小北的不老歌

Monthly Archive: October 2007

万圣节的会

非常非常喜欢杂志社编委会里Articles Office里一起审稿的编辑,也只有这些人才知道大家万圣节晚上都不会有什么安排,约着开会总结一年来的工作。今晚凑在一起,两个多小时的会,说说笑笑不知不觉就过去了。一共六个人,一年来共同读了近三千篇稿子,经常一起买了饭在地下三层写着我们的名字的小黑屋子里边吃边为了某篇文章争论得面红耳赤互不相让,也都曾在课当中被拉出来紧急审稿说是斯坦福那里据说要抢发offer了然后大家同仇敌忾地一边飞速阅读稿件一边痛骂斯坦福杂志社做事不地道。从一开始互不相识,到后来无话不说,想来不过几个月的事情。

一年的工作基本做完,明年二月就要把传了一百多年的接力棒交给下一届编委会,某好事之徒搬来板凳爬到顶着天花板的书架最上一层去搬下来法学评论第一卷第一期,掸去积攒了不知多少年的灰,想考古一下1903年第一届的Articles Editor都是什么人日后都何去何从,却没有找到任何线索,到是法学院(当时还叫法律系)在杂志上的一则广告让我们乐了好一会儿。

lrad
一个多世纪以前的招生广告,好像门槛很低:有条件免试入学,高中学历即可,三年学制,学费每年三十五元(外州学生四十五),每年教材费不超过三十元。

一共六个审稿编委,都是很聪明很有默契的人,一起做事很开心,从不同的背景而来,有祖孙三代本校法学院毕业世代开律所的,也有学工程在汽车公司当过技术员的,还有家里从政铁杆保守派的;毕业去向也是五湖四海,有去西岸大所的,有回中西部老家当民权律师的,有明年去东部某知名法官处当助理后年去最高院基本确保的,还有留在本校接着念历史博士立志当教授的。

十年二十年之后,我们这群人不知又各在何处。临上法学院前陪一个朋友去北密她母校玩,去她当年在校报里当主编的办公室参观时她开始红着眼睛抹眼泪,当时很不以为然,觉得不就是一个学生刊物么,有必要那么感情丰富么。现在想想,恐怕是有这段经历的才知道里面的酸甜苦辣的。

三毛

不知怎么地,突然想起了三毛,不是那个流浪的三毛,是叫Echo的会讲西班牙语的那个三毛。

最早的时候很固执地把三毛和她的书和席绢琼瑶一并划为骗取小女生眼泪的大毒草类型坚决不闻不问,三毛去世的那年被后来的小女朋友拉着一起读了《哭泣的骆驼》以后才一发不可收拾,一本本地去找来读,幻想着三毛和荷西在异域的优雅生活,男生会潜水去捞地中海沉船里的东西还会去打渔带回家吃,女生会把在撒哈拉和东南西北欧这些事情一点点串成故事再心平气和地讲述出来,很惊奇地发现原来没有家长班主任学生干部管着的两人世界是可以这么惬意乐观而丰富多彩。

后来不知哪里的八卦说荷西这个人根本就是捏造的(一说荷西确有其人,但并非潜水遇难而是抛弃三毛而去),而三毛是自杀身亡的,原来阳光明媚的生活只是写给我们这些少男少女看而已,顿时鼻子发酸至于有种受骗上当的感觉,于是弃三毛携女友投奔武侠小说而去。再后来,对武侠小说的喜好如同中学生的早恋一样不可避免地无疾而终。但直到如今,还有几天就满三十,偶然读到沙漠里的故事时还是心里一动,不由自主地想到三毛,三毛的书,和那些早已经失去联系的儿时朋友们。

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另广而告之:昨天以来通过不同渠道不同方式表达了关注的朋友们敬请放心,小北没啥问题。昨天的话博大家一笑而已,别拿它说事,嗯?

Conversation

Never give out your password or credit card number in an instant message conversation.

阳光灿烂的日子 says: dude you there?
Groundhog Day says: yeah what’s up
阳光灿烂的日子 says: i am so bored. i want to start writing a book. but i can’t do it alone. you interested?
Groundhog Day says: err…. what is the book about
阳光灿烂的日子 says: some kind of semi-fiction. about law school. in chinese.
Groundhog Day says: if u r bored, help me cleaning my fucking camera
Groundhog Day says: i’v been doing it for 2 hours and it just keeps getting worse
Groundhog Day says: i’m really not a very handy man
阳光灿烂的日子 says: is your camera publishable?
Groundhog Day says: huh?
阳光灿烂的日子 says: your camera is not publishable. a novel is. that’s why i won’t clean your camera, and you need to help me write this thing
Groundhog Day says: but our styles are so different
阳光灿烂的日子 says: exactly. a novel, first person narrative, split personality
Groundhog Day says: what about
阳光灿烂的日子 says: law school. need a plot, complete with law school study, relationship, sex, violence.
阳光灿烂的日子 says: and at the end of the 3L year the dude can kill himself if you want.
Groundhog Day says: violence? i’m not aware law students are capable of that
阳光灿烂的日子 says: i am just saying… need all these things to get people to read.
阳光灿烂的日子 says: ok no violence. but need sex. sex sells.
阳光灿烂的日子 says: not interested?
Groundhog Day says: well… i don’t know what to expect
阳光灿烂的日子 says: ok never mind then… let me think this over

Tidbits from JJW’s Class

All from this morning’s commercial transactions class.

* * *

JJW: how do you find out whether Debtor has any collateral?
Student: you get a creditor report . . . from the IRS?

* * *

Student: Transferring a car to the Wife shortly before bankruptcy can be viewed as roughly equivalent value for the wifely services that the Husband got over the years.
JJW: Wifely services, huh. You mean the sex, right?

* * *

JJW: [asks some question]
[silence]
JJW: how come you are all sitting there saying nothing? Except those who don’t give a shit in this class.

* * *

JJW: What is the “regular course of business” exception under Section 547? The bank comes in with a shot gun and demands repayment of a loan or your head will be blown off. That would not be the regular course of business.

* * *

JJW: 547 is going to be on the final. So now you know why this section is so important?
[pause]
JJW: I apologize. Humor on the final exam is never appropriate for student audience. It’s been so long since I last took my exams. I appreciate the humor, you don’t. I apologize.

Sunday

My day really began at 2 p.m. in the afternoon, when the LR editorial board held its only meeting this semester. The meeting was unnecessarily long. I had always been intrigued by what would happen if you lock some of the smartest kids of the law school into a room and unleash them upon each other, and each time the LR holds a board meeting I get satisfaction—-out of watching my fellow board members haggle over a choice of word in a memo to be distributed to the associate editors, an inconsequential tweak in notification procedure, or some de minimis things like that. And today I was not disappointed.

To be fair, though, I like most, if not all, of the ed board members. Some talk too much, but that’s to be expected when someone has an overflow of intelligence and energy. And this is law school after all. In dental school they probably should teach the dental students to shut up when they drill holes in people’s mouths. But law school? Law students are trained to haggle over little things. And make outlines and solve exam hypotheticals.

Ok, ok, I know I am taking on a cynical tone here. I blame it on the book, Anonymous Lawyer, that I am reading this weekend. The paragraphs above are my meager attempt to mimic the grumpy, sarcastic, and anti-social tone of the book. I enjoyed the book so much that I managed to finish it in two days, along with a whole lot of other things that I managed to stumble through this weekend (ahem–someone knows what I mean). Some details about law firm life depicted in the book are eerily familiar, remind me of my days in the not-too-distant summer at the firm, and send chills down my spine. Other parts had me burst out laughing.

Overall I think the book is an excellent read, even though I don’t like the fact that I am now infected with the sarcastic tone — something I managed to get rid of some years ago. Then I checked my mailbox. A little vanilla envelope from the firm lay quietly in my 5×5 hole in the wall. “Welcome to the firm,” the letter said, “I am confident that you will be happy with your decision” or something to that effect. Perfect timing, I thought, and reached for the book again, flipped through it, and attempted to decode the letter really meant.

Resolutions

  • I am going to limit my alcohol intake (to prevent myself from turning from socially awkward into just awkward)
  • I am going to go all out on coffee (and the ERC will get most of my love)
  • I am going to pass/fail that evidence class (and burn my outline in the recycle bin, electronically speaking)
  • I am going to take that corporate finance class next semester (despite my disdain for anything “corporate” or “finance.”)

反差

昨晚无所事事,在四合院里闲逛间看见noontide正要去某处,扬言有威士忌可喝,于是同去同去。回来之后直到半夜的几个小时平均分摊给MSN,电脑游戏,无聊网站和对今晚酒会的憧憬。早上起来已然接近中午,接到另一个3L的邮件,说是好久不见,要不要周日去烧烤顺便喝点酒,考虑半天决定别把带酒的好事在一个周末享用完了,改约下周。于是放上音乐,捧着书边听边看。却又不太看得进去。明明是一门UCC的课却要单独一章来讲破产法,囫囵吞枣地翻看完,不甚得要领。证据法的条条框框大致摸熟,只是十分繁琐,不知能记得住多少。法律道德课的课本是基本没有动过短期内也不打算去看。

扔下书出去转一圈,看见另一个三年级同学西装革履大步流星地走着,好奇,叫住了问问有什么大事情,答曰要去监狱。他在上clinic的课,正要接手一个案子,客户是个犯人,在监狱里关着,不知是要上诉还是要假释。一直以来知道这个同学是立志要做公益事业的,现在看来他离目标又近了一步。试探着问问他是不是已经报名参加模拟法庭,果然是,下周开始捉对厮杀,现在正紧张地做准备工作。

正当我瞅着他锃亮的皮鞋琢磨自己的倒影是不是很渺小的时候,他好心地问:你最近在忙什么啊,怎么看起来这么累的样子?

我苦笑一声:没忙啥正事。不累,刚起床没多久,睡的。

凌晨睡前一位未曾谋面的朋友来信告知好消息,于是回完信后高兴地去睡觉。

早上被闹钟吵醒,闹钟依然是隔壁的,不依不饶地响了足有十分钟。懒得下床去隔壁敲门,翻过身抄起电话拨通隔壁的号,听见那边电话铃大作然后闹钟嘎然而止,轻轻把电话挂掉,继续倒头睡去,怎一个爽字了得。

心满意足地醒来后,煮上一罐咖啡喝下去,神清气爽地上课去也。接连第二天被点名提问,还是和昨天一样摸不着头脑的急转弯问题。教授提问:现在学的这个章节为什么特别重要?我支吾着不知如何回答。教授坏坏地给出答案:因为考试会考。于是哄堂大笑,我也面红耳赤地跟着傻乐。下得课来,再查邮件,发现这门课期中考试的答卷被当作标准答案保留,大喜。

午饭在校外和朋友吃饭,带回来Anonymous Lawyer这本书,很久以来都想读的,这个周末可以开始看。想到周末,打开手机看看这几天有什么事情要做,赫然入目的是: You don’t have any appointments。订的相机也正好今天送到,LX2比我想得还要小巧精致些,爱不释手,心里又痒痒周末去哪里试相机。

曾总是告诫自己:不以物喜,不以己悲。但发现这其实不对。一些不愉快的事情,过去就过去了,没有必要悲悲切切的;但是快乐地去想一些鸡毛蒜皮的事物,成天傻乐着也没什么不好。

Classroom diversions

The law school has blocked classroom wireless access since my 1L year, and since then I’ve become the master of solitaire and freecell. When I am not taking notes (likely due to some gunner engaging the professor in an intellectually stimulating way), I play these little games, and when I get bored I log off and log on the school network. This usually unblocks the internet for just long enough for me to open up a few web pages before the blocking system picks up the scent and blocks me again. And when I get tired of having to log on and off every 5 minutes (Ping, you know what happened today), I look at what other people do in class.

This is the benefit of being one of the so-called “back-benchers,” those who always sit in the back row of the classroom (yep, when it comes to seating choices, I am socially challenged like that). You get a complete view of the computer screens of the people sitting in front of you. In my 1L year I wrote about seeing a girl furiously typing “this is soooooooooooo boring” into her msn chat window during civpro (I later came to know her pretty well–apparently she borrowed someone else’s school login info to use during class time), and a guy playing Civ 4 in my torts class (now that’s a game that requires undivided attention). More commonly seen, though, are people like me, who play retarded games like solitaire and freecell, or religiously perform the log on/off ritual to browse the internet. Most people just get on the internet to check emails, read news, blogs, facebook, etc., but a few manage to do their online shopping in class too (last year I think there’s this one girl who obviously liked everything A&F).

But a recent find tops them all. The guy sitting right in front of me (apparently another back bencher–just not “back” enough) rarely opened his evidence book this semester. Earlier on in the semester, he was always frantically writing computer programs in class–not sure what he was programming, but the code looked pretty substantial. I thought that was weird, but it was good to know that I was not the only coder in law school. But today he didn’t even open his computer. He was reading a book throughout the hour, not the casebook, but a book with all kinds of equations and diagrams and what-have-you in it. In the brief moment that he put his book face down on the desk, I caught a glimpse of the title — and I kid you not — it’s this book called “Modern Quantum Mechanics.”

A post I should have read long ago

Professor Mankiw’s Blog: JD vs. PhD (in economics).

It took me three years to realize that a Ph.D. in economics was not for me, and I didn’t even have the guts to try the graduate curriculum in economics. After graduating with my econ and math undergrad degrees, I worked in another department from across campus, sat on my plans for an Econ Ph.D. for three years, then decided to fall back on the law school idea.

For those who are not familiar with the name “Mankiw,” he is a professor of economics at Harvard. His textbook “macroeconomics” is a classic — among the most widely used in U.S. colleges — and I learned (and admittedly forgot) my ABCs in economics through that book and my beloved professors at Maryland.