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February, 2011:

SALK Day 55: Sheila Dee Photography

Sheila Dee is one of my favorite photographers (and people) in the Phoenix area.  She has such a keen eye.  When she first considered doing a professional show of her work, she sought guidance from a fellow photographer who asked, “Is your works special?”  I’d say Sheila’s work is more that special; it’s magnificent.

I love when I see Sheila at events around the valley, like Ignite Phoenix, Podcamp, and Improv AZ events.  She’s usually wearing her green photography backpack that makes her look like a turtle.  When I see her, I know the pictures are going to be magnificent.  Some of my favorite pictures of me where taken by her.  When I met Sheila, I didn’t realize that her specialties were photographs of nature and architectural elements.  Her work on her website, On The Creative Side, is spectacular!

Photo by Sheila Dee

Her first showing was last year at Studio 5C in Tempe, AZ, a gallery that doubles as office space.  One of the people who worked there loved her work so much that he bought a piece before the show even opened.  He picked a beautiful picture of what appears to be an architectural detail.  I was so impressed by her work at the show that I declared that Sheila gets to decorate my first office after I graduate from law school.

I love Sheila’s pictures from her travels.  She has such a unique perspective.  Sheila takes pictures of buildings but she also take the most beautiful pictures of the most ordinary things – an autumn leaf on the ground, a link of chain, a nail sticking out of a board, bubbling water – everyday occurrences but viewed in almost majestic ways.  She has amazing skills with texture and light.

Sheila shared her passion for photography at Ignite Phoenix #8.  She said that her photography is a “personal expression of who I am.”  She gave us an incredible glimpse of how she views the world through her camera.

When asked why she enjoys taking pictures, Sheila responded, “The thought of capturing a moment in time excites me. The idea of showing someone a place they might not have been to prior or allowing them to remember a special place they have visited really pleases me. I enjoy shooting the ordinary and making it special.”

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Sheila Dee.  For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

ASU Law Must Think We’re Morons

When I was a 1L, the school told us that the copy center at the law school had class outlines for sale.  There were dozens of outlines created by previous students available.  For some classes they are a necessity, and for others, it’s just nice to have another person’s outline to compare to your own and to have another person’s take on the material.

Photo by Ryan Cassella, used with permission from WNPR

Mysteriously, these outlines have disappeared from the copy center this semester, except for two “professor-approved” outlines.  Apparently, Dean Berman didn’t like that an outline for his Civil Procedure class was available.  It was over 100 pages long, and according to an email he sent to his students, it was almost verbatim what he said during his lectures.  The rumor is he didn’t want this outline to be available because he thought students should create their own outlines.  There was also another rumor that a different professor didn’t want students to have an outline for her class that clearly explained concepts because she liked it when students suffered.

I think this is probably Berman’s mental logic: “I benefited from making my own outlines from scratch without outside help, so no one else should be able to have external help from others’ notes.”  It doesn’t matter what Berman likes or doesn’t like.  It’s about the students being able to learn the material.  If having another information source is helpful, especially if they’re willing to pay the school extra to have it, then so be it!  Just because the school doesn’t like it or encourage it in general, it doesn’t make it wrong.

Here’s the moronic part – outlines are widely available and easily passed from student to student.  Student clubs have their own outline banks that they freely share with their members.  Any student whose judgment is so bad as to assume a 50-page outline will substitute for an 800-page textbook and a semester’s worth of lectures, shouldn’t be in law school in the first place.  Such assumptions only reflect the lack of confidence Dean Berman has in his students’ intellect and judgment.  The only thing the school did was cut off a revenue stream.  Given how much the school has had to raise tuition and class size, this seems like a really stupid thing to do.

And to top all of this off, the school didn’t think to inform the student body about this change.  The outlines simply disappeared at the end of last semester.  This lack of transparency makes me question what else the school might be hiding from students, its consumers and future donors.

Let me be clear, this is not a post demanding that the outlines be reinstated because I believe it’s an entitlement afforded to all law students.  I simply mean to enumerate one more example of a poorly chosen policy and the law school’s consistent inability to effectively instate such overhauls.  Not to mention the school’s now predictable attitude toward communicating with its students, that of don’t ask don’t tell.

And since I’m on my soapbox, I don’t think Berman should be teaching class.  He has enough to do with raising money for the school.  According to this year’s students, he frequently cancelled class due to his other job duties and made them up with marathon classes.  I hear he’s actually a good teacher, but I don’t think he should be an instructor and an administrator.  If I was one of his students, I would have been pissed.

Special thanks to my anonymous co-writer this week.

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SALK Day 52: In Memorium of Jim Wolf

The gift of Jim

Jim loved to give gifts. As his wife, I was privileged to be a recipient of various gifts. I’ve listed a few of the highlights that I want to thank Jim for one more time.

Jim Wolf (1953-2009)

The gift of family:  When I married Jim in 1982, I gained 6 sisters and two brothers plus numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, parents-in-law and grandparents. While this seemed a bit overwhelming at times, it was truly a blessing as I came to love them all as he did. Thank you, Jim, for the gift of family.

The gift of Steve:  After 7 years of marriage Jim and I welcomed our son, Steve, into the world and we became a family of our own. Thank you, Jim, for the gift of a son.
The gift of humor:  Jim had a passion for boats. Big boats, little boats, motor boats, any kind of boat; he liked them all. So, when he wanted a remote-controlled boat but couldn’t justify the purchase, he bought one for my birthday and pretended that it was really for me. Thank you, Jim, for the gift of humor.

The gift of a godly husband:  At a time when marriages so often end in divorce, we celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary on Valentine’s Day, 2009. Thank you, Jim, for the gift of a godly husband.

The last gift that Jim gave to me wasn’t really from him, but it was the most precious gift that we shared in our lifetime. You see, when Jim’s heart stopped beating last Saturday morning, he entered immediately into the presence of the God that he loved and served. His desire was that all of you would have that same opportunity to spend eternity in glory. The best gift that we can give him is to make the choice to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

Thank you, God, for the gift of eternal life.

And thank you, God, for the gift of Jim.

In memory of Jim Wolf
June 24, 1953 (Gardner, KS) – February 21, 2009 (Phoenix, AZ)

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Bev Wolf.  She asked me to publish the testimony that she read at her husband’s memorial service in 2009. For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

Reflections from I Wish Your Wish

This past Friday I volunteered at Ignite Phoenix #9.  It may have been the best Ignite event that I’ve ever been to.  The event was held at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, across the way from the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA).  We had some down time before the event and Matt Petro suggested that we take advantage of the break to go over to the I Wish Your Wish exhibit.

(cc) Nick Bastian from Flickr

I had seen something in an email about the museum, wishes, and wearing ribbons, but I had no idea of what it was about.  We grabbed Jeff Moriarty and headed over to the exhibit.  I was not prepared to walk into a room where three of the four walls had rows and rows of colored ribbons hanging on them, each one printed with a wish.  The sheer volume of them was breathtaking.  There were sixty different wishes inscribed on six thousand ribbons, each one a ¼ inch wide.  The artist, Rivane Neuenschwander, asked her family and friends and their family and friends to write down a wish and that’s the pool she used for the exhibit.

There was a little table/shelf on the blank wall that held slips of paper and mini golf pencils.  We were invited to write one of our wishes on a slip of paper, roll it up, and exchange it for a ribbon on the wall.  I felt like I was given an intimate glimpse into these strangers’ lives by seeing their wishes.  There were so many great ones to choose from.  Jeff suggested that I take the one that said, “I wish one day I would have a dog.”  That is one of my wishes but that wasn’t the one that resonated with me the most.  I selected a wish that was printed on a pink ribbon – my signature color – and put my wish in the empty hole.  The ribbon said, “I wish to die with no regrets.”

The museum employee took my ribbon and tied it around my wrist with three knots.  She said when the ribbon falls off that the wish will come true for the person who originally made it and for me.  The wishes that people leave in the wall will become the pool that the artist uses to create the next set of ribbons.

Powerful doesn’t even begin to describe this experience.  I’m going to miss having my ribbon when it finally falls off.  The exhibit will be at SMoCA until June 5, 2011.  If you’re in the Phoenix area, you should go.  It’s an experience that should not be missed.

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When You Up-Talk, I Want to Punch You in the Face

Women too often have a problem with up-talking.  I’ve seen it in my fellow law students and nationally recognized speakers.  It is nails on a chalkboard to me.  It is so distracting that the last time it happened at an event, I stopped taking notes on the content and started counting the number of times the speaker was up-talking.

SIX Nightclub in Scottsdale, AZ, runway fashio...

For those of you who do not recognize the term “up-talking,” it is the inappropriate raising of one’s tone of voice – most commonly occurring in women.  It is also referred to as Valley-girlism.  When you ask a question, your voice is supposed to go up when you reach the question mark.  If your voice goes up when you reach a comma or period, that’s up-talking.  Alyson Hannigan’s character from American Pie is the epitome of up-talking: This one time, at band camp. . . .

Why do women up-talk?  Is it an extension of women’s need to be perceived as nice?  Is it an overreaction to a fear of being perceived as demanding?  A bitch?  I do not know what the reason behind up-talking is, but the effects of this habit are profound.

Women, when you up-talk it sounds like you’re constantly asking question and seeking validation.  At best, you sound unsure of yourself.  At worst, you sound like an airhead.  It is unprofessional and ineffective.  And it’s obnoxious – so stop it.

Cover of "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner...

Cover via Amazon

Dr. Lois P. Frankel wrote a brilliant book for women: Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make that Sabotage Their Careers. It is a must-read for every young professional woman.  She provides wonderful information for women regarding how they act, look, sound, and market themselves.  When it comes to up-talking, she says that women’s ideas are more likely to be discounted when they use a higher than natural pitch.

Shelley Jack made a great observation: “One reason why Americans think the British sound so smart is because the language is delivered with a stronger tone of certainty.  Even questions can somehow come off sounding like well-crafted, thoughtful sentences.”

If you wonder if you up-talk, ask someone you trust.  Remember that what you say is as important as how you say it.  Speak with purpose.

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SALK Day 38 – Social Media AZ

This Friday, February 11th is Social Media AZ 4, the premier business focused event that helps companies learn and understand the latest techniques in digital marketing and social media.  It is the largest interactive marketing event in Arizona, featuring industry experts who will be sharing their experiences on how to do it right and what really works.  Attendees will learn about the latest developments in social media, location-based services, mobile applications and the latest data driven digital marketing techniques.  Fred Von Graf founded Social Media AZ, and is the driving force behind this premier Social Media for Business event.

The event will take place at MADCAP Theaters in Tempe.   Doors open at 8am with a keynote at 9am, and the event will conclude by 4pm.  SMAZ 4 will include the SMAZZIES – the social media awards, with categories for Must Follow, Business That Gets It, Most Social Use of Social Media,  Trailblazer, Up and Coming, Homegrown Can of Awesome, and Innovative Use of Social on Mobile.

SMAZ 4 has an all-star set of presenters including Jay Baer and Pam Slim.  The presenters range from Fortune 200 executives to Social Media authors and SEM architects with years of experience willing to share the challenges and rewards of implementing internal and external social media strategies.

Additionally, every attendee will receive a free copy of “The Now Revolution” by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund.  You can meet the authors and get your book signed!

Tickets for the event are still available.  Use promotional code SMAZ4SALK for 25% off.  A portion of the proceeds from SMAZ will go to support local non-profits.

SMAZ is awesome and has given me 2 free tickets to give away – a $250 value!  Leave a comment telling me why you want to go to SMAZ to be entered into the random drawing.  The drawing will take place at 5pm Arizona time.

You can also follow Social Media AZ on Twitter and Facebook.

Update: Congrats to Kim Hazlewood on winning 2 free tickets to SMAZ!  Have a great time.

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Fred Von Graf.  For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

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SALK Day 35 – Foundation for Children with aHUS

When I first announced Sponsor A Law Kid, the first person to sponsor a day was Crystal Ferreira, one of my high school classmates.  She asked me to share part of her family’s story and to promote the Foundation for Children with Atypical HUS.

Atypical Hemolytic-uremic Syndrome (aHUS) is a syndrome where red blood cell break apart and the cell fragments create clots in the kidneys which cause severe anemia and kidney failure.   The disease usually presents with persistent flu-like symptoms, lethargy, and loss of appetite.  Blood tests show shattered red blood cells, and low platelet counts, a definite sign of aHUS.  Patients frequently have recurring problems with the disease including kidney failure, seizures, neurological problems, high blood pressure, lack of response to supportive treatment, and a return of symptoms even after kidney transplant.

Atypical HUS is a rare complicated disease with only 300-600 cases in the United States and is most common in young children.  The syndrome is not well understood, has no standard treatment and no cure.  The best treatment is to closely monitor the disease, provide supportive treatment to control blood pressure and minimize kidney damage to kidneys though plasma and blood transfusions.

Photo courtesy of the Ferreira Family

Crystal’s son, Christopher, was diagnosed with aHUS in August 2009, just four days before he was supposed to start first grade.  He spent 31 days in Children’s Hospital Oakland.  He has since had at least one relapse.  The family claims to be managing decently, but they’re really doing an amazing job planning around potential relapses and making their son’s life as happy as possible.  Christopher loves being outdoors, playing soccer and baseball, riding his bike, and especially loves riding his four-wheeler.  The family recognizes that these times are valuable and limited.  Crystal said hearing his laughter is a reminder that children are resilient despite how hard these illnesses try to bring them down.

The Foundation for Children with Atypical HUS raises monies for medical research to find better treatments of a cure, provides information and support materials to parents of children who are suffering from the disease, and works to increase public awareness by educating our medical community about the disease.   Please visit their website to make a donation to this worthy cause.  

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is the Ferreira family. For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

SALK Day 33 – Two Men And A Truck

Today’s sponsor is Two Men And A Truck.  When I first saw one of their trucks driving around the valley, I thought it was a little company that was literally two guys and their truck.  That was this company’s humble beginning but has since become the first and largest local franchised moving company in the United States.  Beth King has been a franchise owner of Two Men And A Truck since 2004 with locations in Peoria and Goodyear, Arizona.  I love that this large company maintains its small town charm with its philosophy of treating “everyone the way you would want your Grandma to be treated.”


Image via Wikipedia

Two Men And A Truck is a full-service moving company for home and business moves.  They also provide packing and unpacking services and sell packing supplies.   They have flexible scheduling options, including providing services in the evening and on weekends.  Each move is tailored to the customer’s needs.  Their website provides valuable resources including a moving checklist and the importance of use the right packing supplies.

The reviews of Two Men And A Truck and its trained, licensed, and insured crews are regarded as courteous, friendly, polite, and helpful.  They have a reputation of being efficient and professional.  They arrive on time for jobs and are known for finishing the job early.  On multiple occasions, Two Men And A Truck has saved the day for customers.  They have been able to take on moving jobs at the last minute when another moving company did not show up when they were scheduled or when the customers did not trust the movers that another company sent.

Two Men And A Truck is dedicated to protect consumers.  Their blog and Facebook pages keep consumers informed about the importance of being suspicious of movers and how to select honest movers.  They are also dedicated to serving their community.  They recently announced on Twitter that they will soon be launching a new program called “Movers For Moms.”  I can’t wait to hear more about it!

Please consider Two Men And A Truck in the Phoenix area for your upcoming moving needs.  They have two locations in Peoria (623-933-2180) and Goodyear (623-932-6090).  You can get a customized quote on their website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.  You can also get valuable tips and tricks on their blog or by sending them an email at

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Two Men And A Truck. For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

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SALK Day 32 – Brand X Custom T-shirts

I absolutely love today’s sponsor, Brand X Custom T-shirts in Tempe, Arizona.  They create customized shirts, hoodies, hats, bags, onesies, underwear, and more.  If you can conceptualize it, they can make it a reality.  They even have an iphone app for creating shirts.  You can also get a quote online or just bee-bop into their store on to speak with one of their awesome staff members.  Even when the shop is busy, they carefully walk each client through the design process to make sure that each person gets exactly what they want.  They have locations on Mill Ave and at Arizona State University.

Copyright Brand X Custom T-Shirts, used with permission

Brand X has a massive selection of apparel to choose from, and they are all high quality pieces.  If they don’t have what you want on hand, they can order it for you.  If you’re putting words on your shirt, they have a huge variety of fonts, colors, and textures for your lettering.  You can bring in your own design, or use one of theirs.  This past Christmas, I ordered matching Rabies Awareness running shirts for my sister and brother-in-law so people will think that they did a Rabies Awareness Run.

I love that Brand X is so connected to the local community.  Brand X has made the shirts for every Podcamp and Ignite Phoenix event that I’ve ever attended.  They also make the shirts of events for charity like Twestival and have events featuring local artists in their store.  At the last Podcamp AZ, Brand X was on-site at the event making Podcamp shirts as they were ordered with their mobile set up.  It was awesome.  My Brand X shirts are among of my favorite things to wear, and being a future professional geek, it’s very important to have good t-shirts.  Brand X also made my underwear for the 2010 No Pants Light Rail Ride.  I can’t wait until I’m earning a living wage again so I can create more pieces.  I have at least two ideas that I can’t wait to turn into wearable art.

And it’s not just me who loves Brand X.  Everyone on Yelp has nothing but good things to say about Brand X, their high quality work, their fast service, and their wonderful staff.  One of my friends goes to the South by Southwest conference every year, the most awesomest film, music, and interactive media conference in the U.S.   He has Brand X make a shirt for every day of the event.

If you need to make a personal statement or if you need a special gift for someone else, please consider Brand X.  You won’t be disappointed.

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Brand X Custom T-shirts.  For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

Should you Accept a Job Where you Don’t Want to Live?

My classmate asked me to write about what a law student should do if they get a job offer in a state where they don’t want to move.  That’s a really hard question, and I don’t think that there is a hard and fast answer.

The economy is not doing well and law school graduates are struggling to find jobs in general.  I’m sure a lot of people will say you should take any job you can get.  When I put this question out on Twitter, the best response was, “If you really will like the job, then the location doesn’t matter as much, at least in the short term.”  The only problem I have with this response is related to the fact that we don’t have a national bar in the United States.  When we pass the bar, we’re basically locking ourselves into one state unless there is reciprocity or we’re willing to take another bar exam.  If we weren’t locked into to a particular location, I would be more willing to support moving to a place you hate on a temporary basis.

Ohio state welcome sign, along US Route 30, en...
Image via Wikipedia

I asked my sister, Morena Carter, for her thoughts on this topic.  She’s a law student at the University of Akron.  When she finished her masters degree in European history and museum studies, she moved across the country to accept a job at the Cleveland Art Museum in Ohio.  I was baffled by her decision.  She had never lived in that part of the country and she did not know anyone there.  When it comes to moving for one’s career she says, “I think people should only apply for jobs that they think they might like at least a little bit or that might lead them to the job they really want no matter where it is.”  She took the job because it was an incredible career opportunity of her and if nothing else, having it on her resume would help her get a more desirable job.  She stayed at that job for the 4.5 years and is still happily living in the Cleveland area.

My Dad has always said, “Figure out where you want to live, then get a job.”  I give this advice a lot of weight because I know if I hate where I live, no job is going to make it bearable.  I need to be able to enjoy my free time.  It’s also important to know what factors you need to be happy in a city.  My experiences have taught me that I do better in cities with minimal snow and that are within 90 minutes of a major airport.

You shouldn’t completely reject a job if it’s in an unfamiliar place, but carefully consider the opportunities and the drawbacks of both the job and the area before making a decision.  Think about what you would be willing to give up for the right career opportunity.  If you’re going to move some place completely new, it’s important to embrace it and make a strong effort to get acclimated and meet new people.  It’s hard for people who aren’t self-starters to do this.  My sister and I agree that it takes a good 6 months to a year for a place to start to feel like home.

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