Saturday, September 30, 2006

Westside Orcaz are notorious killers

Within half an hour of sitting down to start a paper I found myself on Granville Island getting lunch and then walking across the bridge into downtown. All in all a productive day.

As if to emulate Seattle's fish-tossing Pike Place market, they'll lob arugula over your head.

Would you like boat service with your groceries?

Some high-altitude, high-rise cactus grow-op?

Paul Auster's head explodes.

Senseless, gang-related graffiti.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Athens, you're on notice

In law school, I find that the first day of October tends to be scarier than the hallowed last. You begin to realize that these term papers don't write themselves, and even if they could, I would hardly trust a sentient pen to understand all the complexities of provincial regulations, no matter how impressive the penmanship.

So I'm starting to "think about" (future meaning: "bill for") these three essays I have to write this term. For EU law, I'm having a bit of trouble deciding on a topic, just as I can never decide which European country I like the best. (It's not Greece though, I got scammed there.) In Land Use I'm aiming for an earth-shattering paper, meaning I'll be writing about earthquakes and their "impact" on BC law (it's best that I exhaust these puns now, trust me). Also, that way, in the aftermath of any such event, doubters of the Big One will come across this B- paper and remark, "we were warned about this litigation!" (But I seriously hope I get a better mark.)

For Appellate Advocacy, it's a factum instead of a paper, and we have a choice between two sets of facts: The first, a criminal appeal involving a guy hiding under a car... or an immigration dispute featuing more exotic facts like the nation of El Salvador and gang members. I'm going with the latter factum, and I can tell you what's quickly becoming my favourite Central American country.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Least downloaded podcast

A while back I made reference to my involvement in various media forms apart from the internet. Last month's publication of The National put me into print and demonstrated that claims I resemble a young Michael Stipe are a bit exaggerated. But now, with a new radio announcement, listeners can discover that I also, in no way, possess a similarly honeyed voice.

To wit: the Law School has managed to get airtime on venerable university station CiTR 101.9FM, and along with my Law Revue partners-in-crime, I'll be hosting an episode or two of a new half-hour law-based program, "Radio Hearsay." Or more specifically, after subtracting commercials, music, disclaimers and the contributions of my co-hosts, it might about 10 minutes of me talking shop. But the funny kind.

The show is still in developmental stages, and I as well as the other students involved have yet to be put through the production lessons, but rest assured that when we go on air, you can hear it too: years of cost cutting at national universities has not yet prevented the school from discovering podcasting - we'll be global.

And yes, I've taken notes from at least one podcast, so Guinness World Records are set to fall.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Zack Morris, a man for all seasons

I love the fall in Vancouver. Sure, summer's great, but summer is nice everywhere - no, you really separate the weak from the chaff with autumn. Still green, still warm, still raising the ire of Eastern Canada. The great autumn equalizer, however, is TV premiere season. No matter where you are, thanks to impractical Canadian Content television standards and U.S. programming, you can enjoy some good TV.

So far this season I'm accountable for The Office, Grey's Anatomy, Survivor, The Amazing Race, and a random, weekly selection amongst the Law & Order offerings. My favorite premiere so far has been The Office, doing its best to carry the torch snuffed so early for Arrested Development.

And because Grey's was good, I'll forgive the glaring anachronism of playing a Gnarls Barkley song during a flashback scene from three years ago. Remarkably, this was on the same day I saw what can only be described as a "reverse-anachronism" in a 1993 episode of Saved By the Bell: The College Years:

Zack: Hey Kelly, do you have my Pearl Jam CD?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Approaching the offramp

How strange: on the very same day I decide to ditch my laptop on Tuesdays and Thursdays of the school week and instead write on a yellow legal pad for the one class I have - I come across this article about the history of the Legal Pad: Old Yeller.

Notable facts:

  • in 1888, legal pads came about using the unwanted scraps from mill floors, thereby eliminating one possible source of where high lawyer bills come from.
  • not being recyclable and therefore distasteful to cost-cutting firms, the yellow colour is being phased out, meaning now you really have to wonder about those high figures.
  • the website this article is from, Legal Affairs, describes itself as a "magazine at the intersection of law and life," placing mine, I wonder, at the turnpike?

Your subscription fees just went up

If this blog were a newspaper, you probably wouldn't feel like you were getting a lot for your money. Two sections, Entertainment and Lifestyle, delivered with frustrating infrequency, and the odd Future Shop insert (The Proposition is out on DVD today, go get it!) But at least for today I can add another section, Cuisine, which I've really only done once before.

Of course, this post may only be of interest to those actually living in Vancouver, (as opposed to, say, the universal appeal of a post about a case I read somewheres in some class), but I'm willing to accept that.

Because Primo's Mexican Grille is such an amazing find. It's a quaint restaurante tucked away on 12th avenue in South Granville, and if you're tired of sea-based food (or, "seafood") then it's the perfect place. It's got the kind of atmosphere a lot of restaurants would pay muchos pesos for, and though I can only vouch for las fajitas on the menu, all the choices looked great. It would be easy to attribute this love to my recent immersion in the Tex-Mex novels of Cormac McCarthy, but there's something about the place that makes it an easy recommendation, a certain yo no se cual.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I blogged at that waterfront too

Being deeply under the weather this past weekend, I resigned myself to doing the week's reading in advance, with the odd Harry Potter flick playing in the background. (I must remember that since being on the cover of a magazine, these are dangerous admissions to make.) Anyway, pained as I was already, I wasn't helped by the readings themselves. Securities Regulation reading is simple enough, like first-year Economics where authors had you believe the economy could be boiled down to a couple of intersecting lines.

On the other hand, European Union law reading is particularly gruesome. It's not that its immensely difficult to distinguish between the myriad layers of this new government (European Council vs. Council of Europe... go!), it's that each page is actually two pages. You've seen it before - the casebook is slyly put together so that one page reproduces two pages of a flattened textbook with already small print. It's like playing limbo with font sizes. Suddenly, 10 pages feels like 100.

The last time I did this much European Union reading was on a ferry sailing across the English Channel in 2003. I was returning from an educational field trip/unofficial brasserie tour of Normandy and meanwhile preparing an essay on the UK's reluctance to jump on board the Euro money train. I went on to present the topic in my typical anti-all-things-powerpoint style, using Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Richard II as a prime source. No, really.

Though, what I remember most about that ferry ride was that I turned down the chance to see the movie Chicago on board, and am still strangely glad to this day that I haven't seen it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Or Dentistry without the lollipops

In years past, the first month of law school played out like summer camp. You met a lot of great people, signed up for fun activities, knowing that in a few months, you'd have to write a legal memo and study for days on end. (Or did I just go to the wrong summer camp?)

This year, things seemed to have changed. First years have a much more intensive curriculum, but we third years also seem to have a fair bit of work during the term. And it's not actually as bad as one might think. I've always been an advocate for regular assignments throughout the year - it just seemed like disingenuous preparation for this type of career, like med school without the cadavers.

For instance, I have weekly assignments for my Appellate Advocacy course. At each weekly AA lecture we get an assignment, a quick talk and then have the week to work on it. (Although, condsidering how short the class, is it's really just an AA meeting. "Hi, my name is Ryan Austin and I haven't had a successful trial in ten months.")

Initially I was worried that because Trial Advocacy wouldn't work with my schedule, taking the Appellate level might not be as useful as it could be. I've since realized that it's just as useful, and there's a certain logic to it as well:

If a trial ever goes so badly, there'll be no shock in that, but when we get to the appeals, well, then it's my time to shine!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Exit cat from bag

If you mill around any Canadian law school, you're likely to find a few copies of a certain magazine amidst law firm pamphlets and unsold Law Revue 2006 DVDs (place your order below!) Your natural instincts would tell you that any free magazine is perhaps not worth the paper it is printed on, but thankfully, that's not the case with National. The CBA's in-house magazine's articles are always topical, and particularly helpful to lawyers and law students alike. Plus, I always liked how they publish in English and French in the same issue - if only for how it irks those out West who hope the French language cannot traverse mountains.

Now I have another reason to like the magazine - I'm in it! Or rather, to my great surprise this morning, on it. The cover. Full page.

A while back I was interviewed by Amy Jo Ehman for the mag about this here blog, and why law students in particular blog. I, of course, imagining that the handful of daily visitors who access this site might jump to a whole two handfuls of visitors, leapt at the chance. And, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. It's not too often that somebody recalls things you said months ago positively. (I also like the title of the piece, LL.Bloggers, which is a pun I'm surprised I hadn't yet employed.)

The guilty pleasure of this whole thing, of course, was that I got to do my first photoshoot. (As if subsequent offers of further shoots are yet to come.) Prominent Vancouver photog Robert Karpa arranged the shoot near the Vancouver waterfront at a streetside cafe - which, don't know you, is where I write every post... Thankfully, the area around Canada Place is a hotbed of pent-up cruise-ship tourist activity, so being photographed like that wasn't such a rare sight.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the piece. I regularly visit the other sites mentioned in the article, so it's nice to be in good company. And perhaps this whole thing might bolster my claim below and elsewhere, that I really sorta look like R.E.M.'s lead singer circa 1983.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What's the Frequency of this bus route, Kenneth?

I've been through 4 of the 5 classes from this term so far and, since I'm not expecting any nasty surprises from Appellate Advocacy, I can say that this term has the best selection of classes I've taken since first year. It's like an artist's supreme return to form, instead of just going through the motions on previous efforts.

The bad news is that somewhere between the classes I managed to lose my bus pass. It's the kind of surprisingly generous benefit from the school that makes average civilians enroll in one university class and dropout just to avail themselves of cheap bus fare. But now it seems that someone may get the opportunity to ring that bell simply by finding my card.

I suppose I shouldn't make too much of it - it's a minor fee to replace it and the card has photo ID, and friends will know that the only person who could reasonably pass themselves off as me is currently in Georgia reuniting with his original band.

Still, in the unlikely event that you see Michael Stipe riding Vancouver transit, tell him I'd like my pass back please, and that I agree New Adventures is immensely underrated.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The suspense won't kill you

Tomorrow's the last first day of school. Abbreviated though it may be with one class and a BBQ, I thought it was worth mentioning. That way, in years hence, if I break my promise to never, ever go back to school, I can at least look back and enjoy some mild irony.

I ended the summer in style up the West coast, where I finished two books in one weekend, meaning I should have time to finish Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy sometime next May. At least in the meantime the Coen Brothers should have their adaptation of his most recent book out, No Country For Old Men (!) It was one of my favorite reads of the year, and there's no part of the movie description, "ultraviolent neo-Western," that I don't like.

I'll keep this post short because, er, it's a school night. However I can say that in the coming days I'll have some exciting developments to write about, namely things having to do with radio, magazines and me.

See you law peeps at school tomorrow, enjoy some Elevator Music.