Archive for January, 2005

Advice for 1Ls

Saturday, January 29th, 2005

From the Volokh Conspiracy:

It’s important not to let lower-than-expected grades become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Recognize the psychological game going on here: many students expect their fall 1L grades to give them a lightning bolt of insight about their future in the legal profession. Grades don’t do that, though: all they can do is measure how well you did relative to your classmates on a few 3-hour exams taken at a particular place at a particular time. Too many students think that grades are destiny, and begin to take steps to readjust their expectations to what they think is their destiny. Some students react to the sting of lower-than-expected grades by tuning out, by deciding law is dumb, and by concluding that they just aren’t good at it. The problem is that it’s just this kind of attitude that makes it less likely your grades will improve; by tuning out, you’ll only make it more likely that you won’t do as well as you should next time. My advice is to stick with it: get your old exams back, review them, and make sure you know what you did wrong. Then have faith in yourself and your smarts that you can improve your grades in the spring.

Read the whole thing.

P.S. A commenter adds some advice for the “other half”:

There is also substantial risk for any law student who does too well his/her first semester, and fails to learn the appropriate lessons from that good performance. In the curved-law-school-grade game, performance is all relative. If you become complacent, or you think your study methods are sufficient when in fact you’re really just lucky, then you can easily find yourself on the other side of the grading curve in just one semester. This is especially true for 1Ls because you tend to compete against the same section pool during both semesters of the 1L year (at most schools I know, at least). It’s especially important for students with good grades to identify the reasons they got good grades, and to seek even more improvement. As the business gurus say, if you’re not getting better all the time, you’re falling behind.

Lest anyone be confused…

Saturday, January 29th, 2005

…I’m not disabling MovableType comments and replacing them with HaloScan comments because I want to. I’m doing it because I have to.

The problem isn’t MT’s “warts.” It’s much bigger than that. If there is another major comment-spam attack, my entire domain could be shut down indefinitely, perhaps permanently. My host simply cannot afford to have my CGI comment scripts repeatedly overwhelming the server I share with dozens of other paying users. And I cannot afford to have BrendanLoy.com completely disappear for days or weeks while I scramble to get set up with a new host.

So this is my stop-gap measure while I try to think of something better. I know HaloScan sucks, but we’re all going to have to deal with it for at least the next few days. Better to have BrendanLoy.com with crappy comments, than to have no BrendanLoy.com at all. :)

Death in Connecticut: deferred

Saturday, January 29th, 2005

The bizarre twists & turns in the Michael Ross capital-punishment case have become positively Byzantine in both their Intricacy & their Weirdness.

No sooner did the United States Supreme Court predictably clear away, we thought, the Last Barrier to the 20-years-in-waiting Execution of the sexual-sadism-afflicted serial rapist/murderer who claims he Wants to Die, than the Federal judge whose prior Stay was thus vacated — in effect Reinstated it via a transcribed & published Conference Call in which Hizzoner bludgeoned Ross’s chosen lawyer for Ill-informedly advocating his client’s right to die .

That call transcript , especially, is my Recommended Reading for all Law students who may frequent This Here Blog. To me anyway, it is utterly Astounding — and, Important. Da Judge, being convinced that the “please kill me” Perp is Nuts, is bloody beDamned if he’s going to let him die — and, being Overturned, he is now putting the Onus on Ross’s client-compliant Lawyer (TOO compliant, sez da Judge), to Prevent it. / Read the whole Call, O thou soon-to-be-Officers-of-the-Court. Amazing.

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The Blurry Windy City

Saturday, January 29th, 2005

Tomorrow, Becky and I will leave South Bend for a day and make our first pilgrimage to the promised land that beckons all Notre Dame students who want to, you know, do something fun: Chicago. :)

The occasion for our trip is the “Irish Pub Crawl,” an evening of undergrad-style binge drinking sophisticated law-school fun sponsored by the Irish Law Society. The “crawl” — basically a night-long migration from one bar to the next — starts at 5:00 PM and ends at 5:00 AM, with stops at Galway Bay, McGee’s, Glascott’s, Halligan’s, John Barleycorn and Beaumont. (The latter is described as “The Backer of Chicago.” Uh-oh.)

Yes, that’s right: six bars (all within walking distance of one another, by the way) over 12 consecutive hours. That’s almost as long as my planned Lord of the Rings “trilogy party” next month! (Almost, but not quite.)

Becky and I will most likely show up late and duck out early, though. We have more planned than just drinking: possible items on our afternoon itinerary include shopping, visiting the Sears Tower, and checking out the aquarium. Then there’s the 6:30 PM Magnificent Mile fireworks show, which should be easily visible from our hotel.

Oh, our hotel! That’s the best part of this whole thing. My friend and fellow 1L Toni tipped us off to an awesome deal on Hotwire: $62 for a room at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, a four-star hotel in the heart of the city, right on the Chicago River. Wow! So yeah, that’s where Becky and I are staying tomorrow night. Indeed, it’s what sold us on this whole Pub Crawl thing in the first place. Who could say no to a deal like that?

So anyway, blogging will be light tomorrow, and primarily or exclusively mobile. Indeed, you might want to stay tuned for possible drunk-moblogging as the evening progresses. :)

Blizzard Charles pics

Friday, January 28th, 2005

I realize this isn’t exactly breaking news anymore… but better late than never, right? :) Here are two of my dad’s pictures of the Blizzard of 2005 in Newington:

Beer, urine save man from certain death

Friday, January 28th, 2005

Stuck under an avalanche? Get drunk and start peeing. (Hat tip: Becky.)

Battle of the titans

Friday, January 28th, 2005

Hillary Clinton vs. Richard Nixon’s son-in-law in 2006? It could happen.

Deranged science nut threatens Super Bowl with “Big Bang”

Friday, January 28th, 2005

No, really.

Website back up; commenting disabled

Friday, January 28th, 2005

As you may have noticed, BrendanLoy.com was offline for a little over an hour this afternoon. The culprit, once again, was the evil scourge of comment-spam bots, flooding my domain with CGI script requests and forcing my host to shut me down, lest I eat up all the bandwidth that other users on the same server also need.

Thanks to the kind and speedy assistance of Andy at Total Choice Hosting, the site is now back up, but commenting is disabled indefinitely until we can come up with some sort of a solution to this spam issue.

In the mean time, I will try to work out some sort of a stop-gap measure so y’all can still comment somehow. I think I might be able to sign up for an externally hosted comment system. So stay tuned.

UPDATE: All right, I now have comments hosted by HaloScan. I’m working on updating the templates. But you can comment by clicking the regular-looking “comment” link below — it’ll just take you to a different place than usual.

If you have an RSS reader, you can view all recent HaloScan comments here.

UPDATE 2: Okay, thanks to RSS Digest, you don’t need an RSS reader — you can view the 50 most recent HaloScan comments at the top of my regular comments.html page. Note, my RSS Digest feed is updated every 30 minutes, so it could take up to a half-hour for your comment to show up on that page.

Big Dick’s fashion faux-pas

Friday, January 28th, 2005

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Dick Cheney, Fashion Disaster. :)

Death in Connecticut: the strange saga of Michael Ross

Thursday, January 27th, 2005

I’m going to just link and excerpt, not commentate (for now anyway) — except to say that this 2-decades-old CT Capital Punishment case has got to be One for the Books.

High Court Lifts Stay In Execution
5:45 PM EST,January 27, 2005
The Associated Press

The U.S. Supreme Court today lifted a stay of execution for Michael Ross, clearing away one of two obstacles that had blocked Connecticut from putting the serial killer to death.

The decision, on a 5-4 vote, brings Ross another step closer to becoming the first person executed in New England in 45 years. But it does not affect a separate 10-day restraining order that was issued on Wednesday after Ross’ father filed a civil rights lawsuit seeking to block the execution.

…Chief Public Defender Gerard Smyth said it ends his office’s attempts to block the execution.

“There will be no hearing on his mental competency,” Smyth said. “It appears he will be executed without anyone hearing all the evidence that we have that he is mentally incompetent.”

A hearing on the restraining order was scheduled for Friday at 10:30 a.m. before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.

…Ross is on death row for strangling four young women and girls in eastern Connecticut in the early 1980s. He also has admitted murdering four other young women in Connecticut and New York. He raped most of the victims.

Ross last year decided to fire his public defenders and forgo any remaining appeals.

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The chain gang

Thursday, January 27th, 2005

Tonight was the first night of competition in the Law School Bowling league. Unlike some teams, Five Drunks and a Ringer doesn’t have t-shirts… but that’s okay, we’re still cooler than everyone else. Why? Because, inspired by the Notre Dame defense, we have a chain!

We each keep one link from the chain with us during the week, and then on Thursday night, we reconnect it as a sign of team unity. (And whenever anyone bowls a strike, they get to wear it. I got the chain twice tonight!)

Anyway, the league-wide stats aren’t available yet, but here’s how our team did:

GAME ONE
Chris 213
Brian 140
Nick 139
Joel 120
Becky 84
Brendan 73
TEAM TOTAL: 769

GAME TWO
Chris 181
Brian 140
Joel 129
Becky 100
Nick 94
Brendan 81
TEAM TOTAL: 725

Yeah, so we got 44 pins worse between Game One and Game Two. I blame the beer. :)

The most interesting part of the night was when Chris had a perfect game going through five frames in the first game. Alas, he ended up bowling “only” a 213 — an excellent score by most people’s standards, by a far cry from his 246 in an unofficial practice round last weekend!

Speaking of last weekend, I broke 100 on Sunday!!! (I got a 102.) I didn’t do quite as well tonight — but hey, at least I didn’t get another 46! :)

More photos here.

If you’re not a Mank, you’re a Wank!

Thursday, January 27th, 2005

A Brazilian 9-year old is being scouted for European soccer teams, wow- I think soccer needs a no-minor in competition rule, like the Tara Lipinski rule that the Worlds competition has (noone under a certain age can compete- I think 16 years old?) Fortunately, it seems that this kid is going to have a childhood before going pro.

Brendan says the darndest things

Thursday, January 27th, 2005

As we were returning from a raucous game of bowling tonight, a slightly drunken Brendan turned to me and remarked, “You know, you should totally take advantage of me.” :)

Heh.

Thursday, January 27th, 2005

The Notre Dame Observer‘s Lance Gallop on Internet Explorer: “There is absolutely no excuse…for continuing to use software that is the computer equivalent of unprotected sex with a third world prostitute.”