Friday, August 19, 2005

Roberts: right before his time 

From Kaus
You can tell that contemporary legal feminists are now somewhat embarrassed by "comparable worth," because the Roberts stories (in WaPo and the NYT) actually play down its salience. But the feminists should be embarrassed, because even if it's dead (and I'm not sure of that) "comparable worth" shows what can happen--what did happen--when you set up an intellectual conveyor built that sends the latest and brightest ideas of liberal litigators and professors and their law students straight to liberal judges and their law clerks (often those same law students a year later) for quick approval. If nothing else, the madeleine-like memory of this once-celebrated "women's rights" idea should remind everyone why it's valuable to have stubborn non-progressive doubters like Roberts around. ...

Law School 

I have now completed Law School orientation. Classes start next Monday, although they actually started one of the classes early. And we already had reading. And an assignment.

I have had no time for the past couple of days, partly because they packed the days full with endless seminars and panels on Law School, and partly because I've been dealing with my car. The engine check went on and they had to order parts then install them, then order another part... And I'm not done yet. They need to install another part on Wednesday. I have had endless free time for the last three years to deal with this sort of thing, and it managed to stretch into the start of Law School, so that was great. And I dropped about $1200 on my car in the last two weeks.

Oh well, Law School looks all right, lots of reading. And I think I have to actually go to class. It will be a big difference from college, where I mainly learned concepts. Law School seems to focus on lots of memorization of cases. Which seems doable. But very different.

My classmates are a fairly diverse group. There are a surprising number of engineers, a few military, some obviously older people, a number of married, as well as all the fresh college graduates. My advisor is a full on Republicans-are-Nazis buffoon, but I think I can ignore him.

I'm going to be quite busy, I think, so there will be fewer posts from now on.(not that I've been posting much for the last couple of weeks.)

Saturday, August 13, 2005


When I arrived in Reykjavik, the weather was cloudy and wet dismal. It improved somewhat over the next four days, but for the most part my memories of Reykjavik are wet and grey. As I walked along the waterfront one damp and cold day, it occurred to me that it reminded me of Seattle.

Reykjavik is a clean and tidy little city(although with a surprising amount of graffiti). The buildings are pleasant and brightly colored, but fairly simple. There's nothing very striking about the architecture for the most part. Corrugated metal siding is very common. Despite the city having been around for more than 200 years, there are very few really old buildings, and none that stand out.

I did get a chance to witness the night-life in Reykjavik. I spent Saturday night cruising the bars with two Kiwis who had been living in London and their Eastern European girlfriends. The funny thing is things don't really start getting crowded until about 2 in the morning(by which time it's getting light again). At 2:30 there are long lines of people waiting to get into the clubs. And there is a continuous stream of cars slowly cruising down the main street until at least 1 in the morning.

Reykjavik is good for a couple of days, but there's not that much to hold you there beyond that. I was stuck for four days while I sorted out travel logistics, and I was very glad to get out finally, as I headed for Landmannalauger National Park.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Iceland Nights 

One of the cool things about iceland is the endless days. When I was there, there was only about one hour of complete darkness in a day. And the sun was at a relatively low angle in the sky(when you could see it for clouds) most of the time, so it always felt like it was morning. You never felt like going to sleep because it was always light and you felt like you should be out doing something. Other than the normal jet-lag, I never really had trouble adjusting, however. I would often wake up multiple times in the "night". Oh look, 10:30, still light. Oh look, 2:30, still light. But I just went right back to sleep, so it was no problem.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


I will start with the thing which makes the strongest impression on every visitor to Iceland, the prices. I don't think I had an extended conversation with a single other tourist that did not end up with us expressing mutual shock at how incredibly expensive everything is. Slice of pizza? 6 dollars. 9 inch pizza with a couple of toppings? 18 dollars. Four hour bus trip? 75 dollars. Six eggs at the grocery store? 5 dollars. A night in a hostel type bed was typically 2000Kr, which is about 32 dollars, roughly twice what it costs in just about every other country I've been to. There are no exceptions, everything costs two to four times as much as you are used to. I knew that Iceland was expensive, but I simply could not get accustomed to spending 35 dollars for a bag of groceries. Traveling around Iceland is an experience in constantly gasping in amazement every time you see a price tag.

As a result, I never ate at a single restaurant or even fast-food establishment during my three weeks there. I thought about it, but it was inordinately expensive, and that's for the cheap options, like a pizza(which was available everywhere). There was a sign in Reykjavik advertising fish and chips for only 12 dollars. An actual good meal would cost more in the range of 40 dollars, and frankly, Iceland isn't famous for it's cuisine. One good thing about Iceland was that almost everywhere I stayed, including the mountain huts, had full kitchen facilities.

The second striking thing about Iceland is that it is, surprisingly enough, actually quite cold. Iceland in general has quite poor weather. I got mostly sunny days about half of my time there, and I think I was lucky to get that. Even when the sun is shining, there's usually a bitter cold wind blowing. The top of the temperature range in Iceland is 'comfortable'. There were maybe three or four times during my trip when I could walk around in shorts and t-shirt. I don't think I sweated once in three weeks.

The other thing about Iceland is that it is a real pain to try to book a place to stay. I have never been to a place so consistently full. Iceland's tourist season is less than three months long, so as a result everything is packed in-season, and presumably empty the rest of the year. If you love hearing the phrase, "I'm sorry, we're all booked up." then come to Iceland, because you'll get to hear it over and over. At one point, I was trying to book a bed 4 days in advance, and I had to call four different places in multiple towns before I finally found a place with a vacancy. My advice for those going to Iceland, either reserve your whole trip in advance or plan on staying in a tent.

Hmmm, this is all negative stuff. I'll stop here and get to the positive stuff later. Oh yes, pictures are here.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


I will write about Iceland, I promise. But first this, from Greg Gutfield-
My friends laugh out loud when they read Deepak Chopra's posts. But I find the posts deeply spiritual. Is that normal?
It is normal if you're a rich, well-educated but confused individual who finds organized religion too difficult to fit into her schedule and far too demeaning to her ego-driven intellect. While real faith requires sacrifice and a willingness to look outside yourself, "spirituality" alone is internal, ego-based and easy to do. Spirituality without religion is like pretending you won the game without playing. Instead of contemplating God, you contemplate your navel. "And it's an endless, ever-expanding navel," Deepak might say.

[FLASH HUFFPO CORRECTION! In his recent post, Deepak wrote, "Death can be viewed as a total illusion because you are dead already." The Huffpo would like to point out that we are not dead already, even if Bill Maher appears to be.]
The Huffington Post is the celebrity/intellectual poseur/wing-nut leftist group blog run by Arianna Huffington. I'm not sure why they invited Greg Gutfield, as all he does is mercilessly make fun of them- like so
What does HP offer people that other blogs don't?
Wisdom. Read any post, take the opposing point of view, and you arrive at common sense.
(Note: this also works amazingly with Trey Ellis's posts. When he says divorce is great because he can bang his girlfriend whenever he wants, what he's really saying is "weak, self-centered people should not get married or reproduce")
I guess this shows they're open-minded. Or just clueless. Either way works for me.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Bag update 

Well, they called back a little later and said the bag was dropped off at 4:30. I looked outside and it was on the porch. I'm pretty sure I looked out around 5:00 and it wasn't there. And when they dropped it off they didn't even knock on the door, which is kind of strange.

In any case, what's with a 5 hour delivery window, anyway? What exactly could make you that uncertain about when you're going to deliver?

And, having given a 5 hour window, how do you not get it in that time? Delivery between 11 and 4 and you get it there at 4:30?(assuming they weren't lying to cover up how late they were) What, stuck in a five hour long traffic jam? I contend that there was no way they were going to get it to me at 11:00, and if they had been honest they would have said that from the start. There's just no way there can be 5 hours of uncertainty to the delivery process.

Oh well. Whatever.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Advice on connections 

When you make a connection to a domestic flight from an international flight, make sure you have a lot of intervening time, more than an hour anyway.

My flight from Iceland was a half-hour late(for no clearly explained reason). I barely got on the connecting flight to Denver, but my bag didn't. So it got some quality time in the Minneapolis airport.

Apparently they will deliver the bags right to your door, so they were supposed to get the bag into Denver today and then deliver it to me this afternoon. There was nothing I critically needed, so, hey, no big deal. I got a call this morning that they would deliver it in a five hour window between 11 and 5. Great.

It's 6:30 now, still no bag. I called the baggage desk at the airport, they're ... not quite sure where the bag is right now...


I'll post later about Iceland.

Oh yeah, one other thing, the Minneapolis airport is a joke. The flight information monitors only have information on Northwest flights. If you're flying on some other airline you have to go to the information desk to find out what gate you're at. Seriously.

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