Friday, April 28, 2006

Piles of Mongo: Calling all Freevans

Kingston is in transition. Thousands of transient students of Queen's are heading off and they are leaving the sidewalks of sofas, beds, dressers, bookshelves, and miscellaneous boxes in their wake.

I cleaned out my locker at the law school today. I didn't run into a soul. In fact, the law lounge - normally buzzing with activity - wasn't even lit. On my way home, I passed by unwanted piles of stuff while a truck from the Salvation Army hunted for the best discards.

In a sense, Kingston is a big mess. Scavengers are having a field day. Over the law school listserv, students started by sending out emails with stuff "FOR SALE". Recently, the same students have been sending out follow up emails begging for people to just take their things away "FOR FREE - JUST TAKE IT." I hope everything finds a new owner.

In the US, there is actually a movement of "freevans", individuals who strive to live off societal waste. A New York Times article describes them as "Dumpster-diving anticonsumerists who aspire to buy nothing. "A law school student in New York has a closet full of clothes that she asquired from anonymous donors.

Ms. Apple, 30, a law student who lives in Astoria, Queens, ... began acquiring lost and discarded clothes. The draw is equal parts thrill of the hunt, political response to a throwaway culture and frugality.
Another term that stems from our material over-consumption and the inevitable extra stuff is "mongo". Mongo is free stuff that you acquire from the discards of neighbours. So all the stuff currently sitting around Kingston is potential mongo. (It's also a verb, BTW. If you rescue something from the sidewalk, you can say that you "mongoed" it.)

I'm off tomorrow morning. It's been a great year and now I'm looking forward to the summer. So long Kingston, and thanks for all the fish.

Monday, April 24, 2006

"It kills, but whatever. Never been so challenged in my life."

Quote by soccer4408 about going to law school. (She did it.)

2 exams down, one paper to go

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Podcast: TikiBar (with CanCon!)

For fear of being repetitive with video posts, I was going to wait to post this until a later date ... but it's too funny to sit on. I've included some stills and a bit of dialogue to whet your appetite.
Canadian Lawyer: You have been indicted.
Lala: This is a TikiBar. He or she has no jurisdiction here.
Canadian Laywer: I'm a Canadian Barrister. I have jurisdiction everywhere!
Lala: I recommend we seek legal counsel.
JJ: We'll need a tough lawyer.
Lala: One who can drink.
JJ: A tough lawyer who can drink.

Canadian Lawyer: Well, I suppose we could work something out.

Now that your curiosity is piqued, watch the whole skit.

Go to TikiBar to subscribe to more episodes.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Dalhousie Jeopardy Skit - funny!

I was reading the Dal Blog of the Narrows and thought this was worth repeating:

Kuddos to the OneLs at Dal for putting this piece together and then posting it on the Internet! Extra kuddos to their profs for being so cool about it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Article: Blogs 'essential' to a good career

I don't necessarily agree with this article entirely, but I appreciate the spirit. In the legal profession, I don't think you absolutely need a blawg - but it helps. Some of the reasons outlined below are relevant, especially for individuals who are thinking about a sole practice.
''It's the new public relations and it's the new home page. Instead of a static home page, you have your blog," he said. It's a way to let people know what you are thinking about the field that interests you.

Once you zero in on your topic, here are eight reasons blogging helps your career:

1. Blogging creates a network.
2. Blogging can get you a job.
3. Blogging is great training.
4. Blogging helps you move up quickly.
5. Blogging makes self-employment easier.
6. Blogging provides more opportunities.
7. Blogging could be your big break.
8. Blogging makes the world a better place.
On a related topic, if you are thinking of starting a legal website (blawg or otherwise), May It Please The Court's most recent podcast discussed the "Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Law Firm Websites". Useful information for anyone interested in site design, on either side of the border. Here's a link to his podcast stream for iTunes (or any other podcast app).

OK, back to the books.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

One down, Two to go

Friday, April 14, 2006

Word(s) of the Day

I think it's fair to say that if you're in law school, you have some appreciation for language. There are many ways to improve one's diction, including the use of ubiquitous "word of the day" services. I included one on this site sometime last year for your enjoyment (past words have included "foment" and "Clerisy"). This service is provided by Brainy Dictionary. Other sites such as and French Word of the Day offer similar services. You can even expand your lexicon through listening to regular podcasts of DJ Liang (super nice guy, btw) or learn the etymology of words with a daily dose of Podictionary.

My question is: are these services really useful? Sure they easily fall within the categories of interesting, whimsical and sometimes fun - but useful? A quick search of "useful word of the day" revealed these links:
This must be the most useful word of the day delivered to my mailbox so far:. “triskaidekaphobia"
I think it's fair to say that this comment was made tongue-in-cheek. I'm guessing that it was posted by another blogger who also questions the usefulness of these words.

The following links are sincere (as far as I can tell):
Today's useful word of the day: 'yutz'.

A useful "word of the day." excerebrose


Immensely useful word of the day
Glox: The sound of liquids when shaken in a barrel.
Do the producers of these sites genuinely expect readers to use these words into their quotidian parlance? Neither 'yutz', 'excerebrose', nor 'glox' are even included of my spellcheck dictionary. It seems overly fustian to me. ;)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Quote of the Day

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said:
"The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions."
This may be more suitable in the law school context:
"The first year student knows the rules, but the upper year student knows the exceptions."
A jaded lawyer might say:
"The law school student barely knows the rules, but the practicing lawyer knows the exceptions."
Or, someone focused on grades - not me :) - might say:
"The B student knows the rules, but the A student knows the exceptions."
I'll leave it to you to parse the wisdom from the chaff.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bittersweet End of Classes

Friday was the last day of classes. Over this past week one class after another has found its ultimate denouement. Some classes have ended in applause, others with a another round of drinks while others have come to a close with awkward silence. Some professors continue to teach with attention and empathy while others don't even fake their lack of enthusiasm. "You've already submitted your teacher evaluations so I really don't care what you think anymore." I prefer the profs who invite us over to the Grad Club.

Of course, for the Class of '06, these were their last classes at Queen's Law. They have all (or almost all) found articling positions at firms or government agencies and they are moving on. There are many outstanding, truly admirable, individuals that I will miss. After one more round of exams, they will be completely finished. Congratulations!

Speaking of exams ...

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Next Level of Apple Computing?

The Blue Screen of Death

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Update: Father, Rower, Olympian, Law Student ... and now in jail

I was quite surprised to read today's story about Barney Williams. After he and his team won their race, their partying got out of hand - to the extent that they caused damage to a bicycle and other property, and he ended up in jail for the night. In his words:

We had a little too much to drink, weren't in any condition to get ourselves home and thankfully the wonderful police of Oxford made sure we ended up in a safer place than the side of the road.

It was an incident which could have easily become much more problematic and I'm glad it didn't end up being any worse than it did.

Just a little too much to drink?

This is actually a nice segue to what's been going on at Queen's. For those who are unaware, the university has been considering ways it can deal with student misconduct off campus. In particular, it is trying to find ways to discipline students after Homecoming parties on Aberdeen street. They say that it is damaging to the reputation of the school when students damage property off campus and get into trouble. Further, they want a mechanism to discipline students in addition to what can be doled out by the police or the judicial system.

For your information, the undergraduate students' union, the AMS, has been supporting this initiative. The graduate students' union, the SGPS, has its reservations (the article at this link is a bit old). If the university takes on the mandate of disciplining students for conduct off-campus (outside its jurisdiction, no?), then is it opening itself up to additional liability? Say, for misfeasance in public office? A unanimous decision by the ON CA indicates that it is.

The recent decision passed down by the Ontario Court of Appeal with regards to York University:

The appeal court found that, since the office of president and the power to discipline students come from the legislation establishing the university, the York presidency is "clearly a statutory office."

So, for example, if Mr. Williams were a Queen's law student (instead of Jesus College law student) and he caused vandalism in the streets of Kingston, and the university deemed the punishment unsatisfactory, it could put punish him further by including a note of misconduct on his permanent transcript.

OK - I've really got to get some work done.

OneL: "I'm loving law school!"

A friend of mine in first year said to me recently:
I'm loving law school! I feel like I'm a video game going around picking up guns and tools. This stuff is so friggin useful. It's like every class I'm getting weapons and filing them away. It just makes me hungry for more!
Nice analogy. Go get 'em tiger.

Good luck on exams everyone!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Profile: Father, Rower, Olympian ... and Law Student

In a recent interview, Barney Williams stated the obvious:
"I got the best of both worlds."
Indeed. He is Captain of the Oxford rowing team that went up against their archrival Cambridge this past weekend. They won.

In his spare time, he takes care of his 2 1/2 month old son and goes to law school. Not bad. But can he dodge bullets? ;)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Brokeback Mooting

I realize that all Queen's law students recieved a link to this in their inboxes recently, but for those of you who haven't seen this yet: enjoy!

Thanks to the folks in Edmonton!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

How does the SCC affect our lives?

My fiancee and I were walking around Toronto recently and, by happenstance, we saw Supreme Court Justice Louis Lebel. I immediately recognized him (how can you not what such a distinctive coif?) and this dialogue ensued:

Me: OMG, look at that!
F: What?
Me: It's Justice Lebel!
F: Who?
Me: Justice Lebel of the Supreme Court!
F: Never heard of him.

Honestly, I doubt if most law school students know much about him. The only reason why I recognized him so quickly is that there is an underground Louis Lebel Society at Queen's and they plaster his photo over the public computers in the library. For better or worse, the visibility of our highest court is very low and it's not notable that a non-law student did not recognize a Supreme Court Justice.

The interesting discussion came later on:

Me: I should have gotten Lebel's autograph.
F: Why?
Me: Because he's important.
F: Not really. It's not like he's Daniel Dennett or something.
Me: Oh. Well, he probably hasn't had as much impact on society as Louis Lebel.
F: Really? And how has Lebel, or the Supreme Court for that matter, affected me?

I gave her a few arguments about the division of powers, health care, voting rights, same-sex marriage and right of women to run for elected office (issues off the top of my head) but nothing convinced her. So I put it to you, my readers:

Explain to me how the Supreme Court affects the life of an average Canadian.
(If you want to be specific, this "average Canadian" can be female, brilliant, caring and gorgeous.) I've turned off the comments' verification feature so that it's easy for you to post your reasons. Thanks, in advance.