Monday, September 26, 2005

Leg-shakers of the world: Cease and Desist

As luck would have it, I sit next to a leg-shaker in two of my classes. What is a leg-shaker? Exactly what their name implies: A fidgety person who shakers their leg up and down, up and down, without end. You know you've encountered them before.

In my instance, the lovely revamped classrooms at UT have seats that are attached to each other in pairs, and each pair is attached to the desks. That means that leg-shakers not only shake their legs, but they also shake their chair, the chair over, and the table. And me, and my laptop, and my books, and my water bottle. It is SUPREMELY ANNOYING.

SO STOP. Especially you, in my Secured Credit class, who SHAKES BOTH LEGS.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Well, for those people living in Houston and Austin, Hurricane Rita has thankfully turned out to be something of a non-event. The evacuation, of course, is another story, but I'll admit that I'm (selfishly) relieved that the impact on Houston was relatively light.

I was definitely concerned when it took the Chairwoman 10 hours to evacuate up to my place on Wednesday-Thursday. She arrived at 3 in the morning on Thursday, and it was an awful night for both of us. But she actually left for Houston early this morning, taking off at 6 am, and cruised back in an easy 3 hours. (She had the presence of mind to leave super early before the roads clogged up with people going back to Houston.) I'm grateful that she didn't have a repeat 10-hour trip to get home.

I can only hope that the rest of the people displaced by the storm--especially those from the areas where Rita actually hit--will be able to make it back as safely as the Chairwoman did.

Be safe.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The home stretch

That's two home stretches, to be accurate.

First, I'm in the home stretch of interviewing. I have only three more left: two on Thursday, and one on Friday. To be absolutely honest, I'll probably phone the next two in. I'm not particularly interested in the firms except sort of as back-ups. The one on Friday I care about a bit more, so I'll put more effort into that one.

Now that the interviews are almost over, I've gotten more used to the "on" nature of interviewing. However, a later problem that has developed is how to make your answers to typical questions not sound like you've said the same words a bazillion times before to a bazillion other interviewers. I still haven't figured that one out.

After interviews are over, the callbacks begin. I already have one trip scheduled out to sunny L.A. in October; I can't wait for that beautiful weather and, most importantly, Trader Joe's (GPG knows about my Trader Joe's fanaticism). The real studying starts next week, too. I've missed more class than I thought I would when I initially scheduled my interviews--not because I wanted to miss class, but because a lot of L.A. firms' schedules had limited slots that usually conflicted with class. So I'll have to catch up a bit.

The second home stretch? I'm finally onto the foot of the second Retro Rib sock in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Tahoe. The rest of the sock should be easy; the bottom of the foot is stockinette stitch, so it knits up much more quickly than the leg of the sock, which has stitch pattern all the way around. I hope I'll finish it soon. Unfortunately, as always, no pictures. But I'll be back in Houston during October (again, for callbacks), so I hope to use GPG's camera then.

Anyway, the best thing about this week? Is that when it ends, I won't have to drag my suit to and from school anymore in this 100-degree heat.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Back to the grind

After a nice, relaxing weekend with GPG, it's back to the grind of interviews. Unfortunately, this week will be potentially grueling with at least 2 interviews every day for me. I say "potentially" because it's not the interviews that are really killer; it's the receptions and functions that firms have at night. Right now, the reception schedule looks fairly light . . . but I suspect that's mostly because firms that are interviewing here this week haven't sent out their reception invitations and will probably spring them on interviewees at the time of the interview.

But, I had a good weekend, trying several new things here in Austin. Here's a quick run-down:

Teo Gelato: The express bus always drives by Teo on 38th on the way to school, so I've always wanted to try it. GPG and I finally made it over on Saturday and had two flavors each: he had pineapple and lemon, and I had strawberry and mango. It was certainly a nice treat, especially considering that it was so hot outside, but I don't think it's worth a special trip. It's a bit pricier than regular ice cream, but not proportionately more wonderful. If you decide to go, here are our thoughts on the flavors: I thought that the strawberry was okay, if a bit melty; the mango was definitely mango-y and quite tasty. GPG thought the pineapple was good and the lemon a little less so.

Grupo Fantasma: After living in Austin for a year, I finally got out to listen to some live music. GPG and I went to see Grupo Fantasma at the Nutty Brown Cafe out on 290 W and had a pretty good time. GF plays lively Latin music (their listing on the KUT calendar described their music as a Latin/Afro/Cuban/funk sort of mix) to which you could dance the rumba, salsa, or any other Latin sort of step. There were plenty of people dancing and having a lot of fun. Since GPG is not big on dancing, we just sat and listened and enjoined the relatively nice night, which was a pleasant surprise after the heat of the day. If you have a chance to check GF out, I'd recommend them. Bring your dancing shoes.

Pedernales State Park: Also out on 290 W, Pedernales State Park is probably a great place to bring kids or dogs. Since GPG and I have neither, we were a little unimpressed with PSP, especially after visiting majestic national parks like Yosemite and Sequoia earlier this summer. PSP is fairly small and nowhere nearly as interesting, and the river is pretty shallow (never more than waist deep on me). Still, it was nice to take a dip in the river after trekking around in the heat. Worth a trip, but only one.

That's the weekend rundown. Hope you all had a good one.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Donors Choose

If anyone reads this blog . . . I strongly encourage you to go to
Donors Choose to make a donation this month. Donors Choose is a fabulous charity that allows you to give to classrooms in need--i.e., classrooms in schools that can't even afford basic instructional materials like dictionaries or microscopes. We shouldn't even have problems like that in this country, but we do, and Donors Choose is helping to fix them.

The best thing about Donors Choose is that it allows school teachers to formulate proposals for exactly what materials they need in their classroom; donors can then decide exactly how they want their donation to be used. Were you an English major? You can choose to donate to a teacher who needs a set of Shakespeare's plays in his class. Are you an engineer? You can choose to donate to a teacher who needs calculators for her math students. There is a wide variety of teacher proposals so you can pick the project you want your money to go to.

You don't even have to give all that much. I'm a student; I know what it's like to live on a shoestring. But even when you're poor, it's not too much of a hardship to give up one meal at Jason's Deli or Burger King and give the $5 you would have spent on eating out to a classroom where kids' education will really benefit from the money.

And, to make you feel even better than you already will about giving to students and teachers who will really appreciate and benefit from your donation, both the teacher and his or her students will write you thank you notes and send you pictures of the materials your donations helped buy, in action in the classroom. It's great.

I encourage you to give to Donors Choose some time before September 30. They have been recognized as one of the ten most innovative organizations in the world, and have been nominated for the Amazon Innovation Award. Whichever of the 10 organizations raises the most money before Sept. 30, Amazon will match the amount up to $1 million. It would be super if that $1 million could go towards the education of underprivileged kids in this country.

Now go and give and feel good about yourself!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


OCI (on-campus interviews, for those unfamiliar with this lovely piece of law school lingo) is in full swing now here at school. Everyone is roaming around in suits, ties, heels, and hose (though not necessarily all those items together in one ensemble). I personally joined in the festivities yesterday with four interviews.

Third-year students who already went through this process last year have often mentioned how tiring it is to be "on" all the time over the course of three weeks (two weeks for me). You have to show up to these interviews energetic, animated, and engaging. You have to smile, act interested, and be interesting yourself, in increments of 20 minutes. Beyond the interviews, most of the firms have some kind of reception or dinner in the evenings where you do the same thing (show up energetic, animated, engaging, etc.). Your smile muscles get a workout.

I've also heard third-year students talk about being "on" during summer clerkships, since ostensibly every aspect of the clerkship, from the work you do to the social events you attend, is also a kind of long-term interview. Now, I'll have to admit: since I did a clerkship for Big Firm myself, and didn't have too much trouble with it--in fact, I actually enjoyed working there--I was pretty blase about being "on" for OCI. People told me that the 18 interviews that I signed up for was a lot. But, I managed to schedule a lot of them around class, so I didn't think it would be a huge problem to do all of them.

After the first day of interviews, though, I've realized that the "on" of the summer clerkship is not the same as the "on" of OCI. OCI "on" is a whole order of magnitude greater than clerkship "on." You get jittery just waiting for your turn with the interviewers; you tool up to be animated, energetic, etc., and ready for any question that might come your way; you field questions with what you hope is grace and wit; and then it takes you a long time to tool down afterwards to return to your normal level of energy and adrenalin. And then you do it all over again for the next interview.

I don't think there's a way to empathize with this sort of up and down unless you do it yourself. I certainly had no idea what it was like. After four interviews, a reception, and a dinner with some especially frenetic attorneys from a high-power litigation firm, I'm exhausted. And unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to build up any stamina to handle this process except by doing more interviews and exhausting yourself even more.

Fortunately, I only have one interview today and then a break for two days to recover. But next week I'll have 10 interviews and a whole week of being "on." We'll see what shape I'm in after that.

In knitting news, I finished one retro-rib sock and am now busily working on the second one. Unfortunately, I have no GPG, no GPG camera, and hence no pictures. But perhaps I'll see GPG this weekend and have a chance to show you my progress.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

'Cause sleepin' in is hard to do

After being late to my first three 8:13 Evidence classes during the first week of class, I resolved to get my behind in gear so that I wouldn't stick out in the professor's mind as The One Who Always Comes To Class Late. That meant trying to go to bed before 11 and waking up around 6:20 every day this past week (except Labor Day, of course)--even on Tuesday when Evidence doesn't meet.

And guess what? I was so successful that not only was I on time to all my Evidence classes this week, but I also can't seem to sleep in now that it's the weekend. Instead, I wake up at 6:30 and can't fall asleep again.

How annoying is that???

Friday, September 09, 2005

Please don't make me think about torts at 8:30 in the morning

It's funny how getting called on in class can be such a mercurial experience. Sometimes you ace it; lots of times you flub it. This morning, I flubbed it.

Kind of. But can you blame me? It was my 8:13 Evidence class , my only class on Friday. It's kind of disheartening to get out of class at 9:20 and realize not only that you're free for the rest of the day (and indeed, for the rest of the weekend), but that you woke up at 6:20 just for those 67 minutes of class you just sat through. Ugh. And at 8:30 in the morning, when you get called on to talk about hearsay evidence in a torts case, the last thing you want to do is dredge up bad memories of your torts class from last school year to try and remember the elements of the plaintiff's case.

So, I flubbed it. Oh, well. Let's just hope the exam isn't at 8:30 a.m.