Month: July 2013

  • Wish Me Luck

    As I may have mentioned, I have a “test” tomorrow about the role of the private sector in humanitarian assistance. The test follows from my candidacy to an intern position at the UN. I’ve been buried the past 36 hours in learning about humanitarian assistance, the changes in needs, and the recent trends in funding, involvement, and best practices.

    It’s been a lot.

    Part of the research required me to look at how the UN operates in this area. The UN has a bureaucracy like you wouldn’t believe! So many agencies, and then the all-important inter-agency standing committee (IASC), well, I ask, “Why must this be so complicated?” I don’t think it’s all that bad, it’s just a little daunting to a green outsider.

    Anyway, the internship is a very cool opportunity. It would be in the humanitarian affairs department, and if I’m doing stuff related to what I’ve been researching, it would provide great exposure to corporate best practices, dealing in an international setting, and seeing how different countries treat businesses (so far, there’s a big difference between the US view of a company and the more-international, “stakeholder” approach). Since I do have an interest in international law/estate planning (and I believe that these fields will only increasingly overlap in the future), this could be a wonderful opportunity.

    The test is written, online, and two hours. My goal is just to answer the question(s?!) coherently and intelligently. My sister has friend who worked at the UN. Among other helpful tidbits, she said that the goal of the test is probably to see if: (1) I can write; (2) I can convey knowledge about a subject area; and (3) think strategically about the subject area.

    So, wish me luck! I’d love to update yous guys on the results if teh Xangas are still around when I get the news. Now, it is time for sleep so that I can wake up and impress the pants off the lady in Geneva who will be grading my responses (but not in a creepy way…just in a “I really want to impress her” kind of way).

  • A Veritable Vortex of Potentially Life-Changing Information

    …is swarming me all at once!

    ***Disclaimer: the next few paragraphs are largely whiny. Then, they get very boring. End disclaimer. ***

    Having finished the nastiness of PC3, I figured I was all set to finish my final quarter this fall. I only have to take 10 hours to graduate, and I knew more or less how to spend them. There was some delay in getting the schedule out this quarter, but all in all I felt pretty good about my one post-PC quarter: that would leave me with a few months between graduating (at the beginning of November) and then taking the bar exam (end of February) to review and study (I couldn’t take this July because I wasn’t close enough with my hours).

    However, when the schedule FINALLY came out Monday, they weren’t offering remedies (and they had offered remedies every fall since I’ve been in law school!). So, now the soonest I can graduate is in February–which eliminates my nice study cushion before the bar. This especially sucks because everyone says remedies is almost just a waste of time. Everyone must take it, but it doesn’t do a whole lot (per popular opinion). I find this all very irritating, especially since I already had to get my capstone approval forms in. What’s doubly worse is that they usually have a projected schedule pretty far into the future so you can plan accordingly–not so for this fall. If I had known that remedies wouldn’t be offered, I could’ve planned things differently: I could have done an externship, taken a quarter off and done a full internship, maybe found some sort of short-term part-time job–SOMETHING. I feel like now I just have to twiddle my thumbs because most of the deadlines for the cool things for this fall have passed already. *SIGH*

    I’ve gotten the impression that if I explain the situation to either the associate dean or perhaps one of the instructors who teaches the course, that I may be able to do some sort of indpendent study or get them to offer the course (it’s required, so there are people who would take it when it’s offered, right?). So, that may also happen. I should talk to someone though.

    Then, this morning, I wake up to an e-mail in one of my gmail accounts that I don’t use that often. Apparently, my application for an internship at the UN was selected–which means…wait for it…that I am now officially qualified to take a TEST for further consideration! All this coming right after my exams! So, now, if I want to pursue the internship, I have to study the UN’s humanitarian affairs policy in the private sector if I really want the internship in Geneva, which I do. But, one week’s notice to impress people with my knowledge about a subject they know intimately is NOT a lot of time. What’s worse is that I have no idea how to go about researching that area…if anyone has any pointers, please let me know.

    So, with the possibility of that internship on the horizon, there’s a chance that I may not be here for the fall anyway. It would be nice to spend a couple of months in Geneva, even if the gig doesn’t pay (I have a place to stay–which will cost me many diaper changes and baby-sitting hours, but still it’s a place to stay), especially since I’d love to practice internationally (even if just doing sales contracts between Texas businesses and Mexican ones).

    But, if I don’t take remedies until the winter quarter (graduate in February), then I can also take taxation of corporations, which would complete the business transactions concentration, which means I could graduate with two concentrations (bizzy trannies and estate plannies). And, I think those two concentrations would put me in a good position to find work in some sort of transactional capacity, which is what I want to do.

    The other advantage to not graduating until February is that my student loans won’t be due until after I graduate–and, as you can imagine, it’s easier to find a job as a lawyer once you’ve passed the bar. So, while it’s not as soon as I’d like, it’s still manageable. Also, there really is no rush to graduate. Realistically, I have AT LEAST the next forty years of my life to work.

    In other news, I had two big exams today: Business Organizations II and Securities Regulation. I was all up in Rule 10b-5 today. So, that was a thrill (being very facetious). The first one wasn’t so bad. But, after taken one time-pressured, 2.5 hour exam, waking up at 6 after going to bed at 1 and not sleeping well during those five hours, when the second exam came at 2:00, I was EXHAUSTED after the first hour. Plus, I hadn’t studied the material correctly. I studied the right stuff, but I didn’t organize it by case name–I had organized in my brain according to the legal principle and which statute/SEC rule it fit under. So, when there were 12 questions on the exam that essentially asked for a mini-brief of specific cases, I could only do my best to remember. Luckily, there was a lot overlap between BizOrg2 and SecReg, so I was able to draw on BizOrg2 information to complete the SecReg exam.  But, sigh…I really could have done better on the second exam. There was no time pressure, but I just couldn’t retrieve the information I needed. *SIGH*

    This entry turned out longer than I thought. Apparently, there’s a lot on my mind. Maybe by putting it down I’ll sleep better tonight–which will be important if I need to be alert to study for that other damn test I didn’t know I would have.

    So, I put it to you: How should I plan the next few months in trying to get an internship/prepping for the bar/ending my law-school career/getting a job? How should I got about trying to put things together?

  • Some Feelings

    There are some feelings I really don’t understand. In one context, I’m left feeling disgusted or perverted. But, in a very similar context, what would otherwise be the same experience leaves me feeling quite different.

    Lately, I’ve a had a problem with beetles. Big, black, iridescent ones have been crawling about my apartment lately. They don’t normally bother me. For the most part, they walk in erratic circles on the tiled floor, occasionally bumping into a wall or cabinet. As long as they leave me alone, I’m content to leave them too. There is pesticide about my apartment, so they don’t live long–they might as well enjoy what’s left of their short, buggy lives.

    But, sometimes they do bother me. When I say “bother me,” I mean “touch me.” The other day while I was studying at the kitchen table, one of the little buggers bumped up against my bare foot. That was enough. I got a paper towel to “wipe the floor with him,” certainly metaphorically and possibly literally. I folded the paper towel half. From the little guy’s perspective it must have seemed like a gargantuan sheet descending from the sky. But, this sheet is not the restful kind that makes dreams sweet and mornings pleasant. This is a shroud of terror to end the beetle’s existence.

    As the double-layer of paper towel is increasingly the only barrier between me and that shiny exoskeleton, I begin to feel a little uncomfortable. As I wrap my fingers around what is surely a beetle in survival mode, the power of my digits seem fatefully weighty. My fingers close tighter and tighter. A whisper of a crunch halts the advance. There, tidily wrapped up for eternal slumber, the dead beetles gets dumped into the garbage can.

    This exercise of power over another living thing often causes me a nihilistic fit. Fair or not, right of wrong, I have the ability to destroy another life. My actions will have eternal consequences. This beetle will no longer exist. The disproportionality between the act (squishing) and the consequences (non-existence) usually makes me feel unsettled. Usually. Earlier tonight I had a much difference experience.

    My general disdain for all creatures Blattidae has been well documented here in the Xangas. It’s no secret that cockroaches make my blood boil. Simply put, I hate them. They make me angry. When I see one in my home I just. feel. dirty. Like some sort of crack-stitute surviving in a dilapidated structure with no other option but to embrace the surroundings and all the arthropods that come with it.  Well, that’s not me. I am no crack-stitute. Accordingly, when I saw an American cockroach crawling with its tiny little hairs-for-feet all up on the mini blinds in my kitchen, something inside me flipped.

    I should remind you: where I live, we have several different kinds of cockroaches–two of which can grow to more than three inches or so long. It takes a different kind of energy to battle this kind of tiny monster. They’re more resilient than their smaller counterparts, and they seem faster since their longer legs can cover more ground more quickly. And the bigger ones will fly in desperate–and sometimes successful–attempt to save their lives. Seeing the chaos and flutter on the wings of such a disgusting creature creates a memory not easily forgotten.

    So, the stage was set. My American friend covered in his pre-historic armor. I armed with a roll of newspaper. As far as terrain, he clearly had the upper hand: not only was he in a position with lots of nooks and crannies where he could squish and squeeze himself, he was more than 2/3 up the wall. If he took flight, he likely would land outside my reach faster than I could react. So, my first move had to get him to an open space.

    The first flick of my roll failed. The roach scrambled behind the mini blind, which I quickly pulled open. The roach was caught off guard and missed his landing. This was his fatal error. He landed on the window sill, before he had a chance to crawl back through whatever crevice whence he came, I flicked him to the kitchen floor.

    The first blow from my newspaper merely stunned him. After a period of vibration that lasted no more than a split-second, he suffered the second blow. As I raised the newspaper, I lifted up legs and smears of cream-colored roach guts with it. Most of the body lied on the floor, held there by what was once held inside. The newspaper came down again, again, again. The roach was dead, but I wasn’t satisfied.

    Instead of the beetle scenario, the cockroach stirred up a much different set of emotions. I felt the need to kill. Maybe the difference is in a squeeze in contrast to a whack. Maybe it’s about the sense of standoff between man and beast. I don’t know. In the first circumstance I was a little sadder after the ordeal. In the second, I was energized.

    Killing an insect should be as mundane as it sounds. But, here, there was more at work. My brain has constructed very different responses to what is essentially the same thing: ending a bug. This baffles me. I wonder how many other feelings my brain-filter distorts?

    What about you? Do you ever react in dramatically different ways to essentially the same scenario?

  • Il a fait longtemps…

    …mais, maintenant j’ai l’opportunite de m’exprimer comme je dois…


    I have nothing profound or interesting to share, so here’s a spontaneous collection of Friday tidbits:

    This afternoon I found myself rather down without explanation. It’s not even that time of the month! (FYI: It’s never that time of the month, since I don’t have the right equipment (FYI: when I say “equipment” I mean ovaries, a uterus, and the whole bit (FYI: I don’t have the right equipment because I’m male (FYI: this ever-developing parenthetical is an attempt at an absurdist-type joke (Get it?)))).

    Before my negotiations class, I wrote on the board: “An obscene and offensive comment.” Nobody seemed to get it.

    I made a really good gazpacho Andaluz to go with my pizza, beer, and salad tonight. #stilleatsalone

    My youngest brother has really long hair. There is a big part of me that wants me to let my hair grow out just to out “do” him.

    A couple weeks ago, Professor Bird (named change for privacy) called on me in class. I didn’t do well–I missed the point of the case (we were supposed to see that the standard for getting a jury trial despite a waiver is really the same in civil and criminal courts, but I read it as a pathway for getting a jury trial even when a lawyer messes up). ANYWAY, I needed to unwind from the week, so I went to see “The Heat,” but I snuck some pocket shots into the movies with me. After I had about two “dranks” that I mixed with my over-priced soda, I saw Professor Bird and his wife walking up the aisle to take their seats at the movie. For one, you don’t want to see your PC professor at the movies. For two, you don’t want your PC professor to know that you sneak alcohol into the movies. For three, I had performed badly that day. For four, you don’t want to see your PC professor at the movies. I was waiting to be assigned a memo after the movie that discussed all the Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendment  (and possibly 14th due-process) violations that Melissa McCarthy’s character committed during the course of the movie. Luckily, that didn’t happen.

    I bought an orchid on clearance a couple weeks ago. The first bud has started to open. It should be fully open tomorrow afternoon. #goodinvestment

    My life is frightfully boring right…you know, apart from the constant fear. #joysofpracticecourt

    I think I’m going to apply for a position at the UN. If anyone knows anyone in either New York or Geneva who works for the UN, tell them what a wonderful person I am AND that I would be a great asset at the UN.

    Sometimes I feel like I was more of a grownup when I was 20 than I am now. Sometimes I feel like if I went back to talk to my 15-year-old self, he would be disappointed with me. Actually, I’m certain he would be.

    I’ve decided children should be taxed. That is, there should tax liability on parents for having children–probably tiered to income. I also believe that no one under 18 should have to pay income taxes.

    I found a recliner that I really liked that was priced well on Craigslist. Unfortunately, I’m too neurotic to make the call to see if it’s still available.

    Lately, I’ve been fascinated by my ability to believe things that I know are objectively not true. If only I had the clarity of perspective of the guano collector from Lord Jim!

    I don’t know how I feel about Xanga possibly shutting down. On the one hand, this has been an important place for me. On another, I feel like leaning here in some way keeps me stunted.