The 1st Amendment Rocks

Or better put, I rocked the first amendment! I got an A in my Mass Media Law class. Our school doesn't give +/- so that's the best grade. I'm stoked. Now all I want for Christmas is A's in my two grad classes so I can show a perfect 4.0 on my graduate school transcripts. Maybe that will help balance out my undergraduate GPA on my law apps.


Now It's Advent!

My birthday has passed and its beginning to feel like Christmas. It is -31F outside and my steady stream of packages and cards have begun to arrive. Now that finals are over I have a chance at a life again. We went to Church on Sunday and it was beautiful to see how the holiday season decorations were up. Episcopalians have a tradition of the nativity wreath. Each Sunday of December we light one candle out of 4 which form a circular wreath and the center one is lit on Christmas. Our own nativity wreath has gone unlit this Christmas season with all of the hub-bub of family matters and stress of finals. After the service on Sunday I really felt the joy rather than the hassel of the season.

On Sunday night we had friends over to make Christmas cookies and homemade carmel corn. My brother-in-law brought over his XBox and we played Rock Band. I am generally a musical person with quite a few years of piano under my belt, but I admit defeat when it comes to drums. I was appointed lead singer and did much better on vocals. Hubby was actually quite good on drums. Much fun was had by all. it was nice to think, hmm... we could do this again tomorrow if we wanted to, we don't have any classes! In fact, the only thing I have to do right now is get up and go to work. It is a nice feeling. I still would like to find Christmas presents for my two brothers, but that might have to wait. Right now, I'm reveling in the freedom of having no obligations. The only thing I have to plan for is our Christmas party. Since Christmas day is traditionally a family thing for us we are having a Christmas party to celebrate the friends in our life. Mostly they are hubby's guy friends, I don't really have any girlfriends, oh well, maybe next year. With so many guys attending the main event will be the food of course, so I'll have to go grocery shopping soon. After finals the only food in the house was spaghetti. It will be nice to cook for pleasure again rather than scraping something together for dinner with no enthusiasm.


Finals are Upon Me, Oh No!

I can't believe my last post was November 21st. I have pretty much been in a funk ever since I heard about my cousin's death. We went to the funeral in D.C. I may blog about that at some point. (The Secretary of Defense was there!) Other than that I've been working on passing my classes. After this week I will be out from a crushing amount of work and better able to focus on fun things, interesting things, and future things. Tonight is my last traditional final. I still have a correspondence final due on Saturday. Tonight's final on Contract Law for Engineers is the culmination of a great course. Unfortunately I've learned so much I don't have a clue what the test will be on. I'm just hoping that knowing the cases, reading the book, reading the slides and remembering the IRAC model will get me through. My term paper was due last week and thankfully that is out of the way. I did an analysis of the new Patent Reform Act of 2007 and its impacts on science and engineering.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I always prefer to turn odd years, they make me feel younger. Unfortunately the forecast for my zip code is: (0° -27°) so my chances of doing anything other than snuggling up at home are minimal. I hate going out to eat and dreading the ride home in the cold car. I'll probably postpone my birthday until this weekend and try and get my correspondence final in Mass Media Law out of the way, that is unless hubby has sweet birthday plans that he has been very good at concealing.

Having all of my classes out of the way will be a big relief. Then I can try and be happy about my birthday and begin to get in a holiday spirit. For me, Christmas officially begins after my birthday. I usually refuse to do more than put up my tree in advance of December the 13th. This year I broke my rule and shopped ahead of my birthday. This was done partially to prevent mental breakdown by doing all of my shopping for 4 siblings, one sibling in law, and 4 parents all in 12 days right before Christmas. I shopped online and will hopefully see a steady stream of packages arriving at my doorstep over the next few days. I highly recommend online shopping to law students. It can save money if you use coupon codes which give a percentage off and free shipping, plus you can do it during your few free moments that come here and there rather than having to plan shopping around your studying. I use www.mrrebate.com, which gives me a % cash back and coupon codes, usually get a 25-30% off code and free shipping and then pay with my credit card which gives me 2% back. I almost never pay more than 70% of an items cost using this system. It's worked out well so far. All I have to do is wrap things when they arrive. This leaves me plenty of time to focus on more important things like the government's role in regulating advertising. Hmm...that's even sort of related to Christmas. I wish they'd regulate that Christmas ads can't run before Thanksgiving, but I guess I've learned enough in my class to realize why that isn't possible.


Thanks for Cooking

This year's Thanksgiving will be very low-key for us, more so than usual. I usually take great pride in preparing more dishes than my family could ever hope to eat and spending all day in the kitchen. This is followed by a Thanksgiving coma, good night's rest and the day after tradition of watching White Christmas and setting up the Christmas tree. These family traditions have been going for so long I'll hardly know what to do with myself tomorrow.

We are going over to hubby's parents' house and all I'm tasked with is showing up. Of course I'll still be making fresh bread and a side dish and making hubby wear something other than a t-shirt and jeans. His family's holidays are very simple almost to the point of just being dinner together. There will be a turkey, mashed potatoes and a veggie. To most people that sounds like Thanksgiving, but to me it sounds like somebody stole half of dinner. I have found memories of working in the kitchen with my Mom and two sisters cooking all day, trying new recipes, watching my Dad carve the turkey and try and not take his hand off with the electric knife, and listening to my Mom cheer over the football game.

This Thanksgiving I'm kind of glad I'm not spending the day with my side of the family. It will most likely be a somber occasion. I will see my parent's at the funeral in DC so we decided to stay in town and not travel to their house this year. Hubby's Mom will be glad she gets to keep him. They've had dibs on us for Christmas for the last 6 years so I guess it might be time to switch it up. One of these years it might be nice to stay home at our house, invite all of our stray friends for the holidays and create some of our own traditions, but without kids in the picture the assumption seems to be that we are the strays who need to be subdivided amongst our relatives. That's ok, for now I'll let somebody else do most of the cooking. Maybe I can even encourage them to make a bigger deal out of the holidays. Even I, who have had the same post-Thanksgiving tradition for over 20 years will break my pattern and not set up my tree first thing in the morning. I will actually dare to brave the black Friday crowds. Our TV which we bought at Sears is going on sale $600.00 off that day if I get a price adjustment before noon. I may actually drop by Old Navy too. Cashmere sweaters for less than $30.00 is hard to beat.


Correspondence Classes Suck

I am finally getting back to my mass media law class. This was a summer sessions correspondence class that I took for the fun of it. Life got in the way and as the story goes with correspondence classes in general it got put off. Now, my incomplete in the class will turn into a big fat ugly F if I don't finish the course by the second week in December. Like all of my correspondence classes, which I make lovely schedules for, I'll end up finishing it at the last minute of the extension that I shouldn't have needed in the first place. Of course, there is a catch. My professor only accepts 2 lessons a week for grading. This makes sense as I wouldn't want to have to grade an entire semester's worth of work for the entire class all at once when grades are due. This makes me have to start now and not get off schedule. I finished the first 6 lessons over the summer which leaves me with the last 6 still to go. Along with a term project. I have covered the history of the 1st amendment, prior restraint, libel, invasion of privacy (appropriation and intrusion) and invasion of privacy (publication of private information and false light) so far. This leaves me with gathering information, FOIA, protection of sources, regulation of obscene and other erotic material, copyright, regulation of advertising and telecommunications regulation. It's a lot to digest at once, but I know it's my own fault for procrastinating.

My regular semester class is going great. I'm taking contract law for engineers. I got a perfect 100% on my midterm which was a first for me. With languages I was constantly spelling things slightly off and with engineering 100% was unheard of, so getting that grade was awesome. My professor sent me a personalized e-mail telling me my grade and informing me that it was top in the class and asking if I'd ever thought of law school. I got a huge grin on my face that day which was very needed giving the way the rest of life has been going lately.

Actually, that isn't entirely true, just my family life is miserable, and not even my own family unit, its my extended family. I switched jobs as well and my new job is awesome. I keep saying how much I love it, and this is making hubby question why I would want to leave to go to school. Basically I switched from contract administration of engineering projects to design work. I'm in a group/team environment which is really great to bounce ideas around in. For the first time in my professional life I have other electrical engineers that I'm working with and can ask questions of. I'm usually surrounded by other disciplines, and trust me, it makes a big difference. I normally feel overwhelmed and silly, like my degree didn't prepare me to be a real EE. Now I realize that everybody feels that way when they get out of school and even people who have been working for 15 years have some of the same questions I did. I thought it was just a problem with me. I'm still going to work on finishing up my applications this week. I like to keep my options open and law school really excites me.

In more sober news, they have scheduled the interment at Arlington. I have booked tickets to fly into DC on the 1st of December. If I change my mind I can always cancel them. That is one of the perks of flying 150k miles a year, no change fees or cancellation fees.

I did do one happy non-school thing today. I ordered my Christmas cards. I always order from Naitonal Geographic. That way I get gorgeous photography and I support something that I believe in at the same time, science and exploration. I have cute penguin cards on their way.


The Perfect Snowflake

As you can probably tell from my last post, life has been sucking a lot lately. I have been so demotivated. Then on Tuesday it snowed. Being an Alaskan, this is nothing new to me, it snows all the time. But the snowflakes were different than I've ever seen before. The snow was huge, so large that you could count all 6 sides of each flake and watch them come lightly to rest on your sweetheart's hair before melting. So large and fluffy, not slushy at all. They were perfect, beautiful snowflakes, and after 17 years in Alaska, the prettiest I've ever seen. They were beautiful enough to break me out of my self-absorbed thoughts and look around me again. Here is what I saw:
I didn't have my camera with me, but I found these on another blog. They capture what I saw beautifully.


This was my soldier

I won't post his name here because I don't want my family finding my blog under these circumstances.

This was my cousin. He was a West Point graduate serving with special forces in Iraq when he was killed on the 6th by an EFP. Last night, about 10 minutes before class my Mom called to tell me that my cousin had been killed on active duty. He was one of my closest cousins growing up and I have tons of West Virginia memories of us doing stupid things like floating along in inner tubes when the "crick" was flooded. I'm feeling like shit right now, not least because hubby is also in the Army and doesn't seem to see why this makes me so upset. I live in a military town in a military state in a BUSH country so it's not like I'm getting a lot of helpful comments. Instead, it's all, "Well, you know he was a hero." I know that he was a strong Christian and that he believed in what he was doing and loved it, and that should make me feel better, but I don't want to be told how I should feel, I just need to grieve a little and deal with personal family stuff.

He has requested burial in Arlington (DC) and depending on the family arrangements I might attend. I have never seen news footage of 9/11. On the day it happened I was at work and refused to turn on the TV when I got home. I didn't want to put myself through that emotionally. When reports come on Iraq that are at all personal I switch the channel. Not only did I have a cousin who was a Captain, I have a brother at West Point right now and a husband who joined ROTC in 2000 for the scholarship money, never imagining what the consequences of that would be. It's really hard to love the soldier and hate the war and not have everybody think you're a bad person in this country. Shouldn't everybody hate that we're at war, regardless of the reason for the war?

Me bursting into apparently random fits of tears isn't the best thing at my new job. I'm going to try not to think about this for awhile.

Well Done - Be Thou at Peace


Will post soon

I really need to post the rest of my Santiago trip posts. Life has just been getting in the way lately. I leave again tomorrow for another trip to St. Louis Missouri. I also started my new job today. I'm trying to get some design experience rather than just pure contract administration experience. Not to mention the fact that I'm getting together my personal statements, begging for letters of recommendation before my professors leave on sabbatical. Oh yeah, and I'm married and trying to have a life. It's just a lot to deal with while jet-lagged and fighting a cold. I'll post soon, I promise. I'll have nothing better to do while on the plane than make blog posts.


Santiago Trip Day 2

I spent last night at the Radisson Santiago. Oh my God, that place was nice. And don't get me wrong, I know that in the States Radisson's are not the nicest, but internationally they are awesome. This Radisson was recently remodelled in January 2007. It's classified as a 3 star hotel, but it was much closer to 4 stars. My room was gorgeous with a really sleek modern look. The concierge was immensely helpful. The staff were all fluent in at least 3 languages. Upon checking in I received a welcome drink which was excellent. When I got to my room I had a complimentary snack and bottle of water. The bathroom was a large marble tiled affair. The best was when I opened my windows and was presented with a great view of the Andes Mountains. The hotel is located within the World Trade Center and is in easy walking distance to restaurants and is only a block away from a metro stop (Tabalaba). When I woke up and went downstairs for breakfast I was stunned at the quality and quantity of the breakfast selections. There were 10 different meat courses, eggs, hashbrowns, cereal, at least 5 different juices, fruit, and much much more. It was complimentary of course and teh service was excellent. As I was walking out the door the staff asked me if I wanted any help planning out things to do and see. They were very helpful and gave me a map with all of the highlights on it. I didn't just do the things in the guidebook, but instead went to a lot of architecturally unique things just to see them. Places without giftshops, but beautiful art instead.

I went downtown to spend the day sightseeing. Unfortunately, I discovered that on Monday most of the touristy things to do downtown are closed. I think this is because most of the museums and things are open Saturday and Sunday, so Monday is the day that they are closed. In all honesty, I wouldn’t really recommend trying to sightsee in Santiago on Monday through Wednesday. Most of the markets, museums and other sights are open Thursday through Sunday. You could probably see most of the “can’t miss” sights in Santiago in one day. Museums open at 10, so I’d start by seeing some of the cathedrals in the morning, see a few museums in the afternoon and after lunch go up the furnicular to see out over the whole of Santiago. I would then spend the afternoon shopping in the local markets and finish the night off with dinner and dancing.

In the end I spent the afternoon looking at the national cathedral and other Churches and walking around downtown. I took the metro downtown and it was surprisingly easy to navigate despite my lack of proficiency in Spanish. The ride downtown took about 30 minutes by metro and cost 480p ($1.00). The maps made it very easy to figure out where you were going and transferring lines was quick and easy.

In general the city is very safe. It is clean, easy to navigate and non-Spanish speakers can usually find someone to assist them in necessary. I will say that you should hang onto your belongings. When I was shopping in the afternoon I saw a man tackled by the police for attempting to steal from a man. He was arrested by 6 officers, cuffed and searched on the spot.

I did notice that being the only natural blonde woman in the country makes people look twice. As I was walking by I had more than one guy give me the macho South American leer. A couple of guys stopped me and wanted to tell me how beautiful I was. It was a little intimidating, but not in a scary way. I did enjoy the fact that unlike the US where I am curvy, here I am very beautiful. I'm learning to embrace my curves. Next time I think of going on a diet after watching Kiera Knightly movie I'll book a trip to Latin America instead.

When I got back to the hotel I thought about just going to bed. Dinner here starts at 9 to 9:30 at night, which is a little late when you're jet lagged. I'm quite happy to say that I took the concierge's advice and went out to dinner. I went to a small restaurant called Coco Loco off of Vitacura. The food was excellent, cheap and authentic Chilean seafood. I spent less than $10.00 for three courses and it was the best seafood I've had in a long time. Even though it was just me I had no trouble ordering. I was suprised that dinner for 1 took almost 2 hours, but it was like that in Paris as well. The neighborhood near the Radisson is quite safe and well-lit at night so I didn't mind walking back to my hotel at 11:30.

I'll have to post photos later.


Santiago Trip Day 1

First off, let me say that LAX is the worst international airport in the world, well that I’ve been to anyway. The entire concourse, and yes I can say entire, has just one restaurant and a few duty free stores. The hot dog stand produced overpriced and subpar hot dogs which those of us who had no other options were grateful for. There was no real bar or lounge to rest in for a few hours. I must say that if I were an international visitor, I would be unimpressed. If I’d known better I would have eaten in the domestic terminal before going through security at the international terminal. Hmm…maybe that attitude is why everyone around me appeared to drop 20 lbs the second I entered the international terminal. Yup, Americans are fat. Oh well, I just wish they had a Starbucks or something in the terminal. We don’t even restrict American’s to that level of selection in far flung Alaska, why should we be losing out on the money our international visitors would drop on their layovers by not even offering food. My other big beef with LAX is that the displays made it nearly impossible to find what gate your flight was at. If I had checked in and had my gate printed on my boarding pass that would be fine. But I checked in 12 hours prior in Fairbanks, Alaska long before my gate had ever been decided on.

I did find that exchanging money at LAX carries no fee whereas doing so in the Chile airport has a $1.50 fee. Small savings and a better exchange rate to boot. After 25 hours of travel I finally made it to Chile. I had layovers in Seattle, LA and Lima, Peru. The Peru stop was long enough for me to get off of the plane, buy a postcard and get back on the plane. I was amazed at the folks who brought back 2-3 bags worth of goods from the duty-free. That reminds me, since when has shopping on a plane become the “in” activity? The people on my Lan Chile flight were shopping duty free like there was no tomorrow. The bargains weren’t good and the duty can’t be that high. We each had catalogs in the back of our seats and they kept coming up and down the aisles delivering orders to folks. The guy in the seat next to me spent over $400 in our 12 hours together. I’ll admit, I succumbed and bought some hand cream, but that’s because mine was confiscated in LAX. I found myself more than entertained watching 4 movies, playing with the Berlitz language software (I now know how to count in Russian, English, German, French and Spanish), and playing digital Tetris, Poker and Blackjack. Those international planes are sweet, especially when you get an exit row. I had as much space as the people in first class and paid half the price. I couldn’t fully recline, but that wasn’t a big deal because I don’t sleep on planes anyway. Now it's time for me to go sleep!


Spanish for Travelers

I leave tonight for Santiago, Chile and I'm not ready, not by a long shot. My laundry is in the washer for things that I need to pack. I have to gather things from all over the house and put back half of things I think I'm going to pack so that I actually can carry my bag and have room for souvenirs. I would also feel guilt carrying things around that I don't really need as they only release more CO2 into the atmosphere. This will be my first eco-friendly trip. I bought carbon credits when I booked through Expedia. They sent me a nifty green luggage tag to put on my bags and show off my status to my fellow travelers. It's made out of plastic. Isn't that a petroleum product and therefore non-Earth-friendly. Perhaps it's recycled plastic. I have a lot of trip preparation to do during my flight. For one I need to look through my guidebook and see what I want to do on my two off days. For the other I need to develop a working knowledge of Spanish so that I can navigate. Apparently Chileans aren't commonly fluent in English. So far my phrase list is three words long. I have on my list: ATM, police, and coffee. Hmm... priorities need adjustment perhaps. Of course I also told myself that on my flight I would study for my midterms that are coming up the week I get back and do all of my law school applications, essays, etc. I don't think even I can do all that in 30 hours. Oh yeah, I don't sleep on planes, that will help.


"infidelity while on active duty in the army"

I was quite disappointed when I found out that my blog was the top result for a Google search of "infidelity while on active duty in the army." This two sided coin is a really sensitive issue, spouses cheating on soldiers and soldiers having too much fun in the desert, but with the national divorce rate as high as it is I'm sure it's not unique to the military. Thankfully I have not lived through a deployment yet, nor have I lived on a military base where this type of behavior is probably more common. To others who might find my blog this way I would offer that you should be concerned about preserving your marriage before your soldier even gets orders to deploy. Being a military spouse is hard, but making it work is really worth it. It will take work, don't kid yourself. If you are a 19 year old bride who married her high school sweetheart turned marine you're kidding yourself if you think that high school romance and gorgeous uniforms last. You have to put in the work, know when to listen and know when to shut up. This isn't just about you, you gave up "I" when you said "I do." Instead I want you to think about why you wanted to get married in the first place. Is what you have worth preserving? If so you won't be putting out personals ads looking for fun. Don't think of it as being left behind, neglected, lonely. Don't just be a dependent, stand on your own two feet and be yourself. Your marriage should be able to last and you should stand up and be your own interesting, unique and joyful person. Don't let yourself become bitter or paranoid. If you think that your partner trusts and loves you then you shouldn't have to worry about them either.

Oh and in case you're wondering why I would come up under a search like that in the first place, I did a review of a new TV show Army Wives awhile back.


I Heart Law Mommies

Law Mommies are brave in so many ways. If you haven't heard about Kim or Lag Liv you need to take the time and visit their blogs. They are both going through their own nightmares and law school at the same time.

Letters of Recommendation for Law School

I requested two of my letters of recommendation for law school last night. One is my old department chair and one is a professor. They both know me really well from my work with our professional society so they have seen both my in class performance and my leadership/volunteer work. I was thrilled that they were both so enthusiastic to write letters for me. I'll be sending them my resume and personal statement from last year soon to give them some material to work off of. I really want to get good letters though and these being engineering professors I'm afraid they'll write a MS program reference. "This is a good student, I heartily recommend them to your program and you should believe me become I'm a really impressive academic that you should respect as your peer." This isn't what I think law schools are looking for. An official letter on official stationary from an academic is probably less meaningful that thoughtful commentary on my strengths. I'm trying to figure out how to phrase my letter request to solicit the "right" kind of letter.

The other one that really freaks me out is my third letter. This professor/friend said, "Just write the letter and give it to me to sign." I don't really feel comfortable doing that, but it really seems like an opportunity. Any advice?


XBOX Price Drop

Not to be outdone by Apple, Microsoft has announced that it is dropping the price of its most popular gadget, the XBox 360, by $50. Hubby hasn't really played computer or video games since he graduated from college. Mostly its because he's out of touch with the latest and greatest since leaving the dorm life. Lately he has taken to replaying old classics from the 1999-2002 era, aka the time before we were really together and he had copious amounts of spare time on his hands. I think it's about time he stopped feeling old, I mean he's only turning 27 this year! So I'm undecided between getting him an XBox or a bunch of computer games. I've never really understood the idea of console games. You pay $400.00 for a system and then you still have to buy each game at $60.00 each! This thing better also make toast and replace at least two other gadgets in our house. Undecided and in need of feedback from those who actually understand. His birthday is in two weeks.

Alaska's Primary is in August Next Year

It's very hard to get my fellow Alaskans interested in politics. They really don't care about national elections that much. We're a red state, always have been and probably always will be. The most chance a democrat has of being elected is if they run for state office. Although that chance is slim to none considering our governor has the highest approval rating of any elected Republican in office in the entire country. She is awesome, I'll admit it, and an August 2007 poll had her approval rating at 84%, with 5% disapproving. I don't suppose it helps that we have the last primary election in the union. August 26th! Really hard to feel like your vote is going to count for something when all of the big decisions and drop outs will be happening months earlier after other states have voted. I really would support a national primary election. You could vote for who you think should be the candidate rather than just the most electable one.


3 Times the Challenge

Saw this on Ana's blog and felt that I should pass this along. Kim is a law school blogger/Mom/and cancer patient, wow a triple whammy. She is being nominated for a blogger scholarship of $10k which I'm sure is richly deserved. Currently she is 3% behind the leader in votes, but I know that can change so take the two seconds to go and vote for her. You don't need an account or anything.

Here's a link to the voting page:
Here's a link to an article in the most recent issue of Student Lawyer, which mentions Kim:
Here's a link to Kim's blog:


Travel Plans - Santiago, Chile

Currently I travel a lot, as in over 89,000 miles in the last 12 months or over 145,000 miles in the last 15 months. This time last year I went to Paris, Butte, Phoenix, Richland and LA (twice) all in the months of September and October. This year I'll rack up San Diego, Portland, Berkeley, Santiago Chile and St. Louis in the same two month period and that's after turning down 3 trips. This will of course no longer be sustainable once I'm in school so I'm taking advantage of it while I can. I hope to travel to India, Las Vegas, Chicago, LA and England before relinquishing my volunteer work and settling down into law school. By that time I should have enough frequent flyer miles to go just about anywhere and bring hubby along. Poor hubby, he's only gone with me on one trip to Boston for a week. Probably better off because as glamorous as all of this travel sounds, I'm really there to work and I rarely see more than the airport and the hotel meeting room. I'll fly out after work on Friday get in Saturday morning for a Saturday meeting and fly right back home afterwards. For a person who doesn't sleep on planes that is rough.

I try to have one trip that is about a week long twice a year and save my vacation time for those. I basically pick the most interesting meeting I've got coming up and then extend my travel plans at that destination, getting two days of hotel and the airfare for free. Last fall it was Paris, this spring it was Boston, and this fall it will be Santiago, Chile. I'm pretty excited about this. Excited and intimidated. When I went to Paris I had 8 hours of Pimsluer CD lessons under my belt. Thankfully I've got a pretty solid grounding in languages and this translated to being able to roughly navigate through Paris and get non-English cab drivers to take me where I want to go. It also helps that French and Russian have a lot of cognates so my vocabulary was artificially higher than it would have otherwise been. Spanish though, um yeah, I don't know Spanish at all. I fully intend on using at least part of my 34 hours of travel time that will be spent getting there learning a little Spanish, but I suspect it won't be enough. Thankfully two of my friends who are Spanish will be coming and hopefully their European Spanish will be enough to get me by during the times we're together.

This trip is creeping up very fast. I just booked my tickets today and the trip is in like 2.5 weeks. I don't know what there is to do there or anything. I'll have two days before the meeting to play tourist so I guess I'll be packing my guidebook and backpack along with my suit and laptop. If anybody has any suggestions for Latin-American travel, I'd be happy to hear them. I haven't even had time to do a good Google search for travel blogs to Chile yet.



I started off awfully. I didn't get to the last game. I hate LSATs that start off with games. I was off my pace and read the clock wrong, thinking I had 10 minutes left when the 5 minute warning caught me by surprise. It was all up from there though. I finished every other section before the 5 minute warning and was able to go back and look at my unsure answers. The experimental section was reading, hardly surprising since they are getting started developing a pool of questions which have comparative reading in them. The writing sample was more one-sided than last time. That's about all I can disclose, unlike my fellow test takers. I for one took the warning seriously that we aren't to discuss the test until it has been disclosed by LSAC. Others began gabbing in the restrooms as soon as we hit the break. It was also interesting to me that out of the 13 people signed up to take the test at my location only 6 bothered to show up. That's a lot of money to take a test if you're not going to show up. If I get all the questions I answered right and missed only the ones in the games section that I didn't get to and assuming that I get none of them right purely by bubbling in a D to fill the space that leaves me with a maximum score of 172 using the conversion table from the December 2006 administration. Of course people keep getting better at the test so that conversion may not be reliable. I really doubt that I got all of the questions that I got to correct. I average -4 on those sections. That would put me at a total of -9/-4/-4/-4=-21 or 163, a mere 3 point gain. Anything can happen of course, for all I know the final 9 questions of logic games could all have had a correct answer of D and I could have rocked the test, doubt it. Oh well, sigh, no 180 for me, wasn't expecting it anyways.

LSAT isn't everything though. I need to do my personal statements, get my recommendations and request my transcripts. This is my to do list for the next 2 weeks. So until October 20th at 10 am EST I get to live in blissful ignorance. Ack, no, did I get off on my bubble sheet by one, did I skip over an important point on the writing section, no, no, must not think about the stupid test. I have a 160, I can't do worse than that.


Top 15 or Don't Bother?

The news for law schools lately has been bleak. Seems to be the message is, Top 15 school or don't bother.

Law School Personal Statement Tips

Once all this LSAT business is over I'll be turning my attention to applications. I saw this link on Ann Levine's blog linking over to the University of Chicago's tips and tricks page. It's a good set of tips to keep in mind when writing a personal statement.



LSAT Angst (2)

Less than a week to go before the LSAT. I spent most of this past week in bed sick and chiding myself for not studying. Today, in celebration of the fact that I can string a multi-syllabic sentences together again I took a practice test. I first chalked the 162 up to the fact that I'm still recuperating and require Cold Tylenol just to get off of the sofa. Now that excuse isn't working and I'm starting to freak out. My dedicated studying was paying off, I finished all the game questions with time to spare and only missed 3 questions. My reading is staying at a steady -5 questions, but my pace has improved so I'm getting through it all on time. If I had maintained my average -4 each on the logic reasoning I would have actually improved my score by several questions, instead I had a -3/-7 split. This is frustrating. Where is this -7 suddenly coming from? Stress, stress. I need to miss less questions, stay on time and keep track of what row I'm bubbling in. This is all too much!


What to do with old LSAT tests

Once I'm done with all of this LSAT prep, I'll be guilty of killing more than a few pieces of paper. I started out trying to take the tests based on PDFs of the tests, but decided that wasn't really authentic and switched to printing them out. My printer doesn't do double sided so I've really been going through a lot of paper lately. I stumbled across this fact today: Recycling a 3-foot-high stack of newspapers can save one whole tree. I'll have saved a tree or two by the time this is over. Those of you with LSAT tests, law school notes or outlines, junk-mail, etc. should definitely consider recycling it all when it comes time to purge.

Breakfast of LSAT Champions

We just had a coffee run at my office. I asked for the largest soy mocha possible. All the other folks in my office are traditional engineering types who think that coffee comes in two types, caf and decaf and that decaf is really like white chocolate, not really chocolate at all. When the designated coffee fetcher came back with the order he told me with amazement, "Did you know there are 4 shots of espresso in that?!" Yeah, why do you think I ordered it. So now I'm sitting here enjoying the goodness that is a combo cranberry scone and soy mocha breakfast and contemplating why I'm so tired as to require said nourishment. Well, it probably has something to do with the fact that I stayed up until 11:30 last night doing LSAT games. I got so frustrated that I enlisted hubby's help. He had never seen an LSAT game before and threw up his hands with disgust claiming them to be impossible. But, after I showed him my way of diagramming rules and breaking it down he turned out to be pretty helpful. Basically I discovered that I need to figure out what rules can be derived from the rules in the question and not forget to apply everything that I know. I also need to make sure what the question is asking me. For instance, I got two wrong because I answered "Which of the following can be true?" instead of "Which of the following cannot be true?" Simple mistake, but it makes all the difference.

I also went to my school's law school forum. We aren't a big destination for law school recruiters. There were a dozen or so schools there though and I got to personally talk to all of the recruiters at schools I was interested in, all 1 of them. Sorry, you're not getting me to apply to Golden Gate University. They are on probation aren't they? Also, hubby would never survive in California, too many people. If that is what the LSAC Forum is going to be like, I'll pass. I don't need to fly to New York to collect brochures. I'm still looking for advice on whether these are worthwhile. I've received no comments yet.


iPhone Software Unlock

It was only a matter of time before a software unlock for the iPhone was available. I'm just glad that in the spirit of community based application development, they've decided to release the unlock for free.

Rough Day for Prime Ministers

Russia tests 'dad of all bombs' - similar to a nuke without harming the environment...great

Putin, in a surprise dissolves Russian government

Ok, so after seeing these headlines I had to did a bit deeper. U.S. news tends to like sensationalist headlines. This necessitated a forray with my Russian dictionary and a search of non-US/UK sources, but in the end did provide a slightly different spin on things.

Putin didn't just dissolve the Russian government. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov resigned ‘due to upcoming political events,’ he wasn't dismissed. While we cannot know if Putin asked him to resign in order to prevent him from being seen as Putin's choice to succeed him next spring, it's not like Putin just dissolved the government. In Russia, whenever the PM steps down the government is automatically dissolved. The real surprise to me was that Russian President Vladimir Putin nominated the head of the country's financial regulator, Viktor Zubkov, for the post of prime minister. This guy is a political nobody and is not really a clear choice for succession to the presidency. Well, that is unless Putin intends to put a puppet in place for a term and then return to office, effectively becoming a rotational president for life. If that is the intention then this appointment makes total sense. Putin is wildly popular among Russians, having brought stability and relative prosperity after his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. As a result, many Russian's don't want him to leave office, despite what the constitution says. With former colleagues describing Zubkov with words like, "He did not generate ideas. He was someone who carried out instructions.", if Putin is looking for a yes man to succeed him for a few years, maintain the current status of things, etc. his announcement might not be so surprising after all.

And now the Japanese Prime Minister is gone too? Wow! Rough day for prime minsters world wide. We'll see if Gordon Brown lasts the night.
Japan's prime minister in shock resignation


Mini Clubman Cooper S

If this car came to the U.S., I might just have to learn how to drive stick.

Are LSAC Forums Useful?

I have a business trip coming up the week after the New York LSAC forum. It turns out that its only $20.00 more expensive to leave the Friday before my Monday meeting and spend Saturday and Sunday in New York attending the LSAC forum. This would still necessitate cab fees and of course a hotel for two nights. Are these worth it? Also, would going to the one in New York, even though I'm primarily interested in West Coast +DC schools be worth it, or would the LA forum be better, even though I'd have to pay for the whole trip?


Weekend LSAT Results

Results of weekend of LSAT taking, improvement of score by 4 points to 164. Still not where I want to be. I did miss 4 less questions in the reading based on suggestions by my helpful readers so that is good. I did however still miss 8 games questions, mostly due to being rushed and stupid on the last game. I need to get faster at these! I think I'll start doing a bunch of really old LSAT games sections, rather than just whole tests until I see some improvement in this area.


LSAT Countdown Week 1

Hubby has Army Reserve drill this weekend so I have the whole house to myself. On top of catching up with laundry and other household chores I have a big stack of LSAT tests to take. This weekend I will try and get through 3. I will then use the Logic Reasoning Bible and Logic Games Bibles to analyze the ones that I get wrong. We'll see if it improves my score. *sigh* Sounds like a stellar weekend is ahead of me, but it needs to get done.

Biodegradable laptop

Combining two of my favorite things, cool tech gear and environmentalism has historically been almost impossible. It has taken a lot of effort to make sure that every piece of technology my family casts off is reused or recycled and not taken to the landfill. We recycle our batteries and laptops, freecycle our monitors and printers and generally try not to upgrade as soon as we get the itch for something new. When it finally comes time to buy my *gasp* 2nd cell phone ever, we'll also take advantage of our ability to donate our old ones. But here is a product that won't force me into feeling guilt when it meets its inevitable doom of obsolescence, a biodegradable laptop made from plastic from cornstarch rather than petroleum. It will go away over the course of a few months in the landfill while real plastic will take decades. I'll still have to do something about it's guts, but at least the chassis will be gone. I really hope we start to see more items like this in the US. We throw away millions of tons of technology every year.


iPod Envy?

As a electrical engineer and a geek, I'm usually one of the first to know when something new is coming out technology wise. I was reading GeoHot's blog while he was still trying to unlock the iPhone, way before he was on the news or driving his new Nissan 350Z. Today was no different. When the new iPods were announced I got the news from someone live-blogging the announcement and had to wait for hours to see anything on the Apple website or CNN. That said, I'm also one of the last to jump on a technology bandwagon. I won't be upgrading to a N-class wireless router until my G-class dies, even if the N is newer and better. I held onto my last 3 laptops for 3 years apiece, resisting the annual upgrade urges and until last Christmas when hubby bought me my 80gb Video iPod, I was content with my 1GB shuffle.

Today's announcement changes nothing. AT&T doesn't have service in Alaska so I couldn't use an iPhone, the iTouch is just an iPhone sans phone and thats just stupid when I already have both an iPod and a laptop. The iPod classic is a cheaper and slightly redesigned Video iPod. Now instead of getting 80GB, I could get 160GB for the same price. Considering that my current iPod is still less than half full, I don't feel the need to upgrade. The nano, um, that thing is ugly, it looks like somebody sat on it. I'd also be terribly upset to send the current shuffle through the washing machine on accident if I left it clipped to my running clothes. I'd much rather have my current shuffle. It is the perfect size for exercising and I can use it as a USB key. One device, two uses. So while a whole bunch of people are probably upset that they just bought the iPhone and it has now dropped $200 in price or that their $349 80GB Video iPod from last year could have been 160GB if they'd waited a year, I for one am content. I have what I need and I refuse to subscribe to iPod envy.

Update: For those of you who have the iPod envy and are thinking about getting a new iPod try trading in your old iPod for cash towards your new one. You'll more easily justify switching from your 80GB Video to the iTouch if you have $210 in your pocket.

I'm a D List Blogger

D-List Blogger

To be an A-List Celebrity in Hollywood, it’s all about the amount of Vanity Fair, GQ, and People Magazine covers you can score. To be an A-List Bloglebrity on the Internet, it’s all about the amount of link love you can score. If it weren't for the show "My Life on the D List" I wouldn't worry about it. Perhaps I could shoot for C-list within the next year. Hmm...must come up with interesting content. But Legal Andrew has only been around a year and he's a B-List blogger, perhaps if I try harder? Dilbert the blog is an A-list blogger, but um yeah, he is probably popular for other reasons.


Bag of Crap

The things people will buy amaze me. When I saw that Woot.com had sold over $100k worth of this it just amazed me. Here is the ad in total:

Bag O’ Crap XXI

Wait, wait, why are you clicking that button? Don't click! You don't want this junk. Seriously, clicking that I WANT ONE button is a one-way ticket to disappointment and shame. You'll cram a few useless clumps of consumer flotsam into your life, be out like eight bucks, and for what? For what? What is the sound of one hand crapping?
If you must proceed, CHECK THIS OUT. Somebody misunderstands this concept every time, so please READ THE BIG PRINT:

3. YOU WILL WASTE FREIGHT IF YOU ORDER FEWER THAN THREE. And you’ll get less crap. Wait, why is that bad again? Do you people really need more crap?

You’re only getting one bag, no matter what. The order quantity you select is the number of crappy items we’ll put in your bag. Select THREE. Later, you’ll enjoy the satisfaction of taunting the surprisingly large number of less observant Wooters who ordered less than THREE.
As usual, we promise nothing about the quality or the desirability of these bags or their contents, except to promise that their quality will be low and their desirability will be non-existent. The best quantity you could possibly order would be ZERO.


I. Thou shalt expect nothing beyond one bag of some kind and your chosen quantity of crappy items (which should be THREE).
II. Thou shalt not whine and complain when some people’s crap turns out to be nicer than yours.
III. Thou shalt take a moment to consider whether you might be better off just not buying this crap.
IV. Thou shalt not order just one crap and blame it on anything but your own inattention.
V. To paraphrase Stephen Stills, shalt thou not get the crap you want, want the crap you get.
The crap will be shipped via SmartPost, the crappiest shipping method available to us.

"Holiday" Weekend?

Aside from the geese making all sorts of racket as they catch up on a summers worth of conversation as they fly over my house at night on their way south, I really do like this time of year. There is still sunlight out when I get home from work. If you're not from a northern climate you can't understand how depressing it is to have the sun rise after you go to work and set before you get into your car at night. I also like the fact that I can wear cute fall sweaters without roasting under the office heaters which will be turned on in a couple of weeks. I always find it strange that they blast me with AC all summer and roast me with the heaters all winter. Why can't they turn the thermostat to 70 and leave it alone! There is no need for 75 in winter and 65 in summer. Said sweaters are also not yet covered up by heavier parkas and other layers. This is the perfect in between time when I can actually enjoy my cute fall clothes. They are much better than summer clothes, which always fit me wrong. I'd much rather wear a cashmere sweater and cute khakis than skirts and tank tops.

But Labor Day really does signal the beginning of the end for me. I better enjoy it while I can because by this time next month all of the leaves will have fallen and there will be snow on the ground. Don't believe me? I'll post pictures. Speaking of labor day, why does the phrase 3-day-weekend suddenly inspire people to get projects done? More than likely they will only work hard 1 out of the 3 days and they could just do that on a normal weekend. Oh well, I may as well join them and have weekend plans. I'm not doing any labor day shopping as I don't really need anything and no matter how good a deal it is it's not a good deal if I don't need it.

  1. I am putting all of the left-over garage sale items on Craigslist, Freecycle, or donating them
  2. I will take two full LSATs, one timed and one untimed
  3. I will submit the stack of health care stuff to insurance and finally get reimbursed
  4. I will try and clean the house, find more stuff to get rid of and repeat #1
  5. I will spend at least one out of the three days out of doors, because by this time next month there will be snow on the ground and I should enjoy it while I can
  6. I will attempt to kick hubby's but fencing, or at least maintain respectable form


Do Magazines Count?

I complained a couple of days back about Americans not reading enough. If I don't count anything other than traditionally bound books I still read about a book a month or more, but if you add in magazines its probably far higher. Lately though, hubby has been eyeing my ever-growing periodicals stack with suspicion, and I don’t blame him. How did someone whose life so fully revolves around the Web end up with so many subscriptions to print magazines? Well, I guess the real answer is I am only paying for two of them (the rest were free from airline miles or surveys I took) and I can't turn down free stuff. The other thing being that until recently I wouldn't cut pages out of magazines, instead saving the entire glossy for a one page article I liked. Kind of falls in line with my phobia of highlighting in textbooks.

That said, he has a point. I realized that having an entire 3 cubic feet of magazines in my living room is a bit much. Then I discovered during our garage sale that he had sneakily ferreted an entire book box worth of these glossies out to the garage and was hoping to ditch them before I noticed. I am now going through and finally cutting out pages of exercises that I want to add to my workout binder and clipping recipes and cute clothes. As a result I feel productive having gone through quite a lot of junk, wasteful at the amount of trees that met their death on the way to my PO Box, out of shape thanks to all of the great workouts I could be but am not doing and hungry as a result of all of the aforementioned recipes I've clipped. Little by little I'm getting rid of reams of glossy paper and I solemnly vow that I will only subscribe to magazines that I would pay for had they not been free.


10 Till Dinner (4)

Turkey burgers cooked on a George Forman with melted cheddar cheese, tomato fresh out of the garden and fresh picked lettuce. Total cooking time, including preheating George Foreman is about 10 minutes. Add to that some store-bought potato salad, some baked beans that you cook in the microwave and between two people you can easily do barbecue in under 10 minutes.

Of course, in my household no meal is complete without something sweet. I am usually content with a large mug of tea and an ounce of dark chocolate. I justify the measly 60 calories easily by telling myself about all of the anti-oxidant goodness that I'll be getting out of it. I can even justify this time wise as making tea takes no time at all and I know that I'll need both tea and chocolate in law school for comfort and caffeine sanity.

But every once in awhile I get in a baking mood. My latest one resulted in not just one, but two cakes, one chocolate and one white, both with dark chocolate frosting. One was consumed at our post garage sale barbecue by hubby's guy friends on Sunday and the other is stored safely in my freezer awaiting a suitable social occasion to instantly have impressive looking dessert. With a ready to go dessert of perfectly moist wonderful white cake topped with homemade dark fudge frosting, why do I suddenly feel the cream cheese in my fridge calling to me saying, "You have all the ingredients for chocolate-crusted, ganache-coated cheesecake with cubes of brownies inside. It was so good last time you made it and even though you swore you wouldn't make it again until hubby's birthday, as it is just too caloricially sinful, there will be lots of other people around to help you eat it, so you don't have to feel bad."? *sigh* I won't have time for this type of cooking law school, so I better take advantage of time while I have it.

LSAT Registration

Registration...done. Money...gone. Ouch! This better be worth it!


LSAT Timing...Again

I took my weekend LSAT yesterday, forcing myself to finish each section and not let questions go unanswered, guessing on the toughies and moving on. My reading and games scores that I was so worried about went up! Bad news was that I kept up that pace finishing 5 minutes early on each logical reasoning section and was too brain dead to go back to all of my starred questions that I wasn't sure about. Sure enough, I got them wrong, making my score of 158 pretty similar to my score of slowly but steadily answering and running out of time on two sections. So, I need to keep the pace up on reading and logic games and go back to taking my time on logical reasoning, using ALL of my time to check my answers on the toughies in those sections. Hopefully when I do that I will have a net score increase. I will attempt to do another practice test tonight keeping that in mind and if my score improves I'll be registering for the test by the deadline of, ack...tomorrow!


Touche to the Tushy

I'm sore, I'm bruised and I haven't felt better in a long time. Last night hubby and I finally dug out our fencing gear after a long year of laziness and hauled ourselves down to the local fencing salle. Off and on since senior year of high-school I've fenced. When I met hubby I made him take ballroom dance and fencing, he made me take Aikido. He can still jump over 4 people and roll to a perfect fighting stance while I dropped Aikido after a few weeks, neither of us can dance very well, but we can both fence decently. I rediscovered a lot of muscles that I forgot that I had and realized that I need to retrain my reflexes or get used to bruises, but it was a blast. Some couples have marriage counseling, we have fencing. You aren't supposed to talk when fencing according to the ettiquette, but a lot get's communicated anyway through grunts yells, exhulted screams, etc. I would highly recommend it for both exercise and a way to relieve stress. We'll definitely have to keep this up this year. Although, people at work think hubby beats me now because I've begun showing up with mysterious bruises on my arms. Oh well.
Why Fence?
Fencing is a fun sociable alternative to the gym.
Energetic all over body work out.
New fencers are always very welcome.
Compete as an individual fencer or in a team.
Innovative sport with three exciting disciplines.
No experience necessary to get started.
Great stress buster.
*From Salle Paul Website


Law Firms for Women

I have a feeling some of these firms will be seeing applications from me. I'm not a mother now, but I hope to be one in the future and I would never pursue a career that I thought would eliminate that option. That is why I was heartened to see that this month, August 2007, Working Mother published its first list of "Best Law Firms for Women." I was kind of surprised to see two or three of them on the list, but I'm glad to see that their reputations aren't as tough in all possible lights.


Alston & Bird (Atlanta, GA)
Armstrong Teasdale (St. Louis, MO)
Arnold & Porter (Washington, DC)
Baker & Daniels (Indianapolis, IN)
Baker & McKenzie (Chicago, IL)
Bingham McCutchen (Boston, MA)
Blackwell Sanders (Kansas City, MO)
Bryan Cave (St. Louis, MO)
Chapman and Cutler (Chicago, IL)
Covington & Burling (Washington, DC)
Cravath, Swaine & Moore (New York, NY)
Debevoise & Plimpton (New York, NY)
Dickstein Shapiro (Washington, DC)
DLA Piper US (New York, NY)
Dorsey & Whitney (Minneapolis, MN)
Duane Morris (Philadelphia, PA)
Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott (Pittsburgh, PA)
Farella Braun + Martel (San Francisco, CA)
Foley & Lardner (Milwaukee, WI)
Folger Levin & Kahn (San Francisco, CA)
Gibbons P.C. (Newark, NJ)
Heller Ehrman (San Francisco, CA)
Hogan & Hartson (Washington, DC)
Holland & Knight (New York, NY)
Howrey (Washington, DC)
Hunton & Williams (Richmond, VA)
Ice Miller (Indianapolis, IN)
Katten Muchin Rosenman (Chicago, IL)
King & Spalding (Atlanta, GA)
Kirkland & Ellis (Chicago, IL)
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis (Pittsburgh, PA)
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (New York, NY)
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips (Los Angeles, CA)
Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw (Chicago, IL)
McDermott Will & Emery (Chicago, IL)
McGuireWoods (Richmond, VA)
Miller & Chevalier Chartered (Washington, DC)
Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo (Boston, MA)
Morrison & Foerster (San Francisco, CA)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (New York, NY)
Patton Boggs (Washington, DC)
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (New York, NY)
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman (New York, NY)
Reed Smith (Pittsburgh, PA)
Sidley Austin (Chicago, IL)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York, NY)
Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal (Chicago, IL)
White & Case (New York, NY)
WilmerHale (Washington, DC)
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice (Winston-Salem, NC)

Read this!

One in four Americans read NO books last year!

That's just plain sad and a real indictment against our society that we aren't challenging our minds. Think of all the literature that you had to read in school. Should this process stop merely because you aren't being forced to read. Sure, you probably didn't like all of it, but now you get to choose what you read.


LSAT Tips (2)

This weekend was spent in a combination of recipe experimentation, house cleaning and LSAT preparation. I took a complete LSAT, timed by my proctor hubby (much better than the real thing) and scored a 162. I didn't get to 12 questions. I went back and did them after I was done with the test, go them all right and scored a 171. So yeah, my timing is bad. At least I know that in the last 7 months my score hasn't really decreased since I took the real thing. However, if I'm going to go through this thing again, I better be practicing at a higher score than last time around. As Ann Levine says on her blog, a score of 5-8 points off of your practice tests is probably right for you. I agree with her, and I am working towards bringing my practice scores higher.

LSAT Tip #4 - When studying and practicing for the LSAT, it's really important to keep track of your pace. Practicing finishing faster than what you will be allowed on test day might even give you time to go back to those tough questions. Which brings me to:

LSAT Tip #5 - All LSAT questions are not created equal. Some are actually harder than others. Missing 5 questions at the end of the test that you didn't have time for is worse than skipping one tough question and getting those 5 right with the extra time. You need to learn to resist the temptation to stick with a "tough" question until you're sure your response is correct. I am used to working through a test. I can get the questions right most of the time if I just keep working through them, but that will get me a lower score ultimately. It's a timed test for a reason.

LSAT Tip #6 - Sometimes questions are just that simple. Don't read too much into it if you think that the first answer is right. You're instincts are pretty good and if you've been right on your practice tests, they are probably worth trusting. Don't let the actual test paralyze you into over-analyzing, wasting time or changing a right answer to a wrong one after reading the question 2-3 times.

My analytical reasoning practice is going great. I'm always finishing on time or early and missing only 2-3 questions per section. My reading, yeah, not so hot. I didn't even get to the last reading. Or I did read it, but had no time for the questions. Not sure what to do about that. I also didn't get to the last game so even though I got all of the previous game questions right, I missed another 5 questions because I didn't get to that game. I did make sure to fill in all of my bubbles to get random points for unanswered questions (apparently D had no random chance in 12 unanswered questions, go figure), but I would really like to be finishing closer to time on these two sections. If anybody has any hints for speeding up, that would be appreciated.


Plastic Bags are Ugly Anyway

It's fashionable to be green if you have one of these cool bags from Envirosax. Each holds two regular plastic bags worth of groceries and can be used over and over again. Each person on Earth goes through 552 grocery and shopping bags per year. Imagine how many that is if you average it out only considering people that actually have access to those bags (dropping the folks in Djibouti, etc.). I couldn't believe that statistic so I did a little calculation. We grocery shop about every 2 weeks and bring home about 15 bags. That's 390 bags for grocery shopping. We also have another 5 bags a week probably on incidental stuff, "Oh I forgot the cream cheese, etc." That's another 260 bags for a total of 650 for two people or 325 each! Silly grocery store clerks would put 10 items in 8 bags if I let them, plus they double bag anything that includes a can. I always reuse my bags as trash bags in the bathroom or take them back to the grocery store for recycling by the food bank, but probably that means they are used a maximum of twice before they make it to the landfill. Unfortunately the world is now sold out of the iconic "I'm Not a Plastic Bag" bag and I'm not about to pay $60.00+ on Ebay to get one. If only the shipping was cheaper on these Envirosax I'd definitely pick up a set. They are so cute. I especially like the Flora series although the other styles are great too.


School Supply Lust

I walked into my local grocery store last night to get some digital photos developed and pick up ingredients for my chocolate marble brownie cheesecake. After dropping off the pictures to be processed I had turned my attention to the important task of gathering ingredients when I made the mistake of leaving the food section. I was confronted with my arch-nemesis of the Fall season...school supplies. I have no explanation why, but I love gazing at orderly rows of new unmarked binders, notebooks, freshly sharpened pencils, crayons, organizers, tabbies, ah, the list goes on and on. This year was going to be my year to indulge. I was going to go on a rampage, setting up my law school office with highlighters, tabbies, maybe even a new laptop. Alas, with the decision to wait another year, I have no such justification to buy. I still have plenty of half full mechanical pencils, pens that aren't quite dry, highlighters in at least two colors and a laptop that is only slowly dying, not in dire need of replacement. I stood there with a look of wistful regret on my face in front of a row of spiral bound notebooks as my husband walked up to me: "Honey, the cream cheese is this way. Are you ok?" Yes, I'm ok, but I am lusting after these post-it notes. Tonight I will assuage my desire for school supplies with another forray into increasingly complicated cooking experiments. This Saturday it was a braided nut bread, last night it was fish curry, last week a chocolate cake and this week will be my first ever attempt at a cheesecake. I won't have time for dinners which take hours to cook or having people over for dessert just so I can try a new recipe once I'm in law school so I guess I should enjoy it while I can. Hubby's guy friends certainly aren't objecting to the constant outpouring of culinary hospitality from our house. Hmm...perhaps I could buy some recipe cards and a nice pen to transcribe our more successful attempts. I would be justified doing that...right?


Blawg Student Directory

Clever WoT has updated the law school student blog directory. I've found a lot of my favorite law school bloggers this way and I'm glad to see the major update. I'm still a 0L so I don't count yet. Hmm...something to aspire to.


Law School Reading

Starting to study for my Mass Media Law final. I am now more than familiar with the first amendment, prior restraint, libel, invasion of privacy, the freedom of information act, protection of news sources, copyright, and the regulation of obscene and other erotic material. Keeping it all straight though is proving to be another matter. Between now and the 17th I need to finish 382 pages of reading, at least 36 of which I need to finish tonight. *sigh* I guess this is good preparation for law school reading. I am finding it difficult to focus though. I end up glazing over and rereading paragraphs over and over without really absorbing things. Yesterday I was halfway through my reading when I startled back awake. It had been 20 minutes. As an undergraduate I didn't really read my textbooks cover-to-cover. I went to lectures, took notes, read the portions of the textbook relevant to the homework and copied a running list of equations onto my exam cheat sheet. For my non-engineering classes I pretty much hunted through the books, reading the parts rel event to the homework. The only thorough reading I did was in language classes or Russian literature classes. This whole law school studying is going to be tough. I'm going to have to learn a whole new way of studying. Does anybody have any suggestions for upping my reading retention or how to get more out of it?


1L Cooking - 10 Till Dinner (3)

Linguine with Shrimp and Pesto

Boil 12 oz linguine, reserving 1 cup cooking water before draining. Meanwhile toast 1⁄4 cup pine nuts in large nonstick skillet over medium heat; remove. Heat 1 tsp oil in same skillet. Add 1 lb large peeled shrimp and 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin; sauté over medium-high heat 2 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through. Add 2 diced large plum tomatoes, a 6-oz tub refrigerated basil pesto and 1⁄4 cup chopped parsley; toss until hot. Remove from heat. Toss with drained pasta and reserved cooking water as needed. Serve with grated Parmesan.
I promise the next post will not be pasta based. But really, pasta dishes are quick!


I'm Schroeder

Another quiz procrastinationWhich Peanuts Character Are You?

You are Schroeder. You are brilliant, ambitious, and brooding; you tackle tasks with extreme focus. People don't always interest you as much as other pursuits, though, so you can come off as aloof. Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com


Why Didn't a Law Firm Think of This?

On one hand you have Google who's Buses Help Its Workers Beat the Rush - New York Times. This helps save the environment, shorten commute times and destress workers. On the other hand you have Facebook, the social networking site, who instead of making it easier for employees to live far from work makes it easier for them to live nearby by offering a $600 monthly housing subsidy for those who live within a mile of the company’s Palo Alto headquarters. Apparently this incentive is enough that it's actually driving rent prices near Facebook headquarters up as workers try to live nearby. Perhaps the company was thinking they were helping to save the environment by encouraging employees to walk to work.

Now why didn't a law firm think of this? They can say they are caring about the environment when really what they are thinking is that having all of your employees live nearby will make them more available to you/clients. Of course if a law firm did this it would have to pay more per month than $600.00.


My Latte Talks?

Ack, Bexy is feeding my quiz addiction. Not sure I'm never moody, but the rest seems accurate. Hmm...I've been at work 30 minutes and I'm already taking quizzes. Maybe I need some coffee to help me focus.

What Your Latte Says About You

When it comes to what you like, you have your own unique tastes. And people don't really understand them.

You are a very serious person. You don't have time for silly antics.

Intense and energetic, you aren't completely happy unless you are bouncing off the walls.

You're addicted to caffeine. There's no denying it.

You are responsible, mature, and truly an adult. You're occasionally playful, but you find it hard to be carefree.

You are dramatic and intense, but you are never moody.


Looks Like My Weight Will Be Changing Soon

I agree with Anastasia. I wouldn't trust a quiz that doesn't involve inputting your height and age before determining your ideal weight. Perhaps I would have a lower ideal weight if I hadn't admitted to eating dessert most days.

You Should Weigh 155

If you weigh less than this, you either have a fast metabolism or are about to gain weight.
If you weigh more than this, you may be losing a few pounds soon!

L.J.T. in Love

Having been married for 3 years now I haven't had a chance to practice my love style in a new relationship for awhile, but it seems to be fairly accurate considering we were engaged before we'd even gone out on our first official date.

You Are 73% Passionate, 27% Compassionate

You are very passionate, especially when it comes to love.
In fact, it's sometimes difficult for you to tell between love and lust.
You jump in head first, and figure things out later... usually when it's all over!

Where Should I Live?

American Cities That Best Fit You:

65% San Francisco

55% San Diego

55% Seattle

55% Washington, DC

50% Austin


Strange Quiz

You scored as Friedrich Nietzsche, Well you're an egotistical maniac, and you are so very iconoclastic that you probably are currently lost in a post-modern Jupiter, I mean jungle of self-definition.

Don't let it get you down though, someday, through a willful onslaught of reinterpretation of dated forms and ideas, you will strike on something that passes as remotely new, and people WILL be into it on the basis of how hip it is alone. Also, the average espresso drinker looks up to you.

Friedrich Nietzsche


Dante Alighieri


Miyamoto Musashi


Jesus Christ


C.G. Jung


Sigmund Freud


O.J. Simpson


Stephen Hawking


Steven Morrissey


Mother Teresa


Adolf Hitler


Elvis Presley


Charles Manson


Hugh Hefner


What Pseudo Historical Figure Best Suits You?
created with QuizFarm.com

Found through Anastasia. This quiz asks some strange question and I'm not sure that I like the options of people.

Hat tip to "think like a woman. act like a man."

Check out Anastasia's posts on Choosing a Law School based on: Location, School Specifics, and Finances/Career Opportunities. I found her semi-fictional blawg on the ABA website. Good stuff. I like reading blawgs that are well written.

1L Cooking - 10 Till Dinner (2)

In my continued attempt to prove that eating a real meal while in law school is possible I've been building up my collection of 10 minute meals. Here's the latest:

Fettuccine with Vodka Sauce and Asparagus

Boil 12 oz fettuccine, adding 1 lb asparagus, cut bite-size, 5 minutes before pasta will be done and reserving 1 cup cooking water before draining. Meanwhile heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a chopped small onion; sauté 5 minutes until soft. Add 1 pt grape tomatoes, 1 cup vodka sauce, 1⁄2 tsp salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook 1 minute or until tomatoes soften. Toss with drained pasta and asparagus, 2 Tbsp chopped parsley and reserved cooking water as needed. Serve with grated Parmesan.


I'm Alaska

You're Alaska!

You're big, bulky, and extremely wild. At the same time, you're rather
cold and standoffish, even a loner of sorts. Taming you may be one of the last great
quests of the people who do manage to find you or even seek you out. So many of them
just want to plunder you for what you have of value, but there are a few, the ones
who will stick with you, that truly value your rugged remoteness. As long as no one
is spilling stuff on you, you are truly beautiful.

Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.


LSAT Angst

I remember you LSAT. I remember: how you consumed my life 205 minutes at a time, how your five sections blurred together and how the essay tested my will to stay and not just leave, how I hated proctors who clicked their pencils and chugged their sodas, scratched themselves and generally made annoying noises for all 205 minutes. I remember how it wasn't really 205 minutes. Despite the fact that 5*35+30=205. Instead you employed self absorbed proctors to drone at us and treat us like we were kindergartners who needed to be warned to take advantage of bathroom breaks, to not eat salty snacks during the break as they would make us thirst and that by no means would liquids be allowed other than during the break and that we shouldn't even have them then as they did not want us using the bathrooms. Instead of treating us like the adults we are and allowing us to plan our time according to our own pace you insisted on your proctor minions informing us every so often how little time remained by scratching the time remaining onto the chalkboard in a manner similar to a knife on a wet stone, slowly and with deliberate precision. Yes, LSAT, I hate you. Not because you tested me under timed conditions, something I have never enjoyed. Not because you forced me to learn how to do logic puzzles, a skill not necessary for 1L test taking. Not even because you charge me to take a test. I hate you because you force me to share a room with a bunch of people who, when placed under high stress or in the proctors cases high levels of boredom, make the most annoying fidgety noises which I just can't stand! Hubby has graciously volunteered to be in the room during all of my practice LSATs to help with timing and supply his usual amount of popping, cracking, scratching and fidgeting noises that he would normally get fussed at for making. He is looking forward to it. Um, yeah, I'm not. I want to go back to my study pattern of iPod + solitary confinement equals memory retention, but yeah, that didn't work so hot for me last time. Today is the beginning of my LSAT prep round two. Wish me luck. Hubby could probably use some too. He doesn't have anonymity protecting him and he's enjoying himself way too much. I have been very tempted to lob something at him.

ASU Money

Ironically, today I received a grant to attend ASU. Too late to attend, after withdrawing...stinks. The lady was apparently on vacation when I requested it and just now is checking her requests. Nice that she had money for me, shame I can't take it. I sent her an e-mail saying I look forward to applying next year. I really hope I didn't screw up. I gave up the best schedule ever and now money to boot. *sigh* I guess it wouldn't have done me too much good. I have to maintain a minimum GPA for the grant and with Hubby gearing up for deployed I wouldn't be focusing as much on school.


Saving for Law School $50 at a Time (2)

We got our electricity bill today. After one month of keeping our electronics on switched surge protectors and being mindful of turning off our lights when we aren't in the room, we have reduced our bill from $99 to $66. Everything else has stayed the same. The weather has been similar. We're doing the same amount of laundry and we're home about the same amount. So the only explanation we have for the 3kWh/day difference in our usage is the fact that we're actually mindfully using less. So now we have a 30% savings to the environment and our pocket book. If this keeps up I might be able to buy a book or two for law school next year on our electricity savings alone. Can't wait till the fuel oil bill comes to see if our thermostat adjustments have made any difference.


Earth Day 2007 Pics

I don't know if anybody cares, but I've finally got around to downloading the pictures off of the camera from back in April when we went on the Spring migration canoeing trip. Our Clear Water canoe trip out near Delta, Alaska was the start of our plan to be more active and outdoorsy together. I'll have to post on our backpacking trip soon, once I've finished recovering. You can see how close we were to the moose. It was an awesome trip.

No ASU Deferral

No deferral from ASU is their final word, apparently because I was admitted off of the waitlist, which I understand. Oh well, would have been nice to have a plan for next year already. It's a done deal now, no school for this year and my slot goes to some other anxious person. I'll have to reapply in September. Although, they did say that they might be able to give me an application fee waiver, so it will only cost $12.00. Small comfort. No official word on whether I'm off of the George Mason wait list. Although I don't think I could take their offer at this point anyway. Too close to even get airline tickets probably.

So the new plan for the year, as far as law related things goes, includes:
  • Retaking LSAT
  • Applying early decision to schools, since ASU didn't give me a deferral
  • Studying for and taking Patent Bar Exam
  • Paying off undergraduate student loans
  • Taking as many free law related classes as possible (Benefit of free tuition to University employees, whoops, now you know where I work, oh well.)
  • Saving money for move and law school

Wish me luck! I'll try and post interesting things for those of you who care about the above. I'll just be one of the longer Pre-L bloggers out there.


1L Cooking - 10 till dinner (1)

No matter how bad things get I guarantee you will have 10 minutes every day that won't be consumed with law school or reading. Cooking for me is a destressing activity. It is also something that hubby and I enjoy doing together. Assuming that we have a clean enough kitchen to cook in and ingredients for our standard fare on hand the time we spend cooking is actually pretty important to our mental health. We can talk while we prepare dinner and we don't feel like we're taking time away from other things because, hey, we all have to eat right? As much as I prefer to cook things as close to their natural form as possible, precooked meat and packaged veggies save a lot of precious time and if you choose carefully have almost identical nutritional facts.

So here's an easy 10-minute recipe for you.

Boil 12 oz. pasta of your choice. Meanwhile in a nonstick skillet saute for 2 minutes:

2 T. olive oil
9 oz. bag of fresh California stir-fry vegetables
10 oz. pkg of cooked chicken strips

Add 1 T. chopped garlic and cook another minute. Stir in 1 cup of chicken broth. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Toss with pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serves 4, or 2 with lunch leftovers that cost way less than eating out. Relatively healthy too. Original inspiration can be found here. We actually haven't modified this one too much except for we occasionally use canned chicken broth instead of bouillon.


Saving for Law School $50 at a Time

Watch your power bill. As an electrical engineer I play with a lot of cool toys at work, most of which I can't explain to other people. But, the Kill-a-watt meter is another matter. I can explain it to anybody, even those who don't want to know like my personal heater loving work buddies who keep their heaters running all summer long because the office AC is a tad to high for them and they don't want to through a cardigan on over their cute summer clothes. Even they understand how this tool works when I use it to show them how much their heater is contributing to the overall electric bill, not to mention the environment.

This energy meter measures electricity usage and calculates electricity expenses by the day, week, month, or year. I took it home and plugged into the outlet that my TV, DVD player, cable modem and wireless router are plugged into. I was stunned to find out that these appliances consume 10% of my electricity bill every month, even when turned off and I'm not using them! I can save 10% just by turning off the power strip on these things when not using them, amazing! Over 1 month that's $9.00, over the next year that's over $100.00. I also feel more environmentally friendly by reducing my power consumption. I am also going to unplug my paper shredder, PC computer, microwave, toaster and other appliances which I don't use daily and see how much my power bill goes down.

Cable tv $49.99 a month, nothing interesting on when I want it. Blockbuster by mail $17.99 a month for 3 discs at a time with unlimited in store exchanges. I can watch an entire season of my shows at once rather than wasting time with commercials or money with cable. I can choose when I want to watch shows without needing a DVR and I won't be sucked into pointless shows that happen to be on. Savings $32 x 12 months = $384.00/year You'll save even more if you are actually in law school without a hubby who watches tv and can go without tv entirely. Also, while you're on the phone with your cable company getting rid of your movie channels you should see if you can combine your services and save money. I was able to combine my cable internet, cable tv and land line and save enough that the cable internet was basically free. Some companies even let you combine your cell phone bill as well.

Make your credit card pay you. If you are the type who is able to pay your balance in full every month get a card who pays you a cash reward. If you know that you're going to be paying for a trip home to see the family every year a mileage reward card might make sense to you. Otherwise, while you're in law school a mileage card probably doesn't make too much sense. Instead get a card that offers cash back. The American Express Blue Cash card offers up to 5.00% back on everyday purchases and 1.5% on everything else after the first $6,500 dollars spent. It offers slightly lower percentages back before you hit $6,500. If you spend a less per year you can check into the Capitol One card which offers 1% back from day one and a 25% bonus at the end of the year. Also, ask your school if they take credit cards for your tuition bill. You might be giving yourself a discount on tuition, however slight. Just make sure you pay it off at the end of the month. In other words, wait until your loans have dispersed into your savings account before paying with your card. It won't save you any money if you are paying late fees and interest every month. We used our airline miles to pay for our law school visit trip last year, saved $1,300 in airfare. This year we'll be using our cash rewards card to save up for moving expenses. This isn't the time to be getting Victoria's Secret rewards which will only do you good if you continue purchasing more stuff. Store credit cards probably aren't your best option at this point.

Contribute to abundance, if you no longer need something , pass it on. Join your local freecycle group on yahoo. You can get rid of your things in an environmentally friendly manner and score things that you really need from others. I've been able to get rid of an old computer monitor this way that would have ended up in the garbage otherwise and the person who received it saved at least $50.00 over buying one.

Some of the best money savers are also environment savers. In my community the bus is free during the winter months. Taking the bus in the winter and biking in the summer saves me $40-$60 a month in gas.

Don't spend any $5.00 bill that comes your way. I saw this tip in Women's Day magazine, one of those Mommy magazines in Dr.'s offices. Apparently the lady who sent in this tip did it for five months leading up to a vacation and saved $485. Might not work for me though as I usually use credit cards to get airline miles. I rarely have cash as it tends to burn a hole in my pocket.

Now I want to point out something else, how $50.00 grows. If you save $50.00, even with no interest at all:

$50/month after 6 months is $300, after 1 year is $600 and after 3 years that's $1,8000
$50/week after 6 months is $1,300, after 1 year is $2,600 and after 3 years you'll have a J.D. and $7,800

That should put a dent in some of your student loan interest.