flail doyou ?

Friday, January 30, 2004

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Wow. The Brian Leiter Project has actually made some inroads.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


Update: Huh. Very different coverage here, and oddly enough the article that includes the most details is here. For quick reference, here are all the different descriptions of Al Franken's fighting technique:
  • NY Post
    • "I got down low and took his legs out," said Franken afterwards.
    • Al Franken yesterday body-slammed a demonstrator to the ground...
    • Franken emerged from the crowd and charged one male protester, grabbing him with a bear hug from behind and slamming him onto the floor.
  • CNN
    • Franken... helped carry out one of the disrupters. In the process, Franken's glasses were knocked off his face and broke in two.
    • Franken picked up the unidentified LaRouche supporter and body slammed him to the ground.
    • "All of a sudden, Al Franken jumped out of the media gallery, ran down and grabbed this guy on the leg and started wrestling him to the ground," Russert recalled.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Monday, January 26, 2004

I'm not sure how my brain dumps people into categories when I interact face-to-face with them, or over the phone, but it seems to go pretty well. Generally, I can remember who I was talking to when something was said. Sometimes there are weird crossovers; I think it was one person, but it was actually someone else who reminds me of them in some way.

On LiveJournal, it's a bit weirder. I go by the icons, somewhat, because some people keep theirs fairly constant. Other than that, well, I guess I look at the name, and probably consider the writing style. It /does/ take thought, so I put the thought in, and detect who's writing a thing. It doesn't give me a really good hook for my memory. Sometime in the past, someone on my friends list mentioned that they were looking for a news article. I think. Hell, it may have been someone on another blog. What I do know is that whoever it was was male. So, apparently, when I read things, one of the big signals that's firing in my brain is "What gender is the author?" Not sure what to make of that. I know for certain that, while I have occasionaly misremembered which friend wrote an entry, I've never misremembered the nominal gender of the author.

The funny thing, though, is that on Sunday morning, I was talking to someone in a MMORPG, and I confused them with someone else based entirely on the length of the name. The names were nothing alike - "Oedipus" and "Faelora," but I never actually read the name. I spent the whole (confused) conversation thinking I was talking to someone else. It finally clicked when I asked them something about their character, and they gave me an answer I knew not to be true for the person I thought I was talking to. I've noticed this before on MU*s and older bulletin boards - systems where the chat is totally text-based. No matter how dissimilar the names, if they're the same length, I'm liable to get them confused.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

So, new car, same as the old car. Different color, in a bit worse shape, with more miles, but I got a better deal. Yay.

Anyway, in the old car, there were 5 CDs. 4 of them, I had already ripped off to MP3; the fifth I had only recently bought so it was not yet ripped. Oh well. The problem is, one of the CDs I had already ripped was Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits. The problem with that is that it's my reference CD when I listen to audio equipment. I'm certain it's not a great choice (What do other people use? Do other people even DO this?), but I know exactly what "Money For Nothing" is supposed to sound like. It probably says something nasty about my musical taste that I care whether or not overproduced electric guitar and drums sound good, but there you go. At any rate, even though I rip my MP3s at 168kbps+, it still doesn't seem right to be using a ripped copy to check quality. So I had to go buy another copy of that one, as well.

Which brings me to Best Buy, and my question. Am I the ONLY person in the world who never again wants to hear sound coming out of speakers which are built into my TV? Surely it shouldn't be THAT hard to make a TV without speakers? I always assumed that there was some reason they needed the extra space at the bottom, so hey, may as well put shitty speakers down there, but now they're putting the speakers on the SIDES. What on earth? Is this one of those things where there's, you know, the secret manufacturer that doesn't sell in stores that service proles like me, and you have to know somebody who knows somebody before you get one? I mean, the TV I have right now is ok, and I have no plans to replace it, but it's old, and it may die, and when it does, well, I'll already have this rant out of the way.

Oh, and one last thing - iceberg lettuce sucks, especially when it goes sour and they still put it in your burrito. Freebirds, I'm looking at you, here.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Monday, January 12, 2004

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Thursday, January 08, 2004

57.142857142857146% of me is a huge nerd! How about you?

In other news, I did not fail property. I feel bad about all the fretting I did, but I really don't think I earned the grade I got. Oh well.

Of course, the fretful part of me is now concerned that I failed one of the other two classes that I still don't have grades for.

Now, it's time to go try to fix a computer. Psy.

Monday, January 05, 2004

In undergrad, I only had one course where more than 50% of my grade was determined by a single exam at the end of the class. I really liked that. I thought I would do well with it in law school, where the entirety of the grade is often determined by the final exam. For every other course I took in undergrad, at the end of the class I knew a minimum grade below which I could not fall. There were a few times, sure, where that grade was "F," but the point is that I knew precisely how badly I could possibly do, and within reason how well. There were one or two times where a very generous curve surprised me, and I got an A where I expected a B, but for the most part I knew before I took the final how well I was going to do, and that anticipation was almost always accurate. Finals were still stressful, but stressful because I had to meet that anticipation.

Once I got into law school, I found that I was comfortable with the "1 exam" system all through the semester. For some people, it's a problem. When the incentive of the regular quiz or exam is removed, it allows them to procrastinate. For me, the fact that I was going to have more material to absorb in the coming week was always enough to make me do everything I could with this week's material right now.

I was doing pretty good with the whole concept through the first two exams, even though I felt very drained at the end of each of them, and suspected I had done worse than I wanted to. There was still that same safety net: "Well, I know what the professor was looking for, and I know what I gave him. I think what I turned in deserved a C+, and if it doesn't get a C+, I should probably just stick with being a computer programmer, because I obviously don't know squat about taking a law school exam."

Then I took the Property exam. I felt bad about that exam after the second day I spent earnestly studying for it. The more I studied, the worse I felt. One of my classmates described it perfectly - it wasn't an exam, it was an ass-whipping in progress. It was actually worse than I anticipated - so many of the multiple choice questions were just ambiguous enough to leave me vacillating between two possible answers, and then I hit the exam, which was basically, "Part 1: Interpret this statute with regard to this fact pattern; Part 2: For the same fact pattern, if the statute did not apply, how would the common law apply under these four movements that you can't remember anything at all about except that one of them is called 'Critical Legal Analysis'?" I didn't feel very good about my answer to Part 2, somehow.

Suddenly, I realized that only having one (subjectively) graded assignment per course is really, really horrifying when you do a fairly bad job on it. Really bad is fine - you just wait for the F. Mediocre is fine, too - you're not worried about the F. But when the F is a possibility, but not a certainty, it's maddening.

The next realization, though, is what really killed me. Deriving your grade in the course from one single grade is bad enough, but then you have to wait a whole month to find out what that grade was. Worse, you don't actually get notified when the grade appears. I was told that you can go down to the school and see it, or you can grab it off the website. So I found the most likely looking section of the website, titled "Personal Transcript," and waited for grades to appear. For a month.

At first, my rule was that I would only check once a day. That lasted two weeks. Then it was twice a day, then three times. I knew that there was no real possibility that the grades would appear until January, but I still checked twice on Christmas Day. Yeah. I checked 5 times or more, today. Then I got an email explaining that the grades posted at the school were alphabetic, but the grades on the website were numeric. I decided to check the website one last time. One of my grades had been posted. Of the four classes I took, it ranks 3rd in terms of my degree of worry about the grade - it's only a 2-hour course, and I felt alright about the final. I did better than I expected. It's kind of cute - there's a column for "grade", and it shows the number in black text. Next to it, there's a column for "status", and it says, "pass."

And now I'm totally freaking out. In the 30 minutes since I found out my grade in that course, I've refreshed the website 10 times. Every time, I get a pit in my stomach, worrying that a big fat FAIL is going to appear. I'm going to be 100% miserable until the grade for Property comes in. Before any grades had come in, it was just sort of abstract - yeah, I'm concerned about the grade, but it's probably not going to show up for a month. Now, it's imminent, and it's terrifying, and I don't know when it's going to arrive. I assume that no grade is going to magically appear outside of business hours, but that's probably not going to stop me from checking when midnight rolls around.

I would say that I'd much prefer it if the grades got emailed out, but then I'd be spazzing out every time I heard the "new mail" sound on my phone, and by this point I'd have been flipping out that maybe they didn't have the right email address, or maybe I put down the wrong exam number on my exam. I don't deal very well at all with waiting for grades, it turns out.

The other odd consequence of waiting so long for grades is that it feels absolutely unreal that school is going to start again in one week. However the grades turn out, there's going to be a lot of drinking once they're all in, and one week doesn't seem like nearly enough time to recover.
As if I didn't feel ill enough, this morning:
President George W. Bush has been named Texan of the Year by the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board. You may be thinking: yep, saw that coming. But in the end, President Bush was not just the obvious choice for an editorial board looking for the newsworthy Texan who in 2003 most stared down adversity and exercised leadership, vision, independence and a gift for trailblazing. Given the dramatic events of this past year, he was the only choice.

Maybe it's just because I'm a damned liberal yankee, but it seems to me that every "dramatic event" of the past year (at least, the ones they're referring to) was a calamity manufactured by Bush. Shouldn't that enter into it, even if you feel that the end result of the calamities was for the best?
...[W]e found that the most plausible candidates for the distinction ? the Texas-based soldiers who helped liberate Iraq, for example ? would not have accomplished the deeds that recommended them to our consideration without Mr. Bush. Like it or not, Mr. Bush is dramatically reshaping the world, the nation and ? via tacit support of redistricting ? Texas.

Well, fuck. Too bad Saddam isn't Texan, or he would have beat Bush handily.
As National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told us on a visit last year to Dallas, this moment in history is the most decisive for the future of the planet than any since 1945...

WTF? The only way I can think of for that statement to be true is if "this moment" actually does mark the beginning of a resurgence of U.S. empire-building and the beginning of the end of the Bill of Rights. Seriously. Even if you believe Bush's apparent claim that overthrowing a sovereign nation is the best way to prevent terrorist attacks on American soil, why is our particular struggle against international terrorists that important? Just because we're the only ones who have to fly across a really big ocean to do it? Because we have really big targets? I guess the justification is that we're the only country under attack by terrorists who have access to so-called weapons of mass destruction.
Thus the Bush Doctrine: the principle that the United States reserves the right to strike any nation that threatens it, imminently or not, without permission and without apology.

Yeah. Texan of the year, indeed.
copyright 2003

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