小北的不老歌

Monthly Archive: April 2007

Book Review

On the heels of my confession that I couldn’t let go of any opportunity to put one more feather in my law school hat, I decided to compete for yet another feather. The Law Review recently sent out its invitation for Book Notices, which are essentially student authored book reviews, to appear in our annual survey of books, typically volume 6, along with the professor-authored book reviews. This is another chance for a student editor to publish scholarly work, and I wanted to give it a try. Of course, like any other law school feathers, this one must also be earned with quite some effort: first I will have to write a proposal, then it will be up to the book review office to select from a pool of proposals which ones to publish, then, if I get lucky, the review has to be written, reviewed by the board, edited, and bluebooked.

My inexplicable competitiveness aside, the main reason I wanted to write the reviews is because the books I have in mind happen to touch upon issues that I deeply care about. Both are written by American legal scholars on China. One explores the history and modern practice of China’s death penalty, and the other examines the modernization of China’s rule of law and its implications for China’s global competitiveness (there’s that c-word again). Reviewing either one would be a fun summer project and a chance to learn more about my home country, in addition to the summer job, and grading 1L writing competitions.

In the not-too-distant past I resisted the idea of writing a China-related paper. I didn’t want to be seen as taking advantage of my nationality and ethnicity in getting something published–It wouldn’t be hard to infer that an American student isn’t really serious about his academic work if he goes to study in China, only to produce a paper about America, and I didn’t want to be seen that way. But now I figure I have to start reducing my level of ignorance in Chinese law sooner or later, so might as well start now.

火车上的胡思乱想

考完前两门以后立刻往家赶,可以在家里住一个星期再回学校去考最后一门《英国法史》。回家的火车上连续看了数集《the practice》以后无事可干,才发现这个学期过得慌慌张张的,不是在安娜堡和芝加哥之间奔波,就是在课业和杂志社任务的压迫下喘息,一个学期过下来,却不知道学了什么东西。如果说有什么长进的话,应该是对自己矛盾心理的一点认识。

一向不喜欢那些有了一点成就便吹成旷世奇功并要告知天下的人,自己却无法坦然地放弃任何一个做出哪怕一星半点成绩的机会,虽然不知道最终是要做给谁看或者是要证明什么。有时候盘算着第三年杂志社的审稿工作会轻松一些,是不是多出来的时间可以用来参加个模拟法庭或者再写篇论文什么的,要不然去公共辩护律师那里做个实习什么的。想着想着就觉得很烦自己,法学院弄个毕业是很简单的事情,找个像样的工作也不难,为什么会有强迫症一样要去做这些折腾自己的事情。然而又想,如果念法学院就是简单地为了找份工作挣点辛苦钱的话,那么人生也就可以简化为吃喝拉撒睡这么几件实事了,其他一切的行为,如果最终不能落实在提高吃喝拉撒睡的数量和质量上,就没有去做的必要。如果人活得这么实际,那也是件很可悲的事情。

胡思乱想间,火车驶入芝加哥车站。没有想出任何答案的我匆忙把散落于座位上的书收拾好,连同我的问题,一同塞到书包里去。

学期尾声

学年结束的时候杂志社会举行一次面向一年级学生的写作比赛,以此来选拔下一批法学评论的成员。今天编委会的成员开会讨论比赛组织事宜,有人为参选者的成绩单是否应该在各门课的分数之外另外标上总平均分这点事争论不休——也难怪,把一帮法学院学生关在一个屋子里想没有争论都难。好歹最后折衷决议通过,大家散会了事。

开会时百无聊赖中想到离学期结束只有不到两周时间,要赶紧开始复习。这个学期有点空闲时间都忙杂志社的乱七八糟的事情,几门课学得有一搭没一搭的,临近考试还把课本落在了芝加哥,于是想起考试就头皮发麻。

有一种很矛盾的心理。一方面觉得课还没选够,很多有意思的课都来不及学,比如专利法,第一修正案,遗产法等等;另一方面觉得课已经上够了,从小到大一直在上课,就连上班的几年也捎带着上课,有些厌倦周而复始的开学,上课,复习,考试的周期。好在明年就要毕业,不算计划中一学期的实习的话也只有最后一学期的课要选了。

和以前一样,计划明天开始停写blog,复习考试,考完后解封。

冒个泡

接近学期结尾了,杂志社的事情也总是忙不完,周末往芝加哥跑了一趟,在家里呆了24小时就又要往回赶,来回路上倒是开了8小时的车。回学校的路上再次遭遇大雪,不得不怀疑全球变暖是不是唯独把密歇根给漏了,否则怎么会四月份了还使劲下雪。到了学校心说谢天谢地总算安全抵达,却发现证券法课本放在家里忘了带回来。

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小南上课很积极。

Weekend

Finally, I got to do a few things over the weekend other than 1) reading articles, 2) reading casebook, and 3) making outlines.

I got together with some of my tutees from last year and went over some material from their property class with them. Not surprisingly they also found the chapter on future interests, including the rule against perpetuities, rather confusing, as did I last year. Tutoring students is a lot of fun, and I got to be good friends with some of them.

After that a friend of mine and I wandered aimlessly in the quad trying to figure out something to do for the Saturday night, and eventually decided to watch a movie. Noontide showed up shortly thereafter, joyfully hinted that two guys watching a movie together on Saturday night was somewhat pathetic — I was about to invite him to join the pathetic endeavor when I realized he was going to have dinner with this beautiful girl from my sec reg class — beautiful by my standards anyway (my standard, according to another friend of mine, is entirely off the mark, but, noontide, if you are reading this, kudos to you, and save all the just-friends crap).

The rest of the evening was rather uneventful. I checked my mail for the second time in a week, and found a starbucks giftcard from my summer firm. That gave me about an hour’s worth of stuff to do: $25 worth of free money in hand, my friend and I rushed to the nearest Starbucks store and went on a shopping spree, consisting of two coffees and one brownie. Before we left the store, we were offered a stale (but FREE) vanilla cupcake — before they were about to throw it out and close the store. I happily took the free offer and ate the cupcake with gratitude.

At about 6 a.m. Sunday morning I woke up with severe stomach pain, and after several runs to the bathroom I felt much better, at least well enough to meet a professor, a number of current students and one prospective student for brunch. Maybe the free cupcake wasn’t free, after all.