Wednesday, January 05, 2011

On becoming a lawyer

Just some random thoughts on Law school so far:

At first it was a really exciting time. The same feeling you always get on the first day of school; but you're older and maybe thinking you shouldn't be excited like this for the first day of school. Everyone is telling us that this is such an honoured career choice. The thing I thought was the most striking was that EVERYONE is such a keener. You think you are a keener, but then there are 300 of them around you, and yeah, you're not such a big deal. I gave up trying to be early for everything pretty quick. And some people's true colours started to show too, being late for stuff. It's amazing to talk to people though, everyone has some amazing story to tell about an orphanage they founded, or a shelter they started, or a whole freaking village they saved or something haha.

I found myself always really happy. Not necessarily being a morning person, but being in a general more excited to get out of bed kind of mood. The work is really applied in nature and seems very practical considering what skills we're learning and will be able to transfer later. It's very busy and challenging, but it's nice to be around all like-minded people. It's such a stark contrast to see people striving for the corporate law world and those who are choosing the environmental/social justice/human rights path. So far it's really cool to be experiencing it all in Ottawa.

Here there are protests taking place all the time for any issue you want to get involved in, and the Supreme Court and Parliament are here too, where they make all the decisions and laws we are studying. Sometimes when I walk by the Peace tower on my way to class I still can't get over that it's there and I'm here.

After the gloss of being in Law school wore off, maybe at the end of September, the happiness thing went to being more tired/anxious/bogged down. They kept telling us it would get bad, but it seemed like you could almost stay on top of the readings. Then the assignments, schedule changes, other lectures, etc., all started to happen. And there is really just NO WAY you can do ALL the work, all the readings, everything you are supposed to do to be prepared for class. For a bit it seemed pretty bleak haha, like there was no end in sight. Almost like you are treading water but not swimming anywhere, just on the verge of drowning. But everyone around you is feeling the same, so it's an awesome support system. As long as you don't talk to any of the keeners, but they aren't around, they're at the library anyways.

But, I can say now after 1st semester of 1L that it really isn't as bad as I thought it would be. You can still watch TV (sometimes) and you do go out with friends to the bar and have some drinks. But man do they ever hype up how bad it's going to be.

Exams were a different story. It was like the whole semester was just slowly trudging along and didn't mean anything. These are 100% exams for most classes. It was astonishing to look back and realize how far we had come; both in terms of the amount of material we covered in each class and the quality and knowledge increase. The last week of class, where the assignments were finally over but the summary-making should have started, I was the most unproductive. Completely lacking in motivation and completely burnt-out. There was a lot of preparation required, and tons of anticipation. Not knowing how to make 100 pages of types notes into a 5 page summary to use in a 2-hour 100% open-book exam is a little stressful.

The TAs exams tips included things like not forgetting to shower or eat and we laughed, but it was true. The hours spent hunched over your laptop scrolling through files condensing, deleting, formatting, really makes you lose track of time. I ate poorly any my apartment was a mess, but we made it. Now just to wait the release of the grades in a couple weeks. They also tell us you can't flunk out of Law school, we'll see.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Running along the canal for the first time, missing the ocean breeze a little, perfect fall day, studying procrastination, light breeze, rollerbladers and big dogs, fire orange and red leaves changing, the first crunchy one, one clap of thunder, the smell of rain, the perfect refreshing drizzle to keep going, a fountain, the best refresher for an afternoon of studying contract law.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thinking About the Future from the Future

We were just in Tokyo, Japan a few weeks ago. I would normally put this one on my travel blog, but this is more about just an interesting article than my experiences traveling. Yes, I'm in the future, about 12 hours ahead of Nova Scotia. On the plane to Narita, I was reading a really interesting article in the in-flight magazine "Skyward" about Michio Kaku, a leading Japanese string field physics theorist. Basically, the universe is not made of particles, but one-dimensional vibrating string-like things. He recently had an interview with the BBC about how our world will change over the next 50 years. Here are some of the more interesting things he had to say:

on Star Wars: "So if you look at advance physics, physics of the future, you begin to realize we will have invisibility, teleportation, starships, maybe warp drive, maybe time machines."

"..we will have something like an invisibility cloak in a few decades."

on the future of cultures: "Well, there are two competing trends in the world today. The first trend is toward Type 1 civilization, with planetary language, energy, economy, and culture. Type 2 is stellar, and Type 3 is galactic. We are currently Type 0, not even on the scale, but we're about 100 years from being Type 1. That will perhaps be the greatest transition in the history of the human race. But the second trend is toward chaos, toward fundamentalism. Take, for example, terrorism. Terrorism is a knee-jerk reaction to Type 1. Terrorists cannot articulate what is happening, but in their guy they don't like it. They know that the future is multi-cultural, that it's planetary, that it's scientific and progressive, and they don't like any of those things. They aren't modern, they're premodern. This trend edges towards proliferation of nuclear weapons, terrorism, germ warfare, global warming and chaos. The other trend is toward Type 1."

on technology development: "First of all, computer power doubles every 18 months. Your cell phone has more computer power than all of NASA had when we put two men on the moon in 1969. The chip that sings "Happy Birthday" has more computing power than all the Allied forces in 1945. Churchill, Eisenhower and Hitler would have killed to get that chip. And what do we do? We throw it away. In the future, you will access the Internet through your contact lens. It will be able to recognize people and places and give subtitles to what things are and where you're going. In the future, we'll have a human body shop: we'll be able to grow every organ in the body except the brain. You'll even have a credit card that will act as an owner's manual for your own body. It will go down to about $100. Your car will drive itself with GPS and radar. We'll also have screens the size of your wall at home that enable you to celebrate Christmas with all your family despite them being not there. Holographic doctors will be able to answer 95 percent of all medical questions correctly. In the event of an accident, your clothes will locate your body, call an ambulance and upload your entire medical history - all while you're unconscious. You'll go to the bathroom, and that will be your medical exam. It will be able to analyze proteins from cancer colonies a decade before they form a tumor. The word 'tumor' will disappear from the English language."

Some cool stuff that seems like it's only in the movies, but if this smart guy is talking about it, it's interesting to think how things will change.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Really thoughtful and inspirational short video. I think it's about following your dreams, being dedicated and never giving up. Anything is possible if you really put your mind to it.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Old ideas for new clothes

Everyone wants to be trendy right? Or at least have their own individual style. Think about this the next time you are shopping for that vintage look: the destroyed jeans or the pre worn out shirt. I found this on a hoodie that I got at American Apparel. Hand made clothes in downtown Los Angeles.

"Wear It In

This garment is brand-new. There are no fabricated holes, sandpaper rubbed edges, deteriorating dye processes, or faux finishes of any kind. We encourage you to wash and wear it yourself. We'd like for our basics to last for a very long time. We strive to give you something that is in style, but not overtly trendy that you'll only love it for a weekend. You can buy it now, break it in, and still wear it well 20 years from now, or maybe your kids will find it in your closet. Long term fashion is more sustainable. It's the vintage of the future."

Something cool to think about. I think we could all use some more sustainable clothing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Seeing time: synaesthesia!

I read this really cool article on the BBC News website. I never thought about this before, but I'm pretty sure I have this. They found that some people are able to see time. They explain it way better than I could in the article, so I'll just let you read some stuff I copied below. You can read the whole article at:

Can you see time?

By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News

Imagine if you could see time laid out in front of you, or surrounding your body. And you could physically point to specific dates in space.

Important dates might stand out - birthdays, anniversaries. And you could scan a visible timeline - to check if you were available - whenever you made plans. No actual diary necessary.

According to Julia Simner, a psychologist from the University of Edinburgh, there is a reasonable chance you can. And that you may use the experience, unconsciously, every day.

Dr Simner studies synaesthesia - a condition caused by an unusually high number of connections between two areas of the brain's sensory cortex, making two senses inseparable.

Synaesthetes, as they are known, have experiences that might seem extremely strange to any non-synaesthete.

The extra connections might be between the brain area that processes colours and the area that processes language.

"One of the most common variants is called grapheme-colour synaesthesia," says Dr Simner.

"People with this variant know the colour of letters of the alphabet. So they know that the letter 'A' may be red. But not just any red, it's a certain shade of crimson. And B is turquoise-blue."

These colours are different from person to person, but for one synaesthete they are very consistent.

"If you are a synaesthete with a red A, your A has always been red and will always be red. And it's so intrinsic, that many synaesthetes never question whether this is unusual."

But synaesthetic experiences are not only triggered by a sensory experience - hearing a sound or reading a word that starts with at coloured letter - they can also triggered simply by thinking about things.

In the case of time-space synaesthesia, a very visual experience can be triggered by thinking about time.

"I thought everyone thought like I did, says Holly Branigan, also a scientist at Edinburgh University, and someone with time-space synaesthesia.

"I found out when I attended a talk in the department that Julia was giving. She said that some synaesthetes can see time. And I thought, 'Oh my god, that means I've got synaesthesia'."

So what exactly does she see?

When I'm making plans I can look at my mental calendar -Holly Branigan, synaesthete

"For me it's a bit like a running track," she says.

"The track is organised around the academic year. The short ends are the summer and Christmas holidays - the summer holiday is slightly longer.

"It's as if I'm in the centre and I'm turning around slowly as the year goes by. If I think ahead to the future, my perspective will shift."

There are at least 54 different variants of synaesthesia and Dr Simner thinks this might be one of the most common ones.

"If you ask all the people at your work, or in your family, you're likely to find at least one person who has it," Dr Simner says.

But for those who have it, time-space synaesthesia can be useful, even fundamental to everyday life.

"When I'm making plans, I can look at my mental calendar," says Holly. "I always find it odd that other people don't have that."