Sunday, August 28, 2011

The First Day of School and the last Day of California Dreams

For those, who have been on the reader’s list for awhile, here’s a simple message: Time goes by fast. The last few weeks, have been the first weeks of my last year. There’s also a law school axiom:

They [the law school] scare you the first you.

They work you the next year.

The bore you the last year.

I can see the blasé settle in my fellow 3L classmates. They just want to get over with. I’m not bored. I have so much on. But I can say, the axiom is right in this sense. You no longer are afraid of being cold-called and drilled. You no longer have to be afraid if you look stupid in front of your classmates. If you are, like me, everybody already knows it. (That’s some self-deprecating humor, if you didn’t pick up on it.) All in all though, I feel like I have so much work on. The workload of the summer just seemed to continue into the fall. Even when I was in Belize, I was writing and writing. Now that I’m back, I’m writing, arguing, and strategizing for the battles ahead.

My classload this year is exceptionally heavy. People ask me why I take such a high class load. Everyone tells me, it’s not required. I guess my philosophy has been this: You pay a king’s ransom for your education. You might as well learn everything you can. So, I try. I would like to hope I do.

This year’s schedule:

1. Wills and Trust: How do you keep your wealth in the family? In other words, how do you ensure that the next generation (especially the children you really like) and NOT THE GOVERNMENT, keeps your wealth? I have to admit, this class has gotten me thinking about writing a will. My readers know I have a classic mustang. Who should I give it too? I think, at this moment in my life, my cat Luke is the most likely recipient. =)

Except, I think I see the age of time working its evil against my pet Luke. At the age of 14, it looks like he has arthritis. So sad… But, thank God to, I bought affordable arthritis medicine for kitty, so hopefully, it’ll help him through the day.

2. Business Association: How can one sue and defend a corporation?

3. Laws of War and War on Terror: I’ve always believed that all is fair in love and war. Apparently, that is now only true in your pursuit of love. War has its rules and laws. It’s turning out to be an interesting class, though, there are days I do feel like a 1L and ask myself: What the hell is going on? I hate that feeling. All in all, it should be a good class.

4. Deposition Clinical: How do you take and defend a deposition? This class is a clinical. What that means, is we get simulated practice on taking a deposition with actors playing the deponent and lawyers playing lawyers. How do you deal with the objection? How do you deal with people saying: “Don’t answer that.” How do you squeeze out as much information from an adverse witness as possible?

5. Independent Project 1 – the Taxypayer Standing Project: As my readers know, I lost my case against the mayor and the City of LA at trial. Yet, as my judo instructor would say: “Get back and get the hell back out there and fight!” I fight because it’s in my blood to fight. Someone once told me, “Aren’t the Koreans known to be the Irish of Asia?” I think this true. Whenever I go to court, my father tells me, “Make your old man proud and kick a**.” My response is very professional, “I will do my best.” Who knows what’s to come? I’ve won a mini-hearing within this battle. My standing ovation moment was when the judge asked why I continue to pursue this. I stated, “Your honor, these hard economic times are troubling for everyone. Yet, the City cannot just design creative systems that violate our fundamental right to the due process of law.” Silence, for a second or two. He smiled and said, “Then, you can tell it to the Court of Appeals.” Small victory for the battle. I’ve been in front of judges multiple times this year. You know what I realize, they treat me like a little boy! How will a boy win a war?

6. Independent Project 2, The Publication Project : Under the supervision of an upcoming war, security, Muslim, and terrorism scholar, I will try to publish a human rights paper I wrote last year. It regards invoking the hard law of International Trade Law against China’s violation of children’s human rights. Again, we’ll see how it goes.

Those are the six classes to come. I think the key to having an amazing education is to take control of it as much as possible. The scholar should design as much of his curriculum, just as much as the school designs it for him. I’ll keep everyone up to date on what happens on the California Western Front.

I am a bit sad though that summer is coming to an end. In California, summer is almost eternal. Trust me, it makes for a happier life, for me, my family, and Luke too. Incidentally, the happiest cat I ever met was on a beach in Belize. It was fat, and it acted more like an American cat than a local one. I went on one knee to pet the thing, when its owner came out. She was an American woman who retired in Belize. She told me the thing used to be the most anti-social cat. Then they moved to Belize and let the cat live out on the beach. From that moment, it became sociable and ultra-happy. The message is a simple one again: Sunshine is good. The cold is bad. Returning back to California summers, I think my summer is drawing to an end. This tells me, summer is more of a mentality than a physicality.

However, sometimes Belize visits you. I met a Bavarian guy and his girlfriend in Belize. We connected instantly. He came to Los Angeles with his brother and brother’s friend. We toured East Los Angeles in Julia, my 1967 candy-apple-red-mustang convertible. We did a bit of food tour of Mexican, Hong Kong, and Korean food. We also visited Pasadena, drove through the City skyline and had lots of fun. After they left, I really knew my summer-mentality and summer-dreams were coming to an end for this year.

Time to return to Man’s curse: work. See, in an ancient time, Adam loved Eve more. After she plucked and ate, Adam did too. I believe it was because Adam was so utterly in love that he could not bare to be alone again and return to solitude. Let’s see, do you chose: the woman you love or the curse of man for the rest of your life? The choice is simple. I would choose the woman I love too, wouldn’t you? You only live once, and you don’t have to see the future generations in your lifetime.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Caye Ambergris - The Final Part of This Journey

San Pedro is the main city on Caye Ambergris. I would spend most of my time there. I didn't do all that much on Caye Ambergris.

One thing I liked and hated about San Pedro was that it was sooooooooo
American. Of course, I'm American too. But when you go on holiday, loud, obnoxious Americans are the last thing you want to
see. They're always easy to spot. They speak a decibel louder. They're usually overweight. And they say dumb things, like, "Ma, where's the ATM?"
The island caters to Americans too, with pizza and burger places. Not a huge fan. But,
I did like that they had more cafes.

I ate lobster and fish.

Of course, I had a few drinks.

Reading was fun.

And then there was meeting locals. . .

That's me with Ms. El Salvador. Ironically, I took this pic a few days before I hitchhiked back from the Casino. An ambassador and other woman were in the car. The "other woman" said she was here for Costa Maya, the Central American beauty pageant.

I said at a risk, "I hope El Salvador wins."

The lady said, "REALLY!? That's my daughter!"

I said, "I'm glad, I didn't say Honduras then. You would've kicked me out of here." We all started laughing. Then I paged through my camera and showed her the pic above and said, "That's my daughter."

What were the odds?

And then, I had to say Good Bye to Belize. I had the time of my life. And you better Belize it!

(Me on the jetboat, looking back at the island).

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Dive Trip Gone Wrong - Good Bye Caye Caulker

I left Caye Caulker, the two mile and a half long island. I had to force myself to leave. I was becoming really attached to the island. I was developing relationships with the artist, his wife, and his daughter. I would bike to the lobster fisherman's house in the evening and say, "Hey Mon, how you been?"

The hostel owner and I would chat during the hot days about how much he missed his Korean girlfriend. I would listen. Then one day, I said I was going to leave. The people looked surprised but tried not to show it. Of course, I have to go. I even postponed going by two days.

I went to the hostel owner one night and just told him the news. "I'm leaving." He stayed quiet for two seconds longer than he should have and said, "Oh. . . "

I left early in the morning, 5:30am. We took a rough boat ride out, the 20 of us to the Lighthouse Reef. As above in the picture, you see the reef surrounding the blue hole. But in the center, the water crushed a cave that was on surface before the ice age. As a result, a sunken cave that goes down to 130 meters exist.

The dive company, Aqua Dive, should never be trusted. That was the sketchiest most dangerous operation. First, the toilet on board failed. Why is that a big deal? It's not too bad, but in the overall scheme of things, it shows that they don't properly maintain the boat. This becomes a bigger deal over time.

Then, they forget to pack my wetsuit! I was so upset and I started up in my aggressive mode. "Where's my wetsuit? How could you forget? It's not that hard. How do you expect me to dive without one?"

The dive master just said, "There's no dive shop out here, Mon. Make the best of it." It calmed me down because the rationale part of my brain said, What can you do? Nothing. So, I dove without a wetsuit.

Then, some people's regulators start hissing air. The dive master said the same thing, "A little hissing, Mon, is no problem.

The blue hole dives were supremely overrated. You spend a total bottom time of 10 minutes at 130' or 40 meters. There were some sharks. The stalactites were nice. But overall, a very expensive dive for a total of perhaps 25 minutes.

When we were leaving the cite, one of the boat engines fails on us. At that point, I just scold the dive crew and said, "Your problem is you don't inspect and maintain your equipment. This is really dangerous, the way you're operating this operation." The Germans on board look at me and you could tell I'm making them worried. But, they acknowledge too, that this is the worst dive operation they've ever been a part of.

Instead of having a 3.5 hr boat ride home, it was now like 7 hours. Another rescue boat had to come to guide us through the reef, otherwise the boat would've crashed on it.

So - this is how I left Caye Caulker. The dive boat dropped off the divers on Caye Caulker. Then we changed boats, and left for Caye Ambergris. I could see Caye Caulker getting smaller and smaller as we approached the capital town of San Pedro on Ambergris.

I knew, as I looked behind me, this part of my journey was now finished.