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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Optimus Prime's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
7:58 pm
If I had been offered a $20-off code for a website that sells Ugg-style boots, would any of you be inclined to take advantage of it?

Hypothetically, I mean. Totally. I do not have this code as such yet: the site in question is asking me to basically do a post saying "HEY GUYZ BOOTZ" and post the existence of the code, and they'll pay me for the privilege. I am not sure how comfortable I am with that.
Sunday, November 29th, 2009
9:46 pm
Android question
Does anybody know if Fido supports any phones with Android capability? I'm going to go 3G if/when I get an articling position, and I'd prefer to go Android (on a phone with a keyboard) rather than just use a Blackberry. But Fido only seems to support the iPhone, which... no.
Friday, November 13th, 2009
3:50 pm
request for Ottawans
If you could go to your local Toys R Us [1] and see if they have clearance Heroscape available, I would appreciate it.

If they have Heroscape other than the Swarm of the Marro master set, the Fortress of the Archkyrie castle set or the Raknar's Vision box of large monsters, and you'd be willing to pick it up for me so I can pay you later for it, that would also be appreciated.

[1] I assume you have one of them.
Sunday, August 23rd, 2009
9:14 pm
On the one hand, there is a boardgame tournament this Saturday at the Horrible Ripoff Fan Expo which I wanted to attend.

On the OTHER hand, that's the same day Bill Clinton is speaking at the CNE. (And Clinton is cheaper.)

Friday, July 24th, 2009
5:29 pm
So applying for an article - the Canadian legal equivalent of a ten-month apprenticeship, necessary to be called by the bar - works like this. The Law Society sets strict guidelines as to application deadlines and then another strict guideline as to when firms can contact applicants for interviews (and eventually positions).

The rule is that firms couldn't contact applicants until today (this year), and not before 8 AM. What this means in practice is that we all have to be up early and by our phones at 8 AM waiting for calls because they start calling at 8:00 and five seconds.

Law interviews are mandated to be ninety minutes long. Usually they're shorter, but Society rules demand they be allotted that much time (partially to compensate for travel in between interviews). ALSO thanks to those guidelines, interviews can't start until a certain date - this year, Monday the 10th of August - and then jobs can't be offered until the Wednesday of the same week. So firms interview on Monday and Tuesday and call at 8 AM Wednesday to make offers. (Once they make an offer they're bound to it. This is serious business.)

What this means is that you only really have time for six interviews: four on Monday, two on Tuesday. (You have to leave Tuesday afternoon and evening open in case anybody wants to do a second interview.) Which makes scheduling them trickier; the firms all know that Monday at 10 and 12 are the prime spots, with late and early Monday the secondary spots, and Tuesday morning the tertiary.

For my calls, I got three interviews. I knew the government offices weren't calling until 9, and I really had a few government jobs (crown prosecutor's office, Ministry of the Environment, City of Toronto's legal division, etc.) on my wishlist. So I kept the prime Monday space open and scheduled my three interviews - with Adler Bytensky Prutschi, Adair Morse and Greenspan Humphrey Levine - for Tuesday morning and Monday late afternoon.

At 9:45 the crown prosecutor's office finally calls - my number 1 pick overall for where I wanted to work. (They make their calls in random order and I had the bad luck to be at the bottom of the pile.) They have one interview slot left - at 3:30. The exact same time as my interview with Greenspan.

And I can't drop the Greenspan interview. Even if they weren't one of the most respected criminal defense shops in Canada, I know damn well the reason at least in part that I got that interview is that one of my references (my Criminal Procedure professor) practices out of the same building, is friends with Greenspan, and vouched like crazy for me. It would be beyond tasteless to drop that interview.

So I'm waitlisted for an interview slot with the crown prosecutor's office, which means maybe a 1-in-20 chance of getting the interview I really wanted. And I have three interviews instead of four, and this is not a good year to stint on interviews; the economic climate means a lot less people are getting articles than usual.

Moral of story: strategic scheduling sucks.
Thursday, July 16th, 2009
5:34 pm
What I'm taking third year so people know exactly what they can bug me about re: law-wise

Trial Practice
Family Law
Environmental Law
(currently waitlisted for Lawyer as Negotiator)


Business Associations
Taxation As An Instrument of Social And Economic Policy
Contracts II (might drop for something else)
Monday, July 13th, 2009
6:18 pm
question about video performance for geeks
My computer:

AMD dual Athlon 4400 + 2.3 GHz
2 gigs of RAM
ATI Radeon x1950 GT, 256 megs of RAM

My computer is CHOKING when I try to play some games - Ghostbusters most notably, but just now Indigo Prophecy as well. Altering screen resolution and graphics effects makes no difference: running the games on 640x480 with minimal graphics options chokes me just as much as when I run at a decent resolution and graphics that the card should reasonably support. And the choking isn't uniform: the games run fluidly for a few seconds then choke, fluidly then choke. It's weird.

My drivers are up to date and my system has no malware/spyware that I can detect; I'm not running any particularly burdensome software while I try to play the games (and indeed have tried running the games with everything else closed, no dice). And it's not all games: Doom 3 and Civ 4 work fine.

Is my video card kafraktah, or is it something else?
Friday, July 3rd, 2009
11:54 pm
How to stop being "the cute girl he met at the bus stop" in three seconds
Explain repeatedly how you hate "those gangster niggers."

(Of course, she got her degree at Western, so that explains a lot.)
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
4:38 pm
fuck, redux
Despite my criminal procedure professor writing a two-page letter explaining why she marked my final exam improperly, my grade appeal was turned down. Thus I have, now and presumably period, a C+ in criminal procedure, as I have just finished a round of articling applications to firms that primarily deal in criminal law, because it's what I'm best at doing (that and social justice litigation, but most of the firms that do that tend to be criminal firms or union-side labour firms that do a little extra stuff on the side).

My winter-term grades were straight Bs. This is not quite disastrous because at least there are no Cs, but not getting the B+ in Tax (where I busted ass, wrote the optional paper, and still came out one mark too low to get the B+) or Innocence Project (where I pretty much singlehandedly turned a client we were about to drop into the IP's first application to the federal government for innocence review in two years) is disappointing, to say the least. It's the least-worst (or best-worst, whichever) possible result when I really needed at least a little better to counterbalance out everything else.

Applying to 38 legal offices, which is about the upper limit of reasonable considering I have to write 38 cover letters, each of which will have to explain away the poor grades and be able to articulate about specific cases the firm has undertaken recently that have supposedly piqued my interest, and because if you apply to any more firms than that, people realize that you're desperate and applying everywhere.

Only about 60 percent of law students applying for articling jobs this year are expected to get one. The rest will either have to article for free (which I can't do) or work at a temp agency as a legal assistant until they can get an articling job (or can afford to article for free). Even with three glowing letters of reference, one from my criminal procedure professor (who feels terrible about what happened and actually tried to get me a job this summer, although it didn't pan out because it turned out the lawyers couldn't afford any more students), the odds are not on my side.
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009
3:57 pm
apropos of nothing
Vaguely considering the logistics and issues of moving to Australia once my article is done.
Thursday, May 14th, 2009
5:38 pm
Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
4:02 am
to do this summer
1.) Find final two roommates
2.) Find articling position
3.) Finish novel
4.) Learn reasonable amount of conversational French
5.) Lose last twenty pounds
6.) Win lotto
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
1:03 am
LAST MONTH: Roommate A announces he is moving out to live with girlfriend for May 1.
TWO WEEKS AGO: Replacement for Roommate A found.
LAST WEEK: Roommate B announces he is moving out to live with girlfriend for June 1.
TODAY: Replacement emails to say "I am fucking you guys over because I found a place I like better and am cancelling my cheque I gave you."
JUST NOW: Roommate C announces his parents have bought him a condo and he is moving out for June 1.
AND SO: I need to find three roommates in five weeks or move. Assuming the landlord wants to keep me on.
MORE IMPORTANT: Why does nobody ever buy me a condo?
Thursday, April 9th, 2009
12:37 am
Have been studying nothing but tax law for two straight weeks, on account of

A) it is complex
B) the professor hired me to be her RA for the summer on account of professors generally liking me and she is no exception

You know what? Tax law is fucking complex. Like, "worse than GURPS" complex. Like "makes old Avalon Hill bookshelf wargames look like Candyland" complex. Like "makes less sense than a Decipher CCG" complex. You can quite understand why tax lawyers make insane amounts of money.

(I do not want to be a tax lawyer. She hired me for research on tax policy, which is more akin to "this is how the government SHOULD collect money and then spend it.")

On the bright side, though, the professor has very kindly posted all her old exams from the last ten years, along with - for reasons I cannot quite understand - all the answer keys. Am currently compiling all the questions-and-answer-keys into tables by question area, seeing as how the exam is open book and I like being able to copy answers more or less directly into the exam booklet.

Thankfully, tax exam is on Tuesday. Then I can start studying administrative law, which is also fucking complex and a lot less fun than tax law, which should tell you something.
Thursday, March 5th, 2009
5:18 pm
I'm taking Administrative Law this term, and it is so boring.

Now, administrative law - IE, the law of tribunals and agencies, which is about ninety percent of the law that actually interacts everyday life in most modern countries - is boring all on its own. But on top of that, learning about Canadian administrative law in particular is especially boring right now.

This is because last year, the Supreme Court decided a case called Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, and you don't need to know the particulars, but suffice it to say that Dunsmuir changed the entire standard of judicial review for administrative decisions practically overnight. Decades' worth of jurisprudence, suddenly obsolete.

But law school profs can't just teach Dunsmuir all semester, so instead we get class after class focusing on the jurisprudence and standards that have all been overturned, for "historical perspective." Which would be valuable if you planned a career in administrative law, but if you don't and you just want to know the necessary standards of review and how administrative tribunals operate, that can be covered in two or three classes.

So about half of the course or more is completely pointless.
Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
3:37 pm
Squeaky wheel, etc.
C+ in Criminal Procedure now a B+, thanks to discussion with professor.

Second-to-last question was a discussion of principles in sentencing, which was intended to get students to discuss the statutory sentencing principles in the Criminal Code, but I instead wrote about the three basic principles of criminal justice (punishment, deterrence, rehabilitation) and the professor agreed that the question was worded vaguely enough that my answers should be graded on par. I also got a couple of extra marks on the essay question. The eight mark difference knocked me to an above-average grade.

The professor also offered to contact some smaller criminal firms she knows personally to see if there was any chance of a summer job for me, even part-time. It's not quite what I wanted, but it's experience.

Moral: make sure your professors like you during the term. It goes a long way.
Friday, February 13th, 2009
10:48 am
Evidence B+
Criminal Procedure C+
Freedom of Expression And The Law B
Climate Change Law B

Much worse than it looks, both because the latter two courses are seminars and therefore have an average grade of B+ and because Criminal Procedure was a course where, going into the exam, I already had 40/50 on the course so that represents a complete exam collapse in the area of law where theoretically I am supposed to be good at. (As for Evidence: I put the extra work in to do the case comment, which traditionally puts one up to an A. Not so much.)

I can pretty much forget about actually doing anything I wanted to do with this fucking degree now. Crown attorney's office? Not with a B- average. Good firm? Forget it. These are "shitty loser lawyer with an office in a strip mall" grades.

I fucking killed myself studying last term because I wanted As this term to boost my (crappy) law school GPA. This is the result: mediocrity-to-failure. Just like whenever I seem to try really hard at anything else other than dicking around on the internet, the result is mediocrity-to-failure - personal fitness, relationships, anything.

The temptation to just drop all my shit on the floor and just go - anywhere, fuck, I don't care any more - is immensely strong. I'm not going to do it, of course, because I know there are people who care about me and who would be scared. But that's pretty much the only reason right now, because I am honest to god tired of my life.
Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
9:18 am
Torontovolk: be aware that a New Year's party is being planned at my place. Beer, booze, good food (cooked by my professional chef roommate), et cetera.

Also, one of my other roommates is trying to get the other members of his championship cheerleading team to attend. This may be additional incentive. It may not.
Sunday, November 9th, 2008
11:23 pm
Is this acceptable? Initially this schmuck was direct-leeching the images off my server. Now she's removed attribution because she's deemed me pissy for complaining.

It's really very minor in the scheme of things, but I was brought up in days of Ye Olde Internet that bandwidth leeching was rude, you know?
Tuesday, October 21st, 2008
5:37 pm
down again down again jiggity-jig
Hostpapa -> over, as the link today from BoingBoing (and Cory Doctorow adding me to his RSS, woot) flooded Hostpapa and basically shut them down entirely.

So now it's a rush to find a new (Canadian-based, that is not negotiable) hosting provider and transfer the whole shebang there. as soon as possible.
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