Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Law School: Day 3

At some point I do intend to write something other than law school stuff, but since it is so new and the lead in to school took a year, I think it's worth a few posts here.

That being said, it only took 3 days of class before the first game of solitaire popped up on a laptop and someone was on facebook chat.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Law School: Day 2

Today was much more substantial than yesterday. I had four classes and actually got a taste of the Socratic Method.

I got called on for the first time this morning in Torts. It was something I had been quite anxious about. I didn't really know what was going on when it happened, and by the time I did know, it was over. In retrospect, it was quite unremarkable and not worth the build up. Much like my first time having sex!

Seriously though, it was nice to have that experience over and done with. It was also nice to see really smart students from really expensive, elite undergrads totally clam up. Not that I wish harm on others, but it eased my fears of failure.

I also feel quite older than everyone else. Back when I was in school, a laptop was a rare item in class. Maybe that's because I went to CSUN and no one could afford that sort of technology. But the incessant tapping of note taking is quite annoying and also quite amusing when it crescendos to a peak when the professor says something of import.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Law School: Day 1

OK, maybe it wasn't that bad. I didn't get called on today, but I almost wish I had just to get it over with. I have four classes tomorrow, so there's a better chance I'll get grilled.

Friday, August 22, 2008


As if law school wasn't a big enough deal, they have to prepare you for it with an orientation...but wait...that's not enough. They need to prepare you for the orientation - get this - with a pre-orientation.

Now, I did find out a lot of helpful information and was fed a lot of great food (something that I never got at a state school during undergrad). I also got to meet many new friends and future colleagues.


I drew the line when I had to sit in a class room for an hour while an administrator took us on a tour of the USC Law School web site and its features. Seriously. School hasn't even freakin' started yet and we're researching cases and writing case'd think we'd know how to browse a web site.

Looking around at the credentials of the other students being oriented, it was clear that I'm on the bottom wrung of academia compared to them. I don't toss words like 'fellow' and 'dissertation' around in casual conversation. I enjoy reading books, usually at home or on a long plane trip, but you'll never, ever, find me in 'the stacks'.

That being said, if I got sick on campus, I could fairly easily assume that I would visit the Student Health Services Center, and if I wanted to work out (not while I was still sick...duh!), I would visit the Student Recreation Center. I'm confident I could find those buildings on a map, or even ask for directions if I was totally lost. No need. I received a personally guided walking tour of the campus. If I could figure this stuff out, no doubt Mr. Rhodes Scholar next to me can. So why waste all those precious man-hours on common sense stuff? How about a mock class using the Socratic method, or an in depth work shop on case briefing?

I think my orientation leaders (who were forced to do the tour) felt the absurdity of the whole thing and, to their credit, made the best of it by padding the tour with good advice.

Not that I'm bitter. I can't think of a better place that I'd like to spend my last few days of freedom before the storm hits than at the campus where I'll be spending the next 3 years of my life, getting to know the people that I'll be spending more time with than my own dear wife.

I shouldn't complain as USC is a great school and I'm privileged for the opportunity to attend. And as banal as parts of the orientation were, it couldn't be nearly as bad as attending that other school in L.A. (sorry GPG), who sent me their letter of rejection today, 10 months after I applied.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Just Did It

To follow up on my blog almost 3 months ago (and just a little ways down the page), my lovely wife and I made it up to the top of Mount Fuji. It was an exhilarating journey that started around 4pm when we left our hotel room and walked to the bus station. Upon arriving at the station we realized that our bus tickets were sitting back at the room. In the rain and crowded Tokyo streets, I ran back and picked them up, returning just minutes prior to our departure time.

We couldn't get a direct bus up to the start of the trail, so we ended up in Kawagutchi, the town at the base of Mount Fuji, and took a shuttle bus up to the 5th station (about half way up the mountain). During our 45 minute layover, we decided to get one last meal at the station. We were hoping for something substantial, but with the only choices being udon noodles or horse meat, we settled for the noodles.

We finally arrived at the 5th station around 8:30pm and after buying a $13 flashlight at the gift shop, hit the trail. There were only a few other hikers that we passed, or that passed us, during the first few hours of the hike. We were advised to bring lots of water, so between the two of us, we had 8 liters of water and 1 liter of Pocari Sweat. Little did we know that there were several stations, or huts, that sold water, soda, even beer and sake along the way at reasonable prices.

Around 1am we hit throngs of Japanese tourists and slowed our progress immensely. The trail was usually 2-3 people wide, but was congested so much that we would take a few steps then stop. This continued on all the way to the top. We made it to within a hundred feet or so of the top for the sunrise and stopped to take some pictures.

I was sure the views from 12,388 feet would be spectacular, but I didn't expect to find a fully functioning restaurant, vending machines and vendors selling warm coffee and hot chocolate. That made the 6 liters of water we were still carrying that much heavier.

After hiking through the night, and feeling the strong, bitter cold winds at the top, we opted not to hike around the rim of the crater. We sat for a minute and then hit the descent trail. From there, we had a good view of the line of hikers still trying to summit. We finally made it to the bottom at 8:45am, around 12 hours after we started. Our feet were sore, we were hungry and ready to sleep. Our breakfast consisted of soft serve ice cream, a melon cream soda, and a steamed bun.

After getting lunch at McDonald's back in Tokyo, we arrived back at our hotel at 1:30pm, 21 hours after leaving, then promptly slept till 8 the next morning.

There is a saying in Japan that "a wise man hikes Mount Fuji once, but a fool hikes it twice." I think I fall somewhere in between, considering I carried so much water up and back for nothing.