Archive for April, 2010
As mentioned before, it’s that time of year again. I have exactly one week left before all of my exams and papers are due, and I seem to be in decent shape. That said, I thought I would offer a quick look at what gets me through finals.
- Foodler.com: by this point in the semester I basically have no food left in my refrigerator. I could cook all of the extra pasta and mashed potatoes sitting in my pantry, but that seems like too much work. Instead, I survive on a steady diet of eating out and ordering in.
- Simplynoise.com: whether I’m studying in the Hark or an empty conference room, I’m almost always listening to this site. It allows me to completely tune out any other sound. I’m a big fan of brown noise.
- Bizarre sleep schedules: I usually get up between noon and 1 PM, surf the Internet/eat lunch/watch TV for a few hours, and then head to campus when I’m ready to work. I try to camp out in a conference room until 3-4 AM, and be asleep by 5. Importantly, I haven’t tried to keep to any set schedule — if I’m not tired, I won’t go to bed, and I sleep until I feel like getting up. That’s one of the few benefits of having no in-class exams this semester.
- Breaks: I watch a lot of television during finals period. Whatever it takes to stay calm.
This actually isn’t too different from how I approached finals last year, except I put in a lot more effort back then. Now I tend to focus on one or two classes that I’m really interested in, and let others fall by the wayside (I’m talking to you, Comparative Con Law).
T-minus 12 days until SoCal!
In the last month I’ve had four people offer to rent their apartments to me before backing out at the last minute. Four. Huge. Douches.
Douche #1: Emailed ME offering her place. After a week of exchanging emails she went silent, only to return after douches #2 and 3 backed out. We offered to rent the entire three-room apartment for the remainder of her lease. She said she was going to ask her roommates and then never responds again. But as far as Craigslist goes, her behavior was almost courteous.
Douche #2: I emailed her, and she told me the dates were “perfect.” Then she tells us she’s showing the place to other people, and her boyfriend was taking care of it. They string us along for nearly a week before ignoring us and renting the place to someone else. I’m mostly over this one by now.
Douche #3: The dumbest girl on Craigslist. She responds to my post, offering her nicely decorated two bedroom apartment. Everything seems great. She sends over a sublease. The sublease is not a sublease. In fact, it’s a British lease agreement, ENTIRELY IN UPPER CASE, ten pages long (the average sublease is no more than two), doesn’t include a place for her to sign, and was clearly downloaded off of the Internet. I wrote her back, carefully wording my email to make sure I didn’t sound like an asshole law student, telling her we were really excited about the place, but afraid that the contract she sent us wouldn’t give her any protection against us in case something went wrong this summer. The sad fact is that British law doesn’t apply in California, and important terms are less likely to be binding when everything is written in upper case. She writes back, “Excuse me but I’m a air stewardess and not a lawyer.” I write her another email telling her I’m sorry if I offended her, I just wanted to make sure she was covered by the sublease. No response. No response. A week later, Gopi posts a wanted ad on Craigslist with the same exact dates, saying that we were Harvard Law students, and this girl somehow doesn’t think it’s the same people! Gopi tells her that we were excited about the apartment but never heard back from her, and she says that “Ryan was just making a mess of things so I refused to respond to him.” And then she stops emailing Gopi. Who fucking does that?! Just send me an email telling me “nevermind” and formally revoke the offer you made me. Shady, shady, shady.
Douche #4: Nice old man renting out his apartment. We exchange emails, and the place looks great. He says the dates will work and tells us to send a friend. My friend kindly goes out of her way to look at the place, and we immediately get back to the guy telling him we want to rent it. We hear nothing for three days, and then receive a message saying that someone else has already signed a lease, but if they don’t pay by Friday we can have it. They pay, and he send us an email telling us that it’s taken, but if we want to rent it for the same period next year it’ll be on the market again. Thanks, you shady old douchebag.
Luckily, we came up with the idea of renting furniture for the summer and looking for unfurnished places. Within a day we were able to find a great complex six blocks from the beach that was within our price range. It’s even closer to the Promenade and the Santa Monica Pier than the last one I posted. The best part is that we’re renting directly from the complex, and won’t have to deal with sublessors. Bottom line: in nearly two weeks I’ll be back in sunny Los Angeles, and that’s a good thing.
Okay, back to Evidence!
In the middle of studying for finals, I took a break to watch Dungeons & Dragons with a few friends. My friend Jay realized the movie’s brilliance when he first saw it in theatres, and has since spread the gospel. This movie is so mind-numbingly horrible it really should never be watched alone. However, in the right company, it can be an incredible experience. Jay is the ideal person to watch it with, but unfortunately that’s not a possibility for most of you. With that in mind, here are a few highlights to guide you through a viewing (although I’d probably just wait until I make you watch it sometime).
1. The characters are so poorly developed that the director added exposition at the beginning of the movies explicitly telling you who is good and who is bad. Jay commented, and I agree, that the director got it exactly wrong. Aside from the skulls (oh the skulls!), minions, and general campiness surrounding Jeremy Irons’s character, I challenge anyone to name one thing he did that was not justified.
2. The Bush Administration: The whole premise of the movie is that Thora Birch (i.e. Queen Amidala) wants to find a septre to control red dragons, so she can comply with the legislature’s demands that she give up her current septre that controls green dragons. Instead of giving up this extraordinary power to the legislature, she essentially declares war on her own government and keeps the septre for herself. Unchecked executive power, anyone? And who warned everyone that this was going to happen all along? Jeremy Irons, of course. But it’s all cool, because she declares that all people are “now equal” at the end. I remember when America did that — there were never any problems ever again.
I don’t have as much time to write about this masterpiece as I would like, but LiveJournal user ytadel has some apt observations:
You notice the horrible art direction (bad guy’s lair? Put a skull in the background!), the fact that the “ultimate magical artifact,” the rod that controls red dragons, is very clearly made out of cheap, cheap plastic, and that they’ve obviously stolen (or “ganked,” as the totally phat frat brahs say) plot elements from everything from Star Wars to Indiana Jones.
Watch it yet again, and you notice the extras, who constantly stare directly at our heroes, who aimlessly, confusedly meander in the background, the fact that the lighting doesn’t make any sense (evil cave? Let’s see… slap a green gel on that key light… yeah, there we go), the jarring, bad editing, the fact that the music cues are not-that-subtly stolen from John Williams, and the confused central theme of the movie.
Then you watch it a fourth time, and notice that at one point, in the background of a scene, thinking he’s furtively safe from the eyes of the director, Marlon Wayans actuallybreaks character and makes a gang sign at the camera. And that’s the exact moment that it dawns on you - this is the greatest movie ever made.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
It’s finally spring in Cambridge, complete with beautiful blue skies and 70 degree temperatures. And finals. Fortunately, I don’t have a lot of finals this semester, and they’re all take home exams due on May 5th. Unfortunately, I haven’t done a great job preparing myself for them, and will likely regret that decision.
That said, here is what I’m looking at for the next three weeks:
Cyberlaw Clinic: I have 12.5 hours left to finish up for my Cyberlaw Clinic. With office hours, that means I only need to do six more hours of work outside of the Berkman Center. Verdict: totally manageable.
Comparative Con Law: I have a two-part final in this class, which was easily the most incomprehensible subject I’ve ever taken. I stopped reading early on, after I realized the class was nothing more than a series of rambling, disconnected thoughts. I think everyone’s as lost as I am, but that doesn’t make writing 4000 words on what I learned any easier. Verdict: hello Pass!
Evidence: one week to go, and my professor still doesn’t even know what format he’s offering for the final. Some people are writing papers, which should be criminal in a rules-based class like Evidence. This is the only class I’ve been outlining for, out of a simple desire to learn the (tremendously important) material myself. Of course, learning the material will in no way correspond with my grade in the class. Verdict: I’m gonna be upset no matter how this turns out.
Advanced IP: I have to write a 15-20 page paper on a topic of my choosing. As previously mentioned, I’m writing about various aspects of copyright and architecture. The basic outline is: 1) the history of copyright and architecture, from the common law through the Berne Convention and adoption of the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act in 1990; 2) exploring what aspects of architectural works are covered by copyright; 3) examining the unique relationship between contractors, engineers, and architects, and determining whether there are theoretical issues regarding joint authorship of works; 4) looking at how architectural works are protected in practice, with a special emphasis on contract law; and 5) asking whether copyright protection can be used more effectively by comparing its strengths and weaknesses to those of contractual law. Verdict: I shouldn’t have a problem with the page length, but I just don’t have enough time to do this topic justice.
So that’s where things stand. There’s a good chance I’ll go off the grid sometime soon, whenever I realize that I can’t procrastinate any further. But the sooner this is over, the sooner I’ll be in California for the summer!
This is random music I listened to today, instead of working on my copyright and architecture paper. Two of the songs (#2 and #6) came to me via my friend Hsieh AKA Hsieh-nay AKA Triple H. She loves all of those nicknames, so everyone should use them.
It looks like I finally found a place to live in LA this summer!
The apartment itself seems really nice, and well decorated. But that doesn’t really matter. This is why we’re living there:
For those of you who still don’t get it:
Five blocks from the Pacific. It’s going to be a wonderful summer.
Update: this was wishful thinking. I hate Craigslist.
Courtsey of Judge Sack of the Second Circuit, after Tiffany & Co. foolishly tried to make the argument that eBay should be punished, not because they violated the law, but because otherwise they will have no incentive to find and remove every instance of infringing content on their site:
“First, and most obviously, we are interpreting the law and applying it to the facts of this case. We could not, even if we thought it wise, revise the existing law in order to better serve one party’s interests at the expense of the other’s.”
Tiffany & Co. v. eBay, Inc., p. 33
It may sound timid to an outsider, but that’s the legal equivalent of getting pwned. Lawyered.
For those of you who read this blog on Google Reader, I just wanted to draw your attention to some changes that won’t show up in your RSS feed: there are a few new images in my theme’s background that highlight my geekiness. As if that needed highlighting.
I finally acquired some photo editing software (I had previously used Pixlr), and was able to produce a slightly better version of the old background. The T-Rex doesn’t have as much awkward white ghosting, and other aspects are generally sharper.
I’m growing tired of a few of the images on here, so I’m very open to replacement suggestions. EXCEPT DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT SUGGESTING THAT I GET RID OF FALLINGWATER. You should know better than to even think such ridiculous thoughts.
Also, a big thank you to noted “shemale” Aaron Forsander for fixing the title tag on my homepage. If you look up at the tab in your browser, it should now read “2Life – ryanaward.com”. If you’re using a browser without tabs, you’re dead to me.