Saturday, August 30, 2003

Memos from Law School:

Now that Loyola’s IT ‘team’ has figured out how to add me to the main law school address list, I get all kinds of interesting emails. You know, class announcements (for classes I don’t have), death notices (for people I’ve never met, and wouldn’t know), and general announcements, such as this one:

Date: Friday - August 29, 2003 11:21 AM
Subject: ATTENTION OCI Students

Someone has turned in an OCI preference sheet without a name on it. This makes it impossible for us to enter you into the computer.

If you have preferenced
(is that a word?) the following employers in the following order and feel you may have forgotten your name, SS#, etc. on the sheet please contact us ASAP.

Quinlan & Carroll
Cremer Kopon & Shaughnessy
US Securities & Exchange Com.
Cassiday Schade & Gloor
City of Chicago


A little while later, this one came:

Date: Friday - August 29, 2003 12:02 PM
Subject: ATTENTION OCI Participants

Someone has turned in another OCI preference sheet without a name on it. This makes it impossible for us to enter you into the computer.
(Thanks for pointing that out again. I hadn't figured that out after the first email.)

If you have preferenced the following employer in red ink
(red ink? I hadn't realized that we were supposed to write our choices in blood, but then, there is a Satanic quality about OCI) and feel you may have forgotten your name,(easy enough to do the first week of law school) SS#, etc. on the sheet please contact us ASAP.

Cremer Kopon & Shaughnessy


Getting two emails in a row with Cremer, Kopon on it (note to Loyola OCI: it's actually Cremer, Kopon, Shaughnessy & Spina) made me feel much better, since this is one firm I, too, had "preferenced," though I doubt I'll get an interview. Cassiday, Schade was another of my firms, so I'm very hopeful of a good shot at a job. After all, the first person had a higher class rank than I (the SEC requires upper 30%, and Cassiday prefers upper 25%, so they must be ranked above me).

This one was a gem:

Subject: Law School Blankets for sale at Student Activities Fair

As part of a fundraising effort for PILS, School of Law blankets will be sold at the Student Activities Fair this Thursday from 4-6 pm. in the
student lounge.

Cost for each blanket is $30.00, which is the retail cost minus tax for the Loyola blankets available at the bookstore. However, these are specially made limited edition blankets that have "School of Law" on them.

Checks or cash only!!!

ALL proceeds from the sales will go to PILS. Stop by and prepare for winter.

law admission

I’m all over that, guys. Just what I wanted: a limited edition blanket. For a mere $30. What a deal.

I think I'll wrap myself up in my limited edition blanket and go watch "The Paper Chase" DVD. Enjoy!
Weekend Daze…

I’ve kind of been in a funk all week. I think it’s the whole back-to-school thing, and all the pressure of the week. To top things off, my granduncle died this week; his second wife was such a bitch, she didn’t want to tell any of his four children by his first marriage (my aunts and uncles) that he’d died. She told her own daughter that she’d called the family and let them know. Fortunately, the daughter decided to keep asking, eventually learning of her intent, and persuaded her to tell her stepchildren. But it was the daughter who called, and not until Monday night (he died Sunday morning), to tell her half-siblings that their father was dead and the wake would be the following morning and the funeral on Wednesday morning, and, oh, if you could please not talk to the second wife, that would be grand. Actually, I don’t think wifey #2 used the word please. And at least one half-sibling found out via message on the answering machine.

Of course, this meant that my cousins would be interrogating me once I walked into the funeral Wednesday morning, after finding out Tuesday night at dinner. I had half-expected this, since I knew that things were strained to begin with, and since Wednesday, I’ve learned that many an interesting thing has happened. And that it will only get more bloody. Fortunately, my involvement will be limited to merely referring the attorney we work with at the small tax office where I do part-time work.

Apartment Hunting – Fini

I found a place, as I said before. But Thursday brought the official news that I was approved, and that I was the official new tenant. Scott posted a comment welcoming me to the neighborhood (thanks, Scott – I move in October, so we’ll have to do beers at Yak-zee’s sometime after that to celebrate), and warning me about dumb Wrigley-area tourists, a breed I’ve been familiar with since my days at Ace Hardware’s HQ, when my co-worker Joel lived at Grace and Kenmore. He, too, told tales of people wandering around, asking silly questions. His bad luck was to live down the street from the left-field wall, where an occasional Sammy Sosa home run would come bounding down, chased by hopefuls intent on snatching a souvenir.

So now I need to start packing. And tell the current landlord that I’ll be moving out.


With the stress of starting classes, deadlines anew, finding an apartment, the funeral, and God knows what else (including spending today feeling like crap because I think the salad I made wasn’t properly cleaned – damn), I needed a good laugh. Thank God for Jeremy. I laughed so damn hard, I cried. Especially the post about law school resumes (room 750, closet #2? Holy crap those rooms at Harvard are small).

Here’s my take on a few things:

Buying books:

Jeremy, you lucky bastard. Only two hundred bucks? Wow. I dropped $500, and that was without supplements. Toss those in, and I’m over $600 easy. Your review of the crim law book was dead on, though. The only book more fun than that (so far)? Civil Procedure, of course. No, wait. Contracts. Definitely Con (yawn) tracts…

Things I could have bought with the money wasted on textbooks that will conveniently not be taken back next year:

Two tickets to a Cubs game (bleacher seats), including Ticketmaster fees
A small jet
Seats on the NYSE
Any minor league professional sports team
Season tickets (first base side) to the Chicago White Sox for the next 30 years
One Bears PSL, or two tickets to any Bears game (end zone), not including Ticketmaster fees

On Campus Interviewing (a/k/a OCI):

Unlike Jeremy, who was a full-time student last year, I was a full-time employee of a major corporation. Occasionally the boss came rolling around (ala Lumbergh of Office Space) at 4:15. Now, my normal work hours were 7:30 to 4:15, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who actually worked those hours. And more often than not, I’d get the late-afternoon surprise. It usually started out with, “Greg, you got a minute?”

Of course, in the world of my former employer, “a minute” was 30 minutes in normal, human time. “A couple of minutes” was basically the afternoon, and “what are you working on?” translated to “tell me what you’re doing, because I plan on taking you away from it for about six months”. “Special Project” translated to either “forget about seeing your six-year-old’s high school graduation,” or “get your resume ready, because if this thing tanks, you’re the scapegoat.” All this would be couched, of course, to appear as if it were an “opportunity,” though the only opportunity you’d get is the opportunity to be paid next week. Maybe.

All this meant that school took a back seat to work, and since it was tax season as well, school often came in third place. I wanted an ‘A’ in Legal Writing badly, so I put in a lot of effort in that class, but failed miserably in doing the same in Contracts and Civil Procedure. As a result, the grades last semester weren’t the greatest (but I did get that ‘A’). So…..for me OCI stands for One Chance In... [hell], which is about what chance I’ve got of getting a job next summer through OCI. Helllooo NALP guidelines!

Meet the Employers Night (MTEN):

This annual right in self-humiliation should be outlawed. My classmate and friend Gretchen summed it up best; when I told her that Anita, Tina and I compared interviewing to dating, Gretch opined that if that were true, then MTEN was the equivalent of three-minute dating, with the students playing the part of the desperate, loveless boys, hoping to attract one of the lovely ladies (employers) they’re sitting across from, and trying hard not to fuck it up. I had no hope of being interviewed by any of these firms; they all wanted people in the top 15% or better of the class, and I’m barely (for now) in the top half. Of course, my resume doesn’t say that. Nor does it mention my GPA. It does, however, mention the fact that I made the Dean’s list in the fall (a true fact). I’m a firm believer in don’t ask, don’t tell. It was fun telling all the employers my background (CPA, MBA with emphasis in finance and international business, ten years of tax work) and watching them drool with anticipation, especially the SEC guy. (I couldn’t keep up the charade with the SEC guy, thought, because he was actually very nice, and, like me, he’d changed careers in his thirties.)

Moot Court/Law Journal:

I think my school has these, but since I wasn’t invited to participate (as a part-time 1L, I wasn’t eligible for LJ), I can neither confirm nor deny their existence. I can however guess that they do exist, because Heather (who always gets what she wants) is on all of them (for her, that’s CLJ, PILJ, and Moot court). I believe the term justifiable homicide was invented for what should happen to bubbly, pert, former flight attendants who get all the breaks, then proceed to tell you about how hard they worked to get them (because, of course, they were not working a full-time job, or any job for that matter, but for some reason decided that they needed the part-time schedule anyway). I am so not bitter. Really.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Dean for America

Ok, I don't spout off on politics much here. In fact, I can't even think of a time when I have. But the truth is, I'm a democrat. For the most part. Usually vote democratic. So there.

Anyway, a classmate of mine, originally from Connecticut, is big into working campaigns. I've always wanted to, so I've been bugging her to volunteer at an event. Well, finally, she asked me to work the Howard Dean event today in good old Chi-town. Since class didn't start until 4, and the event was scheduled to end at 1, I decided to go for it. I wound up as part of her local press crew, where my job was to make sure members of the press made it easily from the credentials table to the press riser.

Yesterday was the walk-through. but it didn't prepare me for today. I arrived early (no minor miracle, given my penchant for lateness) fifteen whole minutes before I needed to be there. After a short wait, we were taken upstairs, where we helped put together banners and such while waiting for the press to arrive. Since Dean was speaking at a neighboring convention, the press arrived in a trickle at first.

Eventually, his speech at the other convention ended, and the press (and public) flooded over to ours. Governor Dean was scheduled to speak at noon; the height of the lunch hour, and the hottest time of an already hot, humid day. It was around 11 when the people were finally admitted to the terrace, and what an eclectic crowd - hippie types, college students, professionals, senior citizens - they all came to hear from the gathering storm that is Howard Dean. They were not disappointed. After a young, dynamic, African-American speaker introduced him, the Governor went on, albiet a few minutes late. He spoke to an enthusiastic crowd, who chanted and cheered each point he made. And good old George Bush, Jr. gave him plenty to make.

After he spoke for about thirty minutes, he worked the crowd, shaking hands. In the distance, rainclouds gathered. My classmate called us together, and told us she would get us in a photo with the Governor. But nature had plans of her own, and the DFA film crew needed to break down their equipment in a hurry, lest thousands of dollars of sensitive equipment get damaged by the impending downpour. Tom and I were pulled away from where we waited for the Governor, and the photographer bailed for the bus, rather than get caught in the rain (obviously, he's not a Rupert Holmes fan). I told Dave, the national coordinator, that he owed me a photo op for the one we'd lost (he chuckled and said "okay" in the way someone who's been told they have to do something they have no power over does). Tom, Jonathon and I helped Nathan break down the equipment. By this time, the Governor had left the terrace, and Chicago's finest weren't admittting anyone without credentials to any of the back areas. But we had them, (and what a cool feeling it was, to flash the "staff" badge and get into any area I needed to) so we were in.

We zipped across Navy Pier's interior to the North side, where the press bus and Governor Dean's car waited. He's not a nominated candidate, so he doesn't get a Secret Service detail (I'm hoping he is nominated, because I've heard that it's very exciting to work a national campaign, with all the activity). We dropped the equipment in the bus while trying to dodge raindrops from the deluge occuring around us. Nathan thanked us for our help, and went into the bus. We high-tailed it back inside, where it was cool and dry.

Once inside, Dave thanked us again for our help, and went upstairs. Jonathon went with him. Tom and I stood around, chatting. I heard a group approching from behind us, and turned around. It was none other than Governor Dean himself. I took a chance, and said loudly, "Good luck Governor." He turned saw me, and said "Thanks!" as he stretched out his hand to shake mine. As he did, he noticed we were wearing the "Staff" badges, and said "You guys did a great job here today. Thank you very much for all your help, I appreciate it. Keep it up!" He shook Tom's hand as well, and we were so shocked neither of us could think of much to say beyond "thank you very much, Governor, and come back here often."

If first impressions mean anything, I'll say I'm impressed. He's not tall (I'm 5'8", and we were about equal in height), but he is friendly, and considerate; he was fully willing to run out into the rain ("Just tell me which car I'm going to before I make a mad dash"), but when a staffer told him she had an umbrella for him, he told her to try to get as many people under it as she could.

Needless to say, I told my classmate I'd help whenever she needed it. And maybe someday, I can tell my grandchildren I shook the hand of a future President. How cool would that be?

Apartment Hunting (Cont'd)

I think I've found a new home! On Saturday, I went to look at three apartments in a multi-unit building. None of them impressed me. But the one diagonally across from them did. The owner had just put out a sign; he hadn't even published an ad yet. The apartment is $135 a month less than what I pay now (not quite the $300 drop I'd hoped for, but then, those which fell into the $850 range sucked) and only 60 square feet smaller. It's got hardwood floors, two window air conditioners, and a built-in dining room hutch. All in all, it's pretty nice, and my classmates were all excited last night when I told them. I just need to turn in the application, go through a credit check, and - if all goes well - my hunt is over. And I couldn't be happier. The best part? I'm four blocks (count 'em, baby!) from beautiful, scenic Wrigley Field.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

By Nick Lowe and his Cowboy Outfit

I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll
I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll

Well the bride looks a picture in the gown that her mama wore
When she was married herself nearly 27 years before
They had to change the style a little but it looked just fine
Stayed up all night but they got it finished just in time
Now on the arm of her daddy she's walkin' down the aisle
I see her catch my eye and give me a secret smile
Maybe it's too old fashioned but a-we once were close friends
Oh but the way that she looks today she never could have then
Well I could see her now in her tight blue jeans
Pumping all her money in the record machine
Spinnin' like a top, you should have seen her go

I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll
I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll

Well a proud daddy only wanna give his little girl the best
So he put down a grand on a cozy little lovers nest
You could have called the reception an unqualified success
Had a flash hotel for a hundred and fifty guests
Well take a look at the bridegroom smilin' pleased as pie
Shakin' hands all around with a glassy look it his eye
He got a real good job and his shirt and tie is nice
But I remember a time when she never would have looked at him twice
Well I can see her now, drinkin' with the boys
Breakin' their hearts like playin' with toys
She used to do the pony, used to do the stroll

I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll
I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll
I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll
I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll

(harmonica solo)

Well I can see her now with her walkman on
Jumpin' up and down to her favorite song
I still remember when she used to want to make a lot of noise
Hopin' and a-boppin' with the street corner boys
She used to wanna party, she used to wanna go

I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll
I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll

I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll
I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll

I knew the bride when she used to do the pony
I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll

I knew the bride when she used to wanna party
I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll

My friend Janet got married yesterday, officially taking off the market the one single girl in my age range I knew. She looked (as every bride does) absolutely gorgeous in her dress. Surprisingly, the reception was quite a small affair, attended by just under 125 people, including some ex-coworkers of mine from two jobs ago, some of whom I’ve kept in touch with the last four years.

So there I was, at the reception, watching the big bridal party parade when it hit me. I don’t think I could do this. I don’t think I could stand up in front of everyone and go through with the whole shlocky thing – walking in, arm in arm, “Eye of the Tiger” or “Theme from Rocky” or “Rock ‘n’ Roll Part II” (big here in Chi-town after the Bulls’ six championships) playing overly loud in the background, trying to look like I’m having a good time, when I’d rather be elsewhere. I do know that I’ve told my family that, in the less-than-likely event that I should finally get married, the “Hokey-Pokey” and the “Chicken Dance” will be verboten. I hate both of those songs. With a passion. And I’m not sure about the whole bouquet-and-garter thing either. I’m not big on that. When that part of any wedding I'm at comes up, I usually make for an exit (as I did last night), only to reappear just after some poor schmuck has garnered the prize.

I’ve heard countless people tell me that you don’t meet women in bars. You meet them at the grocery store, or at a wedding (just to name two places that come to mind). I’ve never met a woman at either. Ironically, there was a wedding next door to Janet’s where there were tons of women – but I’ve outgrown the 14-16 year olds. And the cute 23+-year-olds that were there all had very nice rocks on. So much for meeting someone at the wedding.

But, disappointment aside, I had fun, and while I only danced to one song (can you guess which one?) it was a good night. Best of luck to Janet and Dave – here’s to a long, happy marriage. And lots of kids. Who all grow up to be just like mom.