Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bar Exam Results

They're not out yet, but it's close.  We were told that the results would be out in the first week or two of October.  However, every year for the last couple years the results have come out on October 1st.  Tomorrow. The single scariest thing for any recent law school graduate is the bar exam and ensuing results.  Months of preparation.  Two days (or three, depending on the State) of marathon test-taking.  Three years of your life on the line.  Studying for the bar was a nightmare of stress and anxiety.  Worst of all, it comes so quickly.  In May you think there is plenty of time and all is right with the world.  You just graduated.  You spend several glorious days basking in the odor of a care-free and alcohol-induced stupor.  But before you know it, it's mid-July. Suddenly you notice that you've stopped showering regularly.  Shaving takes time you can't afford.  The laundry pile is out of control.  That doesn't really matter, though, because you haven't changed clothes in days. Finally, you take the test and it's painfully anti-climatic.  You're done with the studying and test-taking, but you won't find out the results for months.  You know you missed things and are sure you failed.  You try to re-gain your previous awesome-ness but realize that the bar exam has destroyed your alcohol tolerance, and now every sentence out of your mouth inevitably contains some weird legal jargon that serves no purpose other than to repel the opposite sex at the bar.

Now the results are potentially a day away and everyone's life hangs in the balance. If you have not studied, or taken, the bar exam, this probably seems like a drastic overreaction that a solid dose of Xanax could easily fix.  After all, it is just a test.  If you don't pass, you can take it again.  I realize that I may not be the most reliable source since I am currently waiting on my results.  But let me just say that I am not crazy.  I am not the only one who feels this way.  On top of the anxiety associated with this life-defining test is the fact that the results are PUBLIC.  You don't have the choice to lie and tell everyone you passed when you really didn't.  Nope.  Everyone can just go to the list and check for your name.  If it's not there, you're the asshole who didn't pass the bar.  You might as well quit life because it's all downhill from there.

About the Countdown

As you may have noticed, there is a giant "countdown" clock at the top of the blog's first page.  If you were bored enough, you may have calculated the "end" time to be August 15, 2012.  I arbitrarily picked this date as the last day of my clerkship.  I officially started on September 3rd.  My clerkship is for 2 years.  However, I expect that my next job will start in the Fall 2012 and that I will want some time off before going back to Chicago.  So in theory, my last day could be anytime in June, July, or August.  For now, I picked August 15 as a nice round number.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Briefs So Bad, I Feel Stupid

I am starting to learn that one of the most challenging aspects of this job is going to be sifting through absolutely ridiculous briefs written by attorneys who give attorneys a bad name.  Today, I actually read this sentence in a brief about a dispute over an insurance policy:  "If you believe that the legislature does not want insurers to pay for the cost of enforcement, you are simply wrong."  The brief went on to say, "if [what the other side is saying] is true, it means there is a giant sucking sound in Hawaii."  That was this attorney's legal argument.  The, "no no, you're wrong" approach, if you will.  Sadly, the brief contained this type of garbage for 21 pages.  The background section was equally flawed, which left me not only brain dead, but utterly clueless as to what the hell happened.  I started to feel like I was the idiot for not understanding.  I finally concluded that not only should this attorney be disbarred for absolute incompetence, but he should be arrested for charging a client to turn this in.

What really pisses me off about reading briefs like this (which happens all too often) is that it highlights just how ridiculous the whole "character and fitness" process is.  According to their website, The National Conference of Bar Examiners "conducts character and fitness investigations on applicants seeking admission to the bar."  The Michigan bar examiners put out literature where they claim, "In fact, the very first goal identified in the plan is to 'champion character and fitness.'  It is appropriate that this particular goal is first on our list since there is no mission more important for the Bar than protecting the public from individuals who are not fit to practice law." (see here:  You have to be kidding me.  This is the biggest load of crap.  For anyone not familiar with the process of applying to the bar, it's a nightmare.  Although there are subtle differences between the States, they all have largely the same requirements. I will talk about Illinois, which is where I took the bar.

First of all, in Illinois, they charge $700 just to apply.  Then they ask for 10 "character references" and force you to get your friends to fill out ridiculous questions like, "do you think this person has a good moral character?"  Aside from the obvious problems in syntax, do they actually think anyone would give the name of someone who would say no?  Also, everyone just uses their law school friends anyway.  It's a sort of "tit for tat" deal.  I'll fill your reference form out if you fill mine out.  It's total crap.  The bar examiners also have you list EVERY employer you have EVER had (yes, I had to put down the name and contact information of the ice cream parlor I worked in when I was 16).  You then have to give names and contact information for people who can verify you worked there.  They don't ask what kind of employee you were.  They don't ask whether you were even moderately competent.  No, that would make sense.  They just ask whether you actually worked there.  You could have been shit on a log at your desk, but as long as you correctly put the dates of employment down, you're good to go.  So in the one area that might tell us something about how hard you'll work to uphold the "standards" of the legal profession, we really just want to know that you are going to show up.  Even then, you don't actually have to be awake (In Texas, a man's death penalty conviction was overturned because his attorney fell asleep during parts of the trial. see here:  It feels a lot like going through airport security checkpoints that strip search the 80-year-old woman ( but let the West Virginia hick holding a loaded gun go through (

After the Board of Examiners has harassed your friends and former employers, it wants to know whether you have ever had any speeding tickets.  This question seems innocuous enough.  We want to know whether lawyers, who are supposed to uphold and enforce the law, have broken the law.  The board also wants to know whether you've committed any crimes, been arrested, etc.  But they get real "uppity" if you don't give EXACT information about those damn speeding tickets.  Not just tickets in the last couple years. No, they want ALL tickets.  They also want to know the DATE and COUNTY in which you received the ticket.  I got an angry email telling me that I was not specific enough (I said I thought I got a ticket somewhere in Maryland sometime in July or August in 2002).  They "threatened" to withhold recommending me for admission to the bar if I did not send them my complete driving record.  It turns out I was right.  I got a speeding ticket in July 2002 in Maryland.  Good thing they are making sure I have a good moral character (there really is desperate need for sarcasm font).

Instead of being a filter to ensure a quality legal profession, the character and fitness committee is there to annoy and pester without any quality control.  Are there good lawyers?  Absolutely.  Unfortunately, there are also a lot of terrible lawyers who make my day longer and more frustrating.  That said, the bar results come out in a few days and the pile of shit on my desk may actually be from me and not the briefs I'm reading.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


One thing I love about Hawaii is that everyone loves a good deal.  Everywhere you go people want to save money.  It really is paradise!  I bring this up because certain bars are well known for their specials.  Red Lion, for example, has "Broke Ass Mondays" where they have $0.75 drafts.  You can drink all night and get completely ridiculous for under $10.  Some people might tell you it's a little bit trashy and the bartender there, a little asian girl, is a massive bitch.  But I cannot emphasize enough that they have $0.75 drafts.

The only problem with these great deals at bars, of course, is that I work during the week.  At 7am.  So going out and partying until 3am and getting ridiculous, while appealing at first, loses that appeal when I am sleeping on my keyboard the next day.  Nonetheless, when I got home from work last night, one of the guys I went to Waimea with this weekend called and didn't really give me the choice of going out.  Apparently, a bar called "Lulu's" (you can check it out here: was having "industry night" and have it every Monday for anyone in Honolulu on Mondays.  Anyone who works "in the industry" gets 50% off their bar tab.  Now, neither this guy, nor I, work "in the industry" so I was skeptical.  However, he assured me he knew the waitress and we were gonna be fine.  Basically, all you have to do is tell the waitress you work at one of the local bars/restaurants and you're set.  They don't actually care. So within an hour about 10-12 people joined us and we were having a good time.

Now, allow me to digress for a moment...I find it hilarious when people here tell me they work "in the industry."  It's never a chef who says it.  It's never the owner or manager of a restaurant or bar.  No, it's the waiter who works 4-5 hour shifts 4-5 days a week who "works in the industry."  I still haven't figured out why it's bad to just say, "I'm a waiter at X."  You just sound like an idiot when you say you work "in the industry" (and yes, I will always put that in quotes).

First of all, the bar tab came to $184, but because we got the 50% discount and some other discount for knowing the waitress, we paid $87...for 12 people.  Lulu's as a bar is decent enough.  They had live music (sort was really just a sweaty fat guy playing an instrument loudly), the service was good, and they have a dozen or so beers on tap.  I would highly recommend getting there early, though, in order to get a table with enough chairs.  It gets pretty crowded every night of the week around 10pm (so I'm told) and it got crowded last night.  Ultimately, it was a good night and I don't think I'll be sleeping on my keyboard.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pineapple Soaking

Ok, so it wasn't as soon as I would have liked, but I finally bought a pineapple and am soaking the crown.  Now, as I mentioned in the first post, I learned how to do this from a 30-minute presentation at the Dole Plantation on the North Shore of Oahu.  The first step in the process is to get a pineapple and twist the leaves of the crown until a little of the stalk is removed.  I then peeled back about an inch or so of the leaves exposing the base of the crown.  You can actually see where the roots will probably develop. There are these small brown-colored bumps below the leaf scars, which are called "root primordia."

Anyway, you then need to fill a medium-sized bowl full of water and soak the base of the crown (the exposed part) for the next couple of days.  The guy doing the presentation said to soak it until you see roots starting to sprout, which he said should be a few days.  However, I looked online and saw that this process could take a couple weeks (changing the water every few days).  So I'll know by the end of the week how long it will take.  So that's it for right now.  The pineapple core is soaking on my kitchen counter.  My roommate saw it, and just looked at me like I was weird.  I suppose I deserved the look.  Not many people have pineapple leaves soaking in water on their kitchen counter.

On a side note, I bought a pineapple corer when I bought the pineapple.  Best infomercial product ever!  Here is a picture of it to the left.  It took me literally 1 minute to get the best parts of the pineapple out of the shell and cut up and stored in a tupperware container.  Actually, looking at the shell afterwards, I got several ideas for cool presentations for dinner parties or Iron Chef Competitions.  The pineapple in Hawaii, by the way, is the best pineapple I've ever had. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Typical Friday in Hawaii...

The reaction I get when I tell people I have Furlough Friday is always hilarious (and getting predictable).  The reaction always starts with a smirk as if the person is saying, "wow, the Hawaii State government can't get their shit together" and then they say, "it's awesome you get the day off."  This Furlough Friday was definitely a testament to that reaction.  I started the day with some morning surfing.  I am still able to get up, but went without a rash guard this time and learned very quickly how important they are.  My nipples felt like I spent the night at an S&M Club.  Anyway, my co-worker and I spent a couple hours just hanging out and surfing and then I headed home for some rest and to do some errands.  That lasted all of about 30 minutes when my roommate came into my room and said, "we're going to Waimea."

So we drove the 30 minutes or so to the North Shore and went to Waimea Bay.  In the summer, the water is fairly calm, but in the winter, the waves are massive.  So massive, in fact, that the North Shore is famous for all the major surf competitions.  The surf break at Waimea Bay was significant in the development of Big wave surfing. Larger surf at the bay went unridden for years until November 7, 1957. When a handful of surfers finally paddled out and rode the giant waves that break off the northern point of the bay. While the surf only breaks big several times a year, Waimea was the most prestigious big wave surf break in the world for decades.  Well, the waves are just starting to get big and we showed up and the waves were easily 12 feet big...nothing compared to what they will be in the next couple months.  What you have to understand is that the breaks on these waves are really violent.  They easily knock you over and will carry you to the shore.  The under-tow is also so strong that it is nearly impossible to fight your way out of it.  The under-tow then carries you under the wave and can really do some damage.  So we started to play "chicken" with the waves to see who could go out furthest without running away.  It was pretty fun.  At one point, though, the under-tow caught me and I literally could not run or swim out of the way so I had no choice but to go under the break.

After playing in the waves for a little while, we went to jump off "Da Big Rock."  I'm not entirely sure how big the rock is, but jumping off, I remember having the distinct thought in the middle of the air that I had not hit the water yet.  So I remember thinking that it was fairly high.  However, everyone jumps off this thing and has a good time, so I figured, "when in Rome."  So we jumped and swam for a while then headed over to a Mexican restaurant, "Cholo's" also on the North Shore.  The food was pretty good.  Definitely worth going to if you're ever up there.  The one thing I have not tried yet is "Shave Ice," which I'm told, is the thing to have on the North Shore.

We got back in the late afternoon and the day still wasn't over.  It turns out Chinatown regularly has festivals or parties where they close down the streets and everyone drinks and goes bar hopping.  Well Friday they had Oktoberfest.  The shut down several streets, put up several beer and food tents, had live bands, and all the bars stayed open till 4am. We went with a bunch of people and met a lot more.  In fact, I ran into someone I went to high school with who lives here now.  We were in the same homeroom for 4 years.  So that was pretty cool.  I grew up in Delaware and the one thing Delaware and Hawaii (or, at least Oahu) have in common is that they are small.  This is a small island.  Everyone knows everyone and you will constantly run into the same people.  This has its disadvantages, of course, but for someone new to the island, it's nice.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Hawaii is one of those unfortunate "cities" where traveling by car is pretty much a necessity, unless you want to be confined to one area of the island.  I take the bus to work, which is great.  I have a short commute and I take it during rush hour so never have to wait more than 5 minutes on either end of the commute.  However, on weekends, the bus system does not get you from where you are to where you want to be without causing a massive headache and wasting 40% of your day.  So I sucked it up and bought a car.  Everyone has a car, but they call them "Hawaii Cars."  What this means is that everyone buys run-down, beat up old cars that last until you move off the island.  It is such a transient society here that people use their cars for only a short period of time and then either leave them on the side of the road somewhere (seriously) or sell them for cheap.  So anyway, I bought a '94 Ford Explorer.  It's the perfect beach/Costco cruiser.  Since I only use it on weekends, I am hoping it lasts the 2 years I'm here, but at the very least, it should last long enough for me to pick everyone up at the airport when they come visit and to get us to golf courses or other tourist attractions that are on the North Shore or elsewhere.  Fortunately, when you're on an island that isn't very big, you don't take a lot of long road trips.


Bottom Line: you don't wanna eat it.  It turns out, while I love Asian food, not every Asian-inspired Hawaiian dish is good.  I make it a point to try new things whenever I travel or live in a new place.  Fortunately, moving to Chicago meant trying Chicago-style pizza and hot dogs, and Portillo's cake shakes.  In Hawaii, that means many dishes that I can neither pronounce nor ask intelligent questions about because everyone just accepts these random food items as "treats."  This worked out well when I tried Manapua.  This did not work so well when someone brought Mochi to the office as another "Thank You" for God-knows-what.  See, at the ICA (Intermediate Court of Appeals) and Supreme Court, we generally try to find any excuse to eat snacks or have parties.  This means that there is ALWAYS something to find on the conference room table.  This is generally a good thing.

Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape.  Now I know what you're thinking, and yes, it really does taste as bad as it sounds.  However, it LOOKS delicious.  Essentially, for lack of a better description, they look like a bigger and rounder version of sour patch kids.  Here is a picture off to the right.  What a let down when biting into one.  I was thinking they would be stuffed with some kind of deliciousness.  Maybe a little ricotta cheese or fruit filling.  They were not.  However, I have been told that there are many uses of Mochi and that this type - plain and gross - should not be the yard stick by which I measure all future Japanese snacks.  Evidently, something called daifuku is a soft round mochi stuffed with sweet filling, such as sweetened red bean paste (an) or white bean paste (shiro an). Ichigo daifuku is a version containing a whole strawberry inside.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Furlough Friday

One of the benefits of working for the Hawaii State Government is Furlough Fridays.  Now, I say this is a "pro" because two Fridays a month, I have the day off.  It's nice in the sense that I can run errands or do things that normally can't be done on weekends because places are closed (i.e. go to the bank, post office, etc.).  It's also nice because I can go to the beach or just hang out and relax.  On the negative side, of course, is the fact that I don't get paid.  The State reduces our salary by 7%/year. Essentially, the Governor imposed budgetary restrictions on all state departments on June 1, 2009 to close the state's budget deficit. 

The craziest thing is that furlough days started with the schools.  This means that Hawaii was giving kids 2 days off a month.  The department of education is facing restrictions of $127.7 million for school year 2009-10 and $142.6 million for 2010-11 for non-charter schools.  Hawaii has 170,000 public school children.  The money-saving effort gives Hawaii schools the shortest school year in the nation.

For now, though, I am happy to have the 3-day weekends, especially because I don't think the furlough days will last the entire time I'm here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lanikai and Laird Hamilton

I should put everything in context.  Last night (Friday night) involved $1 beer night at a local bar.  The night ended at an Irish Pub at 3:30 in the morning.  This morning, I went surfing at 8:30am.  There is no better cure for a hangover than getting in the ocean and swimming around/surfing.  My co-worker, his girlfriend, and I signed up for a surf lesson in Waikiki.  After three attempts, I made it up and was actually riding waves all the way in.  Apparently, the first few times I made it up I looked like a flailing moron.  However, after a few more tries, and the instructor's command to "relax" I started to feel more comfortable.  Surfing is really fun.  I can see why it's addicting.  It's also an insane workout.  Just the sheer amount of energy expended paddling all the way out to the waves are a killer on the shoulders.

The coolest part of the morning, though, was that Laird Hamilton was paddle surfing around us.  Now, you're probably thinking the same thing I did when the instructor said, "whoa, brutha, that's Laird Hamilton." I said, "who?"  Turns out, Laird Hamilton INVENTED tow-out surfing.  That is when the waves are so big, they tow the surfers out to the waves and drop them off.  In other words, he's a big-wave surfer.  In fact, using tow-in surfing methods, Hamilton quickly learned how to survive 70-foot (21 m) waves and carving arcs across walls of water, the size of which could literally roll a ship over!  Wikipedia has a huge article about him, but one paragraph says, "It was Hamilton's death-defying drop into Tahiti's Teahupo'o break (commonly known as, CHOPU) on the morning of August 17, 2000 which has become the measure of his surfing career to date, and has firmly established his reputation as the greatest and bravest big wave surfer in the recorded history of surfing."  The picture below is a picture of him riding a wave.

So our instructor started talking to him and he came over and said hi (on his paddle board).  Turns out he was in Waikiki because a friend was getting married. Laird Hamilton, by the way, is married himself.  He is married to professional volleyball player Gabrielle Reece.  So anyway, he was really chill and just hanging out and having a good time.  So then a wave comes and I decide to catch it.  I start paddling, pull the knees up, left foot forward, and stand up.  As I'm riding, Laird Hamilton pulls up next to me on the wave and starts talking to me.  He's is literally 3 feet away saying, "awesome bro. Now bend your knees a little.  Stand up straighter, don't arch your back.  Now hold your arms up and ride it in."  So I can now say I surfed with Laird Hamilton in Hawaii.  It was definitely one of my "Hawaii Moments."  I suppose in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that the waves we were riding were not at big as the one pictured here. To get a sense of what riding these waves looks like, though, here is a short 3 minute video:

That all happened before 10:30am.  So then we finished our lesson, grabbed lunch, and I was headed back to take a rest.  That's when one of my new friends texted me and asked what I was doing.  To make a long story short, we decided to go to Lanikai Beach.  This small 0.5 mile beach has been constantly ranked among the best beaches in world.  So we drove up about a half an hour away and hung out on the beach for 4-5 hours.  The sand was completely white.  The water was as clear as any water I've ever seen.  There were mountains behind us.  And people were swimming and kayaking in the water.  It is one of the prettiest beaches I've ever seen.  I took a bunch of pictures, but I haven't uploaded them yet so here is a picture I got online.

Basically, it was a pretty cool day, especially when you consider the weather in Chicago today was Rainy and 64 degrees. The weather in Hawaii was sunny and 87.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I was first introduced to this Chinese-inspired Hawaiian snack at Justice Duffy's house last Sunday.  Today, Chief Justice Recktenwald brought in some manapua as a "thank you" to the staff for all their work at his swearing in ceremony the other day.  Manapua derives from the Chinese "char siu bao," the barbecued pork-filled steamed dumplings you may have seen at places like "Wow Bao" or on a dim sum cart.  The 19th century marked a historical period in Hawaii as thousands of immigrants from different countries came to the islands seeking work. Over 50,000 Chinese immigrants brought their customs, cultural activities and especially their ethnic foods.  Essentially, in Hawaii, food peddlers sold a variety of delectable items especially their famous char siu bao. The peddlers would stack their foodstuffs in large cans and sling the cans by cords at each end of a pole. Hoisting the poles on their shoulders, they roamed the neighborhoods with their savory-filled buns. Char siu bao immediately became a favorite among the locals, and was given the name manapua, or mea ono pua'a ("mea ono" for cake or pastry, and "pua'a" for pork).

The picture to the right is what they look like.  These are some of the most delicious pastries I've ever had.  Way better than Cornish Pasties (not a misspelling) that were a staple in Southern England.  They're soft and flaky with a "pulled-pork" center.  BUT, if you're not into pulled pork at 9am (which doesn't make sense to ME personally, but hey, to each his own) then you can find manapua with different savory fillings such as vegetables, curry, sweet bean, chicken, lup cheong (chinese sweet sausage), sweet potato, lau lau and many more.  So where would one find manapua?  Well, if you've ever been to 7-Eleven and seen the pigs-in-a-blanket things baking in the glass, you'd find manapua in the 7-Elevens in Hawaii.  Obviously that's not the only place to get them, but it gives a good context for (1) the obvious health aspects of the dish, but also (2) the type of snack it is.  They usually come in a box of 12 (honestly, they are packaged a lot like a bakery would package 12 doughnuts.  If you're ever in Hawaii, I recommend picking some up.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Work, Food, and Running

Today Mark Recktenwald was sworn in as the next Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court.  The swearing in ceremony took place at the Supreme Court and there was a nice ceremony afterwards.  I met Justice Nakayama who happens to be the wife of someone I watched football with at Justice Duffy's house on Sunday.  I also met several people who used to work with my judge as well as my judge's wife.  In meeting all these people, they greeted me with welcoming messages and encouraging words, but also creepily knew a lot about me.  For example, Justice Nakayama knew that I was left-handed.  I was introduced to her and she said, "OH! You're the left-handed baseball player."  How are you supposed to respond to that other than saying...uhh, yes?

One thing I love about receptions and ceremonies is free food.  There was so much sushi, fried fish, and Korean chicken.  They also had typical ceremony stuff (i.e. turkey wraps, cookies, brownies, etc.) but it's amazing how pervasive the asian culture is here.  Good thing I like sushi.

On a somewhat related note, I have no idea what it's like to clerk for a federal judge and so my context for the work load and challenge of a federal clerkship is necessarily limited.  However, I have been really surprised by the challenges associated with my job.  For example, I am working on/researching a fairly complex case where the answer is really unclear.  The Supreme Court has addressed the issue, but in those cases specifically left this issue undecided.  The other challenge with Hawaii is that the law is very young (Hawaii only became a state in 1959) so there is not a lot of guidance as I research the issues.  So I'm finding that one of the most interesting aspects of my job is that I regularly get to see the law being made. So I really find myself working harder than I initially expected.  I'm sure a lot of the difficulty stems from my own unfamiliarity with Hawaiian law, my judge's style, and what's expected of me.  I'm sure that once I get into a rhythm and work on a few cases, a lot of the bumps will get ironed out.

On a totally unrelated note, I tried running yesterday.  I haven't exercised in more than a month.  However, I've made up for it by eating a lot of fatty crap and drinking excessively.  Given that I spend a lot of time on the beach, I quickly realized that no one wants to see food/alcohol-induced beach body.  So I decided to come home and run to Diamond Head and back.  For a little perspective, that's just over 5 miles.  Yeah, that was a poor idea.  First of all, before you get impressed, I didn't make it.  Not even close.  I ran 3.5 miles with an average pace that would make my 106-year-old great grandmother chuckle.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week 1

I still can't decide what direction to take with the blog.  Part of the problem stems from the fact that to make it interesting, I may have to give details that I don't necessarily want to share.  For now, I think I will primarily make it a blog about my experiences as a state-level appellate clerk (i.e. types of cases, challenges, benefits, and downsides).  To a lesser extent, I will discuss what it's like to live and work in Honolulu.  At times, I may include things about my personal life, but not likely.

With that in mind, the first week was more eventful than I could possibly explain in an interesting post that people would actually want to read.  Suffice it to say, the first week can be characterized by roosters (yes, roosters), roommates, BBQs, beaches, legal research (including an inconvenient amount of training), and football.

To start, Sunday started with a beach BBQ near Diamond Head.  For those that don't know, Diamond head s the name of a volcanic tuff cone on the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu  and known to Hawaiians as Lēʻahi, most likely from lae 'browridge, promontory' plus ʻahi  'tuna' because the shape of the ridgeline resembles the shape of a tuna's dorsal fin (thank you Wikipedia).  Here is a picture I took last week (to the right).  Anyway, as I was sitting on the beach, with a drink in hand, the sun was setting, about 12-13 people hanging out, I realized that living here may not be so tough after all.

The work week started on Tuesday (Monday was Labor Day). Surprisingly, the work day starts early.  We are at work by 7:00-7:30am and don't leave work until 5:00, or sometimes 6:00pm.  This week involved the preliminary training associated with any job.  We got our passwords for Lexis/Westlaw.  We learned where to get the files for cases.  We got library training.  We also got a few nice "Welcome Lunches" served by the judges. 

There are six judges on the Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawaii.  Each judge has 2 clerks and each judge assigns cases and handles his or her clerks differently. While ethical rules prevent me from going into detail about how cases are assigned or even the facts of the cases I am working on, I CAN discuss how my average day goes.  Basically, cases are appealed from the lower courts (in Hawaii, these include the Circuit, District, and Family courts).

Now, one of the most difficult things about working (as opposed to school) is getting used to waking up EVERY morning at insanely early hours.  Fortunately for me, the ROOSTER outside my window helps me with that by making God-awful noises as the sun rises.  Now, sure, on weekdays, I am basically waking up with the sun so it's not such a problem.  However, on Saturday morning, the rooster is seriously risking its life.  If I find it, I may be looking up a new dinner recipe.

The first week of work went by fairly smoothly.  One thing I will note, however, is that hypothetically speaking, people going through a divorce can be some of the most immature people in the world and they seriously need to get over their egos, hurt feelings, and illogical emotions and just work shit out.  Your ridiculously stubborn behavior only makes my job harder.

Today was pretty cool as it was football Sunday.  It was the first time I woke up to watch the NFL on TV at sunrise.  Fortunately, the Eagles-Packers game was a 4:15pm EST start time so I didn't have to wake up at 6:30am.  The game started at 10:15am here so it was nice to be able to watch the game and still have the entire day to get things done.  My judge, much to my chagrin, is an avid Packers fan.  Also, Justice Duffy on the Hawaii Supreme Court is ALSO a Packers fan.  I was very fortunate to be invited to Justice Duffy's house with my judge (and his good friend) to watch the game.  Although I was surrounded by misguided Packers fans, it was a pretty amazing morning.  Justice Duffy's house is nestled in the mountains of Oahu and he and his wife are two of the nicest people in the world.  So we sat and watched the game, munched on some snacks, and watched the Packers embarrass the Eagles.  The only positive of the morning (aside from the good food and good company) was that Michael Vick showed why he is one of the elite NFL quarterbacks and that Andy Reid needs to re-think his starting QB situation.

The roommate situation is still working out pretty well.  I have no complaints.  I have had some pretty TERRIBLE luck with roommates in the past and this situation is great.  So far the three of us  get along well and hang out a decent amount on weekends.  In fact, Saturday my guy roommate had to work but I went to the beach with a bunch of his friends.  So it's all coming together to make the adjustment period a little easier.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


The first ten days are over.  My mom just left for the airport and I am sitting alone in my room barely moved in.  I have a half-put-together dresser, a flat screen that is still in the box, and a bed with WalMart sheets.  My roommates aren't home so the place is quiet and empty and I decided that now was the perfect time for my first post.  The thoughts running through my mind are too numerous to count or describe.  The idea for this blog came about this afternoon...10 days after my arrival in Honolulu with 3 suitcases and not much else.  My mom and I went to the Dole Plantation near the North Shore when we saw a Pineapple Demonstration.  Altogether not that exciting except for the part about growing your own pineapple.  Basically, you take the top leaves off, soak it in water, and after a few days you plant it in soil.  In about 2 years, you have yourself a pineapple.  Since I am working in Hawaii for 2 years, I thought I would grow a pineapple and eat it when I leave.  Pretty simple.  Along the way, I'll discuss the trials and tribulations of a recent law school graduate working in what many people consider to be paradise.  Periodically I will also post updates on the pineapple growing on my porch.  At the end of two years, hopefully both the pineapple and I survive.