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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Peer Review Time: Law School Essay

Ok, Loves. I've finally got a decent draft of my law school admission essay, and I'd be grateful if I could get a little feedback on it. Feel free to criticize large things like sentence structure or content, or small things like word choice or word order. Criticize anything at all. You can even do so anonymously if that makes you feel safe.

I'm going to be submitting the applications as soon as tomorrow evening (Oct. 1) and no later than on Friday, so feedback of the ASAP variety would be much obliged. Thanks!


It’s a day like any other day. I’m sitting in the front seat of my 1991 Buick Park Avenue with the windows rolled down, inviting in the gentle breeze of late summer that whispers of approaching autumn. My left foot rests on the dash next to the steering wheel, and my right side leans into the armrest that divides my seat from the empty passenger’s seat next to me. It’s quiet, apart from the rustling sound of my fingers flipping open the jewel case of Death Cab For Cutie’s Transatlanticism. I have long been a fan of Death Cab’s evocative indie melodies in combination with Ben Gibbard’s poetic lyrics, and so after I slip the disc into the Park Avenue’s stereo, I remove the booklet from the CD case so I may scan the lyrics. But as I flip the booklet open, my eyes immediately fall upon words which are not part of Gibbard’s lyrics: “Legal: Conrad Rippy / Levine, Plotkin & Menin, LLP”. And that’s the moment I know I’m going to law school. But to put this moment in perspective, a little background is called for.

My journey toward law school began at the end of my junior year of college in 2004. I was finishing up my Bachelor’s degrees in German and linguistics at the University of Utah, but I had developed no real plan for what to do after college. When I had decided upon my course of studies a couple years prior, I espoused the na├»ve notion that attaining my degrees would automatically set my future in motion, and that the details of my future career would take care of themselves. Now at the end of my junior year, I realized that my future was coming whether I was prepared for it or not. This reality loomed heavily like a storm threatening to break on the horizon. What would I do with myself once I graduated in a year? I hoped that I could figure that out over the course of the coming summer.

I signed up for an 8-week summer linguistics seminar on the subject of legal language. The class would help me in attaining my linguistics degree, but I was also interested in the subject based on my exposure to the legal field while working as a file clerk with a medical malpractice law firm for the previous two years. After the legal language seminar, I would be departing on my second study abroad program to Germany for the last month of summer to help finish up the necessary credits for my German degree.

The legal language seminar approached the legal world from a linguistic perspective. It explored issues like the tendency of legal language to alienate people who are not well versed in it. In pondering this divisive nature of legalese, I wondered whether there might be a way to bridge the gap between lawyer and layperson. It is laypeople, after all, whom the law is largely intended to serve. Why then shouldn’t the common person have better access to understanding the law? I learned that much of legal language is firmly ensconced in tradition, which explains the somewhat archaic phrasing and syntax and the prevalence of Latin terminology. But tradition aside, what purposes do the peculiarities of legal language serve in the law today? And more importantly, does legal language ever compromise justice, for instance when it is used in communications directed toward laypeople, as in the instructions to jury people during the process of voir dire?

These questions prompted me to consider pursuing a legal education, and I began preparations for the LSAT in anticipation of taking the test after I returned from Germany later that summer. The problem with this decision was that there was no particular reason that I wanted to study law other than that I was fascinated by legal language. But what would I do with a legal degree? I wasn’t sure that I could make a career as an expert of legal language, and even if I could, law school wasn’t necessarily the best avenue to achieve this end. I also wasn’t sure whether I was particularly interested in practicing law. By the time I went to Germany, and over the course of my month-long German language studies, I realized that the foundation supporting my decision to go to law school was rickety at best. So I shelved my law school plans and returned to the States to finish my undergraduate studies without having secured a plan for my future.

After that I did what every disillusioned graduate does when she realizes the mere attainment of a degree does not solve all of life’s problems: I sought gainful full-time employment in the real world while trying to figure out what it was, exactly, that I wanted to do with my life.

My love of language and fascination with legalese didn’t supply a satisfactory reason for me to go to law school. But I knew following my passion would be important for achieving a sense of fulfillment in whatever life path I ended up choosing. Still, I didn’t want to make the mistake of blindly following my passion without some purpose to guide me along that path. So in the summer of 2005, after I graduated college, I started thinking more seriously about another passion of mine – music – to see whether I could find purpose in that.

Music had always been a strong presence in my life. I grew up in a household of talented musicians, from my jazz piano playing father, to my classical flute playing mother, and finally to my bass playing brother who has managed to make a career for himself as a musician in Manhattan. Surrounded by these people, my childhood provided the perfect environment in which to develop a passion for music and an appreciation for artistic creation in general.

I spent my adolescent years developing my own musical skills playing the saxophone in my junior high and high school bands. But in college I really hit my stride as a musician when I took up the guitar. Suddenly the creation of music became something completely personal. With my saxophone I was a player in the team performance of other people’s songs, which was fulfilling in its own right, but didn’t satisfy my longing to create something of my own. With the guitar suddenly music became my own creation. I began writing my own melodies and lyrics, and I found that even in playing someone else’s piece, I could adapt it to my own tastes and make it my own by adding a different spin to the melody or rhythm. I was no longer confined to my role as a performer; I was also an artist.

As I cultivated this passion for musical creation, I gave some thought to trying my hand at the world of professional musicianship. But ultimately I felt that my passion for creating music, like my passion for the language of law, also constituted a path without a solid purpose. Creation for its own sake seemed so meaningless. What I really longed for was a reason to celebrate my passions, and a mode through which to do so. So I kept music as a hobby but shelved it as a potential career.

The winter after my graduation from college, I took a job as a legal secretary at an intellectual property law firm and was quickly introduced to the legal side of the creative world. My eyes were opened to an area of the law that I had previously not considered during my experience working at the medical malpractice firm. Intellectual property was about celebrating creation and cultural progress; it had substance, cultural relevance, and purpose.

Which brings me back to this moment in the car. This seemingly insignificant moment constitutes a significant moment of clarity in which I realize that my passions for music and artistic creation on the one hand, and for language and legal structures on the other hand could be combined with the spirit of cultural progress prevalent in intellectual property to create a career path with a purpose. This is a path that I finally feel good about following, and it is with excitement that I approach law school as the first step on this journey.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Book Reviews

I've always been an avid reader, but lately I've been especially voracious. Maybe it's because by this time next year, if everything goes as planned, I'll have my nose stuck so deep in statutes, rules, and case law that I won't have time to read much of anything else. So I'm trying to do as much pleasure reading as I can right now.

I love finding book recommendations on the internet and then ordering the books from the library (the best socialist invention ever!). I have a continually running list of books on hold on my library account, and frequently by the time one of my books comes in, I don't remember what it is, where I heard of it, or why I thought it would be worth checking out. That just adds a nice element of mystery to my hobby.

Here are three recent reads:

Boy Proof
Cecil Castellucci

A young adult novel about a socially inept sci-fi geek (as opposed to all those socially adept sci-fi geeks). Victoria is a straight-A-vying-for-valedictorian student at her high school in Hollywood. She prefers to be called Egg, after the name of her sci-fi movie hero, whom she also both dresses and talks like.

The narrative style of the book is interesting; it reads very much like a blog, which is probably why I kept reading after the first couple of chapters. Otherwise I might have found it difficult to willfully suspend my disbelief that a straight-A super genius student would actually be this socially malformed. Much of the time, her stream of consciousness reminded me of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, a book written from the perspective of an autistic savant boy. Only Egg obviously isn't an autistic savant, because she is completely and hopelessly retarded at trigonometry. She is, however, a very skilled photographer for her school paper, and she has a talent for designing monster masks in her dad's special effects studio after school on Tuesdays. So her character comes across as more of a creative genius and less of a scholastic genius.

But if you can set all that aside, this book is really about growth. Egg starts out very angry, very closed-off and isolated, but slowly realizes that there is value in not ostracizing yourself from the world. She learns to value loyalty and friendship, to let go of her anger toward her mother, and to find her own identity instead of copping that of a fictitious idol.

It's a quick read, and although not groundbreaking, it's probably a better way to spend your time than watching most of what's on TV. I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
Trish Ryan

A memoir about Ms. Ryan's search for the right man and the right faith. I know what you're thinking: this is so not the typical book for me, a cynical atheist. It's true, I was a little bit surprised at myself for deciding to try this book and, what's more, actually finishing it.

It's not that I don't have a little Hopeless Romantic Princess trapped deep inside a tower within my psyche that is guarded by a moat and an Ogre, swooning with the hope that she will be rescued by a dashing hero in shining armor. Don't most girls have that side? Yes, even hardcore Tom Boys like myself have a swooning princess dressed in nauseatingly ruffly pink somewhere inside of them. I usually have the Ogre keep her locked up unless I need her for a Meg Ryan movie or an episode of Gossip Girl (guilty).

So anyway, a search for love, I can handle that subject matter. But the faith thing? Well, I'm not completely averse to the concept of spirituality. Religion and spirituality are not the same thing, and consequently I think even atheists can be spiritual. I myself am not particularly spiritual, at least in a conventional sense. I find spirituality in the form of a solid live musical performance, a panoramic view from a mountain peak that I conquered, a night's sky clear of inversion and full of stars. But a search for god or some other supernatural force? Not really my thing.

Alright, so why did I read this book? Well, it came highly recommended by a certain fellow book enthusiast whose opinion I value. What the hell, I thought.

And I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying the book. I actually laughed out loud at one point while reading the book in line at the post office. It takes a lot to get me to laugh out loud. I generally stow my inner Chuckles the Court Jester in the same tower with Hopeless Romantic Princess. Someone's got to keep her company in that tower after all, and the Ogre's not much of a conversationalist.

But anyway, despite the entertainment value of watching a woman stumble from one insanely fruitless relationship to another, halfway through the book I sort of stopped enjoying myself when something clicked in my mind. This woman doesn't value herself, I realized. Her quest for the right man and the right spirituality were really quests to fill the void in her self-esteem. She didn't feel like she deserved to be loved. And by the end of the book, I'm still not convinced that she ever learned to love herself. She found a great man who loves her, and she found solace in Christianity, and these things function as reminders that she should believe herself worthy of love. But I find that they are merely sutures and not the salve.

Overall I'll give the book 2.5 out of 5 stars. The first half of the book I loved, the second half not so much. But heidikins enjoyed it much more than I did, so maybe you will too.

Lauren Mclaughlin

A story about a girl named Jill who, for four days out of every monthly cycle, becomes a boy named Jack. (And you thought your time of the month was a pain in the ass.) Jack is kept secret from the world, covered up by Jill's absence from school under the story that she needs monthly blood transfusions due to a medical condition. Things get complicated when Jack starts to assert of life of his own, however, falling in love with Jill's best friend Ramie and sneaking out to see her in the night. Things are further complicated when Jill's crush and targeted prom date Tommy admits his bisexuality and Jill has to examine her own sexuality. And when the partition between Jack's emotions and Jill's emotions begins to blur, things start to get interesting. Somebody's going to the prom with somebody. Who will it be?

The book is basically a study in gender identity and sexuality. Obviously. But it handles the subject matter very well, and very maturely in spite of the outlandish circumstances and teenager-speak. I sort of had to ease my way into the story, but by about midway through I found myself unwilling to put the book down, and ended up loving it. It's not perfect, but it's a great first novel from this author, and I look forward to reading the sequel that she's currently writing.

I'd give Cycler 4 out of 5 stars and strongly recommend it for those interested in the topics of gender and sexuality. And even if you aren't quite comfortable with those subjects, this is a good place to start to get comfortable, and in this day and age, it's about time to do so.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

FAQ re: Sra

Is Sra your real name?
No, it is a nickname.

Where did it come from?
It's an abbreviation of my real name, and was given to me by my best friend in high school. He had a talent for imitating foreign accents and for inventing completely original accents. (He once convinced a native Scottish lady that he also hailed from Scotland.) Sra stems from one of his original accents in which he enjoyed putting the emPHASis of words on the wrong sylLABle. Sra quickly became my nickname among friends, and it carried over into college, where it was adopted by my various roommates throughout my college career. Some friends still call me Sra in real life, and I decided to keep using it as my online name.

How is it pronounced?
It is monosyllabic and rhymes with "bra". Some people mistakenly pronounce it as "Shra", after the pronunciation of the /sr/ combo in Sri Lanka. But the S is just a regular English S-sound, and not a SH-sound. Some people have a hard time not adding a syllable between the S and R (sir-RAH), and that's ok too, but it's not the preferred pronunciation.

Does Ian call you Sra?
No. He prefers not to address me by any name at all, although he will call me Honey, Sweet-pea, My Petal, and other such nauseating terms of endearment (I admit I do the same for him offline, though I have no qualms about calling him Ian to his face). He will use my real name when talking ABOUT me to other people, although I sense that he is uncomfortable even doing that.

We have a different attitude about names. I view the use of a name as a showing of respect. If I address you by your name, particularly if I insert your name where it otherwise might not be necessary to say (as opposed to saying your name to get your attention), you know I am showing you respect. I am saying, "Not only do I remember your name, but I like you as a person, and will address you by your given title." Ian, on the other hand, views the use of a name as a mode of expressing anger. Perhaps he got a little too much of the full-name treatment from his folks when he was a naughty young lad. I've had to learn to accept that he won't honor me by using my name, and he's had to learn to accept that I'm not angry with him when I use his name.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Excess in the name of Guinness

Sra: You stink.

Ian: What?

Sra: You smell like smoky bar.

Ian: Psshh.... I didn't say, "Accept me how I am," I said, "I'm here; I'm drunk."

Sra: You don't even know what you're saying right now.

Ian: Yes I do! It was Dave's birthday today... the bar owner.

Sra: So?

Ian: So I'm drunk.

Sra: What does that have to do with you being drunk?

Ian: It doesn't.

Sra: Then why are you drunk?

Ian: I don't know. The Guinness was so good... I haven't had it in a long time.

This is what happens when you abstain from alcohol for a month in the name of hiking. Instead of finding amusement in being drunk, you find amusement in watching other people who are drunk.

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Murder Cop Victim

I had a strange dream last night which reminded me of a game I used to play with my friends as a child. In my dream, I was staring down the barrel of a harpoon in an underwater environment, waiting to be stalked by 5 murderous sea snakes who were out to get me and the other players of the game, unless we got them first.

My childhood game did not include sea snakes or harpoons, thankfully. It was more of a live-action role-playing murder mystery game which my friends and I liked to call Murder Cop Victim, or MCV. To start the game, we'd write M, C, and V on slips of paper, put the slips in a hat, and then randomly draw. If there weren't many people playing, there'd usually only be one M and one C, and everyone else was a V. But if we had quite a few people playing, we'd add a few extra Murderers and Cops.

Nobody knew who anybody else was, and your strategy was different depending upon what role you drew. If you were a Victim, you were wary of everyone, but didn't want to appear that way, lest you give yourself away as a helpless soul waiting to be cornered in a lone room by the Murderer. If you were a Cop, you wanted to figure out who the Murderer was, because you were the only person who could arrest him and save everyone else. If you were the Murderer, you wanted to try to get people alone long enough so you could "murder" them and leave the body without being seen by anyone else.

Make-believe was a very important part of this game. It was very much like a live-action form of the boardgame Clue. You invented a persona, and introduced yourself to the other players as you wandered about the house and tried to figure out how to stay alive, capture the murderer, or kill your victims, depending on your role. The game was most fun when there were enough players to have several Murderers and Cops; that way if you were one of those roles, you could try to figure out who your fellow Murderers or Cops were so you could form an alliance with them and strategize about how to take down your opponents.

Sometimes false alliances were made. Say you were a Murderer, and somebody mistakenly finds you trustworthy enough to reveal themselves to you as a Cop. So you pretend you're a Cop too. Then you get them alone and murder them. Ah, treachery!

It was a great game that we played countless times at sleepovers and on lazy summer evenings. It never seemed to get old. Well, perhaps that's not true. I think we stopped playing when we started losing our ability to sink into our imaginations and role-play effectively, which was so crucial to the game.

It's sad how your ability to immerse yourself in your imagination gets lost as you age. But I'm glad my dreams still maintain some of that adventurous make-believe spirit, even if it does take the unfortunate form of a sea snake. At least I've got my imaginary harpoon.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Iterating and Reiterating all over again

Via my Statcounter, I know that I usually get between 50 and 75 unique hits per day, particularly on weekdays and days in which I post a new article. I don't know how many of those hits are regular readers and how many are random hits from people who get to my blog via some salacious search. I suppose I could sit down with my the Statcounter report and figure it out, but really, who has time for that?

As an aside, those of you who don't visit Bunsnip via a feed reader might have noticed that I have a new Followers widget in the left-hand margin. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it or not, just experimenting so far. It could be a way for my actual regular readers to distinguish themselves from the voyeurs who are just looking to get a glimpse of the Tree Man (even though his picture is no longer glimpse-able, so don't bother clicking on that link).

It was a toss up between using the Followers widget and the Recent Visitors widget from The Blog Frog. My issue with the Blog Frog widget is that you can't opt in or out of showing up as a visitor on that. Basically anyone who is listed in my blog roll will show up in the Recent Visitors widget when they visit Bunsnip whether they want to show up or not. I'm not completely comfortable with that. (But the Blog Frog is otherwise totally cool, as evidenced by my support sticker. Thanks, Rusty!)

My Daily Read and Must-Read Blog lists are my way of showing support for the sites that I enjoy reading, and I see the Followers widget as a way for my readers to voluntarily show support for Bunsnip without all the Big Brother business. It doesn't track when you visit, it just lists you as a follower. You can choose to follow either anonymously or publicly (or not at all). So if you feel inclined to do that, please join Claire, my sole follower so far. She looks awfully lonely over there. Or not, I won't cry if you don't. Claire might, though.

Anyway, that totally wasn't the point of this post. So I'll get to that right now:

The Point: iterate & reiterate

As my Statcounter tells me, today alone I have had five hits from individuals searching for "the difference between iterate and reiterate". FIVE. That's a lot of hits for something like that in one day. The hits came from Malaysia, the UK, Cleveland, Toronto, and Durham, Connecticut. Clearly there is much confusion across the world about the difference between iterate and reiterate. I too have such confusion.

Quite awhile ago I posted a very brief query to my then scant number of blog readers asking whether anyone, anyone at all, could explain to me the difference between iterate and reiterate. According to the dictionary, they mean exactly the same thing. So why the re- prefix? Doesn't the prefix re- usually imply doing something again?

Well that makes this particularly difficult, because iterate and reiterate both mean "to do something again". So because of the re-, it looks like iterate should mean "to do something again", and reiterate should mean "to do something again, repeatedly".

As Feed the World with PEZ commented in the original post:

Iterate is to do or say again repeatedly (probably more than once). Reiterate is to do or say again repeatedly to the point of excessiveness (probably more than twice)... Hey, that's all I've got!

Pretty good answer, but I'm still unsatisfied. Why the hell do we need two words for this? So now that there are between 50 and 75 of you readers out there, you would do a great service to me and some people in Malaysia, the UK, Cleveland, Toronto, and Durham if you could weigh in on this puzzlement.

If we have to, we can vote one of the duplicative words out of the English language. My vote is to kick out iterate. Sure, reiterate is more redundant than iterate, but reiterate is the more commonly used, so it'd be easier to kick out the other one.

What say ye?

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Should've taken a hike from Ike

This is where I make myself sound like a heartless bitch again, but if there is a huge tropical storm coming straight for your city, and you are ordered to evacuate the city, but you choose to stay behind and ride the storm out, then I don't feel sorry for you when your dead or alive body has to be pulled out of the wreckage by rescue crews.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Two Life Philosophies of Brother D

During 2001, my first year of college, I enrolled in one of those "honors track" classes called Intellectual Traditions of the West (or, as the swanky honors program people called it, ITW). It was basically a survey-style literary philosophy class.

I found very quickly that I didn't have a taste for honors track classes. They basically take all the students who think they are The Shit intellectually and put them together so they can try to out-smart each other and brown-nose the professor. I get it. All you snotty little overachievers are brilliant. Now can we get back to Plato, please?

But the professor of this class provided some much desired comedic relief that helped keep my intellectual-snot-head-induced nausea at bay. His name was Professor D, but I liked to think of him as Brother D, because he looked like a General Authority in the making. Only happier.

Brother D was clearly very intelligent; he just wasn't very good at choosing words, and frequently ended up phrasing his thoughts in comical ways. I found myself more often feverishly writing down the silly things he would say verbatim instead of taking notes on the discussion of the philosophical text.

7 years later, while going through some of my old files, I stumbled upon my collection of Brother D's sayings. While I can't say I got much from Lucretius, Herodotus, or Aristotle in that class, I think I can say that I did manage to learn some philosophy in ITW after all.

I give you The Two Life Philosophies of Brother D:

Brother D's First Life Philosophy:
When lost for words, repeat the ones you’ve already used.

“And if you look at the extent to which these countries extended…”

“He [Aristotle] thinks that bad education is bad.”

“You can imagine what a tremendous find that would be for someone who wanted to find that.”

Brother D's Second Life Philosophy:
Why take the time to be specific when two words will sum up all sorts of things?

“There were others who were kind of interested in doing things… but anyway, they ended up doing some interesting things.”

“They were doing things. They were doing things just to kind of do things.”

“I can do all the kinds of things that I can, you know, do.”

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Search for the Perfect Deodorant

Awhile back, I posted about some handy Folk Remedies, one of which was removing deodorant stains from clothing by rubbing them with nylon. This works pretty well for surface stains, but it doesn't remove deeper stains that inevitably soil your clothing in the long term, and ultimately make them unsuitable for wearing.

Well, I decided I was fed up with this inconvenience. I was tired of throwing away perfectly good clothes that I still wanted to wear just because they had permanent caked-on deodorant stains in the pits. Furthermore, I recently learned that there is a correlation between repeat exposure to aluminum and development of Alzheimer's Disease (this is rather old news, I know). Guess what's in conventional white deodorants? Yup, aluminum.

So I decided to put aside my clothing-destroying, possibly-Alzheimer's-inducing Secret brand deodorant and begin searching for a worthy replacement.

Natural Crystal Deodorant

Made entirely of salt crystals and nothing more, Crystal deodorants are the go-to solution for people with sensitive skin and allergic reactions to traditional deodorant. The salt kills bacteria, which is the main cause of armpit odor. This is not intended to work as an antiperspirant, but quite frankly, I've never found an antiperspirant that completely keeps me from perspiring anyway, so this isn't an important factor to me. The weird thing about the Crystal is you have to get it wet before applying. That seems a little high maintenance.

The Crystal works surprisingly well... for about half a day. Then the BO sets in. It's still better than wearing nothing at all, but after about a week of pretty stinky armpits at the end of the day, I decided this wasn't the solution I was looking for.

Old Spice

I'd tried feminine gel deodorants by Degree before, and while they didn't cake up my armpits with nasty white residue, they did have the unfortunate tendency of bleaching my clothing. I had a few brown shirts that turned orange in the armpits because of gel deodorants. Not really a trend I wanted to start. And besides, anything that does that to my clothing can't be good for my skin.

But Ian told me that his Old Spice gel deodorant was different. It neither caked nor bleached the armpits of his shirts. I should try it, he said. Hmm, interesting proposition, except for the fact that Old Spice is about the most stereotypically MALE-smelling deodorant on the market. Find me one that doesn't smell like a man who's just had a run and a hot shower and I'll try it, I said.

So one day he brought me a stick of "Fresh"-scented Old Spice. It smelled gender-neutral to him. It's ok for ladies to smell "Fresh", right? Ok, so it's maybe not the most manly of scents, but this stick still smells more masculine than feminine to me. Even so, I decided to give it a try. It worked pretty well and didn't stain my clothing in any way, as promised. The downside was that by the end of the day, my body chemistry mingled with the deodorant and produced a rather musky smelling odor. It's something that would have been appealing on a man, but was rather repellent on a woman.

So I put aside my manly Old Spice and continued my search.

Tom's of Maine

I have been using Tom's of Maine's natural toothpaste for a couple months after reading a post on one of my fellow blogger's sites about how she discovered that her toothpaste had formaldehyde in it. FORMALDEHYDE! I did a little googling and discovered that formaldehyde is a common ingredient in toothpaste. Why? I have no idea. But I'm not comfortable with putting a chemical involved in embalming in my mouth.

I was already familiar with Tom's of Maine's mouthwash which contains neither sugar nor alcohol, so I turned to them for some natural formaldehyde-free, cinnamon-ginger flavored gel toothpaste. It is taste:delicious. So why not also see what they have in the way of natural deodorants?

I chose the apricot scented deodorant, and immediately fell in love with its sweet candy-like scent, which is not overpowering. TOM's uses hops as a natural bacteria-killer, and it does a fine job of keeping odor at bay. Best of all, my clothing remains unmolested.

I think I've found a winner.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Conference on Free Culture

I've signed up to attend the 2008 Free Culture Conference in Berkeley, CA from Oct. 11-12. The conference will explore topics related to the tension between Copyright and other IP laws and free cultural exchange.

This is a great opportunity for me, because this very subject has highly influenced my decision to go to law school. It's also great because the conference is taking place at UC Berkeley, my top choice of law school. In addition, Berkeley law professor Pamela Samuelson is one of the keynote speakers. I recognized her name from a paper of hers that I read called Preliminary Thoughts on Copyright Reform. Also speaking is Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford Law professor and author of a very interesting book that I'm currently reading called The Future of Ideas. I'm excited for the opportunity to hear these people speak.

So I'm flying in a day early so that I can arrange a tour of the UC Berkeley law school facilities and introduce myself to the admissions office. I'd also like to explore the town and get a feel for what life might be like living in Berkeley, just in case I get accepted.

My GPA and LSAT numbers lie right on the median of Berkeley's accepted applicants, so at this point I could be accepted or rejected based on those numbers without positively or negatively affecting Berkeley's stats. So my surface chances of actually getting accepted here are probably 50/50. But maybe with a little networking and a polite informal interview with the admissions office (and of course with a killer personal statement), I might be able to make a favorable impression that could tip the scales in my favor.

Regardless, I'm looking forward to this little scholastic vacation.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Loose Ends

I've been a little quiet here lately. My law school applications are online now, and so I'm working on tying up the loose details so that I can start submitting them as early as possible in October. The deadlines to submit the applications generally fall in February, but law schools start admitting applicants as soon as they start processing applications, which is often as early as November. Since they only have a limited number of acceptances to give out, your chances of acceptance are greater if you apply early.

There's not much left to do now, but what is left is pretty stressful, and so my creative energy is currently bunged. I need to get my recommendation writers on board. I've been putting this off because it feels like such a nasty imposition, but I want to give my writers plenty of time, so it's time to get people signed on. I'm also still wrestling with my personal statement. My first attempt wasn't working out. Ian read it last night and said, "This doesn't sound like you. Your heart didn't write this." And he's right. I wrote the statement differently from how I write my blog, and when I write for Bunsnip, it is from my heart. I try to be as honest and open as I can when I write here. And I think it's easy to do that on Bunsnip because even though I do write this for an audience, the real audience that I visualize when I write blog articles is myself. Now I'm trying to do this personal statement and I'm thinking about the admissions committees and so I'm censoring myself; saying what I think they want and not what I mean. That's a mistake, so I'm starting over, and this time I'm going to write for myself.

So while I get through the rest of these loose ends, I may be reticent here; but rest assured that I have things in store for when I have more time to write.

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