Monday, August 28, 2006

Deja Vu

As my readers know, my former employer let me go after 10.5 years so that they could give the job to a buddy of the General Manager. Turns out that Wonder Boy doesn't know everything, and they asked me to come back as a contractor from time to time (to be paid at contractor rates). Well, the offer was sweet enough that I took them up on it and this week I am not a law student -- I'm an instructor again. I'm maximizing my time by working a double-shift -- day and night classes for a week. Contractor work isn't steady pay but it's good pay and this week alone will keep me afloat a couple more months.

Is it weird being back here? Just a little... but everyone was glad to see me so it's been OK. If I hadn't been pushed out I wouldn't have ended up interning at the federal court (which I'm hoping will look good on the ol' resume). So I'm philosophical about it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Blue Man Blues

The Blue Man Group is coming to Houston. Unfortunately, they're going to be at the Toyota Center, which is the worst place to have a concert. Whoever designed the place was focused more on packing as many people into a small space than on comfort. The rows are so tight that my feet are jammed up against the seatback in front of me and my legs start to go to sleep. Is seeing the Blue Man Group wirth risking DVT? I was thinking it might be, but then I saw that the vendor wanted to charge $40 a ticket PLUS a $30 "convenience fee." So now I'm disinclined to go.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Federal Intern Day 2

Today I finished up the assignment they gave me yesterday. The clerk seemed surprised that I was finished with it as quickly as I was. I didn't think two days was really that quick, but OK. She said she would look over it and get back to me next week. Hope she likes it because if I'm going to be applying for a clerkship that will be the only writing sample they'll have seen.

This week I need to get a letter of recommendation from the Firm and finish updating my cover letter & resume. I'm stressing about applying for a clerkship. I found out it's a TWO year commitment in most cases, not just one. But I don't have much time to think and rethink about it. Labor Day is coming up fast!

Today they took me with them to lunch. It was $10, so next time maybe I'll stick to the grilled cheese... :-P

Monday, August 21, 2006

Federal Intern Day 1

So, how did the first day go? For starters, I was the only one of the four interns who chose to start on Monday. So I was there by myself, which actually isn't all bad. There are fewer distractions. Today they had a new clerk starting up, and we were both sitting there reading through orientation packets. They showed me how to get onto the computer system and gave me something to work on. Everything was ok until my supervisor came by and said, "We're taking the new clerk to lunch. See you after while!" Wha? OK, so I'm just going to stay here by myself? At least the Firm took me to lunch on the first day. Bogus! I walked down to the cafeteria and had a grilled cheese. We'll see what happens tomorrow....

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Last semester!

Tomorrow is a big day -- I'm starting both my last semester of law school and my internship at the federal court. I have decided to apply for a judicial clerkship after graduation (but only in Houston, since my daughter (the Boo) is here). I'm hoping that having two judicial internships under my belt, with both state and federal experience at the trial and appellate level, will be enough to get me in with one of the federal judges. We'll see. There is a lot of ceremony associated with applying for judicial clerkships. For example, you must apply on the day after Labor Day. No earlier, no later. Also, you must accept the first offer you get. So don't apply to someone you don't really want to work for! I don't know if it's going to be weird that I'm graduating in December instead of May. I generally don't do things the traditional way.

I spent the weekend with the Boo. We saw Material Girls Friday night, and Saturday we picked up one of her friends and went to see Zoom. After the movie we went to Chuck E. Cheese. I was annoyed because the Friend didn't have any money, and after I paid for her ticket, ice cream, pizza, and Chucky tokens, she was still asking me for money when she ran out of tokens. Ugh! "No more tokens for you! Come back one year!" Boo started complaining of a headache and sore throat. It got worse as time went on and medication didn't seem to help. She ended up sick and spent today on the couch. She's doing better now, though.

I'll try to post tomorrow and tell you how it went. Hopefully they'll feed us lunch!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Law Clerk Day 29

Tomorrow's the last day of the unpaid internship. The Firm said if I stay I need to move into another room, so tomorrow I'll be moving my stuff. Monday I start the internship for at least two days a week. I also start my last semester, with Secured Financing and Family Law. Today I drove over to the courthosue area and found a packing garage. Parking is going to cost me $4 a day--not terrible. I've seen it as high as $20. I'm parking about two blocks from the courthouse and even though it was hot and dry I was just picturing a cloudy and rainy November morning, and wondering how I was going to get across those two blocks in the rain. Then I found out I had access to the tunnels! So that should help. If I don't get lost.

For those who don't know, most downtown Houston buildings are connected by a tunnel system. It's not as dreary as it might sound. Imagine a big maze-shaped mall filled with gift shops and restaurants but no windows and you have a pretty good idea. I've only been in them a few times and I think it's very, very cool and odd at the same time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pink Eye

Yep. The scourge of elementary school. And I have it. I got on-line to look into home remedies and I found out some people who get pink eye feel compelled to take pictures of their red, swollen, oozing eye so that they can show everyone. I'm not going to do that. What I am going to do is take my uninsured pink eye the doctor's office at 10:00 and wait around for a half hour for them to say "Yes, you have pink eye; here's a prescription and a bill for $50."

Kelsey-Seybold Clinic is up the road and I just called them. They ask me which doctors I normally see there. I don't normally go at all, but one of the doctor's names I remembered was Dr. Paliwala. It's a fun name to say. "Pollywalla." Unfortunately she got married, I found out today, and now she's Dr. Yakoob. That's not nearly as sonorous. "Yakoob" is bothersome because the "Y" is at the beginning and the "B" at the tail end. It looks like it's going to be some other word spelled backwards. And I guess it is: it's bouquet, only misspelled. It doesn't matter; I'm not going to see bookaY .rD anyway.

I have 3.5 hours to kill so I guess I'll go back to sleep....

Monday, August 14, 2006

Company X Revisited

You get two posts tonight for the price of one.

Like a bad meal or a drunken ex-girlfriend... Company X returns! These are the people who spent an afternoon interviewing me on July 19, telling me how perfect I was for their new position, and then went into radio silence. Apparently now they're drunk-dialing for the hook-up. Emailing. Whatever.


From: [Company X Representative]
Sent: Fri 8/11/2006 8:41 AM
To: [Me]
Subject: FW: Request for [Me]- SharePoint Training


Good Morning! Please see request below [for SharePoint training]. I am not sure if this class falls into something you have experience with, but T thought we should check. Please let me know your thoughts. Dates requested are below as well.


From: [Me]
Sent: Mon 8/14/2006 11:04 PM
To: [Company X Representative]
Subject: Re: FW: Request for [Me]- SharePoint Training

Hi... Thanks for the offer but SharePoint Server isn't one of my areas of specialization.

Honestly I'm a little surprised to hear from you since S hasn't yet found the time to return my calls or emails since July 20.


Law Clerk Day 26

Today began my last week as a volunteer law clerk for The Firm. So far I've mixed opinions about the experience. I have done plenty of writing and some research, but haven't attended a lot of hearings or trials. In fact, I've attended exactly none in the past two weeks. It's not all their fault. I was supposed to go to a hearing on a motion for summary judgment (that I wrote the response for!) but didn't because that's the day I went on an interview with the county Administration Office. That interview went really well and I liked the people there, but when the judicial internship thing came up, even they told me that was far better in the long run and I should go for it, which I did, and here I am. The Firm has a trial tomorrow and I'm going to wear a suit and try to tag along.

Anyway, today I broke the news to The Firm that I took the internship. I told them that I'd probably be putting in three days a week with the judge and two days with them. And they seemed ok with that. We'll see how it works out. I'll be an hourly wage slave for the first time since I worked at Radio Shack in, what, 1992? I noticed the hourly people "punch in" by placing their finger on a scanner. Daaang. I feel ooold! Back in my day, we had... oh, nevermind.

Apparently the women in the office who wouldn't give me a stamp before have become acclimated to me. Today I even started getting the office gossip! It's the same stupid, meaningless stuff you would expect anywhere, really. But it's nice to be in the loop.

I'm at home tonight (no classes till next week!) and was going to clean the house but I've been laying around instead, Office Space style ("Yesterday I sat at home and did absolutely nothing. And it was everything I thought it would be.") Tonight I'm taking the time to cook dinner. I'm trying to make colcannon. I had it once on a Burns Night and loved it. The other day on a whim I bought the potatoes and cabbage. Now that I've looked up the recipie I found out there are about ten different ways to make it, but I probably should have bought kale instead of cabbage and I should have picked up some leeks and mace for flavoring. Oh well. I guess I'm having American colcannon! If it's good.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Judicial Intern 2.0

I study secured transactions.
I love my classes.
I got a crazy teacher, he wears thick glasses.
Things are going great, and they're only getting better.
I'm doing all right, getting good grades.
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades!

- Timbuk 3, 1989 (with some adjustments).

Short version: I'm going to be a judicial intern for the US District Court!

Long version:

Wednesday night I arrived home and got ready to study for my Bankruptcy final. I had an email from the Law Review people announcing that one of the local federal judges was still looking for judicial interns. The judicial internship I did last year was state appellate court (where the trial had already happened) and this is federal district court (where all the action is). I considered this an excellent opportunity and spent the night working on a suitable cover letter (I figured the bankruptcy studying could wait but it never happened). I put an application package together and went to bed. The next morning I wore a suit and at lunch I hand-delivered it to the judge's office. As it happened, he stepped out into the hall just as I was coming up. So I handed my application directly to him. An hour later I had a call from his clerk of the court asking me if I could come in for an interview on Friday. I did, and they offered me the position. They ask interns to put in at least two days a week, and someone I spoke to said I should try to make it three. So that's what I'm going to do.

About a week ago the law firm I have been working for offered to keep me on and let me work part-time or full-time, whatever I wanted to do, with an hourly income. I was grateful and said sure, but we didn't iron out any details yet. I'm going to tell them Monday that I'm only going to be coming in two days a week -- we'll see if they still want to keep me around! :-P

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Law Clerk Day 17

Nothing much to report... I am still drafting documents and doing research. I'm not too happy with the office assistants. Today I needed a stamp and was asking them where I could buy a stamp. Now you know they have stamps. They should give me one. Or sell me one, I don't care. Nope. "I think there's a post office down the road." OK, I see now how it is! So I drove around until I found a place that sold stamps. Just as well; they also did passport photos and I needed one to apply for the bar exam. Still. They better never need anything from me. (They won't, but I still hope they do, so I can send them down the road!)

Since I now have the required photo, I downloaded a program to apply for the February 2007 bar exam. The Texas Board of Law Examiners has a program that lets you type answers into a form. That sounds very progressive but then you still have to print out the form and mail it in along with the diskette (If you work for the BLE and you're reading this, I have a suggestion for you: it's called E-FILING!). I started filling out the form. "HAVE YOU BEEN TERMINATED, SUSPENDED, DISCIPLINED, OR PERMITTED TO RESIGN IN LIEU OF TERMINATION FROM ANY JOB?" Um...yeah...about that... I explained the whole thing and also put down the general manager's phone number. I can only hope they call him and ask him if it's true and he's really that big of an ass. (They won't, but I still hope they do, and I hope I get to hear about it later!)