I’ve been remarkably blasé about the upcoming federal election. Although I studied political science in my undergrad, taking serious interest in electoral reform (go proportional representation!) and writing paper after paper on problems in voting trends and voter turnout, I just found it difficult this time around to care about casting my own vote.

Seems like the rest of Canada has been conspiring against me, though: Yesterday, my boss ended our workday early because of the debates, which my boyfriend made me watch with him when he found out I had very little interest in voting. Later on that night when I got home, I checked my mail and my voter registration card had been delivered. The final blow was delivered today; while doing some practice LSAT questions with my morning coffee, I came across this:

LSAT Preptest #28:

Section 3, question 14:

“If citizens do not exercise their right to vote, then democratic institutions will crumble and, as a consequence, much valuable social cohesion will be lost. Of course, one person’s vote can only make an imperceptible difference to the result of an election, but one must consider the likely effects of large numbers of people failing to vote. An act of omission by one person is not right if such an act or omission done by large numbers of people would be socially damaging…”

The correct answer? “A. People in a democracy should not neglect to vote.”

If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is. See you May 2nd, Canada. You’ve got my vote.

 

Oh yea, one more thing:

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on the LSAT.

March 28, 2011

so, I’m getting ready to do the LSAT…again. in the interest of providing some pro bono advice on doing well on the LSAT, here are some non-official but pretty solid tips that I’ve discovered on my own journey.

1. take a mock LSAT cold (without studying beforehand). even though you will most likely feel like somebody has peed all over your brain afterwards, this is a great indicator of where you need to focus your attention on while studying. also, if you weren’t born a genius, the score you’ll receive is a great motivator as well.

2. decide whether you will take a class or not. taking a class is recommended if you aren’t very good at time management, or you do better if someone is explaining the concepts to you. also consider taking a class if you score under 150-155 on your mock LSAT. If you have a busy schedule because of work or school, or you are somebody who learns better by being hands-on, or if you (like me) develop your own way of thinking through things, don’t take a class. especially if that last point is true for you. it will screw your head up if you learn one way and someone else teaches you another.

3. use the powerscore bibles. holy crap are they so much better than kaplan, princeton, whatever else is on the market these days.  trust me.

4. use real preptest exams. try to avoid prep books that have “example questions” or exams that haven’t ever actually been featured in the LSAT because, well, why have margarine when you could have butter? you can find everything on amazon, or if you’re a less scrupulous individual, on certain sites online for free. however, be warned that the latter is illegal and, after all, you ARE studying to get into law school, aren’t you?

5. make a schedule from day 1 (whenever you start studying) to test day. make sure to devote more time to logic games and logical reasoning (the former because it is considered the hardest section, and the latter because there are 2 of these sections on the LSAT). however, if you find yourself failing hard on a particular type of section, focus your attention there. do not allot less than an absolute minimum of 3 months to study from start to finish unless you have done the LSAT before, or are otherwise seeking complete and utter annihilation on test day.

6. stick to your gorram schedule. do not fall behind, because you will have to work double as hard to catch up. you may eat, sleep, and breathe the LSAT for 3-6 months, but remember that you are doing this because you want to eat, sleep, and breathe LAW for, hopefully, a good deal of your future career. if you can’t handle the heat…think things over.

here’s a highly recommended list of schedules. pick whichever one fits whatever time you have left the best.

7. if you find yourself repeating the same kind of mistake, write it down on a piece of paper and remind yourself of it every time you do a game or a section. you will kick yourself hard if, for example, you know how to do the questions, but constantly don’t read the question carefully and therefore do the work all wrong.

8. heed my advice. trust me, you’ll thank me for not having to learn it the hard way!

good luck to everybody!

[edit] – I posted a much more detailed, much less snarky edition on my new blog, Law or Bust. if you’re actually really quite interested in doing well on the LSAT it wouldn’t hurt to look at that version as well.

on polyamory.

December 21, 2010

in light of my curiosity due to the recent rash of news items on polyamory, I found an interesting research report done by some U of Nevada students on the human capability to sustain multiple and concurrent “loves”.  (although I can’t say much for their subject pool…they drew their subjects from las vegas. it’s called the “city of sin” for a reason, after all…)

it’s quite an engaging 27 page read (don’t worry, the language is very accessible). I won’t sum it all up here, but suffice it to say that the trend in their open interviews shows that humans are, indeed, capable of what the researchers call “deep-seated, simultaneous loves”. however, the report also noted that “in the majority of interviews…individuals in concurrent  loves also felt an intense ethical guilt” and in the end, could not manage the two relationships simultaneously.

the research is pretty inconclusive when it comes to explaining why, though. they discuss the possibility of attributing it to biological and chemical reactions to relationships (affixing different types of love [like companionate versus passionate] to different endocrinologies), and they also debate how society’s labeling of love as a dyadic bond (between two people and two people only) affects our perception of polyamory. they are, however, firm on their conclusion that concurrent loves, at any rate, can seldom last for significant periods of time.

do you think the research is biased because it doesn’t include communities that support or practice polyamory (a factor that the researchers did note)? is love truly is a dyadic bond that’s meant to be unique and unshared outside a world of two, and does attempting to have that bond with more than one person at a time undermine that meaning (ie. emotional stability, comfort, whatever you associate with “love”)?

age – just a number?

September 3, 2010

most everybody knows the “divide by 2 and add 7” rule. society dictates that you are not supposed to date somebody who hasn’t reached a certain age. for instance, if you were 30, it would be seen as socially unacceptable to enter a relationship with somebody under 22 (despite no legal barriers).

is age just a number, though? can a “spark” or chemistry transcend the number of years that somebody has lived on this planet?

personally I think that the current ‘rule’ makes sense – this will be a surprise to anybody who knows me, as I am constantly teased for dating “old men”. there will be exceptions, but I believe that generally a relationship has to consist of two components who can connect on similar experiences, and that usually requires them to be in the same generation. of course this change in attitude comes from a recent experience, where I found out on the 3rd date that the individual who had intentions of pursuing me was more than double my age. I was closer to his son’s age than his. I took a lot away from my time with him – he was very considerate, caring, honest, mature (everything I was looking for in a person) and, if I had to be crude, deceptively young-looking – but once his age came out things undeniably changed for me. this whole situation was – and is still – unchartered territory for me, and I find myself reconsidering my stance on the age question.

my question for self-reflection – will I change my stance again when I grow older?

the popular one-episode series based on my childhood memories makes a come-back!!

this one was recalled recently, while mildly trying to recall/explain to a friend why I harbour such a strong dislike for the song “greensleeves“.

when I was but a young child, my folks had this then-considered cutting-edge computer game (think gigantic pixels) that was geared towards teaching its audience how to do simple math (adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing) under the guise of protecting a castle from invaders. to make it more challenging, by each level players would have to type in the answer to a math question increasingly quicker and quicker to prevent the invader from breaching the castle wall. if you made it onto the top 10 scoreboard, the song “greensleeves” would play while you were prompted to type in three letters representing your initials to forever enshrine your glorious victory.

I’m not ashamed to say that I thoroughly kicked that game’s butt. of course, being the snotty little kid I was, I thought it would be hilarious to write in dirty words like “ASS” and “SHT” whenever I got a high score; of course the most scandalous one, “FUK” (or “FUC”, I can’t remember which one little-me decided to input that fateful day), was reserved for the very highest score.

it was only after my initial glee had subsided after surveying my childish work that I immediately became fearful of my little butt’s welfare should my mom discover my indiscretions. so subsequently you can imagine that I spent the next while playing feverishly trying to erase all the high scores. however, I will tell you right now that my math is sub-par under stress, and although I managed to clear out most of the records, that elusive high score just could not be beaten. but damn it, I tried. I calculated my little heart out and even though I trained myself to the extent that I was guaranteed to get onto the scoreboard with every effort (and hear that mocking song play every forsaken time), I never made the high score. I hadn’t realized it then, but those were the memories that caused me to forever associate the mournful tune with a victory that just doesn’t quite cut it.

good times.