1/07/2006

Grades

Ok, well, I'm pretty sure I was warned about this, but goddam! So far I've gotten 4 of my first term marks back, and without gettin into too much detail, my marks encompass the full range from very good (A), to pretty much everything from marginal pass to riding slightly above the curve (UBC uses a C+/B curve). Stranger still, there seems to be an inverse correlation between the amount I studied and the mark I ended up with, so needless to say I'm feeling a little frazzled right now.

Nevertheless, at least I know where I stand, and that I need to pull my socks up and get down to business (excessive partying and procrastination ha taken its toll, admittedly). Despite a couple of disappointing marks, I'm actually getting a second wind in terms of my interest and focus on the subject matter. It's a matter of recognizing that I'm lucky to have this opportunity, and that I need to make the most out of it.

D

10/09/2005

Worst Blogger Evar!

Sorry to anyone who has tried to access this blog recently, I am a disgrace to bloggers everywhere. In my defence, I have been without home internet until very recently (which consequently has done wonders for my social life). I'll certainly attempt to make this a more regular habit going forward.

Where to begin? Too much to say really. Everything has been rather frenzied up to this point. I don't even think it has had much to do with the workload, but rather just trying to adapt to all that Law School has to offer, both socially and intellectually (just so we understand each other: socially = excuses to drink). My peers are accomplished and interesting. The material is hard to penetrate sometimes. Overall though, I'm very happy to be here, and as cliche as it may sound I truly feel a weird sense of destiny and belonging.

I've heard many times that law school changes the way you think and admittedly I've always kind of dismissed it as fanciful. Recently, however, I've begun to notice a subtle shift in my thought process (of course, when one reads nothing but case law for a month this is almost inevitable). I would hardly say I'm thinking like a lawyer, however I do find myself constantly analyzing everyday situations and interactions for their underlying legal basis and possible consequences (no wonder everyone hates lawyers, I can't believe I just wrote that!).

Until next time,

D

8/25/2005

Prestige!

Cornell
If only the least impressive Ivy didn't also have
to be the hardest. You know those Harvard kids
are laughing at you as they sip gin and tonics
in their finals club and pull off easy A's.
There are always the gorges though. And hopping
Ithaca. Well, yeah, you have the gorges.


Which Ivy League University is right for YOU?
brought to you by Quizilla

It's actually fairly accurate. Although I would probably pick Chicago over all the Ivys.

8/14/2005

Leaving Toronto

I've been rather melancholy the past week or so about my pending move. I really love Toronto, and in affirmation of how many Westerners see Central Canadians, it truly is the centre of the Universe to me. This is in no way a slight against Vancouver, which is a marvelous city in its own right, it's just that Toronto is a comforting place to me. The rumbling of the subway, the crowds along Spadina, the mid-town neighborhoods, and even the big bank towers of the financial district are all things I that make me feel at home.

This being said, there are plenty of things I won't miss about Toronto. Firstly, the weather. Anyone who has suffered throught this gruellingly hot summer can attest to the overwhelming mugginess of Toronto most summers. I will never miss sweating the second I get out of the shower in the morning. On the flip side of this we also have 6 month long winters which aren't much fun either. Secondly, and related to the above, the smog. Recently I flew into Toronto and let's just say that I'm surprised that there isn't more being done to ameliorate the air quality. This is not a public heath concern, but rather a crisis. Finally, Toronto can be a stressful place. I find that I am constantly on edge and intolerant of the slightest delays or inconveniences. Hopefully the more laid-back west coast lifestyle will help me to relax and enjoy life more (and consequently lower my blood pressure).

Anyway, I'm leaving Tuesday morning so I'll see you all fresh and ready to start classes in beautiful British Columbia!

8/03/2005

Law School

Ok, I know my posts have been all over the place, rambling, sometimes incoherent, at times illogical, and to this point infrequent, and although I would like to say there is some method to my madness, the truth is that I created this blog mainly to offer some commentary and insight into my law school experience and I haven't had much to offer in that regard yet. Furthermore, I've also been rather preoccupied with work and other domestic matters as a responsible tax-paying citizen. However, the time is fast approaching so you should gradually be able to dicern some kind of unifying theme (hopefully).

Where I stand right now is in the planning stages of my move from Toronto to Vancouver. I've already found a place for September 1st in the east end of Vancouver, and I will relocate temporarily to my parent's house (in Kitsilano) on August 16th. I'm excited about starting classes at this point, if only to experience some change in my hellish routine of office work and weekend binge drinking (of course to be supplanted by endless reading assignments, essays, exams and more frequent weekday binge drinking). I don't know what to expect yet, but I certainly will try my best to offer some insight into living as a law student for the next 3 years.

If any law school hopefuls have any questions about the application process, feel free to leave a comment.

-D

7/16/2005

Drunkin Insights

I'm not sure if this violates any accpeted norms (either scientific or political) of disscussions on racial morphology, but I had a strange insight last night while drunk.

I'll start with the premise that many of my friends who are second or third generation immigrants from visible minority backgrounds look very different from more recent arrivals of the same extraction (assuming geographic and cultural similarity). I always though this was due to the assimilative processes of fashion and socio-cultural behaviour, as well as, to a lesser extent, so-called "race-mixing." Although I'm sure these two factors are heavily involved in my perception of difference, the morphological differences in facial features strikes me as something worth exploring.

Of course, this could be altogether based on self selection. Ie., those who end up in my social circle are the ones with caucasoid facial features, which consciously or unconsciously has impacted their social success in a European dominant society. I can't rule this out (my sample selection is very unscientific, granted), however the insight I had last night was that these morphological differences are real and that it may underscore how adaptable human beings are to environmental and even social influences. Of course this is altogether unscienftific, and is a mockery of evolutionary theory, but I doubt one's morphological features are completely controlled by the genes. It would be interesting to study how much or how little exernal and internal influences impact the unfolding of genetically programmed development.

Then again, I was pretty drunk last night.

-D

7/11/2005

Subway Stranger

Surprisingly enough, I actually had a semi-conversation on the Subway today. A women I was standing close to made a comment on the book I was reading, The Ingenuity Gap, which triggered a few brief words concerning Homer-Dixon's main thesis. For those of you who haven't read it, a brief summary of the main idea is that the exponential rise in complexity of the modern world often leads to non-linear and unexpected consequences, for which we are increasingly ill-equipped to deal with. It's actually quite brilliantly argued and exceptionally well written, but it is certainly not very reassuring.

I guess I've always been a techno-optimist at heart. My father is a scientist and I'm sure I've always reflected my own insecurites about the world against his perceived infallibility, and consequently, his life's work. I have faith in human ingenuity, but the frightening complexity of today's world and the problems we face do seem overwhelming at times. Most of us will focus on very narrow specialized areas of knowledge, and only touch on a fraction of the accumulated information available on that area in our lifetimes. About 300-500 years ago, approximately 50-200 years after the advent of Gutenburg's printing press in 1450, it was possible to hold in a household library the entire canon of written knowledge in the Western world, including it's scientific and technical knowledge...

I think I'm going to have a beer now.

7/07/2005

Cowardly Attacks In London

Obviously, such cowardly attacks must be condemned with extreme predjudice. 37 dead civilians is the count as of 2:19 EST, people whose only crime was that they happened to be taking public transit to work. I am sickened by such senselessness, and hope this underscores the challenge that liberal democracies face in combating violent Facist ideologies. My heart goes out to all those who lost love ones today, and my resolve has never been stronger that we must stomp out such corrosive forces before such events have a chance to transpire.

6/26/2005

Chinese food, alcohol, and women

That pretty much sums up what my weekends have consisted of for the past few years (although I have had considerably more success with the first two). Basically, my life has become a routine of working at a job I hate all week, followed by 2 days of binge drinking, trying to convince girls to let me see them naked, and stuffing my face with Chinese food at 4 am (usually because I have not had any success at making my case for the former). Although some may question my lifestyle, I'm reasonably content to say that I enjoy wasting my youth on such useless pursuits. My friends have recently begun to get married and co-habit with their lady friends, so I'm not sure how much longer the fun will last.

Oh, well...

-D

6/22/2005

On Liberty

I've been reading a fantasic book for the last month of so, a piece on American intelligence leading up to 9/11 with a focus on the events in Afghanistan from the Soviet invaision onwards titled: "Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001" by Steve Coll. Now, while I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who, like me, enjoys a kind of a "behind the scenes" look into historical events and politics, my reason for bringing it into discussion are somewhat different.

While reading on the subway home from work today, I got to thinking about the benefits of living in a society that values transparency and accountability. I am particularly amazed by the extraordinary access to information that would be required to put together such a book. Conspiracy theorists aside, the level of openness and transparency in American government and political processes is truly second to none. I can, quite literally, access de-classified scanned NSA documents online, which are publicly accessible to anyone, anywhere. Arguments can certainly be made that, dispite this, popular media in the US is surprisingly sheepish and docile. I tend to agree with this line of argument, which is all the more disturbing given the unprecedented level of information available to both the media savvy intellectuals as well as the average citizen.

I wish to spend a bit of time addressing this paradox.

Firstly, the power of information and transparent government functions cannot be downplayed. Living in a society that values freedom of information is not only morally defensible as an end in itself, but also because it allows such fierce analysis and truth-seeking as is demontrated by Coll. Contrast this with typical regimes of governance that exist, and have existed, in which a select few like-minded elites have access to all the information. The obvious weakness of such a system is that the agents involved in the governing structures of the state lack the feedback, the dissent, as well as the ability to decentralize and diffuse decision making functions. Furthermore, transparent political arrangement are not only desirable for politically expedient reasons, but also because it facilitates a broader involvement of civil society and other non-governmental actors in both the decision making processes of government, as well as the necessary criticism to ensure that those who govern remain accountable to those who are governed.

to be continued...