August 2006 Archives

Book-on-Book Action


Hot Library Smut. Not Hot Librarian Smut. I'm a fan of the Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura in Rio de Janeiro, the Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal in The Hague, and the Trinity College Library in Dublin.

No American libraries in their list, sadly.

And Now I'm Off On Another Amazing Adventure!

Sorry for my taciturnity lately. EIP was a bit exhausting, and since then I've moved rapidly from worrying about not getting any callbacks, to scheduling callbacks, to worrying that I have too many callbacks, to frantically preparing for callbacks.

And so: I leave in an hour for La Guardia Airport, from which I will fly to Washington D.C. for my first callback, with Debevoise & Plimpton's DC office. I will be spending the night at the Hay-Adams Hotel, interviewing from 10 AM until about noon, going out to lunch with some of the D&P lawyers, then flying back tomorrow evening. All of this is being paid for by Debevoise, including the various cab fares and meals. So, hooray for Debevoise!

Thus: I will be out of town, and away from internet access, until tomorrow evening. Further bulletins as events warrant.


And now I'm finally done with EIP, after 36 interviews. I'm happy to be done, though I'd be happier if I were sitting on a few more callbacks right now. In any case, I finished at 4:30 today. I was invited to two firm receptions this evening, and was theoretically planning to go see Rigoletto performed by the Metropolitan Opera in Central Park. Instead, though, I think I'll just sleep...

Four Interviews Down...

...Thirty-one to go. Six more tomorrow, including one of the ones that I'm really interested in. Now, back to researching firms so I'll have interesting and insightful questions to ask tomorrow...

I'm largely a fan of American Apparel. Sure, their clothes cost about 30% more than comparable clothes from a non-trendy brand, but they're comfortable, they're simple, they come in a variety of colors, and they're hip and casual without forcing you to be embarrassingly ironic about your clothing.

I have managed to look the other way at the utter skeeviness of the company's founder and president, Dov Charney. According to various articles, he treats AA headquarters in LA as his personal harem and apparently puts on auto-erotic displays for female reporters who come to interview him. By all accounts, he has created a moderately successful, trendy clothing company and turned it into his own personal 70s porn fantasy world. So far I've managed to justify continuing to give them my business by telling myself that most companies are far worse. I'm sure a lot of sexual harrassment happens behind the doors at the upper echelons of other companies; the difference at American Apparel is that they keep the doors open. And they do a good job in terms of paying good wages and benefits, using sustainable materials and methods to produce their clothing, etc. They're a highly responsible company but for the open and flagrant sexism.

That sexism bleeds into the product lines. I've come to accept that they only sell men's clothing under protest. My theory is that essentially all of the clothing they sell starts out as part of a Dov Charney sex fantasy. As it happens, though, Charney's fantasies tend to involve women in 70s vintage men's clothing. Sometimes, therefore, American Apparel accidentally creates a garment that could be worn by men. These go into the Unisex line.

So, you know, there's a lot not to like about the company. But they tend to produce a very high-quality product, and it's generally quite tasteful, in contrast to a lot of the ironic t-shirt companies you find out there. But then sometimes Charney's weird fetishism creeps into the lines a bit too much and it becomes impossible to ignore. And when that happens, you get things like this: the Cotton Spandex Jersey Tank Thong.

For the love of Pete, why? It looks hideous, it serves no practical purpose that can't be served by sensible garments that are readily available, and it looks horribly uncomfortable. Is this a fashion style that really needed to be resurrected? Are hipsters dressed as extras from 80s exercise videos flooding the trendy night clubs of Los Angeles and New York? And, if they are, why must American Apparel inflict their nonsense on the rest of us?

This is enough. Have you no sense of decency, Dov Charney, at long last?

...And While I'm At It


I suppose, while I'm thinking about it, I may as well give my unsolicited advice for incoming law students.

Paradoxically, the only advice I can give is not to listen to people's advice. Everyone's full of ideas on how to succeed, either because they did X and it worked for them, or because they didn't do X, things didn't work out, and they figure that if they had done X things would be better. The thing is, everybody's different, and things that work for some people won't for others. I don't highlight, underline, or otherwise mark my books, because I find it distracting. But I'm way outside the norm on that.

So my general advice, which you're obviously free to ignore if you choose, is to basically do whatever it is that you did that got you into law school, but do it somewhat harder. Don't kill yourself, but realize that this is more difficult than undergrad. Don't waste too much time thinking about how well your classmates are doing, because you can never really tell and you're likely to drive yourself crazy with paranoia. Realize that every class is graded on a curve, which means that, regardless of how difficult the material may be, all of your classes are equally hard. It doesn't matter that Torts is a pretty easy subject; everyone else finds it easy, too, and you're only being graded in relation to them. This isn't to say you should focus on how your classmates are doing; it is to say that you should devote roughly equal amounts of time to all of your classes. It's not unusual to find yourself getting your best grade in the class you thought was the hardest, because you wound up putting all of your energy into studying for that class.

I only have one absolutely 100% solid piece of advice, applicable to everyone at every law school at all times: Buy Glannon's Examples and Explanations in Civil Procedure. Buy it along with your casebooks, and read it from the first week. It will make your life much, much easier. It's not perfect, insofar as it has notable holes and weaknesses in a few areas, but it'll make things fit together for you in a way that you almost certainly won't get from your casebook.

Damned Kids!

This afternoon I performed a valuable service AND officially assumed my role as an upper-division law student! I was browsing through the books I might have to buy, depending on how classes shake out, at the student book store. A woman was looking through the various casebooks. She grabbed a Legal Methods book.

"Are you a 1L?"


"Ah. You in Sovern's Legal Methods class?"

"I am."

"Let me give you a free piece of advice: Even though they're listed as Required, The Ages of American Law, Legislation, and Legislation and Statutory Interpretation will never, ever be used in your course. You won't even open them. I mean, you may glance through them, but you'll never discuss them in class, and once things get started you'll be so busy with the required reading you won't bother with them."

"Huh. Alright, thanks! Still, though..."

"I know, you're thinking of buying them anyway, because you're going to try really hard and do all the reading. But this leads to my second piece of advice: don't burn yourself out in Methods. It's a pass/fail course that everyone passes. Essentially all of the useful information comes in the first night's reading, when the book gives a brief overview of the American judicial system. Other than that, you might develop some useful study skills, but otherwise you're just spinning your wheels."

"Yeah, I've heard that a lot."

At that point I decided to leave her alone and give her the privacy to go ahead and buy the three books I warned her not to buy. Every year 2Ls give the 1Ls the same advice ("Don't buy all the books! Don't worry too much about Legal Methods!") and every year the 1Ls ignore it. I know because I did the same thing last year. Oh well. Nobody realizes the 2Ls were right until after it's too late to take their advice.

And yes, I'm completely aware that I was just an obnoxious guy in the book store dispensing unwanted advice. Yet my advice was almost certainly accurate and, if she'd taken it, would have saved her $70. So I feel at least somewhat justified in my kibbitzing.

In other news, Orientation is apparently two days this year, where it was only one last year. What are they going to do with two whole days of orientation? Maybe I should drop in tomorrow and see if I can't catch the re-run of the Dean's Welcoming Speech that I missed in its original run last year...

Plenty of Roughage

I have links to the latest entries in a recipe blog set as one of the items on my Google homepage. One of the current headline recipes is for Chicken Cacciatore. This first caught my eye as I was quickly passing through to another page, and I thought it said Chicken Carcassonne. This made me think of a roasted chicken with cardboard tiles artfully arrayed around it, perhaps with a stuffing of colorful little wooden meeples. I wonder if you can make a Vegan Chicken Carcassonne (Seitan Carcassonne?).

That is all.


My Fall class schedule, which just came down the pipe yesterday:

Criminal Investigations
Anthropology and the Law
Professional Responsibility

It's a heavy load (15 points), and I may drop something (probably Professional Responsibility). If I do so, I'll probably add a lighter class, like a one- or two-point seminar, to replace it, if I can find one that I can get into.

In the meantime, though, I'm generally quite happy. I really wanted Criminal Investigations, as I'm interested in Criminal Procedure and our Criminal Investigations professor was just appointed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, so this may be my last chance to take a class with her. Evidence and Corporations tend to be hard to get into, and are both major prerequisite courses. Anthro should be fun and different from other law classes I've taken. And Professional Responsibility... well, I don't know about Professional Responsibility. It's a requirement to graduate, but Columbia offers a one-week intensive Professional Responsibility class at the end of summer that I might take next year. Other than that, they offer some interesting specialized semester-long PR courses (lie Reponsibility in Tax Law or Responsibility in Non-Profit Practice). So, if I find out I'm really interested in some specialized field, it might be worthwhile to take one of the niche PR courses. Otherwise, I can free up credits to take classes I'm more interested in by taking the intensive course next year.

Now if only I could find a seminar that's both unpopular and that I'd be interested in taking...

Peanut Butter Balls

This recipe comes to me from my grandmother, who used to make these all the time as a treat for the grandkids when we'd go over to her house. I've modified it very slightly to make it vegan, but otherwise it's the same recipe she used.

First, you mix together two cups of peanut butter (smooth), 1/4 pound (1/2 cup or 2 sticks) of Earth Balance (or butter), and one pound (one box) of powdered sugar. Probably the hardest part of the whole thing is wrangling two cups of peanut butter out of the jar and into a bowl, as peanut butter does not like to be measured. I suppose this is one of those things where the easiest way to do it is to throw it into a measuring cup filled with water and measure the displacement, but then you get soggy peanut butter.

Anyhow, mix the three ingredients together by hand. In the end, you should have a nice, not-very-stick batter, like so:


Now line a baking sheet with wax paper. Roll the batter into little balls, perhaps an inch in diameter, and lay out on the baking sheet, like so:


You'll note that some of the balls I have are quite smooth, while others are more rough. This is because I got lazy. Small amounts of the batter will stick to your hand as you are making it. As you get more detritus on them, it becomes harder to make a smooth ball. This means you have to periodically wash your hands to keep everything smooth. I did not, so my balls are pointy.

Stick a toothpick in each ball, then place everything in the freezer, like so:


Let them freeze a couple of hours. When they're getting about done-ish, melt yourself some chocolate chips. Use a double boiler, or make your own. Just take two pots, one slightly larger than the other. Put an inch or two of water in the larger pot, then put the smaller pot inside of it. Voila! Double boiler. Put the chips in (use whatever type of chocolate you like, though I used Guittard semi-sweet chocolate)
and heat at medium heat. The double boiler configuration gives you a bit more leeway in terms of heat; generally you wouldn't want to heat chocolate any higher than low or you'd risk burning it. It should all look something like this:


Now comes the second-hardest part. You need to do this part relatively fast. Don't rush it or anything, but be aware that you can't goldbrick while doing this. Your goal is to get the balls out of the freezer, dip them in chocolate, then freeze them again. The problem is that you'll be holding the balls by the toothpicks, the balls will slide off if they get too warm, and you'll be dipping them in warm chocolate. If you move too slowly, the later balls will have thawed enough that they'll fall off into the chocolate when you dip them. So, with all deliberate speed, take each ball by turn, dip it in the chocololate, swirl it so that it's between half and two-thirds coated, then put it back on the wax paper. You can either take the toothpicks out now or wait until later. They'll slide out more easily now, but your chances of destroying a ball in the course of removing the toothpick are somewhat elevated.

Now your balls should look like this:


Freeze them again, clean up the mess, take them out, remove any toothpicks that you may have left, and there you go! Peanut Butter Balls!


Note that the decrease in the number of balls is due to my getting hungry and eating some, and also packing up a few (store in plastic bags in the refrigerator) before remembering to take a picture.

By Popular Request...

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An Update.

Work ends tomorrow, which is fun insofar as I'll be able to enjoy a bit of time off, but not-so-fun insofar as that time off will come to a crashing halt five days later when the Early Interview Program begins. During EIP, I will be interviewing with at least 29 employers (not counting any interviews I may add between now and then, or pick up during the program) over the course of five days. This includes a marathon batch of nine interviews two Mondays from now, which will be followed by eight further interviews on Tuesday. The prospect does not, to say the least, make me a *Happy Camper*. On the plus side, I got nearly every interview that I requested, so I at least have a nice selection of firms and such.

I'm also going to the dentist tomorrow afternoon, which is less fun, to have some cavities filled. Well, not really cavities. Pseudo-cavities. Softnesses that the dentist worries may become cavities if not properly filled. She feels it would be wisest to fill them now on general principle. That principle being that just about everything should be filled at all times, just in case.

I also might or might not have a date tomorrow night, depending on the breaks. If not tomorrow, then definitely on Monday or Tuesday, so I've got that going for me.

And now I should probably get back to researching firms to decide which ones to add to and drop from my interview schedule.

Turn Around, Bright Eyes


This is making the rounds in certain blog circles, so I figured I'd pass it along: A cover of Total Eclipse of the Heart made by Hurra Torpedo, a Norwegian band that uses kitchen implements, and the destruction of same, as the percussion. I might be a bit late to the party on this, as they apparently were already a Big Internet Thing early last year. Still, if you missed it then, here it is in all its weird, Nordic glory.

I now own two suits.

I don't possess two suits, but I own two suits. I possess one suit. The second suit is currently a bailment of which I am the bailor. Brooks Brothers is the bailee of said suit, on the understanding that they will return it to me on August 11th, with certain modifications having been made to it (shortening the sleeves, making a 1.5 inch cuff on the pants, etc).

Nonetheless, I now own two suits, where three hours ago I owned one. After having gotten the bum's rush out of first Macy's, then Brooks Brothers on Park Avenue, then Sak's Fifth Avenue, then Barney's, I finally got serviced by a salesperson at Brooks Brothers on Madison Avenue. The rushing of my bum was entirely justified at Barney's and Sak's; they literally had no suits for less than one thousand dollars, and their average suit cost more than two thousand dollars. I'm not sure what went on at the first Brooks Brothers, and Macy's just doesn't employ salespersons who care to make sales, apparently.

Anyhow, I now own a very nice, conservative grey pinstriped worsted wool suit. It's single-breasted, has two buttons, a low button stance, a single vent, and hand-stitched panels. It's a size 36, which I discovered is the smallest suit they make. I had to buy a rather more expensive suit than I was initially looking at because I apparently have freakishly narrow shoulders. They didn't have anything that worked off-the-rack, so I had to buy a suit from the fitted suit section. This means it's tapered, with a european fit that suits my form quite well.

It also cost more than the entire rest of my wardrobe combined. And that includes the suit I bought in February. The sticker price was $900, no sales, no discounts, and it leapt to nearly $1000 with tax.

This is quite a lot for me. I just spent more on one suit than I believe I've spent on food this entire year. Certainly more than I've spent on videos, books, video games, board games, and probably all of my other entertainments combined.

I am told that people can tell a nice suit from a cheap one. I am told that hiring partners at law firms can spot a cheap suit in an instant. I am told that the one thing one does not want to be at a law firm is the competent fellow who can get the job done, but who can't appear in court or be shown to clients because he dresses too shabbily. This is a recipe for getting overworked and underappreciated, toiling ceaselessly in the obscurity of the back office.

And yet: I can't, if I'm being honest, tell the difference between my $900 suit and something purchased off-the-rack at Men's Wearhouse for $200. Maybe this is something I'll pick up. Or maybe this was all a huge waste of money.

In any case, I now own two suits.

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