Law School Our Experiences

Nervous Habits Decline

This morning while I was washing my hair in the shower with the last few drops of the concentrated camp soap I carried into the Grand Canyon, I was thinking real’ hard about how I am less stressed in law school than I was leading up to law school. My little slice of the working life grew stale as the seasons of 2005 faded into 2006. I was quite literally in a waiting game for the better part of a year and a half, and that made me a nervous wreck.

Being somewhat high strung doesn’t help. Tending to bottle up my anxiety amplifies everything. Not being or doing what I wanted (because life is about what I want) drove me into a little dark hole maintained by the sayings, “it pays the bills,” and “are you having fun at work.”

That skin has sloughed off now and left me pink and fresh in the New Hampshire wilderness. I like the macro of school. The idea of learning. The osmosis that is inevitably taking place in my mind and body that, with a dash or a pinch of hard work, will run my mind for the rest of my life.

Already, I’m starting to question everything. Feel nothing for the scared, maimed, and injured plaintiff bringing suit against Big Rich Corp. The reading sucks in most cases (no pun intended), but once in a while I get a good set of facts and a good issue and I almost want to brief the case. I almost want to raise my hand in class and volunteer information.

But, let’s not get carried away with our sentimentality. After all it is school and we’re all here because we want to make money someday.

Our Experiences


My goal in life is to become a writer. An author. A poet, even. It doesn’t matter as long as what I do involves writing and telling stories. Not sure how to get there, or what to do on the way, but I’ll figure it out one way or another. I think I need to read more. I need some stories to tell. I need some characters to fill my head and to take over my conscious until all I can do – all I want to do – is sit in the dark alone, or maybe near other people, and share stories. Other stories. Stories about people I know and don’t know. About people I make up. If I mix them all together what does it matter who’s real and who’s fiction?

I just want to write. That’s it.


Things I love (hate)

Here’s a short list of things I that have gotten on my nerve lately:

  1. Cell phone headsets.
  2. People who sign off right after I send them an IM.
  3. Bill O’Reilly when he calls blackberries blueberries and thinks he’s being funny or entertaining.
  4. Haters.
Our Experiences

Traverse City Film Festival 2006

Day 1

The Traverse City Film Festival started today when Michael Moore and Michigan’s Governor Granholm presented Jeff Daniels with the Michigan Filmmaker award. This is the second year of the film festival and it is already considered the second largest in the US behind Sundance in Park City, Utah.

I posted a video of the intro ceremony on Yugfilm, so check it out. The quality is a bit lacking because I used my cell phone, but the audio is decent.

I’ll be attending eleven movies over the next five days and will post film fest updates throughout the week.

It’s great to be back in Traverse City!

Panel 1

The panelists were Terry George (Hotel Rwanda writer / director),Jeff Daniels (actor), Malcolm McDowell (actor), Ari Emmanuel (agent), and Michael Moore (director, TCFF founder).

The panel seemed to focus on a couple points:

How marketing and distribution are ruining movies today.

They specifically noted that marketing is driving up the cost of filmmaking, so even if you do a low budget film like The Squid and the Whale, it costs millions to get the word out. I think they were making the point that a lot of good films are forgotten about or overlooked because marketing for big shitty films like MI:III or Miami Vice drowns them out.

The dearth of art house theaters and independent filmmaking in Michigan and across the country.

Michael Moore noted that the only viable art house theater district in Michigan is in Ann Arbor, MI and said that this is a problem throughout the US. It takes a unique community to support the idealistic movies and to appreciate the fine art of filmmaking. Traverse City has not completely bought into the film fest. Places like Sundance and the TIFF have been around since the 1970s and have moved away from their idealistic roots to marketing stops for Oscar contenders and corporate sponsors.

Getting back to the art house theaters, they are unique and so are their audiences. And only so often do their locations align. Movies offer an escape from our daily lives, and while the best stories may be the independent films shown in art house theaters, those stories more often highlight society’s troubles instead of offering an escape.

I have audio that I will post in the future if it is of decent quality. Listening to the panel is very stimulating. Kinda made me want to start writing, filming, and creating. I’ll post more as my thoughts come back to me.

Day 2

Cache – I saw this film at the Old Town Playhouse. It has no beginning and no end, but a compelling middle that will keep you thinking beyond the credits. The movie hinted at much more than it revealed, which seems fitting considering its title, when translated from French to English, is “hidden.”

Joyeux Noel is an amazing film that carries a message that is as relevant to our daily lives as it was to its characters’ lives. The imagery is beautiful and despite the difficult subject matter of war, there are beautiful and humorous moments throughout. This film leaves you with something more than a good talking piece. It prompts you to examine your own views of war and similarities of the humans that fight them.

I only wonder if you reset Joyeux Noel in Iraq or Afghanistan, would it be possible to bring the various sides together for caroling and mass. What is the commonality between today’s warriors?

Day 3

Wordplay – Humorous documentary about the annual crossword puzzle championship and its founder, Will Shortz. They highlight the top competitors of recent years and lead up to the 2005 championship event. Highlights are John Stewart, Bill Clinton, and the woman sitting next to me who actually seemed to know who the crossword puzzle makers were as she commented on their styles and puzzle tendencies. Odd Interesting.

Winter Passing – This movie is my new Garden State. It’s not quite as sharp, but it has that low key artsy feel that often accompanies these “types” of movies – disenchanted youth looking for answers while doing their best to avoid any behavior that may be even slightly associated with the middle of the road. The character development is rushed and the father, played by Ed Harris, comes off as a younger man playing an older man. But Zooey Deschanel’s eyes and Will Ferrell’s humorous character make the movie. Definitely worth renting and watching.

Day 4

I only saw one movie today, but it was the best I’ve seen so far.Little Miss Sunshine is about a young girl’s quest to compete as a beauty queen. The story follows her family, a bunch of misfits no more bizarre than those we live with, on their road trip to southern California for the competition.

This film won Sundance. This film is funny. This film is worth $9.50.

Go see it.

Day 5

Borat – Hilarious. It hasn’t even been premiered at a film festival yet – officially that is. The TC Film Fest screenings are like top secret undercover viewings to test the audience’s reaction to the middle part of the movie that has … well, it involves naked men and mortgages … that’s all I will say. The audience was all ages and everyone was laughing. Even if they were revolted, they laughed. They laughed hard.

Larry Charles introduced the movie. He’s one of the masterminds behind Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, and many other smashingly funny shows. He wasn’t allowed to take questions afterwards because he had to wait until the TIFF, but I’m seeing him in a panel tomorrow morning.

The first movie I saw was I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, written by and starring Jeff Garlin (of Curb Your Enthusiasm, among other things). This movie was described as an “adult” comedy. They meant mature by adult, not riske (accent on the e). It was moderately funny, but nothing like Little Miss Sunshine or Borat.

Day 6

Another great day of indie movie entertainment. I attended the panel this morning that centered on comedy in film and television, though really it was Jeff Garlin being very funny most of the time. This was OK because whenever Jeff stopped talking, Malcolm McDowell would start talking about his experience with sodomy and anal fisting in films.

Note to self – never sit in the same room as my parents when someone is making jokes about anal fisting. In fact, never sit in the same room with anyone whenever anal fisting is mentioned.

But honestly, the panel was Jeff Garlin, Malcolm McDowell, Larry Charles, Sabina Guzzanti, and Jake Kasdan. Michael Moore hosted. I took video with my camera phone until this very kind lady said that I had to stop immediately, instructions which I complied with for nearly 30 seconds before filming again. These will all be cycled through Yugfilm in the next few days. I’ll try to get a gallery up with all of the clips together.

I saw two movies today: Toll Free, which I walked out of after thirty minutes, and The TV Set, which was clever and humorous. Jake Kasdan wrote and directed The TV Set, which was based on his experience pitching and directing pilots. He worked on Freaks and Geeks for its entire run. This guy is interesting… (oh, and hisfather has an impressive resume as well).

Air Guitar Nation played at one of the other venues and after the movie was a local air guitar contest, which was kicked off by the reigning world air guitar champion, David “C-Diddy” Jung.


Cell Phones vs. Online Media

Cell phones and online media are two markets just waiting to be exploited. No one seems to be doing either exactly right at the moment, but I’m sure that within the next five years we’ll notice significant shifts in both technologies.

Cell phones, at least that’s what we call them today, will continue merge with mp3 players, PDAs, and ultimately laptops to become mighty fine do-it-all machines of wonder. Coverage will expand as WiFi and phone networks blend together to provide a continuous web of access. Much of the advancement hinges on the speed of the networks and the innovation of available products. We’re going to have to do better than simply miniaturizing websites for cell phones.

Online media in a more traditional harnessed sense. YouTube does a good job of organizing millions of videos, but there is no attempt to do much with even their best content beyond letting users watch it. I would like to see programming developed around the top contributors, whether that means bringing them in house to produce shows or paying them for what they do. It’s like there is an open audition being held on the internet and lots of people are patting each other on the back, but no one wants to take it a step further. Come on YouTube, MySpace, whoever else – you could be the next NBC, CBS, ABC – except in a way that isn’t lame.

Chris' Writing

Writing Notes

Tell me a story about perspective…

Lost Boy

He had set out on his own for a year, as a self imposed right of passage.

He’s sitting at a cafe with a stranger girl talking about his take on the world.

He’s feeling relatively lost and uninspired.

She’s smiling at him telling him he’s lucky to know that feeling. But, that he’s probably headed in the wrong direction. We get the sense that the girl has been there before.

“That’s sweet, you’re a lost boy,” she said.


“You’re not the first I’ve talked to. The first guy looking to find inspiration by driving west.”

Law School Our Experiences

Law School Buzz

The buzz has started and I’m getting excited about starting law school. Meeting new people and settling into an unfamiliar location always provide unique moments. I’m also a bit apprehensive about picking up textbooks (casebooks?) and writing essays (briefs?) again after two years of “mental relaxation.” It’s easy for a curious mind to enjoy learning new facts and methods, but it’s very different to enjoy the routine practice of them. I will remain of the mindset that studying will be a rewarding pursuit until I am proven otherwise.

The timing is ideal because as I near the end of my two year hiatus, I feel less invested in what I’m doing than ever. It is a frustrating place to be – a transitional place that leaves too much time for unstructured thinking. There is a constant sense that I should be doing or producing more. I am looking forward to some fresh challenges and new adventures to enrich my thoughts and creativity.

As I wrap up my life in Virginia, I will not forget all that I have experienced and learned while here. My mind has been opened to the possibility of imagination and an entrepreneurial seed has been planted. I hope one day to bring my interests in technology, writing, and people together. I need to learn more and find more humor in daily life before I can lead a project, but when the time comes I will not be afraid of trying to succeed.