Saturday, August 30, 2008

Next time, maybe get moooore ready...

Clearly the Hokies didn't get my blog post this week. They were obviously not ready to play this morning.

I woke up at 8am on a Saturday morning to try to find a bar that would be open at 9 or to find a web site that would air the game. Two strikes. I settled for the ISP Sports online radio broadcast, which was delayed about 30 seconds. The only thing worse was watching the ESPN Gamecast for the live stats, which was delayed several minutes. I was getting texts about events in the game long before Mike Burnop and Bill Roth told me about them over the air. Not a fun way to watch football.

More importantly, our offense, defense, and special teams were all sub-par. We started out moving the ball very well until 5th year quarterback Sean Glennon threw a goal line interception on his first attempt of the day. Deja vu...

Shortly after, we find ourselves on the goal line again, but this time are stuffed on 4th down. It was so promising, I thought all my worries were for nothing. Then ECU started playing.

It was all downhill from there. We had some great plays here and there, but our defense bought too much in to the 'bend but don't break' philosophy. There was a lot more bending--and far more breaks--than anyone wanted to see.

To cap it all off, we lost after the Pirates scored 14 points in the final 4 minutes (BC last year, anyone?), with the nail in the coffin coming off a blocked punt for a touch down (Beamerball?).

I know the team is young. Expectations are relatively low, despite being the favorite to win our division. That is definitely a sign of how bad our division is, and not how good we are. But a Bud Foster defense should never look like that against a team like ECU (all respect to ECU for being on the rise as a program, I don't mean to discredit them). We all expected this kind of play from the offense.

I'm angry, and the Hokies just sucked all the 'happy that football started' life out of me. Thanks, guys.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Get. Ready.

College football is underway.

Kickoff from Charlotte tomorrow at noon (9am my time, unfortunately) against East Carolina.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Still a Bit Tempe-orary

It's a play on words...get it? Tempe.

So I bought season tickets for football and basketball yesterday after we (the roommates and I) had put it off for awhile. It was $104 for football and men's basketball combo. Lots of people had talked about getting them. My roommates, as with most other things, forgot to call and now the ticket office is sold out.

So, I spent $104 and have no other friends with tickets. I guess I'll try to find people who got them, but for now I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

I still don't feel like I live here for good. It's a sad feeling to think it, but I guess exciting, too. I miss so many things back home, but I'm really enjoying what Tempe has to offer so far. It's all new and exciting.

We got a gym membership last night at LA Fitness and plan on using it for the first time tonight. The sales guy that gave us the tour, etc., was very explicit in telling us that, unlike other gyms, LA Fitness had the lowest possible prices and could not negotiate under any circumstances. We finished the tour and sat down at his desk to talk pricing. It was $200 to enroll and $40 a month per person, which was significantly more than any other gym we looked at. By the time we left, he had waived the registration fee entirely and knocked our monthly fee down to $25, so we bought it. It's a month-to-month, so if we don't like the gym we can leave any time (with 30 days notice).

I am finished with all of my reading and homework until Tuesday, and I'm having trouble figuring out what to do with myself. I want to get really far ahead in my reading, but just don't feel like it. Unfortunately, I don't have any friends here to distract me, and we don't have a TV with cable. I'm going to go to the gym in a bit, once Carl finishes his reading for Torts (civil wrongs, committed by one individual--the tortfeasor--against another individual).

When we get back, maybe I'll feel like reading a little to get ahead. We might do Dos Gringos again tomorrow night for 50 cent Coronas. Then, the ASU Bar Review (clever name for the group that organizes weekly law student happy hours) is having the weekly meeting at RA, where we went last Friday. If I didn't talk about it already, it was great. Half price sushi and appetizers, and it's really good quality food. Drinks, as they are in every other bar we have been to, were criminally cheap.

ASU opens the season this Saturday at home against Northern Arizona. Virginia Tech opens in Charlotte against ECU at 9am Arizona time. ASU should be a walk through. The Hokies may struggle some, but should come out on top, barring some horrible play on our part, or fantastic play on the Pirates' part.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fantasy Football: Part II

Sorry to bore those of you who don't care about football, but my second draft went much better than my first in my eyes. I'm feeling pretty confident about my season, though I have a couple question marks at the moment.

1 (12) Steven Jackson (RB STL)*
2 (13) Drew Brees (QB NO)
3 (36) Ronnie Brown (RB MIA)
4 (37) Braylon Edwards (WR CLE)*
5 (60) Jason Witten (TE DAL)
6 (61) Dwayne Bowe (WR KC)
7 (84) Chris Chambers (WR SD)
8 (85) Kevin Smith (RB DET)
9 (108) Seahawks D/ST
10 (109) Derrick Mason (WR BAL)
11 (132) Aaron Rodgers (QB GB)
12 (133) Greg Olsen (TE CHI)
13 (156) Ben Obomanu (WR SEA)
14 (157) Steve Slaton (RB HOU)
15 (180) Josh Brown (K STL)
16 (181) Devin Hester (WR CHI)

* - indicates keeper

So, those of you that know football, hopefully you will agree with me that this draft was more successful.

In further fantasy 'football' news, I also joined a British Premier League fantasy league. I know next to nothing about the Premier League, but this is a great way to learn.

Great News

Some or most or all or none of you may know that I've had perpetual computer problems for quite awhile now. My old desktop, on which I have all my stories, writings, essays, poems, etc. stored since I was 18, and all my digital pictures since I was 18, and all my music that I've downloaded since I was 18, has been maliciously corrupted by geeky internet nerds.

Anyhow, I gave it to an old middle school/high school friend to try to fix. He kept it for awhile but eventually didn't end up making any progress. He made the computer usable, but couldn't recover any of the data from the corrupted drive.

So eventually, I gave it to Max to see if he could help. He has had it for quite some time as well, maybe early spring, and was making a valiant effort but with minimal progress.

I just got a text today saying it was all recovered, and that he is in the process of copying my data over to his server so that he can reformat the corrupted hard drives and give me a fresh start with all my data.

I couldn't be happier. I now have a bromantic man crush on Max until I die. Thanks. Sorry parents, who won't understand what that means. Don't worry, it's not a bad thing.

Friday, August 22, 2008

First Class Assignments

I am already displeased with the workload. While all the other groups had a maximum of 20-30 pages for any given class, if even that, I was assigned 53 pages of reading for today's civil procedure class. In that reading, there were nine cases to brief.

Case brief: documents created by students when studying case law.

The cases we deal with are all found in the Appellate Courts (Court of Appeals, for the less-than-law-savvy readers). We are given the cases in the form of a judge's discourse. He or she will lay out the case with all the details and necessary references, then describe the decision.

Our job is to pull out the procedural history (what stages the case has gone through, including where it was filed first, who appealed and to which court, what decisions were made, etc.). It is basically the timeline of the case. We need to pull out all the key facts. This is harder than it sounds, because each case can be interpreted in different ways, and depending on your interpretation, different facts could be key. Then, we find the issue. That is, the question being asked of the court. Next is the holding, which is the answer to that question. Finally, the judgment--whether the appeal was affirmed, reversed, dismissed, etc.--and the reasoning--obviously, the reason for the judgment.

Finally, we are supposed to give our own ideas when applicable. So a full case brief usually ends up being about a page of extrapolated information from these cases, which are often only a page or two long themselves.

Couple case briefing with the rest of the information in the text book that needs to be absorbed, noted, applied, etc., and 53 pages can take hours. And by can, I mean it did. I will get the hang of this soon, and it will be like second nature, but for the first go round, this was painfully tedious.

I already found it getting easier as I went along, and so the future looks bright, indeed.

On a side note, the library is the worst place to study. I was more distracted there then anywhere else. All of the other 1Ls are giddy with social excitement and won't leave anyone alone. I sat in the library for about five hours yesterday and had so many people coming by and chatting that I only covered 10 pages of text. It's frustrating and pathetic. But once everyone settles in (I don't know how many times I say this), things should get much easier.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fantasy Football

My draft was terrible. I was in a bad way on Monday and was nowhere near the right mindset to draft a championship football team. Results below.

1 (14) Reggie Bush (RB NO)
2 (15) Carson Palmer (QB CIN)
3 (40) Julius Jones (RB SEA)
3 (42) Donte Stallworth (WR CLE)
S1 (43) Tony Gonzalez (TE SD)*
S2 (71) Brandon Marshall (WR DEN)*
5 (98) Derrick Mason (WR BAL)
6 (99) Redskins DST
S3 (126) Brett Favre (QB NYJ)*
7 (127) Kevin Smith (RB DET)
8 (154) Kevin Boss (TE NYG)
9 (155) Jabar Gaffney (WR NE)
10 (182) Leon Washington (RB NYJ)
11 (183) Josh Brown (K STL)

* - indicates keeper, drafted in a supplemental round.

I don't really know how this team will pan out. I'm hoping to make some savvy trades again this year, as I did last year. I don't know why I picked Carson Palmer after last year's benching when my franchise was in Naptown.

As for the aforementioned Donkey Bowl, I'm happy to be able to join this league, finally. My brother and several of his friends have had this league for a few years and I have always heard the chirping and banter back and forth about its daily goings-ons. It's an established keeper league, so I had to buy in to a vacated franchise. I took over Team Wookie, last year's championship team. Looking at his roster, I have no clue how he won. I decided to forfeit my first round draft pick to keep Steven Jackson (RB STL) (he will go top 6, and I don't pick until 12, so it makes sense despite my relative dislike of him) and my fourth round pick for Braylon Edwards (WR CLE). So the franchise has moved to Tempe and been nicknamed the Sand Esquires (working title, better ideas are welcome).

This league is entirely different from the other keeper league that I am in, so I am excited to experience another method of playing fantasy football. The draft is Saturday at 12:45 my time. Wish me luck.

Progress and Productivity

After an overwhelmingly depressing first day of orientation, things are on the up and up. I'm meeting people and settling in a little bit. First day jitters put thoughts of quitting in my mind, but obviously that's not an option. I think I'm home sick, which is strange for me. I don't remember ever feeling this way in Blacksburg, but maybe I repressed the sentiment.

A plethora of tasks to complete this week is slowly turning in to a short "To Do List", so I have filed this week (and this post) under progress and productivity. I have my student ID (Sun Card) and a bus pass (free for all students on all public transportation in Tempe). I have not yet gotten a parking permit, but I plan to ($280 for the year). However, we met our savior today. Kirill and I decided to sit at a table with a few 1L girls for lunch at the Max (the student center; think Squires, Hokies). By the time lunch was over, we were best friends. All three are ASU graduates, and one offered to drive us all over town to run our various errands (bookstore, commuter services, library for laptop configuration) and then take us home. While running around town (ignore the fact that she drove us on the wrong side of a median in to oncoming traffic), she offered--without prompting--to give us a ride to and from school every day. She has the parking pass for the Rural Rd. structure, which is across the street from the law building. She also plans to keep a similar schedule to me (9-5 every day, maybe a little earlier on one or two days, which fits my early Tuesdays perfectly). Jackpot.

In other news, her husband is from northern Virginia and played football at Robinson, so we probably have a lot of the same friends. He is a huge Redskins fan, so I now I have a Redskins buddy (as soon as I meet him). And they have four season tickets to Cardinals games that they can never pawn off on people. The two of them go but never have friends to join them, so they offered us tickets.

We were invited to happy hour on Friday and she also offered to show us all the best restaurants and grocery stores, etc. around town over the course of the semester.

I'd say we really lucked out sitting next to them.

In other news, I completed my first chapter of assigned reading yesterday and took detailed notes (on the laptop) in outline form. I have one more section to read for that assignment, but it isn't due until Monday. I have reading due Friday, but the book hasn't arrived yet. It has been on back order for weeks. I hope it shows up tomorrow, but it will ruin my happy hour plans tomorrow if I have to read the assignment while everyone else is out.

I registered my clicker (no idea what it does yet). It's a remote control with a keypad on it, and it allegedly takes roll in class and allows you to participate in some way. I also registered for LexisNexis and WestLaw after getting a tour of the law library.

This all, no doubt, sounds dreadfully boring. But when it's new and it's productive and I've been pretty bored, my mind makes it exciting. So be excited, okay?

We did some more grocery shopping today. Our kitchen finally looks decently stocked. We still need dishes and pots and pans. We got a set of really ghetto kitchenware at Target, but I deemed it 'worth it' after a detailed cost-benefit analysis.

Tomorrow, I plan to buy season football and basketball tickets because it's only $100 for the package deal. Coming from VT, I am baffled. We payed $350 for football and somewhere in the low $100's for basketball if I remember correctly.

It's getting late. I'm going to do a little more reading, proactively, so that I can enjoy the weekend.

I also was invited to join the Donkey Bowl, another fantasy keeper league. I bought a franchise that recently came on the market. Hopefully, I will draft for this league a little better than I did for the AEPi Alumni League. I'll post about that in a minute. Separate topics.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Special Request

Dear Tempe,

Please cool off. I am miserable. I can't keep showing up to class with beads of sweat cascading down my face and on to my clothes and the floor around me.

I promise to be a good citizen of Tempe if you grant me this one wish.

Thank you,

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Motivation to Write=Good

I've been wanting to write in here a lot recently, and I'm hoping that this translates to my brain functioning again. I haven't had to do much of anything that required deep thought for awhile. I'll take it as a good sign.

As you can probably deduce, a lot has been happening recently. Here's a brief recap.

The water coming out of the faucets and the showers at our condo is hot. Not just like warm because it's been sitting in the pipes under the sun for a little bit. Hot. Piping hot. It have to run the shower for five minutes before the water gets to lukewarm, and that's about as cold as it goes. I took cold showers in Maryland when the weather is reasonable. I definitely want cold showers here where the heat is unreasonable. And brushing my teeth with hot water is a little gross,too. We are hoping the landlords can get this problem sorted out soon.

We bought a TV today from a guy I found on Craigslist. It's a 50" Samsung and we got it for $650. I wish we had spent less, but I kind of felt sorry for the guy. Kind of. His brother was in jail and needed bail money, so they were selling all his stuff. Televisions, XBox360, laptop, all sorts of electronics. We don't have cable set up yet, so it's just sitting in the living room. This week hopefully we can remedy that.

I met up with Joe and Diane today at Loco Patron in Ahwatukee to retrieve my books and car keys and to have a drink with them. As usual, they were very nice. We chatted over Corona's for about 45 minutes or so. We parted ways with vague plans to do it again sometime.

I don't have any music on my computer because, despite valiant efforts, Max has been unable to fix my old computer with everything I've ever had on it. He is still trying, though I don't know what kind of progress has been made because he doesn't return my calls. So, I've been listening to iTunes radio, which is actually really nice. While doing all my readings, I rediscovered that music with lyrics is extremely distracting. So I've been listening to and falling asleep to classical music all day. It's actually pretty nice. With no TV, it's kind of eerie trying to sleep. I always have ambient noise in the background. It's interesting that I actually recognize a lot of the songs that have come on (though I couldn't name the composer if you wanted me to).

Melissa bought tickets to come visit for a few days in the beginning of September. We're both very excited. I'm going to ask my professors not to assign any reading that weekend so that we can enjoy the couple days, stress free. I'm sure they'll understand.

Orientation starts in the morning. We have to be there by 8, and we have a 30 minute bus commute (ugh), so I'm getting up at 6. That means I need to go to bed right


We've been assigned about 40 pages of required reading for orientation. Yes, orientation. Not class. Not being graded. Just required reading to be prepared for the lectures we are going to have during orientation. In my new, optimistic mindset, I have decided to view this as a great opportunity to begin to re-train my brain for academia. The readings will, no doubt, help me get better acquainted with the legal world - a world in which I have very little knowledge and experience.

I've gone through three of the five required readings and one suggested reading. I have two short ones left to go. So far, it's all pretty basic. They go over the hierarchy of the courts, the methods for writing briefs, legal writing in general, some important terminology, and some advice on how to best approach legal studies.

"The more you learn about the world of law, the better your reading of cases becomes. The better your reading of cases becomes, the more you will understand class discussion. The more you understand about what's being discussed at multiple levels in class, the better your reading of future cases will become. Eventually, through this cyclical process, you will find that you have become immersed in the language and culture of the law and this once-foreign land will start to feel like home."

-excerpt from "Basic Briefing"

One can only hope.

Last night, the roommates and I met up with some other 1Ls at an apartment. Everyone seemed pretty nice and well put together. I'm still waiting for all the weirdos to come out of the woodwork. I presume tomorrow will be full of just that. I met my first Rubix Cube savant. The kid who hosted the gathering can finish the cube in under a minute and a half. I've seen it. He told me it was really simple, that you just had to understand the algorithms on each level of the cube. Right? Like I said...savant.

On the cab ride back from Scottsdale, I decided I will never take a cab ride back from Scottsdale. The cabbie got lost and tried to charge us the full fare, even though he took us to Mesa by accident. So, $30 later, we made it back safely. He was asking for more than that, but we just handed him the money and got out after a quick argument. I think once we argued, he was just happy to get anything, so he accepted the money and said "Ok."

Some CostCo shopping is on order today I think. We need to fill the house with food so I don't keep having to eat out. I also have to get my text books and car keys from Diane.

But I'm tired and unmotivated already. On the bright side, I won the coin toss and get to start out in the master bedroom. We plan on rotating rooms throughout the year. I'm hoping everyone will become content where they are and we can just stay like this.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Condo

Soon enough, I bet this condo will get an affectionate nickname, like every other house I've resided in since college. For now, it's just The Condo.

This is an excerpt from an email I sent to my family and loved ones describing the layout with pictures to boot...

These are a couple quick shots of the place so you can see it. Basic layout...just inside the front door is the main living room where the leather furniture is. To the right, immediately, is a half set of stairs leading to the lower level bedrooms and a full bathroom. If you curve around to the right up the half stairs, there is another set of half stairs that leads to the lofted master bedroom, pictured, and another full bath. There are two closets, each almost the size of my old closet on Virginia St, and a full bath with two sinks and a stand up shower.

Back down to the main entrance, the immediate 'foyer' is tiled, but the rest of the place--minus the kitchen, which is also tiled--is carpeted. The living room hooks around in and L-shape to the dining room. Off the side of the living room is our private balcony, with a tree-obstructed view. The balcony is covered and has overhead fans, an outdoor table and four chairs.

The kitchen completes the square in the nook of the L, and is small but nice. All the appliances look new. The oven is spotless, has an electric range top (I guess that's what it's called). There is a vacuum in the house already. I haven't noticed an iron yet, but there might be one.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I'm a

Whatever we're called--we that live in Tempe--I'm one of us.

After a sad and stressful day of doing my final packing and saying my last goodbyes, I hopped on my on-time US Airways flight and made my big move. My car had arrived on Wednesday and was waiting out front of my condo.

Carl--one of my two roommates, both of whom are 1L's--picked me up from the airport and we headed to our new home. The condo is ridiculously nice. The furnishings are luxurious, the rooms are big and spacious, the ceilings are high and vaulted. The landlords even supplied us with coat hangers, some water bottles, paper towels, toilet paper, garbage bags, plastic silverware and paper plates, a couple towels. The kitchen is all new, as is the bedroom furniture. Couldn't ask for much more. I'm really looking forward to exploring the area and getting settled in. We can't choose bedrooms until the other roommate, Kirill, makes it here tomorrow. Then it will really start to feel like home.

The flight was a basic flight. No one was sitting directly next to me, so I had a little wiggle room. I slept a little, watched a little of the new Chronicles of Narnia that was the in-flight movie, read a little of Feinstein's "Civil War" about the Army-Navy rivalry, and snacked a little on the little gifts Liz and Mel gave me.

The descent was incredible. At one point, I could see lightning off to the right on the horizon, one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen straight out the window, and sunny blue skies with a few white clouds to the left. The triumvirate of naturally beautiful things was pretty breathtaking. My neck hurts now from straining to take it all in.

We got a little quasi-late night Wendy's for dinner (I hadn't eaten since noon ET). I opted for the Baconator with fries and a Cherry Coke. Yum.

I'll keep posting. I am even considering starting a second blog to deal with law and the world of law school. It will be more like my own personal law review. Hopefully, it will get some readership from the legal world and I will get interactive discussions about the things I'm learning in my classes.

For now, stick to this one. I'll update when the mood strikes me.

Thanks to everyone who made my life in Annapolis memorable. I truly feel missed already, and I miss everyone a lot. Keep in touch.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Opening Ceremonies

This is actually my 100th post. On closer inspection, I realized two of my post counts were unpublished drafts that I forgot about. So, we'll deal with something a little more momentous.

The Olympic Opening Ceremonies were beyond spectacular. Despite all the writing I've done in my life, I can't find words to describe the awe they inspired. I was glued to the television. I have no experience with choreography, dance, pyrotechnics, lights shows, etc., but I can say with certainty that this was one of the most innovative displays of creative genius I have ever witnessed.

The foot print fireworks leading to the stadium were astounding. The LED scroll in the center of the stadium was amazing. The dancers (c. 15,000 performers, none of whom repeated) were apparently using very new age moves. The outfits and costumes were unique and effective. Each 'act' in the show represented a different significant part in Chinese history, and the commentary did a fantastic job of explaining each one.

The wind display representing Confucius' saying was probably the most impressive, but not until the very end when you realized that every motion created in the act was human, and not electronic. The wire suspension acts were great. The lighting of the torch was unique.

The entire Birds Nest Stadium was the perfect venue (obviously, since they designed the stadium with this show in mind).

One thing that threw me off was the procession of each country in to the stadium. So many countries I had never heard of. And others, like Russia and Georgia, came in close together. You wonder how they kept the athletes from showing some animosity for their enemies at war while on center stage.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Goodbye, Subaru, for now...

It feels more and more real with every step I take.

The transport guy just picked my car up to ship her off to Arizona. It was weird watching him drive off with her. He seems like a nice guy, had a truck full of cars.

Now I just wait and hope all my stuff makes it there unscathed. I'm a little worried about the heat affecting some of the electronics I have in my trunk...let's just hope they stay strong and endure. If my belongings are anything like me, they are up to the challenge of surviving the desert.

Next step, moving out by tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Celebrating the Century Mark

Coincidentally, my 100th post falls on a day where someone sent me an absurd list of the top 100 living geniuses, according to some idiots in the UK.

Top 100 Living Geniuses

If I could draw your attention to a few spots on the list. As a disclaimer, I will tell you that I am not the most worldly of people, and I am not familiar with the majority of this list. But, here goes...

#4. Matt Groening, creator of the Simpsons.
#26. Tied - The Dalai Lama and Steven Spielberg
#32. Tied - Bobby Fischer and Prince (yes, the musician)
#43. Tied - Osama Bin Laden, Mohammed Ali, Bill Gates
#49. Tied - Stevie Wonder and Henry Kissinger
#100. Mr. Irrelevant - Quentin Tarantino

Sprinkled intermittently throughout the list are many people who don't deserve recognition, and many others who deserve to be listed way before Prince and Osama Bin Laden.

The method for determining this list was as follows:

Creators Synectics, a global consulting firm, emailed 4,000 Britons and asked them to nominate up to 10 living people. They were then rated on the following categories and scored: paradigm shifting, popular acclaim, intellectual power, achievement, and cultural importance.

I guess Bin Laden wins on cultural importance alone.

Friday, August 1, 2008

It's settled.

I just bought a ticket to Phoenix for August 15th. I have my official departure date.

I don't think I've ever been so nervous to book a flight before. I didn't realize how hard it was going to be to pick up and leave everything. I hope it works out for the best. I've never been one to get too homesick, but I've never gone this far away for so long before.

Anyhow, wish me luck. I hope everyone has a chance to come visit me, 'cause I won't be able to afford many trips home.