Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Are We There Yet?

Not too long ago, I was Facebooked by a friend of mine, who I shall name CrazyCanadian, because she is, well, a Crazy Canadian. Perhaps it may aid you to think of her as part frat boy, part socialite, part genius, and part just insane. But in a good way. Usually. When she's not getting me thrown out of places. (Yeah, I'm looking at you. =P) She pointed out that I currently had a blawg that had nothing about law school. In my defense, I'm not actually in law school, which means that I don't have much by way of up-to-the-minute content that some CrazyCanadian some people may want to hear.

At this point I'm sitting in the back seat, playing with my game boy and idly looking up on occasion and asking "Are We There Yet?" I know, of course, the answer is no, because the car's still moving and I haven't caught sight of anyplace that I'd particularly want to be. My lease won't start until the early days of August, and, as such, I'm simply crossing day's off of the calendar, waiting for the day to head on down to The South and pick up my key.

Till then, I've been occupying myself with learning new dishes to cook* (such as Teriyaki Salmon and Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo), spending exorbitant funds on UVA Law Apparel (Under Armour is too expensive >.<), working on my DDR skills, and reading law school related materials turned up by my mother. Currently I'm reading a book concerning how to do well on law school exams.

Despite whatever lack of eagerness I brought to the affair of reading what looked prima facie (heck yeah, I know Latin) boring as heck, I'm actually really finding it interesting. Which is making me start to wonder: is this how gunners are born? Rather than genetically bred to walk among and terrorize the normal law students in some deep dark government facility, did they just start reading up early on stuff and actually start to like it?

I find it unlikely. My perspective so far is that it's not necessarily the acquisition of knowledge or even the demonstration of said knowledge that makes a gunner a "gunner." I think it's all about the way one goes about it. So, while I do find what I'm reading in this particular book to be quite useful and engaging, that doesn't mean I'm going to go and condescendingly look down on everyone who doesn't use or agree with my methods.** I will, of course, be judging you inwardly.

I think that I'll walk in to my first day of class very prepared (after all, I'll have had nothing else to do with the previous 2.5 months). I don't think I'll fear Cold Calling, will find The Reading all that bad (which isn't to say it'll be fast or easy), or will have a hard time keeping up with Class Discussion. Odds are, I'll probably wind up sitting in the front of the class, because it keeps me focused (and goodness knows, the Demons of Distraction on the Internet are everywhere)***. I'll raise my hand a lot and participate because it helps me remember the class material. I'll be doing everything they say gunners do. But I'll do it nicely.

I will be the non-evil gunner. Because, honestly, the gunner who isn't evil is actually just a kid who gets an A. And it's about time I started getting some more A's.

At least that's what I tell myself, as I prepare to scratch another day off the calendar and wait for the end of July.

* PS: Ladies, if you want a guy who knows how to cook and clean and will be future Dictator of the World, feel free to email me at TheSharklord[at]Gmail.Com to set up a date. First 10 women to respond get their name on a country, in Sharky's New World Order. Note: This offer is not valid to SmartArt, RIA, or CrazyCanadian. SmartArt, you won't be able to appreciate having your name on a country as I will have you locked immediately in a dungeon where they only play Ke$ha on repeat 24 hours a day. RIA, you don't need any additional fodder for your already inflated sense of self-worth ("I can't be expected to drive!" "Give me your law school acceptances!" "Buy me a Bugatti"). CC, I feel like you'll just ignore me and do whatever you like anyhow...

** Those who fail to comply with my methods will, ultimately, be forced to live in dungeons after I've established my New World Order, which, more than likely, will be after I graduate law school.

*** Don't lie to yourself. You spent at least two minutes on one of those links before finishing my blog post, didn't you?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tell Me Who's Watchin'?

First off, you should watch this. See if you can spot the money you could be saving if you switched to Geico.

I know the video may be corny and low budget, but as a marketing major I'm drawn to all advertising curiosities. And low budget or not, it's hilarious.

Now, on to other business.

One fond pass-time of mine is to watch the movies. Growing up, my father and I would always watch the new films as they would come out (we still do). I've tried to get out as much as I can to the theaters lately, though this has been hampered by my lack of cash flow. Nevertheless, I got out to see two movies lately...


The A-Team

It would be dishonest of me to claim that I grew up watching the original show, but I've seen enough clips and references to be able to appreciate a remake. If nothing else, I know the iconic opening credits. I have to say, this was a pretty darn good movie. It managed to find the golden balance between the ridiculous and the campy. Also, the A-Team of the movie was lead by Liam Neeson, and, let's be honest, he spends all of his time in movies kicking butt. There are few movies that I would be willing to watch twice in theaters, but this would be one of them.

The Karate Kid

Another good remake. Certainly worth the watch. I had to roll my eyes at some things though...
  1. Looks like Will Smith couldn't kick the habit of having someone do a rap number after the end of a video he was (indirectly) involved in. Stay at the end of the movie to hear little Jaden Smith drop some sick verses with--wait, really? Justin Bieber?! Oh that's some bull... Responsible dads don't let their sons promote or profit from "Bieber Fever."
  2. These kids are wayyyy to little. I think that the kids who were in the original movie were all in high school, so they were somewhere in their teens. Dre (the new Kung-Fu Kid) is 12. It's hard to become engaged in Dre's love interest with a shy and musically gifted Chinese girl when you feel like a pedophile for watching the two of them kiss.
  3. Slightly related to #2: The fighting is absurd. I actually winced watching the Kung-Fu scenes in the movie, partially because the hits were extremely realistic and partially because THE KIDS ARE IN THEIR TWEENS. What happened to the ethics Barney taught us? You didn't see the big purple dinosaur land a devastating kick to his enemy's chest which would be sure to cause a fractured rib and internal bleeding. It was like the original Karate Kid meets Never Back Down. At times the "bad guys"--the lead adverse love interest of the Girl plus his two main thugs--seemed hard to believe, as they came off very much as snotty rich kids. That is, until they laid Jaden Smith out on the apartment playground like he was wet laundry out to dry.
COMING SOON: What I most want to see!

Trailers for coming movies that I have to watch...


When this movie is released in IMAX 3D peoples heads will explode. The CGI is pristine beyond belief. The nerd in me is going into cardiac arrest with excitement.

The Last Airbender

Okay, well at least M. Night. Shyamalan isn't making more horror movies with odd twists at the moment. Based on a popular animated series from--guess where?--Nickelodeon, this looks baller.

Despicable Me

A Supervillian with delusions of grandeur? Doesn't sound like me. My grandeur isn't an delusion.

Scott Pilgram vs. The World

It's a video But not a movie based on a video game. A movie BASED ON AWESOME. The E3 2010 video game trailer for this movie is so cool it gets added too, below:

Enough for now. Let's move on.

COMING SOON FOR GAMES: Why I might trade gaming for sleep as my non-library activities this year!

My other love is gaming. I like games in general, but I don't often find myself willing to finance Microsoft's bid to take back the world from Google by buying games for my XBOX 360. That may change as E3 is currently running and I'm seeing a whole lot of gaming in my future.

Halo: Reach

It's Halo. Enough said.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

Because, let's be honest, who doesn't want to shove a hidden blade into his or her enemies sometimes?

Portal 2

The Coolest Game Ever Made RETURNS! And yes, I mean it's even cooler than Halo. SmartArt, I know you think I'm obsessed, but...well, no I am.

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

Being the car enthusiast that you are, RIA, I expect you to buy this game.

And, because I'm tired of finding and formatting YouTube links, we'll adjourn.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Notes to Passers By

To whomever found this blog because they searched Doctor Who on Google:
You, sir or madam, are awesome. And have incredibly good taste.

To Google Analytics:
Thanks for making a service by which I can display uncanny powers of intuition and all-seeing knowledge, all by checking stats on a website.

To Nobody:
Thanks much for putting me in the roundup!

To NoMan:
Why did you poke my eye out???

[Law School Journal #2:] Standing on the Edge of Oblivion

Chapter One: Preparation is the Hardest Part

It is the summer of 2009. By some sheer grace of God and sweat, blood, and tears, I’m now looking at a somewhat less troubling GPA. I find myself in a position remarkably similar to last year: I returned to work for my old department, in the same location. My room is not far removed from my original habitation. I am on the internet looking at law schools. My chances, despite my improved GPA, look slim. I begin to stumble across the websites that many aspiring law students find themselves browsing: “Top Law Schools,” “Law School Predictor,” “Law School Numbers.” I refrain from asking too much about my chances: I already know they are poor.

Every year, thousands of hopefuls set their sights on law school. With the economy being the way it is currently, the opportunity cost of getting more education is at a shockingly low level. Nevertheless, the legal market has long  since succumbed to the weight of far too many students coming out of law school for far too few places to work.

It has been a long time since when my mother went to law school. She went to a strong school: what aspiring law students would now call the "T-14." She describes from her experience the school administration could cheerfully promise that everyone who graduated from the school would find a job, and it was simply a matter of determining how cushy a job one would get. Gone, it seems, are those days.

The law school application process is a lot more forward thinking, I think, than in my mother's day. Applicants now are no long simply fixed on the strengths and opportunities of the schools themselves but also on that all important question: Will going to this school get me a job in 3 years? With the costs of law school attendance continuing to rise, pushing the total cost of school shockingly close to $200,000 in 3 short years, plus the weight of interest, going to law school seemed to become a business decision, a risk analysis. Learning for learning's sake was well and good, but only if it paid off with employment. Or at least, that's what I learned on TLS.

A year after having decided to consider law school, I found myself in a better position than before, certainly. I would hesitate to say I was in a "good" position, but I certainly was in a better one. I had worked hard in my classes, harder perhaps than I had ever needed to in undergrad. It has paid off, and I had my best year by far. Now as I sat in a very similar position thinking about my future, I exposed myself for the first time to the world outside of my door. I logged on to

TLS, as the frequenters of the website call it, is a forum for but aspiring and current law students to meet and socialize about all things having to do with school. At the time of my first log-on, I didn't stay long. I don't know if I even bothered to generate a user name and password. If I had known how much time I would spend poring over the forums, seeking to extract the all-important pearls of wisdom from the waves of alarmism and overly opinionated commentary about nothing of import, how it could so easily consume a man, turning him into an obsessive follower of every thread vaguely referencing something of interest, I might have been appalled. At the moment, though, I was innocent. At the moment, though, I was sane.

A condition, I assure you, which would not last.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Doctor Who: My Obsession

This post is about me gushing commenting calmly about Doctor Who. It has basically no law school content. Ignore if you wish.

So, I can't wait to go to law school, but I also can't wait for Saturdays (or Sundays, when I actually watch) when Doctor Who comes on.

There are those of you who perhaps don't know what or who Doctor Who is. For those of you for whom this is the case, I pity you. Essentially it's the ongoing story of a human-looking alien who can travel through time and space in a spaceship which is stuck looking like a police box. A police box that's bigger on the inside. Essentially he just runs around being an interstellar baller. Doctor Who is also the longest running sci-fi show in the world. This is a gross over-simplification, so you should go here to learn the full extent of the awesomness that is Doctor Who.
Doctor Who is by far my favorite TV show ever, as it simultaneously gives me incredible sci-fi story telling, heart wrenching drama, brit-wit, Brit accents, ridiculously awkward but incredible Doctors, and gorgeous/hilarious/generally awesome companions. Now, it may be that I'm a sucker for accents in general, and particularly for Scottish ones, and I have a deep abiding appreciation for red hair, but I think Karen Gillan is amazing. Or I think Amy Pond (Karen's character) is amazing. One of the two. Amy Pond wanders through the ridiculousness that is the Doctor's day-to-day with hilarious incredulity to it all. I have to say, I hope I wind up going through law school with the same attitude.

The Series 5 (which is up to its last 2 shows!) Trailer:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

[Law School Journal #1:] Enter the Law Student


The year is 2008. I have just finished my sophomore year. It is the early portion of summer. I am sitting alone in my temporary summer lodgings: a room in a part of the Quad foreign to me. I have just started my first summer working for my University's Conference Services Department, hired as manager. The weather is already blazingly hot, but the personal air conditioning holds the heat at bay. I am at my computer.

I did not always want to be a lawyer. Indeed, most of my life I had fervently opposed the notion. My mother was a lawyer in private practice. She worked long hours, and there would be some periods during my high school years when our respective schedules would be so busy that I might not see her for days. My mother worked hard and earned little for her efforts. I had spent long days with her at her small office before I was old enough to stay home alone, and had learned then that this was not the life for me.

In the summer of 2008, I found myself sitting alone in my room. Just a few weeks earlier, my grades had come trickling out of the long pipeline that was the final review and tallying of all of my accomplishments over the previous semester. The grades had not been good. A look at my transcript would not have suggested that attending a top law school was in my future. At that moment I wasn't even focused on the possibility of law school. At that moment I was fixated on the terrifying reality that if I didn't manage to make a change, my chances at employment were shot. That in itself was saying something. I went to a strong undergraduate business school, and I started my four year stint with the shining figure of $80,000 fixated in my mind. This was the average starting salary of a graduate of my school.

The figure was something of a fallacy to me: I was a marketing major, not the option which brought with it massive rewards in exchange for massive time commitments. My choice of major ensured that I would have the opportunity to keep my creativity, though I might never reach as high highs, financially, as some of my classmates. Add to that the recession, which by now was more than a notion, and the view among business owners that marketing was a luxury which could be cut in lean times. With my transcript, my theretofore lackluster resume (in my opinion), and these conditions, I was coming to realize that I would be happy just to scrape together any internship next summer, never mind a dream firm job.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what led to my lackluster showing after my second year. I would not say that it was lack of trying. Perhaps it can be best described as an “incorrect application of my talents.” I had spent my high school years doing well: I took hard classes, but still managed to be successful enough to get slightly over a 4.0 cumulative QPA. “QPA” stands for quality point average, a GPA weighted to account for APs and Honors. Perhaps I had always believed that I could manage to do “just well enough” that I could always manage to scrape by. Perhaps I had forgotten that my goal should always be to shoot for an A, and accept a B only as the exception rather than the rule.

Perhaps, I thought, I wouldn’t be staring at these C grades.

The air outside was hot. My face was grim. My future looked bleak. Unfortunate circumstances, but an auspicious evening nonetheless:

This was the evening I decided to go to law school.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nice Guys [Law Students] Always...

So I was wandering through my Facebook feed, when a link to a friend and former group-project-teammate was posted up on her website's blog. You may or may not agree with her comments on any given post, but the blog got me to thinking about various topics...

"Nice Guys" in Dating, and Life in General
First off, if one is a nice guy, is it really that easy to change? I would consider myself to be something of a Nice Guy. In general, the people I'm close friends with find me to be understanding, fairly selfless, and willing to listen (evidence to the contrary notwithstanding). Odds are, I will eternally be one of those people who hear "I just don't want to screw up the great friendship we already have." As an interesting aside: Have you ever noticed that whenever An At Least Mildly Attractive Girl Who Is Actually Just A Friend is trying to set up The Nice Guy with the At Least Mildly Attractive Girl Who Is The Love Interest, that the former finds it hard to believe why the latter wouldn't want to date The Nice Guy? For "Just A Friend," The Nice Guy is everything a relationship partner should be (sensitive, caring, understanding, funny, etc.), but if "Just A Friend" and "The Love Interest" switched places, their positions towards The Nice Guy would switch too!

The Romantic Interest of the Nice Guy can automatically change The Girl from "You'd make such a great BF!" to "You'd make such a great BF(F)!" It's like Schrodinger's Cat. By Observing (having an Interest In) the change her. Wild huh?

My friend says in her post that she struggled to decide exactly what to tell her guy friend who was asking about how to meet folks in that she didn't want to taint his Niceness by turning him into a "cooler" but more a-holish version of himself. I have a suspicion that'd be harder said than done. A common fallacy (I think) among (some) girls is that guys "can be changed" for better or for worse. Despite touting phrases like "you can't change a man" they nevertheless try to bend the rules, just a bit, just this once. It's my opinion that it takes a longggg longggg time to manage to change someone's personality: Any changes one sees in short time are simply cosmetic.

But that's enough of that. Back to Law School.

"Nice Guys" in Law School
Does it pay to be a Nice Guy in Law School? In what is described to be a super competitive landscape, riddled with so-called Gunners, is being nice in the Law School World a liability? Is giving someone the outline that you sweated and labored over the entire semester so as not to be driven to insanity by last minute writing stress stupid? Despite what happy-go-lucky movies may say, altruistic acts don't always pay dividends (though if you're looking for dividends, you're exercising false altruism...). I will say this much that I know from past experience. At my Undergraduate Business School, we heard rumors upon acceptance that the place could be cutthroat, that no one helped anyone. Turns out that was about as wrong as one could imagine: We needed each other. We worked together in groups all the time. If you had, indeed, been an a** you would be hated, shunned, and ultimately thrown under a bus come peer review time (as I did to one particularly awful teammate at the end of my undergrad career).

If there's one thing that I've learned so far, it's that to successfully learn the law, you need other people. Whether it's because you're running a study group or you're being collectively grilled by way of the Socratic Method, the law is a complex animal which one person alone cannot hope to defeat. Unless he/she has multiple personalities. Who all got 170+ on the LSAT. So, perhaps for once it's a good call to be a Nice Guy. Because it's a lot better to share the love (and the outlines) and get some in return than to always go solo and be a Gunner on your own.

Because no one likes a Gunner.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Law School Blogging "Story Mode"

As I start to pick through One-L, I grow envious of those people who have enough discipline to do things like keep journals which they can convert into long selling, super popular books among the law school obsessed. Perhaps I should be recording some incredibly gripping anecdotes about how Professor So-And-So systematically broke one of my academic arch rivals through brutal use of the Socratic Method. After all, it's can't be too hard to dramatize the mundane events of daily life," I typed, eyes fixed on the bright laptop screen in the semi-darkness of a room that was already too hot without the addition of energy-inefficient incandescent bulbs. The date was June the 5th, meaning that it was less than two months until I would be accepting my keys to the apartment that would be my lair for the next 3 years of life: my law school experience. Law School...the mere mention of the words sent tingles down my spine. Was it excitement? Fear? Would I be prepared? Would it be me who would provide the fodder for the professors' cannons? Would I be the one who would be crying, huddled in a dark corner of the library, drying my eyes with the pages of a case book that had betrayed me, hidden its precious secrets from me. Why did Law School have to be this way? Why did it have to be so hard about it after all? I imagine writing a good Law School Novel is taking one part truth, one part changed names, two parts summarizing of experiences, and a whole barrel of drama.

Good thing that LS has plenty of all in supply.

Look forward to the first Law School Journal coming to a blogshelf near you soon!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Everything You Thought You Knew...Is Wrong

"You don't sound like a law student." 

Something like that was what my mother calmly informed me the other morning. I suppose that's not entirely inaccurate. I do have a propensity to ramble on about things, often I fail to get to the point. Perhaps that's something I should work on.

In a continuing effort to become the Ultimate Law Student, I decided to procure the infamous Scott Turow book, One L. I haven't opened it up yet (just bought the thing yesterday), but from what I've heard in passing, it'll be a horrifying portal into the world of a beleaguered law student who is making his way though 1L at Harvard.

Sounds like a fun read!

I can't say that I know exactly what will comprise the book, but I'm sure it'll be dramatic. Another similar book, for someone who is looking for things of this vein is Ivy Briefs, which is more contemporary, and features a student at Columbia Law.

In Other News, Filling the Apartment: I Can Haz Furniture?

After a truly startling outlay of money in a truly remarkably short period of time, I'm truly pleased to be truly receiving the first of my truly awesome furniture. Packed into extremely heavy boxes, I think it'll be extremely fun to set it all up; however, just like Christmas, all of the boxes have to be undisturbed until I arrive in Charlottesville. Dad has been kind enough to not be opposed to securing power tools for me, which is good, because it's probably going to take a day and a half to set up the furniture in the place. There are perhaps some among you [pointed look] who might consider my furniture choices to be extreme, but you were probably the same people who were incredulous of me when I simply decided to install some computer speakers for my PC...Don't judge me. Let me have my super-futon in peace. =P

On the Friend Front...

I should start introducing you to my friends. Though I'm increasingly wondering how anonymous this blog may be (as it's read by so few people that I can be fairly certain that most of you read it b/c you've been referred by something connected to my actual person and I'm not terribly guarded about the details of my life), I will certainly allow my friends to remain nameless.

By which I mean I'm going to start coming up with nicknames for you guys. Eventually I might do bios, but anyhow, here's what I've been up to.

Anyhow, since I've nothing better to do, I've been keeping up with old acquaintances.

Flyboy: The Soon-To-Be-Naval Aviator

Went over to Flyboy's house a few days ago, and learned that I may not be too bad at shooting things, at least with a BB gun. Flyboy has a magnificent backyard--the woods of his town--which though its overgrown foliage, big trees, and copious amounts of poison ivy would make a great place to shoot a jungle war movie (minus actual jungle-climate plant life). Flyboy's little brother, who we'll call Frank, Bill, or whatever else Flyboy and his older brother are calling him at any given time (don't ask why, they just give him random names) went out to a wooden jungle gym that was built out in the woods a way from the back porch and strung up cans at varying lengths, creating the perfect shooting range for me to hone my skills before I descend deeper into The South where everyone shoots things (or so the rumors go). I have to say, for not having used a BB gun before, my aim wasn't half bad. Maybe I should drop LS and start playing Duck Hunt professionally.

SmartArt: The Art History Girl

Have we hung out, lately? No. Why? Because she's been running around Europe looking at museums. I love you. But I hate you.

RIA: The Ridiculously Infuriating Asian

What have we been up to? Good-natured bickering. Essentially that's all we do, it's just defined by the places, times, and methods we do it. A note to you, RIA: 1.) Un-restrict your number. It's confusing to me. 2.) You WILL learn to text message. 3.) STUDY FOR THE LSAT. Honestly, must I chain you to the table? Hmm...I feel like I saw a website for that kind of thing... 4.) I updated the blog! Happy??? 5.) Don't bother complaining about your inclusion in this post, you must be this tall to post comments to this blog. [Holds arm at 4 feet]

NewYorker: The Kid From...New York.

Got dinner with NewYorker after he got of work yesterday. It's something of a tradition of ours, to eat, and commiserate about law school. It's truly good for the psyche but bad for the budget: going to Pod every time one of us got a response back from a school was an expensive proposition, especially considering NewYorker applied to like 50 billion schools.

Anyhow, remember these names and more to come...I'm sure they'll be back.
This blog is updated approximately whenever I feel like it. Those of you who expect some kind of schedule will be sorely disappointed, and probably don't realize how scatterbrained I am.

© TheSharklord. Yes, I reserve my rights. Look, touch, but do not steal. Or I will find you.