Monthly Archives: December 2007

Law School Is Half Over

The end of my Evidence final came at 11:28am today. I am now chronologically halfway done with law school. (I think I’m a bit ahead credits-wise.) So, time to review my life.

Making the decision to go to law school was one of the hardest choices of my life. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but when I look at the time-line of my application process, it spans years and takes a few pit stops.

I took two years off after graduating from the University of Michigan in 2004. During those years I worked for two start-ups. The first, Ruckus, was a blast and forever changed my expectations for what I want out of a job – both good and bad. I was able to be creative and had very few limitations, but the down side of that was semi-chaos that left me anxious and beat at the end of the day. The second was K12, a start-up that was further along. It was more “corporate,” but still had a newness to it.

It wasn’t a complete coincidence that both Ruckus and K12 were education related. Ruckus provided digital entertainment to college kids (a slogan I’ll never forget) and K12 is a virtual curriculum. The people that helped me into those companies felt strongly about the importance of education and expanding education.

I can’t say with certainty what 1.5 years of law school has given me. There have been plenty of highs and lows. I’ve been to China to study, something I never took the time to do in undergrad. The coursework is becoming more interesting and application of it comes with more ease.

What I still lack is the notion of how to bring together prior experience, my undergrad studies and what I’m learning in law school. And then, once it’s together is some loose metaphysical ball secured with mental twine and spare post-it notes, how to apply it.

I look forward to figuring that out. Meanwhile, I have a month-long break before I start in on Law School: Part Deux.

It’s Okay To Google Yourself

47% of people have Googled for information about their name, self, etc. (cite)

Few Internet users say they Google themselves regularly — about three-quarters of self-searchers say they have done so only once or twice.

What is the big deal about self-Googling? And why wouldn’t you self-Google in this day and age. Any number of vicious rumors could be flying around. In fact, you’ve probably started some of them yourself.

Self-Googling is made out to be something dirty to be done in a dark room in the wee hours of the morn while you glance over your shoulder to make sure no one has crept up behind you.

It’s ridiculous. Google and be Googled. Who cares?

Movies I Saw in 2007

My top seven movies of 2007:

1. 30 Days of Night
2. No Country for Old Men
3. Superbad
4. Juno
5. Grindhouse
6. The Darjeeling Limited
7. Stardust

Update: Let me explain my selections. I don’t really like horror movies. I was surprised by “30 Days of Night.” It scared me and thoroughly entertained me. As far as walking out of the theater having been entertained, that movie left me satisfied. I would not watch it again, however.

“No Country for Old Men” was very well done. I loved the use of silence throughout the movie. It made me feel ashamed to be digging through my Skittles at times. (Yeah, I was that guy.)

“Superbad” and “Juno,” both featuring Michael Cera among many other amazing actors, are two movies I would like to own. I could re-watch both of them today, next week, or in a year and know I would still like them.

“Grindhouse” and “The Darjeeling Limited” are stylistically significant movies that came out of 2007. Neither was broad enough to come close to being my favorite movie of the year, but each was well done and deserved the anticipation they received.

“Stardust” was interesting and fun, and thus, is on my list.

Chronological list of movies I watched in 2007:

1. Smokin’ Aces
2. Music and Lyrics
3. The Number 23
4. Reno 911!: Miami
5. Grindhouse
6. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters
7. Distrubia
8. Fracture
9. Waitress
10. Spider-Man 3
11. Knocked Up
12. Evan Almighty
13. Live Free or Die Hard
14. Ratatouille
15. License to Wed
16. Transformers
17. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
18. Stardust
19. Superbad
20. Halloween
21. Into the Wild
22. The Darjeeling Limited
23. Lars and the Real Girl
24. 30 Days of Night
25. Dan in Real Life
26. No Country for Old Men
27. The Mist
28. Juno

I also rented 57 movies on Netflix.

Dot.com Stock Investing Principles

I think about investing money in stocks frequently. I’m young and can afford to take more of a risk now than I ever will be able to in the future. With that said, I still think the guiding principle for all investing should be “buy for the long-run.” That is, buy stock that you think will increase over the long-run, not something that will spike in a month, offer a small return, and leave you pressured to sell.

After reading Fred Wilson’s post on A VC about why he just bought Amazon stock and recently purchased Google stock, too, I thought back to Warren Buffet’s age-old approach of buying stock in companies that supply a good that consumers consume regularly. E.g., Coca Cola, razor blades, etc.

One of Fred’s reasons for buying Amazon stock is that, despite their large PE ratio, Amazon is the first place his family shops for anything – even before going to a local store.

So, is there a principle to be extracted from this approach to buying dot.com stock? Should we be looking for the Dot.coms that are irresistible replacements for everyday errands? That seems to make a lot of sense.

Afterthought – With increased demand to have things delivered, won’t there be an increased demand on delivery companies like FedEx, DHS, UPS, and the USPS? I would imagine they’re thrilled that people are buying more online than local stores.

Primary Season Lurks – Do I Care?

I received the following email this morning from my friend Zack:

My apologies for the mass email. I am loath to send one, but this is important.

Please consider donating to Ron Paul, the presidential candidate I support, today Dec. 16th. There is an effort underway to raise $10M in a single day, breaking all records. When he is sworn in as the next president, Ron Paul will immediately bring our troops home from Iraq and all overseas bases. With the tremendous savings, Ron will lead the effort to abolish the federal income tax. He will cancel the Patriot Act, and restore Habeas Corpus and the rule of law.

Today I stood for 2 hours on a freeway overpass and showed a 4’x8’ Ron Paul sign to about 15,000 cars and trucks, in the snow and sleet. I have donated to Ron, and I believe in him. I voted for Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004, but this year I am voting for Ron – a man of principle and integrity. He is the only candidate I have ever donated to.

Regards,

Fives / Zack

I want to care about politics. It seems like the mature thing to do. However, I’ve always been turned off by the effort required to acquire a good understanding of the candidates. This results in me just deciding I like the Republican nominee because I favor smaller government. But, I’m not settling for that reasoning this year. The government is huge and not getting much smaller regardless of who is sitting in the Oval Office.

Ron Paul has been in news I read A LOT. I don’t think he’s as popular in a traditional nightly news sense, but if you look on Digg, Reddit, and YouTube you’ll find a lot of “Ron Paul 2008 – Hope For America” buzz.

I’m not sold yet, partially because I haven’t had time to do the research myself. I will, hopefully before the Michigan primary. But, from watching this video he seems to be one of the most respectable candidates running – by that I mean he’s well spoken, experienced, and doesn’t have mistresses scattered across NYC.

The first primaries are:

* Iowa on January 3rd
* Wyoming on January 5th (Republican only)
* New Hampshire on January 8th
* Michigan on January 15.

I’ll be in Michigan during the New Hampshire primary, unfortunately. It would be exciting to be around for that.

The Democratic primary schedule is available here.

The Republican primary schedule is available here.

Copyright Final Exam

I’m about to take my Copyright Final. It’s a three-hour essay examination. I’m stoked. OK, not really. But, for the first time in my law school experience, we’re allowed to write an in-class exam on our laptops.

It will be interesting to see how this goes. We can only use Microsoft Word and we can’t use any of the drop-down menus, spellcheck, etc. I think we can use bold, italics, and underline.

We had the option to choose to write in a bluebook. Several people chose this, but I’m not sure why. Either (1) they don’t have a laptop or (2) they’re weary of a new and different testing experience.

I say, “bring it on.”

Bring it on!

A Few Things About Me

A few things to note about this picture*:

(1) It was taken in my one-bedroom apartment in Rosselyn, VA. I paid way too much for the apartment.

(2) You can see golf clubs in the picture. I like to golf.

(3) The University of Michigan hat you can see, I no longer have.

(4) I’ve had that TV since my freshman year in college. I still use it.

(5) It was difficult to glue eyes on the wooden man. In fact, they fell off shortly thereafter. Sad, I know.

(6) The out-of-focus picture is of my hometown.
*Update 2009: Picture of wooden artist doll.

Where Have All The Bloggers Gone?

Mike Lewis wonders why his old blogging buddies have quit or opted for other less demanding sites like Facebook, MySpace, and, dare we say, tumblr. My comments in response to his post and why I think people are smart to move aware from “heavy corporate” blogs towards “social light” blogs:

I’ve started using Tumblr. The ability to reblog other’s posts and track who has reblogged my posts is a refreshing new approach to “commenting.”

No longer are we forced to scatter our thoughts across various unconnected websites. Comments, by default, put the commenter at the service of the author.

The downside to Tumblr seems to be its propensity towards encouraging cliques. It’s almost like public email.

MySpace and Facebook seem too diluted for anyone who actually wants to be heard.

Blogging seems old and linear. No amount of plugins can save it in the long run. It’s only a matter of time before more is expected from the medium.

Last Day Of Class

Today is my last day of class for this semester. I’m actually sitting in it right now. It’s Evidence and we’re talking about the admissibility of scientific evidence.

I can’t wait for exams to be over in a week and a half. Studying for them will be fine, but I’m burnt out on reading for classes. In law school you rarely feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you’re required to do – at least after you get into a rhythm. What you don’t realize is that you’re constantly studying or thinking about studying. The reading assignments are relentless.

I’ve been fortunate to not have writing assignments this semester. This is a polar opposite from how I felt about midterms and exams in undergrad (I majored in Economics). Back then I loved courses that required me to write papers instead of taking exams. I preferred to have time to think through the papers and felt that writing them gave me a deeper understanding of both the principles I was applying and the topic the paper was based on.

Legal writing is different. It’s a chore. It’s mechanical. It’s dull. However, it is clear. If I had to write an term paper for an Econ class today, it would be better organized and make clearer points (I hope). At least, those would be goals of mine.

All of my exams this semester are in-class and two or three hours long. Most are a mix of essay, short answer, and multiple choice. Professors do this because they want to provide a mock-Bar Exam experience.

I don’t care much about the format. Multiple choice are easily my least favorite because they are the easiest to mess-up. Professors can dupe you easily, which is annoying. The pro for MC is that it requires the test taker to know exactly what they are looking for. Precision is good, however difficult to obtain under test-taking conditions. An essay on the other hand allows a little more leeway for the writer and places the burden of precision on the professor, who must grade precisely and consistently.

Anyway, I can’t wait for the semester to be over. I’ll be halfway through law school. At times, it has seemed to pass slowly, but overall it has been a fast year-and-a-half.

Avoiding the Salvation Army

I avoided a Salvation Army donation bell-ringer for the first time tonight. I passed the old man in his knit hat on the way in. He wasn’t ringing the bell. He didn’t say hello. But neither of those facts are why I didn’t give. I just didn’t have any change on me and I didn’t want to deal with saying, “Sorry, I don’t have any change,” so I went out the far exit.

Ban Laptops in the Classroom?

We’re talking about whether laptops should be banned in class. We read this article.

A few of the problems laptops (and their users) cause are that they are a distraction to other students, students watch porn, and professors don’t have students full attention.

I’ve been reading news during this discussion.

Update: I’ll be taking my Copyright final on my laptop. That will be the first time I’ve ever taken an exam on a computer and not in a blue book