Saturday, December 18, 2010

Random Law School Update 18

Location: Washington, DC

I want to start by shamelessly congratulating myself for getting through finals. I feel pretty badass right now. People rarely describe law school as being badass. But let me tell you. Law school is the epitome of badass. The problem is that law students tend not to sell it right, probably in part because you cant really talk about law school to non-law school people without seeming nerdy or square, the opposite of badass. If you chop a brick with your forehead, you look badass. If you jump a 6-foot ditch, you look badass. If you dive off a cliff with just a squirrel suit on you look badass. If you scale a 12-story building without rope, people will definitely think that you’re badass. Law school is just like all of these things. It is nerve-wracking, adrenaline-pumping, really difficult, scary as f*ck, and a little bit stupid. But no one thinks of writing a 17-page essay response to 8 pages worth of riddle-like fact patterns based on 700 pages of dense readings under intense time constrains as badass. But, it is. And I can tell you, there are people here, at my school, in my classes who write 27 page responses in 3 hours AND get it all right. And yes, those people are badass. And while I am obligated to despise them for their curve-setting ways, I can’t help but appreciate their badassness. Go you.

I’ve mentioned this before. Law school, school in general, inspires me a lot. Something about forcing my brain to absorb a lot of dense subject matter makes it all the more thirsty for the lighter stuff. The more intense law school gets, the more I find myself conducting meta-analyzes of life, being, existing, loving, hating, wanting, growing, searching, finding, and thinking in general. That, and a lot of pleasant pithy things.

In the middle of studying, I thought it would be a nice idea to keep track of all the little things that go through my mind while I study for finals. My note reads:

“Random notes finals Fall 2010: 1. Law school is hard.”

And then I realized that writing random notes is distracting and decided not to write anymore notes until finals ended. Which describes a tragic paradox. The deeper into law school I get, the more crazy, random, brilliant thoughts my brain uncovers. At the same time, the deeper I get into law school, the less time I can justify to spend writing them down. So my most interesting wonderful epiphanic thoughts are left to come and go. Never to be recorded or reflected upon to their full potential. There is always the promise that I will write them all down after finals. But, my post-finals brain is useless for anything. Despite having a list of about 26 things that I had planned to do this week, I woke up this morning (read 12:30pm) wondering what in the world I am supposed to be doing. I proceeded to get on facebook and read status updates. (Turns out that was actually one of the things on my list.)

I had a million other things to say, but, I have forgotten most of them and have to go focus on celebrating now anyways. Ah, and I just remembered that I have been looking forward to reading and replying to your emails in response to my last two updates. This I will do very soon.



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Random Law School Update 17

Location: Washington, DC

I ate just the right amount. I floated home from dinner tonight on a cloud of delicious veganfood endorphins and found myself contemplating all the things that I am grateful for in my life. Moments later I thought how contrived it was to think of all the things I am thankful for, on Thanksgiving Day. But the truth is that I contemplate the things I am grateful for quite often. Usually more than once a day. So the fact that this set happened to hit me right after an incredible vegan Thanksgiving meal with friends was just about as natural as can be. I can't say the same thing about writing an email about it, except that I needed to write an email today anyways to remind you all that 1. my birthday is Sunday, and 2. you have not yet bought me a gift, and 3. it is ok because I have a perfect gift idea that requires next to no effort. Go to: and donate to my birthday wish on behalf of Compassion Over Killing. COK is likely the most effective advocacy group in the world in terms of its cost-to-compassion ratio and is a group very close to my heart. Donate token amounts of $1 to $5 just to let me know that you are thinking of me. Or if you happen to be very wealthy, donate token amounts of $1,000 to $5,000, even if you don't think of me much at all. I promise it is a worthwhile cause.

Ok. Back to the things I am grateful for...

First: My new diet. Tonight's feeling of pure satisfaction unaccompanied by an underlying desire to purge the contents of my stomach and to start again may be a Thanksgiving first. It feels great. Eating macrobiotically has done wonders for my discipline around food. I eat slowly now and realize when I am full before I start to overeat. I approach sugar skeptically and don't pile on salt like I used to. I can eat very large servings of food and I dont have to keep track of calories, or nutritional content for that matter. I don't have to worry about my weight fluctuating, even during finals. I build muscle quicker than ever and my flexibility has increased exponentially. And (drumroll...) I am learning how to cook. I haven't counted but, I have probably cooked myself over 45 meals since the beginning of the semester. I am pretty sure that this is more meals than I have otherwise cooked in the last five years combined. I can't say I like cooking yet, or that I am particularly good at it. But I do it and even my omnivorous friends come back for more. So, thank you macro diet.

Second: Self-growth. About 18 months ago, I remember thinking that I didn't have enough epiphanies in my life. I flew through, across, around the world absorbing infinite amounts of appreciation and perspective, constantly wrapping information and experiences around myself, ever-growing like a rubber-band ball of knowledge. What I didn't do much was to break myself apart at my cracks so that I could locate my weaknesses and put my pieces back together again in a more seamless condition. I approached life as if my identity was a given and my challenge was to help the world to conform to my idiosyncrasies. Law school, losing Meghan, being diagnosed with a serious medical condition, and feeling lost without the ability to communicate myself to a once close friend have violently shaken this perspective. I am reminded that my identity isn't static. It took me a lot of effort to become who I am today. Every so often, I go through phases of self-development during which I task myself with various ways to improve as a human being. The tasks may be as small a thing as not biting my nails, sending random thank you notes to friends, keeping a regular email update, going to the gym every day; or as big as going vegan, developing a logically consistent moral philosophy, or learning to carry myself with confidence - even when I don't feel so confident. I am in one of these phases now. I feel as if I have spent the last few years wrapping myself in a cozy cocoon of personal acceptance, and am now faced with the the task of emerging from it a butterfly. It is at first unpleasant, like getting out of a heated car on a cold ski day. But once you get to the top of the mountain, you recall how good it feels to be fully engaged with your environment. I am grateful, if not for their happening, at least for the effect of certain recent events that have conspired to force me out of my cocoon. I am grateful to be reminded of how amazing it feels to fly.

Third: People, friends. It occurred to me that it is getting late and I won't be able to finish this email because I have dedicated the rest of the weekend to studying diligently and to celebrating various friends' engagements, birthdays, and arrivals. However, you have all been amazing. Thank you for sharing your stories with me and for caring about mine. And I want to thank Jon in particular for being an indescribably incredible friend and for being able to understand the depth of my gratitude despite my inability to articulate it. And my parents for supporting me in every path I've ever sought to pave. And a handful of friends who don't get these updates yet, but who might read this on my blog in the future and realize that I am speaking now about you. Yes you, current-friend, future-blog-reader. Did we hang out around the week of November 21st, 2010? Did you make me smile? If so, I am thankful for you too.



Saturday, November 13, 2010

Random Law School Update 16

Location: Washington, DC

My gratitude to all of you for your kind emails and interest in continuing to receive updates. I was really inspired by the amount of supportive responses. I have always been very self-critical and self-conscious of my writing, but this particular project means more to me than my insecurities. Each day validates the pricelessness of the human connections within my life and the incredible importance of keeping those connections as close to me as possible, which takes an additional effort in the absence of physical proximity. I believe that the best human relationships grow out of an attempt to understand another person and to help them to understand me so that, through each other, we come to understand ourselves and our existance better. This email, and your replies, are part of that process.

I have a theory that my outside reality is a product of my internal imagination. I have another theory that a physical reality exists independent of myself but that my mind retains significant power over it, or at least over my position with respect to it.

My life, as I imagine everyone's, is comprised of an infinite set of what appear to be causal interactions and if-then conditionals. An event leads to a choice which leads to a decision which creates an event that leads to more choice. And we follow these paths that exist only in the present and past, such that we dont really follow paths at all. Rather, we create paths through our reality using the tools we were endowed with or acquired along the way.

Every so often, my world is shattered. Even my most realistic expectations are disappointed, circumstance trumps communication, and I am forced to enter negotiations between my inner and outer realities. Such that, perhaps the two aren't the same at all. But then, it turns out that these world shattering explosions are really fireworks in disguise, and they illuminate the next step which satisfies my present and inspires my future. And somehow, between all the explosions and fireworks, my life continues in the exact direction that I would have had it go in had I been empowered to dictate my path from the beginning. And I again start to wonder whether I dreamed up this reality of mine after all.

This is all to say that, it has been a really exciting semester. In (future) retrospect I suspect that it may be one of the most exciting semesters of my life. Though, in present perspective it is hard to get past the fact that at any given moment I should be spending more time diligently studying for exams and maybe less time indulging in the glorious peaks and vallies of being in my 20s. Then again, I would make an argument, inspired by my tax class, that the time-value-of-youth likely exceeds the opportunity cost of a few hours of missed study time. I suspect that the lessons to be learned from youth will carry at least as much weight for my future as those from my classes. And so I indulge.



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Random Law School Update 15

Location: Washington, DC

I would title this update "hope" but I worry that it sounds too dramatic. Maybe a better noun would be "optimism" or "excitement"... It is possible that we have found a route to remission from my ITP. Thanks to the theories of my mom and Jon's mom, Kathy, I went in for a special breath test for h. pylori, a bacterium that is known to be associated with my condition but was for whatever reason dismissed by my doctor. Turns out that I am positive for it which means that there is a possibility that my condition will improve if I am able to kill the h. pylori through a two-week intensive course of antibiotics and "acid suppressant". As I tend to be emotionally sensitive to new chemicals, Jon has flown to DC to help me cope with any adverse side effects. I feel happy.

The semester is going by amazingly fast. The last few weeks have been packed with excitement, heartbreak, distraction, clarity, happiness and youthful moments. I have been basking in epiphanies and pushing myself in all the right ways. I could go on for days about so many millions of pretty little things I think about, but this email is not the forum, and I must allocate my analytical efforts with law school in mind.

Which leads me to the next note. While my life in law school is as interesting to me as it ever was traveling, it doesn't lend itself as well to dissemination in email. As such, I am going to slenderize the list of people who I continue to update. I will continue to send updates to members of my family, close friends, and to anyone who has expressed interest in, or commented on my updates in the past. I will let the rest go for now. If you aren't sure whether you fall into one of the categories above and don't want to be let go, please send me an email. Otherwise, I will use my best judgement.

As always you can keep up with my updates at: And my photos on:



Saturday, September 18, 2010

Random Law School Update 14

Last Locations:
Mexico City, MX
Arrival Date: August 1, 2010
Departure Date: August 6, 2010

Tucson, AZ
Arrival Date: August 6, 2010
Departure Date: August 17, 2010

Washington, DC
Arrival Date: August 17, 2010
Departure Date: September 2, 2010

Allentown, PA; Bethlehem, PA; Woodbourne, NY; Philadelphia, PA
Arrival Date: September 2, 2010
Departure Date: September 6, 2010

Current Location: Washington, DC
Arrival Date: September 6, 2010
Departure Date: Unknown

Next Location: Unknown

I wanted to start this update weeks ago by expressing my gratitude to my co-workers, friends and strangers in Mexico City who made my summer internship rich and unique and special. Thank you for sharing your lives, intelligence, kindness and enthusiasm with me. I am very lucky.

I wish I had written more updates this past month. I have been feeling inarticulate lately and have been discouraged by the way my words look on paper. I have found myself more inclined to just take photos.

I left Mexico City to fly home to Tucson for what seemed like forever, focusing on my health, my new macrobiotic diet, acupuncture, and family. As much as I love being home, 12 days may be too much time for Tucson. It is a place more for relaxing than for doing, and I am a doer.

Being back in DC has been great. Many of my favorite people live here and I have been making more time to spend with them. Law school is busy as law school tends to be, but I find the challenge of keeping a tight schedule rewarding. I am happy here.

Jon came out over labor day and we drove north for the long weekend. The weekend started with me breaking my month-long sugar fast and indulging in a mini-cake from Vegan Treats at their bakery in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It ended with me realizing that I am (as anticipated) probably not a big fan of yoga retreats. I am generally tolerant of ego and generally tolerant of spiritual enlightenment, but I draw the line at ego marketed as spiritual enlightenment. The place we went to was called Sivananda. It was in a pretty setting, nestled up in the Catskills of upstate New York. Unfortunately, most of the photos from the weekend were lost with Jon's camera and computer when his bags were stolen out of his rental car the night before he headed back to Salt Lake.

Other recent events have included Early Interview Week (EIW), which is a form of on campus interviewing where law firms form all over the country, and sometimes abroad, come the week before classes start to conduct thousands of 20-minute interviews - in hotel rooms, with beds (awkward). It can best be described as speed dating for a job. Most people hate it, but I found the whole thing highly amusing and pretty fun.

Last weekend was the DC VegFest, which is the best celebration of vegetarian food in DC. It takes place at my alma mater each year and attracts many wonderful vegan vendors, and more importantly, many wonderful vegan friends.

The important and exciting things school-wise this year include: classes, my internship at the Humane Society, and my role as Co-President of the Georgetown Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF). Other things on my schedule include: gym time, finding a summer internship, preparing macrobiotic meals for myself, and spending more time with my friends. I am, as always, seeking balance between these things.

If you would like to keep up with my updates by blog rather than email, send me a note and I'll remove you from this list. You can always check out new and old Random Updates at:

Photos from the summer are located at:



Monday, July 26, 2010

Random Law School Update 13

Last Location: Washington, DC
Arrival Date: July 22, 2010
Departure Date: July 25, 2010

Current Location: Becket, MA
Arrival Date: July 25, 2010
Departure Date: July 31, 2010

Next Location: Mexico City, MX
Arrival Date: August 1, 2010
Departure Date: August 14, 2010

I still haven’t figured out what clued off the customs agent when he asked if I was a lawyer after I rushed up to the checkpoint and explained that I was in Mexico City visiting friends. I checked all of my luggage and my passport for something that might indicate law school. Nothing.

Thursday was one of my many luckiest days. I woke up early with nothing to do but to wait for my 1pm flight out of Mexico. Instead, my friend Conrad offered to drive me to a taxi sitio where I caught a cab at 7:50am to the airport. Despite impending rush hour, my cabbie delivered me to my terminal in less than 20 minutes. I explained the American Airlines agent that I would like to standby for the 9:51am flight that had sold out on me the day I bought my 1pm flight.

After a more complicated than necessary immigration ritual, which involved running back and forth between the police station and the immigration office, I was given two standby tickets through to DC, arriving at 5:45pm instead of the originally dreaded 11pm arrival I had purchased. Not only did I make both flights, I ended up with window seats on both :)

As many flights as I have taken, I am still absolutely in awe of being among the clouds. As a child, I used to daydream of spending the day at cloud level. Of course, in these dreams I could suspend myself in the air without the burden of an airplane. But considering my distaste for humidity, flying is probably as good as it gets.

Growing up, I would have never imagined that I would ever travel as much as I have. I grew up with the understanding that plane flights were luxury goods for the wealthy. For the middle class, we could take a plane on very special occasions once every several years. When I found out that China was halfway around the world, I remember thinking that I’d have a better chance of digging my way there than of ever having the opportunity to visit by plane.

Things have changed. Air travel is no longer treated as a luxury good in the United States. It has become much more like taking a bus with a lot of extra hassles and a lot less leg room. And depending on your destination, it can be cheaper than driving, not to mention, statistically safer.

In other countries, however, flying is still very much a luxury activity reserved for the privileged classes. In fact, many things that most classes of US Americans (Estadounidenses) enjoy are luxury products in other countries. In Mexico City, the contrast between the privileged and non-privileged is particularly stark. From the air, the city looks typically third-worldly with simple box shaped houses practically stacked up on top of each other, colorfully painted and perfectly scattered as if a giant had gown tired of playing with them.

I wouldn’t have guessed that Mexico City was home to some of the world’s most expensive shopping areas, or that it has some of the nicest malls I have ever seen with “VIP” movie theaters with reclining sofa seats and servers to bring you sushi and cocktails while you enjoy your movie. I wouldn’t have contemplated the number of luxury vehicles and the number of secure parking garages to store them. I certainly didn’t foresee the amount of restaurants that serve meals starting at $20 or luxury gyms with memberships starting at $160/month.

One thing that I have experienced a lot during my travels, but perhaps don’t write about enough, is classism. Class divisions certainly exit in the United States, but are nowhere near as extreme as they are in nearly every other country I have visited.

In Mexico, the class divisions are blaring. I am, by virtue of my affiliates (not my spending habits), a participant of the upper class there. I, and I think most US Americans, have a hard time identifying as upper class. I feel like an outsider taking a glimpse into a world that I had previously only heard about in the media.

Working abroad is even better than merely traveling abroad and I am reveling in the new perspectives. I am particularly interested in continuing to explore the mentality that perpetuates classism, particularly race-correlated classism. I am curious as to whether those who are the most educated, empowered, and morally inclined to resolve race-correlated classism are those who are also, perhaps unwittingly, perpetuating it most. I am interested in others’ thoughts on this topic.

I arrived in DC Thursday night to briefly attend HSUS’s Taking Action for Animals Conference and to focus on some law school related efforts. My mom flew in on Saturday and yesterday we drove the eight hours to The Kushi Institute in Becket, Massachusetts for a macrobiotic lifestyle and cooking course. I tend to agree that there is a strong placebo effect at work in maintaining good health. The more you believe something will work, the more likely it is to work. My Mexico City roommate suggested that I may not having enough faith for things like biomagnitism to work. It occurred to me that I don’t put much faith in Western medicine either, especially after Meghan’s death. If there is anything I do have faith in, it is food. So instead of trying to fake faith, I have decided that I’ll have a better chance if I commit to something that I am already inclined to believe in: good food.

We don’t have internet in our room here and our days are pretty packed so I may not be responding as promptly as I’d like. Please continue to write and to send me your updates, pictures, random thoughts, etc. I really enjoy the emails I get.



Friday, July 9, 2010

Random Law School Update 12

Current location: Mexico City, MX
Arrival Date: June 27, 2010
Departure Date: Unknown

Next location: Unknown

I am loving it here in Mexico City. It is possibly better than what I had looked forward to. My job is great. I am given substantive projects that allow me to learn about various areas of law, practice my analytical skills and read Spanish. My coworkers are wonderful and are treating me very well. Almost like family. The business culture here is very different than in the United States and I am enjoying being immersed in it. On Tuesday we went out to lunch to watch the fĂștball game. After the game ended, it started to downpour, so my boss ordered a game of Dominoes and we played until the rain stopped. It was idyllic.

The weather is also wonderful. A lot of rain, but it keeps the temperatures cool and the air clean. I have been lucky so far. The rain generally doesn't start until the late afternoon. It has yet to rain during my mile-and-a-half long walk to work. Today the downpour subsided just in time for me to leave the house.

Last week I got to experience a 6.2 Richter earthquake. It lasted a few solid minutes as our top-floor penthouse apartment swayed back and forth like a leaf in the wind. It was a calm and enjoyable sway unlike other small earthquakes that rattle the walls and cause trinkets to fall off of shelves.

My apartment is in the best possible location, on the same street as my gym and close enough to work to walk. We have huge windows which we use instead of air-conditioning. My roommate has a little cat, Sasha, who I am starting to endear myself to. The secret is rubs behind the ears. My roommate also, is wonderful. He is an artist and lives a romantic and creative lifestyle just like in the movies. There is always music playing in French, Arabic, Spanish or English. There are parties and art exhibits and concerts to attend, wine to drink, and people to meet. Sometimes friends come over to exchange ideas about literature and to edit eachother´s writing. It is a very inspired and intelligent environment.

The only thing that does not live up to expectations is the mass transit system here. While there is a large metro system, it leaves significant areas of town unserviced. The metro station closest to my apartment doesn't seem to go anywhere useful and there are no stations within a mile of where I work. I have yet to come up with an excuse to go anywhere by bus or metro. Furthermore, despite being the third largest city in the world, it seems that most people own and use cars to get around. Most apartments and businesses have parking garages attached. This may reflect a negative feedback loop between the insufficiency of the mass transit system and the status symbol mentality that is prevalent here, as in most big cities.

Cabs are reasonably priced but I have been warned that they are dangerous. A system of secure cabs has been established but it requires going to a designated "sitio" and often waiting in a long line. I am not a big fan of taxis as it is, so I take my chances walking. The neighborhood I live in is supposed to be very safe, while the neighborhood I work in is said to be less so. It doesn´t appear dangerous to me, but my luck in having never yet been robbed (with the exception of one unsuccessful purse slash in Bolivia) is running out. I am taking precautions to minimize my loss if/when this happens.

The only other difficulty here is figuring out what to do about my ITP. My test in Berkeley showed a jump in my platelet levels from 16 to 30 but the most recent test shows my levels back at 19. As traditional therapies have not been working, I must become more creative and try to implement lifestyle changes in addition to alternative therapies like acupuncture and biomagnetism. The most significant of these will be trying to adopt a macrobiotic diet. I am more than happy to eat macrobiotic food, however, I have no interest in its preparation which can apparently take multiple hours per day. Most of what I prepare for food is canned, frozen or dried. If it is going to take more then 15 minutes to make, I generally choose to eat out. This is all in violation of macrobiotic principles which demand that everything be prepared fresh. I have yet to wrap my head around how I am going to pull this off short of hiring a personal chef.

Last weekend I went to Salon Tenampa to sample tequila and watch the mariachis of Garibaldi Plaza play. I also checked out el centro (downtown) and took a daytrip to the Aztec pyramids at TeotihuacĂĄn. I will post photos soon.



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Random Law School Update 11

Last Locations: Washington, DC
Arrival Date: January 10, 2010
Departure Date: June 7, 2010

Sedona, AZ
Arrival Date: June 7, 2010
Departure Date: June 12, 2010

Berkeley, CA
Arrival Date: June 12, 2010
Departure Date: June 22, 2010

Salt Lake City, UT
Arrival Date: June 22, 2010
Departure Date: June 25, 2010

Las Vegas, NV
Arrival Date: June 25, 2010
Departure Date: June 27, 2010

Current location: Mexico City, MX
Arrival Date: June 27, 2010
Departure Date: Unknown

Next location: Unknown

This update goes out to all the people who noticed that I haven't written an update in two months. The longer it gets between updates, the less inclined I am to write because I hate long updates. But I am in Mexico with one more day before I start my internship and very few friends to keep me busy. So I will do my best to cover the last two months in reasonable length. Reverse chronological...

Mexico City

I arrived in Mexico Sunday night. My cab ride from the airport to my residence reminded me a bit of Cairo but with nicer taxis and cleaner air (apparently I arrived after a recent rainstorm). Everything has gone seemlessly. I was delivered directly to my residence which is the penthouse apartment on the ninth floor of a building only two blocks from the metro in the nicest neighborhood in Mexico City (so I've been told, I have yet to explore enough to make the judgment for myself). The apartment has wall to wall sliding glass windows and my flatmate is an artist who has designed the common space with great taste. It also turns out that I am less than half a block from the nicest gym in Mexico City, which serendipitously turns out to be a Gold's, my home gym in Tucson. It is a very nice gym and I will be able to practice my Spanish comprehension in the group classes.

I begin my internship at PEMEX tomorrow. PEMEX is a government-owned oil monopoly here in Mexico. I was excited to be offered the job which involves international business and contract law and will allow me to explore perspectives different than my own. I am a fan neither of oil companies nor big government, but I have a feeling that I am going to very much like my internship. I tend to be most engaged when my values are challenged. This internship is perfect in that it will allow me to gain skills in the areas I am most interested (business and contract law) while keeping me on my toes ideologically. I know that a few friends are concerned that this is the beginning of the end of my moral character, but I can assure you that a six week long internship will not undue 20 years of moral conviction. If anything, I expect that the experience will improve my advocacy skills.

Las Vegas

My flight to Mexico was direct from Las Vegas where Jon and I attended a conference on Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), the blood disease I was diagnosed with in April. The treatments I have tried so far (steroids, IVIG and Rituximab) have failed to produce results. The steroids were the most offensive of the treatments, impairing my cognition, memory and mood. They made it very difficult to study for exams and I was given the option to retake the semester. As much as I love law school, I was not so thrilled about re-taking a semester and increasing my debt. So I patiently powered through four of my five classes in between my weekly hospital treatments.

I am now off of the steroids and treating myself with herbal supplements. The conference seemed to confirm that western medicine is as of yet under-equipped to treat ITP. Many of the success stories were of people, who, after trying all of the traditional treatments, gave up and treated themselves with diet and alternative therapies. I would like to try a macrobiotic diet, but am intimidated by the effort and cost involved. If anyone has tips to offer to make it affordable and efficient, please share.

The conference was probably helpful, but wasn't engaging enough for me to stay awake through all of the the presentations. I forgot how much having internet helps to keep me awake in class. I was tired from all of the previous week's travel and activity so I didn't do much outside of the conference. Jon, however, kept busy at the craps table and walked away with $275 more than he started with. He showed me how to play. It is a generally enjoyable game, though I am unable to develop a taste for gambling. The most lucky thing was that my roommate, Sharona, was in town at the same time staying in the hotel next door. After Jon finished showing me how to play craps at the Bellagio we walked over to meet up with her and one of her friends at the Mandalay Bay. It was perfect.

Las Vegas food suggestions include Go Raw Cafe, Miko's Izakaya Sushi which has a vegan menu, Veggie Delight which has the best vegan thai iced bubble tea in addition to great vegan offerings, and of course Ronald's donuts.

Salt Lake City

I flew from San Francisco to meet Jon in Salt Lake for the weekend in order to join him on the drive down to Vegas. I was looking forward to seeing his family again and to experiencing Utah's glorious Summer weather. The short trip was well worth it. We went to the Utah Art's Festival, went hiking at the gorgeous Solitude Resort, and indulged in Jon's mom's glorious vegan chia seed "crack" cookies. The weather, sky, grass, food, air, water, meadow, clouds, conversations and mountain critters were complete and wonderful.

Food suggestion: Omar's Rawtopia for world class raw cuisine.

San Francisco

This is where I hope to live someday. I came to visit my best law school friend, Brendan, and my two very good friends of six years, Ben and Haiete. It is a toss up as to whether I like San Francisco or Salt Lake more. Both cities are wonderful. Salt Lake wins on the outdoor activity front and San Fran on the urban front, but each has a good mix of both. Both also have great vegan food. Salt Lake has four beautiful seasons and San Fran has mild weather year round.

Brendan works in Berkeley which is almost nicer than San Francisco. It is small but complete with it's own shopping areas, vegan cuisine and metro station. It is quiet and patient and sunny and a little bit cheaper than its neighboring city. It is also close enough by metro. Unfortunately, the Bart only runs until midnight, which makes going out on the weekend difficult unless you arrange a place to crash. People in San Fran are socialites of the best kind. I don't go out much, but when I do, I prefer for it to be in San Francisco. People throw laid-back themed parties that involve barbecuing, random field games like the viking Kube, vegan cake, faux proms, costumes, handstands, lots of style and generous quantities of beer and wine. At least that was Brendan's birthday.

Other activities throughout the week included randomly joining a community dance party outside the California State Capital, hipster-watching with Ben and Brendan's friends at Dolores park on Sunday, going for a hiking adventure at what turned out to be a very popular nude beach on a foggy day, riding from Berkeley to the Embarcadero boardwalk on Brendan's motorcycle, lunch with my cousin, Matt, from Sacramento, a trip to the Berkeley Rose Garden and Codornices Park‎ with another friend named Matt, a clothing exchange with Haiete, and a movie in one of Haiete's co-worker's home theater with plush couches, surrond sound and a very large screen. The rest of the 15-person group house, created out of what was originally a mechanic shop, was equally impressive with a full bar, upstair office space, suspended net on which to play and random decor.

While in Berkeley, I tried acupuncture for the third, fourth and fifth times at the innovative Berkeley Acupuncture Project (BAP). For $15-$40 sliding scale fee, you can have needles place in your shins, feet, arms, hands, head, ears and forehead. To keep the costs low, they treat patients on reclining chairs instead on tables. There are several chairs placed in a circle and multiple patients are treated at once in a community environment. Each acupuncturist can treat as many as six patients an hour, which impressively doesn't degrade the quality of service (other than the limited needle points since everyone stays fully clothed). Patients can stay for as long or as short as they like. The needles are about two inches long and flutter like a butterfly's wing when stirred. Being diagnosed with ITP has forced me to accept needles, which were once my most irrational fear. Now I am trying to build a positive relationship with needles. Acupuncture helps.

Food recommendations include Herbivore (as always), Cha Ya for vegan Japanese, Cafe Gratitude for their impressive raw menu, Lanesplitter for their deep-dish vegan pizza, The Little Chihuahua for Mexican food that is as good as the best in Tucson, and Gather for their innovative and fresh (though pricey) vegan offerings.


I arrived in San Fran on a direct flight from Phoenix after several days spent vacationing with the parents and Jon in Sedona. Sedona was the perfect post-law school, post-moving, mid-ITP destination. We stayed at a resort which had daily yoga, a massage and acupuncture center and a resident quail who came to work with one of the gift shop attendants. We hiked, ate well, and relaxed. I had my second experience with acupuncture which seemed to be temporarily helpful in treating my lower back pain.

Food recommendations include Chocola Tree for their incredible raw desserts, D'Lish for their excellent and generous vegan offerings, and Casa Bonita for their friendly service and lard-free Mexican food (plus sopapillas!).

Washington DC

It was an incredible semester. I learned a lot on so many levels and, facing tragedy, was able to test some of the perspective I gained during my travels. People often project that it was a bad semester for me, but this is not how I see it. Coping with law school, ITP and Meghan's death was difficult and sad, but not negative. There were many epiphanies that I am still working to articulate. Perhaps the simplest way to describe the semester is to compare it to watching a sad movie. Just because you leave the theater in tears, doesn't mean that it was a bad movie or that you had a bad experience. Some of the most beautiful and inspiring stories are tragedies. That is what the last semester was like for me. A beautiful and inspiring sad story.

Meghan's husband, and my good friend, Adam Warner, is keeping Meghan's story alive. To keep up with his efforts visit,,,, and

Photos are in the process of being uploaded to

As always, you can read archives of my updates at



Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Random Law School Update 10

Exams start next week but today is not a day for studying. Though, I do open my law books every once in awhile when I realize that I really have nothing better to be doing with myself.

When I first awoke this morning I thought I was awakening from the end of a bad dream. The type that leaves your pillow soaked and your eyes dry. Later I realized that it was not a dream at all, but that I had yesterday become a character in a very sad story. The story was originally about a girl named Meghan Baker who was pretty much perfect in every way and who I had the best fortune to meet in the best kind of way during one of the best times of my life.

Meghan wasn't supposed to die because she was to me, the model of everything a human being ought to be. She was compassionate, considerate, thoughtful, honest, patient, open-minded, strong, smart, kind, and had just the right balance of confidence and humility. She was a traveler and a friend, a good cook and a vegetarian. She was also incredibly pretty.

On the last day of my first trip to Korea, I got incredibly sick. Everyone else was busy, but Meghan walked over in the rain to Adam's house where I was staying. She brought a pot and ingredients and made me an amazing going-away/getting-well soup feast. She wasn't scared that I might get her sick, or put off by the rain, or stressed because she had to work the next day. She was only concerned with being my friend. I hoped that we would be friends forever.

During my second trip to Korea we were having tofu basil sandwiches at one of my favorite cafes in Itaewon when she told me that she had found a lump in her breast. I remember feeling scared but thinking that it had to be okay, because my story would not be written such that someone like Meghan would get cancer.

I find faith to be a fleeting thing.

Meghan died yesterday after fighting cancer for 18 months. She had a painful but beautiful struggle. And being touched by it, I remind myself that my story, though currently sad, is pretty too. Prettier definitely as a result of Meghan having been a part of it. There is no music, but my heart feels as if it is playing the soundtrack to the end of Meghan's life. I listen to it as I take a break from turning pages of law school texts, to instead just letting the pages of my life turn over me.

Meghan's story is written here: I recommend reading from the beginning. It is really an inspiring, beautiful thing that she wrote:

For her fanpage, and to pay tribute, visit: Thank you to those of you who, though you may not have known her personally, were supportive and present during her last few months here.

To donate in lieu of flowers, contact Kelly Shires Breast Cancer Foundation at 1-877-436-6467.



Friday, April 16, 2010

Random Law School Update 9

Current Location: Desk, Washington DC

I want to keep writing semi-regular emails, but also realize that my life here in law school, as fascinating as it is to me, likely bores the better portion of everyone else in society. All I can try to do is to convince you of how great it really is. Today I will explain why I love the library. The library is like a fairytale castle filled with coded tomes that seem plain to the ordinary eye, but are each filled with nuggets of truth that become gems of clarity and light as one learns to wield their powers. Sometimes I sit in the library just to bask in the essence of all the gems glowing warmly around me. On some days, the sensation is no less grand than sumitting a tall mountain, or frolicking through a grassy meadow. In some ways, I don't feel like my travels have stopped at all. I am exploring my world now as much as ever.

The hospital is not so easily glorified. I have been going regularly since being diagnosed with ITP last week. I do not like hospitals, or needles, or blood, or waiting rooms. I do not like imagining myself as a composition of independently fallible pieces, every one of which I am not in total control. I do not like, but I also do not like not liking. So I try to be patient.

The administration of medicine is unlike the administration of law. In law one can often find a loophole, an out, a way of articulating something just a little bit differently that changes it altogether. In medicine, there are no semantic outs. You have disease A or you don't. If you have disease A, you must choose available option 1, 2, or 3 to proceed. You cannot make up an option 4 or negotiate with disease A to create a win-win situation. You must take disease A as a given, and often the solution is a given as well. There is no room for argument, you can only say "ok."

So I have been saying "ok" a lot this week to the things that bother me most. I am learning to calmly float down streams that I can only hope are headed in a good direction. And there is something pretty to that sensation too. Like watching the sky move around me as I lazily float down the nile on a felucca. Every once in awhile, it is just perfect to submit to the fact that you aren't in control, and that no one expects you to be. Though, I find that it helps to look up and not to think about rocks and waterfalls.

I know that at least a few of you are going over waterfalls right now, or have in the past. When I was a kid, and still today, I would find the confidence to jump off of the tops of waterfalls or cliffs into ponds after I had seen a few other equally qualified people do it. Until then, it was hard for me to imagine that it was possible to summon the courage. Thank you to those who have been an inspiration.



Friday, March 26, 2010

Random Law School Update 8

Location: Law School

Law school is hard. I can see why many people don’t like it. It reminds me of Jon’s passion for mountain climbing. Like most people, I have no interest in investing several months and a ton of money in training myself to be able to reach the top of a very high, very cold, and very dangerous peak. But I can see why climbers enjoy it. It is thrilling, challenging, invigorating, epiphany-inspiring and the view is amazing. Not to mention the deeply personal connections you make with your team along the way.

Law school is like mountain climbing for the brain. Expensive and time-consuming, it starts with a steady onslaught of never-ending reading and you learn to pace yourself at the beginning. Various technical challenges emerge along the way, where you have to operate at double capacity for a few days at a time writing briefs, working on extracurricular projects, competing for jobs, teams, accolades, etc. There are a few breaks for recovery (Thanksgiving, MLK Day, etc.) and a final rush to summit where strategy becomes crucial, time is infinitely limited and you start gasping for air. Spurts of intense clarity and understanding are followed by moments of indescribable haze and confusion. You are inspired, then tired, then excited, then utterly bored. Step follows step follows step, up the mountain. It becomes all you know, and eventually you stop concerning yourself about what life was like before.

I love it. Every moment, high and low. It is a rush and an opportunity that I may never get to experience again. I am going to miss it when it is gone. Maybe someday after I graduate, I will climb a real mountain just to get the sense of it again.

This is going to be one of the recovery weekends. Tomorrow is Barrister’s Ball, otherwise known as law school prom. Unlike high school prom, however, 98% of the people there will be able to carry a conversation. And we don’t have to sneak alcohol in since there will be an open bar (as at every law school event), which will result in more dancing and more conversation. And, Jon will be there. So I am looking forward to it.

If you want to keep up with my updates by blog or check out past updates while I study instead of writing new ones, visit:



Saturday, February 6, 2010

Random Law School Update 7

Location: DC Snowpocalypse 2010

I am sitting here, in the midst of an epic snowpocalypse, super sick, with multitudes of law school studying that may never get done, and I decided that today is a good day to write an update about perspective.

Start by watching this touching public service announcement from the UK: I have watched it six times now and it still gives me tingles. In part because it is beautifully performed, in part because it sums up an innate human desire to protect the ones we care about. When it comes to death, we are often so helpless, and the thought that we might be empowered to change the course of an otherwise tragic outcome creates an indescribably unique and fantastic emotional sensation.

Two of the most beautiful, intelligent and compassionate human beings I know are currently battling cancer. I know that many, if not most, of you have watched loved ones struggle with cancer and still, I have not been able to find anyone who can tell me what to tell them to make it all better.

I want more than anything to be their seatbelt.

If you don’t mind taking a moment out of your busy day, I would like to enlist your help in trying to provide them as much support as I can. Please post a comment to Meghan’s fanpage at: Beth doesn’t have a fanpage yet, but if you send me an uplifting message I will compile them and send them to her as a batch.

For more perspective on life and courage, read Meghan’s blog. I suggest reading from the beginning:



Monday, January 25, 2010

Random Law School Update 6

Last Location: Law School

Current location: Law School

Next location: Law School

The registrar did something borderline cruel and decided to trickle our grades out to us one by one. The first grade came out before I left Tucson, but was removed shortly thereafter and reposted last week with our second final grade. The last three midterm grades were supposed to be mailed this weekend. But this seems to have been little more than a scheme to finally teach those of us living on campus how to use our mildly complicated combination code mailboxes that we usually just leave to get full of ads and coupons until the mailman can't fit anymore in and the people at residence life have to send out a mass email begging people to check their mailbox, by which point the people concerned have forgotten their combination.

This weekend however, I saw several students check their boxes upwards of four times a day. I only checked once a day, mostly because I am not in such a rush to see my grades, which are now apparently waiting for us at the registrar office. I also made it easier on myself by not checking my grades as they came out on the internet. So I am at this moment, blissfully ignorant of my quantitative value as a law school student. I am still not sure that I want to see my grades at all. If it weren’t for the purpose of gauging the results of my study habits from last semester to adjust them for this semester, I probably wouldn’t.

Before my law school experience becomes temporarily quantified by grades, I wanted to write down a few things that I do to make it qualitatively good. This is mostly the sort of thing I write to remind myself how to stay on track, but it may be helpful to those of you in school, thinking about going to school or at a tough job:

How to love being a Law Student
1. Put the gym on par with classes. I schedule an hour a day of gym time into my schedule and make it a commitment. Even if I haven’t done my reading, I always go to class. I take my gym schedule equally seriously. Going to the gym boosts my energy levels, keep my metabolism pumping and improves my mood and focus so that the time I spend studying is more effective. My improved efficiency throughout the day, week and semester more than makes up for the time I spend at the gym.

2. Eat awesomely and go vegan. Going vegan is pretty much the secret to all of my successes in life, but in law school nutrition plays a particularly important role in keeping me in shape and energetic. I have devised a bunch of meals that are super quick to prep, pretty inexpensive and super nutritionally balanced: I focus on protein and fiber and exclude excess caffeine, alcohol, and sugars. I have replaced coffee and sugar with unsweetened cocoa powder, which I mix in hot water like hot chocolate but without milk or sugar. When I need a quick snack, I turn to protein shakes and builder bars.

3. Keep your room clean and super organized. An organized room leads to an organized brain.

4. Live close. I live on campus so that I waste almost no time ever on transportation. This saves me upwards of five hours a week which is almost a full week worth of workouts, two classes worth of reading, or a night out with friends. I also saves me the stress associated with trying to get from point A to point B in Y minutes. I am also in the same building as my gym so I don’t have to bundle up to workout, which probably saves another 20 minutes a day.

5. Be friendly but make friends slowly. One of the best things I did was to move in at the last possible moment before orientation. This limited the amount of people I met before the semester started and allowed me to spend more energy getting to slowly know the people in my section. That said, one of the things that makes tuition worth it is the people you meet in law school, so do get to know them. The people I go to school with are smart, ambitious, and thoughtful people who largely think about things the same way that I do. It’s no wonder I like it here so much.

6. Streamline your life. Every minute counts. Use short breaks between classes to do a few pages of reading, edit your resume, call home, pay bills, or eat meals. Sometimes I can get more done in several short blocks of time then in long undefined periods during which I am tempted to distract myself. Double task, use your downtime, laundry time, metro time, waiting room time to read. We have internet in class. I use lulls in lecture when I would probably otherwise doze off to check mail and plan my schedule.

7. Don't read everything. You may be able to read everything, but chances are you'll only remember 20% anyways. I have decided to focus my reading around taking really good reading notes so that I will have the important elements of each reading when I go back to prepare for exams.

8. Love what you read. Look up terms you don’t know, research the background stories of juicy cases and post any innuendo you stumble across on facebook. This keeps things interesting.

9. Take time off before you start. I don’t think it is necessary to take time off between undergrad and grad school but I have to admit that, after going vegan, it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am rarely if ever distracted by regrets or “what ifs” and when I start to feel cramped I look at my pictures and feel free and happy again. Also, the year I spent working as a legal assistant helped. Not because I learned so much about law in theory, but because I have an understanding of what law looks like in practice (two very different things). Also, talking to real lawyers about the highs and lows of their lives since law school is part of what convinced me to take two more years off to travel.

10. Attach the correct amount of worth to grades. While good grades are super valuable and will do a lot of the work for you when you go to interview for jobs, falling anywhere in the midst of a group of individuals who have been meticulously selected based on their statistical ability to do well in law school isn’t a bad thing. Also, unlike some graduate programs, the stuff you learn in law school is often directly relevant to your future career. That means that you aren’t just paying to get a pretty transcript from a prestigious institution. The education itself is worth a lot.



Monday, January 11, 2010

Random Law School Update 5

Last Locations: Washington, DC to Dallas, TX to Boulder City, NV to Tucson, AZ to Midway, UT to Las Vegas, NV to San Francisco, CA to Tucson, AZ to Washington, DC
Arrival Date: December 21, 2009
Departure Date: January 9, 2010

Current location: Washington, DC
Arrival Date: January 10, 2010
Departure Date: Unknown

Next location: Law School Spring Semester

Finals were beautiful. As much as I was enjoying law school up until that point, I enjoyed most the process of synthesizing the multitudes of detailed concepts we had studied over the semester into grandiose, interconnected patterns of understanding. I had meant to write an update the day after my last test, but I fell into the trap of writing least when I have the most to write about. I plan to write more about the law school experience in a future email. Grades are supposed to come out in February. Apparently, one grade was posted early but I refuse to look. I want my subjectively good feeling about the experience to last as long as possible before it is burst by an objective breakdown of my performance relative to my brilliant classmates.

My hard drive crashed last weekend while I was in San Francisco, which is ok because I had almost everything backed up on my time capsule in DC and Apple replaced it under warranty without question as Apple is apt to do. I am very grateful that it chose to crash over my break and not a few weeks earlier. Thanks to Haiete for convincing me to go to the Apple store right away and for backing up my photos from Utah for me. If it weren't for her, I would have lost them!

With a reinvigorated appreciation for the importance of uploading my photos regularly, I was super productive and posted all of winter break online before I left Tucson: Look at the pictures for a more detailed story of my recent adventures. The quickish breakdown is:

Washington, DC to Tucson, Arizona: Dec 20-21. My plane was delayed due to the storm the day before, and I arrived in Dallas for my layover almost four hours late. Amazingly, American Airlines put me up in a hotel and shuttled me back to the airport the next morning where I got lucky and was the last called off the standby list to make the first booked-out flight to Tucson. I arrived in Tucson only 12 hours behind schedule.

Tucson, Arizona to Midway, Utah: Dec 22-23. Despite having had my fill of travel the day before, I got ready in time to depart for the 16 hour drive to Utah with my parents early the following morning. We stopped along the way to sleep in a small town outside of Las Vegas to wait for Ronald's Donuts to open the next morning. Well worth it as always.

Midway, Utah: Dec 23-30. We stayed in a residential neighborhood nearish to Park City on the opposite side of the valley from where we normally stay. I took my snowboard out for a day in Park City and spent the rest of the time on skis at The Canyons, Brighton and Snowbird. I am officially naming Brighton as my favorite resort for it's diversity of terrain, multitude of tree runs, sparse lift lines, and good snow conditions. I took two days off skiing this year to work on my resume for my summer internship and to take a biathlon lesson (see photos). We spent Christmas evening at Jon's parents' home in Farmington where Jon's mom had gone above and beyond to prepare us an impressive vegan feast.

Midway, Utah to San Francisco, California: Dec 30-31. Getting to San Francisco on the cheap required that I drive half way back to Tucson with my parents to take a flight out of Las Vegas. Flights into and out of Salt Lake City become very expensive during peak ski season. So I made it an excuse to pick up 12 more apple fritters for my friends in San Fran. Have I mentioned Ronald's Donuts before? Really, go there.

San Francisco, California: Dec 31-Jan 4. New Years Eve in San Francisco was predictably fantastic. I have decided that I never have a bad time in San Francisco. It seems that everyone is always in a good mood. Plus forest and ocean and fog and vegan food and Exploratoriums and Christmas tree bonfires on the beach. It just feels right.

San Francisco, California to Tucson, Arizona: Jan 4. Tucson is the perfect city to have parents in. It has fantastic weather year round, isn't too busy and is cheap to fly into. Though this time I saved a layover by flying into Phoenix and taking the shuttle down. My parents picked me up at the shuttle stop and we went directly to our favorite burrito joint, Mexican F. Mexican F has no website but you can see it on google maps if you type in or click 1508 W St Marys Rd, Tucson, AZ. Nico's used to be my favorite, but Mexican F has surpassed it on price, taste, convenience and service. And the women who run it are super great.

Tucson, Arizona: Jan 4-9. I spent the last few days of vacation relaxing, hiking in the desert, having dinner with my friend Jahan's family from Mexico and Iran, having dinner with my family in Tucson, touring the Davis Monthan Air Force base with my fighter pilot friend, practicing my fighter pilot skills on the A-10 simulator (super cool), and making multiple visits to the Apple store. On my last visit, I acquired what I think may be the most impressive product ever created for the general public.

iPhone: (*swoon*) This product is so good that I think it would have been a failure to capitalism and market competition had I not supported it. I do love Google and am curious about their move to break into the hardware market with the newly announced and unlocked Nexus One, but my heart, mind and brand loyalty have been captured by Apple and the iPhone. Apple products embody functionality, beauty, simplicity, reliability, efficiency, usability, honesty, cutting edge technology, amazing customer service and pretty much everything that is right with America and capitalism. Most importantly, they are incredibly compatible with my brain.

I remember the day Ben sent me a link to the first iPhone tutorial when it was announced in January 2007. I was in nothing short of awe and dreamed of having one someday. I have admittedly and unapologetically hyped this product ridiculous amounts over the last three years, and still, it manages to be better in real life than I could have imagined.

I wrote my iPhone a poem...

Dearest iPhone I <3 you so
I take you with me where ever I go
You understand me, what I mean
Even when I don't type it perfectly
You are there when I need to confide
And am missing a pen and paper to write
When I am lost you tell me where I am
And plot the route to my next destination
You've got my back, when I forget
A name, a birthday or a statistic
You entertain me when I'm bored
With games and visual apps galore
And when I'm waiting and have some free time
I can look up random wiki pages online
If I need to set a date while I'm on the go
You are there with Open Table and Fandango
And when I feel down about the system
You reinstore my faith in capitalism
Alone I am good but with you I'm better
I hope we can be good friends forever

Tucson, Arizona to Washington, DC: Another one of my dreams came true when two of my friends from law school offered to pick me up and take me back to school in their single engine aircraft. There is a feeling you get every so often in life when you see the world and life from a new perspective. These epiphanic moments are possibly the most sought after and coveted of all human experiences and I theorize that they are a category of happiness in and of themselves. It takes a huge amount of faith to ride a human made machine thousands of feet into the air. Actively exercising that faith for 14 hours while contemplating the existence of the natural and civilized world 10,000 feet below you produces a beautiful depth of presence. It's different than being in a commercial aircraft where you are so far above the ground and detached from your surroundings that it's difficult to see the world as you pass it. We left Tucson (MST) at 1:20pm and arrived in College Park at 5:30am (EST). I didn't sleep the whole ride out.

Law school started today. More on that later.