After reviewing a couple of hours, which was a break from packing – I downloaded and took my last exam. This is a timed open book exam. Not that having an open book is of any help at all. I had extensive notes, but there simply isn’t time to find, cut and paste as apposed to simply answering the question/s.
It seems like all law school exams are essays – which may explain the definite faculty preference for computer over blue book. With an open book/on-line exam, there isn’t much choice, it is going to be computer.
Of course, it also helps if you remember to either convert your document into Word (ick) or PDF it.
Pages is my standard. The above is mentioned because I forgot to convert the exam so had to immediately send a copy in the right format. The upload software doesn’t let you upload again/replace whatever you send.
I would rather scribble in a blue book….
At least that is what I am telling myself. So far I have reviewed five pages of outlines, several misc. documents, read through my notes, played computer games and skimmed some junk genre fiction.
So much for good intentions.
And there was also the Cal’s Women’s Basketball game this afternoon (they pulled off a win, but their % from the floor left a bit to be desired. Had the opponent been one of the PAC-12, it would not have turned out so well). But the Straw Hat Band was there, tho not in numbers. I gifted out the first batch of pins made from Miriam’s design
thought about studying some more, but had dinner instead and going to sleep relatively early.
On my list of things to do today – SF Passport office and rescue my new passport. Considering that I turned in the paperwork on Monday, I thought it was a pretty good deal, even with the $60 expedited fee.
After clearing security, taking the elevator upstair, checking in at one desk, being directed to another, followed by heading to “Window #1” I discovered that they had not printed the correct passport book. You see, the books come in two sizes: regular and large. The regular size is exactly that which most people get. It was the size to which I wound up adding 80 pages to in 2013. This time, since the price was exactly the same, I had checked the box for the larger size since the US Department of State has decided that they will no longer add pages to passports.
Correct, they no longer are willing to take books apart, sew in 40/80 new pages. The result is that if you run out of pages, you have to get a new passport. Travel frequently and a 10 year passport will no longer last 10 years. This includes taking into account that the US rarely, if almost never stamps its own passports entering the US.
The gentleman at the window checks the envelope; it contains a regular passport. He goes and checks the order form. It specifies large. I have a choice, I can take the passport. Or I can come back at the end of the day/tomorrow and have the correct size (page numbers) provided. It doesn’t cost more (other than a second BART fare) to get the correct one and it will save me money in a few years. Since I have to come into the city on Monday (exam time again), I will head back.
Not that I have anything else to do….
Law schools make a huge production out of exams. Seriously huge. I don’t remember anything, including National Boards or Specialty Exams that were this much of a production. Of course, those were also in the paper/pencil days and did not include essays.
Law schools LOVE essays.
Option one – Download Exam4 software on your computer and type your essay. This has good and bad points. On the good side, there is ease in grading for the professor as there are no issues with handwriting. For students, there is a built in spellchecker and the ability to cut and paste. The last is significant it terms of reorganizing a several page answer. On the downside – there is the significant issue of installing someone else’s software on my computer and I really think a higher expectation on the part of the faculty member as far as organization and extent of answer. There is also the “baffle them with bs” that many of us tend toward when. we run out of something useful to say. It is oh, so easy to do this with a word processor. You also have to be extremely familiar with the software in order to have it function properly.
Option two – hand write in blue books. The downsides are obvious: you have to be organized, coherent, and have decent handwriting. On the plus side, if you do it properly, you can write less. You also don’t have to deal with a software program that wants to do strange things while you are writing. No worries about losing one’s answers or not having it upload properly
It might not make sense to you, but I will always pick blue book (handwritten) over a computer generated exam. My handwriting is not that bad and I want concentrate on the content of what I am writing and not on the form of the exam (making it look pretty on the paper). The blue book rules are one side and every other line. I can work within those parameters. And yes, I have been dealing with computers since 1968. That doesn’t mean that I have to use them – they are a tool – and so is a pen.
This particular professor set a word limit for the essay. The total exam is 3 hours – there are going to be 20 multiple choice questions and then an essay for the last two hours. Word limit is 3000, and page limit for blue book is 27 (assuming about 110/words/page). This particular version of WordPress provides a word count for each post as well as autosave and update on a regular basis. To this point I am at ~ 440 words. Slighly more than 10% of what would be allowed for a 2 hour essay. Frankly, that is a lot of words in a relatively short time. More than I would want to generate. More that I honestly could generate.
(update, my blue book answer certainly didn’t use 27 pages. At 12 usable pages per blue book, I finished before the end of the second. It would have helped if I had used a simpler outline and remembered to place all the points in the correct order so I wouldn’t have had to back track/fill in. Next time….)
The first of my final exams for the semester is this Wednesday. I haven’t even bothered to look and see if it is morning or afternoon. It doesn’t matter at this point and by then I think all the material is going to leak back out of my brain, run out my ears and puddle on my pillow. If I get any sleep. The specific class is Constitutional Law II – which mostly focuses on the Constitutional Amendments. Since I have never taken Con Law I, Torts, Property, I am at a bit of a disadvantage whenever a discussion starts with “as you remember from…..
I mentioned years ago (War College – 1997-1999 concurrent with command in Würzburg and the frolic and detour to Bosnia with TFME) that there is a lot of reading, only if you do it. I haven’t read as much of the assigned Con Law reading as I probably should have. Frankly, I don’t get it and wading through it left me more confused than if I asked fellow classmates and took good notes during class. Notes taken on paper with pen, thank you very much, not typed where the words hit your ears and are transferred to your fingers without processing. If you play any musical instrument, you know exactly what I mean. You need to see the notes and have your fingers do what they are supposed to do – there is no time for thought.
The actual text book for this course, in hard copy is somewhere around 1400 pages, plus a couple hundred page supplement with the most recent new Supreme Court Cases. I have made the occasional notes in the textbook – electronic version that you can carry without back ache are great – the ability to annotate is even better. The supplement is paperback. For some reason, the organization is better and I can distinguish between the authors commentary and what was ACTUALLY found or held in the case. Not so much in the main text. There is an awful lot of “if you could say it in 100 words, a few thousand would be soooo much better.” I am thinking some of that might be left over from when any judge was a practicing attorney. Lawyers bill, right? By time increments in the US is the current practice. If you write more, it takes longer and you can charge more….
Back to studying. The first class was third week or so in August. Since all the lectures are recorded, I can review the lectures (1.5 speed) while checking my notes and filling in whatever handouts the professor might have furnished. (I will hold off on the “OUTLINE” rant, that would just be overload). Having reviewed a fair amount as we went along – I am on the “month a day plan.” I’ve been through August and just finishing up Sept. Tomorrow I will get through Oct and then that just leaves me Nov.
After all, who wouldn’t want to devote extensive hours to determinations of level of scrutiny, equal protection, due process? Oh, and let us not forget – the incorporation doctrine which definitely has to include the III Amendment. None of us want troops billeted in our houses.
Oh wait! I was one…..
Up front, I am not much of a football fan. US football just so there is not any confusion. I don’t detest it the way I do boxing (no excuses, a sport where you win by inflicting brain damage on your opponent? – I DO NOT think so). While in the military I was continually confronted with that particular bit of stupidity. They needed a doctor for their boxing matches. I left it open to my crew – no penalties if they wanted to support – complete back up if they didn’t want to participate.
The catch was – no doctor – no match, so you understand the pressure.
Really, there we are in a combat zone continually screening people for TBI (traumatic brain injury) secondary to just about everything. And they want to box in their spare time? Really? Let’s support our enemy by damaging our own troops ….
Oops – I think I was starting to discuss today’s Cal football game. I was there because? George has season tickets. Since he attends somethings with me (As baseball) and lets me off the hook for others (formal receptions, cocktail parties), the least I can do is go with him. When it is not raining, or snowing or there isn’t someone else begging to go along.
So there we are, in our usual seats. Maus & Friend are sitting over in Q for the first half. They join us for the second since the season ticket holders next to us don’t appear. The marching band is great. The football team? Meh. Unlike those around me, I don’t have any objection to the quarterback. Hello? He is a freshman. Let me repeat that – this is a college game and he is new this season. I don’t care how good you were in high school – this is NOT high school. He has a great and a good running back. He has a couple of really good pass receivers. What he doesn’t have is decent blockers from the line to protect him.
Cal won by points. Colorado won on everything else. They had more yards passing, rushing, 1st downs made, fewer penalties. What destroyed them was the first few minutes of the game. You can’t receive the kickoff and on the second play throw a pass that is intercepted by Cal and returned for a touchdown. That means you just tossed (literally, sorry) away your chance. Seriously, what you don’t do is repeat the process on your next return and have another interception mean that you are down 14-0 in the first five minutes of the game. Then there was a fumble…
Colorado came back and almost managed a win. By the time we hiked up the hill (which seems like a mountain about then) it was dark and cold. At least the Cal-Stanford Game (rescheduled to next Sat because of the air quality secondary to the wildfires) will start at noon. Whole game in daylight. Much better deal.
And now back to studying for my first exam (on Wednesday).
It was fun, an almost full house between having family members in town, some friends from the public health class and a number of my fellow students from UCHastings (the Exchange and LLM programs).
Needless to say, there was more than enough food, a lot of laughter and a number of them taking me up on the hot tub invitation.
Sometimes riding BART can put you to sleep; other times it is hard to breath. Today was a usual ride, meaning that we were all packed in like sardines. Like most of the rest of the travelers – the choice is to stare off into nothing or read. Well, except for those who play games on their phones, but they don’t count.
So there I was, reading. Embarcadero, Montgomery. Two stops where most of the people exit BART and head off to wherever they will be entombed for the day. But not today, for some reason the car in which I was riding stayed packed so I drifted back to my book. The next time I looked up we were at …. 16th and Mission? Whoops – I was a stop too far and barely made it on to the platform before the door snapped shut behind me.
At least getting back was easy, unlike many of the subway locations in NYC or Metro in DC – just walk across the platform and grab the next inbound train. Ride one stop and I was back to Civic Center where I should have exited the other train in the first place. It was good that I had left early since those extra minutes could have resulted arriving late for class, not one of those things that any of us appreciate. I mean, really. Wander in after the class has started? Not a great choice, but the only one when they take attendance.
I will be sincerely glad when all the trains in the system have been replaced with cars that have electric signs at the ends and clear announcements in the cars. After all, it can’t possibly be MY fault that I missed my stop, now can it?
are one of those particularly American Legal thing. At the Appellate Level you have apposing council and and a panel of judges. Unlike your standard courtroom trial, those judges can, and do, ask questions. They also interrupt and try to score of you, your opponent and the other judges.
It is words for knives veiled in politeness at less than 10 paces. Someone
dies loses every time. Reminds me of a song heard long ago, sung at Darkover by Clam Chowder when Shana was young. It was all about two lawyers apposing each other. When all was said and done, they shook hands as friends.
It some worlds, it would be impossible to treat your opponent as a friend. The legal mind appears not to experience cognitive dissonance: this representation is a job; everyone is entitled to good representation; I can do this. But why, someone like me asks? Don’t you have a compass? Can you just put aside what you believe in order to earn top prize money? Or worse, don’t you believe in anything? Are you for sale?
Medicine is so different from this. Many of us struggle with the idea of making a living off the bad things that happen to others. I think it is why there has been the tendency to take salaried positions over the last couple of decades; to not have to worry about who is paying what. To be able to battle on the side of one’s patient rather than with them to get costs covered.
Gee, got off track didn’t I?
Anyway, I was stuck today in the Moot Court Room, 4th floor of 198 McAlilster. One of my classmates and I had drawn apposing sides of a made up issue about free speech, loud students and printed t-shirts. Sela has had sick children at home, I have had absolutely no interest in writing out an oral argument. As it turns out, each of us did most of our decision making and prep in the hours right before our noon appearance.
And we both did fine. Sometimes there is over preparation. And sometimes you just get lucky.
I don’t know where my mind was this morning. Or rather, I think I left it steeped in the cup of coffee forgotten on my dresser. Somewhere in the back of my mind was the thought that I needed to be at UCHastings by 0900.
Which in and of itself is strange since I didn’t have a class prior to 1040, or maybe it is 1050? Anyway hard to tell since the constant bopping forward by 10 minutes in the class schedule always leaves me confused. Not exactly my favorite thing as you might guess. Spend enough years where at least the rules are clear and the clock has 24 hours in a day and you lose some of your tolerance for petty stuff.
Walking in the door of the classroom building I saw one of my classmates seated on a chair next to the security desk.
Hi! I got in return. It is 0900 and I am registering.
Oh, yes. The reason I am here early. Registration opens on-line at 0900. The 3JDs, LLMs, MSLs have first crack. And If I don’t register today, I have to wait till much, much later. Heading up to the third floor, I pulled my computer out of my backpack. And to think I almost didn’t want to bother with the weight today.
Three minutes later and I was registered for all my sections. There will be an issue later, as one of the classes I want to take overlaps with a class that I am required to take. The overlap is one hour every other week, but apparently these folks are anal about such things. In any case, I am registered and can now go find more coffee.
or more than occasional as is the reality.
You have heard weather reports in the past – cloudy, raining, partly sunny? Or some variation of the above?
Unless, of course you live in Hawaii and get a report that says – today will be just like yesterday with temperatures in the low 80s with mild showers between 0200 and 0400.
Here in the Bay area the reports range from the lowest temperatures in San Francisco to the highest in the Central Valley. Often those reports include a description of the marine layer or areas of patchy fog to burn off by noon.
Burning off is something we are NOT discussing right now. The fires continue to rage in both Northern and Southern California. Although the Camp Fire is more than 150 miles (240+ km) from here, a pall is layered over the city. It has been days since we have seen the sun, except through a layer of smoke. White in the morning, glowing red like embers in the afternoon, it has been days since we have seen any blue sky.
This is nothing like the horror of Northern California where fire swept through a number of small towns. These are wildfires, not forest fires, Idiot Washington DC based politicians aside. These fires have nothing to do with forestry management and everything to do with people living in areas ripe for burning. California has been dry, the temperatures high, the humidity at close to an all time low. It isn’t trees, it is bush, scrub, tall grass that easily catches fire that the winds whip along at speeds faster than can be controlled or people can be evacuated.
So we have weather reports that warn of particle levels so that those with respiratory disease can take care. People wearing respirators are commonly seen on the street or riding public transportation. The number of joggers has decreased sharply. And smoke, like fog, settling around us.
lately has become a day on which I hide out and stay home. Especially in the U.S. where the holiday has become just one more in a long line succumbing to commercialization by retailers looking for one more opportunity to peddle their wares. I understand wanting to make a living. I even understand merchandising. What I really do not appreciate is the taking of anything solemn or of significance and turning it into a circus.
It certainly happens in the U.S. with religious holidays. Especially the two major Christian ones. I don’t care about social holidays (Thanksgiving, Halloween, Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day?) -those are just ripe for commercialization. But Memorial Day? Veteran’s Day? Those should command at least a modicum of respect. Memorial Day should impact everyone.
Veteran’s Day? It has become an excuse for anyone who knows someone with prior service to say “thank you for your service” and bop on with their lives. Perhaps the day garners more respect in Europe. I think there is a huge difference between sending family off to fight in foreign lands and having those battles range through your own country, city, town and farm. It is easier to understand when it is personal, when your parents, or grandparents lived through the war, even when they absolutely never talk about it.
Take that minute at 11 after 11 today. Armistice Day and be glad that you are not currently living in a war zone. That the battles you are fightings aren’t house to house, tree to tree. That there are not mass graves under your feet. That your family is safe. That you, unlike many in the past, have choices.
There are those out and about who are still denying that the world’s climate is changing. Perhaps they didn’t get the message when watching “Day After Tomorrow” which was released in 2004. Or perhaps missed the news story about Tonga looking for another place for their population when they are swallowed by the sea (their island’s high point being less than 3 meters above sea level)?
It certainly is the case that there is way too much dry land in California, and the Santa Anna winds are worse this year compounded by low humidity and build up of brush and grass. In any case, Paradise California is no more with over 75% of the town burned. Much of Chico has been evacuated, the State College closed for the next couple of weeks and the students sent home.
Even with the fires more than 250 km from here (+75 miles north of Sacramento) the smoke has been rolling steadily into our area. You can smell it, taste it on the air. The sun sits sullenly on the horizon this evening, redder even than I remember from setting suns out on the ocean. Most of the reports so far are about the people, homes and businesses lost. I expect the reports soon about animals, pets, wildlife.
I am hoping that PG&E is not to blame again, but our infrastructure certainly hasn’t kept up with the population growth. I sometimes wonder at the lack of fires from the wire nests that I saw routinely in India and Nepal, in various countries in Africa. But then, with the number of people needing fuel for cooking fires, there was little chance of buildup of branches, grasses and brush. No fuel, fewer chances for fire.
The acreage lost is over 75,000 so far with less than 30% containment.
We need rain. 9
It isn’t likely, but you might remember me writing about having one more meeting to attend this year. The IMED is held every two years in Vienna. I have attended the last several. I was all set to go this year; flight reservations, hotel book, fees paid.
But then on Wednesday morning I hit a snag, in fact two. The first I could have worked around but the second turned out to be insurmountable. Then end result was that I was home at 1600, not at the airport checking in to Turkish Airways Flight #79, not to be changing planes in Istanbul.
That second problem?
Where oh where has my passport gone? (and you can’t get same day service in San Francisco)
Somehow, as a child of suburbs and small towns I had failed to connect the idea of children, schools and cities.
I know that it should be obvious to everyone that there are schools (elementary and secondary) inside cities. Hello? Cities, people, children = schools. Then let me describe the area around UCHastings. The Law School sits in the middle of the Tenderloin, an area much more likely known for street people, drug dealing and homelessness than for families with small children. Rather than recite most of the facts, the Wiki article at the link is worth reading. Bottom line? The area around Hastings has a plethora of homeless persons, police, and drug dealing. It is not an area I would wander around in after dark.
The local BART stop is Civic Center. The area is also home to a few theaters, museums, and a number of court houses.
Reading the historical information that a portion of the area was at one time referred to as Little Saigon, I don’t know why I didn’t connect that bit of information along with the city not allowing a lot of gentrification in the area implies both poverty and families.
On my way back from Peet’s on Monday (Corner of Turk and Van Ness) I walked past a building that was obviously a school. Given the mosaics, I could safely assume elementary school. Next corner I hit another major clue. School Crossing Guards complete with Stop Signs working with the traffic lights, walk signals and pedestrians. It was then that the thought of schools in the area finally sunk into my head. Like the average non-inner city dweller, I don’t really think about the upper stories of most of the buildings I am walking past. Certainly, I guess I was oblivious to the fact that, since there are any where from three to numerous stories, someone must be occupying the floors above street level. Like perhaps people live there?
The crossing guards had cell phones in one hand, their red Stop Sign in the other along with a smile for just about everyone. Smiling back, they form an excellent cross-section of the people who live in the area. San Francisco is about as population diverse as any community in the US. It is a city which ranges from the inner bay to the Pacific Breakers with hills. It is a city with tech leaking out the seams, a busy financial district, and tourists. It is also home to more than 400,000. Of course there are schools….
It was liket a light bulb went off over my head. You know the one – blinding flash of the obvious – where, in retrospect you have no idea why you missed the main point of whatever. It was an innocent remark of George’s that triggered my understanding.
Let me give you some background so that you can understand the context.
I using my GI Benefits to collect yet another degree. I thought about some of the PhD programs – but, thinking in German, Dr. Dr. is just stupid. I have an MPH. I decided, in 1999, that I did not want a MS in military science. This left me with looking at the various programs offered in the area. I wanted a program that I would attend. Between 2011-2015 I did enough on-line courses through Coursera and EdEx that, while accumulating a lot of knowledge good for trivia and general enjoyment, I found that I missed the face-to-face interactions with faculty. UCHastings (Law School of which George is an Alumni) offered a Masters in Studies in Law (MSL). The program is designed for those already with advanced degrees in the fields of medicine, technology, business, with a grounding in law. The variety of courses offered is excellent, mostly relevant, and provides a completely different way of looking at one’s field from the legal/regulatory point of view. The two main downsides are cost and day-time only courses which means the program is not really accessible (yes, you can study part time and complete the degree over 4 years) for most working professionals.
Now you have the background. Let us move on to socratic methods of teaching.
No, lets us not. I would rather skip that whole mess. I am a doc, I like lectures; I like reading things that make sense, are exact and are consistent. Short is better and facts which are well known do not need references.
Moving on to law school exams. No, I am not in law school, but my classes are at a law school and my classes are filled with law students. Other than having the shortest and most concise essays of anyone on the first few exams (you could write more….) I ran into little problems understanding what the faculty member wanted out of me for the exam.
Then I hit a practice exam in Constitutional Law II and totally missed the point. I answered the question with real world knowledge. I know what the professor intended, but he used a real world situation, so I answered in kind. Wrong. He wasn’t looking for what was TRUE, he was looking for a logical essay on a couple of constitutional points and some definitions he thought might be of consideration.
The difference between this exam and the others? All of the others had used fake states, towns, cities or situations. I could take them as purely related to the legal principles. In contrast, ask me about deployment of National Guard and my mind goes from theory to reality. Repeat, I am a doc. Talk to me about “any patient” and I will give you an any patient answer. Ask me about a specific patient, and guess what you will get.
George just looked at me. Law school questions are a closed universe. Use only the information contained. It is an isolated universe. Reality “hat nicht zu tun.”
Ok, I thought I had the system beaten. It doe take sending out 2-3 emails rather than one, but it looks like I can possibly get group emails through the “new improvements” of Gmail. But then, things started bouncing today.
What was different? Oh, yes, photos. It looks like no attachments if it is a group email. Or rather, no included code. Ok, I can work around that – and can attempt to attach pictures? Or provide a link in the text which would go directly to the photo on my website. That might just work. But then I will have to figure out how many are allowed and if there are any special limits that gmail has placed without bothering to tell me.
I feel truly sorry for anyone who is trying to use GMAIL for business. No longer able to send out newsletters, for example. I have resisted switching back to yahoo.groups or google.groups because that would give them a permanent list of who I am sending to. That is just none of their business. The same for any of the emailing services. For me to do a group mail, I would have to upload a list of email addresses. Like I would do that?
All of which leave me with the question of a mailing list that has been running for 20 years. Since I am not on Facebook, nothing is there. Twitter? 140 characters. Not words, not paragraphs, characters. Enough said. Most days I actually want complete sentences maybe sprinkled with punctuation. I am not egotistical enough to think that everyone is going to wander over to my webpage every day just to see if I have come up with something new. That puts the burden on you, rather than having me reach out.
What I will also be watching over the next few days is whether there are some particular systems which are more likely to sputter when an email from me arrives. At least then I could place all those poor souls (pour soles – got to love spellcheck) onto one of the three groups that now exist.
Meanwhile, I survived another run to SF for class this morning, managed to forget my vest in one of the faculty offices, and BARTed to Berkeley where I will spend the next couple of hours immersed in Public Health. Now, I just need to figure out how to access the course materials on line…
Or maybe it was NoCal? (5 Nov update – it was actually NorCal – title above edited to reflect correction provided by George)
Anyway, it was a benefit for the Cal Marching Band held last night at the University Club at the top level of the new stadium.
There is a great view of the field –
from the outside seating area on the visitors end
From opposite of the stadium (University Club is on the West Side in case you hadn’t guessed
we had a great view of the sunset and San Francisco.
and me without my decent camera. George thought I left it at home deliberately. All I can say is that I forgot it.. iPhone will have to do.
Anyway, the evening was to benefit the Marching Band. Yes, I know I said that before. Many of those present fell into the category of parent or band alumni along with partners. I think that George and I were the rare folks who, other than enjoying the band, have no real relationship to anyone in the band.
I had lovely conversations with former band members, parents of current band members and several band members as well. We didn’t buy raffle tickets and skipped the silent auction on some limited edition Grateful Dead Stuff. Sorry, but I am just not a Deadhead. Let someone else who really wants it, get it. I don’t have a qualm about just donating the money to them straight up.
What I didn’t mention was the need for ear plugs. We had two sessions from the Marching Band. As much as I enjoy them, the space is not conducive to large numbers of brass instruments. But the kids looked like they were having a great time and their reward was a most excellent flourless chocolate cake.
Today was a quiet day. I finished up a paper due on Tuesday and uploaded it before I changed my mind. Played a number of computer games, read a book, studied some more, did research on the National Guard (YES! I was right about Title 32 for operations out of home state) and otherwise tried to be sensible.
Yes, I know. Me sensible? It might just apply.
If personal information makes you squeamish, then please move on to something else.
There was a time in my life when I firmly believed that whiskers occurred on cats and guys who didn’t care to shave. One of the blessings of being female was fine, colorless facial hair which could just be ignored.
Let me tell you, the above is total and complete lie. It might be true for women prior to that wonderful change of life scientifically referred to as menopause. But afterwards? Not so much. For the first few years of my 50s I saw the occasional bristle which I promptly plucked out with a tweezers and otherwise forgot about.
Sometime in my 60s they turned white and just about as flexible as a boar bristle. One of the few positive things I can report about chemo is that they vanished, totally and completely. Now, I am not talking serious mustache or beard, just a few hairs sprouting here and there at random which actually was more aggravating. No way to predict where the next dastardly thing was going to show up, nor in what direction it would point.
Oh, I forgot to mention that little annoyance dropped on top of all the other irritation, did I? These suckers grew in random directions and seemed to manifest overnight complete with a curl on the end. The only embarrassment that I think is equivalent is that lovely time in late puberty where major, painful zits could sprout the morning of anything critical providing both distraction and a wish to vanish from the face of the earth.
So here I am at the cranky age of 68 with the old lady equivalent of zits. As various of my off-spring would say – it is NOT fair…..
there are certain words which have definite meanings to us children of the 60s. Those of us who grew up with mainframes, set vocabularies and a sense of humor about the Jaberwok. Not so these modern children who think nothing of co-opting a perfectly well defined term or phrase and standing it on its head.
Tom Standage, in his Writing on the Wall, 2000 Years of Social Media
(did you see what just happened? Rather than just assert something, I went and found a reference that backs up my point in order to give in emphasis and decrease the chance that someone might question it. After all, if someone else said it, it must be true. Meanwhile, I have been totally and completely corrupted. Do NOT under ANY circumstances have anything to do with lawyers, how they think or how they write. You will find yourself totally ruined by the experience. Trust me.)
discusses social opinion, commentary and how opinions change. It is a fun book. But what I am discussing is something slightly different. It is the total and complete stealing of a term of art and changing it beyond recognition.
My disgust and anger today revolve around the degeneration in the use of “HACK.” This is a word that we all know. Whether it is from sports or a glancing familiarity with with axes or hatchets. I understand “hack” and it means to break in, by unauthorized means, through a computer software code or into someone’s computer (mainframe in the era where I started).
Some fool in the 1990s decided to combine two otherwise useful words – HACK and MARATHON into Hackathon. This poor bastard of a word implies a session where a bunch of computer geeks race their bleeding fingers in the pursuit of a software solution against a time clock (and others). Right from the start, there are several problems with this analogy: the first is that a marathon is an INDIVIDUAL (caps intended) race, not a collaboration; the second is that a marathon is a sporting event with specific rules. Back to hacking: the only rules in hacking are that you don’t give away your tricks in cracking into places that your are not supposed to be and you don’t rat out your fellow hacker. Seriously, comparing a group of nerds (present party included) who traditionally fuel on caffeine and Cheetos with seriously physically fit athletes is ludicrous.
So now we have “hackathons” most of which should be much more properly named “brainstorming sessions.” It isn’t computer people any more, the term has become wide spread and used by just about any group that wants a catchy idea for its symposium. All of this leads to what set me off in the first place.
A group of lawyers. Seriously, a group of lawyers – the field isn’t relevant but it was NOT related to tech or software – had a Hackathon in the student lounge at Hastings. They are sitting there in rows listening to various speakers, nodding their heads (those that weren’t taking notes or busy with their smart phones). There is not work-group space in sight.
Brainstorming? Conference? Working group? (well if a group has over a hundred participants). And, I repeat LAWYERS! who normally are extremely precise about their word usage. But there they sit, happily holding a hackathon.
I rest my case.