Monday, August 30, 2004

Dumb and Dumber, Pt. 2

UC Berkeley Idiocy of the Week.

I received the following e-mail today. Follow the bolded sections to discovery idiocy. I need to watch Office Space.

Date: Mon, 30 Aug 2004 18:25:29 -0700
To: Armen Adzhemyan
From: EFT <>
Subject: Electronic Funds Transfer




RF0001027890 08-14-04

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Blessed are the Meek


Jesus Christ: How blessed are those who know that he's of God. How blessed are the sorrowful; they shall find consolation. How blessed are those of gentle spirit; they shall have the earth for their possession. How blessed are those who hunger and thirst to see right prevail; they shall be satisfied. How blessed are those whose hearts are pure; they shall see God.
Spectator II: Hear that, blessed are the Greek!
Bearded Man: The Greek?
Spectator II: Hmm. Well, apparently he's going to inherit the earth.
Bearded Man: Did anyone catch his name?
Bignose's Wife: You're not gonna thump anybody!
Bignose: I'll thump him if he calls me "Bignose" again!
Wiseguy: Oh, shut up, Bignose!
Bignose: Ha, right! I warned you! I really will slug you! Saaah...
Bignose's Wife: Oh, it's the meek! Blessed are the meek! Oh, that's nice, innit? I'm glad they're getting something because they had a hell of a time.
Wiseguy: Listen, I'm only telling the truth, you have got a very big nose!
Bignose: Hey, your nose is going to be three foot wide across your face by the time I'm finished with you!
Spectator I & Spectator II: Ssch!
Wiseguy: Well, who hit yours then? Goliath's big brother?


Lawrocker offers the following advice to first years on how not to be a dick. Specifically at Number 4 he writes:

4. Thinking being a lawyer makes you better than non-professionals. We're in trade school right now. Becoming a lawyer at its basis isn't too different than becoming a licensed plumber, electrician, etc. Sure it is a lot more difficult to get into law school and we may make more, but in the end we are no better or worse. Don't forget that.

As the Monty Python quote above suggests, I'm all for humility. In fact one of the thrills of my life is learning from individuals regardless of their education, job, social standing, etc. Second, in dealing with people, there's no excuse for being a jerk.

[Stampy, Bart's Elephant from a radio contest butts another elephant when released at a reserve]

Marge: Gosh, I thought he'd be happier in his true habitat.
Warden: Oh, I think he is.
Marge: Then why is he attacking all those other elephants?
Warden: Well, animals are not like people, Mrs. Simpson. Some of them act badly because they've had a hard life, or have been mistreated...but, like people, some of them are just jerks. Stop that, Mr. Simpson.

[Homer butts the warden repeatedly]

HOWEVER, possessing a professional license and charging exorbitant hourly rates is where the comparison between lawyers and plumbers ends. I'd be hardpressed to find anyone who'd compare medical doctors to hair stylists (even though the process of obtaining liceses for both are not dissimilar). Well, if you graduated from Upstairs Hollywood Medical School, then you might qualify.

Jokes aside, someone is not better than anyone else by virtue of the degree they hold or the school they attended. At the same time, there's a reason why I haven't seen a video course offering on open-heart surgery. Don't be a dick to others, at the same time don't assume your knowledge can be acquired through a CD-ROM.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Boalt High School High

Setting: Tilden Park for a BBQ put on by the Enviornmental Law Quarterly. Three of us 1Ls from the same module are eating and having beer.

Cue snobby 2/3L: "You know I really wish there's something to say to people other than, 'Hey are you a 1L?'"

Cue asshole but slightly witty 1L who doesn't take guff from anyone (me): "'Hi, what's you name?' might be a start."

Next week I shall rush check out the International Law Journal. I'll let you know if it's a bunch of guys (as Tom said) "sitting around in a smoke filled room saying, 'Uh, I'll give you Cambodia for $80 billion. Yeah I think we can write that up.' Whereas here the people are like, "Um I like animals???"

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Daily Law School Planet

Boalt Briefs, a lieflet published on two sides of a single paper, is basically the law school version of The Onion. Naturally, it's hilarious. It reads in part,

Taking advantage of what she calls "Berkeley's vibrant and active criminal community," Prof. Angela Harris announced plans to take her first-year Criminal Law class into the heart of south Berkeley this semester.

"The truth is, we are blessed with a real-life workshop that most law schools simply don't have access to," said Harris. "with four homicides in south Berkeley in the last three weeks alone, what better time to get my students into the field?"

Dean edley expressed his support for the plan. "In many ways, studying criminal law in Berkeley is like studying art in Florence or history in Athens," said Edley...

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Le Voyage dans la lunacy

HighLordSchwartz: Here's a picture that I think might capture how you feel...

I personally think this is a bit too cliche. I think the first few days of law school are best captured by Edvard Munch.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Femme Futile

As I mentioned earlier, for the last few days I've been trying to create a contact list for 1L's categorized by module. I've been pleading, begging, etc.

Today in our module meeting with our Academic Support Program counselor, someone asks, "Are we going to have a contact list?"


Sunday, August 22, 2004

Dumb and Dumber pt. 1

UC Berkeley Idiocy of the Week

"You may pick up your Fall 2004 Class Pass at the Cal 1 Card office located in Lower Sproul Plaza, Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM, beginning Sunday, August 22, 2004. Please be sure to bring your Cal Photo ID card with you." (Emphasis added)

Fucking idiots.

(1) They were open on Sunday, outside of their business hours
(2) Lindy: ok, so in relation to your "class pass" article, (but not as funny), I am checking my school e-mail online. On the home page it has a heading "Campus Announcements" then below it is typed "there are no campus announcements" then that is followed by four campus announcements.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

"Let me show you something"

Foot in Mouth over at the blog of same name, offers the following advice on the law school application process. His advice is excellent and I believe every aspiring law student should heed it closely. However, I think there is one critical component of going to law school that he misses.

Going to law school straight from undergrad is the biggest mistake I have ever made. As Phil Carter once said to me during office hours, "No one should be allowed to go to law school unless they've worked full time for a year or more unless they have so much to offer to the legal world that the entire community would suffer if they didn't enter it immediately." He said this with a tinge of sarcasm as I had told him that I've applied to law schools and am in the middle of considering offers of admissions, etc. HE WAS AND STILL IS RIGHT!!!! Work after you graduate...go out and do something productive. Working at a law firm as a paralegal is the cheap way out I might add. This realization fully hit me in the face last night as I was having a chat at a bar with one of the people in my module. For three years or so after graduating he worked as a political risk consultant in the Central Asian former Soviet Republics (the Stans). As someone born in the former USSR and someone whose dad served in Uzbekistan while in the Red Army, I must say I was captivated. This is just one example. The entire class is full of people like him...each bringing experiences that are even more unique than others. I f you want to go to law school, you should be one of these people...succeed at whatever you do after you graduate, then see if changing careers to law is what you want to do. About the worst thing you can do is to continue on the assumption that you've always wanted to be a lawyer and that undergrad is simply a means to that end. While I didn't have this particular mentality, I have seen plenty who do.

Oh yeah and we even have an editor from US News and World Report...I'm assuming this is the paper that Foot in Mouth is referring to when he mentions rankings, but he keeps saying USA Today.

Friday, August 20, 2004


In my tirade against the technological devolution at Berkeley I failed to mention that there's no organized contact list of/for law students other than the campus and law school directories...which do not list such things as modules. I decided to take the initiative and form one myself. In my e-mail the Yahoo Groups Listserv, I also remarked, "P.S. I hate this numerical bull shit. I want the mods to have the Purple Monkey Dishwashers or Kwijibo (these are Simpsons references, so don't think I'm crazy...yet)."

Well one of the respondents remarked:

"Hopefully Mod 1 is doing a bit better in the numbers game now. Because that's all law school is: numbers. LSAT, which mod has the most replies, class rank, how many beers you can drink without appearing drunk, competition over starting salary, rank of law firm, how many hours you work, number of divorces, etc. Actually, it's all the bad parts of law school that are about numbers. Ok, now I support your idea of giving all of the modules real names. I'll try to think of one for what will soon be the mod formerly known as mod 1 and recommend it in class."

Let there be file sharing

9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today against the movie and music industries and in favor of file sharing programs like grockster. See story from AP. Also you can read the full opinion here

Modern Times

Or not. Orientation was yesterday. Aside hours of administrative information spoonfed to us at some god-awful hour in the day, the technological inadequacies of this school became OVERLY apparent.

[Warning, long rant/whining ahead]

And I'm not talking about HDTV flatscreen monitors in the hall, but purely internet access to academics. Right now Berekely has:

1. One website to access info regarding fin aid, registration status, refunds issued, etc.
2. One website to add, drop. change classes
3. One website to access your e-mail via web (though it is pop3, imagine that)
4. Business hours of operation for numbers 1 and 2, with number 2 being down until Monday the 23.
5. Payment and issuance of Fin Aid refunds/loan disbursements until AFTER classes begin (books? credit card...moving expenses? credit computer? daddy's checkbook).
6. No gridding of courses on calendar and no access to classmates's contact info.

What's the impediment to improving these? I do not see any reason whatsoever that 1 and 2 cannot be combined with IMPROVED hours and IMPROVED servers. It takes me on average 3 minutes to access any information on 1. 3 fucking minutes? The univesrity apartments I'm in provide T1 connections and 3 minutes? I understand busy season with semester beginning shortly, etc...but 3 minutes? Oh the best is if you click on the wrong link...make that 6 minutes.

Why not combine 3 and 6?

I feel as though part of my frustration is just not being familiar with the system. I imagine as I grow more accustomed I will not be as angry. However, there is no excuse for a school so strong in its technology programs to be so archaic. Most other UC's have centralized websites to access enrollment, class listings, classmates, e-mail, etc. On top of that those sites actually work a tad faster than the equivalent of a 14kbs modem. At the same time, there is an absolute reluctance to improve technology. It is simply not a priority. Only this summer did Boalt wire it's largest lecture halls for electrical outlets at every desk. I cannot imagine any other top tier law school not having electrical outlets in lecture halls...if there are any, I'm open to corrections.

I hope that at some point or another the powers that be come to realize that aside from keeping up with other schools, Berkeley needs to meet the needs of its students, who are increasingly computer dependant...the question of computer literacy has long been answered.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Meet the Parents, sons, daughters, and other 1L's

Today Boalt put on a picnic for incoming 1L's and their families and friends. Needless to say during the last few days I've been meeting quite a few 1L's and even one 2L transfer. But in all honesty, if I have to say my name, undergrad institution, and major one more time, I'm going to heave.

To all Rising 1L's: I propose a revolt, a casting of the chains of social construct if you will. When you meet someone, introduce yourself, then ask about something random of the other person. Example, "Hi I'm Armen, do you snort coke?" Well, not that extreme but you get the idea. ANYTHING other than school and major. Favorite color? Let's talk. You like the Simpsons? No kidding, if you had to pick a character that best describes you, which would you choose? No I'm not mentally ill, but I do have this blo...

Oh yeah and what's with everyone's sudden addiction to poker? I've never played a game in my life and I'm feeling very inclined just by peer pressure. No, I'm not complaining, because discussion of poker is always a welcome sigh of relief from talking about...yes, my major.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

If You're Going to San Francisco, Be Sure to Wear Your Lakers Jersey

Last night I finished explaining to my friend why I will forever refuse to call San Francisco "the City" (being from Los Angeles and all). My logic is fairly simple...they are not the largest city in the state, and they are not the state capital. Why the fuck should they be known as "the City?" No dice. There's an old Monty Python sketch about the F-word and they say something along the lines, "Of all the words in the English language that begin with the letter F, fuck is the only one referred to as 'the F word.'" San Francisco has not earned that IN MY HUMBLE OPINION. Well, not just mine. After I got done explaining this to my friend, I sat back to enjoy my newly purchased copy of Eddie Izzard's stand-up act "Dress to Kill," which opens with:

So, San Francisco! ( singing ) San Francisco, San Francisco… Not “San Fran,” no, apparently not! I didn’t know that, I would’ve said “San Fran,” but you’d go, “No, we don’t like “San Fran,” fuck it!” Or what’s the other one you don’t…? Oh, Frisco! You don’t like that either. ( audience hissing ) And you’re a city of snakes, I see! ( Eddie hisses ) Everyone goes to a gig with a snake in their bag. ( hisses ) No other cities have snakes as much as you. I’ve been to New York, no fucking snakes; Paris, no snakes; London, no snakes. San Francisco, full of fucking snakes! ( hisses ) We did that at school! So you call it ( rolling eyes ) “The City.” ( mocking sounds ) “The City.”

And you don’t tell tourists about the weather in July and August. You don’t fucking tell anyone. They’re all going around in summer shirts, going, “Jesus Christ! I can’t see! I can’t see! Fog! There’s fog!” And it really shifts it, your fog! I saw John Carpenter’s film, “The Fog,” seen it a few times, and that fog shifts it. I thought, “Well, that’s Hollywood, that’s fog moving really fast,” but your fog is that speed! ( mimes running ) Busy, busy, busy! It could be late to get in someone’s face somewhere! It runs down the road, doesn’t it? Faster than the fucking taxis! Of which there are five…

Monday, August 16, 2004

The Simpsons Cast

In this ongoing series I will introduce people as members of The Simpsons cast. First castmember is a transfer to Boalt who posted on the Yahoo groups listserv for the first time today. His name? Two letters away from Lionel Hutz. I imagine as time goes on more and more people will remind me of Mr. Hutz.


Animal (Court) House

The LA Times has the following story about UC students winning injunctive relief against fee hikes set to be implemented this fall. The decision only affects professional school students admitted in 2003 or before.

Phil Carter (whom I never would have even known if not for an undergraduate law class on terrorism) at the Intel Dump offers a thorough analysis based on his years as an undergrad and law student at UCLA and reporter for the Daily Bruin covering the UC Regents.

Everything that Phil says is dead on. There's surprisingly very little said or done about the spiraling increases in student fees by the public at large. The gimme gimme gimme mentality has all but conditioned the electorate to sacrifice the future of their children for a few hundred dollar break in registering their gas guzzler. Again, Phil does a far better job of articulating this than me.


Sunday, August 15, 2004

Rules of Engagement

Hi, my name is Armen and I'm a 1L at UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). And here are the rules of engagement of this blog.

1. Nothing is off limits. Anything I see or hear about Boalt, law schools, law, politics, or anything is fair game for this blog.

2. That's right, nothing is off-limits, i.e. if a classmate says something stupid in class, I will post it here.

2(a). Unless I get specific permission, I will not use your real name.

2(b). I allow public commentaries on all posts so that anyone can chime in about anything I have done that deserves public attention.

3. Anything I say is for pure entertainment only. I NEVER intend to be vitriolic...except when I expressly preface a post with [Begin Vitriol] tags.

4. No by posting something I don't think I'm better than you. In fact I have a bit of an inferiority complex. ("Oh now I get it, this is his way of making himself feel better") Something like that.

5. Post Titles will always reference something. Usually I try to stay with movies, however at times it may be Television, Literature, Art, etc. But ALWAYS, they reference something.

6. Enjoy.