It’s nice to have a three day weekend, but Tuesday morning after such a holiday can be disastrous. Take mine for example: while I was lazily wasting the weekend away I failed to notice that water from last week’s storm was busy seeping through the wall and into the SM to SP section of my CD collection. That’s a really good section too, featuring such delights as Elliott Smith and Spiritualized.
Needless to say the water has done it water does – making all the CD booklets wet and shriveling and twisting them into something that remotely resembles the Figure 8 you see pictured here.
Keeping with my tradition of reporting personal stories of being stuck in the cogs of a malfunctioning bureaucratic machine (ie last year’s electricity outage), I give you: my typo travel disaster:
My story begins with my checking in for my flight home for the holidays (Boston to Seattle – non-stop). It’s standard practice in my family, if we’re not in a particular hurry, to ask whether the flight is full and whether we might catch a later flight in exchange for some sort of reward, usually a free ticket. I’ve tried this many times, but never with success. This time, it actually worked. The woman at the check in counter offered to put me on the next morning’s non-stop flight (different carrier) and offered a voucher for a free ticket if I would give up my seat. I agreed.
I left the airport, voucher and new ticket in hand, and headed for the subway. After some transportation issues involving a closed subway, 200 people in the street, and a slow and expensive cab, I arrived at my apartment and proceeded to look up my new flight information so that I could alert my parents to my one-day delay.
To my surprise, my newly issued ticket was dated for the 29th instead of the 19th, no doubt the result of a single slip of the finger during an otherwise needlessly complicated series of keystrokes by the ticket agent. (Really now, what could they possibly be typing back there?) I called the airline to straighten out the problem.
I’ve never been an irate passenger or customer, and in keeping with my usual methods of conflict reconciliation, I calmly explained the situation to the airline. The representative responded that there was “nothing that we could do here.” I calmly asked what number I should call to straighten out the situation. The representative started yelling: “I’m sorry sir, but there is nothing we can do.” She suggested that I go back to the airport.
I will spare the details of the words that followed over the next 48 minutes, but let me summarize by saying that, for the first time in my life, I had to demand to speak to a supervisor… twice. At some point down the line, people started being very friendly to me over the phone. I ended up with a three-hour layover in Chicago, but at least I was scheduled for a new flight.
The next morning I proceeded to the airport with the instructions to “get there a little early and go to the original airline’s counter to tell them your story.” This would have been a lot easier had my girlfriend’s car started when she turned the key. I ended up with a ridiculously expensive $30 cab ride (should have been about half that) to the airport. There was no line at the original airline’s counter, but for good reason: there was no one working there. Luckily, a neighboring airline’s employee was able to exchange my incorrect ticket for the new one I had been promised over the phone.
In the end I was given a first class seat for both legs of the arduous journey, but between the layover, phone treatment, cab fares, and delays (there were more delays), I was unimpressed with the extra 3 inches of hip room. I’ve always wondered about those first-class passengers. They never look very happy to be in first class. Only now do I realize that seat 1A is not the king’s chair but actually the airline’s throne of pity. I will be sure to use my travel voucher to book the longest, most exotic and expensive trip I can conjure, and I will take that trip during the busiest and blackest of blackout dates (which don’t apply to my voucher.)
I found out today that passed the NY bar exam. (If you didn’t know the results were out, click here.) Now that I know I passed both NY and MA, I can say that I’m glad I took two bar exams, and I would recommend it to anyone that wants to keep their employment options open. I wrote something that turned into a full article on my experience with advice for pre-bar JDs. It’s way to long for this site, so it’s on Law School Discussion: Taking Two Bar Exams. Enjoy.
I woke up this morning at 6am to the screaming sound of my building’s fire alarm. Since moving in a few months ago, there have been at least five false fire alarms here. A couple of those were of mischievous origins, and I think a couple were spawned by remodeling construction. Needless to say, the boy-who-cried-wolf mentality had begun to set in, and my motivation to slowly get dressed and head to exit this morning was powered more by my interest in escaping the noise than my interest in escaping an unlikely fire.
After waiting outside in the freezing cold (it hadn’t yet started snowing) for about 20 minutes, I finally came to the realization that fire trucks were arriving from different fire stations, and that there may actually be… a fire!
It turns out there was a small fire in the trash compactor (this is a large building with it’s own trash compactor). My fellow residents and I waited in another building, watching Clifford the Big Red Dog, while the fire department did its thing. Judging by the time of day and the number of people in the other building, I think it’s safe to say that there were a lot of people that just waited it out inside. I’m glad I didn’t try that.
In the end, this wasn’t that big of a deal, but it’s worth noting that sometimes fire alarms really mean “hey, the building is on fire” and not just “hey, those damn kids pulled the switch again”. This was nothing compared to the last fire I witnessed.
I found out today that I passed the Massachusetts bar exam. You don’t have to be a lawyer to know that the bar exam is a big deal. In Massachusetts, most first-time takers pass the exam. I can’t seem to find any actual statistics at the moment, but I think it’s around 80%. Those are very good odds, but after an entire summer of grueling study (okay – and videogames) and two full days of intense testing in uncomfortable chairs, it would be devastating not to pass.
I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief tonight in light of the news, and getting ready to return my prep books as soon as I hear from New York, the other bar I took. Next month I’ll be sworn in at Faneuil Hall, on the stage where John Kerry gave his concession speech yesterday.
Today is (hopefully) the fifth and final day of moving to my new apartment in Cambridge – not more than two miles from my old place in the Fenway. Boston has a something of a holiday around September 1 known as “moving day” because there are so many students and so many September 1 leases. I’ve been an observer of the mass moving phenomenon for the last three years – the longest I’ve ever stayed in one dwelling – but I have now experienced the joy of the Boston intra-city move first-hand.
I’ve noticed that my 25-30 year old friends tend to announce a common manifesto during a hot summer’s move: “This is my last move, next time I’m hiring professional movers.” This result of this policy is akin to the classic line of regret: “I’m never drinking that much again!” For a few, the policy is actually implemented. For most, future mistakes only illustrate one’s foolishness.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I still have a few things at the old apartment…
Today was the first day of my $2,400 bar review course. For that amount, I get a massive stack of books and a special badge that allows me to go downtown and watch a video for four hours each day. A strange thing about the building is that you have to use a special bathroom key for the bathroom. Clearly the building has had problems with people coming in off the street, running past the security guards, getting into the elevators, going to the eighth floor, finding the bathroom, and using it in a manner that causes severe disgust among the floor’s co-inhabitants.
I’ll probably be complaining a lot about the BarBri course this summer, but in their defense I will say that I was happy with the first lecture from Professor Charles Whitebread. Check out his 1995-era web site.
My first published article reaches the printed page this week. You can now read the pdf version online. The article is intended to be an update on third party pop-up advertising litigation that has now become a widespread legal issue. Originally, I was just looking at the WhenU v. Uhaul case, which is the first pop-up case to reach a decision (summary judgment in favor of the pop-up advertiser). Things take a long time to get published though, and I had to constantly update the article as new decisions came down. The new decisions (preliminary injunctions only, no other final decisions) made things interesting; they seemed to go either way on almost exactly the same facts.
Thus, it’s an interesting issue to watch. I think my article is a good primer for the decisive months ahead.
You might also be interested in some of the other articles in the issue.
I graduated from law school yesterday. Whew – that was a lot of work. It’s nice to be finished, but it doesn’t feel like too big of a deal. There’s still a lot of work to be done (for example: the bar exam) and there will always be a million more things to do, and that’s okay.
I’ve been back in Boston for almost a week now seeing lots of friends and eating lots of good food. I’m essentially finished with law school as well, but there’s always little administrative things (and of course the bar) to get done.
Going to Leiden was a great experience. I’ll soon make a little photo page so you can see what the town looks like.