Archive for May, 2014

Love Of A Dog

Quick thought tonight:

What is it about dogs that can turn highly intelligent university-educated types such as myself into blithering idiots almost instantaneously?

I can be having a serious conversation about Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions and then suddenly




Gotta love ’em.

I remember being twenty-one years old.

Specifically, I remember August of that year. It was spent pursuing a history course in Oxford, you might recall.

Even more specifically, I remember one night early in the month. It was the night that the legend of Magic Mike was born.


It took about five  minutes to walk from my residence building to the building where the party was taking place. It took another five to actually find the entrance once I’d arrived. I considered turning back and just having a quiet night in rather than looking like an idiot struggling in the dark to find the doorway, but other people noticed me and invited me in.

I was armed with one bottle of pear cider. Brothers, I believe. I figured that would be the extent of my drinking for the evening.

And then someone suggested that we play flip cup.

Now, I’d never played flip cup before. Or any drinking game. Instinctively I backed away from the table, not wanting to be roped in by some well-meaning person who I hardly knew. Alas, I was roped in by some well-meaning  person who I hardly knew, and put on a team. I sheepishly admitted having never played before to someone in the room, and received a crash course: Drink your drink, and flip your cup.

And off we went. I did reasonably well for a rookie. Some games were won, some games were lost, but plenty of good times were had by all.

And then I was thrown into the fire: They put me on the anchor leg for a game. I would go last, and victory or defeat would hinge entirely on whether or not I could properly flip a plastic cup upside down before the person standing across from me. I felt the weight of the cosmos on my moderately inebriated shoulders.

My team did a good job setting me up, and as expected it turned into a showdown between me and my opponent. Each of us fumbled around, trying desperately to seize victory. I can’t remember how many attempts it took me to flip the cup. All I remember is that I flipped mine first. There was a roar from my team and from the spectators.

And then someone started a chant.

Magic Mike! Magic Mike!

It started low, and built to a glorious crescendo. Soon the whole room was chanting.

Magic Mike! Magic Mike!

Thus I stood as a god amongst men. From my lofty pedestal I overlooked my worshipers and bathed in the golden sunlight of their praise. It was a truly magical moment.

From then on, I was known as Magic Mike to the group. Though the reference to the male stripper portrayed by Channing Tatum is obvious, the nickname was always said as a compliment, and I wore it as a badge of honour. Magic Mike was this guy who loved a good party and could pound back a beer with the best of them, and that’s how those present that night viewed me for the rest of the month.


I’m not Magic Mike. Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I’m not Magic Mike. I prefer small gatherings to large parties, I hate beer, and I don’t have a quarter of Channing Tatum’s abdominal muscles.

But I do think it’s nice to pretend every now and then.

Blood In The Water

In my opinion, school is easy.

Let me qualify that. Doing well in school is not easy, but not doing poorly in school is easy. You follow?

I’m sure you’ve all been in a class where you’ve done very well, and then discovered that the class average was astoundingly low. And you’ve wondered what the other chowderheads in your class could have done to bring down the class average so much.

More often than not, it’s a lack of effort. Specifically, it’s a lack of effort in the most difficult place to put in no effort: in class.

I’ve never understood people who don’t pay attention in class. Why on earth would you take the time and effort to walk to campus and commit to spending the next hour an a half (or more) of your life in a musty old classroom only to spend the entire time on Facebook, doing exactly what you would have been doing had you stayed at home? I understand skipping class entirely – that at least makes logical sense. But to actually go to class and accomplish as much as if you skipped class? Absolutely mystifying.

It used to annoy me when I saw people doing this, but not anymore. I’m in law school now, and the rules have changed. All of us are slaves to the ruthless B-curve. It’s very simple:  Only 25% of the class can get As, and the median grade must be a B. In effect, this makes percentages useless. It doesn’t matter if you scored a 95 on that last assignment – if everyone else scored 97, that 95 is a B.

So now when I see people not paying attention in class, my eyes light up. That’s blood in the water to me. That’s raw meat. I lick my lips because I know that when it comes time for the exam (worth 100% of our grade) I’ve got that person beat.

I think that a lot of law students think they can beat the system. They think they have a superhuman ability to multitask, when the reality is that no one does. If you try to multitask, you’re bound to lose efficiency. Flipping off a text or two when the professor has gone off topic is one thing, but you can’t possibly scroll through dozens of status updates and take good notes simultaneously. It’s impossible. What usually happens is that a student will switch from Facebook to their notes when they hear the professor say something that sounds important about a particular topic and copy the last sentence the professor said verbatim. And then they’ll go home thinking they fully understand that topic.

When it comes time for the exam, it doesn’t matter how much they’ve studied. They can study all day and all night for a week and it won’t make a lick of difference. Studying for three hours with excellent notes will take you much further than studying for ten hours with shabby notes. That’s just how it works.


Here at the castle, it’s even crazier. There are six hours per day of lectures here, split into two three hour blocks. The class moves at an accelerated pace, so every minute you spend not paying attention is even more harmful. And yet, people are not only spending their time on Facebook, but booking entire vacations during class! It baffles me. You’ve got a dorm room and half a dozen hours of free time after class ends. Why do you have to map our your weekend getaways in class?

But hey, enjoy Ibiza. Make sure you don’t catch an STD while you’re there and miss the exam – I want your grade to count towards the curve.