DC Trip Day 1

My airplane reading material. Not sleeping on planes is a pain, but in the time it takes to get from Fairbanks, Alaska to Washington, D.C. you can read the book front to back. It takes exactly that long. I was finishing the last page on final approach.

I remember you DC. I remember metro, reading express in the mornings and walking everywhere. It is no wonder that I always lose weight during my summers as a DC intern. I range about 20 lbs from my winter high weight to my summer low. The summer sunshine reenergizes me and inspires me to be more active. Being a DC intern makes me walk everywhere because I'm too cheap to take cabs or metro. And last year working for the FBI kept me inspired by all of the agents and a free gym in the basement.

Unfortunately the snow earlier this month knocked the cherry blossoms off of the trees early, so I still have yet to see them. I did get to see all of the monuments and the mall on the taxi ride from the airport which was nice. I'm staying with a friend up above U-street in a cozy little condo. Walking to GWU and around GULC and GMU kept me active today. I reaquainted myself with alot of the places I used to walk by everyday, including my apartment from summer 2006 and best of all Jamba Juice. Yummo! I love their rasberry smoothies.

This afternoon I realized that I did not pack a belt to go with my suit so I made my annual spring trek to the Pentagon City mall. This further inspired me to get active for summer as nothing fit! Very depressing. However, when I talked to hubby this evening I was pleased to hear that he needed to make the call quick because he was heading out the door for a run. It will be easier to be active if we're in this together rather than me going it alone. Now that we have bikes we can do more together than just watch DVDs and hang out around the house.

I'll post my law school visit info in a little bit as my laptop battery is almost dead. Pictures coming soon too. Tomorrow is policy orientation and then congressional visits. Now, where is the nearest H&M.


Earth Day 2007

Legal Andrew's recent post: "Get Your Motivation Going With Small Steps" was particularly timely. Now that the sun is finally returning and getting out of bed doesn't feel like being resurrected from the dead anymore, both hubby and I have been itching to be more active. To this end I volunteered to go on the Spring Migration Paddle with my University's outdoor adventures group on Earth Day. My husband loves the outdoors. He is an Eagle Scout and considers trees a mandatory part of the landscape at any future home we may have. So I am trying to humor him and become more outdoorsy. We've been together for 6 years and this is the 1st real outdoor trip we've been on together.

Now for anybody who knows me well, they'll know I'm generally not an outdoorsy person. I blame this on the fact that I came from a family of 7 and camping made for some cheap vacations. Most of things we did together as a family were outdoors, camping, rafting and hiking. Most of these were also less than enjoyable. I am always cold and I much prefer the Ramada to a tent with no air pad. At the age of 12 I would have much rather been left home and allowed to just read all weekend than be dragged out of doors. Before we moved to Alaska I was actually quite outdoorsy, but from the moment I walked off the plane that fall of 1990 it has been a chore to get me outside to do more than walk to the car. It's just too cold, buggy and not fun. Hubby says that we were camping wrong and has made it his mission to show me fun camping. I'm trying to keep an open mind.

So, back to the Spring Migration Paddle. Every year in Alaska the birds come back in the Spring by the thousands. This year I guess they are being lazy birds because we barely saw any. On our 5 hours of canoing we did see 5 moose, a zillion fish, little baby Salmon which were less than 3 inches long and other assorted wildlife. The moose were particularly impressive. 3 of them were wading in the river as we canoed by. They were just out there munching on a branch that was stuck in the river. When we went by they scurried off to shore, but for awhile there they were very VERY close. Scary close. I took a bunch of pictures and I'll have to see how good they are. If I got any good shots I'll post them.

All in all it was a great trip. We got out in the outdoors on Earth Day and it was beautiful. I blogged about going to the Ice Art Competition March 28th which was less than a month ago. We have gone from -40F to 60F, a difference of 100 degrees in less than a month. Wow! We are now inspired to do more things together and develop some more active hobbies. We are looking at buying bikes so that we can commute to work in a more environmentally friendly way and so we can do trips on the weekends.

Bikes are expensive. The last time I bought a bike the big decision was wether I should get the one with a basket or the one with pom-poms on the handles. Now we have disc brakes, shocks, hard tails vs. soft tails and a myriad of other options. Bikes range from $99.99 Walmart specials, which are unrepairable to $700.00 mountain bikes and up and up and up. I am not going to grow again so I don't mind spending a little more on a bike that will last me a long time. And if it is uncomfortable I know I won't use it as much. I am tempted to spend a bit more on something that I will enjoy using because I know that I will use it more. Anybody have a recommendation for a good bike path and trail bike? It needs to work on both gravel and pavement and preferably have a step through frame. I'm still a little girly in my bike needs.


Blog Name Change

I have found that my pseudonym of Law Geek is not entirely unique. There is:

So, I'm thinking of changing it to be more unique and so as not to offend those who chose the moniker first. I am a law geek, but I am not the Law Geek apparently. Suggestions anyone?


Yeltsin Dead

Story Highlights:
  • Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin dies aged 76, Kremlin confirms
  • Russian news agencies report Yeltsin died of heart failure Monday afternoon
  • National day of mourning, funeral to take place on Wednesday
  • Former Soviet leader Gorbachev says Yeltsin suffered a "tragic fate"

As a Russian Studies major, I'll have more to say on this later. I have studied Yeltsin extensively so his death is actually a major piece of news to me. All I can say right now is that he will be remembered by many by the following photograph.


Ice Park 2007 Pictures

I forgot to post these back when we went to the Ice Park. These are from March 28th. There were many more sculptures. These are just our favorites.


Hot Topics for 2008 Election

Tom Plate: Let's lay down our right to bear arms

Ted Nugent: Gun-free zones are recipe for disaster

You: ???

Despite where I personally come down on this issue, I think that Plate presents a better argument. His style is better and he doesn't resort to making personal insults or off-color remarks. Nugent seems to be more emotional and less concerned with making a cohesive argument.

Alan Johnston abducted

Alan Johnston banner

Alan Johnston has been missing for 39 days now. BBC is inviting anyone who runs a blog or webpage to show their support. Hopefully those who have an influence on this situation will increase their efforts to secure his immediate release. Things like this really bug me when they happen to non-combatants be they Iraqi civilians or journalists.


Rejected at Northwestern

Hardly surprising that I didn't get into Northwestern. We didn't want to move to Chicago anyway so I'm not disappointed. I would have actually been really stressed out if I was accepted, because then I would have felt that I had to go there because of school rank, etc. Now I can relax for awhile. Also it ups my rejections count, so in order to maintain my perfect one-to-one ratio of acceptances to rejections I'll have to get accepted somewhere else.


Laptop Screen Protector

I posted earlier about my laptop keyboard cover that I was ordering. It came and after testing it for awhile I can report that it does exactly what it's supposed to. It protects my screen from the stuff on my keyboard quite nicely and I'm very happy with it. It is a tad small so I have about 1/2 a key hanging out unprotected on the edge, because I have an Inspiron 6000 with a 15.4" screen. A smaller screened laptop would be well protected and I'm still quite happy. The 1/2 key won't transfer anything onto the screen where it is anyway.


Waitlisted George Mason

I wasn't REJECTED, yay, I am so happy and D.C. is still a possibility. I told you George Mason was awesome. Now what should I do, should I send in any more information? What do other people who have been wait listed think? I've only been outright accepted or rejected before.


Free laptops for bloggers

"Microsoft recently gave away laptops, each loaded with the new WindowsVista operating system and valued at more than US $2000, to about90 bloggers who regularly write about technology. Some bloggers were happy to accept the computers, while others asserted that Microsoft wasusing the PCs as bribes to get good press. For its part, Microsoft said the computers were given away so the bloggers could evaluate and review them.Should bloggers be held to the same ethical standards as traditional journalists, who generally cannot accept expensive gifts from the companies they cover?" - IEEE, The Institute Online 4/10/07


Elle Woods LSAT Score

For the person who got to my blog by searching: "what score did elle woods get on LSAT" She started with her diagnostic score of 143 and ended up with an official 179 on the test. Hardly believable, but still that's what she got. I know this because I just watched the movie like 2 days ago. If I had a 179, hmm... where would I go?


George Mason Law School

I use Google Analytics to track how many visitors I get and where they are from. It doesn't give as much detail as Site Meter which tracks individual users via their IP addresses. I really don't need to know that much about my readers so I've pretty much abandoned Site Meter, especially now that I've forgotten my password for Site Meter and can't be bothered to reset it. I use Google Analytics just to see if anybody is out there. It gives me a map of this week's visitors marked as pushpins on the world. And what did I find? I've apparently got a reader in Alexandria, VA! Cool, awesome.

If you know anybody at George Mason you can tell them that I am awesome and that I'd love to go their school. I didn't apply earlier because the silly LSAC webpage didn't return George Mason when I searched for DC area schools. Yeah, yeah, I know it's in Virginia, but you would think LSAC would know that it was close enough to count. The more I find out about their school the more I want to go there. New building, not insanely liberal, great IP program and job placement rate and they are willing to change to make things better for their students as evidenced by their astonding changes in the USNWR ratings. Plus, they are accessible by metro. Plus, they are so nice to contact via e-mail and they were the only ones to offer to let me sit in on a class. Oh, and if any George Mason admissions staff read this, I'm probably the only Alaskan who hasn't received a decision yet, so just send the acceptance letter to zip code 99709. I'll be there to visit on April 30th.


Snow in D.C. in April!

See hubby, it does snow in D.C.! We'll be right at home there. Strange, it's 60F outside and melting like crazy here in Alaska. Our yard will be melted in another week or two and yet its snowing on the East Coast. Hope it melts before I get to D.C. for my visit. I've always wanted to see the cherry trees in blossom and all of my summer internships have begun in early June after the blooms were finished.
In other news, George Mason heard I was coming down and has scheduled my visit. A tour, admissions staff meeting, and I get to sit in on a class! They are so nice. Every other school I've visited has barely given me a tour although several of them have given me nice long meetings with the admissions staffs. They were bored as it was Spring Break for our visits. This will be my first law school class. I'm so excited!
Legally Blonde is on cable today. We realized that now that we aren't full-time students we don't have to worry about cable killing all of our study time and signed up. This will be short lived, cable will go before law school starts. That or I'm going to need an office.


Rejected Georgetown Law

They didn't even try to be nice, the whole thing was less than 10 lines long. Rejected because of 12,000 applicants for 575 seats, yeah and my GPA/LSAT. That's too big of a class size anyway. George Mason, please take me.


You’ll find that you may feel a little more grumpier than usual. Watch that you’re not picking fights with other members of your family; avoid using them as chew sticks when you’re feeling frustrated. Really this is a good time for personal change. If work stresses you out, learn to take naps or get out and get some physical exercise in order to burn off steam. This is also a wonderful time to renovate your house or do some spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning sounds good and will hopefully destress me! I have also started exercising now that the sun is coming back. Now if only I can convince my boss that naps are important.


Amazon Words

Amazon.com knows way too much about me. I looked recently and discovered that I have bought over 200 items from them. Their advertisements and recommendations are sometimes scary in how accurate they are. Today I went to their recommendations page, trying to find something to round out my current order to just over $25.00 to get free shipping. They have introduced Amazon Words since the last time I was there. Here are the words that Amazon thinks characterize things I'd be interested in.

The Comics & Graphic Novels must come from shopping for hubby. I don't know what Fonda, Henry or Polyglot are about. Come to think of it I don't even know what Polyglot means. Apparently pol·y·glot is:
1. able to speak or write several languages; multilingual.
2. containing, composed of, or written in several languages: a polyglot Bible. –noun
3. a mixture or confusion of languages.
4. a person who speaks, writes, or reads a number of languages.
5. a book, esp. a Bible, containing the same text in several languages.

Well, I guess it's appropriate after all. I have bought Russian, Latin, and French study materials off of their website and probably will continue to do so. So, what are your Amazon words? Or does it not know you as well because you shop at actual stores.


Keyboard Cover

Some might think that this is a stupid thing to want, a laptop keyboard cover. But, looking back at the last 3 laptops I have owned, they all have one thing in common, a little smudgy line across the screen from the oils in my fingers transferring between the keyboard and the screen when I close it. It is sooo annoying and I haven't found a way to get rid of it until now. Introducing, the laptop keyboard cover from Tom Bihn. I hope that this little $6.00 miracle will get rid of my eye sore smudging problems for good. The nice thing was that if you are ordering only the keyboard cover the shipping is free, yay. No $5.00 shipping on a $6.00 item like usual. We'll see if I'm still impressed when it gets here.


Which Princess Bride Character are You?


Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

*sigh* I wanted to be the man in black. Buttercup is really lame in the book and quite silly. Besides I'm a fencer.

Rejected Again at American University

Anyone who has read my blog from the beginning, probably nobody, but oh well, knows that I've already been rejected from American University once. Why then did they find it necessary to send me another letter telling me that they had way to many qualified candidates and reject me all over again. I already felt bad enough the first time around! I guess its because I checked the box which said I was interested in a dual-degree with a masters in international something or other. The rejection was apparently for that as well. No need, I obviously was rejected from the dual-degree program when I was rejected from the JD program, but thanks for clearing that up. *sigh* DC is less and less likely. I have high hopes for George Mason though. I wish I'd known this school was in DC sooner so I would have applied with all of my other apps. It didn't come up on the ABA page as DC as it is technically in VA. *sigh* We'll see if they'll take a late application. Apparently they have a decent IP program and a new campus so I'd definitely go if I got in. DC, T1, IP program, and in-state tuition after a year. Why did I not know this sooner?!?


What do you want to be when you grow up?

I was tagged by Legal Andrew with the latest internet meme. Hmm... I first wanted to be Princess Leia and I wanted to marry Darth Vader, he was so cool. Then I found out that Darth Vader is her father and abandoned that plan. Although I kept my Princess Leia waist length hair until I was 21. Later I realized that I really enjoyed engineering and since I was good at computers I figured I should be an electrical engineer. To this end I got my bachelors of science in EE. Towards the end my degree I had two internships in Washington D.C. which resulted in me changing my mind. I didn't want to be a designer, I didn't want to do quality assurance, and I didn't want to teach. I've done these things and they bore me. Instead I realized where my true skills lie. I am good at explaining technical concepts and ideas to non-technical people. I can communicate with engineers and I have good leadership skills. The law and public policy interest me and my time in D.C. solidified these inclinations. So now I want to be a lawyer when I grow up. Sometimes I think that hubby has flashbacks of Legally Blonde when he thinks about me going to law school. He thinks I just woke up one day and decided to be a lawyer. In reality the process took a little longer, but it was a real change. I wish I'd decided this earlier so I could have picked an easier major or taken things more slowly. Instead I took upwards of 26 credits to take advantage of the free tuition and go for the double major. Oh well, we'll see what comes next.

Fairbanks Arraignment Court

I attended the arraignment court at the State Court in Fairbanks as part of an assignment for my Intro to Justice class. Most of the defendants were there on DUI charges, most were male and over 50% of the defendants were military. We have two large bases, one Army and one Airforce nearby. One of the interesting things that I noted was the difference in bail given to military and non-military defendants on DUI charges. Basically, the magistrate recognized that the military has the ability to restrict the defendants far more than bail ever could so he released the military DUI defendants on recognizance with the understanding that they would have worse repercussions in store for them as a result of their military status.

The military DUI defendants ranged from simple DUIs, to those who refused breathalyzers, those with combined DUI and speeding or street racing charges, and those who cursed at the arresting officers. In each of the cases, the magistrate released the defendants on recognizance. Additionally he recommended that the defendant who cursed at his arresting officer send the officer a thank you note thanking the officer for doing his duty and apologizing. One of the people who had military personal present on their behalf was not a member of the military, but rather a dependent. Her husband is currently deployed in Iraq. It was interesting to me that even though she is not a service member, the military thought it was their responsibility to send someone to vouch for her and assure the magistrate that she would be confined to base.

My impressions of the overall process are mixed. On one hand the system was efficient. It went quickly and was for the most part quite scripted and repetitive. On the other hand, this efficiency often left defendants and their families confused. When one of the defendants was asked, “Do you want to talk to a lawyer?” he responded “I don’t know.” This was followed by the magistrate saying “Well I’m not in a position to give you legal advice, do you want a lawyer or not?” The magistrate basically ramrodded the defendant into making a decision. Were it not for the fact that the soldier’s Lieutenant was there to advise the soldier to retain counsel, he might have decided to enter a plea of guilty or make another split second decision.

This rushed feeling was also very clear in another case where the defendant’s mother had come to the hearing. She had all sorts of questions and the magistrate basically told her, “I don’t have time for this.” They were relevant questions too. Her son works for a company that delivers alcohol and with his DUI arrest and bail conditions he is not allowed to drive or be in bars or liquor stores. She wanted to know if he could ride along and make deliveries to places like Safeway who sell liquor, but aren’t strictly liquor stores. The way she said this was in a lot more roundabout manner and she basically frustrated the magistrate into shutting her up. If he had been a bit more patient and heard her out, he probably would have realized what her question was and been able to help her out by answering it. Instead she left disenfranchised with the process and frustrated. She didn’t even know where to get a copy of her son’s charges. I did find it funny that the magistrate imposed the bail condition that her son live with her and follow her house rules until the time of his hearing despite the fact that he is a grown man with his own place.

The system overall gave me the impression that it tried to be fair. Those who entered guilty pleas were given detailed descriptions about what type of rights they were giving up as a result. Those who were there on felony charges and who were not there to make a plea were instructed that they could remain silent if they wished as anything they said could be used against them. This reminder was not required, but was definitely nice. One of things that I found unfair about the hearings was the lack of consistency between military and non-military defendants in the bail conditions. Non-military defendants with similar charges were given monetary fines and in several cases were ordered to have an ignition interlock device placed on their vehicles. Wouldn’t an ignition interlock device be helpful at ensuring that all of those convicted of DUI charges do not offend again during their probationary periods? Why should these devices be ordered only for non-military defendants? This inconsistency bothered me even though I understood the reasoning behind it.

Reading Comprehension is 50% Psychology

Ok, I had to post this when I saw David's post by the same name. He is an LSAT teacher and this suggestion supposedly comes from experience so I'll take it as being valuable. Worth a try although I'm SURE hubby will get a chuckle out of it. David's suggestion is that the reason people have so much trouble with reading comprehension is because they find the passages boring. He suggests taking passages to the bathroom with you as anything is more interesting than just sitting there, because your mind is bored. David says that he has had several hundred students try this approach with good results. We'll see if it works for me. I agree, what have I got to lose?