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Unstuck in time
Thursday, April 12, 2007
The first Kurt Vonnegut book I ever read was "Hocus Pocus." After a long day of working on my dad's boat, he left me to sit in his car while he went into the marina bar to have some drinks. I was somewhere around 9 or 10, I think. My dad had lots of junk in his car, because he was a traveling salesman and was always on the road. So I would pass the time reading cassette tape inserts, ads, cigarette packages -- anything other than the newspaper (except for the comics). Being especially bored this time, I picked up a book I saw in the back seat. It had a neat cover which intrigued my small mind. You see, I wasn't an especially avid reader at that age. In fact, I didn't read hardly anything at all. I was barely able to make it halfway through a Star Trek novel when I was 6, and that was the last novel I had tried to read. I dreaded school sessions where we would have to slog through the "Weekly Reader." So, you see, I had to be incredibly bored before I would resort to reading for any reason.

But as soon as I read page one of that book, I was hooked. I didn't understand half of what was said, but that was part of what captivated me. I read passages over and over, trying to figure out what they meant. My dad wouldn't let me keep the book, so I don't think I ever finished it. But he had a veritable library of Vonnegut titles, like Galapagos and Breakfast of Champions that I devoured over time. Between that young age and my 20th birthday, I think I read every Vonnegut book ever written. They transformed me from a kid who hated reading into a kid who wanted to be an English major and write books for a living.

I didn't know anything about politics and, like most American boys, I was thrilled by war and violence. But Vonnegut's books shaped me in a subtle way -- not with heavy handed diatribes but clever and witty tales that contained undeniable and fundamental truths that can't be expressed directly. Sort of like how you can only see a black hole because of the light around it. He was a master storyteller and, in my opinion, American fiction died with him today. But maybe some dopey kid who doesn't like reading will find an old Vonnegut novel in his dad's car and be inspired to resurrect it. In this way, Vonnegut will never die.
posted by sohei @ 10:37 AM | what? 0 | permalink 
And the results are in...
Friday, January 12, 2007
Not like anybody reads this blog anymore, but I thought I'd post my first semester law school grades for the sake of posterity:

Property: A+
Legal Writing and Research: A
Contracts: B+
Torts: A
Civil Procedure: A

I'm happy with it.
posted by sohei @ 9:15 AM | what? 2 | permalink 
Welcome home, democracy!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
We were starting to get a little worried about you!

posted by sohei @ 10:10 AM | what? 0 | permalink 
Friday, September 08, 2006
Last night, the Federalist Society on campus hosted a "debate" on the political foundations of the Constitution, featuring a vice-president of the Cato Institute who espoused the libertarian philosophy.

Now, I happen to dislike "Libertarians." Quite a bit actually. I find them to be selfish, lacking in compassion, and extremely short-sighted. Mr. VP didn't let me down. He went on for a good 30 minutes of wingnutty goodness, spouting off about how the founding fathers believed in liberty for all (except slaves, non-property owners, and women, of course) and extreme, unlimited property rights (unless of course the property belonged to Native Americans). Even the conservative view of the early years of America makes more sense. My property law professor, representing the liberal side, eviscerated this loon with the ease. I wish I had it on tape. It was truly awesome to behold.

Then came the time to ask questions, so you know I had to open my big mouth. You see, during the course of this debate, my professor brought up child labor. And this wingnut fruit loop actually had the nerve to say that the parents of these laborers, rather than the corporations that exploited them, were to blame for the situation. So my question noted that libertarians have a fundamental disconnect between what compels ordinary people, and that if we did things his way, the only people with freedom would be those with money (for instance, you wouldn't think unrestrained free markets were so great if you had to pay $1000 a gallon for water), and could he please comment on that.

Well, Mr. Ivory Tower got all defensive from the get-go. He didn't answer the question, and eventually called me a "parasite" because I got a Pell Grant to go to school. By doing so, he also insulted 99% of the other students at the law school who use federal aid/loans to pay tuition and living expenses. He then pulled out the favorite wingnut canard about how he was a self-made man and worked his way through college by driving a taxi (doubtless with Tom Friedman as one of his passengers), and I basically told him he was full of shit (in slightly more polite terms). It got pretty heated for a bit, especially after some wingnut asshole student* kept interrupting. I admit that I lost my temper after being called a "parasite." But he wasn't any better. Still, I'm kicking myself a little because if I hadn't been so nervous and didn't let him get my goat, I could've buried him.

Seriously, though. What a fucking douche.

So what I learned last night is that libertarianism is pro-child labor, pro-Wal Mart, anti-abortion, pro-sodomy, anti-New Deal, pro-unrestrained corporate power, anti-welfare, and anti-student aid. Sounds like a winning platform to me! Why can't these guys win any elections?

* This guy has got to be the most annoying asshole on the planet. Right in the middle of my professor's rebuttal, his cell phone goes off. Instead of quickly and quietly turning it off, he stands up and yells, "Fuck!" right in the middle of the debate. What is wrong with these people?
posted by sohei @ 7:48 AM | what? 0 | permalink 
Scenes from a bathroom wall
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Rwanda 860,000 dead Clinton droped [sic] the ball

That may be, but at least he can spell.
posted by sohei @ 2:33 PM | what? 0 | permalink 
I finally got to put up my first political yard sign last week. It was a Rod Smith sign, and Jim Davis ended up winning the primary last night. So now I have to take it down already. I haven't been able to get a Davis sign yet - hopefully soon.

Oh well, congrats to future Gov. Davis and all the other Dem candidates who won last night. Time to get down to business and toss out as many GOP goons as possible in November!
posted by sohei @ 10:23 AM | what? 0 | permalink 
A good sign
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
We got our exams back yesterday, and I scored a "1"! So I'm very happy about that and intend to take it as a good sign of things to come, especially given the excellent quality of the other students I was competing against.

Today was the first day of the mandatory orientation that all 1L's have to attend. It was fairly dull, because I had heard it all before. But the highlight of the day was definitely listening to Prof. Gey expound upon Roe v. Wade. Roe was actually a lot of fun to read. Contrary to wingnut doctrine, I don't think it was poorly decided at all (but I would say that Rehnquist's dissent was awful). Roe cited numerous precedents that gave support to a right of privacy found in numerous amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Also, to some surprise, I realized that the case did not define abortion as an absolute right for women. In fact, the court claimed that when the state has a "compelling interest" to regulate abortion (either to protect women from unsafe abortion practices or to preserve the a potential human life in the form of a "viable" fetus) it may do so. Great stuff, and Gey's lecture was amazing and showed just how much settled law would have to be overturned should Roe be overturned on the basis that there is no right to privacy in the Consitution. I even got to speak to Prof. Gey after the lecture. I probably sounded like a drooling fan boy backstage at a Kiss concert, but he really is the superstar attorney at the school.

Gotta go eat cake, so take care.
posted by sohei @ 8:59 PM | what? 1 | permalink 
Hell Week
Monday, August 21, 2006
Our little baptism of fire at the law school ends tomorrow. We took a mock exam for the Dean's property class this morning. I was able to write a lot, but I wasn't find an argument that would let me cite Goddard v. Winchell, which seemed to be the Dean's favorite case. We get our grades back tomorrow, and I'm as nervous as if it were a real test. Here's the kicker, we don't get a letter grade. We get a 1, 2, or 3 indicating whether we scored in the top, middle, or bottom third of the class. I didn't employ the IRAC formula, and I think that will count against me. I hoping for a 2.

We got back a few hours ago from the Dean's reception at his house. Many of the professors strike me as being quite young. It's a little to go back to school when most of your professors are only a few years older than you are. I'm accustomed to my old school days when every professor was 20+ years older than me. A difference in perception, I guess. Your professors don't seem as infallable and awesome when they are closer to your own age.

I just finished my memo assignment. Tomorrow should be an easy day, followed by two more days of mandatory orientation that all 1L's have to attend.

I really wish I could focus on law school and dive into it, but having these two fucking houses is worrying me sick. The sooner we can sell el money pit in St. Pete, the better. It's giving me an ulcer.
posted by sohei @ 10:43 PM | what? 0 | permalink 
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Well, I've had my first taste of law school. I think this is going to be a pretty interesting experience. All the second-hand stories about how hard it is and how much work there is don't really sink in until you experience it first hand. This week I'm taking two "sample" classes - one in Property and one in Legal Writing. I'm not at all worried about the writing class, but the Property one has me freaked out. And it's not even a real class! The exam is on Monday and I feel as stressed as I would if this were a real final.

Other than school, things are going well. Still haven't sold the Pinellas Park house. But the Tally house is great (though I still need to make an effort to meet the neighbors). We've had barbeques and Brumby loves his yard. I had to spray it for bugs though, because it is in need of some serious greenthumbery.
posted by sohei @ 4:36 PM | what? 0 | permalink 
Busy, busy, busy
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
I've never been this damn busy in my entire life. Friday - work, pick-up Uhaul, start moving. Sat - Finish moving, drive to Tally, unload. Sun. - Finish unloading, drive back to Tally to pick up second car, clean old place, sleep on floor with towel for blanket. Mon - Drive back to Tally, spend too much at Wal-Mart, drive around in vain looking for cafe with wireless open after 6:00, BBQ! Tues - Deal with nonsense.

So, that's the iterinerary. I'm this busy and law school hasn't even started yet. So, not much to report. We don't have internet at the old homestead, so I'm in Panera and they're probably going to kick me out soon. So, what's going on out there? I've had no contact with news of any kind.
posted by sohei @ 12:46 PM | what? 0 | permalink