Nov 192008

I intended to write the rest of the story of my work with the election at the end of each day, but there simply was not enough time to both experience it and also reflect on it. So the story will have to be continued retrospectively, from a vantage point where we already know that everything worked out fine. Seemingly inevitably fine.

But at the time such an outcome hardly seemed inevitable. In fact, at times it hardly seemed possible. The stress, tension, and pessimism on display in Part I continued to permeate each subsequent day up through the election. The only thing that seemed inevitable back then was disaster.

On the other hand, from the start, my Midwest election adventure began to be kissed by little bits of kismet, happy perfections that made me appreciate what I was doing and remind me that optimism is not always misplaced.

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 Posted by at 9:17 am
Sep 252008

The nice thing about Star Alliance international frequent flier tickets is that they entitle you to a stopover, which makes for a much more interesting trip than just one destination would afford. Case in point: my trip in 2004, when on a free ticket I went to Israel for a week, and then on my way home stopped off in Frankfurt, from where I took a train into the Balkans. Each leg was incredibly poignant on its own, and together made for one of the most profound fortnights of my life.

Of course, not all of my trips are that long, and this past one was for just a long weekend. Also, I wasn’t allowed a stopover because I’d routed my ticket as an open-jaw, into Berlin and out of Hamburg. However it turns out that the rules let you have up to 24 hours in one place before it counts as an official stopover, so through some creative planning I managed to get myself a bonus day in London on the way home from my law school reunion in Germany.

Readers of my old blog know that I did a semester abroad while in law school, at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg. Bucerius is a fairly new institution, less than a decade old, and stands as the first private law school in Germany. It’s named after Gerd Bucerius, who was himself a judge. During the Nazi era he became frustrated at being co-opted as a cog for an unjust machine, so he resigned his post and worked as a lawyer to try to defend against it. When the war ended and the British controlled Hamburg, they recognized him as not being complicit in Nazi crimes and so awarded him a printing license. With that he started the paper, Die Zeit, and the wealth he accumulated as a result was then bequeathed to a foundation, Zeit-Stiftung, which funds many worthy projects, including the Bucerius Law school.

As a law student there were some opportunity costs in doing a semester abroad, like certain classes I didn’t get to take or extra-curriculars I didn’t get to pursue at my home law school while I was away. But on balance I am sure I came out way ahead by doing it. By connecting with this other school and community I’ve been able to become connected with people and law around the world.

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 Posted by at 9:19 pm
Apr 232008

Remember how a few months ago I indicated some Huey Lewis and the News concerts were coming up, and it remained to be seen which ones I’d decide to go to? Well, dromomaniac that I am, I decided to go see the ones in Japan.

HLN were over there this month, touring with Chicago. They did six dates, including three in the Tokyo/Yokohama area this past weekend, which I just got back from seeing.

Hence the light blogging here, because I was actually doing something resembling blogging over on the HLN fan board, filling other fans in on what it was like to be over there and see the shows. Although it’s written largely with that audience in mind, it still reads like my normal travelogues. Have a look (There’s about four days’ worth of significant posts, so keep scrolling among the comments to see it all).

By the way, I don’t mean the Disney “Small World” song — HLN have an entire album called Small World, which includes this title track. A track, it might interest the jazz fans among you to know, that Stan Getz played on. And if neither HLN nor Stan Getz are your cup of tea, how about the Foo Fighters? Huey recently joined them onstage at their show in Osaka

 Posted by at 1:42 pm
Mar 252008

I’ve been a pretty poor blogger this month, first being preoccupied with dealing with my earlier writing project and then with planning last week’s trip to London. The reasons for my trip I’ll divulge as soon as I have a moment to catch my breath, but long-time readers may be impressed (or is it shocked?) to discover it had absolutely nothing to do with Huey Lewis… (Or even Stephen Fry, for that matter.)

As per my usual cheapskate custom, I stayed in a hostel, the only nominally affordable lodging solution in London. The enormous downside to this arrangement is that for the second consecutive time, I found myself sharing a room containing someone who snores. All hopes of overcoming jetlag were dashed on the first night, as I didn’t just find myself lodged with someone who snores but someone who seemed to snore through every. single. sleep stage.

On the upside, in shared rooms you do get occasion to meet people. Including, on this occasion, a non-snoring French paralegal who’s studying to become an attorney.

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 Posted by at 12:28 pm