SSP Timeline 1 and SSP Timeline 2, along with the FIRE Act. []
  4. I stuck with the lemonade since I was driving :) []
  5. And yes, I was/am still excited even if he was/is our first governor to plead to a felony — he’s still a graduate of NCCU Law, the namesake for our 2L Opening Statement competition, and was both a superlative District Attorney and the twice-elected Governor of the 10th most-populous state in the nation. Bill Clinton was the first President impeached since Nixon, but I’d still be honored to shake the guy’s hand :P []
  6. When I was UNCASG President I had worked with NCSSM’s former Chancellor Gerald Boarman, who left to work in Maryland soon after my term ended. []
  7. Note to 1Ls/2Ls: DON’T REPEAT MY MISTAKES. #kkthxu []
  8. Just trying to see if I’m competent enough to do appellate work, that’s all! :angel: []

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Introducing: SAMSON! :D

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 9, 2011 in The 3L Life

The apartment isn’t quite where I want it to be, but Samson was picked up from the Durham Animal Protection Society around 11:00am yesterday afternoon :heart:

雅雅 and I then made a beeline straight to the groomers — the back seat of my car acquiring a new carpet of beagle fur during the trip — so that he could get cleaned up from living in the shelter. The groomer said he loved (!) getting bathed and cleaned up, except for resisting with all his might when it came to cleaning his teeth :beatup:

Samson sleeping on a pillow next to my recliner

After the grooming we dropped some $$$ on more doggie toys and related accoutrements for the apartment, took him home so he could get acquainted to the place, then headed to a 2:30pm appointment with Dr. Farling at Southpoint Animal Hospital.1 He got vaccinated for something I can’t pronounce — and didn’t even flinch or howl! — and also got a thorough physical exam. There’s a small cyst on his back but beyond that and heartworms he got a clean bill of health! :D

And yes, you read that last sentence correctly: the poor doggie has heartworms.

That’s part of why I ended up adopting him. The Tuesday before I left for the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto, 雅雅 and I went to the Durham APS just out of curiosity — I wanted to see if they had any boxers, and had swore to myself before going in that I wouldn’t get another beagle.2

To highlight how much I wasn’t expecting to get a dog, I was still wearing a full suit from a lunch meeting I had earlier in the day :beatup:

As we walked through the different cages, I was taking notes on my iPhone as to which dogs I wanted more info about.  We got to Samson’s cage and he was just laying there on the floor and didn’t even try to get up.

But he thumped his tail twice and had the cutest little eyes, so I added him to the list :)

We go back to the front of APS and I ask for his background.  Apparently Animal Control found him on East Club Boulevard here in Durham all the way back in April. The on-site vets put his age somewhere in the 4-7 years old range; the consensus guess is now somewhere around 5.5 years, though I’m not sure that’s a “consensus” so much as “splitting the difference between 4 and 7.”

He seems to prefer tummy scratches over everything else

Then, after Animal Control brought him in, the Durham APS actually found his original owners… and they refused to come get him :(

And if that wasn’t bad enough, at some point amid being abandoned by the people who were supposed to protect and provide for him the poor guy developed a heartworm infection too. So basically he’s an old beagle with heartworms stuck in a shelter for four months, making him a prime candidate for euthanasia.

The sheer soul-crushing feeling I got as they were reading me his file really can’t be expressed in words. It was bad enough that I started tearing up in the office (a rare event given my otherwise-stoic personality).

So I asked if I could hang out with him for a couple minutes, wearing my suit and all…

A few minutes later the visiting room door opens and in runs this massive dog, tail wagging and thwapping and thwomping all over the place. The first thing he does when he comes in is jump on me, then jump on the bench in the room. Really boundless energy for a dog with his health condition. After about 15 minutes the APS was prepping to close so I had them take him back to his cage, but decided for certain that I was going to adopt him, help him get healthy, and give him a loving home for the next decade or so of his life :spin:

I’ve since been freaking out because the adoption fee, flea/tick treatment, heartworm treatment, food, supplies, toys, vet, etc etc etc is about half of what I still owe Bar-Bri for my bar exam review, but he’s been super-well-behaved so far and I know it was the right decision at the right time. The challenge now of course is trying to see if I can crate-train a 5.5-year-old dog that’s spent the last 4 months in the doggie equivalent of death row :beatup:

I’ve all-but-abandoned my internship and still have that Civil Rights paper to finish… but I’m also having one of the best weeks ever :D

That’s it from me for tonight, you’ll be reading more about Samson in the days / weeks / months ahead :)  Prayers for me becoming an effective trainer are appreciated! ;)

  1. Not only is Dr. Farling an N.C. State vet school graduate, the place is literally within walking distance of my apartment :spin: []
  2. I used to have a beagle back in middle/high school who finally passed away in 2007. They’re great dogs, but I was worried they’d be too energetic for a law student’s apartment. []

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Billing by the word (or, “Redundant Redundancy FTL”)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jul 17, 2011 in Fail

Hey everybody! :D

I hope all of you have had an amazing weekend!  The crush of work I mentioned in my last entry is finally finished, so I’ve spent the past couple days reflecting on life,1 relaxing,2 and now working on a leadership development presentation for my undergraduate colleagues in the N.C. Central University Student Government.

And of course taking a break to throw one of these posts together ;)

It’s no secret that I’m generally not a fan of Contracts (see here and here and here if you don’t know why). The concepts aren’t exactly difficult, I’m just not aware of any field of law where people have gone to greater lengths to defile the meaning of perfectly functional English words.

Not even Capt. Picard approves of these Ks

Now most legal documents seem to have taken the old adage of “Don’t use a 10-cent word when a 5-cent word will do” and replaced it with “Don’t use a 10-cent word when an identical or substantially similar conveyance of meaning is articulable through the concurrent deployment of at least, but not limited to, a half-dozen or more $2 locutions.” :beatup:

So this entry is dedicated to those documents and to the lawyers billing by the word who wrote them.3

I’ve picked a quartet of clauses from actual contracts that have crossed my desk over the past few months for your reading pleasure, and underlined the language that irks me…

Honorable Mention:

This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of [RandomState], without reference to its conflict of laws principles.

Now I realize that this underlined snippet is actually designed to serve a purpose. Those of you who paid attention in CivPro might recognize this entire clause as a “choice of law” provision, indicating which state’s laws the parties want to use in enforcing the contract. And some of those states have enacted statutes — their “conflict of laws principles” — that say if a cause of action arises in another state, that other state’s laws should govern the conflict.

So, hypothetically, if a contract between a buyer in North Carolina and a seller in Virginia is construed under North Carolina law, but something happens in Virginia such that the seller defaults and the buyer files suit, a judge interpreting the contract might say “Construing this contract under North Carolina law, since this default happened in Virginia and North Carolina’s conflict of laws provisions say a contract must be governed by the law of the state giving rise to the cause of action, the Virginia law applies to this suit.” The underlined text would, theoretically at least, prevent that from happening.

[Note that I don’t actually know if what would actually happen in that particular hypothetical, I’m just trying to come up with a rational explanation for the underlined verbiage :beatup: ]

Then why, assuming this language really does serve a purpose, did it get included in my list?

Because one of the cardinal principles of contract interpretation is construing the contract in a way that effects the intent of the parties. It’s evident from including a choice of law provision in the first place that the parties wanted it governed by the law of the chosen state. For either party to then use the chosen state’s conflict of laws principles to wedge their way under the aegis of a different state’s laws would seem (to my feeble mind at least) to frustrate the signatories’ intent.

***

Third Place:

Notwithstanding any provision of this Agreement to the contrary, if any confidential information is required to be disclosed pursuant to an order of a governmental agency or by operation of law, the receiving party shall be permitted to disclose such confidential information in accordance with the order or law. Prior to the disclosure the receiving party shall, unless prohibited by law, give the disclosing party reasonable advance notice to contest the disclosure.

Is there any kind of notice “[p]rior to the disclosure” that would not be “advance notice”?

Is there any kind of “advance notice” to contest a disclosure that could happen after “[p]rior to the disclosure”?

Unless the meaning of those basic words has changed since I last took an English class, the answer to both questions is “no.” The redundancy is unnecessary surplusage.4

***

Second Place:

In the event of a breach of this Agreement, [OurCo] may demand from [YourCo] the sum of One-Hundred Thousand U.S. Dollars ($100,000.00) as liquidated damages and as reimbursement for expenses incurred and estimated to be incurred by [OurCo], which [YourCo] agrees to pay to [OurCo] within five (5) business days of the demand by [OurCo].

This one evidently originated in the Legal Department of a company that really likes seeing its name in print :roll:

This type of “break fee” provision is common in many contracts, designed to incentivize a party to avoid breaching the agreement. It’s obvious from the first sentence that the ability to demand payment in this clause belongs to OurCo, so the recitation of the rationale (“reimbursement for expenses…” blah blah blah) doesn’t need the “by OurCo” reference. Neither does the last line, since nothing in this clause gives YourCo the ability to make such a demand; we’re only talking about OurCo’s demand here.

And if OurCo is making the demand, why require in the contract that YourCo must “pay [it] to OurCo”? Maybe OurCo’s finance guys want YourCo to pay the money to some random charity so it’s not reflected as income on OurCo’s balance sheet.

Lots of redundancy all around… ::smh::

***

Before getting into our First Place winner, I have to confess up front that I bear some responsibility for any continued longevity this provision now has — I alphabetized the original and removed some of its duplicate listings.5 :beatup:

First Place:

“Document” means a physical embodiment of information or ideas of any kind or nature, including items that are handwritten, printed, mimeographed, lithographed, duplicated, typed, or contained in a graphic, photographic, film, video, tape or other electronic recording. Examples of documents include, but are not limited to: accounts, affidavits, analyses, answers to questionnaires, appointment books, balance sheets, bills, blueprints, book entries, books, cables, calculations, catalogs, charts, checks, computer files, computer logs, computer printouts, computer programs, contracts, correspondence, data, deeds, deposit slips, desk calendars, diagrams, diaries, drafts, drawings, emails, evaluations, expense reports, films, forms, formulas, graphs, income and/or investment statements, indexes, instructions, invoices, journals, ledgers, letters, license agreements, lists, logs, magnetic tapes and cards, manuals, maps, memoranda, microfilms, minutes, money orders, newspaper articles or clippings, notations, notes, offers, opinions, pamphlets, papers, periodicals, photographs, plans, publications, punch cards, purchase orders, questionnaires, receipts, records, renderings, reports, schedules, sheets, specifications, statements, statistical records, studies, summaries, surveys, tabulations, tax returns, telegrams, telex messages, text messages of any kind (including AIM, ICQ, MMS and SMS), transcripts, vouchers, warranties, web pages, websites, work papers, and worksheets. Documents also include, but are not limited to, reports and recordings of (i) telephone or other conversations, (ii) interviews or personal conversations, (iii) conferences, or (iv) committee meetings or other meetings, in addition to all other records or information kept by electronic, photographic, mechanical or other means, and things similar to any of the foregoing, however denominated.

This one actually takes up an entire page once it’s put in 12pt Times New Roman and doubled-spaced :crack:

For comparison, Black’s Law Dictionary defines a “document” as “Something tangible on which words, symbols, or marks are recorded.”

And Merriam-Webster’s goes with “a piece of written, printed, or electronic matter that provides information or evidence or that serves as an official record.”

Neither apparently feels it necessary to provide a page’s worth of examples.

—===—

Have a good night y’all! :)

  1. Son of TDot turned 13 yesterday :surprised: []
  2. Saw Harry Potter 7.2 with 雅雅… and, the storyline notwithstanding, thought it was the worst film in the series :beatup: []
  3. Hat tip to Peter Romary of The True Verdict blawg for inadvertently suggesting the title of this entry :) []
  4. And yes, I realize “unnecessary surplusage” is redundant — that’s the point :P []
  5. Meaning the original was even worse, if you can imagine that… []

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Legal Eagles: I need your help plz :)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jul 7, 2011 in The 3L Life

Good evening folks! :)

I hope all of you had an amazing Independence Day weekend — the 235th celebration of my favorite holiday evah — and a solid start to the abbreviated-and-soon-to-end workweek :D

On my end I made my annual trip with 雅雅 up to Virginia Beach to see Nan and Pops, though the festivities this year were somewhat dampened (literally and figuratively) by thunderstorms that spanned Virginia and North Carolina… and the start of Summer Session II classes this past Tuesday :beatup:

Class this week plus that trip plus the preceding week helping with NCCU Law‘s Legal Eagle Law Camp was the reason for my most recent extended hiatus from the blawgosphere.1 The Law Camp in particular was an interesting experience that I’ll hopefully have time to write about in a later entry — it included everything from sitting in on an actual arson trial (featuring extensive vulgarity and sexual innuendo) with ~35 7th-10th graders, to witnessing the Durham PD’s drug interdiction unit arrest two people for trafficking in cocaine2 in the parking lot of a Burger King where I happened to be getting lunch with about 20 of those same campers, to watching my group successfully put on a full mock trial even after the group’s star witness was a no-show on trial day, to a bunch of other randomness in between :crack:

But that’s not the reason for tonight’s entry ;)

Those of you who have been reading law:/dev/null for awhile3 might recall the pie chart of class ranks I put together last year for the Class of 2012 day program.  I’m hoping to create new ones this year for all the classes, so we can (i) gauge how much the average GPAs have climbed between 1L and 2L year now that students can self-select their electives, and (ii) compare the GPAs across classes / programs / years. Did this year’s 1Ls perform significantly better or worse compared to last year’s?  Does the evening program really have higher median GPAs as rumored?  What are the odds of a now-3L reaching #.## GPA based on the curve and colleagues’ grades? Those are the types of questions I’d like answered.

However I’ve got two problems: my source for grade info last year is no longer around, and my new class rank doesn’t have the serendipitous function of being a cutoff for a round-number percentile like it was when I was the 40% guy last year.

And that’s where you come in…  :angel:

I know folks are über-secretive about law school grades, even though we all find out something anyway.  Taking that preference for discretion into account, I’ve created a temporary page on the blog (linked at the top) called “2011 Data4 that includes a comment field where you can anonymously enter your own GPA and class rank.  By entering in a fake name and using a fake email address, your comment will go into the WordPress “moderation queue” we have here behind the scenes, I can then harvest your GPA/rank without ever knowing who you are, and then delete your comment without it ever appearing to the outside world.

As of this entry I’ve got 14 people who’ve already shared their data — 4 from the class of 2012, 6 from 2013, and 4 from 2014.  That’s a solid start, but most of the folks who have commented are in a fairly narrow band rank-wise and I need folks across the spectrum to get accurate charts. So if you don’t mind taking a few seconds to shoot me your info I’d really really really appreciate :)

Once I’ve got enough data points to put the charts together, I’ll delete the 2011 Data page and put up a new entry with the approximate grade distributions.

Thanks in advance for your help, and feel free to recommend that a classmate send in their info too ;) Have a great night! :D

  1. And yes I realize I’ve had roughly the same excuse for randomly disappearing for most of the past two semesters now. Cut me some slack! :beatup: []
  2. One of whom made the unwise decision to resist arrest and was restrained with force as a result. []
  3. *THANK YOU* btw! :* []
  4. UPDATE on 07/13/2011:  Got all the data we needed so the page has been modified to remove the comment form and all the comments that were submitted have been deleted. Thanks for your help! :D []

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An undignified start

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 1, 2011 in Randomness

Happy New Year everybody! :D

Tonight’s entry is brief — I stayed home instead of attending New Year’s Eve festivities last night because I felt like I might be catching a cold, which less-than-24-hours later has now transmogrified into a horrible blend of a cold and a sinus infection :cry:

Then 雅雅 came to visit on her way back to Tennessee for school, and when we left the apartment to get dinner… I somehow succeeded in my right foot giving out randomly at the least opportune time, as I then tumbled down the staircase of my apartment complex :beatup:

For all the amazingness that was 2010, this is definitely an undignified start to 2011…

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Best. Vacation. Evah.

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! :D

First, my employer1 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.2 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 :surprised:

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 :beatup:

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 mine3 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 :D

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 :lol:

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.4 And I enjoyed being able to finally afford presents for everyone in the family — even if it meant they all got NCCU Law paraphernalia :angel:

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 :D

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.5 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 B-)

The photo shows part of what I woke up to on Tuesday morning :eek:

In a fitting dose of irony, however, our trip to Orlando happened to be accompanied by near-record low temperatures for Florida :beatup: 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 :D

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! :spin:

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! :D

  1. Do you call them employers for internships? []
  2. 8 years, 5 months, 7 days to be precise. []
  3. Voluntarily in his case, disguising the fact I’m going bald in mine :beatup: []
  4. My family puts the “fun” in “dysfunctional” ;) []
  5. She said it was repayment for me winning a trip for 2 to Atlantic City NJ during an elementary school fundraiser when I was in the 5th grade :surprised: []

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Things TDot Likes: The Wolf Web

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 ( :eek: ) since I first became a member of the online message board community called The Wolf Web :D

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 :beatup:

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 :crack: — 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 :mrgreen:

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 :angel:

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 :beatup:

So to the creators and members of The Wolf Web: thanks :*

Have a great night everybody!

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Greetings from Orlando! :D

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 27, 2010 in Wolfpack Athletics

Good evening everybody! :D

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! :spin: :spin: :spin:

The drive down was ridiculous, as a 1-car barely-an-accident1 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 :crack:

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! :spin:

And I got to add 3 more states to my “Gotta Get to All 50 Before I Croak” list :D

Your normally-humble author is getting spoiled… :angel:

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! :)

  1. A compact car ran into, and wedged itself under, the little guardwires separating the two sides of the interstate :roll:   []

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Assorted Miscellany

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 14, 2010 in Weekend Roundup

Good evening folks! :)

I’m trying to make my way through the 2nd book for my internship (Six Thinking Hats) so I don’t have time to write much, but I did have a few bullet points to toss your way:1

  • Had to go pick up registration materials for the MPRE today. For some reason, knowing I’ve got this exam looming in the near-term future kinda makes the whole “omg I’m gonna be an attorney. Who let that happen?!” thing ever-so-slightly more tangible… and prompting me to freak out accordingly :beatup:
  • Speaking of exams, I discovered that I’m a compulsive snacker when I study for finals. I’ve somehow managed to pack on +15lbs in between Thanksgiving and now despite -0- change in my activity level :crack:
  • Lots of stuff going on in the blawgosphere here recently. A quartet of tidbits for you to check out:
    • The weekly Law School Roundup — a years-old gathering of posts from law students around the interwebz that used to alternate between Evan Schaeffer’s Beyond the Underground and ImNobody’s Thanks, But No Thanks — has found a new home over at KatieLuper.com. Katie’s a graduate of SMU Law out in Dallas and getting ready to knock out the TX bar exam herself, which is presumably so monotonous that she reads blawgs for the occasional sanity check ;) If you’re new to the blawgosphere, the Law School Roundup and ClearAdmit’s Fridays from the Frontline are both an excellent source for discovering new law students!
    • One of those newcomers is Jose, a 1L at Ave Maria Law who has been actively engaging us blawgers on Twitter for awhile now. His new blog is online over at Law of Jose — definitely swing by when you get a spare minute or two :)
    • Madame Prosecutor also posted her first update in months, giving folks a breakdown on how her semester turned out. We’ll see if she ends up disappearing again :P
    • And another brand new blawg, but from a lawyer this time, is Peter Romary’s foray into the blawgosphere over at The True Verdict. Peter’s done a lot of work on behalf of students here in North Carolina and I consider him a friend, but (just in case that’s not enough reason to go read his blawg) he’s good at strongly wording his strongly-held opinions. Plus he’s from the UK, that’s gotta be worth something right? :beatup:
  • Peter’s most recent entry is on Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who’s been all over the news for awhile now. The issue of Assange being a sexual predator notwithstanding…2 am I the only one disappointed with WikiLeaks in general? The libertarian in me loves the concept, because I’m fairly certain all governments are doing things they have no business doing — and if someone happens to leak that fact, it’s more-than-slightly dishonorable on the part of the government to complain when its own hands aren’t clean. But for the all the value of the concept, and the “cool factor” of the various technologies used in its implementation, the near-exclusive/obsessive focus on the United States really robs the website of its moral virtue (at least in my feeble mind). Despite histrionics to the contrary, the U.S. is still a mostly-open society with a mostly-open government. If our government’s documents get leaked, sure feel free to post them. But where are the documents on Iran, which has a tendency to execute dissenters? Or China, which prefers jailing them instead? Or any of dozens of other countries that people flee by the thousands every year… to come to the United States? :roll:  The whole enterprise is a disappointment, and it saddens me as a tech guy to see hacktivisits across the globe rally to Assange’s defense. </rant>
  • Now that I’ve gotten that particular rant out of my system, I’ve made some more blog tweaks here at law:/dev/null too:
    • On the anti-spam front I’ve started closing old entries to comments if they kept getting spammed. This isn’t a site-wide policy yet (and hopefully it won’t become one) but I figure the odds of an uncommented entry from [#] months ago suddenly getting legitimate interest is pretty slim ;)  In any event, if for some reason you happen to venture to an old entry that you want to comment on but don’t see the comment box, shoot me an email and I’ll re-open the entry to comments. Trackbacks and pingbacks should still work, so you’re also free to blast me from your own blawg too :*
    • You should also see the <title> of each page now reversed, listing the post title and then the blog title. They used to be the other way around, but it got really @#$%ing annoying having to constantly expand the textbox in Google Analytics to see which posts were getting traffic since all I kept seeing was “law:/dev/null – Blog Archive – …”. So I flipped them :beatup:
  • I just found out yesterday that I’m using a different book in CrimPro next semester than what I used in CrimLaw… which means, since I’m taking one class and tutoring the other, I’ll have to bring both to school every day :mad:
  • And I’m still waiting on grades :mad: :mad: :mad:
  • But other than that life is going pretty well :)  I’ve got a lot of friends with birthdays coming up, 雅雅 is coming to visit, I’m heading out west this weekend for firearms training, and the internship is pretty cool. I’m definitely blessed — and actually looking forward to the upcoming semester! :spin:

That’s it for tonight y’all! Hope all of you have a great rest-of-the-week! :D

  1. And yes, I realize it’s not the weekend and putting this entry in the Weekend Roundup category is technically inappropriate. But since I usually post things late — and I can pretty much rename the categories willy-nilly whenever I want anyhow — I’m just gonna put it here and let y’all pretend it was posted 2 days ago ;) []
  2. Reminds of a L&O:SVU episode… []

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Week #68 in Review

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 27, 2010 in Weekend Roundup

I disappeared again, sorry! :beatup:

Out of the 144 weeks from the time Orientation started until I get my J.D. in May 2012, something about the 2-day class week before Thanksgiving triggers a feeling of “omgwtfshootmeplzkthxu”.

Out of curiosity I checked the law:/dev/null archives for this same time last year, and sure enough there was this entry on panic setting in before finals. I’ve got the same feeling a year later, so blogging took a back seat for the week.

But, today was game day again — which means I got absolutely nothing productive accomplished and could properly get things updated here. Plus it gave me an excuse to tag an entry for the Weekend Roundup category for the first time since Week 8 ;)

Here’s a week-in-review look back at what’s happened in my life over the past 7 days:

  • As I hinted before my disappearance, last Saturday was spent with 雅雅 as we watched the N.C. State Wolfpack stage an amazing comeback to defeat the Baby Blue Powder Puffs of the University of Non-Compliance at Cheater Haven — for the 4th time in 4 years :D We ended up winning by a score of 29-25, which included one of the most improbable touchdown catches I’ve ever seen in college football; check around the 2:13 mark of this NCSU-UNX highlight videofor the whole play. After the requisite celebrating and trash-talking, we headed out to go see Harry Potter VII Part I… and I was generally unimpressed. No hate mail please :P

    My SBA colleague after her team lost last week

  • Got to spend Sunday afternoon picking out a Wolfpack shirt for the SBA secretary, who happens to (1) be a UNCCH graduate and (2) have an affinity for making outlandish bets on losing sports teams ;)  The rest of the day was used to revise my brief in opposition to the State’s motion in limine for DV Law, then frantically figuring out what on Earth I was going to say during oral arguments.
  • Monday was compartmentalized into three distinct phases. Oral arguments took place Monday morning and turned out fairly well, even though I didn’t get to use several of the pre-packaged zingers I had prepared just in case :(  The afternoon was spent being annoyed about this UNCASG news piece in the Daily Tar Heel — and for once it wasn’t because of what the DTH printed. Bear in mind there is nothing at all whatsoever in any of ASG’s governing documents that dictates what amount (if any) officers have to be paid, yet these people are amending its Constitution and eliminating a constitutionally-mandated financial oversight position, purportedly to save money they’re not required to pay in the first place. “We mismanaged our budget, so let’s eliminate one of the key people responsible for making sure we don’t mismanage our budget” is the unspoken message being sent to the UNC Board of Governors and the other political players in North Carolina.1 :crack: Then Monday night was right here in front of the laptop banging away at my last Legal Letters assignment of the semester until the wee hours of the morning.
  • Tuesday was my very last Legal Letters class ever, which called for celebration.  Even though the professor was cool the material was just mind-numbingly bland and no amount of caffeine / cash / illegal narcotics could keep someone awake in it :beatup:  I also had an interview with the tech company I mentioned last week, which I think went well but honestly I’m not sure; I’m supposed to get a call this coming week with a thumbs up or thumbs down. The prospect of getting the job has me insanely nervous because everything I’ve done up until this point has either been trivially easy2 or difficult-but-practically-a-hobby.3 This would be a combination of being totally new, probably difficult, and sufficiently not-a-hobby that I’d be fired if I screw up. Which I don’t think I will, but you get the point. I’ve always been a high-risk/high-reward type of person, but I still get butterflies in my stomach in the process…
  • In anticipation of Thanksgiving, I used Wednesday to finally clean my apartment thoroughly for the first time since the semester started getting crazy. Washed all my clothes, cleaned up the wasteland that was quickly becoming my kitchen, and so on. Stocked up on food for the holiday, donated $$ I didn’t have to the Durham Rescue Mission to help those who aren’t as lucky as I am, then went home, put all the food away… and ended up falling asleep in the recliner watching TV :oops:
  • Thursday of course was Thanksgiving. It was only me this year, but I was blessed to have a handful of folks offer up their own meals if I wanted them — I declined though, because I wanted to experiment with cooking my very first turkey without potentially killing anyone ;)  It turned out well for a first attempt4 so I was happy. Followed that up with the obligatory mashed potatoes and gravy, some steamed broccoli and cheese,5 and a few rolls. The only downside is that I will be eating turkey-related leftovers for weeks :sick:  In between cooking and eating, also spent about 8 (non-contiguous) hours sending personalized text messages to folks wishing them a happy Thanksgiving. Maybe a little crazy, but cheaper than sending a bunch of holiday greeting cards no one reads…
  • And then yesterday was pretty much spent banging my head against the desk in the hope that something useful would fall out for this Evidence memo due on Monday. It’s ostensibly optional extra credit, but when (1) you’re graded on a curve and (2) a majority of your classmates are going to turn something in, “optional” isn’t really optional :beatup:  I’m in the position of defense counsel in a criminal case (sound familiar?) trying to block the State’s effort to get evidence introduced under FRE 404(b) about prior bad acts allegedly committed by my client. The only problem is that pretty much every case I’ve found that holds any weight for this particular factual scenario says the evidence needs to come in, and the more exotic theories I’ve come up with are even more thoroughly refuted :mad:  I’m going to come up with something, but doggone it I hate making losing arguments…

NC State got Ron Cherry'd on UMD's 4th and 1

Which brings us to today. My Wolfpack disgraced themselves in College Park, Maryland, losing to the Terrapins by 31-38. We actually played far worse than the box score indicates, scoring 14 points in the first 9 minutes and 14 points in the last 4 minutes — making only a 3-point field goal during the 47 minutes in between. NC State got screwed when Maryland was given a first down they didn’t earn on 4th and 1 with under a minute left (see the photo), but the truth is we played so horribly that we pretty much deserved to lose anyway.

I’m not in a position to complain since I predicted we’d end the season at 7-5 and we’re actually 8-4, so I’m just gonna be happy with our bowl game and look forward to next season :spin:

The rest of this evening has been spent trading critiques with EIC about our various papers due tomorrow (Evidence and DVLaw for me, both of those plus Race and the Law for her). And finally writing this blog entry :D

All in all it’s been a good week… and now exams are upon us :eek:  GOOD LUCK to everyone facing finals, and if you have a few prayers to spare feel free to send them my way ;)

  1. And that’s not even touching the fact they’ve supposedly burned through more money in less time than I did during either of my two terms, despite me making over 115+ separate campus visits in addition to the group setting three separate attendance records while making do with more-expensive travel options (reimbursing rental cars over paying straight IRS mileage rates) and a smaller budget. And yes, I realize I’m retired and at some point I really should stop caring, but considering massive tuition hikes are on the horizon for everybody it’d be nice if the students’ representatives could get their act together… []
  2. Paralegal work, teaching Intro to Java, etc. []
  3. Being a research intern at the Legislature, leading the single most-distinguished student deliberative assembly ever conceived in the State of North Carolina, etc. []
  4. Ever-so-slightly overcooked, but nothing a little gravy couldn’t fix :beatup:  Also, props to Butterball for having mini-turkeys for small Thanksgiving meals :D []
  5. My first time cooking broccoli too! []

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