Saturday, July 30, 2005

I am now officially unemployed! and a thought on law books

Yeah! Wahoo! Weeeeeee!!!!!!!

I can't believe it. I had my exit interview yesterday and I shipped my work laptop back yesterday. And I feel so free. And a little bit irresponsible. Since kiddo was at preschool yesterday and DH wasn't busy. I took him to the campus and we visited the law building, I went and yelled at financial aid, and we perused the campus bookstore, where I was happy to see, they were stocking the Fall books.

Not that it matters... we don't find out which section of which class we are in until the last day of orientation. Sigh. It's a ploy so that we have to buy our books at the bookstore. So it is. While I was looking at the books I couldn't help but be gobsmacked by the ENTIRE WALL of study aids and commercial outlines. Holy cats! That had got to be a huge business for those publishers. I think what was most astounding to me was that the commercial outlines in most cases were actually as big or bigger than the actual casebooks..??!! How is that supposed to help you. And the other study aids were no light reading either. I think in my naive world I thought that they would be short readings. Surprise.

Then for grins i looked at the 2L and3L books. My only lasting thoughts were 1) wow, I'm going to be reading until my eyeballs fall out and 2) I'm going to need to get vision coverage again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A plug for Mozilla Thunderbird

I love it. Can I tell you just how much I love it. I'm a huge believer in open source software. Thunderbird delivers a viable alternative to the icky Microsuck Outlook. I downloaded it to my school laptop a few months ago with the intention of using it for our family email addresses and eventually my school email. I've been toying with it for the last few weeks and it does everything I need it to do and then some.

The only features that I haven't played with yet are newsgroups, rss feeds, and themes. I'm not really into newsgroups and, for the moment, Bloglines seems to satisfy my rss agregating needs. And themes, meh, i'm happy with the vanilla interface.

And a nod to gmail for enabling their free email accounts with POP3. So I can now retrieve my gmail inside of Thunderbird as well.

I also have the calendar extension. i've been messing around adding imaginary schedules and so forth to it as well as to do items. And it works like a charm. I'm looking forward to giving it a real work out when school starts.

So anyone who is tired of virus problems that are inherent to Outlook, jump ship and try out Mozilla Thunderbird.

And if anyone is using any open source software that might be useful for school, please let me know. I'm always looking for something new to try.

Monday, July 25, 2005

There's a fine line between being prepared and freaking yourself out.

And I think that I might have crossed it last night. I have been slowly working my way around Introduction to the Study and Practice of Law in a Nutshell. I tried to read this one in April, but the first two chapters just didn't grab me. I started looking at it again last week and peeked at the table of contents and have just been reading random chapters that sound interesting. It has a fabulous section on study tips and briefing.

So last night, I tried briefing a couple of the example cases that the book provides, and well, it didn't go well. I was just dead wrong on the issue the first case. And then I had the right direction for the issue on the second case, but my issue was way too general. Sigh. This book really emphasizes rewriting the reasoning in your own words. And man, that was pretty tough too. I guess the good news is that I got the operative facts and the holding. But then, that's kind of the easy part isn't it?!? I do have to say that the book is pretty good. I liked their briefing strategy better than anything else that I have read. It seems like a good fit for me. And I liked that they give you a chance to brief a case then give you an example of a good brief for it, so you can check your work. It also tells you how to start asking good questions about the case, hypos etc, so you can understand the issue better.

In any case, when i went to bed, I was filled with insecurities. Should I be able to pick out the issue now? Or is that something that you learn to do in school. Based on how the socratic method works, it seems like I should be able to pick out the issue now, else I would get slaughtered in class.

I'm trying not to get too worried about it for now. I am supposed to receive a packet of info from the law school this week containing my first day's assignment. Our first week is an "intro to law" course. So maybe I'll pick up some of the knowledge that I seem to be lacking then?! Maybe. I hope so. Tonight I am going to read the section on Legal Writing from that same book.

On a lighter side. I met a couple at church yesterday that are both attorneys. She fnished school a year ago and clerks for a state supreme court judge. He just finished school and is clerking for a federal appeals judge. In any case, they told me to make sure to give them my book list and whatever study guides I thought that I might want to buy. And that if they have any of the books or guides, I can just have them. Huzzah!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

At last, at last, at last! I'm online at home.

It only took a whole freaking month, but at last, I'm connected. Sad, a bit, isn't it? At least I won't spend the last week of working at the public library. Which while I am thankful for the free connection was really not an ideal place for working.

And on a further pathetic note, having a connection finally makes the house feel complete. Too bad really, i've been reading loads more than usual with nothing to surf in the evenings. Maybe I will have to limit my usage? who am I kidding?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

More book reviews and a revelation

I picked up Law School Confidential from my library and gave it a partial read. Honestly, anything pertaining to 2nd year, I skimmed. I figure I've got to survive first year first. It wasn't bad. Although I don't really think it was useful to waste ink telling me to get a good bed.

I actually liked their briefing schpiel. I'm not a big highlighter person, but it really broke down each piece of what I need to know, and I liked that. But that was about it. I didn't really feel like the book spoke to me, the kind of student that I am.

I reread The Order of the Phoenix this weekend to refresh my memory of what happened before I read the new book. I actually liked Oop better this time around. The first time I really didn't enjoy it at all. But I kind of liked it this time. I think Harry's moodiness put me off the first time. But for whatever reason it didn't bother me this time around. I didn't liked that Sirius died. I wanted Harry to have some connection to his past that was meaningful. But this time around I thought that it was fitting for Sirius to go. It just didn't seem like his life was going to be very meaningful hiding out in that nasty house. I dunno. Just my impression this time around.

And I just finished the new Harry Snotter. I won't say much about it for the sake of those who haven't read it all the way through yet. I loved it. I really did. It was much better than the last one, which now seems like a "set up" book for this book. I liked how quickly this book moved. I liked that it was 200 fewer pages. And I liked this newer slightly more mature Harry. He's coming into his own more, which I think will be the whole point of the next book. I can't believe there is only one more left. *snifff* Oh well, I've got another never-ending series to hang onto when the Harry Snotter's are done... the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. Now that's the ultimate in freaking long series... where no one ever actually dies... they always come back, and if you don't like the main plot, no sweat, pick any one of the 14 major subplots. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, precious little. They are good books, really. But don't bother picking them up until you know he's done... 10 books so far and I can't see them finishing anytime soon.

And now for something completely different... I start school in less than a month. When did this happen? Holy cats! I'm getting excited. I just bought a big pack of my favorite pens. Exciting stuff, I tell you. And only this week and next of working! Yeehaw! I'm almost a 1L!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Why Earthlink sucks!

I suppose that I should start off by saying that I know that my dealings with them are probably a very small minority. Probably lots of people have Earthlink and love it... In fact about 5 years ago, we had Earthlink and loved it. But that was then and before off-shoring. And let me tell you, it's very different now, and I am mad as hell. I haven't used this blog for this kind of thing before, but I think it will be somewhat cathartic to tell total strangers why Earthlink sucks!

Before we moved to law school city, I called and set up a DSL order with Earthlink. I explained that we were moving, that I needed connection by a certain date etc... No problem, you're ordering early, so no problem. 2 weeks later, we arrive in law school city... um, they haven't mailed the router yet. So I call and

Them: there's a problem with your account.
Me: OK.
Them: Well, the phone isn't operational yet.
Me: Right, remember how I said I was moving... The phone is operational today.
Them: Well, it will take another 48 hours or so to connect your DSL.
Me: But you haven't sent my router yet, so even if you get me connected in 48 hours, my router is still 7-10 business days away!
Them: well, it's our policy to not ship a router until we have an active phone line.
Me: Well, when I called before, why didn't anyone tell me this. I explained how I needed service on a certain date, and it was supposedly no problem.
Them: well whoever you talked to was wrong.
Me: So, can you upgrade shipping on my router, so I can have it faster?
Them: No.
Me: #@$%!^%$#^%$$6

We ended the call with them saying I should call back in a couple of days to see if the line is active.

Fast forward 2 days, DH calls them:

DH: So is my line active now? And when is my router getting here?
Them: Um, we don't show your line as active yet... and we can't send the router until it is.
DH: So can you upgrade shipping?
Them: No.
DH: Because it is en route?
Them: No, because we placed an order with UPS letting them know that we are releasing a router "soon".
DH: But you haven't actually given them the "go ahead and ship it"
Them: Well, no, your line isn't active
DH: So, you can't upgrade the shipping because...
Them: Because it's our policy.
DH: Hmmm... I want to talk to a supervisor.
*holds 15 minutes*
Them: This is supervisor, what's your problem. (rather rudely)
DH: I want shipping upgraded, here's my story.
Them: Sorry can't do it.
Ends call

We call a different provider and find out that not only can they give us faster DSL, but they can also give us a honey of a deal in two weeks.

DH calls Earthlink back:
DH: Cancel my order.
Them: Why?
DH: Are you serious? Repeats story.
Them: So you want to order service (I'm so not joking)
DH: I want to speak to someone who's native language is English.
Holds for 20 minutes...
Them: What do you need (still non native English speaker... but at least seems to understand better)
DH: I want to cancel my order.
Them: we'll give you $10 off your first month.
DH: Cancel my order now.
Them: Ok, cancelled.

1 week later, we receive a router in the mail from earthlink, they charge our credit card with our first month of service. DH calls:

DH: Um, what the hell
Them: Oh, we don't show your order being cancelled.
DH *bangs head against the wall*. On x date, I called and cancelled.
Them: Oh, we must have had a glitch
DH: Well get it off now... and refund my credit card
Them: Can't refund your card until you return the router
DH: Send me a shipping label
End call

A week later, we call new DSL provider with good deal and start to hook things up only to discover that Earthlink still has a hold on our DSL loop that was activated 5 days earlier. DH calls earthlink.

DH: Why are you still holding my phone line hostage and adding service after I told you to stop?
Them: Well, we only cancel service at the end of the billing cycle.
DH: No one told me that, and we've never used your crappy service. We only had an order, that was NEVER filled before we cancelled!
Them: That's policy.
DH: I want you off my phone line, now!
Them: sorry
DH: Want to talk to manager.
Them: manager: we can't do it
DH: Bullshit, you can.
Them: we'll override it, it will take 3-7 business days.
end call

We received the return ship label Saturday. DH is calling new provider to see if line is free now. Keep in mind that each time we called Earthlink, we had to wait at least 20 minutes to talk to someone, often being transferred to several depts... always talking to someone in India.

In the meantime, we still have no internet connection at home and I have been working this whole month from law school city's public library. God bless their wireless internet.

My company does tons of offshoring... and in short it's a pain in the ass. It's slightly better than it was two years ago, but still totally inefficient... and it tends to piss people off who are already on the edge. Offshoring sucks!

Earthlink! You suck. --- End rant. and I feel a little better now.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

So, we're finally here

And I am lacking in excitement. I can't say that everything that could go wrong did go wrong... but it sure feels like it. For starters, when we had our wonderful Penske truck filled up with about 80% of our belongings, we realized we had about 40% more stuff left to fit in. Um, whoops. Uh yeah, we had to make some pretty hard decisions about what would be left behind. The sad part is that I really believed that we didn't have that much stuff. Sigh. Live and learn.

The next lesson/highlight of the trip was sharing the Penske cab with my 2 year old and DH. Don't do this. If you have kids, ride in a separate car, heck, get grandma to fly with your kid to the destination city, but don't ride all together. Gah! I wanted to shoot myself about midday the second day. How do you explain to a two year old why you can't go home right now, anyway?

We made good time. That's about the nicest thing I can say about the actual trip. When we arrived, we didn't have enough help unloading, yeah, that was fun. And we've been in our house one week and one day, and I still don't have anything but the bedrooms fully unpacked.

Oh, and yes, we have no internet service. I would badmouth Earthlink here but I am unwilling to give them another thought. In the meantime, we are waiting for another DSL provider to get us hooked up.

So, I am "working" today from the basement of my in-laws home. Lovely. And I've got a list a mile long of what I need to do at school in order to not be turned away.

On a happier note, I am now re-reading Harry Potter book 5 to my delight. And my daughter is in love with her preschool... thank heavens for that.

Look for a cheerier post in a few days when I get all my stuff put away and begin to feel more like myself again.