Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Orientation Day

I had my first day of orientation which was really interesting. It was in a large auditorium and I was one of 3 LLM students. The other 120 or so were 1Ls. Most of the orientation was geared towards them and rightfully so as their trek will more difficult than mine right now. I kept thinking to myself, "They have no idea what is ahead of them." I know it is a very paternalistic thing to think but I am about to be a father and I am several years ahead of them.

I remembered my first day of oreintation for Loyola. It was hard to believe that I had made it into law school and that I had just moved myself to New Orleans, LA. I looked around my class that evening and I was filled with a sense of elation. Things were going to work out great, I thought. Little did I know that 10 days later, i would be in a stranger's home 3 hours north of NOLA, watching Hurricane Katrina rip the city apart. Nor did I know that I would attend three different law schools and end up practicing law in Chicago, Illinois over the next 4 years.

The students this morning, similarly, had no idea what was ahead of them. It may not be a natural disaster which will be taught to their children in history class but they will not be the same. And under Willamette's strict grading policy, at least 12 of them will be out trying to figure out another career because they failed out. I felt sad and oddly happy for them. It will bond them to their classmates in a way that I never got to experience. It may also be more than some can handle. Law school is rough, probably rougher than most practices of law. Maybe it is meant to be that way, a sort of initiation rite to join the fraternity. It does create an instant connection to other attorneys once you start practicing.

In the end, I envied them a bit since they have three more years before the bite of reality will first sting them. As tough as law school was, it is a sort of fairyland place where growing up can be put off another couple of years. Not that law school creates perpetual Peter and Patricia Pan's but that you can just be a student for a little while longer before you have to figure out careers and lives that will carry you to retirement.

I know this sounds sad and depressing but I am excited to get another crack at school and try to improve my family's situation.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Moe's and the matter of effort.

My wife and I went to the Oregon Coast this weekend, Lincoln City specifically. It was a sunny but cool day which was beautiful and restful. On our way home, we decided to visit a restaurant called Moe's which is very well known and popular here. (

The line was out of the door when we arrived. We decided to stay anyway since every one we have met in Oregon has asked us if we had eaten here. I can say a few things about Moe's and none of them are very good. The service was atrocious and the food was mediocre. The plates were sloppily maintained. More importantly, it cost $40. Now I am not usually one to complain about food. I have shared a meal of dogs and horses with a thousand flies before while seated on the dirt floor of a thatched roof hut but I find as I get older my tolerance for laziness and incivility has diminished.

Anyway, my wife and I discussed it for awhile on the two hour drive back and came to the conclusion that Moe's is simply a victim of its own success. At one point it was no doubt a small mom and pop chowder stand that did well during the tourist season. However, it had grown too big (6 locations) to maintain quality or perhaps they had just stopped trying. I think it is probably a mixture of both. On my way out, I asked the cashier, as I pointed to the line of at least 50 people spiraling slowly out the door, if it was always "this" busy and he replied with exhausted eyes, "Yes, always." I asked myself if I would keep trying hard every single day if even my most mediocre efforts were rewarded. I didn' t like the answer I gave myself...*sigh*

Friday, August 7, 2009

Salem, Oregon

I recently moved from the thriving metropolis of Chicago to the bustling burg of Salem, Oregon. The reasons and events of that trek are a whole entry, perhaps several. Just a couple observations about Salem:
1. It must be against the law for men to have sleeves on their tee shirts as no one but me seems to have them.
2. Salem has a high density of obese people.
3. Everyone in Salem smokes.
4. The capitol building is a couple of blocks from my house and looks like an LDS Temple.
5. The golden statue actually is a pioneer man with a long golden cape which makes no sense
6. There are a lot of trees here.
7. The city of Eugene, Oregon hosts a festival every August called Fairyworld and it is a very bizarre event.'
8. It is also legal in the city of Eugene to be naked though no one who chooses to do so is anyone you would want to see naked.
9. It is our new home.