Within the last month, “no” has become my most frequent word. This is because I have become the owner of an 11 week-old Brittany Spaniel Dog (correctly referred to simply as a Brittany – the breed is not technically a spaniel at all):


His name is Stewart (Stu for short). I wanted to name him Farnsworth, after the treatise writer who helped me ace Contracts, but my [ex]girlfriend convinced me that this would be too nerdy, and thus, I settled on Stu.

Puppy training is a very challenging and stimulating activity. I am convinced that dogs come into the world thinking that they can chew on 98% of what is in within their reach. Unfortunately, most dogs’ owners think that their dogs can only chew on a de minimus percentage of the animals’ environments: toys. I am constantly buying dog toys. I have the Kong Toy, which reminds me of a rounded-off version of the hats worn by the ’80s pop band Devo. I have the screen-printed cloth newspaper stuffed with cellophane and printed with doggie headlines (“Arf grr bark wine…” etc.). I have rawhide pigs ears and dozens of bones. None of these stop him from trying to eat my shoes, chew on my couch, and run around with the toilet brush, which I find particularly odd.

Bad Doggie!

Irrespective, he has still made this last month infinitely more fun. Already, having him around makes all the scolding, 5:00AM bathroom runs, and accidents worthwhile. I can’t wait until he is a fully-trained pointer.


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As of yesterday, I am 50% done with law school. This is great news. I go back to work tomorrow, but today, I sit idle for the first time in months. Last night, I went rock climbing for the first time in weeks. I walked around town, went to book stores, read magazines etc. etc. etc. If it were not December, and there were roses, I would have stopped and smelled them.

People have claimed to me that the second year of law school is easier than the first year. I think they were squarely mistaken.  The readings were longer, the concepts more difficult, and the curves were still there. Further, I had additional responsibilities: moot court, work, and interviewing all increased the challenge of the year. During 1L, I spent my weekends studying and getting ahead in readings. This first 2L semester, I spent my weekends writing moot court briefs, practicing arguments, preparing for interviews, and then catching up on all the housekeeping that I had neglected during the week; e.g. doing the dishes and laundry. It was impossible to study as much as I did last year. However, the challenge of the 2L year helps to refine another skill vital to a practicing attorney: time management, which is essential to practice, and just as essential to success in the 2L year.

Looking back on them, I think that exams went well, and I look forward to seeing the results of another semester.

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“That’s why it is called hunting, and not killing,” a friend of mine once replied in response to my disappointment after a day in the field resulting in an empty bag.

My friends an I were throwing around many similar platitudes after our three days of this year’s firearm deer season.

I am originally from Calhoun County, in Southwest Michigan, where corn-fed deer populations continue to explode, and are among the highest in the state. Instead of hunting in Calhoun County, I hunted in Luce County, home to some of the most bitterly cold, deer-killing winters in the state.

MDNR Deer Densities

Because of this, deer may not have been jumping into my line of fire (they didn’t really seem to be jumping at all), but I did have the chance to spend a few days in a remote block of property covered with climax forest communities in doubtlessly one of the most beautiful and rugged areas in Michigan.

Dead Man’s

Dead Man’s Farm is not accessible by road, and there is no wireless internet, electricity, indoor plumbing, or water well located on the property. Heat is from a wood-burning stove and the only way in is by aluminum fishing boat down a frigid river. Motoring in, we would hit floating chunks of ice, which would crash loudly against the hulls of the aluminum craft. Compared to hectic life in Metro Detroit, Dead Man’s, where the only stress is waking up early enough to greet the dawn in a prime hunting spot, was a welcome retreat.


All things equal, conditions were not bucolic as I may present them. The first morning of hunting was constant rain, high winds, and temperatures not reaching above 40ºF. Nothing moved. By 11:00 am, it seemed that the only creatures fool enough to roll out of bed were the most desperate of weekend-warrior hunters.

That afternoon, I went out in the rain again to scout for signs of deer. The rain continued, but the wind had slowed. I was surprised by the number of tracks and amount of sign (poop) that I found in the area. Trudging through one swamp, I finally flushed out a mottled and emaciated doe from some low-lying cedar trees. Even if Luce County issued antlerless tags (the DNR’s principal method of population control, where necessary), this deer would not have been worth taking. It scampered off into an impenetrable marsh once I got within 25 yards of it. After another hour of trudging through the wet undergrowth, I headed back to dry off before the evening hunt.

On entering the clearing where the cabin is located, I flushed out four Roughed Grouse, which flew and landed on the other side of the clearing. It did not take long for my desperation for some sort of success in the field to outweigh the detriment to the deer hunting by firing shots and taking a grouse. I walked to the cabin, replaced my 1 oz. slugs with birdshot, and then went back out. I felled a bird on my second shot. It tumbled from the sky into a thick patch of brambles, where I promptly realized why upland bird hunters prize their hunting dogs. 30 minutes and countless obscenities later, I recovered the bird, and a fine bird it was.

Roughed Grouse

Plucked, this bird was slightly larger than a domesticated Cornish Game Hen, and tasted similar as well.

The next morning was a perfect day for hunting. Still and cold, you could hear everything in the forest. Animals, including deer, moved everywhere. Birds sang and squirrels chattered. Being in the woods of Northern Michigan with the clean simple challenge of the hunt only added to the cumulative exuberance of the experience. For me, the spectacular beauty of the outdoors and stark simplicity of hunting success, contrasted with the thrilling productivity of society and the multifaceted complexity of urban living has formed a unique dichotomy. The more I see of one sphere, the more I appreciate it, while simultaneously increasing my appreciation of its disjunct.

I only hope that next year, my efforts will pay dividends in venison in addition to experience.

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Big News

I have posted some writing samples that I have produced for work and school within the last year. They are posted on my “Legal Writing” page. Go figure.

They are linked, in PDF format.


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Going to the Red River Gorge in late October has become somewhat of an annual tradition for me. This year was no different, but unfortunately, the quality of my climbing was not significantly better.

The Red River Gorge, near the bustling metropolis of Slade, Kentucky, is home to arguably the best rock climbing east of the Mississippi River. The area is also quite beautiful as the fall colors come in:

Red River Gorge

The quality of my climbing was about the same as my last trip, however. I disappointed that my level of climbing had not significantly improved because I have been training constantly since last year, and have improved significantly. The lack of improvement was because I had neglected a vital portion of my training regime: endurance. We practice mostly at the Wayne State University Mort Harris Recreation and Fitness Center wall. This indoor wall is about 30 feet tall. Most of the climbs in the red are 50-90 feet tall. Twenty feet does not sound much until you have to crank up it after getting through the crux move at 15 feet. My friends and I continuously found ourselves running out of gas halfway up a difficult climb. Until next time, I am going to have to do repetitions once a week to prepare.

Climbing in the Red

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Ho-ley Cow!

Or broccoli, rather. I went to Eastern Market last Saturday, and I bought this behemoth:

Huge Veg

This is not photoshopped, it is real giant broccoli. I do not know how the vendor grew this thing. I do not really want to know, for that matter. But wow. This is not normal.

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Dead Soldiers

Law school comes with its casualties. For me, it has been coffee makers. I have destroyed two in the last six months. Don’t know why or how, it is just what happens when cheap coffee makers intersect with heavy use.


Today, I think that I have finally rectified the situation. Behold: the Black & Decker DE790B.


Ooo, shiny! And I can finally wash it without fear of cracking another decanter. This decanter is made out of double-walled stainless steel. The last thing I bought from Black & Decker was a drill. A company that makes power tools must make indestructible coffee makers.

I have done some research as to the reliability of this product, and I think that I now have a coffee maker that is built for the ages. The Black & Decker Model DE790A, the slightly larger precursor to my model, had a long and highly-decorated history. See below:


This new purchase better last at least the next two years. I am so sick of drinking tea.


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Hello world!

Hi! I’m Phil.

I have created this website with the intent to create a forum that allows me to maintain a web presence. I seek to make this page an integration of my personal and professional interests, the gap between which seems to narrow more and more every day.

Enjoy my site!

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