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Phoenix Comicon

Long Days of Bar Prep – & Some Fun

One of my contacts at Barbri asked me how I’m managing to study and continue to practice law. The only phrase that came to mind was, “Not gracefully.”

Reminder: Rob-tastic and I teamed up with Barbri to document and share our stories from studying for the July 2017 California Bar Exam.

Presenting at Phoenix Comicon 2017.
Photo by K Royal, used with permission.

Busy Life of Bar Prep
I’ve never said that I was graceful or eloquent, and it becomes more apparent when I exist in a state of stress. My days are full, and even fuller than I originally expected because a few weeks before I started studying for the bar exam, I was in a car accident. So, instead of having a schedule of client work, studying, and exercise, I have client work, studying, chiropractic appointments, twice daily sessions of icing my back, communications with my attorney, and dealing with daily pain.

My days are long: up at 4:45am to walk and feed the pirate dog, ice my back, and get ready to be at the office by 9am, work until 2pm on client work and upcoming presentations, go to the chiropractor, get home by 3:30/4 to walk and feed the pirate dog, study for the bar exam, ice my back again, and hopefully be in bed by 10pm.

On the days I don’t have the chiropractor, I try to be out of the office by 1pm to do a longer day of studying. It’s comforting when I see that I’m ahead of the schedule set by Barbri. I try to stay about 5% ahead of where they say I should be.

One of my flaws is I’ll push too hard too fast and burn myself out. My tell-tale signs of stress are purple under my eyes from lack of sleep (“black eye syndrome”) and my tongue will have little groove marks along the edge from my teeth. I try to be careful not to stay up too late and whenever I feel stress taking a hold of me, I try to shake it off with a deep breath and think “I got this.”

Meeting the Minions!

Hurray for Phoenix Comicon
Thankfully, I got a respite from studying this past weekend at Phoenix Comicon where I spoke on two panels: Comic Creator Rights and Copyright and Fan Art/Fiction. It was wonderful to see and hug some of my friends, and the people watching was fantastic. There are some talented cosplayers in the Phoenix area. (No, I don’t dress up when I speak.) I was giddy happy when I got to meet the Minions. (Did I mention stress makes me more weird than I usually am?)

This was the last big thing on my calendar until the BlogHer conference in late June. I’ll still see some friends on occasion, but those will be special events for me. (It’s for the best. As I get more stressed, I get less tolerant of crowds, noise, and annoying things.)

Church in Budapest
Photo by Robert McGee, used with permission.

Rob on the Road
Yay Rob’s alive! After a successful INTA conference in Barcelona, Rob-tastic sends his best from Budapest where’s he’s alternating between studying California law and geeking out over the Hungarian architecture. Rob sent me an email and said, “The most difficult part of studying on the road so far is, predictably, the lack of books. Listening to the lectures and taking notes as I go is great, but I’m more of a visual learner than an auditory one. I did bring a book of outlines relevant to California law in particular, so I’m not totally without my preferred medium, but it limits my ability to review the bigger subjects.”

Rob’s doing the attorney’s course with the diagnostic pre-tests that gauge how much you recall from your last bar exam. He said these make it “easier to pinpoint the blank spots in your good subjects, while letting you know what your bad subjects are more efficiently. I dislike admitting when something is difficult for me, or when I don’t know something. It’s a character flaw. These tests don’t care, they’ll tell me exactly what I’m doing wrong with all the loving tenderness of a machine. It works.”

That’s all for this week. If you have any questions about what we’re doing or how we’re doing, leave it as a comment below. If you want to send us good vibes via snail mail, that’s always welcome. Send us postcards at Ruth and Rob, c/o Venjuris P.C., 1938 E. Osborn Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85016. (If you have a friend taking a bar exam this summer, send them one too. They’ll appreciate the love.)

New Business Cards – Pretty Freakin’ Awesome

I’m sure plenty of people who don’t know me but hear that my name is “Ruth” and that I’m lawyer envision me to be a stuff old Jewish woman who embodies all the lawyer stereotypes.  I suspect that’s who my co-panelist at Phoenix Comicon thought he was pair with when he heard he was doing a panel on Comic Creator Rights with “the lawyer.” He was probably surprised to see a young pixie of thing in a pink geeky t-shirt instead. We had a great time doing our panel. He said we looked like gurus but I think we look like a couple of Muppets in the photos.

It’s always been important to me to have effective non-boring business cards. I made a joke after Phoenix Comicon that I should have business cards made that say, “Ruth Carter, Esq., Not That Kind Of Lawyer.” Recently, I needed to order more business cards and I figured, since I’m paying for shipping for two boxes of cards, I might as well make it four – so I made them! I’ll probably use them at events where I’m more likely to meet people who are likely to wrinkle their noses when they hear I’m a lawyer.

New Business Card - front

New Business Card - back

What do you think? A friend mentioned that these fit in well with my goal to becoming a minimalist.

I love these cards. We’ll see if these become my standard business card. It takes me about six months to go through two boxes of cards so we’ll see how I feel the next time I need to reorder.

I’m Having Fun This Spring – Who’s In?

One of the challenges of being a business owner is your days are unstructured except for the structure you impose on them yourself. And since there’s always something that needs to get done in the business, it’s easy to get trapped behind my laptop for hours on end, even on the weekend. I realized that I need to schedule in some fun so I get a much needed re-charge at time and enjoy all that the Phoenix area has to offer.

Photo by Devon Christopher Adams - used with permission

Photo by Devon Christopher Adams – used with permission

I’ve decided that I’m going to have more fun this spring and make an effort to get out to more events. Here’s what’s on my to-do list this spring.

I also want to learn to do some new things this year. I think I’ll sign up for some lessons this spring.

  • Skateboarding – I have a feeling that I might be good at this.
  • Golf – I want to learn how to hit a golf ball so I can go to the driving range without making a fool of myself.
  • Trapeze – Santa got me two trapeze lessons. This is going to be awesome!

There’s one more thing I really want to do this spring – take a day trip to Jerome. I’ve heard it’s a charming place. I think it would be fun to go up there for lunch and to wander around the shops for a few hours.

So that’s what’s on my fun to-do list for the next few months. If there’s anything you want to do with me, let me know!

Bonding with my Fellow Geeks at Phoenix Comicon

It’s Phoenix Comicon this weekend! I feel like Geek Christmas is upon us. I love going to geek events because from the moment I walk in, I know I’m surrounded by people who “get it.” We don’t have to explain why we love what we love, we just get to enjoy it with our fellow geeks. This weekend, we’re taking over the Phoenix Convention Center. It’s going to be a fun time.

Ruth Carter at Phoenix Comicon, Photo by Devon Christopher Adams

Speaking at Phoenix Comicon 2012 – Photo by Phoenix Comicon and Devon Christopher Adams

I’m excited that the powers that be at Phoenix Comicon have asked me to be part of two panels this year:

  • The Legalities of Fan Fiction and Fan Art – Saturday, May 25th at 3pm
  • Comic Creator Rights – Sunday, May 26th at 10:30am

The variety and array of events at Phoenix Comicon this year is huge! I spent a good chunk of last weekend going through the schedule and building out my conquest. Here’s what’s on my docket besides my talks:

Friday, May 24th

  • Deep Space Nine: 20 Years Later – I’m a huge DS9 fan so I’m super excited for this.
  • From Bullying to Harmony: Understanding and Dealing with Bullying – great panel for this audience.
  • Phoenix Ultimate Geek Smackdown III – this is definitely one of the best events at Phoenix Comicon.
  • Awesome Hour with Wil Wheaton – If I haven’t turned into a pumpkin yet.

Saturday, May 25th

  • Hit Phoenix Public Market for lunch before going to Phoenix Comicon.
  • Klingon Language for Beginners – I’ve always wanted to learn Klingon. I tried to learn with the tapes, but I only picked up a handful of words.
  • Trek Fandom in the Valley – I’ve been thinking I want to do more with the Trek community.

Sunday, May 26th

  • Wheaton and Scalzi, Together Again – I’ll go if I’m not conned out by this point. Given that I’m a massive introvert and don’t particularly like large crowds of people, I probably will be.

There are some sci-fi speed dating events. It might be interesting in doing this, but given that a lot of people go to cons to hook up and that’s not my bag, this might not be for me.

Of course there is also the vendor room at Phoenix Comicon too. I’m always on the market for a good geeky t-shirt. The challenge is finding ones that aren’t printed on super cheap itchy shirts. Having custom shirts made at Brand X has turned me into a bit of a t-shirt snob. I’d love to get a Star Trek or a Wheaton’s Law t-shirt.

I’ve lost at least 20 pounds since my bought my Starfleet uniform so now it’s too big for me to wear. Seeing the new Star Trek movie has inspired me to get a new one. I’d love to have Uhura’s dress from the movie for when I’m feeling sassy and a gray-and-black jumpsuit from Deep Space Nine for every day wear. I’m also on the lookout for a morphsuit too – probably in royal blue, though it would be fun to get one in black and pretend to be people’s shadows.

I’m really looking forward to getting my geek on and bonding with my fellow nerds this weekend. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

Undeniable Recap of 2012

Ruth Carter, ABA Legal Rebel

Photo by Don McPhee Photography

It’s been an incredible year! Looking back, so much has changed and so many wonderful things have happened for me this year – personally and professionally. I never could have predicted so many good things happening. Of course, I didn’t get here alone and I want to thank all the friends, family, and colleagues who helped make this year fan-fucking-tastic. It was hard to pick the top five events from this year, but here you go!

1.  Carter Law Firm Opened!  I opened my own law practice on January 4, 2012 and I’m happy to report that I’m still in business and haven’t been disbarred. It’s been an amazing year creating and building my own business with all the trials and tribulations that go along with that. I love my work and I’m so lucky that I get to build the professional life I’ve always wanted as the approachable geeky lawyer who wears t-shirts and does awesome work. I love that I’m building my niches in social media and flash mob law and being invited to do things like speak at major conferences.

ruthcover smaller2.  My First Book  I wrote and self-published The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to get Sued, Fired, Arrested, or Killed. I’ve always wanted to write a book and all the pieces fell into place to make it happen. The book has been well received so far and appears to be opening the door for more books. Special hat tip to ePublish Unum for teaching me everything I know about self-publishing.

3.  ABA Legal Rebel  I’ve always looked up to the American Bar Association Legal Rebels, but in my wildest dreams I did not expect to be picked to join this illustrious group only months after becoming a lawyer. I’m tickled that they chose me because of my work in flash mob law.

Rosie!

Rosie!

4.  I Got A Dog!  Adopting Rosie from the Arizona Basset Hound Rescue was probably the biggest life changing event of this year. It had been years since I had a pet and because of her we go walking every day and I’m on a more structured schedule. She can melt my heart with one look and it was so hard to leave her at the kennel for a few days. I love the way she looks when she runs and how she howls at the phone.

5.  Half Marathon Personal Record  This may seem petty, but it was a big deal to me to finish the race under two hours. I was blown away when I heard I finished the race in 1:52. I’d never run that hard for so long before. It was a great experience to do so well.

 

Celebrity Encounters in 2012

 

Firsts in 2012

  • handstand bean1st trip to Chicago where I leave the airport – included my 1st ride on the L Train and my 1st visit to Cloud Gate (The Bean)
  • 1st trip to the Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Bought my 1st Powerball ticket
  • 1st time using Survey Monkey and Mail Chimp
  • 1st time at Phoenix Comicon
  • 1st time owning a pet that wasn’t formerly a family pet
  • 1st business trip to San Francisco
  • Sent my 1st DMCA Takedown Notice
  • Put up my 1st yarn bomb
  • 1st trip to the ABA TechShow
  • 1st YouTube channel

In Memorium

  • Peg Grucky
  • David Malcolm

This has been an incredible year. I’m excited for what’s to come next!