Record Breaking Storm

We just survived one of the strongest storms on record in Seattle. Winds recorded over 100mph and rain falling faster than the systems could keep up with it. So far so good around our house as it looks like we escaped with no damage. Scroll down about 4 photos to see the transition of weather of the past few days.

Then the winds. Trees and power lines are down everywhere. Over 1 million people were left without power in the Puget Sound region. As I write two mornings later, 650,000 people still don't have power, but we got it back last night :)

Then came the rain! More rain I have ever seen fall at once in Seattle. Their was literally a river running down Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. While I didn't see it, the confluence of Rio MLK and Rio Madison (a few blocks from our house) was quite a scene.

After some clear weather, a few clouds pushed in revealing this nice walk on Rado's morning walk.

Some recent high pressure in the NW brought the typical fog that burns off to blue skies. A winter commonality up here.


Law School Final Exams

Finals began the Monday after Thanksgiving for me this year with an Appellate Oral Argument. I am now entering my third week of exams, and the experience of these exams propelled me to look up a couple quotes from a book I read before entering law school:
Final exams play on a law student’s world like some weirdly orbiting moon. They are always in sight; but while they’re at a distance, they serve merely to create the tensions which swell daily like tides – to read, to keep pace, to understand. As exams draw close, however, in December (and May), their gravitational forces starts to shake the whole place to pieces.

FYI, for those who don't know, the typical law school course has one final exam that determines your entire grade.
It is Monday morning, and when I walk into the central building I can feel my stomach clench. For the next five days I will assume that I am somewhat less intelligent than anyone around me. At most moments I’ll suspect that the privilege I enjoy was conferred as some kind of peculiar hoax. I will be certain that no matter what I do, I will not do it well enough; and when I fail, I know that I will burn with shame. By Friday my nerves will be so brittle from sleeplessness and pressure and intellectual fatigue that I will not be certain I can make it through the day. * * * I am distracted at most times and have difficulty keeping up a conversation, even with my wife. At random instants, I am likely to be stricken with acute feelings of panic, depression, indefinite need and the pep talks and irony I practice on myself only seem to make it worse.
I am a law student in my first year at the law, and there are many moments when I am simply a mess.

-- Scott Turow, ONE L

I am now in my second year. Arguably the hardest semester of the program, and while I do my best to maintian a certain amount of integrity grounded in my life outside of the law, the second to last sentence has rung especially true is days of late.


Constitutional Law - Final Exam

My take home final reads, in pertinant part:
Describe the model of government or of the legal system that you think our Constitution aims to create, and specify the doctrines of Constitutional law that support your proffered model. Be sure to locate the legal principles you choose to discuss in the document, describe their operation using relevant case law, and articulate the way they contribute to the creation of the democratic order you have in mind.

Due Tuesday. Maximum Six Pages. This will pretty much be consuming my thoughts until then.


A cool picture I stole from the NYTimes during our rainy November

Snow in Seattle and Rado's Ghost


Giving plant to the neighbors.

Saturday provided a break in the weather and allowed Jen to do some thinning in here garden.

The day after Thanksgiving, we burned off some calories powder skiing at Crystal Mtn. You can learn more about this adventure at www.SurfaceHoar.blogspot.com

Thanksgiving 06 - Joining us this year, in addition to Jen's Mom and Aunt Janet, were Jen's friend Olivia and her Mom, "M," and my friend, Todd Gillman.


Install more of these ...

To any city planners that may be reading, I would like to request more of these:

After toughing it out this week on the bike (we have recieved record rainfalls over the last couple days) and dealing with an angry driver this morning in his big monster truck, I am very anti-car at the moment. Go Bollards!
Thanks for sending me the link, Orion.


More Fun in Intellectual Property Class

House of Cosby's ... ever heard of it. I hadn't, but I guess it is/was pretty popular. Here is the first episode which will give you the gist:

See the full series (episodes #1-4) HERE

Do you think this should be illegal? Bill Cosby does/did. But see the response from House of Cosby Fans (not the original producer) in the above link (episode #5). Warning: not for sensitive eyes or ears.


Loving Seattle Right Now

This spring and summer I was really missing life in a small town--specifically a mountain town. But at the very moment I am digging life in Seattle. Partly because Fall in Seattle is out of control. I don't even the remember the last time I saw a cloud, besides some morning patchy fog, which always burns off to incredibly sunny days and crisp, clear nights. And the Fall colors are spectacular. But what has motivated me to write is the city's music scene, which I rarely take advantage of. However, today, while running errands I decided to pop into ballard and catch some live music hosted by the local public radio station, KEXP. I just watched a band I have never heard of, CSS - a great Brazilian art-indie band worth checking out, and now I'm grabbing an afternoon mocha while I wait for Micheal Franti.



Fun in Intellectual Property Class

My IP class is by far my most fun course of the semester. We are constantly listening to music, watching movies, surfing the web and examining other forms of pop culture and how they relate to trademarks, copyrights, and patents - the backbone of Intellectual Property Law.

This is an area of law I have taken a particular interest in as of recently. This interest is especially sparked in regards to the public interest as it relates to issues within this field. We had a guest speaker today, COLETTE VOGELE, who specializes in podcasting.

She began with this VIDEO.

What do you think? Do you think that should be illegal????

Here are some other resources if your interest is piqued.
A NonProfit Center at Stanford with lots of info if you dig a little
A free book and related topics


A picture for Mom.

Bryan and Lise-Anne's Wedding at Skookumchuck, BC over the last weekend in September. They are good friends of mine who live in Squamish, BC.

Dr. Dan. He founded and runs the clinic in East Timor where she has volunteered for the last two years. According to Jen, he is amazing and gives every waking moment to this clinic and the community.

Jen's best friends in East Timor ... the two little girls she lives with.

Jen's East Timor Family



Ok, so this is a long time coming. If you didn't know I went to Brasil this spring/summer for a study abroad program. Since coming home, I have been trying to fly pretty low under the radar. Those I have been in contact with have all asked about the trip and wanted stories, and to some degree I have dropped the ball by not sending out a more inclusive trip report so here it is. However, with school lurking right around the corner this will be somewhat abbreviated as my to-do list is not short right now. But I always tell people that ask about the trip that you will get better stories if you ask specific questions, so if I pique your interest give me a call or shoot me an email and you can learn more.

If you just want to see pictures, skip all this writing and scroll down to the pictures below.

I took two classes while I was there--Comparative Environmental Law: Urban Issues and Environmental Health & Policy. Obviously these classes were of specific interest to me. In addition, Brasil has long piqued my interest, especially since staring down the Amazon from its headwaters in Equador. This program was also sponsored by Seattle U Law School and the timing worked out well to make this trip ideal for my summer. Finally I wanted to get exposed to some Portuguese as East Timor--where Jen went last summer and will go again shortly--uses it as their official language.

The course was in Rio de Janeiro for 4 weeks, including one 4-day field trip to Paraty--a well preserved colonial fishing village with well preserved Atlantic Rainforest nearby. A group of us also traveled to Buzious--a beautiful fishing village and resort town--for the weekend. But for almost 5 weeks, I was basically living in Rio, within the community of Ipanema, one block off the beach and right around the corner from Copacabana.

Rio is beautiful...Amazingly beautiful. But it is not without its social problems, and they are many and excerbated by the city's size and growth. Imagine a setting like Yosemite Valley with white sand beaches along the edge and 7 million people living there.

At this point I should explain the huge disparity of Rio. There is a HUGE division between rich and poor, haves and have nots, and they live literally across the street and all around each other. I am referring to the favelas (the shanytowns of rio). Much of Rio is very developed, full of tourism and a thriving upper class. But the majority of the city is poor. And with this kind of poverty comes major social issues: poor to no wastewater infrastructure, poor public health, etc. However, Brasil's most current government is very new; in fact the consitution was written in 1987 (I think, I am too lazy to look up). Their laws are very progressive and impressive by the letter of the law. But their is poor funding for enforcement and much corruption in the government. As with our society and the global society for that matter...its all very complicated, but very interesting to discuss and learn more about. I could bore you all to death on these subjects, so this is where I will stop and let you ask me questions if you want.

Other quick points from the trip:
Rio is a huge urban city...I am still a small town boy, and this trip reminded me of that.
Surfing and Portuguese were very humbling, but a fun challenge.
Only 7% of the Atlantic Rainforest remains!
Brasil is home to more freshwater than any other country.
Brasil is currently energy self-sufficient.
Fresh fruit juice every morning is awesome! Especially Acai, which is an Amazonian fruit and starting to show up in the states...go find some.
Brasilians like their meat and cheese, but I wouldn't say its great meat, and definitely not good cheese.
Brasilians are very diverse, yet there exists very few racial classes.
Soccer truely is sacred and it was fun to watch the start of the world cup there.

Ok thats it for now...time for pictures:


Ipanema...Seattle Styel


Brazil Beaches!

Beach outside of Paraty...within a National Park

Fancy Downtown Coffee House

Awesome Community Project within the favela


Farmers Market that was right around the corner from our apartment.


Here is a close-up of a favela...this is probably a fairly nice one. Within the favelas there are multiple class divisions.

Another shot of a favela, just a couple blocks from our apartment

Another shot from my apartment. To the left of the cliffs is a fairly large favela. In the valley to the right of the cliffs is one of the largest favela with 300,000 people...just blocks from some of the richest neighborhoods.

The biggest stadium in the World...The Maracana.

The view from my apartment.

All the different beaches have a unique sidewalk mosaic...this is the Ipanema pattern

One last sunrise from Copacabana

A national holiday, made the beaches sooo crowded. I can't imagine what it must be like during their summer.

Besides being a fishing village, Buzios is also a popular resort town. Therefore, there were many options for great food ranging from cheap to quite expensive. I had one of the best dishes during my entire trip here--Fruit of the Sea over rice with the Best fresh squeezed pineapple juice!!

This is what most of the beaches looked like in this area.

One of the more crowded beaches around Buzios

One of my roommates, Stevie, in our dune-buggy. These little cars are key for checking out the area as there are several beaches to see that are all too far to walk between.

A final sunset shot from Buzious


Update from Brasil

Bom Dia (pronounced bong-gia – in the Rio slang) – Good Day.

For those of you who didn’t know, I’m writing from lovely Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! I’m down here for a study abroad program (4 weeks long) and I’m officially half way through. I am taking two courses while I am here and just finished the first one (Comparative Environmental Law: Urban Issues) and starting the second one tomorrow (Environmental Health Law and Policy). Each course is worth 3 credits; therefore, life has been busy packing in lots of class, homework, and of course being a tourist.

To share some of my experiences with you all, I thought I give you an idea of how my typical day unfolds:

I start the day by stepping out onto the balcony of our apartment, which happens to have an amazing view—I scored one of the best apartments in the program J -- to see what the weather will be for the day. Its winter here in Rio (imagine winter in Miami) and despite this being the dry season, it’s been an unusually wet season. So if it makes any of you less jealous, we have had several rainy days. Then, if I don’t make my own breakfast I head over to one of the many juice bars right around the corner. I have come to like one of the local, popular fruits called Acai. I don’t know all that much about it, but it’s pretty sweet and comes from the Amazon (I think), and is really thick and hearty. It’s supposed to have a high amount of calories per serving and many vitamins and minerals. The locals (cairocas) love their bread pastries filled with cheese and meat (usually). I haven’t warmed up to that heavy start to my day, but choose toast and jam instead. The unique feature of the juice bars (besides the fact that many are open 24 hours/day) is that they feature a bar that everyone stands at and drinks/eats their food. At first, my US tendency was to think, “why isn’t this line moving along”. Now I kind of like the idea of standing there enjoying my drink, rather than just taking it on the go. It’s a hybrid of getting sitting down to enjoy your coffee and ordering to-go.

From the juice bar, I have to play frogger across the streets as people drive crazy around here and traffic lights and lanes and pedestrian signals seem to be mere suggestions rather than rules. I jump in a metro bus and quickly learn why Brazil has produced several formula one champions—the bus drivers literally weave in and out of traffic like a sports car. The bus takes us right to our school: PUC (pronounced: Puki), which is a private Jesuit school (like Seattle U). The campus is tucked right up against the largest urban tropical rainforest in the world and needless to say is very beautiful. In fact there are two huge groves of bamboo forming an arch, right at the entrance.

We have three, consecutive 70 minute sessions of class (unless we are on a field trip – at least one a week). Class is usually pretty interesting as we have had many guest lecturers and good discussions involving several Brazilian law students who have attended many of our courses. Hearing their viewpoints on issues we all care about have been one of the highlights of my trip. Maybe the most interesting moments was when our professor said that last year during the program the popular newspaper printed a headline that read: 70% of Brazilians Think That the United States Will Someday Invade the Amazon. Many of the US students laughed like it might have been an Enquirer headline, while the Brazilian students all shook their heads in agreement.

Even though class has been engaging, at the first break, I usually head for the food court to get a cafezinho, the caffeine drink of choice here—it’s like a shot glass of really strong coffee…close to an espresso shot, but a slightly different type of coffee (Robusta versus Arabica). Many of the locals put in this weird “zero-cal” liquid sweetener, but I think it’s pretty nasty and completely overpowers the flavor of the coffee. If I need more caffeine at the 2nd break, I go for a Guarana Juice….it is a fruit, but has twice as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.

After class is over, we all usually head back to Ipanema (where we are staying). By this time I am usually starving. The city is very dense; therefore, there is an abundance of choices within a block or two. The newest discovery is a wood-fired pizza cafĂ© in the back of the main grocery store. They have lunch specials with good toppings. The pizzas here are very thin crusted and usually don’t have a marinara sauce. And the toppings range from the traditional to Tuna or Hearts of Palm. Meat and Cheese are very popular staples here to the diet. After the first couple days, finding vegetables became the challenge for even the people who like to eat meat regularly.

If it’s a clear day, its off to the beach! We live one block off of Ipanema beach….yeah, it ain’t so bad. And the famous Copacabana Beach is only a short walk away. For being located in one of the more dense and populated cities of the world, the beaches here are quite clean and nice….living up to Brazil’s reputation for their beaches. Once lunch settles, I try to go for a surf. I was really excited to live on the beach for over a month and bought a surfboard as soon as I got down here. But as of lately there is a huge swell that I have not had the courage to paddle out into. While I would rather be out in the water, it was fun and impressive to watch some of the locals ripping it up. I saw a guy surf the biggest wave I have ever seen in person today….I am guessing it was at least 20-25 feet tall. As I said, its winter here, and Ipanema faces south (remember is the southern hemisphere) so the sun goes down quickly. By six, its completely dark.

The night time seems to be different on any given night. But the Brazilians do not go to bed early. 9pm is a common dinner time, and Kilo restaurants are very popular for both lunch and dinner. They are huge (and actually high quality) buffets where they weigh your food. After dinner, nighttime activities have ranged from Movie Nights to a soccer game (at the world’s largest stadium) to samba dancing to Portuguese classes (two nights a week … and might I add this language is difficult, especially with the Rio dialect) to just hanging out and yes studying—like I said, its an intensive program so there is plenty of reading and writing assignments.

Well, by now I have probably bored many of you with my routine in Rio. I’ll try to send off another email in a week or so about some of the field trips and special events that have occurred on the trip. I will be in this program for another two weeks, then traveling around other parts of Brazil for an additional 10 days. Then back home to Jen and Rado. I hope this finds you all well.

Also, I want to say congratulations to Topher and Emily who tied the knot this past weekend … Wishing you two the best, sorry I wasn’t able to join in the celebration!




Interesting Patent Law Issue

For those of you who are wondering where I might end up post-law school, this is an area of the law that I have found quite interesting. More to come on this topic.

"eBay is the latest outfit to face a major patent lawsuit that threatens its business. Is the system, meant to promote innovation, doing its job?"

Click Here

Another Victory for Big Businesses :(

Just got this piece of news:

"After an intense lobbying campaign, senators voted 27-13 for a bill eliminating what's known as "joint and several" liability. The doctrine, which businesses have wanted to abolish for years, says that a defendant in a lawsuit can be forced to pay most or all of the damages awarded to a victim, even if it is only partially to blame for the injury. "

Just remember, someone has to pay.


For Spring Break I headed to Colorado to visit the family.

Bellying up to the Campton's new bar before a scrumptious dinner. Enjoy your new house Campy & Christy!


Bachelor Party - SLC style

Check out a few pics below from a recent trip to the Wasatch Mountains for Topher Smith's Bachelor Party.

A fun time was had by all . . .



Heading out for a day of touring. Dom's house is the one right behind Topher (in orange). Not bad when the skin trail begins at your backdoor. Alta parking lot in the background with the mountain to the left.

Dom gives us a tour of his backyard (literally). Mt. Superior in the background.

The team approaching the summit.

Ned Stitt getting it done.

DG making some Alta-style tele turns

Headed to the next shot.

Steve Doll makes a few final turns on our way back to Dom's house.


Happy New Year!!!

In traditional holiday form (at least for my family, I am going to give a little recap of 2005. Its been quite a monumentous year around these parts with a puppy and law school marking the beginnings of new adventures in our lives.

So without further adieu: (be sure to scroll down for some pictures)

January 05: Brought our good friend and former co-worker at Squaw Valley Ski Patrol, Dave Gregory, out for a little taste of NW powder. Before heading for the Cascades we gave Dave a quick tour of Seattle as it was his first visit to the capital of the NW. Dave is a Landscape Architect student, so there were many places on the list of sites to show him. 2005 was a terrible year for snow in the NW, but Dave may have caught one of the best three day cycles of the season. And no better place than Mt. Baker.

February: Maybe it was no snow since Dave visited in early January that caused this crazy decision, but we decided to get a puppy. Actually it wasn't crazy and has turned out to be one of the best additions to our lives. Rado Falls (short for Silverado, our favorite place to ski at Squaw Valley, where we met) is a Bernese Mountain Dog. He is a super dog that is very chill and goofy.

March: Rado was pretty much the focus of our lives after getting him. And you can read even more about him if you scroll way down on this blog or look in the archives. Spring Break came for Jen and she left us two boys alone. Then it started to snow (finally) and we headed for the hills.

April: Since my Mom and Dad don't have any grandchildren, a puppy is big news, so they headed out to visit their new Grand-puppy. Rado was very spoiled for the week with many games of tug-a-war and his first Bone. Dusty and Ashley joined my parents for the trip.

May: April showers, bring May Kayaking. With spring rain and spring snowmelt, May is one of the better months in the NW for kayaking. I also had a trip planned to meet some friends in Cody, Wyoming for a challenging expedition. I started another blog with a couple friends as a creative outlet for my kayak adventures. You can read all about this wyoming trip and all the other kayaking trips I have taken since at www.therangelife.blogspot.com. One of my friends is a great photographer, so go check out all the cool pictures on the site.

June: As Jennie finished up with her finals we packed up the truck and hit the road. Our friends, Tim and Kristi Holmberg, got married in Mazama, WA, which is on the east side of the N. Cascades. The wedding was a beautiful ceremony on a ranch, and Jennie loved the east cascades as the weather is must warmer and sunnier over there. From here we drove up to British Columbia to see some friends and do a little kayaking. I love the Squamish/Whistler area and my friends up there, so needless to say, it was a fun stop. From there it was back to Seattle so Jennie could start packing for her big trip.

July: Jennie took off for East Timor right after July 4th, and as soon as she left, Rado and I packed the truck up and headed for Colorado. Jen went to East Timor for over two months to volunteer at a medical clinic in East Timor (formerly Indonesia). With law school starting in just over a month, Rado and I hit the road for a pre-school holiday. We headed for Colorado to see friends, family, and of course the rivers. After some plans fell through, I decided to head back early and spend the remainder of my holiday in British Columbia. I was also able to talk Todd Gillman into joining me, and even moving out to the NW later in the year.

Aug: With two weeks left before school, I focused my energy on the house trying to get as much done as possible. Knowing that I wouldn't have much time to work on the house once I was in school. This was a very productive time for the kitchen remodel. And then Law School began. This has been a moment I have been looking forward to for quite awhile now. It would be hard to summarize everything, but this was an exciting new step in my future.

Sept: Jennie returned from East Timor to a boyfriend that studied all the time, a dog that had almost doubled in size, and a kitchen that was transformed, but still very messy.

Oct: Jen is back in school, and law school is in full swing.

Nov: Lots of school. Jen's mom, Susan, and her aunt, Janet, came for Thanksgiving. We knew that we wouldn't have time to travel anywhere with our studies, so it was nice to have family in town.

Dec. - I survived my first Semester, and now its time to ski. Well actually, time to build a fence, because Rado has been experiencing a little separation anxiety. In other words he likes to chew on law books, mail, or any other paper if we leave him locked up for too long. My friend, Bryan Smith, was just down from BC helping us work on the house. This worked well, because the snow conditions haven't been very good for the past couple weeks. But with temperatures falling in the forcast Jennie and I are getting excited to hit the slopes. We plan to go spend New Year's eve in Whistler.

2006: More skiing, kayaking, and time with Rado. And of course school and remodeling. Check back often as one of my new year resolutions is to keep this blog a little more updated.

If you are not yet sick of hearing about my life, feel free to scroll on down and check out my other blogs (Kayaking: www.therangelife.blogspot.com or House Stuff: www.2814eastolive.blogspot.com). If that doesn't satisfy you, its time to come visit. Hope you are all reading this in good health and peace, and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Happy New Year! Love Shane.


Dave Gregory and Jen getting ready to examine some Mt. Baker Backcountry.


Little Rado.