Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 4, 2012 in The 3L Life

You guys!

I talked to Antonin Scalia! :D   :D   :D

Well, “talked to” as in “asked a question that he answered” — but that’s close enough for this 3L :spin:

I was hoping to snap a better shot, but right as I took this they announced no pictures or recording devices were allowed... :|

Today was Day 2 for EIC and I at the ABA’s Midyear Meeting 2012. Neither of us found any other law students in the morning (again), so we hit two different CLEs1 and then headed to an afternoon Q&A session where Justice Scalia was the featured guest.

We got there über-early, so we got prime seats on the 3rd row along the center aisle. It’s the first time I’ve actually seen a Supreme Court Justice live in-person so I wanted a decent view :beatup:

Regardless of one’s opinion on his opinions, Scalia was/is hilarious and had the audience laughing on a fairly regular basis — even more impressive when you consider that these were law-oriented jokes and not your typical comedy fare. He had a number of anecdotes interwoven into his substantive commentary to keep things interesting.

After talking for not-quite-an-hour on the state of the courts, how the Supreme Court works, his past opinions and such, the floor was opened for audience questions. So I decided to raise my hand and got to be one of the five questions he answered.2 :D

It was a pretty snazzy experience :spin:

A Pat O'Brien's Hurricane: highly recommended for a reason

Once the Scalia talk wrapped it was dinner time, so we headed over to Pat O’Brien’s for food and drinks. Their Cajun Shephard’s Pie was great, incredibly delicious. We each also tried one of their Hurricanes (at the request of, literally, almost a dozen friends) and now understand why they were so highly recommended.3

After that we hit Cafe du Monde again for more beignets, explored the French Market area, did a smidge of souvenir shopping and headed back to the hotel.

I feel lame for being back in the room by 8pm on a Saturday night in New Orleans, but I’m doggone tired  :beatup:

Hope all of you have an amazing weekend! I’m getting up early again tomorrow so I can start packing up for the trip home. It’s been a great time in NOLA but I’m looking forward to being back in the Bull City :)

Have a good night!


From the law:/dev/null 2012 ABA Midyear Meeting-related archives:

  1. Hers on indigent defense, mine on computer security, privacy rights and the law. []
  2. Though it was a softball: I asked if he stood by his opinion that we have too many lawyers and if he ever envisioned it changing, just to see what he’d say to a room full of lawyers :angel: []
  3. And as an ego boost — witnessed by EIC — one of the waiters (not ours) saw me in my campaign t-shirt and goes “I LOVE that t-shirt man! That T. on it is hot!B-) []

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First Impressions: ABA Midyear Meeting 2012, Day 1

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 3, 2012 in The 3L Life

This is a lot different from the ABA’s annual shindig

First, neither EIC nor I have found a single law student here :surprised:  From the agenda it looks like the only thing the Law Student Division has going on is the National Negotiation Competition — so we stopped by to see who we could see, and didn’t see a soul. A huge disappointment in my opinion, and a highlight of why it’s difficult increasing participation in the ABA-LSD.

There are also fewer attorneys here overall, which means fewer CLEs and more meetings for the leadership of the ABA’s multitude of Divisions, Sections, Committees, and so on. It looks like that’s the purpose for why the midyear meetings were created in the first place; it’s just difficult for a law student to break the ice when you walk in a room and you’re not part of the “in” crowd on that committee.

We did swing through several events though. This morning we sat in on a CLE discussing the trends in cybercrime heading into 2012. It was an interesting discussion, though one where I felt my inner computer scientist and political libertarian creeping out. For example, the CLE began with a discussion of Anonymous and LulzSec… labeled as terrorist organizations :crack:  I have a hard time accepting the notion that hacktivists are of the same mold as Al Qaeda or Los Zetas. A few minutes later a panelist with the Secret Service commented on the Jones SCOTUS decision and how GPS “tracked your phone number” so a vendor could text you when you were in the vicinity of their store — except GPS only tracks the GPS receiver in your phone, and any text messages you got based on that data would be the result of you sharing your phone number with a vendor a priori, and not because of some innate danger to GPS itself.

View of the Mississippi River from the hotel's 41st floor (Panorama via AutoStitch iPhone app)

Afterwards we stopped by a roundtable discussion on election laws going into the 2012 election cycle, where we happened to cross paths (again) with former NC Supreme Court Justice Henry Frye. The roundtable itself featured an at-length discussion of Voter ID laws in Louisiana, similar to those that were vetoed in North Carolina, and how the law was implemented. With North Carolina shaping up to be an electoral battleground next year it was an interesting conversation.

Following the election panel we headed over to a CLE on qui tam lawsuits, easily among the Top 3 most lively debates I’ve ever seen at a CLE. I confess to knowing almost nothing about qui tam suits beyond what I learned in Employment Discrimination last semester, or how many of them (if any) there are here in North Carolina, but I spoke with the panelists for a bit afterwards and if this turns out to be something our alumni do I’m hoping to bring them down to NCCU Law for a panel discussion some time in the future.

CLEs aside, New Orleans is very cool :) We took some time to go explore, eat some po’boys and other Louisana staples, shop a bit, and otherwise wander around. And we ate some beignets from Cafe du Monde that tasted delicious.1 The whole area is an interesting blend of really really really old mixed with the modern and tourist-y stuff. It also reminds me of Disney’s The Princess & the Frog (courtesy of EIC’s voice impressions) and a smidge of Q.T., who has a very Tiana-like persona.

Once the exploring was done I came back here to the hotel to crash and do some work. Things resume early tomorrow morning and frankly I need my beauty sleep too :beatup:

If you haven’t been to New Orleans before, definitely add it to your life’s to-do list! From what I’ve seen so far it’s pretty amazing.

Until then, have a great night y’all! :D


From the law:/dev/null 2012 ABA Midyear Meeting-related archives:

  1. Yes, I’m sufficiently fat-minded that beignets get their own special line of commentary in that paragraph :P []

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At the risk of pulling a Rick Perry…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 15, 2011 in The 3L Life

…South Carolina’s barbecue was about what I expected: average and forgettable.

Sorry y’all, North Carolina ‘cue still reigns :*

Back in the Bull City from the ABA-LSD Fall meeting at CSoL. More to come tomorrow, good night y’all! :)


From the law:/dev/null 2011 ABA-LSD “Super Circuit” Meeting-related archives:

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TDot’s Treats #3: Nan’s Peanut Blossoms

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 26, 2010 in TDot's Treats

With the requisite “no offense intended” disclaimer to the ladies who happen to read law:/dev/null, my (limited) experience with female drivers suggests to me that they tend to look at traffic laws more like traffic suggestions.

Co-Counsel nearly gave me a heart attack back in January. Q.T. seems to have a new citation of some kind or another every time we talk. Even é›…é›…, the safest of the bunch, was once on the telephone with me while driving… a fact I didn’t know, until I hear “OH MY GOD I JUST RAN THROUGH A STOP SIGN!” on the other end :beatup:

So you can imagine my shock (shock!) when I was talking with the Pickle Princess early today and find out that she happened to get a speeding ticket1… on the very day she has an attorney in a different county taking care of another speeding ticket on her behalf.

You may commence head-shaking at any time ;)

Since she’ll be needing another attorney sooner than I’ll have my law license, I promised I’d put up my family recipe for a special brand of cookies in the hope she might be able to offer them as compensation. It also gave me an excuse to stop studying for tomorrow’s Property exam :angel:

Hope y’all enjoy :D


TDot’s Treats #3: Nan’s Peanut Blossoms
Difficulty: 4 of 5 (kinda tough)

One of my absolute favorite family traditions growing up was having the entire family gather at Nan’s each Christmas Eve for dinner and other festivities. Pretty much everyone in my family fights with everyone else all the time — imagine locking some Tea Party folks in a room with Obama-ites, the Goracle, and a handful of illegal immigrants — but the fact Nan would bake almost a dozen different types of cookies more than made up for it ;)

This recipe is my personal favorite, and continues to be my favorite cookie to this day.



  • 1 & 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of shortening
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 unbeaten egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • A small bowl of sugar on the side (for coating)
  • A bag of Hershey Kisses


Culinary Notes:
Any recipe that calls for more than 1 cup of flour calls for a mess. Make sure you’re comfortable with having to do some kitchen clean-up when it’s all over :)


Preheat your oven to 375º F.

Tonight's finished product. Had to eat 1 already...

In a glass or ceramic mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter and the shortening.  Gradually add in the sugar and the brown sugar, creaming all of that well.  Then add in the egg and the vanilla and beat/cream well.

By the time this first phase is done, you should have a light brown, not-quite-gooey-looking lump of not-quite-dough.

Next you’ll want to gradually blend in your remaining dry ingredients (the flour, baking soda and salt) and mix well.  By the time you get about 1 cup of the flour into it, the dough will probably be too thick to mix with egg beaters or a wooden spoon so I’d recommend just using your hands to mix in the rest.

After everything is very thoroughly mixed, it should be a uniform color throughout.  It should also be dry enough that the dough will crumble around the edges of the lump in the bowl, but still moist enough that if you mush it together in your hands and shape it into a ball it’ll hold its shape.

As you can probably guess, that’s what you’re going to do next :D

Take a chunk of the dough and roll it into a ball in your hands, so it’s roughly 1″ in diameter.  Take the ball and roll it around in the bowl of sugar on the side so there’s a light sugar coating all around it.  Then place on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies at 375º for 10 minutes.  While the cookies are baking, unwrap 1 Hershey Kiss for each cookie you’ve got on the sheet.

At the 10 minute mark, take your cookies out of the oven and firmly push a Kiss into the middle of each cookie. The cookie dough ball should crack around the edges.

Put your cookies back in the oven to cook another 2-5 minutes, or until golden brown.

Once they’re done, remove them from the oven and let cool on a cookie rack.  Clean up the mess in the kitchen and then reward yourself with one of your new sweet treats :D


Total Preparation Time: ~30 minutes
Total Cooking Time: ~30 minutes

Serving Size: ~24 cookies

Recommended Side Items: n/a


Have fun y’all :) And have a great night! :D

Past TDot’s Treats entries:

  1. In contrast to my somewhat more leisurely driving preferences ;) []

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Site stats and queries and graphs, oh my!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 1, 2010 in Site Stats

First, happy April Fool’s Day to everybody! :D

I personally only got fooled twice, which is two times too many but still better than years past :)

law:/dev/null Pageviews and Unique IPs over time

On a non-prank-related note, I’ll shamelessly confess that Huma was/is the inspiration for today’s post.  She’s been occasionally posting her top posts and blog results at TRPLS for quite some time — I wanted to post something similar months ago, but for the longest time I couldn’t figure out how to get my stat software to show more than 20 search results1 :beatup:

But before getting into the search queries I want to give a huge *THANK YOU* for all of you for stopping by law:/dev/null! March 2010 was our busiest month yet :D

Sure a good chunk of that was because of political drama, but 7 shorts months ago it was pretty much just the web bots and me. So I’m pretty excited for the visitors, no matter the reason ;)

Google/Topeka also continues to be our top referring site based on some queries that make sense… and others that make me wonder why people actually stopped here of all places.

Here’s a few search results from the past month:

  • ncsu student government elections: Will be April 6th this year. Go to the NCSU SG Board of Elections website for more info :)
  • is it legal to dismiss a student for midterm grades?: Can’t help you on this one, I think that’s a 3L class :(
  • i got a c on contracts midterm: Don’t feel bad, I got a C- :beatup:
  • unc association of student governments and jay shalin: You must be one of the folks looking for info on this piece here. Enjoy.
  • torts was my favorite class in law school: ::smh::
  • what tier is nccu law school: Tier 4… though producing lawyers who can out-litigate T1s :)
  • how does nccu school of law send decision letters: In the mail.
  • how long does it take for nccu school of law to send a decision: As long as it takes :P
  • has anyone been accepted into nccu school of law 2010: Yep.
  • should i go to nccu law school?: If you like a solid legal education at a cheap price, yes.
  • should i go to nccu or campbell law: NCCU. They’re both good schools, but why pay 4x as much? ;)
  • what is 16.67%: One-sixth. Half of one-third. Two one-twelfths added together.
  • homemade spaghetti sauce: Try Nan’s recipe here :)
  • slow cooker beef tips: In your case, I’d recommend QuietStorm’s beef tips recipe instead :)
  • how can computer scientist count beyond their fingers: The lawyer in me is going to interpret this as how a computer scientist can use their fingers to count past 10 — in which case they’d use binary, with each finger representing a bit. So you can count up to 1,023 using your fingers (starting at 0) ;)
  • bar chart of premarital sex: I have no clue what this is or how you ended up here as a result, but good luck finding it :P

There were about 50 more, but most of them were variations of those ones :beatup:

And finally, our Top 5 most-viewed posts for the month of March:

  1. On forgetting St. Patricks Day:2 This is what law school does to you… (03/17/10)
  2. On political hacks writing commentary: Crazy, or just lazy? You be the judge (or, “Erroneous trash masquerading as punditry”) (03/15/10)
  3. On my first ever closing argument: Alice in Wonderland (03/24/10)
  4. On Spring ’10 midterm grade expectations: A Temporary Reprieve (03/06/10)
  5. And on Fall ’09 final grades: Fall ‘09 Grades: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugh-ly (01/26/10)

That’s all the stats I’ve got for this post — gotta head to bed so I can be up bright and early for my make-or-break Physical Fitness Test for the USMC at 9am tomorrow :beatup:

Have a great night everybody! :D

  1. The Computer Science degree finally came in handy — I figured it out last week :D []
  2. Weird that this was #1, there’s nothing really in the post :crack: []

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TDot’s Treats #2: QuietStorm’s Beef Tips & Rice

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 7, 2010 in TDot's Treats

If necessity is the mother of invention, exam time is the father of cheap+simple meals that provide plenty of leftovers so you can spend less time cooking and more time studying ;)

Now that midterms are over and Spring Break lies ahead — complete with temperatures in the upper-60s! — here’s a not-so-quick but simple recipe for your own exam-induced munchies :D


TDot’s Treats #2: QuietStorm’s Beef Tips & Rice
Difficulty:  1 of 5 (very easy)

I borrowed this recipe from QuietStorm about 5-6 years ago but never actually got a slow cooker until last month. This was/is the first thing I’ve cooked in it, and makes for a hearty meal around midterms and a good 3 meals’ worth of leftovers.



  • 1 pound of beef tips / stewing meat
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, ~11 oz
  • 2 packs of dry onion soup mix, ~1 oz each
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • A smidge of cooking oil (for braising)
  • ~2ish more cups of water (for braising)


Culinary Notes:
This recipe is on the (very) salty side, so if you’ve got high blood pressure or related health ailments I’d recommend grabbing a low-sodium version of both the onion soup and the cream of mushroom soup.  You can also add more water to the mix without it diluting the taste much.

Also be careful when you’re braising the beef tips — I burned off a couple layers of my right ring finger the last time I made this :beatup:


Beef tips are a tough meat, so the first thing you’ll want to do is braise them up a bit to make sure you can chew them after they’ve been cooking for 8 hours ;)

Put a smidge of cooking grease in a sauce pan and heat to medium-high heat.  If you want to add any seasoning to your beef tips, now’s the time to do it.

Toss the beef tips in the pan (beware splattering grease!) to sear them; this’ll also lock in the flavor if you’ve added custom seasoning. After searing them for a few minutes add in enough water to cover the beef tips, put a lid on the pan, and let them stew for about 25ish minutes over medium heat. This braising process helps break down the collagen in the beef tips and makes them easier to chew once they’re done cooking.

When you’re done, drain the water/oil from the pan and pour the braised tips into your CrockPot or other slow cooker of choice.

Empty the mushroom soup on top of the beef tips. Empty both packets of onion soup mix on top of that. Then pour in the 1.5 cups of water over the mixture.

Put a lid on the everything and set your slow cooker to Low heat.

Let the whole mix cook for about 8 hours. You’ll want to stir it after about 4 hours, again at 6 hours, and again just before you eat it to make sure everything gets mixed up well.

Make some rice on the side, pour the beef tip mix on top, and you’re done! :)


Total Preparation Time: ~30 minutes
Total Cooking Time: ~8 hours

Serving Size: ~4 servings

Recommended Side Items: salad, cornbread


Hope y’all enjoy :) Have a great night folks! :D

Past TDot’s Treats entries:

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TDot’s Treats #1: Nan’s Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 3, 2010 in TDot's Treats

Bookshelf #2: The Hierarchy of my Life

At some point over the last few years cooking turned into a semi-hobby for me.1

One of my bookshelves actually has a section reserved for various cookbooks and recipes handed down from the family over the years (or bought on clearance, in the case of Beef for All Seasons :D ).

The fact I can effectively navigate my way around a kitchen is apparently hard for some folks to believe — especially the ones who know me :beatup: The real shocker is that I’m actually halfway decent at it too ;)

So after finding some über-appetizing recipes over the past couple months at  cursory circumlocution, Legal Alien’s Law School Blog and Teasingly Diverse, I figured I’d join the law student cooking craze and offer some recipes of my own :D  Hopefully y’all will like some of them as they get posted over the next few weeks/months :)


TDot’s Treats #1: Nan’s Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Difficulty:  2 (of 5)

The inaugural recipe for TDot’s Treats is actually one of my grandmother’s specialties and a favorite of mine growing up :)

Even though Pops’s family moved to the U.S. from Poland, he picked up some Italian habits growing up in the Bronx area of New York.  Spaghetti is one of his meals of choice, and over the not-quite-50 years he and Nan have been married she tweaked her spaghetti sauce recipe so it’s just right.

I’ve tasted a lot of spaghetti sauces in my life, and this recipe here is still my preference.2 :D



  • 2 cans of tomato sauce, ~15oz each
  • 1 can of tomato paste, ~12oz
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon of seasoned salt
  • 1 lb. cooked ground beef


Cautionary Note:
I learned the hard way that it’s easy to put in way too much onion or way too much seasoning salt when preparing this recipe, leaving you with a not-quite-right sauce that’s either super-sour or super-salty :beatup:

Remember you can always add in more later if you need it, so start light on the onion and the salt then gradually add in more to your liking.


Start by pouring the 2 cans of tomato sauce into a fairly large saucepan, and begin cooking over low to low-medium heat. Add in the can of tomato paste and mix in thoroughly.

Now add in your onion pieces and mix into the sauce.  Then add in your garlic.  Mix everything together and let the sauce continue to cook for about 5-10 minutes before adding in your seasonings.

Then add in the thyme, oregano and seasoning salt.  The sawdust smell at this point is normal ;) Stir in all of the seasonings and let the sauce cook for another 5-10 minutes.

Now add your cooked ground beef and mix in thoroughly to the sauce. Let the whole mix cook for — you guessed it — another 5-10 minutes.

After ~20-25 minutes of total cooking time, your sauce ingredients should be well-blended and ready for tasting.  Take a spoonful and try it, then add more onion (if there’s too much seasoning) or more seasoning (if there’s too much onion) to suit your tastes.

Boil some spaghetti noodles or other pasta on the side, throw it all together on a plate, and Voila! you have spaghetti for dinner :D


Total Preparation Time: ~10 minutes
Total Cooking Time: ~30 minutes

Serving Size: ~16 servings (depending on how saucy you like your spaghetti :))

Recommended Side Items: garlic toast, salad


So there you go! All in all it’s a pretty simple recipe, and inexpensive too ;)

If any of you try it, let me know what you think — I just finished cooking a batch tonight, and I finally got the onion:seasoning ratio right :D

Off to study CivPro before bed. G’night folks!!

  1. The hobby actually started as a purely Darwinian response:  I was once told by a girl that if I were judged on looks, muscles, intelligence, and personality on a scale from 1-10, I’d get 5s across the board — so to differentiate myself I learned to cook an absolutely amazing Sunday breakfast, then expanded from there :D []
  2. Nan would even make batches of this stuff, freeze it and send it to me here in North Carolina until I had a kitchen to make it on my own. I’m spoiled :beatup: []

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A culinary synopsis of the semester so far…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 3, 2009 in Weekend Roundup

Back in the early days of law:/dev/null/ I figured each weekend I’d post some reflections on the previous week.  It didn’t take too terribly long to realize my life just wasn’t interesting enough to do that consistently, which is why you haven’t seen one since the end of Week 3 ;)

With Week 8 about to start and most sensible 1Ls freaking out over mid-terms, I started putting together some reflections on the semester now that we’re basically at the half-way mark (8.33% of law school done, w00t!).  But then I noticed that my diet actually is a perfect metaphor for the semester as a whole.

Brief explanatory aside:  I’m a big breakfast person.  Love breakfast.  I can endure an awful lot of abuse and still be in a cheery mood as long as I have (i) a hot shower and (ii) a decent meal to start the day.  Miss either of those two, and I’m not a fun person to be around…

My approximate breakfast contents, starting with Orientation at Week 0:

  • Week 0:  Bacon, scrambled eggs, french toast or biscuits, cup of orange juice
  • Week 1:  Bacon, scrambled eggs, french toast or biscuits, cup of orange juice
  • Week 2:  Bacon, scrambled eggs, slice of regular toast, cup of orange juice
  • Week 3:  Waffles with syrup, cup of orange juice
  • Week 4:  Waffles with syrup, cup of coffee
  • Week 5:  Bowl of cereal, cup of coffee
  • Week 6+:  Waffles (no syrup), Diet Mountain Dew, eaten in the car on the way to class…

Not a fan of how this trend has been going, but we’ll see if things improve at all after midterms :)  Have a good night everybody :D

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TDot’s Tips #3: Learn to Cook

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 14, 2009 in TDot's Tips

At the end of last week I mailed just over half of my Fall financial aid refund to my grandparents, both of whom are retired. It was the responsible “good grandson” thing to do, and the warm fuzzies you get from doing something positive are more than worth the cost… but I still had a minor heart attack when an entire digit dropped off the length of my bank account balance and I had forgotten why :)

On the upside it forced me to resume paying closer attention to where I’m spending my $$.

We all know living on a tight budget is a reality of student life, especially in law school when you’re actually not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week (and if you even work that much you’ll likely FUBAR your 1L academic record).  That makes law school a perfect time to learn to cook ;)

In looking at my last few grocery receipts, I can eat pretty doggone well on $100 or less a month depending on what kind of coupons / specials / etc I can score.  That’s less than $3.50 a day for 3 meals, snacks, and an obligatory dessert before bed (a bad habit I acquired as a kid).

You also get a better variety than your typical student diet.  Eggs or bacon or sausage or french toast or waffles or cereal for breakfast (or something else of course).  Steak, spaghetti, pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, bbq chicken, pork chops, beef stew, etc etc etc for lunch or dinner.  Salad to be “healthy”, Goldfish or Doritos to be not-so-much.  Milk, orange juice, and multiple flavors of Kool-Aid to wash it down.  And a couple gallon tubs of ice cream :D

That’s just my own kitchen of course — the great thing about learning to cook is that it’s like learning to ride a bike:  it’s ridiculously easy, and once you’ve got it down it opens up a whole range of new possibilities (plus it’s cost efficient and you never really forget how to do it).

And if you’re a guy, you get the added bonus of having a skill that guys apparently aren’t supposed to have unless they star in their own show on the Food Network ;)

That’s my snippet of wisdom for the day — have to be ready for PT at 0630 so I’m heading to bed.  For another culinary money-saving tip, check out Jansen’s post today also.  Have a good night folks!

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