dal niente

Month: May, 2016

Grab Bag

…because I’m normally so tired that I don’t find the time to write anymore.


Yes, [CM] and I are now homeowners! After 6 months of looking for a 3 bedroom apartment near the CBD (translator’s note– CBD stands for “Central Business District”, which is pretty much Aussie for “Downtown”) and finding nothing selling for less than $1.5 million dollars (who has a million dollars??) we changed things up, and went for a 2-bedroom in the suburbs, but next to a train station.

Our new place is going to be great. It’s pretty much all we could hope for in a first home, and we’re really stoked about moving in in about a month.

Still have 9 left

Someone in judo, a yellow belt, tried to break my thumb off the other day. That’s pretty much about as illegal a move as you can do. I wouldn’t say he did it maliciously, he was just ignorant of the fact that that is actually dangerous and not legitimately a thing. Pretty sure it’s sprained rather badly– I can’t even hold a glass of water up with this hand.


…is getting interesting, now that it’s my second semester into it. I’ve learned to be way more efficient with grading by taking advantage of technology– my comments to students, especially in first year law classes, are often always about the same things, so having quick templates and comments that I can drag and drop have really sped things up.

I’ve also been offered to tutor six student groups next semester– which is kinda extreme. Last semester I did 4, this semester I’m doing 3, so no matter how you look at it, next semester means more. Not that I’m complaining though. With the weddings coming up, and the mortgage, extra money is always good.



…is going well, but it’s not advancing nearly as quickly as I had hoped it would. The real downside of working for a small firm is that I’m getting to caught up in the operational side of things, like doing moderate IT work. I don’t really want to do that kind of stuff– I’m a licensed lawyer who is in my thirties. I don’t have time to waste on operational day-to-day bullshit, I need to be working on cases and immersing myself in legal work.

I’m considering looking at other firms to work at in October, when I get back from my trip to Montreal.


Playing Dark Souls 3…

… makes it easier to grind at some of the more boring parts of life. There’s nothing like gathering 60k souls, and then losing them all in one go. It teaches humility and how to manage your expectations in real meatspace.

Rant to students

Something I posted to students in the online forums:




This message is a public service rant, that does not apply to everyone. To those who it does apply to, you will know who you are when you read this message, and when you get your feedback back.


I’m about elbow deep in correcting first drafts of Task 4 at this point, and should point out a few things about how to properly use the “first draft” opportunity, and feedback generally.


It seems that a lot of students might be thinking something along the lines of “this one doesn’t count for marks anyhow, so I can just be sloppy about certain things and really just fix it up the second time around.”

Things that I know people are being sloppy about– because you really shold know better by now– include:

  • proper italicisation of case names and legislation
  • hyperlinks in the document
  • how to use footnotes, instead of dumping everything in the text
  • footnotes that point to nothing
  • footnotes that are in the wrong place
  • Sentences which, if you read them, simply don’t make sense
  • Multiple spelling errors
  • Multiple grammatical errors
  • etc
  • etc
  • etc

You get the idea. All of those above issues have been dealt with over the past few weeks with Task 2 feedback– there’s no reason why they shouldn’t all be non-issues by now with the Task 4 feedback.

The closer you get your first draft to being the real thing, the more you have harnessed the opportunity of the first draft to get feedback on the logic and content of your writing. If I come across a good paper, it takes me literally about 10 minutes to tick all the boxes and start discussing content issues with you. If I get a sloppy paper, it will take me 30-40 minutes– and I might be correcting silly errors which you actually know how to fix but which you figured were too much work at the time.

We are now way past the initial Task 2 submission– I am happy to see that most students have learned from the feedback, the questions in class, the emails, the forum posts, and the consultations with me. I have seen some great stuff in Task 4 that has all the right foundations in terms of formatting, grammar, AGLC, style, structure, etc, so that we can get straight into the legal. This is the product of you asking questions, and paying attention to the discussion and answers that come from it.


However, there is still a large number of students who took the initial draft of Task 4 too leniently (and I’m sure this was the case for some people in the initial Task 2 submission as well).


This is disappointing.


As general advice, if you want to get far with law school, you need to take any chance at feedback seriously– it is rare that you will be given opportunities for feedback and to ask questions in the real world, so you should take advantage of it and maximse your returns at all times. I don’t expect anyone to know all the answers (even I don’t), but what I do expect is effort. I am very critical in my comments in your papers, but this is the useful stuff– these comments are there for a reason.


If you haven’t taken on board all the lessons from Task 2, in class, in forums, in emails and consultations, etc… and you have simply submitted something for Task 4 because you ran out of time, or couldn’t be bothered to polish a first draft– big missed opportunity! I mark every submission harder and harder and will look more and more at legal content as we progress. If you are still gambling with getting your foundations right on resubmissions instead of trying your best on first drafts, okay– but don’t be surprised at the results.

Take any first draft or feedback opportunities seriously. If you don’t, you are effectively leaving all your proverbial eggs in the resubmissions basket.


</end rant>

Weigh in

It’s now the beginning of May.

I am pleased to report that I have dropped my weight down to 76kgs, and I now fit my size 32 pants (although a measurement around my belly button is still about 35).

It’s not all the way what I hoped to achieve, because I had hoped to drop to a steady 75– however, I do feel that I am still eating quite a bit leisurely. I think that’s worth the 1kg. If I do need to compete at 72kgs, I’m pretty confident that it should be pretty easily doable with about 2 weeks of weight control.

That being said, obviously, weight (and even a belly button horizontal circumferance) are not actually super accurate indicators of anything– keep in mind that my goal was to fit better into my wedding suit!

Overal though, I think the takeaway benefit is that I’m in much better health than december and january (when I was recovering from a moderate back injury). I’m now doing judo about twice per week again at least, and my level of fitness is at my standard semi-serious level.

The time off has been good to me. Most of the niggling joint pains have since gone away. I’ve also learned some new techniques– rather than relying on big power throws (which my back could not support), I’ve gotten better at foot sweeps and off-balancing my opponents.

There’s always something to learn!