Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Fighting talk and Resolutions

Being back at my dull desk job leaves me lots of time to look up things on the 'net that I would rather be doing than amending client bills. And so I have made some decisions.

I am going to apply for some LLMs - prob to Oxbridge, the BCL just for the hell of it (won't get in, but you never know) and to some schools in New York - specificially the International Law programme at NYU. That is my current dream. If I really enjoy the LLM, then I can then consider a Phd but it would be silly to commit myself to that now.

It's very competitive and everybody and his uncle wants to do international law these days. So what- what's the point in working so hard if you're not even going to aim for what you love? If I had a passion for wharbling or tapdancing, I'm sure I'd be wanting to be on Pop Idol or something. I have a passion for international law, and really the Bar is a sort of professional pop idol, is it not? (With about equal chances of success, it might be said).

And then, I will actually apply for pupillage. At those dream sets, where I have a 1 in a zillion chance of getting in. And then I will apply everywhere else, where I have a roughly 1 in 4 chance of getting in. And yes, everyone does think that they'll be that 1 in 4.

But I got onto my uni degree - and 3,000 people applied for 150 places. Out of the people offered places, 50 of those were interviewed for a particular degree course with only 4 spots, and I got one of them. So I've fought those kinds of odds before and made it.

Anyway, isn't the foolish pursuit of dreams and desires what being young is all about? With this in mind, and also because it has always made more sense to me to make resolutions at the start of the academic, rather than the calendar year, here is my action plan and list of goals for the year ahead:

What I will do:

  1. Pass the BVC. Perhaps even do well.
  2. Get a job which will pay for the BVC.
  3. Do lots of FRU. It's been about 2 years ago now that I did that induction day...!
  4. Learn a language. Or rather go up a level in one of my existing languages.
  5. Apply to LLM programmes - on time!
  6. Do some other law work - volunteering or research or something - and some minis (which I have yet to do).
  7. See some of europe - it's so close after all!
  8. Read more - I used to read voraciously but seem to have lost the habit since the LLb taught me to feel guiltly when reading non-law.
  9. Get fit and eat healthily, work on my posture. Generally be fitter, happier, more productive.

Hmm, there should be a No. 10. Maybe I will moot too - and deal with Olpas.

Things I will not do:

  • Get home every night, watch some telly and fall asleep. Or go to bed and watch tv online...
  • Become a couch potato (who am I kidding, I mean remain a couch potato)
  • Fail the BVC (!)
  • Miss deadlines the way I usually do (but I like the sound of them whooshing by so...)
  • Similarly, win gold in the Procrastination olympics as I have done in previous years

Have I missed something? I think those are all do-able. No sailing down the Amazon saving orphans or writing a small country's constitution, but you have to start somewhere!


Bar Boy said...

perhaps # 10 could be learning how to spell collector !

Mel said...

Eh? Point me to it, please!

Lost said...

ah all this anality about spelling...
bugger me!

Oh gay inneundo.. love it.

Sounds like a great list! Work on it one by one!

Bar Boy said...

"... collecter of Bar qualifications ..."

Mel said...

Oh dear, that was quite bad!

I blame my recent US-trip, I had to suspend every ounce of logic in my head to use the word 'burglarize' and it's taking a while to come back!

Thanks for pointing me to it :)

Thanks lost - I shall! Although I must admit my follow-through is not known to be good!

The 50-Year-Old Pupil said...

Mel, why do you have to suspend logic to say "burglarize"? It's no more tortured a back-formation than "burgle".

Mel said...

I think it is - a burglar is someone who burgles, he does not go on to burglarize.

If you get home - it makes more sense to say 'Oh my god we've been burgled' than 'oh my god we've been burglarized'.

It puts the actor before the action - which is wrong, it creates a new verb with unnecessary extra syllables when there is a perfectly good existing word available. I just don't like it.

And I especially don't like using 'z' instead of 's'. It's unnecessary, when you have an 's' between 2 vowels it's pronounced 'z' anyway - that's an old French rule. It's ugly!

I have no valid objections to it other than it's a hideous Americanism! But I do think they use language in a funny way, there were lots of times that I saw news broadcasters, pundits etc, tripping up withadding 'ize' to things and actually coming out with words that have a pre-existing meaning rather different from that intended...shame I can't remember any examples!

The 50-Year-Old Pupil said...

Mel, "a burglar is someone who burgles" - nope! Burglar is the stem. The verb "to burgle" is a back-formation, as is "burglarize".

Isn't the "z/s" an Oxford/Cambridge thing too? I always remember in my railway days that British Rail were "s" (notoriously Cambridge educated) while London Underground were Oxford and "z".

Further, soi-disant Americanisms are often older British usages. My family are all members of the Methodist Church so, of course, believe that "connexion" is spelled with an "x". That's an old British English usage that we have dropped but the US haven't. I find the US insistence on distinguishing "which" and "that" wholly commendable and I always adopt it. US punctuation is better.

And style-wise, what contemporary British writer could fantasise about writing as well as John Updike, Sam Shepard, David Mamet or Alison Lurie.

Rant over! It's probably an age thing.

Mel said...

You're quite right, and I was hoping to get away with the burgle back formation bit - but clearly didn't. I just find the British English version nicer! Burglarize feels newfangled.

Re the s/z usage- I had no idea there was an Oxbridge distinction there. I had assumed it had its roots in the difference between the influence of French on British English but a heavier germanic infulence on American English which led to them using 'z' more?
Of course in many cases, the reverse is true and as you say they hold on to words that have long fallen out of favour or usage (like 'fall' itself for autumn).

I'm not sure that I would say one system of punctuation is inherently better than an other; surely the point is to communicate ideas clearly and so what becomes most important is that everyone applies the same rules, rather than which rules we actually use?

That applies for rules of pronounciation and word-choice, it's fine to use 'presently' in the American sense for an American audience, but if you use it in that way for a British audience it will be misleading, and might come across as sloppy.

How does the Brit. rule on which/that differ to the US rule?
I thought they were relatively interchangeable, with exceptions for some quantifiers preceding them, or depending on which part of the previous clause is being referred to?

It may well be an age/ education thing - I imagine youare far more knowledgeable in this area than I am (as I mentioned in an earlier post, my education in English was somewhat lacking!).

Bar Boy said...

Being merely a lowly London alumnus, I like to consider myself blessedly exempt from all the Oxbridge guff.

But, could some one in the know enlighten me over the s and z distinction. I am curious, that's all.

Mel said...

Ah greetings to a fellow London alumus I see!

The conversation here reminds me of the Eddie Izzard sketch re differences in British and American variants of english which ended with : "you say 'erb, and we say 'herb' because there's an effing 'h' in it!'.

I don't know about s and z, except to say that generally British english uses the S and American use the Z much more, but I can't tell you about why that is (beyond historical speculation). I will link something in if I find an answer.

The 50-Year-Old Pupil said...

Mel, Bar Boy - I trust that, as bloggers, you're not anti-wikipedia-snobs:
That and which
-ize, -ise

"Birds are vertebrates that are capable of flying" is clear. "Birds are vertebrates which are capable of flying" isn't as we are not sure whether its birds or vertebrates in general that can fly. I don't think I'd watnt to trust a comma.

Mel said...

Are you kidding - Wikipedia is the bee's knees!

I wish it had been around when I started my law degree/ did my A-levels. Which isn't to say it's the only thing I used but it's good for understanding a basic concept or idea, or finding something out that would take ages to find in a traditional, flicking through books, way.

Ta for the links. V interesting.

barmaid said...

But don't you just hate it when people say "burgulree" instead of burglary and "skellington" instead of skeleton. Must admit though, I have a problem with 'phenomenon', I sound like a Flower Pot Man!

Mel said...

Och aye, it's on a par with 'libary' and 'folage'.
And 'axe' instead of 'ask'. (Unless you have a genuine West Indian accent :S).

Law Minx said...

Bloody Hell, The Spelling and Grammar Police are out in full force tonight!!

Mel your list of wannados sounds seriously bloody impressive, though do take care not to knacker yourself to the point of burnout. Pick and Choose what to do carefully during your BVC year and then, if you go on to an LLM, stuff lots more in at that time!! :)