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Tweet-sized Tuesdays #6

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 6, 2009 in Tweet-sized Tuesdays

CivPro midterm tomorrow! :surprised: Studying all night, with a brief break planned for jogging. Keep your fingers crossed for me :) Good night! :D

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Getting supplemented

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 21, 2009 in The 1L Life

idwsj is one of the blawgs I check daily because the writing is just that good.  Seriously.

So when I read this post from a few days ago, I figured I’d save myself the $$ and forgo buying supplements for my classes since it seemed they weren’t that useful.  Especially when I almost feel comfortable in Contracts, Property and Torts.  But Civil Procedure.  Ohhh Civil Procedure…

I genuinely like CivPro.  It’s basically the class on being a lawyer and doing lawyerly things.  It’s rule-based.  It’s fairly objective.  And it’s the #1 source of 12(b)(6) jokes ;)

But I’m lost.

It’s not that the material is difficult to understand, we’re just blazing through so many Rules and statutes and case law that my mind is having a hard time digesting all the chunks of FRCP, USC and judicial commentary.  So I broke down and dropped some cash on a copy of Emanuel’s CivPro law outlines.  And then while I was at it made an impulse purchase of the Contracts, Property and Torts books also — just in case.

Final price tag:  $$$$.

I’ll let you know if they’re useful at all.  For my sake, cross your fingers :)

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Splat

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 20, 2009 in Randomness

I love Sundays.  A big breakfast of bacon, eggs and biscuits (or french toast if I’m in a festive mood).  The morning political talk shows.  Studying CivPro and Torts out on the deck.  A relaxing, home-cooked dinner.  And Law & Order SVU marathons.

L&O marathons are lifesavers for boredom. I usually just cut on the TV in the background while studying.  On one of today’s reruns (Season 7 Episode 13), detectives are chasing a pedophile who runs up to a rooftop, gets cornered, and decides to jump to an adjacent building.  He makes it, but as he’s trying to pull himself up his hand slips, he falls 20 floors and goes splat.

And I start laughing. Hysterically.

This is one of the reasons I’m going into law instead of law enforcement…

***

Sorry for being MIA for the past couple days.  Friday was spent studying, cleaning and hosting some folks for a poker game (I lost all of my $$ to Madame Prosecutor) then Saturday was all about college football and going to see a movie ((500) Days of Summer — surprisingly good flick).  I’ll try to do better next weekend :)  Have a good night folks!

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The joys of the Socratic method

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 16, 2009 in Fail

Envision for a minute that you’re watching television.

A Pay-Per-View channel specifically.

And not just any Pay-Per-View channel, but one with shows that are kind of a blend between a UFC match and the movie Gladiator.

Where the bad guy is a robot, wielding a 500ish-page Torts textbook in one hand and a 500ish-page Contracts textbook in the other, trying to bludgeon its opponent to death, and the only way to stop it is to utter the right combination of cryptic phrases like “shopkeeper’s privilege” and “sua sponte” and “offer / acceptance / consideration / mutual assent”.

And the hero dies in the end.

That’s a rough approximation of how I envisioned the Socratic method of teaching law.  Fortunately it hasn’t turned out nearly that bad — no one’s died so far as I know :) — but as I mentioned yesterday I’m a little worried I’ve become a marked man.

It all started this past Monday in Torts.  Remember a couple Fridays ago when I volunteered to go over Pearson v. Dodd, flubbed my response, and Professor Torts noted with a Cheshire Cat smile that she’d be “coming back to [me] very soon”?  Yeah, that was Monday.

We’re going over defenses to intentional torts, and the case being reviewed was Bonkowski v. Arlan’s Department Store (12 Mich. App. 88). Unlike my last crash-and-burn experience, though, this time I just knew I had outmaneuvered Professor Torts! Figuring she’d call me at some point in the week, I not only (i) had hand-written case notes but (ii) instantly pulled up my typed case brief on my laptop and (iii) flipped to the well-highlighted pages in my textbook.  I was going to nail these questions.

I went over the case summary without a hitch.  Answered the first couple questions without a hitch.  Then got asked why the Court brought in the Montgomery Ward case for comparison (Montgomery Ward & Co v. Freeman, 199 F2d 720), and… splat.

There were/are essentially 3 “take-home points” from Bonkowski as far as defense goes:  validating the shopkeeper’s privilege, a distinction regarding the length of time a customer is detained, and a distinction regarding where the customer is located at the time the shopkeeper attempts to detain them.  I had all 3 points written down with corresponding notes, but never put in my notes the source documents the Court was comparing against with each (the Restatement (Second) of Torts, the Montgomery Ward case, and the R2T again, respectively).

So after making it through shopkeeper’s privilege and getting the M. Ward question, I realized the shortcoming in my notes, mentally freaked, couldn’t find the right passage in the textbook quickly enough, figured I had a 50-50 shot at guessing 1 of the 2 remaining points I wrote down, and picked the distinction re location (aka the wrong answer).  The Professor gives me the raised eyebrow that says “You’re totally wrong and trying to BS me.” I notice, then promptly correct myself by referencing the timeframe of detainment.  The Professor confirms but notes that “Whenever the Court is bringing in another case, you need to make sure you understand why the Court is bringing in the case” (“Yes ma’am.”).  Now I’m thinking I’m in the clear… when she asks what other take-home points, if any, I found.

In my mind I’m thinking I already brought up the location issue so that covered the 3 issues and there shouldn’t be anything else. But since the location issue was the wrong answer at the time I brought it up, I found out after class that the Professor was expecting me to repeat it at the appropriate time… and instead I had said I didn’t have any other points.  Which prompted a less-than-happy string of commentary to the class that we’re clearly not reading the material and if we don’t stop playing around with her and the course we’d regret it by midterms.

Professor Torts:  2.  TDot:  0.

And like the last time someone flubbed a response that indicated they hadn’t read, who was the first person to get called on the next day in Contracts?  Yours truly.

Not only was I the first person called, but I felt like I hadn’t even been attending the class because the questions asked didn’t line up at all with the notes I had written down.  By the time my 5 minutes worth of fumbling for answers was finished, it was pretty well-cemented in my mind that I need to do a better job picking the salient points to jot down in my notes…

Anyhow, hopefully I’ll at least have a reprieve for the next few classes :)  I’ve been spared recent humiliation both in Property and in CivPro — though in the search logs for law:/dev/null I noticed 2 separate visitors who came here yesterday after searches for Mean Dean Green, so I might be on the hit list now for that class too (Prof Green, if you happen to read this: the entire Gang of Eight, myself included, thinks you’re a phenomenal teacher.  And I had nothing at all to do with the nickname.  Don’t kill me plz.)

Hope all of you are having a great week so far!  Have a good night everybody!! :D

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Dealing with “the bubble”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 13, 2009 in The 1L Life

Maybe it was my 1L naïveté.  Or my ridiculously oversized ego.  Or just the fact sending and receiving several thousand text messages in a month isn’t that unusual for me.  But I thought I could handle the law school “bubble”… and instead it’s starting to handle me.  Grrr.

It all started with me trolling through the new blawg posts online (I <3 Safari’s Top Sites feature for this :D ) and reading this entry over at Fearfully Optimistic.  Although I don’t constantly hit the refresh button on my RSS feed — and actually never learned how to use an RSS reader until I started law:/dev/null and saw how much RSS feeds impact readership — my own procrastination vice is texting.  Hands down.

But I hadn’t really seen it as much of a vice up to this point.  Texting lets me stay in touch with people regularly, and between spending years as a Comp Sci undergrad and having a full QWERTY keyboard on the BlackBerry I can actually text about as fast as I can type (110wpm on a keyboard, somewhere north of 80wpm on the BlackBerry).

With my phone firmly in hand, I was going to beat the law school bubble.  Yes I had a ton of reading, but what’s a sporadic message here and there?  Sure I needed to brief those cases, but can a quick 10-text exchange really be that bad?  And I know that outline probably needs to be updated, but omg did you hear about what happened after the football game?! (We trounced Murray State btw, 65-0 :) )

Then I spent most of today split between filling out paperwork for a security clearance (every snippet of my life for the past 10 years?? shootmeplzkthx) and reading for CivPro and Torts tomorrow… and noticed how bonkers my phone drives me at times.

Never saw the movie, but I'm guessing it was about law school...

Never saw the movie, but I'm guessing it was about law school...

There were 50+ messages between one of my friends and I, with at least 1 every hour starting at 1pm.  There were 75+ between myself and another friend, with at least 1 every hour starting at 9am.  And there were at least 100+ back and forth messages with a 3rd friend over BlackBerry Messenger, which I stopped counting because it’s so much like AIM in that it’s ridiculously easy to send someone the slightest thought of even marginal significance that it can’t even really qualify as conversation.

At this point you’re probably thinking “Just cut off the damn phone.”  And you’re right, I should.  But I’m always paranoid the one time I decide to cut the phone completely off will be the one moment a friend’s in a car accident or drunk out of their mind needing a DD or in the hospital with acute appendicitis or something.

So then I set the phone to only go off when there’s an actual call — just for me to respond like Pavlov’s dog and habitually check to see if someone’s texted me but I missed it because the ringer was off.

Recognizing my addiction prompts me to make myself less available, force myself not to respond to texts, be “that guy we used to call a friend who’s now still a friend technically I guess but is really better friends with his law books and has no life because he’s always doing homework and reading and being all law-like” (actual quote)…

…and then realize I’ve essentially ended up as the one thing I tried to avoid.  Ugh.

Hope all of you had a good weekend, and have a good night! :)

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Yay CivPro and Torts…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 12, 2009 in Randomness

Nothing to really write about today.  I stayed up late last night watching the Tale of Despereaux — every now and then everyone should take a break from the seriousness of life to enjoy a kid’s movie :) — then slept in late this morning, got some work done after I got up, headed down to Raleigh to tailgate with friends and watched the Wolfpack of N.C. State University demolish the Murray State Racers (65-7 final score).  Just got home about 30 minutes ago to resume studying Torts and CivPro…

…and part of me wishes I was still drunk.  Currently on recovery of property in Torts, and I honestly don’t know at the moment where we are in Civil Procedure.  I’ll have to check my notes in the morning.

For a guy who didn’t have his first alcoholic beverage until he was 25, I feel like I’m going to be a certified alcoholic by the time law school is over…

Have a great night everybody! :D

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Fabulous Fed Fun…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 9, 2009 in Fail

One of my classmates in undergrad was a British exchange student, and he seemed to derive great pleasure in referring to me as a “queer bird” whenever we talked about politics (you have to imagine it being said in a thick British accent for full effect).

I’m a registered Republican, once-upon-a-time the youngest elected Vice Chairman in the history of the Wake County GOP… only to get thrown out of the party by the same folks 2 years later for being “too liberal,” then spending most of the years since electing / working for / working with Democrats with whom I agree on almost nothing.1  My political views would generally be considered libertarian — quasi-neocon on taxes, firearms and national defense, with a “leave me the @#$% alone” philosophy on social issues like gay marriage and abortion — but unlike most big-L Libertarians I’m totally comfortable with the government taking on certain obligations (e.g. education) and even have a positive opinion of most government agencies like the US Postal Service.

And, as irony would have it, the IRS.

It’s not that I particularly like them, but I recognize the jobs they do are necessary for any complex, functional nation-state.  And — having worked for a handful of state agencies myself — I know most of the positions are filled by individuals who are individually rational and competent, even if the bureaucratic mosaic they compose lends itself to some of the most profound idiocy imaginable.

So today really shouldn’t have been a surprise to me.  But oohhhh it was…

Let me first give you some background on me. I’ve mentioned in a couple posts already that I’m a former college dropout:  I started as a freshman at N.C. State University in August 1998 and by June 2000 was essentially thrown out because I couldn’t pay off my bill.2

So there I am at 19, a bundle of freshly minted fail, loading trucks from 3am-8am at UPS to make ends meet.  I eventually get a low-paying gig as a file clerk at a law firm, which leads to a slightly less low-paying gig as a paralegal, and so on.  Over the next few years I compile a pretty banging résumé and some crazy war stories, but realize I make a laughable salary, my life isn’t really going anywhere sans college degree, and I’m basically just treading water.

But I owe N.C. State $16K+ before they’ll let me re-enroll.

Determined not to waste my life doing nothing, I decide to take a gamble:  I intentionally underpay my income taxes for the FY2003 and FY2004 tax years, and offer up the money “saved” as a down payment to N.C. State  to convince them to let me pay off the balance in $550/mo increments from when I came back until I graduated.  I still filled out my tax returns fully and on time, and expected to pay the taxes owed along with the applicable penalties and interest once I had a degree and started making real money — even with those penalties and interest, a few thousand dollars is nothing insurmountable.

In one of those res ipsa loquitur moments of my life, the plan worked.  I came back to NC State in August 2005, had the full $16K I owed them paid off just over a year later,3 set up a payment plan with the IRS to repay the back taxes, and graduated this past June with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science before heading off to the North Carolina Central University School of Law.  Things seemed to be going pretty doggone well compared to only a few years prior when I was working 60+ hour weeks between 2 jobs for a paycheck that barely covered the bills.

Fast forward to last Monday when I missed my classes.  I not only owe the IRS $0.00, but have ample documentation that I owe them $0.00 because I’m a packrat and generally don’t throw away financial records (I’ve even got bank statements from my first savings account my grandmother opened for me in the early 1990s.  I’m that bad.).  I check my PO Box in Raleigh — the staff there being one of the main reasons I like the Postal Service :) — and see a notice that the IRS is going to levy my bank account for $611.51.  I drive in-person to the IRS office in Durham to get the situation handled… only to find the office inexplicably closed until 1pm when its posted hours are 8am-5pm Monday-Friday.

So after missing Civil Procedure and spending the afternoon killing time, I go back around 12:30pm where a line is starting to queue up.  The office opens with an impressive -1- employee working in a space roughly the size of a few law school classrooms stacked together.  I wait about 2 hours before getting seen.  Explain my situation.  Get a cordial response.  The IRS agent is understanding and gives me 2 copies of a Form 668-D indicating the levy is released, telling me to keep a copy for myself and give the other to my bank.  I then drive straight to my local branch, see a customer service rep there, hand them the levy release, and they mail it off to the bank’s legal order processing folks in New York.

This is all 2 Mondays ago.  August 31st.  So I log into my account today to find… a $611.51 tax levy debited, with an extra $100.00 “legal processing fee” thrown in for the hell of it.

I call the bank, who tells me to call the IRS.

I call the IRS, who tells me to call the bank.

I call a different person at the bank, who forwards me to a 3rd person’s voicemail because she has no clue wtf is going on.  I’m sufficiently pissed off at this point that my ears burn and my face looks like a tomato.

After Torts, I drive in-person to the bank branch and politely ask them to contact the legal processing folks in New York to figure out the situation.  The people in NY have no record of the levy release, even though they got other mail from that same branch office mailed that same day.  Why no record of the release?  Because the IRS sent them the levy notice Friday 09/04/09 — aka an entire workweek after my in-person meeting with them — so when the bank’s people would have received my little piece of mail some time around the Wednesday or Thursday prior, there was no levy in their system for the release to affect.

I’ll sidestep my annoyance at the bank — yeah they should probably have done a better job at data entry, but they’ve been good to me on a host of issues for years now (including a crazy identity theft incident that turned into a total cluster@#$%).  But the IRS… the glorious and amazing IRS… somehow sent an erroneous levy notice days after the branch office gave me a release and documented in their little national database that I owed $0.00.

I could understand a screw-up of this magnitude back in the era when everything was documented on ledger sheets and networked computers didn’t exist.  But if I can access an account by my Social Security Number on IRS.gov, there’s no reason for less-than-realtime updates from a branch office — and at the very least that same branch office providing a release form should tip off whatever office is issuing levies that… well… there’s no grounds for the levy.

So now I get to wait 48 hours or so for the bank to credit my account the $611.51 the government essentially stole from me, and will likely have to fill out an IRS Form 8546 to get reimbursed at some point for the bank’s $100.00 legal order processing fee caused by the government’s incompetence.  Not to mention the hours wasted on the phone and in person trying to get things fixed when I probably should have been studying CivPro.

And bear in mind I’m pretty damn lucky in this situation — my tuition refund covers my expenses for the entire semester, so I can afford to be short $700 for a couple months.  Imagine if I was regular taxpayer providing for a family and living paycheck-to-paycheck…

Anyhow, sorry for the rant.  I had some legit law-related stuff to blog about but really just needed to get that off my chest.  Back to normal posting tomorrow :)

Have a great night everybody! :D

  1. Political types refer to it as “seeking retribution” ;) []
  2. The whole situation was a *lot* more convoluted and wtf-able than that, but I need a few drinks to retell it with adequate exasperation :) []
  3. Thanks to my already impoverished grandparents moving heaven and Earth to make sure I graduated — I <3 you Nan and Pops!! []

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Reflections after Week 3

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 5, 2009 in Weekend Roundup

I was debating between one of these entries or answering questions from another set of emails.  The latter would require more effort… so I decided against it :D

  1. Law school is still not difficult per se.  It’s still, fundamentally, school.  There’s a ton of reading on a daily basis that might require more time than it typically takes you to read something like Where the Wild Things Are.  But as long as you can keep up with the reading and write notes to yourself to remember the key take-home points, you’ll be fine.  I think.

     

  2. Despite #1, I’m incredibly behind already.  I missed 3 separate classes this week, with one absence apiece in CivPro, Torts and Contracts. I’ll also likely end up missing classes on Thursday and Friday for my monthly meeting of the UNC Board of Governors.  My apartment is a mess, I need to do dishes, haven’t balanced my checkbook in weeks (bad idea), and still haven’t finished building the trio of shelves I bought back on Monday.  Key point:  don’t let yourself fall behind!  Once you start falling back, it sucks burning a 3-day weekend to catch up.

     

  3. I still like the experience though, and truly enjoy my classmates — though I’m not entirely sure they feel the same :)  It’s a good mix of people though and the diversity of opinions (and the fact they’re competent) is refreshing.

     

  4. And if I were smart I’d find a study group.

     

  5. Stepping away from law, I baked up some cornbread the other night for the first time in years.  I need to tweak my recipe so it’s a bit sweeter.

     

  6. MythBusters marathons on the Discovery Channel are a lifesaver when you’re stuck at the apartment by yourself and there are no Law & Order reruns anywhere on TV :)

     

  7. I’m also slowly improving at the whole “getting in shape” thing. Went on a quasi-jog with one of my classmates (who makes me feel like a total underachiever, both physically and academically) and have kept up with my push-ups and crunches.  Though I still contend it could be argued that ’round’ constitutes a shape.

 

That’s all I’ve got for this week :)  Have a great night everybody! :D

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Getting stuck on the dot

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 24, 2009 in The 1L Life

I got here early today to wait for Torts to start, and have inadvertently ended up in a workshop talking about the importance of study aids and study group composition.  So I figure it’s as good a time as any to pen some thoughts for the day ;)

All of us have (hopefully) heard the phrase “missing the forest for the trees.”  The cliché is (ab)used so often by so many people that once upon a time I started compiling a list of alternative phrases that had the same meaning.  I never did anything meaningful with that list, but the one I end up using myself came from a former Student Government official at N.C. State who always complained about Student Senators “getting stuck on the dot” — which in his case referred to the Finance and Government Operations Committees exercising their oversight powers in questioning his not-exactly-ethical financial practices, but is just as good a metaphor as any.

Getting "stuck on the dot"

Getting "stuck on the dot"

My initial impression is that 1Ls seem to get stuck on the dot pretty easily (myself included).  Maybe it’s the abject terror of ending up like That Guy, or maybe it’s just a more simple fear of being the awkward kid in class.  But when you remember not to get stuck on the dot, it’s fun watching everyone else respond :)

Today’s example:  Civil Procedure this morning (3rd class of the semester) where we’re discussing Mas v. Perry (489 F.2d 1396 (5th Cir. 1974)) and diversity jurisdiction of federal courts.  Mean Dean Green — who thus far doesn’t seem to be mean at all, although his sarcasm is just plain funny — pulls up Article III of the United States Constitution and puts it on the projector screen prior to the case discussion.

Midway through the discussion there is a reference to a different court’s opinion that (in a nutshell) noted a court has general jurisdiction over certain classes of issues unless Congress specifically removes its jurisdiction via statute.  He then asks the class “How do you know if a federal court has jurisdiction over an issue?  What are the 2 primary sources we use?”  The first person responds with “the statutes” (obvious + correct).  The professor asks what the 2nd source is… and… silence.  Frantic flipping through pages in books.  More silence.  More flipping.  Someone responds with “the United States Code”, which of course is the same thing as the statutes.  Someone else says case law (no), someone else says common law (no), someone else says state law (no).

Bear in mind the United States Constitution has been on the screen the entire time this Q&A is taking place.

In the back of the room, once one or two people get the answer to a question it’s usually whispered around to the rest of us or passed via notes.  So I whisper “Section 2 of Article III” to Karl(a) (another member of the Gang of Eight), most of the other folks in our vicinity realize it in short order, and we just sit back and watch at the perplexed look on the faces of people worried they’re going to get chewed out for not being prepared.

Once someone said the Constitution, you can hear this class-wide “oooohhhhhhh.”  I’m fairly sure we all knew it, we just got stuck on the dot and never said it.  So if you find yourself trying to answer a professor’s question and can’t figure it out, (1) breathe and (2) take a top-level view and make sure you’re not missing something painfully obvious… especially when it’s on the projector in front of you ;)

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Week 0 Retrospective Part III (or, “You can breathe now.”)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 18, 2009 in The 1L Life

First let me say these OFF! PowerPad lanterns are a big bundle of fail.  I bought one for the deck where I usually type these blog posts and I swear the mosquitos must be hungrier than a hobo with the munchies because I’ve been getting eaten alive.  Moved it so it’s now right next to me, which probably can’t be good since I’m basically breathing in the fumes… but I figure it can’t be worse than dying of West Nile Virus right? :)

Second note:  these server logs are just plain fun to look at.  I’m still 75% of the site’s traffic, but it looks like I’ve got about a dozen people who aren’t me willing to visit the site on occasion.  And seeing who gets here via a Google search is interesting, with 1 visit apiece from people querying “ncsu” (my alma mater), “tgd 1l blog” (TGD being my nom de guerre), “ave maria law” (noted in this entry), “duquesne university school of law” (ditto), and some poor soul who found me while searching for “mountain dew” (I pity them for ending up here but salute them for our shared caffeinated beverage of choice! :D ).  There are also quite a few folks getting referred from the Facebook Inbox page, meaning the URL is getting passed around in private messages… which kinda worries me since I know who at least a few of the folks sending it are :P

Speaking of Facebook, some of you have been harassing me for current details now that both Day 1 and Day 2 of “real class” are over, so this post will finish the look back on orientation so there can be something fresh here for tomorrow.  I’d skip the rest of orientation entirely, but a certain someone has demanded I explain the rocking chair comment so she can stop trying to figure it out.

—===—

After very firmly planting my size 12 white Adidas with Wolfpack red highlights in my mouth and then pretending like I never said a word, I think the Big Guy Upstairs took some pity on me because the rest of orientation wasn’t that bad at all.  There was a lengthy discussion on financial aid that included questions from a few folks that were the same as ones I had (“Do we count as first-year students as 1Ls with respect to the Dept of Education’s 30-day delay on loan disbursements?”), some questions that lacked a bit of common sense (“On this table there are disbursement dates each week, does that mean you pro-rate our refund and give us a portion of it each week throughout the semester?”), and some that were just plain funny (“You have our money on the 7th but refunds aren’t until the 28th.  Do you think we go home to our mamas or something?”).

And although my memory’s a little bit hazy, I think I knew the guy who asked that last question.  The lady from financial aid looked like she was about to jump over the podium and smack the taste out of his mouth.  I don’t live by many personal rules, but one of them is this:  there are 3 types of people in this world you simply do not try to piss off — people who clean up after you, people who cook your food, and people who control your money.  Had it been someone from the Bursar’s Office standing in front of him, I’d wonder if he’d get his refund on the 28th…

Dr. Psych spoke with us briefly about learning styles and gave us a quiz on the topic, prompting the purchase of that aforementioned rocking chair.  Turns out I’m heavily-tilted toward “tactile” learning (“learning by doing”) with a secondary preference for “visual” learning and no interest at all in “aural” learning.  In talking with Dr. Psych afterwards I found out that’s a likely reason for why I’m good at remembering faces but forgetting names, like being outside on rainy days, and tend to fidget when sitting still (my right leg bounces so bad it shakes the desk and makes it damn near impossible to type on the Mac mini). She suggested a possible solution to my lack-of-furniture-in-the-domicile problem would be to get a cheap rocking chair and put it out on the deck, giving me a chance to study in an environment that lets me enjoy the light movement of the trees out back while also employing that “nervous energy” in a non-distracting pursuit since the laptop screen would end up moving in tandem with the chair.

So far I think she was right.  This has probably been the highlight of my day, carnivorous mosquitoes notwithstanding :)

We also had a presentation by the Police Chief, who happened to be wearing the same NC State polo shirt I have.  One of his memorable comments:  “The odds of you getting a ticket during your 3 years at NCCU are 100%.”  To which I thought “I bought my permit way before school started, I’m good.”  (see the start of yesterday’s entry for the twist).

And then there was the smug joy of watching the IT staff scurry around the room for about 20 minutes trying to coax all the new Lenovo / MS Vista-based laptops the students get to borrow to recognize the wifi network… while my MacBook Pro had been connecting fine since before orientation ever started (yes, I’m one of those sanctimonious Apple-loving bastards you’ve heard about and quite proud of it ;)).

The second day was fun and had me almost convinced law school wouldn’t be that bad at all.  We had an introduction to civil procedure that basically outlined stuff I had picked up during my years as a paralegal and assistant clerk of court, an intro to briefing cases that I probably should have written down in my notes but didn’t when Professor Contracts said he’d post the slides online, and had our pictures taken for what I’m guessing will be a book of the incoming class.  I got my Student ID with a picture that looks like I just got caught doing something illegal.  There was the reception that prompted this exchange on starting law:/dev/null, and a night workshop on ethics and professionalism that prompted my other major realization of the day…

…I am impressively awkward.

If you did a union on a pair of tuples with [large venues, small venues] and [structured format, unstructured format], my natural home is in the [small venues, *] area.  With only comparatively few people to face, folks naturally interact at some point and I have the opportunity to utilize my limited but occasionally witty sense of humor to make friends and win arguments.  I can also handle the [large venues, structured format] as a secondary preference (e.g. speaking in front of a large group of people), a learned skill from spending the past couple years as a student politician at NC State.

But put me in a room with a couple hundred people and no real expectations on what to do or who to talk to, and I tend to gravitate to the edge and talk to people… on my BlackBerry.

The upshot is that I’ve got a few folks now who I can shadow and are far more people-oriented than I am (DMoff) or far better known (Delta the 2L — I’ll talk about this angel of mercy at greater length in a later entry).  So slowly but surely things are coming together :)

—===—

That’s all I’ve got on the orientation rundown — I ended up skipping the last 2 days due to obligations I had to a non-profit board I work with on higher education issues.  That’s a good thing though: imagine how many more entries I’d have to post if I had more… ;)

Off to brief cases for the rest of the night — Wednesday is my hell day in terms of scheduling, with 4 classes I’m thoroughly unprepared for back-to-back-to-back-to-back.  Good night everybody! :D

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