|Watch Me Take The Bar|
|This blog, originally started as a chronicle of my taking the bar, is now a look into the mind of an attorney in solo practice in Port Clinton, Ohio.|
Sunday, July 31, 2005
That the people that push the Atkins diet filed for bankruptcy.
How come, you ask?
They simply didn't have any bread.
And Now, For The News From Darwin
wow. Just read this.
And there are people who think God doesn't have a sense of humor.
To: Laura Bush
As I was driving to dinner last night, I was flipping around on the radio and heard what was unmistakeably your voice, imploring me to do something to help "hungry children" because "every night in America, thousands of American children go to bed hungry."
So, good American I am, I'm just checking in to let you know I did do something to help hungry children. It was last November 2. Unfortunately, it was ineffective.
Yours very truly,
Saturday, July 30, 2005
And Now, Some Friendly Advice For Proto Attorneys
For the past ten years, I've worked during the summers for my local prosecutor's office. (Yes, I started when I was in tenth grade as a volunteer because I couldn't be paid yet, okay?) The experience has been invaluable, because I've learned so much about the law they just don't teach you in law school.
This was brought home to me when I'd been there a few years and a newly-minted lawyer was working on something, and didn't understand what a judgment entry was. So, I (who was by that point about a senior in high school) explained it to him.
Please remember, there are all sorts of pratfalls and nooks and crannies to the law that they never got near in law school. If you are going to practice in several different courts, which most of you will, they will all have different ways of doing things.
But this judgment entry lesson came back to me today when I was reading the case of Long vs. Long out of the Sixth District Court of Appeals for Ohio. (Yes, I realize it's sickening I'm sitting here reading decisions less than forty-eight hours after the barzam, but this stuff interests me, what can I do?) It's a good reprise of the judgment entry lesson, as well as a lesson that YOU NEED TO GET JUDGES TO SIGN ANYTHING YOU WANT TO HAVE ENFORCEABLE MEANING.
Let's start with a judgment entry. (And, by the way, I apologize to those of you who are familiar with these terms and I do NOT want to sound patronizing; on the other hand, if someone doesn't know this and waits six months, it could be embarrassing for them and their clients.)
Let's pretend I'm not a proto-lawyer (thanks for the term, GG) but rather just a civilian who's hired you as a lawyer. Now, the people across the street own a dog who barks every morning between 4:45 and 5:30 AM, waking me up. We have a hearing; there are opening statements, I am called to the stand and, with bags under my eyes, testify to what the Hound from Hell has done to my sleep patterns; and the judge is suitably impressed that, from the bench, he orders the neighbors to muzzle their dog, and if they don't, I'll have the right to remove the little mongrel's vocal cords. (Note to everyone, I'm not this vicious generally but you try being woken up every morning at 5 and see how pleasant YOU are to the beast.)
OK, so, you're happy because you just won your first case, and I'm happy because I'm finally going to get some sleep. On the way out of the courthouse, you're even happier when I tell you the next evening I'm going to a cocktail party and I will recommend you to all my friends. You deposit my check in the appropriate account, and I go home.
That evening I go to sleep, only to be awoken at 5:00 in the morning by the barking dog. I walk over to the neighbor's house and begin to remove doggie's vocal cords. (Note, (a) this would never be relief granted; (b) I'd never do this; (c) I'd have no clue how; (d) this dog would probably have me dead. But it's a hypothetical!) My neighbors, who apparently love their dog and his melodious morning missives, call the police, who come and arrest me. As I am loaded into the back of the police cruiser, I say confidently, "I have nothing to fear! The judge told me I could!" I use my one phone call to call you, and you confirm this opinion and appear next to me at arraignment (before, of course, a different judge than the one who heard my case.) You say, "Judge, there's a perfectly good reason Mr. Bassett will be found not guilty, and that's because Judge Down The Hall ordered yesterday that he could do this." The judge at the arraignment looks down his nose and says, "Oh. Can you show me the judgment entry?"
You reply, "What's a judgment entry?" Amidst the laughter of the other practicing attorneys in the room, I barely hear the judge set my bond as I am taken back to the clink. Only once there, in talking to a jailhouse lawyer, do I learn that the court speaks ONLY through its judgment entries. An oral order is barely worth the paper it's printed on. YOU, as the victorious attorney, need to prepare a judgment entry.
How do you do this? Well, when you file a motion, you also compose a judgment entry for the judge. So, if you're moving to get me out of jail, you file your motion, and then you also write something up saying, "Because Michael's bond is excessive, the Court hereby orders it reduced to x amount and he is to be released upon payment of that amount." Basically, type out what you want the court to say and put a signature line under it.
You wish, as you walk slowly out of the arraignment courtroom, that you'd known this before. Because you know that right now I am paying off a guard at the jail to let me make one more phone call, to the hostess of that cocktail party I was going to tonight, to explain WHY I won't be there, and exactly WHOSE FAULT the mess I'm in is.
So, how does this all relate to Long vs. Long? Well, Mr. and Mrs. Long, in July of 1989, got a dissolution of their marriage. In the final decree, signed by the trial court, they discussed Mr. Long's pension, and reached an agreement on how that would be allocated...basically, he'd assign it to Mrs. Long. This also included a clause that "[e]xcept as provided herein and in the [order allocating the pension], each party releases any rights he or she may have in the vested pension rights of the other."
They send off the agreement on the pension (which is still unsigned) to the pension administrator, who writes back and says that, under Ohio law, public employee pension benefits are not assignable or subject to any other process of law, and hence, the judge does not sign the pension agreement. So, on November, 1989, Mr. and Mrs. Long sign an agreement, where they say Mrs. Long will get 1/2 of all of Mr. Long's pension benefits (both during and after the marriage.) They file this in court, but never have the judge sign it.
Fast-forward to February, 2003, when Mr. Long begins to receive his retirement benefits. Shockingly enough, he forgets to send Mrs. Long her half. Mrs. Long files a motion for contempt of court, to which Mr. Long (by and through counsel) replies, "Well, my ex is entitled to, at most, 1/2 of the benefits I racked up during the marriage, but nothing else." (So, in other words, Mrs. Long says she should get 1/2 of all benefits from 1981-2003, which is what the agreement provides for, while Mr. Long says she should get all the benefits from 1981 (when he started in the plan) through 1989 (when they divorced.))
The Common Pleas Court magistrate, and later the judge, says, "Mr. Long, you signed an agreement in November, 1989, saying you'd give her 1/2 of all your benefits, and that's what you're going to do." The Court orders that, to keep his agreement-breakin' butt out of jail, Mr. Long needs to pay her half of all his benefits and the amount he had thus far neglected to pay her.
Off we go to the Sixth District Court of Appeals. Mr. Long argues that he can't be held in contempt of court because the court had never ordered him to pay 1/2 of his whole pension to Mrs. Long; he simply signed an agreement with her to that effect, and all she's entitled to under Ohio law is 1/2 of that which he got during his marriage. In other words, it's the "I might be a sleaze, but I'm not a contemnor" defense. The Sixth District agreed with him. The court never ordered Mr. Long to pay Mrs. Long any amount of money, so it couldn't try to enforce an order that didn't exist.
So now what happens? Mr. and Mrs. Long go back to common pleas court, where Mrs. Long's attorney will argue Mrs. Long should get half of his pension benefits for the period of their marriage. The best case scenario for her now is that she only gets the amount from 1981-1989, while he keeps everything from 1990-2003.
Now, we can all have a discussion over whether or not she should get the other thirteen years, but that's not the point. The point, fellow proto attorneys, is this: She would have gotten those other thirteen years without a problem if her attorney at the time had had the judge sign off on the agreement. (Another friendly tip...watch out for judges who have their judgment entries rubber stamped; it can cause your clients incredible anguish.) By neglecting to get that signature, Mrs. Long (a) had to spend money to go back to common pleas court and then go to appeals court, and will now have to go back to common pleas court to fight for a part of something she already thought she had; and (b) lost out on thirteen years' worth of benefits.
What do you think Mrs. Long will be saying about her 1989 attorney? His best hope may be that it's at a cocktail party and not in a malpractice suit.
What I Did Yesterday
Hmm. Yesterday, I
Today looks to be more of the same. I'm going to do a little work on cleaning up the wreckage from Hurricane Barzam which has enveloped this place (there is actually professional help coming on Monday, but I still need to work on it before they get here.) And, at 7:00, I'm dining at Ciao! with Carol, which will be great. (If you're looking to lay odds, sportsfans, I'll get the lasagna...I almost always get it, and when I was there recently, I didn't, so now I simply must get it.)
Yesterday, I finished McCarthy for President, which was actually pretty god, and started Hollywood Animal, which is (as I predicted) incredible and hilarious, not to mention incredibly hilarious. I love Joe Eszterhas' work, and if you get the chance to read this or American Rhapsody, you simply must.
I like this whole barzam being over thing.
Friday, July 29, 2005
A Comparison I Didn't Expect To Make
Well, I'll be.
I can write.
Stuff not involving third party beneficiaries.
And, even though there are lots of lawyers going to be running through this story, I don't think it sounds like a lawyer wrote it. (Let's hope.)
I say that because I've always been decent at writing fiction, especially through high school. Then I tapered off and only did some sporadic things through college.
Then, during my second year of law school, my friend Laura and I entered the 3 Day Novel competition.
I'd never thought of this before I started writing this post, but intellectually, I'd rank it in terms of challenging as close to getting ready for the bar exam. It's different because the bar exam is a protracted hell of two and a half months of studying, and the 3 Day Novel competition is basically three days of writing, straight through. (And note I said nothing about how it compares to actually taking the bar exam. The three days of taking the bar is far easier than writing an entire novel in three days. When taking the bar exam, you at least only work from 9-4:45 for two days and then till noon on the third. The 3 Day Novel competition, you work just as much as you can stand.) By Monday night, your brain is mush. Mushier than I think mine ever got through the bar exam. At least with bar exam, you could ration the hell.
Anyway, a few years ago, my friend Laura and I did this. (I'd done it two years before that.) Laura and her mother decided that a year of law school (at that point) had wrecked my writing ability.
Sad thing was, everyone seemed to agree. Even my mother liked the parts of the book Laura wrote better than I.
I put that down to 1/3 law school, and 2/3 Laura being a better writer on her worst day than I am on my best.
Anyway, I'm writing now. And I'm liking it.
Gee, I wonder if I'm able to read. Out on my porch. Sitting in a chair. A book for pleasure.
Gosh, I'm gonna have to try that out.
Oh, but sadly, I do have an obligation to fulfill; an onerous, difficult obligation.
I have to go all the way down the street to the lease office to turn in a lease for my apartment. (We're keeping it for another two months because my dad's got some business going on in Toledo where different people are going to have to stay here once I move out.)
So, I'm going to have to walk all the way down there.
Wait. What's right next to the office?
Oh, right. There's a pool.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Do I Have Good Friends, Or What?
My fellow barzam takers, I've been trying to sum up this experience in a neat little bow for a while and failing. The lyrics below were written (OK, borrowed) and sent to me by my dear friend Carol. I know it says "Michael's Hallelujah," but it really applies to any of us. It does what I was trying to do far better than I can tonight.
My friends, we made it. It was not fun, it was not pretty, it was not an experence we want to repeat. (I'll take a double order of that last comment, Waiter.) We expended blood (in Oregon, they don't even have a comfort station!) sweat (in Arizona and Ohio), and tears (name me a jurisdiction where there wasn't a tear.) We enjoyed Whitebread, were flabbergasted by Feinberg, we were riled and perplexed by the rule against perpetuities, we memorized mnemonics, we abused alliteration. (Some of us still are.)
Anyway...I got all choked up and such when I read this. I'm going to try not to blog anymore tonight, so as to leave this at the top, as a tribute to all of our hard work.
(You should really find this song and play it as you read this...I'm told it's from Shrek. So of course, I mean, go out and buy the Shrek soundtrack and don't download the "Hallelujah Lyrics" by Rufus Wainwright even though it is freely available on many file-sharing places. So I've heard. 'Cause I'll tell you, I went right out and bought the soundtrack. Yeah.)
Michael's Hallelujah (as written by Carol)
with credit to:
Artist: Rufus Wainwright Lyrics
Song: Hallelujah Lyrics
Copyright © 1985 Leonard Cohen and Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada Company.
I've heard there was a man who scored
A bar exam score and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for bar exams, do you?
It goes like this
The fifth, the tort
And if you must, you go to Court
The baffled judge discerning Hallelujah
Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You studied hard; you didn’t goof
you missed out on
It tied you
To a wooden chair
It broke your spirit,
it wasn’t fair
And from your lips it drew the Hallelujah
Maybe you've been here before
You know this room, You've walked this floor
You used to have a life before it knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
an attorney’s life is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah
There was a time, a fall from grace
A fear you’d fall flat on your face
But now you don’t believe that really, do you?
Remember when it ended with you?
The holy dark was moving too
And every breath you drew was hallelujah
Surely there's a God above
And all I ever learned of love
Was how to do your best with what He gave you.
It's a moment of grace you can feel at night
It's someone who has seen the light
It's a gold and a victorious hallelujah
Day Of The Frozen Chickens
Let's start with this.
I AM DONE.
Wow, did that feel good. Let me do it again.
I AM DONE.
All right, let's see. As I mentioned, this morning, getting ready was kind of a downer; but once I got to Veterans' Memorial, my mood started to perk up. As someone said, "People are actually smiling today!" It felt a little like the last day of school mixe up with the atmosphere before a gunfight. (Not that I've ever been to a gunfight before, but if I had, I imagine that's what it would feel like.) One of the more pleasant experiences has been walking around Vets' Memorial in the morning and chatting with people I know. Today was kind of odd, because it's the last time we'll really see each other. (Graduation was, after all, just a precursor to BarBri.) OK, we'll briefly run into each other at the Ohio Theater on November 12 -- prays fervently -- but otherwise, this was kind of it. And, as in the case of Andi, who's bound for South Korea, she won't be at the state theater pass or
So, time for the exam came. I settled in to my chair (I've been telling people this week only half-jokingly that my table was so far to the back of the room I've been applying Kentucky law.) And here's the thing...I didn't think the essays were impossible at all. Challenging, yes, insofar as there were time pressures, but basically, pretty straightforward as far as the questions go.
A few neat things: Scattered applause when Marcia Mengel said, "These are the last two questions." The proctors fanning out through the room with three minutes left to go, putting a Hershey's kiss at everyone's desk and whispering, "Good luck." (Some thought it was corny, I thought it was really cool.) Then, applause when Mengel announced, "Time is up." There was something really special about that.
(BTW, I think they oughtta give Marcia Mengel a title like, "Voice of the Ohio Bar Exam." She does a very good job, in my opinion.)
Exams were collected. Announcement of when results will come out...they'll be in the office at 7 in the morning on October 28 to answer the phones (yeah, like you'll be able to get through), and then they will also post who passed on the Internet "between 7 and 7:30." No, no, no. How 'bout MAKING THEM POST IT AT 7 SO WE DON'T ALL GO NUCKING FUTS??? Please, for the love of God, Allah, Buddha, or whomever, this process has been painful enough. Truly.
Linds...I did look for you! (I even had a friend near your table who was supposed to let you know I was going to stop by at the end but she wasn't able to find you...) On the other hand, EVERYONE wanted out of there...I was no different.
For some reason, getting outta the parking lot was a real logjam today where it hasn't been otherwise. But did that, got back to my hotel, checked out, and then stopped at Chipotle (they have them in Columbus, but nowhere around here) for lunch. Then got on the road and headed out. Was having a great time, driving along with the windows down and the radio up...until I got on 75 and found myself in the traffic jam from bar exam. (It wasn't full of bar examinees; think about it for a second, folks, you can figure that one out...) Apparently, a truck carrying frozen chickens caught fire last night and there was a big accident they STILL HADN'T SORTED OUT THIRTEEN HOURS LATER. Good grief.
Basically, the verdict on yesterday's MBE was, "Where the bar exam did that come from?" (If you can't figure this out by now, you probably aren't bar exam material and haven't been paying attention to how horrible and somethingish this process is...) Basically, it sounds like NCBE decided to change the format, which may or may not be thanks to Robert Feinberg. Feinberg was apparently an idiot and tried to carry notes out of the Alaska bar exam on what was on the test. Good grief...
All right. Time to go do this newfangled thing called relaxing.
this is over today. 'Cause I can't take any more.
I feel, weirdly, worse than I have the other two days; maybe 'cause I like the essays least of all and before I could always say, "Oh, well, you get through this, you have the MBE or the MPT or whatever." Now, it's a -- I get through this and...that's it. I leave it all on the field.
I hope it's enough. I think it might be.
BTW, does anyone find it surprising that shuttles that were designed in 1980 aren't great for 2005 flight? Just a question.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Well, let's start with what I hope will be the last example of Bar Exam Brain, a process by which otherwise relatively intelligent people do completely stupid things. Tonight, I decided to go to Schmidt's Sausauge Haus, a German restaraunt in Columbus, for dinner. (They have terrific food, and I will only eat terrific food while taking the barzam, thank you.) I travelled there with my Conviser Mini Review so as to study for the essays tomorrow. Got in there, and noticed there were some tables towards the front where no one else was sitting around, so I thought I would get some peace and quiet as I sat there. Asked to be seated there, and the host obliged me, setting up a table.
Once I sat down and was situated and into my appetizer of sauerkraut balls, I thought, Gee. If I weren't taking the bar and were possessed of all my faculties, might I have thought that were I seeking quiet, I shouldn't have sat next to the set of drums, microphone, amplifier and accordion? As it turned out, the two guys who were utilizing said instruments were good and didn't even distract me that much from Corporations. So, that was good.
All right, now back to today. I had the pleasant thought today that, if all goes well, this will be the last time I have to fill in my name with little bubles. I flashed back to the first time we took the CAT (and yes, it was the CAT at that time) in Mrs. Ihde's class in first grade, the first time I ever met little bubbles. I didn't like filling my name in then under my name, and I don't like it now.
Anyway, the morning's exam, I felt like I kicked some major MBE. Questions rolled along; I felt like I was doing well.
Lunch. OK, the girl behind me; she should be good at adverse possession, 'cause she was certainly hostile. The cafeteria at Vets' Mem is like most cafeterias, where you'll have to stand in line and go past all sorts of food you don't want to get to the food you do want, and then wait to get to the cash register. Well, this was apparently not "logical" enough for her, and she thiks everything should be "logical," since this is "the law." (No, sweetheart, this is the cafeteria, and prolly not run by lawyers, either, a fact for which we all oughtta be very grateful.)
OK, so, to get Ms. Hostile out of her misery at the illogical cafeteria, I asked her where she went to school. She said Case Western. I did not point out I applied there and got wait-listed, because I had no desire to plumb the depths of her superiority complex. I then asked her where she was from, and she said originally Ohio, but she'd lived in New England for a long time. I asked her which she liked better, and she said she didn't particularly care for either of them. (For some reason, this did not surprise me.)
So then, she asked me where I was from, whereupon I said Port Clinton which -- surprise -- she'd never heard of. I asked if she'd ever been to Put in Bay, and she said, "Once, but I was so sick I barely remember it." I indicated many people have that experience. (For you out-of-Ohio'ers, Put in Bay is basically one big drunken political subdivision, actually home to the world's longest bar.) I told her that if she'd been to Put in Bay, the boat she was on probably left from Port Clinton. "Oh, no," she said. "We drove."
As politely as I could, and without calling her a liar, I indicated I found the idea she'd driven to Put in Bay, which is, after all, an ISLAND, highly unlikely. (If she had, I suspect she'd have found it more memorable.)
Not to be deterred by this, Ms. Logical pressed on. No, she was quite sure they drove. They stayed five minutes, and then came back. OK.
Surprisingly, I did not choose to sit next to her for lunch.
The afternoon MBE questions seemed MUCH more difficult to me than the morning questions. Part of it was I think just normal afternoon malaise, part is that they actually were more difficult.
All right, I'm sure there's more, but I'm losing my train of thought and it's time to get into bed. I talked to Kylie from Arizona tonight, who is DONE. I can't wait to sound as good as she did. :)
Thirteen hours, people. Thirteen hours.
My First Thought Today Was
wow. Tomorrow this nightmare ends. Allelujia.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
So, What Is The Sound of 1400 People Saying Nothing For Three Hours At A Stretch?
Well, I apologize if you've been visiting wanting the update, but since I got back I've been doing this and that. I just got back from dinner and am ready to share.
The morning did not begin auspiciously. The Supreme Court sent us all numbers and instructions, but in the process of moving from House A to House B, number did not arrive for me. I called the Supreme Court last week and they said, no problem, just come in and get your number the day of the exam, and gave me a website address for the instructions. Cool beans.
So, this morning, I get to Vets' Memorial (oh, Columbus, how I love how thee has made it impossible to turn right ANYWHERE in downtown between 7 and 9 in the morning, because I'm sure no one would ever want to do that) and get parked (which wasn't the ordeal I thought it would be.) Walk in, show lady my ID, she rifles through papers, and says, "OK, your ID is 14something4." Cool. I ask where the restroom is, find out it's in the exam room on the other end. OK, walk all the way across this cavernous room; visit the restroom; walk out, and realize that 14something4 is more than just a state of mind, it's what I know my exam number to be. I literally couldn't recall whether I was at 1424 or 1434. I mean, I was standing there, trying to figure it out, and trying not to think about how this would bode for remembering what horizontal or vertical privity meant.
OK, so, I resign myself; I have to go back outside and embarass myself in front of the nice lady who just gave me my ID number and say, "Hi. I'm here to take the Bar Exam, one of the most difficult and strenuous academic endeavors known to man. You just gave me a combination of four numbers seven minutes ago, and unfortunately, the third number eludes me. Couldja give me that again?" I hoped she would only be so kind to lightly snicker while I stood in front of her, and save the guffaws until I was safely out of her sight.
Well, in a lucky break (hopefully, not my last!), Nice Lady had been replaced by Nice Guy, who I'd actually talked to on the phone before and knew me by name. Cool. 1424. All right. Life is good. Run into my friend Andi, who has found a job. Teaching English. In South Korea. Feel incredibly envious, since this makes this a much less do-or-die proposition.
Go in. Find my seat. See Lindsey from UT; meanwhile, Tom D. sits two tables over from me. Tablemate sits down. We barely speak. Works for me.
At about 8:40, Marcia Mengel, clerk of the Supreme Court, asks people to find their seats. Let me tell you, I've never seen a group of so many people get so quiet so quickly. I think it was pure nerves.
Instructions, instructions, instructions. My favorite one came when Mengel announced there was a "comfort station" up at the front of the room with all sorts of things for our convenience, and then enumerated them...Band-Aids (for those nasty paper cuts when you try to commit hari-kari on a particularly tricky ST problem); aspirin; extra strength Tylenol (for when you've spent too much time at the Bar); Tums; Immodium. If she'd have just had, y'know, something like, fresh wipes or something, that would have been comforting. Just not all products relating to impending physical doom.
All right, so, we get started. The first torts quesiton is on...survival of actions and damages, for crimeny sake. What, you bar examiners got sick of doing IIED and false inprisonment? C'mon...anywho, I think I did well on the first part, but it ate up the first half of the hour and it was time to move to the second question, leaving the second part of the first question still unfinished.
Second question was a property question that was questioning its orientation and wanted to be a contracts question. I think I did well on that. Finished it with about two minutes left to go, and got a short rule statement out for the second part of the first question, but left a LOT on the table I would have preferred not to there.
OK, second two questions were Secured Transactions and Agency. Secured Trans I think I did pretty well on, and, while I wouldn't say I owned agency, it was pretty darn close. Turned those in.
Next was contracts and the ever present widgets. (And flanges.) Did well on that, although the fourth part of that question was elusive to me. Had to do with employment contract, one of a kind.
The only one I think I bought the farm on was the civil procedure question. Joinder? Please, don't joind me in that one. I threw out quality BS -- OK, let's be frank, it was probably at best midgrade BS -- and turned that one in and headed off for lunch.
Ran into Andi again. We walked upstairs, carefully avoiding that sin of sins on the bar exam, to wit...Talking About The Questions. (Although, truth be told, I was interested to know what she'd seen, 'cause she's really smart.) Found a table with others from UT...Jeremy, Elaine, Robin and a guy who I think has never liked me for reasons I can't come up with...like, avoids speaking to me at all costs. We all sat around the table talking about Anything But The Questions. There would be awkward pauses where the conversation would lapse, and you knew we were thinking about the questions, but no one wanted to be the first one to bring it up.
Well, eventually, Robin and I were left, and Robin wanted to talk about the questions. I did, too, and as we compared notes, it sounded like we got the same answers. This may be a good thing...
OK, so, then the MPT. First question, I didn't finish. At all. Not happy about that. Second question, much better.
The other bizarre thing was realizing you were sitting there, surrounded by 1,500 fellow human beings, and no one was saying a word. Talk about strange...
I'm sure there were more notes on this experience, but for rightnow, I'm going to bed. Tomorrow is 200 multichoices. What
I've survived day 1
this is just a quick note to let you all know I've survived. I'm about to write a much longer post, but (a) I'm not sure if my left hand will let me type much right away and (b) I may have to stop in a bit to eat something, so my full account may not go up until later tonight. But, basically, I'm still alive and thinking I might have a chance. :)
3 years of law school
six days of PMBR
a month and a half of BarBri
close to 2,000 multichoices
there is nothing to say but....
HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!!!
Someone once asked the great Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz if he had any trouble getting to sleep the night before playing the University of Michigan.
"Nah," he said. "I sleep like a baby. I wake up every two hours and cry."
Well, while I didn't cry, I did seem to wake up every two hours last night. Weird dreams, just needing to stretch my legs, you name it, for whatever reason, I'd be awake. I'm not too bothered by this, though; I got to sleep quickly and got about as much sleep as I'd usually get at home.
I have to admit, though, that I'm a little P.O'd that, when I don't have the hound from hell to wake me up, I'm STILL up at 5 AM. Oh, well, always tomorrow.
Monday, July 25, 2005
I just did some light review of CMR, and I mean, leafing through and going, "hmm. Mm-hmmm." No notes, no nothing.
The great thing -- I know much of this stuff.
I don't know it all. *laughs* I don't know nearly enough to feel confident and walk in there with a spring in my step.
But I think I might, might know enough to pass.
Anywho, I'm going to go eat dinner, at least check out the pool in this place, maybe take a bath, and then tuck in to watch some TV.
(And for those of you worried about me getting sleep, "tuck in to watch TV" will probably mean "zonk out 15-30 minutes after my head hits pillow..." I'm beat.)
My Dad Is, Can You Say, Awesomely Awesome?
So, the hotel where I'm staying is somewhere I've stayed before and I was impressed with the large rooms. It's a little pricey, but my dad said, "Well, for the bar exam, you should go all out," and agreed to pay for my room. This was in June. Friday, I had him fax down his credit card information and stuff.
OK, so, today, I drive down here. Now, I should say, the drive was what one of my friends would refer to as a "moment of grace." You know those days when you're driving along and there's NOTHING on the radio you like? It was like someone called them up and said, "Hi, could we do a mixtape for Michael on any station he wants?" Literally. Could barely touch the dial without finding another song I love.
So, I got to Columbus and decided to try to navigate myself around to make sure I know where Veterans' Memorial (where the test will be) is. Now, that was one part of the experience that was definitely NOT blissful. First I did find my hotel, with telephonic assistance from Carol, who's like my Columbus navigator. Then, on to find Vets' Memorial, which is on Broad Street and over a bridge (yeah, just over a bridge, for those of you familiar with that story.) Well, I found Broad Street easily enough, but finding ACCESS to Broad Street was another thing entirely. Columbus has a ton of one-way streets, but they decided to make life more interesting by creating some streets that you can't turn on to from 7-9 AM and 4-6 P. Long story short, I had to go around the horn a bit to get there, but I did finally get onto Broad Street and found Vets' Memorial.
OK, so I get to my hotel. Somehow, I find myself blessed with two suitcases, my laptop case and a bag from Meijer. Guy helps me with it, tells me valet parking is $19/day. Ugh. But, it sounded like the best rate I'd get.
Well -- and my fellow bar examinees may not want to read this, I want you to still like me -- I get in to check in and guy behind desk says, "Oh...you've been upgraded to a suite."
I said it a moment ago, I'll say it again. My dad is just awesomely awesome.
And now I gotta pass. But I have to tell you, if the experience stays as positive as it's been thus far, we're in good shape. :o)
Now, with all this faith put in me, I simply must pass. I have no choice. Sorry, barzam, fail someone else!!!!!! BANZAI!!!!!!!
BTW, in Eve-Marie's latest entry, she mentions how grateful she is for having blogged this experience. I add that. Fellow Bloggers, thank you and God bless you for the support and the laughs. Hang around, though...I don't think a bar exam would be complete without the agonizing wait we're all to endure. But you all are truly cool.
But not nearly as cool as my dad. ;)
OK, being a boy, I just figured out what clothes I'm taking. Pleasantly enough, no laundry need be done for my packing.
As I mentioned before, the Supreme Court's guidance on what the temperature will be like is, to put it mildly, lacking. With these variable temperatures, I won't be surprised if a small hurricane moves through.
So, the plan is jeans, t-shirt, button-down type shirt, and then a sweatshirt for good measure. (I'm not trying to be a fashion plate here.)
Also taking with me my favorite type of pens. I have to acquire some pencils and find a sharpener, though...
Awoke this morning to lovely emails from a friend with all types of different spiritual wishes. Very nice. (Although, I had to point out, if all Tibetan prayer flags begin with 'HEY!,' someone's got to be getting irritated with so many people yelling "HEY!" at him for so many years.)
When I got up, there was condensation on my porch window. Indication this'll be another hot one, folks. Yesterday was pretty rough, last night in particular...I felt like when I went to Dallas a few years ago, and it was unbearable during the day, but you figured it would be better at night...but it was just as hot and sticky in the evening. At 10:00, it was like 90 out.
All right, gonna do a little last minute reviewing, then pack up the war wagon, er, Bug.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Are We There Yet?
Yesterday's malaise on studying and general inefficiency seems to have lifted somewhat. I have been outlining essays all day today, and am not completely displeased with the results. Not completely pleased, either. (I know a lot of people went over outlines today, which was part of my review; I just find I am more focused if I am doing it essay- or multichoice-question based.)
You see, the answers in our essay answer book are the sample answers chosen by the Supreme Court, which reflect "above average" answers. But, we've been taught that you want to get the answer that's in the answer book, so when you don't, you end up feeling stupid.
Anyway, I dunno. I don't feel like I'll have nothing to say on the essays, and I don't feel like there'll be big things I'll get wrong. I'm not going to hit every issue. No one does. I think I'll do pretty well on the MBE. I think I'll do OK on the MPT. The essays worry me. But I think I might make it.
It's incredibly hot. Incredibly hot. It wwasn't when I went outside earlier today, but it's gotten hotter.
The preceding paragraph is about what I'm reduced to.
I'm going to sign off now, run to the store, get something for dinner, and watch Sideways, which I rented last night but never got around to watching...
Saturday, July 23, 2005
am I a lawyer yet?
OK, so, today was definitely a dud. Nothing seemed really to come together very well; essays were very hit-and-miss. Although, I have a suspicion I may have picked up a few more things than I think I did.
Anyrod, I hope tomorrow is better. And I need to start putting things together for the trek to Columbus. It occurred to me today that it'll be interesting to see which is weirder: the drive TO Columbus, or the drive back FROM Columbus.
And I also wonder, and don't anyone chew me out for this, but I almost have this suspicion many of us will find this week to be almost relaxing after the hell we've been through. I mean, we're certainly going to have MAJOR test anxiety, but what I'm saying is -- when you think about it, it's really six hours in taking the test, which is at least as much, if not more, than the studying we have done. And it's three days, and then it's over.
OK, so the plan from here on out is tomorrow to try to do more essays, a few MBEs, and get a good jump on packing. Then I hope to leave here Monday around 11 or 12 or thereabouts. Then to Columbus where a far-more-than-decent room awaits me (thanks to my parents.)
OK, I'm going to go get some food and try to rent a movie to chill out. I've heard Sideways is good. If I finish it, it'll be the first movie I've finished all summer...
Eve, in her comment to my last post (I don't know that I care enough at this point to link it, page down for goodness sake), said, "You've got this whole BarZam thing DOWN!!! :)" Well, thanks, Eve, that's how I felt yesterday. I also felt like, why couldn't I have felt like this two weeks or a month ago???
In any case, I think I'm making up for it today. Doing work is NOT coming easily, and yet I know I must, so I trudge on.
Why does criminal law perplex me so? I have worked in a prosecutor's office for nine years, and I have a pretty good working understanding of it, although for the past four or five I've been doing mainly civil stuff. But the class and the learning of it just drives me nuts. I STILL don't know what mistake of law is, except something that I will make on the bar exam when I see mistake of law.
all right, this is disconnected but then again I've kept my sanity pretty well until now, so, I'm going to go try to do s'more essays. GRRRRRRRR.
Wow. I may be losing what little of it I had left. But I did check, my reservation is good for tomorrow.
Friday, July 22, 2005
What I Did Today
Add An Eccentric Economist to a Stupid Secretary of State, And You Get the LaffWell Curve
Remember the Laffer Curve?
The one that says that if you raise tax rates, you won't necessarily get more money?
This was a key tenent of Reaganomics. The rest of us all thought it was aptly named.
So, today, in the Wall Street Journal, we find that Mr. Laffer has teamed up with Mr. Blackwell.
No, not Mr. Blackwell of the worst-dressed list, Ohio's secretary of state Ken Blackwell, of the worst-run-secretary-of-state's office. Apparently, he and Laffer have come up with "a cure for bad tax policy in the Buckeye State."
I haven't read it yet, but I hope they're not anchoring the state's fiscal future to rare coins. 'Cause that just hasn't worked out too well lately.
Meanwhile, Ken is being sued by boards of elections which report to him because he keeps moving the goal line on how they will buy new voting equipment.
If Ken -- who wants to be the next Governor -- can do for our economy what he's done for our elections, we'll be begging Dubya to come run the state when he gets out of the White House.
The MRB Summer 2005 I-Survived-The-Bar Tour is now set. :-D
Note To Self
Congratulations. You continue to feel like you are getting more and more of this thing under your grasp. Keep working, and you may only have to endure this hell once.
However, you may wish to get your habit of occasionally looking up from your essay or problems and shouting, "I CAN'T TAKE THIS [BLEEPING] [BLEEP] ANYMORE!" or "THIS IS [BLEEPING] RIDICULOUS" or "I'VE HAD IT UP TO HERE!" or "I'M OUT OF MY [BLEEPING] MIND!" under control before the essay.
Somehow, I don't think your fellow bar examinees or the proctors will go for that.
I have my windows open right now.
Despite the fact it'll get up to 86 degrees.
"Why bother opening them up when you know you'll have to close them by probably 9:00? And why, for Pete's sake, do you feel the need to tell us about this?"
Because I, friends, have become a Fresh Air Junkie.
I'm not some huge outdoorsman and, let's face it, when I spend a day inside on a nice day, I usually find it worse because of the intellectual, societal, you shouldn't be in on a day like this than any need to be outside in my DNA.
But I usually try to find at least a few minutes on nice days to sit outside with a nice book.
The bar exam changed all that.
And so now, having been cooped inside most of the summer, anytime I can get outside, I take the chance.
This has resulted in some pretty funny results. I find myself sick of doing problems or essays and decide to go sit outside and read for a while. I think, Gee, nice and quiet out here, no one out here. Then I realize it's probably because it's 93 degrees out and everyone else is inside with their sanity and their AC.
But, as I acknowledged, I left my sanity along the road long ago, and don't hope to pick it up 'til I'm heading north on 23 next week from Columbus. So, I find myself sitting outside, tolerating heat I normally wouldn't tolerate, just because I'm outside.
Not for long. I usually end up going inside within about ten minutes of my cold drink being extinguished.
But, for right now, I have the windows open and fresh air is seeping in. But it's starting to get hot.
Ah, well. It was nice while it lasted.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
On The One Hand, We'd Go Nuts If We Failed The Bar Seven (!) Times; On The Other, We Understand Why This Guy Did It; On The Third, We're Relieved
Danny Stamey, In Pro Per
Now, admittedly, I haven't gotten through reading all of the complaint in your lawsuit arising out of your seventh unsuccessful attempt to take the California Bar Exam. You see, I'm five days out from taking the Ohio bar exam (for the first time, I might add.) So, something this voluminous, I will not get to read until next week.
However, I've read the first third or so of your complaint, and I do have a few thoughts for you:
First, say a prayer for London, all, this is horrible. Its impact would probably mean more to me in other circumstances, and I'd probably be unable to turn off CNN, but frankly, I think this process emotionally callouses you or something. It's barzam or bust. That's horrible to write, but that's how it is. Cripe, I hope that's not how some lawyers get the way they do. :( Or at least, that I won't be one of them.
Have had a pretty good day studying so far. I'm starting to think I might not completely completely completely suck on the essays, but am still a long way off from being where I would like to be in five days.
In talking with my friend Kylie, who's in Arizona, her plan for the final few days is to review outlines this weekend and then look briefly at anything she thinks she doesn't understand Monday, and then stop. I have been advised and am planning to do nothing Monday once I get to Columbus (right now am anticipating getting there Monday afternoon), by multiple sources, including my friend Lindsay, who I think I've mentioned before got one B between Kindergarten and graduating from college (sickening, isn't it?), as well as BarBri people. If anyone else has thoughts on this topic, please, I'm interested to know. I also read somewhere some people tend to taper off a little on Sunday; not sure I'll be in a position to do that.
Did find out hotel where I'm staying has an indoor pool. Definitely looking forward to that.
My friend Carol pointed out that she has recommended a great bookstore in Columbus to me which I have not yet been to. I think I will go there Thursday after the bar is over to decompress before the drive back to Toledo. And stop at Schmidt's, if I don't stop there before.
If either of those places will take someone walking around slack-jawed with this glazed-over look on his face.
Feeling efficient, I remain, Michael
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
In Due Course
Well, I have to say I'm slightly pleased with myself. Today, I feel like I've learned the major tenants of Commercial Paper. Based on my Commercial Paper class in law school, that may qualify as one of the seven wonders of the world.
Today, I sat outside. Now, this may sound pretty ho-hum to you, but all of a sudden, I was like, "It's probably 93 degrees outside and no sane person would sit outside. Good. I'm taking the bar. Ergo, I am not sane. So, I'll go sit outside."
So, I did. It wasn't quite 93, but it wasn't quite 80 either, it was somewhere around 85 or so. I didn't care. I hadn't been outside in, like, weeks. OK, I've been outside, obviously, so long as outside was the distance between the portal to where I was coming from and the portal to that which would transport me. So, I sat outside for about fifteen minutes and came back in feeling slightly rejuvenated.
Then this evening, once I was done studying, I decided to drive over to Don Pablos' for some Mexican food. It did me good, and I think driving with the windows down did me even better.
Completely off topic; we're all poor right now, but if anyone's looking to help your fellow man out, you can't beat www.susantorresfund.org. Susan Torres was a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, and was 13 weeks pregnant, when, on May 7, she collapsed at home, a result of up-until-then-undiscovered melanoma brain cancer. She is brain dead but being kept alive in the hope she'll be able to deliver her baby before she dies.
What a story.
(Of course, insurance doesn't pay for the extra hospital stay. So, if you're so inclined and have any spare change to your name, click on over.)
First bar blog I linked to was Linds.
And today, she gets the award for most realistic and non-stressed and take-it-as-it-comes post.
If you get a chance, check it out. It'll give you some room to deep breathe.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
I know I said I'm going to bed, and I shortly am, but I wanted to say one other thing.
In dealing with the people at the Ohio Supreme Court, they have, to a man and a woman been patient, helpful and pleasant. Our conversations usually end with my telling them they are "awesome," "rockstars," or similar words of approbation. I assume it's because they realize this process is hell, and we don't need to deal with a lot of grief from uncivil civil servants. So, I have a lot of respect for all of the people working there.
I want to know what sadistic soul said, "Y'know, bar exam students just aren't confused enough, and they're just out there cavorting and frolicking. Here, this'll make 'em good and confused."
The following sentence is in the official Supreme Court instructions, I kid you not:
"Dress. Because the examination hall is quite large, the temperature will be variable. The temperature at certain tmes or in certain parts of the examination hall may be lower than some applicants prefer. You may want to dress with this in mind."
WHAT???? WHAT IN MIND? What, for the love of god, did you just tell me??? NO-THING. NOT A DAMN THING. NO, NOTHING, NEGATORY, NADA. It might be too cold for some people. It might be too warm for some other people. In the same auditorium. You're not being helpful.
Hey, at least we're not taking the bar in Virginia, where their bar exam rules require that applicants dress as they would "to appear in a court of record." Now, that is just rediculous.
Roberts, meh...coulda been worse. Coulda been better. Gonna get confirmed, unless there's some weird skeleton in the closet. Don't think there is.
In addition to the heavy discussion in the bar exam blogosphere today over what we will do with our blogs when the bar exam is no more, I've also noticed a few people (and, forgive me, your names do not come to mind) who are letting out a little secret -- this thing can be MURDER on your stomach.
I, personally, don't care about abs of steel, but if they sold guts of steel, I'd buy it. And that's all I have to say about that.
In a slightly related matter, my appetite has been all over the map the past few days. I wanted nothing to do with food for most of last week, especially on Friday; it didn't sound good and didn't taste good. Saturday, I was completely the opposite: I desperately wanted food and would eat anything in site. Called the Beirut (the world's greatest Lebanese restaraunt and quite possibly one of the world's best restaraunts) and ordered copious quantities of the stuff. (You know it's bad when they just put your food in a BOX.) It has created multiple meals for me.
Anyway, I've been up since six, so I'm not long for being awake. So, tomorrow I get to get up and start the process over again...
looks like John Roberts. might be war.
I'm nervous by this brief he wrote calling Roe v. Wade "wrongly decided and should be overruled."
And I can't STAND the fact that Roberts was part of the 2000 Bush/Cheney legal team.
UGH, ugh, ugh, ugh, people.
I have to hand it to W, the man knows how to cut a political move.
Announcing this new SCOTUS justice at 9, in prime-time (I've never known that to happen before; Ginsberg, Souter, Thomas and Breyer were all done in broad daylight) ensures everyone's watching.
It also builds the anticipation.
Good move, Your Fearlessness.
Bar Exam Blogs Beyond The Barzam
(Note post-writing but pre-post...wow, was that convoluted: Everyone talking about this topic has gone on at some length and now I see that I have, as well. Apparently, we all feel pretty passionate about our blogs!)
One of the reasons I'm really glad I decided to blog the bar exam is that following other peoples' emotions and feelings has been awesome. Others have clicked when I have, watched their PMBR scores rise as I have, and been completely intimidated by the idea of actual human contact with others not taking the bar.
Well, today, the bar-exam-taker-blogosphere seems to be awash with the realization that this hellish experience will be over. And we're all wondering the same thing: What will happen to our blogs?
This is interesting because I'd been planning an entry anyway telling others I hoped they wouldn't go away. For one thing, if anyone walks outta the blogosphere and forgets to leave details on their passage of this thing, I'll be mightily ticked. For another, I've really enjoyed getting to read some peoples' blogs and I'd like them to hang out.
I think this all got started with a NY Times article over the weekend by a woman named Helaine Olen whose nanny gave her the nanny's blog's address, which was, as she admits, not her brightest of ideas. Olen went to the blog, and was upset by reading about some of the nanny's off-hours activities, as well as wondering if she was blogging on the job. (Turns out she was, when the kids were asleep, on one or two occasions.) Hence, the article. But, when you read the nanny's rebuttal, Olen comes off looking as a paranoid woman who has no compunction about twisting words not written about herinto her. (GG, who has a great synposis of the whole thing in her non-related barzam blog, calls Olen narcissistic. Because I'm fairly familiar with the traits of a narcissist -- no, I'm not one myself, thanks for asking -- I'm not sure I can join in her, but there are traits there.)
Anyway, I think this got people worried about the fact we'll soon be employed (we hope) as lawyers (oh, God, do we hope.) With (pray, pray, pray) clients who will be (drops to knees and crosses self) paying us actual money. And we'll have to keep confidences. And some of us will have senior partners we'll be worried about.
Eve is a little worried about what employers will think about how she dealt with the whole process of the bar exam. (I suggested that every lawyer I've talked to assures me the process is hellish and I don't think anyone she'll be working for will have had a different experience.) GG (also the owner of The Fifteen Minute Hipster and A Girl Walks Into A Bar -- which is the Mother Of All Bar Exam Blogs, if you ask me) seems to think the fear engendered by this whole thing will make her planned life-after-the-barzam blog sterile. (Yes, she has a THIRD blog. I have fear and respect for people who can handle two!)
Well, I can tell you a few things. One, this blog, and this blogger, is not going anywhere after the bar exam. Not just because the days and weeks after the bar exam are part of the process -- and they are -- but because I do plan to continue to blog in roughly the manner I have been. I'm already involved in public service somewhat, and hope to continue to be, and so I am keenly aware of the need to keep from spilling those parts of one's guts one does not want to see splashed all over hell's half-acre. But, I think the positive part of blogs, for anyone but especially for those who are in elected office, is that they can give you a good idea of who the person is you're considering voting for.
I also have a plan for what I'm going to do with this beyond passage of the barzam, but, that blessed event must, and will, happen first. I can tell you this will continue to be a blog about me, about the law, about how the law intersects with life, and various other items.
I've also made a suggestion, which so far I have one taker on, but I'd like more. As we the bar exam bloggers become bar exam veterans, I think we could have a real contribution to make to next year's class and future classes by doing a joint blog with practical, survive-the-bar type tips. Some sort of, I dunno, resource center.
Crud, I'm feeling like I should do things to help others. I'm apparently not ready to take the bar yet.
Anyway, if any other fellow bloggers are interested, leave me a comment here. I'm not looking ot start it August 1 or even September 1...maybe around September 15. Just a thought...discuss amongst yourselves...
Now. As to preparing for the bar today. I was up at 5:45 AM this morning after going to bed at midnight, so I could get to a 7 AM school board meeting. (This was done to give us our evenings back during the summer, but frankly, this board member could stand to lose his evenings and keep his sleep.) So, anyway, I've been sort of tired all day. I got back around 1ish or so and, in this somewhat tired state, chose to review a fairly easy subject -- personal property. My goal is now to work for a while on some essays and multichoice, all the while preparing for W's 9:00 announcement. Perhaps this will be the one area of his presidency where he doesn't completely foul things up.
Come on, it's a week before the bar exam. I need some hope in my life.
OK, and to close things off for now, here's how I described my state of mind to my dad last evening:
"I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I haven't heard a choo-choo coming from that end yet, so I think we might be in decent shape."
Monday, July 18, 2005
One of the things I meant to say last evening was that, as I begin to feel slightly more relaxed about my MBE score, I am now majorly stressing over whether I have overpracticed on it at the expense of my essay score, ESPECIALLY on the subjects not "double tested" on the MBE. But even on the subjects tested on the MBE, I'm worried, 'cause the answer's not right in front of you, so you have no defense (like, 1 in 4 chance) if you don't know the answer.
Well, today I feel like there's some remote good news: All hope is not lost. Now, by that, I don't mean I'm ready to sit down and take the bar today (although, if offered the chance to end this hell early, I'm not sure I could bring myself to say no), but I mean that if I were forced to, I think I'd have a fighting chance of not completely buying the farm (or, for those of you who know what this means, having a yard sale) on questions. I've got a LOT of work to do in the next * days (this is at the request of a poster who asked that I not point out how many are left today, since we're all pretty well aware), but it may, MAY, may be manageable.
I have to go back to PC tonight for a school board meeting tomorrow. Also to take care of little odds and ends. I'll be glad when I finally get the O.C. in my rearview mirror for the last time before the test, not because I don't love it (I do), but because it'll be nice to have sustained, uninterrupted time here.
And, Anonymous, I'm really, really sorry. Not that I won't get to be there, but that you're stuck with it. No, seriously. I am.
In any case, this should put an end to any talk you haven't suffered enough.
I tried today to schedule the MRB 2005 Summer Tour. This was more vexing than I expected. I'm planning to go to my brother's in Las Vegas for a few days and then on to my grandpa's in the Palm Beach area for a few days. (My purposes are slightly different; first, I'm going to need to get the hell out of Dodge; I've never been to Las Vegas and really want to visit, and my brother leaves August 31; then when I get to my grandpa's I want to sit by his swimming pool and read books for five straight days. That's it.) I'd figured out I could basically accomplish this all for around 300 to 350 bucks.
Here's the problem: There appears to be no way a human being not possessed of his own air fleet can get from Las Vegas to West Palm in under seven hours. (I don't mind changing flights, but for the love of God, people, I could fly from Detroit to, I dunno, London by then?) This is bad enough, but the Las Vegas Airport must apparently open at 7:00 AM, close at 8:00 AM, and then reopen from midnight 'til 2, 'cause those are the only departing flight times I can find out of there. (And it's not that they're sold out...these are about the ONLY FLIGHTS ONE CAN FIND, EVER.)
On the other hand, I shouldn't complain, I'll leave Las Vegas to go to Palm Beach and that is not exactly the hardest of lots in life. But, especially for someone who hasn't been around human beings much, seven hours of air travel does not sound like a riproaring good time.
Oh, yes. And this morning, I got a 5 AM wakeup call from the Hound from Hell, who lives across the street. From late April 'till early June, he would start barking on cue between 5 and 5:30 without fail. I usually would move out to the couch and go back to sleep, but it was still not appreciated. In any case, in early June, I called the police, and said Hound stopped barking. Well, the past two weeks, we haven't been as fortunate. So I signed on at 6:00. At 6:20, I got a comment from Eve, which was lovely of her, except EVE LIVES IN CALIFORNIA WHERE IT WAS 3:20 IN THE MORNING AND ANY BAR EXAMINEE SHOULD BE ASLEEP AT THAT HOUR.
Across the bar blogosphere, examinees are apparently running into all sorts of difficulties, which, thus far, I have not yet encountered. *knocks on wood* I'm hearing tales of blood, rats, and problems with significant others. If you are encountering S.O. problems, please advise them that the United States Supreme Court has held that it's impermissible to mandate the death penalty as an automatic sentence for any crime except that of putting someone who is studying for the bar on the market within two weeks of the bar exam, or putting them in reasonable apprehension thereof.
All right. Enough ranting. I'm going to do two more essays, then start to think of heading home.
This'll be the last time I leave here and go home overnight. Next time, I'll be moving out of here. Whoa.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Sundry Things on a Sunday
OK, let's start with this, 'cause I need other fellow-travellers through hell on this.
I had plans with a friend today for 4:00, so, to ensure minimum disruption in the schedule, I decided this would be a good day to do the practice PMBR MBE. Now, about two weeks ago, I did the BarBri practice MBE (the first of two they offer), and got 99 points. Feinberg said we should be hitting between 65-70%. So, 140 is the goal to shoot for.
OK, so I got 99 that first time, and I knew I had two more practice tests to take. I figured I wanted to hit 120 on my second test, and then 140 on my third and final practice test.
Now, today's was PMBR. PMBR questions are, in general, more difficult than BarBri's, and I'd read that their practice exam was tougher than both BarBri's and the actual bar examination. The guideline I'd read was to take whatever your PMBR score was and add...was it 10% or 25%? I couldn't remember, and I couldn't find the site where I read it, so I decided to split the difference and add 17.5% to my score.
When I figured it out -- and this is where this rather cryptic post came in -- was that to hit a score which, when scaled using 17.5%, was equal to my 99 a few weeks ago, I had to hit 85. To hit a score that was equal to a BarBri 120, I had to hit 103 on the PMBR.
Well, guess what. I got 118 right.
I tend to think this is pretty good. I also think it tends to suggest that my 17.5% number is a little inflated, but even if the bar is every bit as difficult as PMBR (which wouldn't surprise me, I didn't think this was terribly difficult), that means I'm at the goal I had set for myself. But, seriously, I'd like some input...what have others heard of the relative difficulty difference between PMBR and BarBri? And are practice MBE scores landing in the general area, or am I far behind? (Part of what worries me is I STILL only got 60% of those questions right.) Thoughts?
OK, now, I had a number of comments about my mental state after my post regarding that. Seriously, this'll be over soon. It's temporary insanity. And at least I'm not to the point of the poor fellow my friend Laura saw the other day. She got on the bus and saw a guy sitting in a fetal position, rocking back and forth. Next to him was a BarBri book.
I know how you feel, dude. I know how you feel.
For you who suffered an MMD last night, I'd have left you a comment on your blog but it was closed, probably because you didn't want to hear others telling you how you'd just be fine, to just suck it up. YOU WILL MAKE IT...we all will...somehow this'll work...it's just incredibly oppressive right now and it feels like we'll be here till Hell freezes over or W learns to spell, whichever comes last. HANG IN.
I was going to write something else intelligent or soemthing, but, I've lost it. So, I'm out.
With Apologies to Woody Guthrie, JibJab, and Professor Pizzimenti
As you all doubtless know, Woody Guthrie wrote "This Land."
Jib Jab borrowed it for a hilarious send-up of last year's Presidential election. (If you haven't seen it, for the love of God, click on the link!)
I always think of Professor Pizzimenti's (contracts, first year) discussing someone who was suing over a land dispute...
This land is my land,
This land's not your land
Get off of my land
Before I shoot you
In any case, I've been having a dickens of a time remembering the duty owed in torts by landowners. It's tricky. (It's tough. It's...the Multistate. OK, I'm sounding like Feinberg again, just shoot me.)
Anyrod, insofar as I had some success learning fee simple defeasible when I corrupted Ashlee Simpson into "Pieces of Fee," I thought this song just naturally lent itself to being a study aid. And I think it's already helping.
(Note, I'm aware that some of the pacing isn't exactly right and the rhyme scheme is, in places, murky at best. I'm studying for the bar, not to become a lyricist. What do you want from me?
Also, for the throngs of you who have written in with concerns about my mental health after this post, I'm not sure this is going to make you feel any better. In any case, I'm going to create another post in a moment and hopefully assuage some of your fears about my mental health.)
This land is my land,
I owe no duty
If you’re discovered
And highly dangerous
And if it’s natural,
That goes for everyone,
For aritifical conditions,
If you’re a licensee then,
And simply dangerous,
The same goes for conditions
An invitee is
If invitee, then
Artificial or natural
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Olive The Things You Need To Know About My Mental State
Is it REALLY a good idea to ask people who have been studying for the bar since mid-May about "mental state?"
'Cause, mine ain't all that good.
I was rummaging through the Toledo City Paper and I saw an ad in the paper: CHANGE YOUR LIFE. BARTEND.
My first thought was, that if bartending is going to be a positive change in your life, you need to change some other part of your life.
My second thought was, hey, it would get me out of studying for this.
Now, here's the disturbing thing. My third thought took twelve to eighteen hours and me seeing the ad several times.
I find this disturbing because, under normal circumstances, I would immediately pick up on it, and my rapier-like wit would descend to create a pun of terrible proportions.
And yet, after reading it yesterday around 6, it wasn't until today around noon when I noted that, if I went to bartending school, I'd be studying for the bar, which, right now I'm studying for the bar.
Yeah, it loses all its dramatic effect and hilarity (which, I admit, wasn't t much to begin with) when it's phrased like that. BUT THAT'S HOW I'M THINKING RIGHT NOW!!!!
(Puns generally also are not all that hilarious when first birthed, and if it takes you eighteen hours to get them, well, they don't age well.)
Immediately after Thought 3 came Thought 4, which was, "Golly, it would sure suck if a person thought they were taking the bar exam to become a lawyer, but were instead taking the bar exam to bartend. It would really suck if you went through this hell and then found you were taking the bartend exam."
Then, Thought #5: "And if that were going to happen to anyone, it would be me. Oh, God, it would be me. Holy moly, I hope I registered for the right bar exam. I could probably do a whiskey and water -- that sounds fairly simple -- but a martini is beyond my comprehension. I don't even know how to make a martini. I'd never get to the shaken, not stirred part. James Bond would scoff at me, with his stiff upper lip and such. And when do you put the olive in? WHEN DO YOU PUT THE OLIVE IN? Dammit, I'd suck as a bartender. People would be coming in and I'd not put an olive in their drink when they wanted one or I would when they didn't, and as a result, they'd be forever stiffing me on tips."
Thought 6: "Wait, wait, there's got to be a way to figure out when to put the olive in. Let's see. I can devise a hypo for this. A man walks into a bar and says, 'Hi, my name's Oliver. Please pour me a martini.' Oliver is wearing an olive-green suit, and eyes the olive jar sitting behind you lustfully. From this, you are on constructive notice that Oliver wants an olive in his martini."
Thought the Seventh: "But the problem is, I've been having trouble with the judgment calls on PMBR. I understand the rule, but when they think something's unreasonable, I think it's reasonable. So, what if I knew the rule, but applied it incorrectly, and gave Oliver an olive when no olive was desired? What would he have to do to oliviate this mess? Would he sue in equity or for damages? Could he get an order for specific performance to remove the olive? I guess it depends on how much of the martini he consumed. If he'd only taken one sip, perhaps not; he might just be testing it. But if he drank half of his martini, and only THEN sued me for olive his problems, shaZAM! I'd get his sorry barfly butt thrown out of court on laches. Just trying to get a free drink. You MOOCH, Oliver. There's a word for people like you: FREELOADER. You should be hunted down and beaten up."
Thought the Eighth: "I hope Oliver didn't hear that, otherwise I might have committed an assault, in which I placed him in reasonable apprehension of imminent bodily harm.
Thought the Ninth: "Oliver didn't hear that, you dingbat. He's a figment of your imagination."
Thought the Tenth: "So, if I died and left a gift where Oliver's life was the measuring life, it wouldn't work, because he's clearly not a life in being."
Thought #11: "Michael, you're gone. Far gone."
Thought XII: "This lasts much longer, you'll have to start drinking."
Thought #13: "I had a damn Labatt's the other night with Anonymous."
Thought 14: "No, we mean hard stuff. Like martinis."
Thought #15: "But I wonder if I'd want an olive in it. Oh, crap, not this again."
Anyone out in barland who's got the PMBR red books think that questions 101-150 are just unaccountably always tricky, no matter what the subject?
Every time I take them, my score goes down.
Do they say, we'll start with easy for the first 50, then go to the harder ones for the second fifty, and then the really hard for 101-150, and then back off a little for the end?
No, wait, it's PMBR. That should be phrased as:
Do they say, we'll start with incredibly difficult for the first 50, then go suicide inducing for 51-100, then go to the so cruel and unusual even a Gitmo detainee couldn't be forced to do 101-150, then ratchet it back down to suicidal level?
Just wondering. I'm interested in anyone else's take.
Note To Self, Because I Will Remember Where This Is Later
I might explain it at a later point. I might not.
Constant = 85
Goal = 103
Friday, July 15, 2005
Why I'm Mad About Harry
Despite the fact I've not read a Harry Potter book yet (although I've been told I should, and maybe I'll start interspersing them into my Mount TBR (to be read.))
It's pictures like this that make me like Harry:
Will you look at that? Youngsters, screaming like my mom did at a Beatles concert.
Is it for a movie star? No.
The Buckeyes? Nope. (In that costume, they'd be Wolverine fans, anyway.)
It's because THEY'RE EXCITED ABOUT READING A BOK.
How utterly wonderful is that? "aaaaaaahhhhh! We get to read Chapter 2 next!!!!"
And Now, For Something Completely Different
The Detroit Free Press has a fascinating and lengthy article on Eminem, whose current tour may be his last.
I'm not a rap fan at all. And I'm not a huge Eminem fan, but a few years ago, after reading in Slate how completely repugnant and yet how totally talented Eminem was, I caught up with "Slim Shady" and a few of his other songs, and was fascinated by how the man packs his lyrics together...and they work. I guess my feelings towards him is that I now understand what people mean when they say, "I don't listen to him a lot, but boy, he's talented."
The most fascinating comment for me in the whole article is the notion that "Eminem has now been front and center of America's culture for nearly seven years. The Beatles were there for six."
That's huge. (But, I'm sorry, Eminem on his best day would be fortunate to be playing in the same STATE as the Beatles.)
Anyway, I try to keep current on all sorts of interesting things, and I thought that was fairly interesting.
Oh, My God
Just rereading what I posted earlier this afternoon. Namely:
"Feinberg wants us at 65-70% by gameday."
Note there were no quotes to indicate that's Feinberg's quotes. I basically adopted it for myself and as my own.
Oh, good. I'm starting to talk like Feinberg.
This can't last much longer, guys.
Things That Make Someone Eleven Days Out From The Bar Feel Better
Today is Friday, which is the beginning of the weekend.
For most people, "weekend" signifies two days of relative rest from obligations.
Of course, not for someone taking the bar! Heavens, no.
Yesterday was sort of a good day/bad day. The bad was I couldn't get a lot of work done, couldn't get much inspiration to work at all, actually. Nonetheless, I seem to be picking up some property stuff and got 27/50 on the second 50 PMBR questions, whereas before I'd gotten 25/50. I do feel like it's coming together.
The good was I got to see and talk to a few people I haven't talked to in a while. Even so, I sit there with this dazed look on my face.
On one of these bar websites, someone said there are all sorts of studies on what taking the bar does to you emotionally. I'm suffering from something, which is quite unusual for me, where food just doesn't sound as exciting anymore. Odd. I'm not sure what it is, if it's a mini-depression or whatever.
Anyway, I think Sunday I'm going to take the PMBR practice 200, 'cause that'll structure my day knowing I'm going out to dinner then that evening w/a friend of mine.
My parents are picking up my brother from camp in Michigan today and will drive through Toledo. It's my hope they don't decide they want to see me and stop by unannounced and uninvited because (a) as mentioned above, this apartment is frightening (I'm going to do some work on that today, too; (b) I'm not in the mood to see ANYONE right now and (c) I need to get stuff done. I'll see them Monday night, when I have to run home for a meeting.
But if they do stop by, they'll be licensees, to whom I'll only owe the second-highest degree of care.
Oh, and I'm also hoping to implement scheduling for the Michael Bassett Post-Bar World Tour (which will actually only hit two cities), coming in August, 2005.
Now, here's the contest: any tour has a catchy, witty tagline. Insofar as I'll be just coming off this hellish experience, I'll be trying to relax, and be carrying a load of books with me which desperately need reading....tagline suggestions, anyone?
OK. Off to get showered and get to work.
Why is there a piece of curved macaroni on my floor? For that matter, I don't recall the last time I had curved macaroni.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Insomnia? Take The Bar!
Seriously, I just want to tell you, if you're having trouble getting to sleep, why not go through three years of law school and take the bar.
Now that's not because this stuff is boring -- although, I assure you, there are very few things on this Earth less exciting than negative reciprocal easements -- but rather because, by the end of the evening, you are mentally exhausted.
Heck, it's not even by the end of the evening. As I tucked into my last seventeen multichoice questions tonight, I didn't know that I'd make it. (Although, make it I did.)
The sad part of this is that most all the trenchant and enlightening observations I've been thinking throughout the day I was going to share with you have deserted. I can tell you that I decided my life is really sad today when I passed a PMBR flashcard and couldn't help picking it up. This was confirmed when not only did I pick it up and read the question, asking me to describe the three defeasible fees, but when I could answer it. (Fee simple determinable, fee simple subject to a condition subsequent, and a fee simple subject to an executory limitation. Yeah, that'll teach you to ask next time, wiseacre.)
Sorry, the whole thing can make you a bit punchy.
And, if I'm not careful, I'll look a little paunchy by the end of it, too. I've become in the past several days a pleasure junkie. Now, this doesn't mean I'm out chasing some high or anything, but an evening visit to Starbucks is a frequent part of my schedule. Today, I decided to take myself out for lunch at the new Italian restaraunt at Franklin Park. It was really the first real meal I've had in a while, and I went all-out. I ordered appetizer, salad and lunch. Well, appetizer turned out to be on this huge plate and came with my lunch, meaning I had these two huge plates of food and looked like a glutton. (And NO, I didn't finish the whole thing, so I'm going to have dinner out of the transaction. :) )
I got 26/34 on Evidence today. This was perfectly thrilling.
I'll close with my quote for the day, relevant for more reasons than I'm going to go into right now, but I think it's bleeping brilliant. It's from the Mother Jones articles on domestic violence:
"Twenty-five years ago we had a notion that we were organizing to change the system. Then this funny change happened, where instead of us advocating for what women needed from the system, we started adocating the system to women. There has to be a new confrontation of what's going on."
-- Ellen Pence, founder, Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
There's someone who knows what she's talking about.
Ladies and Gentlemen, This Is My Life
In case you're wondering whether I deserve sypmathy, I submit this question, which is of the type I'm contending with:
Blackacre and Whiteacre are adjoining tracts of land located in Fillmore County. In 1988, Bix purchased Blackacre, a 10-acre tract, in fee simple absolute. Whiteacre, a 20-acre tract situated to the north of Blackacre, was owned by Wing, in fee simple absolute. Cobb, a remote predecessor of Bix, had granted to Zorn, a way for egress and ingress across Blackacre under such terms and circumstances that an easement appurtenant to Whiteacre was created. This right-of-way was executed by deed and properly recorded. Zorn, however, never made any actual use of the right-of-way.
In 2002, Wing conveyed Whiteacre to Bix. The next year, Bix conveyed Whiteacre by deed to Dowd for a consideration of $250,000, receipt of which was acknowledged. Neither the Wing-Bix deed nor the Bix-Dowd deed contained any reference to the easement for right of way. Dowd has now claime dthat she has a right-of-way across Blackacre. Bix, on the other hand, has informed Dowd that no such easement exists.
Assume for the purpose of this question only that both Blackacre and Whiteacre abut a public highway and that ingress and egres are afforded Dowd by that hgihway. In an appropriate action by Dowd to determine er right to use the right of way across Blackacre, she should...
The frightening thing is, I got both questions related to this fact pattern right...
Want To Dine With Me? Prepare To Contend With An Email Like This
A few weeks ago, a friend and I made tentative plans to have dinner at Ciao!, one of our favorite restaraunts which is just up the road from where I live (and won't live after July 31), sometime in mid-July. So, my friend wrote me yesterday, politely suggesting if I wanted to, we could make plans for Ciao!. I replied thus:
The great Winston Churchill once said:
"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."
In that same vein, this bar candidate is prepared to dine with you at Ciao!. Whether you are prepared for the great ordeal of dining with a bar candidate at Ciao! is another matter.
No, seriously, I'm not that bad. OK, I'm kind of bad. I went to a wedding this weekend and it was sort of the first time I'd been around lots of nonstressed people for a while, and it was a novel experience. Michelle, a friend of mine from HS, found great amusement in it.
But I expect a diversion would be good. Don't expect to spend too much time at my apartment though, or get much past the front door; if you saw the state it is in, I am convinced you would fall to the floor weeping and wailing, and I shall not have time to correct this, I don't expect. I will, however, shave. I try to do that occasionally, if only so I don't completely forget how to once I pass the bar and get a job. (See, that's optimism right there.)
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Today is the last BarBri class. Which I'm just fine with; it's sort of a Mark Twain "education getting in the way of your studies" thing...I'll be glad to have the extra time to hone in on those things I'm not quite sure about yet.
But it's more than that.
In just a few minutes, I'm going to get in my car, hang a right onto King, a left onto Bancroft, and a right onto Secor for what may well be the very last time. (I've not been studying at the law school for reasons I won't go into here, and I don't mind studying at my apartment.) So, after today, there won't be much reason for me to go back to the law school.
Which is, y'know, a place where I've spent a considerable amount of time. Researching my appellate brief first year. Wrestling with strict scrutiny, interemediate scrutiny, and the right of lesbian partners to adopt. Trying to understand commercial paper. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
I've spent a large portion of my life in that building, and after today, I won't be back very much at all.
But it's even more than that.
Today marks a demarcation. Probably the last classroom I'll sit in where I'm taking a class in anticipation of a test. Probably the last classroom I'll take a class in. I mean, from here on out, it's CLEs at a bar association meeting.
I tend to note transitions in my life. I said when graduation rolled around in May, it was sort of thhe end of twenty years of formal education, but this really is the end. In a way, the recollection I have of the headlight beams shooting out of the school bus's lights on my very first day of Kindergarten in August, 1985 and my trip to and learning in Corporations today is all part of a seamless web that is at its end.
And this all sounds rather abstract, but that's where my head is.
That, and mercilessly enjoying watching people call for Karl Rove's head. :)
Anyway, I'm off.
About This Blog
WMTtB Domestic Violence Resources
Who I'm Reading
A Girl Walks Into A Bar (exam)
Eve-Marie's Legal Insanity
Lack of Scienter
Obsessive Law Student
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