Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm Not Bad...I'm Just Drawn That Way

Last weekend was Fall Break, and while it was super nice to go home, I am paying the price for it now. It isn't that I am behind. I've still gotten a full draft of my memo (Due Monday) completed and my reading done for every class. The problem is that I am no longer ahead and reading and such. I'm not used to reading for a class the night before, and with this memo sucking up every spare moment of my life, it has been difficult to find time to catch up to that place I want to be.

Mental note - some work is still required when you go home for break! But, it was still nice to relax.

The only other thing to talk about is the fact that Halloween is next weekend, and I am actually really excited this year. I'll be attending the Delts Halloween Party, and I actually bought a costume. Yes, I know I shouldn't have spent the money, but I figure it is more of an investment since I can promise I'll be wearing it for years to come. After all, what Halloween Part is complete without a Jessica Rabbit? And, I just really wanted to be Jessica Rabbit for Halloween. What self-respecting ginger would I be if I didn't pay homage to one of the most iconic redheads in cinema?

It should be a lot of fun!

Things at law school have been hard to far, but great. Now that we are getting things like midterms back with shadow grades, I feel a little better about the work I have been doing, as it seems I'm understanding the material enough to do fairly well on practice exams. Let's hope that trend continues as things heat up for the end of the semester!

Speaking of heating up, I should get to work on these research problems.

Til next time!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Late Update

I apologize for not posting as frequently as I promised. Know that every week I have had the intention of posting, but I want to make sure that it is things people will actually care about. To that end, my life has been pretty boring lately, and I figured no one would care about the daily life of a 6-foot tell, redheaded law student. Considering the pestering of some friends, I was wrong.

The most significant thing that's happened to me over the last few weeks is that I successfully turned in my first memo, got it back, and did rather well on it. Percentage-wise, it was a 90%, though we don't know what the curve is going to be yet. Hopefully I did well enough to keep my A! Lord knows I worked hard enough, cried long enough and sweated profusely enough to warrant such a mark. That was a tad over-exaggerated, but you know what I mean.

Now that we are working on our second memos, which are significantly more challenging than the first, it is time for the agony to start all over again. I spent the weekend wading through three different cases in my attempt to synthesize a rule, and just got out of my conference with my professor to discuss it. She always seems helpful when I go in to talk to her, but then I sit down later and realize she didn't really tell me anything. Hopefully that works out for me this time as well as it did last time.

This Thursday I get to go home for the first time since law school has started, and I have to say that I am quite excited about it. I am going to have a lot of work to take with me between getting a functioning draft of my memo out by the following Tuesday and working through our LexisNexis training assignment (which keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the list), but seeing my family and that man of mine will be worth it. The 6-hour drive on the other hand, might not. Focus on the light at the end of the tunnel I suppose!

It's weird to think that we're half-way done with the semester already. People are starting to talk about finals, I have a midterm to do tonight, and just the thought of law school finals puts a knot in my stomach. It doesn't help when you're surrounded by intelligent people that seem to have it all figured out. You have to tell yourself that they don't - that they are just as confused and freaked out about it all as you are, but at the end of the day, your perceptions are that they go home and breeze through their reading while you're drowning in a sea of Torts with no foreseeable means of escape. It's not true - I got into law school because I am intelligent, and everything is going to be fine. We'll see how long that mantra lasts. haha.

The last thing I have to say is that I celebrated my 5-year anniversary with my boyfriend back on the 5th. It sucked that we couldn't physically be together for it, but we got to video chat for awhile, and that was really nice. Lord knows it hasn't all been a walk in the park, but for the most part I have more good feelings than bad, and I couldn't imagine my life without Larry at the moment. Seeing him this weekend is going to make it all worthwhile. :)

Signing off!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I made it...

...through the worst week of law school so far. It wasn't necessarily that many horrible things happened, but more that there was a lot going on that all stressed me out. For one, we had a make up class for Civil Procedure, so instead of the normal 3 class periods a week, we had 4. While I love our professor (who always matches the colors of his powerpoints to his suit and tie for the day), that is just a lot of jurisdictional issues. Too much time with jurisdictional issues.

Then, we had a HORRIBLE research assignment with digests. While trying to follow my T.A.'s instructions, it took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete 1 section. When I finally gave up trying to follow his outline and just did it my own way, I got the correct answer in 10...that was a lot of wasted time I just didn't have.

The worst thing about it all was that we had our first legal memo due this morning. Now that it is turned in, I find myself elated, but it was one of the more challenging 7-page papers I have ever had to write. I think the hardest part of it all was that I am so used to being really confident about my writing, and I just didn't feel that way about this one.

I spent so much time on it before Wednesday of last week, when I decided to re-write 4 of the 6 pages I had already written because it was just not going in the right direction. At the end of the day, though, I am happy with it, and am definitely anxious to get it back to see if I did everything right. Until then, I'll enjoy the 24-hour break before our next memo assignment is given to us.

At least I had a good weekend though. I try to spend my weekends (at least Friday night and Saturday) doing fun things with some homework thrown in there somewhere. Well, I actually got my memo edited and finished my reading pretty much through Wednesday, with the exception of Torts. I also found out that Larry got a job, and starts today! I am so happy for him - it certainly isn't the best job, but at least now it takes some of the stress off and he can focus on getting back in shcool.

To top it all off, I got to watch possibly one of the greatest movies of all time: Sharktopus.

I know what you're thinking - sounds like some crappy SyFy Original Movie, right? Well, that is true. Never the less, you should check out the trailer before coming to any snap judgments. If this movie doesn't win any awards in the special effects department...I'll just be shocked.

That good weekend is turning into a good day at least, as I got my shepardizing assignment back (which I thought I bombed) and actually did REALLY well on it. Happy day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

5 Things I've Learned About Law School in 4 Weeks.

Alright, I know I promised posts on Saturdays, but that is proven more difficult that I originally thought. Still, I am attempting to be weekly. Take what you can get, people!

Tomorrow will mark the end of my fourth week of law school at Drake University. Crazy! It is always amazing to me how it has already been four weeks, but at the same time I find myself thinking, "Wait. It's only been four weeks?!" All joking aside, I feel like I have finally fallen into that law school groove, complete with lack of motivation by the time Thursday comes along. Thank god we're done by 2!

This week, I thought I would offer the top lessons I've learned since coming to law school. Note, they are in no particular order, just some musings from a sleep-deprived mind.

1) Don't try to do work with the iTunes visualizer on in the background. On the one hand it blocks the rest of the screen from view, forcing me to not look at Facebook and turn my attention to the words on the page. Of course, my gaze doesn't stay down for long. This visualizer is mesmerizing, and I love it! Still, not necessarily conducive to a distraction-free working environment.

2) Read BEFORE class. I, of course, always make sure to get my reading done at least the night before, but this warning is more for others. If the other students in your class can tell that you didn't read the case, or you weren't paying attention when you read the case, you better be sure that the professor knows that as well. Cold calling is a horrific thing, but it is even more awful (and awkward for your classmates) when we all have to wait while you flip through the book, searching for that one, unhighlighted sentence.

3) Start a Classical Music Playlist. I have had one for a long time, but you better believe that it has gotten quite the workout over the past few weeks. If you're anything like me, it is hard to focus on reading in a completely quiet room -- all the ambient noise of the parking lot outside, the buzzing of the desk lamp and ever single bump from the hallway just drives me crazy. With the classical music, the atmosphere is just more welcoming and allows me to focus even better on that brief that has to get done tonight.

4) Spend the first few days/weeks trying to find that one place in the Library quiet enough for you to actually be productive between classes. This one can be tricky, and quite frustrating. I don't know if it is like this at all law school libraries, but Opperman is very beautiful, but not necessarily well designed. Marble floors and stairs look really nice, but women in heels create echos that can be heard throughout the entire floor.

It took me awhile to find my one place in the library, far enough from the stairs that the clicks of heels are dulled enough to let me focus, and there is a clock there. Of course, there is squeaky shoe kid, but I find that he is not there as often as I am. I guess there are still some powers on my side.

5) Lastly, don't do anything work-related on Friday nights. By the time I have had a whole week of not turning my brain off, it is nice to lay back on Fridays, watch a movie or two and just veg. Of course, going out with friends is nice too, but if you're like me money can be a little tight. Invite them up for a movie or something! It is good to take a night off, get a good night's rest (turn off that alarm!) and start fresh on Saturday with some smaller tasks. Sunday can be the work day, if it is still necessary. And, if it isn't, then you don't have nearly as many reading assignments as I have.

So, that's about it for the time being. As my first semester of law school progresses, I'll make sure to mention more nuggets of wisdom for your reading pleasure. If there is anything you're specifically wandering about (not that I'd expect anyone reading this to consider me a law school authority), feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me, and I'll make a mention of it.

Until next time!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Dear Mr. Squeaky Shoe Man...

Why must you sit at the table behind me? I'm sitting here, trying to plow through the remainder of my Civil Procedure cases for the week, and all I can think about is the piercing squeal of rubber being ground against waxed wood as your leg jiggles almost uncontrollably. Never did I think that the law library would be home to your negligence. I simply came here for peace and quiet between classes so that I can actually get some sleep tonight, but it seems you've foiled my plans.

I'd be tempted to think that you just can't hear the pain you're causing my ears and brain because of the headphones in your ears. But that just can't be right, since I have headphones on also, and it clearly isn't stopping the scream from tingling my spine with each upstroke and down.

Please Mr. leg jiggling, squeaky shoe man...for the love of all that is holy. Put your leg to rest! Let the muscles relax, let your shoes experience the joy that comes with stability! I beg of you...

This is just adding to a list of things that are making this day just "one of those days." This morning I woke up and tried to put my shirt on with the hanger still inside. Then I had to change shirts because I realized that it is only 57 degrees out this morning. Wednesdays were always unpleasant for me, but now they are turning into a whole new monster entirely. 4 core classes means 7 rather heavy textbooks to carry in my backpack, and 4 folders to jam into my computer bag with my laptop. It also means a headache for the hour between contracts and torts. It makes sense that I would encounter Mr. Squeaky Shoes on this day of woe...Woeful Wednesday. That's what I'll call it.

Don't be concerned. Law school really is going great! I am enjoying most of my classes, and had a great weekend to go off of. Wednesdays just bring me down, and it seems that this was is destined to go down in my history of bad Wednesdays. At least I am starting to get involved on campus, having already joined the Drake Law Women and the Intellectual Property Law Society. Tonight is the meeting for the Delts law fraternity, which is bribing us with free pizza, and tomorrow night is the International Law Society social, which promises to be a lot of fun.

What's that? Oh, the sweet sound of silence. The squeaking has stopped! What a happy occasion.


Oh started again.

I guess I should do something about this, shouldn't I?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Law School: Week 1

Wow, it's amazing how time flies when you're starting law school. While this first week at Drake seemed like it went by really quickly, at the same time it seems like I've already been in school for much longer than 1 week. I keep getting those questions from friends and family as to how it went, and I have to say that it was all fine. The classes are great, I've already started getting to know some really awesome people, and it's pretty easy for me to know which professors I am going to like and which ones are just going to confuse me on a weekly basis.

By far, my favorite professor is for my Torts class. I think the reason for that is that he cuts through the crap in cases and tells us exactly what we need to know. He doesn't sit there and "milk the mice" as he repeats in class. If you haven't heard that phrase before, don't worry. I hadn't either. Basically, it means don't try to make some thing substantial out of something small -- stick to the main issue of the case and then move on to the next one. While in some classes we take 2 or even 3 class periods on one case, we get through 4 or even 5 cases a class in Torts. I like that.

He also talks about strange news stories, which are one of my favorite things. There is one specific example I have in mind. I think I'll try a Dane-Cookish explanation of this. We'll start with what he said, and then work backwards to figure out what exactly was going on to bring this comment about.

"Why don't you wrap your lips around the barrel of this shotgun, Punk."

Let's go back, let's go back.

Recently, we have been discussing the law around intentional torts, that is infractions by one individual against another individual where they intended to do something. Our specific topic of the day was false imprisonment charges.

After a class going through the actual cases in the casebook, Professor Albert pulls out a manila folder of newspaper clippings. As he is going through the stories, all news stories about false imprisonment cases, I begin to see a trend in them -- they all are regarding a store called Manards.

In one particularly incredulous story, a man was detained at a Manards for being accused of stealing a 19 cent nail he brought into the store with him to match the nails be was purchasing with, since he needed them to match for the same project. When he refused to sign an admission of stealing and a waiver of liabilities form, Manards called the cops.

When the cops came, they refused to arrest this gentlemen, and went out the back entrance. On the way to his squad care, a Manards security officer pursues the cop and tells him that the cop needs to open the trunk to make sure that he didn't steal anything while he was in the store. THE TRUNK OF HIS SQUAD CAR!

Damned if the cop didn't do it.

So, after he tells us this story, my professor shook his fist in anger, brandishing the newspaper clipping towards a wall. He said:

"Is this the new pecking order? Manards security officers, then state troopers? I mean, with a shotgun and a German Shepard sitting in the front seat, this security officer has the AUDACITY to inspect the trunk and make sure that this officer isn't stealing anything after refusing to arrest a man for a 19 cent nail he didn't steal? Well, I tell ya, I know what my response would be."

He dropped his arm, setting the clipping back in the folder as he turned, all in silence. Looking back up at us, his face dead-set in seriousness, he spoke in a lowered voice.

"Why don't you wrap your lips around the barrel of this shotgun, punk."

Who knew law school could be so entertaining?

On a more administrative note, now that I have my schedule I have decided that Saturday is going to be by blog post day, so expect a weekly Ginger Snap on Saturday nights!

Night all!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Orientation - Day 1

Oh so much to talk about while combating the exhaustion that follows a full day of lectures and information. I suppose I should start chronologically, because it has certainly been a full schedule.

I woke up this morning with the right side of my upper lip so swollen it covered that corner of my bottom lip completely. Without getting too graphic and grossing people out, I think it was a zit that I popped before it was quite ready. Of course with orientation starting today -- the first day I get to meet the rest of my class and start this new journey, I guess I just got a little antsy. Anyways, what response did this freshly independent 22-year-old law student have?

I did what any self-respecting independent person does - I called my mommy.

Long story short, the swelling is now down, and aside from a little scab that I wish would do away, my face no longer looks like I belong in a freakshow. Thanks to some fancy maneuvering with a hit towel and an ice cube, I don't think any of my classmates think I am a deformed, escaped circus-freak. At least not from my physical appearance, but we'll save that for another day.

Starting at 8:30 this morning, I sat in one lecture after another, mostly about what we can expect in law school. There were 2 lectures (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) that were actual classes, which I just finished a 73 page reading assignment for. "Introduction to Law," as it turns out, is apparently a boot camp to show us what an actual class will be like. It is the first day of orientation and this professor has no problem calling people out by name to explain the facts of the cases we read, some of which were from the 1800's and written in some bizarre English I wish we had a whole semester to learn how to read.

We also had a lecture on how to case brief. I know that everyone says it becomes second nature at some point in your law school career, but I have to say that these scare the crap out of me. I'm sure a post will come in the future where I rant about the evil that is case briefs, though they are apparently a necessary evil. Time will tell.

Tomorrow we have another Introduction to Law lecture, then I get to go on a tour of the Iowa State Court House, which will be really cool. More lectures in the afternoon, then a reception where I can mingle with more of my classmates. The ones I have met so far as really interesting! There are so many backgrounds and facts about people that fascinate me - this is going to be a lot of fun getting to know these people over the next 3 years. Let's hope they are as excited to meet me as I am to meet them!

More to come soon - my calendar is already starting to fill up as more of my syllabi trickle into my hands, so I'll probably set one night aside a week for Ginger Snap posts. That day will be determined in the next few weeks.

Until next time!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Preparing for the Dive

Well, I am moved in, have officially purchased all of my books, and am currently working on the reading we have due for orientation. I have to think that this is going to be a recurring feeling over the next three years, but I got to Drake University feeling rather prepared. The Admissions office e-mailed us a few weeks ago explaining that there was a reading assignment for Orientation, which is on Thursday, with a link to one case. No problem - I read the case while I was on vacation with plans to review it before orientation begins on Thursday. I felt ahead of the game.

Unfortunately, I went to the bookstore to pick up my last few books, only to discover that there is a 73 page packet that we have to read before Thursday. In the words of Karen, the woman that runs the bookstore, "if you don't do the reading, this professor will murder you." Scary.

Anyways, I am glad that I got here as early as I did, because this is a pretty dense packet we have to get through. Trying to read it in one night would be a lot worse than it already is. The first article is about why people distrust lawyers, and whether it is actually important to improve the image of the lawyer amongst laypeople. Very interesting stuff. Let's hope the cases towards the end are as interesting as this original article!

More about the apartment will come in another post. My new roommate just arrived earlier this afternoon, and she and her boyfriend are still in the process of unpacking. Once we have a chance to look at the apartment as a whole and get the things we are missing, I'll post some pictures of what my life at law school is going to be nice for the next 10 months.

Until then, if you have any advice for a new law student, I am more than willing to listen! I'll take whatever I can get!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Moving Day Approacheth

Wednesday was my last day at Affinity Law Group for the summer, ending another great summer of experiences that are going to help me as I embark on the path of law school. This summer was awesome in that I got to do a lot more "lawyerly" things, including drafting more complex documents and working on some marketing things for the firm that have been a great experience. I think that these experiences are going to really come in handy as I embark on the next stage of my career. After all, I am moving to law school day after tomorrow, and that will no doubt be the start of many new changes and adventures in my life.

As I mentioned earlier, Sunday is moving day, and there is so much I have to get done before then! It always amazing me how much stuff I have when I go to pack it. Yesterday I managed to get my DVDs and DVD racks packed, most of my office supplies, and my shoes. That means I have kitchen stuff, clothing and furniture to pack up and then I am good to go.

Time is a bit of an issue, because today is my 22nd birthday, which means that I have birthday festivities to attend to. I like to think that this is a good pay off for all the hard work I have put in, and it is nice to have a couple days of fun despite the stress that packing has had.

Something else that is nice is that I got my schedule for the fall last night. It is going to be a lot of work, but I am excited to get started. I think I am ready for the challenge, and while I am only enrolled in 14 credit hours, I am sure that is going to be a lot for me to handle this first semester. One piece of advice that I got from the law firm is that you have to remember that it is a lot of work, but you have to make time to have some fun, otherwise it won't be nearly as enjoyable. I am sure the advice all the lawyers at Affinity gave me will come in handy as I face the challenges ahead.

Anyways, my next post will probably be after the move, and I will make sure to let everyone know how it goes! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Explanation of my Absence

My apologies for the recent lack of ginger snaps. Vacation was great, but then I had to get right back into work, which has been going great but really busy, and now there are tons of preparations to make for moving in just under a week and a half.

One of the biggest things that has happened is that I purchased most of my law school textbooks. Buying what I could used, and compensating for the cheapest price between Amazon or, I have already spent over $770.00, and I still have 3 books to purchase once I get to the school. On Amazon, one of those books alone was $178.00, and I would have gone ahead and gotten it if it wasn't out of stock. Conceivably, this expense could cost me upwards of $1,000. Commence seizure.

Work has been going really well. I've been able to do some really cool things lately, including drafting my first contract. I also got to sit in on my parent's estate planning consultation this morning, which was really cool to see. It was great to listen in on the questions that were asked, and to see how the meeting was handled when dealing with such sensitive material. All in all, this summer has been a really great learning experience for me, and I am sure that it will do nothing but help me when law school actually starts.

It is getting really close to that time to make the big move, and I am both nervous and excited about it. More excited than nervous. I've been in contact with my future roomie, and she seems really sweet. Apparently, she likes to color coordinate things according to our conversation about what we will be bringing to the apartment, and from that I think we will get along just fine.

Anyways, I know it isn't exactly the greatest excuse, but there has been so much going on that I haven't had much time to sit down and write these kinds of posts up. Rest assured there will be more information on the move and starting law school in the near future. I'll be moving to Des Moines on August 15th, so expect more interesting tid bits from my life as that date nears.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Random Life Update

There have been a lot of things going on in my life as of late, and since I am currently in a van with 5 other people (my family and my awesome college roomie), now seems like the right time to get it all out in the open before I drop off the radar for a week.

The most significant update is that I have sent in my second seat deposit for Drake, so I am now officially enrolled for the fall semester. I even got a confirmation e-mail explaining all the things I have to do before orientation on August 19th and 20th. This includes getting ready to buy books, purchasing a response clicker and licensing fee, getting ready to pay for parking and looking over the orientation schedule, while looks to be a little packed. There is also some summer reading apparently, so I better get on that! Of course, I need to find the assignment first.

Work at the law firm has been going well, especially in the sense that I have been doing some really interesting work. Now that my official title is "law clerk," I have been doing more lawyerly things, and am enjoying every second of it. It is nice to work in a place where I feel like I am learning useful skills for my own future career while at the some time contributing to the success of the company. The fact that I am also working on some marketing stuff for them as well, meaning I get to use my college major, also adds to the enjoyment I have been getting.

I guess the last real update is that I am on my way to a week-long cruise with my family and best friend! Undoubtedly, I will come back with some interesting stories and pictures to share. Right now we are driving down to Florida, where we will get on the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas. This is not my first cruise with Royal Caribbean, which is really good for my younger brother and sister, but the fact that I get to share it with a friend will make this cruise one for the record books!

Anyways, when I get back on the 19th, I will make sure to post something about the cruise, give my own review of food, fun and ports. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Today is a Momentous Day...

I just paid off my credit card bill.

For those that do not now me, this is not necessarily the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but it is a big deal! I am a 22 year-old college student, heading into law school with 0 credit card debt. Yay me!

Aside from the obvious burden this lifts from my shoulders financially, the reason for this minor financial advantage/immediate setback came from an article I was reading that outlined a list of things that would help keep your debt down in law school. Most of them were pretty obvious, but some of them were really good advice on what kinds of things are better to buy used than new (aside from books, obviously), or how to cut down on living costs.

All in all, I hope this is the first step towards getting out of law school with a reasonable amount of debt that can be repaid before I die. For those are are interested, I got this article and a lot of other ones by following @AttorneyJobs on Twitter. A link to the article is provided below.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

29 Ways to Minimize Your Law School Debt

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Eclipse Day" Protest

I may very well be the only person on the planet that has not read the Twilight series, or seen any of the movies. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I have a hard time understanding the hype around the series, especially the movies, which I have heard are not that good. Today is the premiere of the latest Twilight fiasco, Eclipse, and true to form, "Twihards" are tweeting in the masses about the premiere and how great it is. One woman even referred to today as "Eclipse Day." Dear God, I hope not.

I support everyone's right to love something - shoot, I am super excited about the new Harry Potter movie - but to dub a day for the premiere of a vampire film? I think there are more important considerations that need to be acknowledged. Therefore, this post is going to be a little different in the sense that it will have nothing to do with law school. Instead, I am dedicating this post to finding 5 things more important than Twilight: Eclipse, which quite frankly was not that hard. It took all of 10 minutes.

1. Unemployment - This one holds a special place in my heart as someone very close to me is unemployed. In the worst job market most of us have ever faced, things are more dire than ever when it comes to employment. The linked article describes the newest development in the plight of unemployed - the expiration of unemployment benefits. While I am fortuante enough to continue my education and avoid the job market for just a little longer, this article highlights the challenges of those still seeking work, and is clearly more important than glittering vampires.

2. Hurricane Alex - The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is already hailed as the "worst environmental disaster our nation has faced." For weeks we have been following the news as story after story breaks regarding the status of the spill, and how soon it is going to be over. Concerns over the effects a hurricane would have on the spill were thrown around, but now it seems that we will find out for real. While the hurricane is heading towards the Mexico and Texas coasts, the linked article talks about the complications Alex is causing for the spill clean up efforts. It is safe to say that this disaster is far from over, and more of a concern.

3. Missing Oregon Boy - A story that I have been following with great concern is the disappearance of Kyron Horman, a 7 year-old Oregon boy. He was last seen walking down the hallway to his second grade classroom - he never made it to class. While I have no personal connection to this boy, there is something about this story that just tugs at my heartstrings. I could not imagine taking my child to school and watching them walk away, just to never see them again. The saddest part is that there are so many children that go missing without a trace, some of which are never found. Maybe some of the attention should go from Eclipse to remembering and praying for children like Kyron and their families.

4. Murder - If you have not been following the Joran van der Sloot case, then you are missing out on one of the most talked about men of the moment. He was the lead suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba 5 years ago, and has now been arrested and charged with the murder of a 21 year-old girl in Peru.

I don't want to turn this into a political rant as to whether or not I think he is guilty, but I definitely see a pattern emerging from him where he confesses to something, takes it back, and then tries to get the sympathy vote by saying he was coerced and his rights were violated. The point is that this is just one example of the deaths that happen on a daily basis, with one person extinguishing the life of another. Again, our time might be better spent praying for the victims and their families rather than wondering how the birth scene is going to look.

5. Brazil Floods - Last, but certainly not least, attention should be given to the various natural disasters that plague different parts of the world. Whether we can blame the media attention, or if there really are aninflux of disasters occurring recently, I don't know, but what I do know is that there a thousands of people affected by the floods in Brazil as I type this post. The linked story gives some staggering numbers as to the amount of people displaced from their homes, and the hundreds of people that are still missing.

It is by no means an extensive list, but it was pretty easy to come up with a list of things that deserve more attention than the Eclipse premiere is receiving. Am I advocating that no one have fun with anything again? Absolutely not. But, come on people. There is much more going on today that should prevent June 30, 2010 from becoming known as "Eclipse Day."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Adjustment Issues

One of the things that I have been dealing with a lot is the transition from a student that is completely independent to living at home again and having to deal with the younger siblings. I am the oldest of 3 for those that did not know, and while I get along with my siblings there are often conflicts that arise with my 16 year-old sister. It is easy to look at the issues that arise and completely blame them on her, and while she is not without her share of the blame, I am realizing that a lot of the issue comes from me not wanting to give up the things I am used to despite the changing dynamics of our family. This, unfortunately, rears it's head in the most minute places.

For example, now that she is driving and has her own car, even though it is not yet drivable until she gets insurance, it is hard for me to give up my parking spot in the driveway. In my mind, no one wants their car parked in the street for fear that it will get hit, and I find that I am no exception. However, after weeks of arguing with my sister, I came to a realization that it is not right of me to ask for the parking spot when I spend the majority of my time away from home as it is.

If I were coming home to stay for an extended period of time, it would all be different, but with me leaving to start law school in a mere 10 weeks, short-term adjustments have to be made on both ends. While her favorite phrase to use when I am around is "yea, well you don't even live here," might sting, it doesn't do any good to snap back with a comment that will ultimately get me nowhere.

The truth of the matter is that I will be going to Iowa in a few short weeks, and then we can go back to not speaking unless I am home for break. In a year, she will be getting ready to leave for college as well, and I hope that at that time we can start to develop more of that sisterly bond that is not based on competition and angst, but instead on genuine want to talk and be around each other. Everyone says that it will come one day, but I think that it has started to edge the process along. As long as I am not in possession of something that I paid for, but my sister wants, I think we are making process.

The ultimate point of this post is to tell graduating and graduated students that have to live at home until the next phase of their life that there are bound to be conflicts that arise between you and the other members of your family. It is easy to take the defensive and maintain that the problem is not with you, but just as you have changed in the time you have been gone, your family members have changed as well.

Have you had something similar to this happen? If so, how did you deal with it?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

You never know when your degree will come in handy...

So, it is nothing new that I am going to law school in the fall. With 2 degrees in public relations and psychology, many have questioned my choice, particularly now that I am working in a law firm for the summer as a "law clerk". To be honest, I was starting to question the relevance of my degree choices as well, thinking that I should have gone with the more traditional political science or english degree, but it was not until this week that everything was justified.

Affinity Law Group has brought on a new attorney, which we are all very excited about. With this comes a lot if media coverage in the local business community, especially with how successful the law firm has become in its short 3 year lifespan. This last week I not only worked on a press release for the firm, announcing the new attorney, but I am also working with him on his social media presence on Linked In and Plaxo, among other sites.

I think this goes to show that no matter what your majors are, there is plenty of overlap no matter what field you go in to. I have to say that I've enjoyed bringing my degree into my new career path, and that I got validation my last 4 years of hard work were not wasted as I head into the next chapter of my academic career.

The moral of the story? If you're thinking of going into law, don't be afraid to major in something that interests you! You never know where the overlap will come in to play, and chances are that there is a niche somewhere that someone is looking to fill - they might just be looking for someone with your unique combination of skill sets!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Don't let money get you down...

Money is not a new concern when it comes to the life of a student. Heck, for the last few weeks of school, most of us start getting concerned with how we are going to pay for our student loans, where our next paycheck is going to come from, and how much money we think we are going to get from distant relatives for graduation. Still, it has hard not to become concerned about money when the prospect of not having it is constantly looming on the Horizon.

I suppose I should preface this by informing everyone that I have accepted admission to Drake University Law School, and put a down payment on an apartment, so I will have somewhere to live when I start in 11 weeks. Overall, it was a relatively expensive, yet productive trip, and I have to say that the school itself is pretty nice. While I know that it is a good investment in the future, as soon as they started going through the tuition prices, I have to say it was more than a little daunting.

While I am lucky enough to have family members that are able and willing to help me out with some of the tuition prices and rent, but that doesn't mean I'm home free. I did some basic budgeting yesterday, and while it is possible for me to make enough at the law firm over the next few weeks to live like a poor person for the next year, the prospect of paying all my bills, furnishing the basics of my new apartment, having enough for textbooks and getting to buy enough groceries is none-the-less daunting.

Still, I think the one thing that keeps me going on this ambitious career path is the idea that in the long run, it will all be worth it. Making a few cutbacks might be what is necessary to realize my desire to become an intellectual property attorney, plus it will be good for me to learn what living on a budget is like - very tight budget, granted. At the end of the day; however, it is important not to let financials keep you from pursuing something that you really want to do. As my father always says: "10 years from now, you won't even remember what you didn't have while working towards something you want to do."

So, as daunting as law school is going to be, it is something that I have to do. Will it be expensive? Heck yes. Will I have to make some sacrifices to make it possible? Undoubtedly.

Will it be worth it in the end? Absolutely.

Now, it is just a matter of working my butt off over the next few weeks to lessen the blow as much as possible. Do you have any money-saving tips? Post a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

iPad Justification

It's sleek. It's portable. It's sexy. It's the iPad.

Say what you want about the name, but you have to admit that there are features of this new device that are just plain cool. Those that know me well, know that I have a bit of a weakness when it comes to Apple products. I own an iPod video (yes, the one before touch screen), and have owned mac computers since I graduated high school and my dad asked if I wanted a Dell or a Mac. When people ask me about what kind of computer they should get, I always tell them how happy I am with my apple products, and while I have had my share of stories regarding customer service, I always walk away a happy Mac customer. Therefore, when I first heard about the iPad, I was excited about it, despite flack from many critics about the name and criticisms about being an over-sized iPod Touch.

To set the record straight, I am not the owner of an iPhone or an iPod Touch, so it is not like I would be replacing a smaller device with a comparatively steroid-pumped cousin. Furthermore, I completely acknowledge that this device is an indulgent want, not a pressing need, but none-the-less, there are practical uses for it. What this is alluding to is that I have thought a lot about this purchase, and am fully aware of the pros and cons.

At the time I informed my dad that this is what I want for my birthday (which is in August), he laughed and asked what the heck I needed one of those for since I already have a Macbook Pro laptop. At the time (this was several weeks ago) there was no answer I could give him over the phone that accurately portrayed the logical reasoning behind why a device of this nature would be beneficial to me. Why I have to justify my choices in birthday presents is really beyond me, but because of my father's nature, I took this as more of a challenge than an instant defeat.

I had to start with my argument. My father is a very logical man, with a high respect for education. When I turned him loose with a camera for my college graduation, we walked away with almost 150 pictures of a 2 hour event. When I got into law school, he was the first one to have me read the acceptance letter out loud, and then have me sit in his den with him for the next 2 hours while he looked at the website and pulled out a list of things that we needed to ask when we went down for a visit. Therefore, my plan of attack was to situate the device as a positive for me as a student and future attorney at law, and all my research has been geared around this angle. To all you other students out there, potentially in the same situation I am in, I hope that I can consolidate your own research into this one-stop-shop - I live to serve.

Now, it was down to the research. Since my last post, I've been googling and pouring through blogs to find information on the advantages of an iPad for student/graduate student use. It boils down to the following things, simplified in a numbered list.

1) Portability - Yes, laptop computers are portable as compared to the previous desktop. However, when moving from room to room, there is still the hassle of balancing the computer, opening it again, typing in the password and then only getting the 2 or 3 hours of battery life while you surf, type, chat or game. The iPad makes this one step simpler, by just picking up the device and walking from room to room, never losing browsing time if so required. Again, this comes from the indulgent-side of the argument -- it is nice to have the portability from room to room, but it is not an absolute necessity to daily function.

2) Media Consumption - This flows almost directly from portability. Now, at your fingertips, is a new world of information, some of which is available exclusively on the iPad. Many important newspapers, magazines, television stations and other media are developing, or have already developed, apps for the iPad. Some of these include: the Wallstreet Journal, ABC, NPR, CNN, Netflix, TIME Magazine, various fashion and entertainment publications, and many more.

The really cool thing about the iPad and these forums is the new capability to interaction. With the touch screen, there are new possibilities for direct interaction with media. The best example I can think of is the Alice in Wonderland app that I have heard so much about. It is a book with things to do on each page -- looks wildly fun! Here is a youtube video that demonstrates this: Alice in Wonderland App for the iPad.

Am I saying that this app in itself is good justification for a student or lawyer to own the iPad? Of course not. But, it is an example of the potential in store for browsing media (both print and online) with this device.

3) Terrific Reader - One of the things I kept finding repeated throughout my research was praise for the readability of the iPad. What I mean by this, is that it is apparently very easy to read things on the 9.5" screen - not only read, but annotate and mark-up documents with various apps designed for this very purpose. This got me thinking to one of the really great aspects of the iPad - the digital library. I love to read, and while there is nothing like having the paper and ink copy in hand, there are often days where I wish it was easier to look for a book on my shelf. Cue the digital age.

With the book store on the iPad organized the way I have seen, it seems a cinch to locate the book you want, and with the LED back lit screen, you could read for a while in a comfy environment. Would you be able to read for hours on the screen? Probably not. But in this day and age, I find myself reading sporadically through the day when I get a spare moment as opposed to curling up and spending hours engrossed in the written word.

In this section, too, should go a blurb about the possibilities for students that are associated with this. While things have certainly gone more digital in the last few years, there are still mounds of textbooks and readings that are assigned every week. Wouldn't it be marvelous if all these documents could be brought together in one device that students could use? Instead of having 5 monster textbooks for one semester, I could simply obtain digital copies of them and consolidate my bookshelf to make more room for other things. Not to mention, avoiding the back strain that comes from carrying those books around from class to class would be a bonus. Of course, more would have to be developed between app creators and textbook websites to make this a possibility, but with any luck, we will start to see more headway on this soon enough.

4) Apps for Students and Lawyers Alike - I figured that I would end this post by looking more specifically at the kinds of apps that are available on the iPad, which may boost productivity as a student or future lawyer (as the case may be). I figured that, if anything, these would be good indications of the benefits this device may have for you:
  • iWork Suite - This includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote. A word processor like Pages is apparently very functional, according to, and "permits productive work where a laptop wouldn't be available, practical or fun to have around." This could be ideal for a student in the school setting, as it allows the combination of productivity with portability. Yes, this app might cost a little extra at a whopping $30, but if you are going to use this device for something constructive, I feel that this might be just the necessityto justify this purchase.
  • Things - This is an organizer application, and it apparently works quite well for the iPad. Of course, for students and lawyers alike, it is important to have something to keep all your classes, assignments and meetings organized. Despite the little problems, this is yet another way to keep everything straight, which is important when things get as hectic as they can on a student schedule.
  • - Yes, it sounds stupid, but in the world of academia, there are bound to be words that you just don't know, especially in reading. With the ability to read a book on the iPad and look up words that you can add to your vocabulary, this would be a great device for any stage of the academic process.
  • Zosh - This is a document annotation application, allowing the user to view .doc, .pdf, .ppt, .tif documents and make your own notes on them, including signatures and text boxes. This can be very handy when reading documents for class, or even editing your own papers while moving around your domicile.

So, there we have it. My attempt at forming a coherent argument for why I should get an iPad for my birthday in August. Please keep in mind that this list is in no way exhaustive, and if you can think of anything else to add, please post a comment and be heard! We've got another 2 months to make this the best argument it can be!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Summer" in Full Swing

Wow, it has been awhile since I sat down to make a post. Sorry about that!

There have been some recent developments on the law school front. SLU called me earlier this week with an offer of admission for their accelerated part-time program for the fall. What would this entail? Well, basically, I would be part-time my first semester, full-time evening in the second semester, take one class during the summer, and then I would be regular full-time after that, still graduating in 3 years.

As excited as I was for the offer, I ended up turning it down this morning. The main reason was that I want to concentrate in intellectual property law, specifically trademark and copyright law. Drake has a pretty well-recognized program, and until yesterday, I was unaware that SLU even had a concentration in IP. In fact, they just got an IP program approved for this coming fall, but it is so new that they don't even have any materials printed for it. This, coupled with the fact that they wanted a decision within 24 hours, and I am not sure if I want to end up practicing in St. Louis or not, lead me to turn the offer down.

I still have not accepted the offer from Drake - my Dad and I are going to visit the campus a week from Monday, but unless I just absolutely hate it there, I plan on enrolling in the Fall 2010 law class at Drake University School of Law. Exciting, right?

Aside from making law school decisions, the only other thing that is really going on in my life is that I started work this past Monday. Even though I have been working at Affinity Law Group, LLC during breaks for the last 2 years, I am always ready to come back for more! Now that I am a law student, I am hoping that they are able to give me more work specifically in the law field, and that wish was granted when one of the attorneys asked me to do some case law research on common law trademark protections in Missouri. Sounds like a party, right? It's amazing how interesting case law can be, while at the same some infuriating when you cannot find a straightforward answer to a pretty simple question.

On a completely unrelated note, I hope everyone is keeping up on Lost and Glee! They are both getting so good! All I can say is that I like getting answers, and I LOVE KURT!

Umm...other than that, I guess there isn't really anything else I have to say. "Summer" is in full swing, even though there is very little rest involved. I am already looking forward to the family vacation we are going to take in July! I am even more looking forward to the fact that Aubrey is coming with us, which is going to be one rocking good time. It's a shame that the Florida beach house thing didn't work out, but with the oil spill, I am pretty sure that plan would not be the best of ideas. I am secretly hoping for a cruise, but we'll see what the parentals come up with.

Hope summer is going well for everyone else! And thanks for all the well wishes regarding law school on Facebook! It means a lot to me that I have such amazing friends, even if we are all separated by a few states! I miss all my Pepperdine friends! If there are typos in this post, it is because I am typing under exhaustion, and need to get to sleep before another storm hits and I can't fall asleep in the first place.

Night everyone!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

My Future Awaits

So, this post is a little late since most of you already know the good news, but I finally got a moment to sit down and think for more than 5 minutes at a time. This last week I drove from California to Missouri, unpacked almost all of my things, worked at the law firm for a short day and then headed to my Aunt and Uncle's house to take care of my cousin while they are on vacation for their Anniversary.

However, the most exciting news came on Wednesday night, when I received admittance to Drake Law School! I am beyond thrilled to know that I have somewhere to go in the Fall of 2010, and unless SLU (St. Louis University) accepts me off the wait list, chances are that I am going to to be in Des Moines, Iowa starting August 20th. It's a far cry from Malibu, but I like that it is only 5 or 6 hours away from my family and friends here. I can say that Larry is really excited about the shorter distance, which was a relief as well!

One of the great things about Drake is that they have an excellent Intellectual Property program, which is the kind of law I would like to pursue. However, from what I can see of the first year schedule, it is going to be very intense (16 units over 7 classes). At least there are no 8am classes, and it looks like I would be done by around 4 every day of the week! I'm going to go visit the campus with my Dad in a few weeks, so we will see how the campus feels when I get there, but from the pictures I can find, it looks pretty and the apartments I would be living in look really nice with hardwood floors, private bedrooms and new appliances, including dishwashers! I'm really excited to check them out!

The only other thing I can really say about this is that it is such a relief to know that I have options for the Fall. As happy as I was to have graduated from an amazing 4 years at Pepperdine, it feels like a weight has been lifted from me now that I know I can pursue the one thing I have been working towards these last 4 years. Graduating is now, officially, a great thing, and I am really excited about the future!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Trying New Things Upon Graduation

I am now an official Pepperdine alumnae! Isn't that exciting! Even if I got absolutely fried, it was a beautiful day, and I am so glad that my parents and boyfriend were able to come out and show their love and support. I am one lucky redhead!

After graduation, we all went to this amazing French bistro called "Bistro LQ" for a 6-course, fixed-plate meal. I can honestly say it was like nothing I have ever done before, but I would totally recommend that everyone do it at least once in their lives -- it was an experience I will never forget! It's important to try new things in this new chapter of my life, and while I have always been a pretty open eater, I thought I would just post what we got to eat last night. It was all really good!

Course #1:

This was the first course, which consisted of sea urchin, over a bed of tapioca pudding, infused with something fishy (lobster, I think). I wasn't sure if I would like it, but it was actually really good! On the right was some sort of gelatinous fishy tasting thing, with a whole mussel at the bottom. I actually couldn't eat this part, but I did manage to get the muscle down! Larry really liked it though.

Course #2:

The second course foie gras over ox tail in a pastry dough, with some greens between. The center of the foie gras is stuffed with huckleberries, which were really good! The consistency of the foie gras was a little weird, but overall the dish was pretty good! I really liked the ox tail, which was warm, and gave the dish a really savory flavor.

Course #3:

The third course was my favorite dish of the night. There was cod on the bottom, in some sort of buttery sauce, and a dumpling stuffed with crawfish. The dumpling actually tasted like a seafood potsticker! On top was some sort of leafy thing, fried in a tempura...which was really good, but now I can't remember what it was called. I think it was the buttery sauce that tied the whole thing together. Yum!

Course #4:

This one was quote an interesting experience. On the left was fish liver, which I could not eat. I did try a little bit, but it was just so fishy, I couldn't get it down. On the right side of the plate was monkfish with porcini mushrooms and some sort of green pesto sauce. It was really good, and I don't even normally like pesto sauce!

Course #5:

This one was really good too. Veal in a delicious sauce, with blood sausage and a few pieces of tripe. If I had to pick another favorite, this would be it. The veal practically fell off the bone it was so tender, and that sauce was just so amazing, I wish he had told us what was in it.

Cheese Course:

No French meal would be complete without smelly cheeses! The first picture is their entire cheese cart...and it was sitting right by our table. Every time the wind blew, we got a good wiff of cheese; not necessarily the best smell. However, while I didn't necessarily care for the cheeses they brought us (second picture), the rest of the family sure enjoyed them!

Course #6:

Dessert was the last course of our French meal. Each of us got a piece of chocolate cake, which was soaked in rum, and the cherries were soaked in sherry. Then they brought the whole table that long plate full of different little desserts, most of which were chocolate in orientation. At this point, I was so stuffed that I couldn't really eat much (especially since it was a lot of chocolate), but my mom and aunt were in heaven!

So, that was my first, 6-course French meal. It was so much fun, but it took a long time (2 and a half hours). I would certainly recommend Bistro LQ to anyone; the food was exquisite! I am really glad that I got to try new things, and it was a great way to start out my new, post-graduation life!

Friday, April 30, 2010

PR Feature

Hello everyone!

Well, today I was featured on a PR blog, spotlighting graduating PR students as they enter the very intimidating job market. The blogger, Jeremy Pepper, offers some great advice for people looking to get into PR, and I am really excited to have made his acquaintance. Check out his blog post below!

In other new, I graduate tomorrow! Went and picked up my cap and gown this morning, saw my family for a few hours, get to hang around with the beau and then heading to the senior banquet! It's funny to think back about how people always warned that college would go by really quickly, and I didn't really believe them. Now, I can honestly say it was all a whirlwind. It seems like yesterday I was settling into my dorm for the first time, remarking how crazy it was to be on my own for the next four years. Where did the time go?

I hope everyone has a great day!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Setting the Record Straight on Earth Day this is another non-necessarily related post to the original intentions of this blog, but it is so ridiculous that I feel it worth mentioning.

I want to start by wishing everyone a late happy EARTH day. I capitalize Earth because there was some apparent confusion on Twitter yeaterday. Yes, Avatar was released on DVD and blu-ray yesterday, which was very exciting. However, that dis not make it Avatar Day, or Pandora Day. Why, you might ask? The answer is simple...


Yes, this can be disappointing, but for those of you having a hard time accepting this, there are alternatives to ending your own life or sinking into a state of complete and utter depression. Earth, while lacking in spinning lizards and floating mountains, is still a great place! Don't lose hope! There are support groups available, should you find a need. However, there are more general implications from this...stupidity...

I went down to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for meatloaf, still thinking about the Earth Day / Pandora Day debacle that occurred yesterday, when I saw further affirmation that the world has lost its mind.

Ralph's is having an Earth Day sale, commemorated by cupcakes and sheet cakes. Now, Earth day is supposed to be about our planet and how great it is, so logically, the next step should be to honor our planet, which is not really that hard to do in confection form. Shoot, bake a circle-shaped cake, throw some icing on it and call it a world.

However, rather than depicting something even remotely related to Earth I saw these:

Yes...those are Na'vi on the "Earth Day" cakes/cupcakes. Whoever came up with this idea, it's not helping anyone. Not to mention, all these earthquakes might be a sign that Earth is getting pissed at everyone so hyped up over a fictional moon...

Thursday, April 22, 2010


So, today was my last day at Consumer Product Events/BDPR. It was a little bitter sweet. On the one hand I was glad not to have to really deal with prospecting anymore, which might have been the most boring thing I've ever done. On the other hand, it was a good experience in retrospect, and I'm going to get a good recommendation letter out of it. Say what you want about Alyson, if you meet her she is going to help you succeed in any way she can. That's one of her best qualities.

I never really understood the value of internships outside the theoretical discussion of the importance of experience that they give you in college. However, when they say it is important for experience they aren't kidding. From this I learned that I might not necessarily want to be in the firm side of things, though a larger agency with more accounts and opportunities for involvement might be a little different. If I had to do PR tomorrow, I would definitely use a lot of things that I learned from this internship on a daily basis, so I guess in that sense it was a success.

I'm having lunch with Alyson on Monday, and I plan on piquing her brain for what the best next step might be from here. We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Alright ladies...let's chat this doesn't really have anything to do with "post-graduation" stuff, but I saw something today and makes me feel like I need to take some time to explain something.

I am not against dresses. I'm not even necessarily against short dresses, so long as they are not obscene. But we, as women, have to understand that the concept of wind, especially strong wind on a rainy day, makes wearing a dress with nothing underneath it a very risky business. Let's all just use the brains that we were given and take weather into consideration when we get dressed in the morning -- I'm sleep deprived, and I knew enough to wear leggings and boots underneath my dress today. It takes minimal effort.

Anyways, I guess the way I can make this apply is to say that it is important, when considering graduation, to upgrade your wardrobe to a more professional one. You are always making an impression on someone, and that might just lead to a job one day. Even if it is a 3:00 on a Friday, dress to impress. Fitted jeans and a nice t-shirt make a better impression, and are more practical, than a short skirt exposing things that should be private with every gust of wind.

The ginger has spoken. ;D

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We've all got to start somewhere

This is the pilot post of Ginger Snaps, and as such, I think some introductions are in order. My name is Tara, and I am a 21 year-old redhead originally from St. Louis. I've spent the last 4 years toiling away at Pepperdine University, where I will receive degrees in psychology and public relations in a short 11 days. My life plans have been shaken with my failure to be accepted to law school despite fairly competitive credentials, and I am now trying to figure out the best path for me to take in a world where I am no longer a student. Yea, that's pretty much me in a nutshell.

My purpose behind this blog is not to rant on and on about my problems, or share meaningless drivel about my life. I really want to talk about my experiences post graduation for those struggling to get into grad schools, trying to find that first job and just overall freaking out about life post-graduation. Hopefully, I can make some of the mistakes for you, and provide helpful insights into the terrifying new world of life outside of formalized education.

I've never blogged before, so this will be an adventure for both of us, and I am excited to learn as I go. Suggestions are always welcomed and in fact appreciated! :)