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Evo Terra

Lunch with Jeff = Change in Writing Plans

In my last post, I told you about my plans to write two new books next year.

Then I had lunch with Jeff, and now my plans have changed significantly.

Partners in Crime (Photo by Jeff Moriarty, used with permission)

Partners in Crime (Photo by Jeff Moriarty, used with permission)

Jeff Moriarty is one of the most creative people I know. He has a gift for developing and executing ideas. He is the founder of Ignite Phoenix and a co-founder of Improv AZ. I often refer to him as my partner in crime. (Note: We are partners in crime, not partners in life. I have no idea how his wife puts up with all of his puns.) Jeff is also a talented writer and has substantial knowledge about indie publishing. He and Evo Terra ran a company called ePublish Unum that helped indie authors (including me) write and release their books.

I told Jeff about my ideas to write two books next year, and he made the brilliant suggestion that instead of writing two comprehensive books, I could write several shorter ebooks where each one tackles a smaller subtopic within social media law. This would allow me to create and release more book-quality content throughout the year and delve into specialized topics for niche audiences. After releasing several of these short books, I could create a compilation of material from several books and release that as an ebook or in print (most likely print-on-demand).

This idea makes perfect sense for my ideas. I have been struggling with how I was going to fit so many different topics into two books – especially social media law for small businesses because there are so many different groups within that audience I want to help.

In listening to Jeff, my brain was already cranking out ideas – like using a similar cover design for each book, but in a different color, much like what ePublish Unum did with their books about indie publishing.

Originally, I thought I wanted a traditional publisher for my next books, but now I’m thinking of going back to my indie publishing roots. I will still have an editor and a graphic designer; and I may hire a company to format my books. But beyond that I can release my work myself, on a schedule that I set, with total autonomy regarding the topics I cover. And if I don’t have a traditional publisher, there will be no question or debate about who owns the copyright (me) and I can set my own prices. (Translation: I can charge less than what a traditional publisher would charge because I won’t have to share the profit with them.)

So now my next step is to decide what topics I want to cover in my next batch of work, and start figuring out how many e-books I will be writing next year as a result. I have a feeling this means I’m going to have a wall covered in sticky notes in the near future.

Marathon Training Week 3 Recap – Getting Better

3 is the magic number by DanBrady from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

3 is the magic number by DanBrady from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

By the end of this week, I can say my body is adjusting to training pretty well. I feel stronger and I’m noticing more muscle definition in my quads and shoulders. And I’m not going to lie – one of the benefits of training for a race like this is I get to look better naked.

Speaking of how I look naked, I spent the last week with a gash on my arm from my fall during week 2. It’s still healing and showing significant improvement in the last few days. Up until Friday it looked pretty gross while my arm was trying to regrow my skin and the bruises got darker and more yellow each day. We’ll see if there’s going to be a scar. I hope not.

Here’s a quick recap of each aspect of my training from the last week.

1005141834Running
I had four runs this week – 4.5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday and 6.5 miles on Wednesday and Saturday. This was the first week I ran the full distance of what I thought I’d been running for the last month. My left quad let me know it could tell the difference in the distance – not pain, just a little sore. Sometime this week I noticed how comfortable I’ve become with my new running posture. I’m averaging about 10 min/mile without pushing myself that hard (though I was inspired to kick it up a notch when I was passed by another running this week) and my pain is still minimal and transient.

It’s a well-known fact that I’m not a fan of stretching. It’s a necessary evil in my world. I stretch before and after each run, but not so much when I ride my bike. I can definitely tell on my Tuesday run that I didn’t stretch on Sunday. My lower legs were more sore than the other days of the week.

So far, I prefer to listen to podcasts when I run. This week I listened to the Dr. Drew Podcast, three episodes of The Mistake Podcast with Peter Shankman and Peter Keller, an old episode of Evo at 11 featuring Joe Holt, and the latest episode of Profiles with Alicia Malone and Scott Mantz. The conversations on the shows keep my brain more stimulated and distracted than music. The one downside is I don’t like fussing with my iPod to flip between shows if I finish the show before I finish my run. I have a 20-mile run coming up in December. I really want to convince my friend Evo Terra to have our friends over to sit in ShEvo Studios, drink beer, and record a 200-minute podcast of their standard nothing-and-everything conversations to keep me entertained.

Biking
I had an awesome 18-mile bike ride at sunrise this week. (I also learned that I need to replace the batteries in my bike light because it was looking a little dim.) I still get a little tired towards the end but I my stamina and leg strength are increasing. I love my padded butt shorts. I feel bad that Rosie the basset hound hasn’t figured out that when I put these shorts on, it means I’m going out and she’s not coming with me. I’m moving next weekend so I’ll be changing up my route and beginning to explore Papago Park.

Push-Ups
The push-ups are going well. It doesn’t hurt to put my arms up anymore. I did 6 sets of 12 on Monday, 6 sets of 13 on Saturday, and finished up with 4 sets on Sunday alternating between 12 and 13 push-ups per set. This week the plan is to do my 200 push-ups over two days instead of three, doing 8 sets each day, alternating between 12 and 13 push-ups per set.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 22 Miles
Biking: 18 Miles
Push-ups: 200

Gender Inequality Under the Arizona Decency Law

It’s officially summer in Arizona . . . and it’s hot. (Yeah yeah yeah I live in a desert. Suck it up.) I got home from work one day recently and when I changed out of my work clothes, I threw on a pair of workout shorts and that’s it – no shirt, no sports bra, nothing from the waist up. I’ve been known to hang around my home dressed like that. It’s not sexual, it’s just comfortable.

2013 Go Topless Day Protest with Evo Terra. Photo by Sheila Dee, used with permission.

2013 Go Topless Day Protest with Evo Terra. Photo by Sheila Dee, used with permission.

Then I realized I needed to walk down the street to get the snail mail so I had to put a shirt on. That got me thinking, “I wouldn’t care if my male neighbor got his mail in just a pair of shorts, but if I did that, I’d be breaking the law. What’s the difference?”

How can we say that men and women are equal when the law clearly treats us differently? It’s only an issue if we make it an issue. I’ve heard of cities where it’s legal to be naked in public and it’s a novelty for the high school kids to sit in the park in their birthday suits but otherwise no one cares.

I’ve had guy friends try to explain that women’s chests are more sexual than men and I don’t buy that. I think that guys may be more visually stimulated than women, but that sounds more like their issue than mine. In my experience, if someone is turned on by a body part, it really doesn’t matter if there’s a layer of fabric over it. They’re still going to look (though some of you need to learn to be more discrete about it).

And I don’t buy the argument that a woman’s breasts are more sexual than a man’s chest. I know lots of guys who get uber turned on if you touch their nipples. And given how big some guys’ man boobs are, you can’t say that women’s boobs should be covered up because they’re bigger.

What are we telling girls about their bodies by having different laws for men and women? I’m concerned that this law teaches girls that they should be ashamed of their bodies and tells heterosexual and bisexual boys that it’s ok to treat women like sex objects. Are we telling girls that showing your body could result in people not being able to control themselves? I think we’ve long established that no one has a right to touch or harass you regardless of what you’re wearing.

When I posted the question about gender inequality on Facebook, a friend responded that women going topless would result in traffic problems. And that pissed me off. What happened to personal responsibility? If you get too distracted by pedestrians to safely operate a vehicle, you shouldn’t drive. We had the same questions come up with the No Pants Light Rail Ride. If we are lawfully standing on the platform in our underwear, and someone causes an accident because they were looking at us instead of where they were going, that’s not our fault.

I know we have bigger legislative fish to fry in Arizona than changing the Decency Law, but gender equality should be a priority. It will be an important milestone, more important than most people realize, when we treat men and women’s bodies equally and with the same level of autonomy and respect.

There is an International Go Topless Day every August to bring attention to this issue. My friend and I participated last year and I did a video rant about the news coverage of the event.

The Smoothie Diet – Your Questions Answered

The 30-day smoothie diet is over, and I’ve mostly maintained the weight I lost so far. When I first went back on real food, my body seemed to scream “FOOD!” and wanted to eat everything in sight, even when I wasn’t hungry. I think that impulse is starting to settle down. I wanted to take this post to address the questions you’ve had for me about the diet.

Evo & Me at our Final Weigh-In

Evo & Me at our Final Weigh-In

Would you ever do the diet again?
Probably not. I’m glad I did the diet and I’d consider doing it again for 1-2 weeks or do 1-2 smoothies a day plus a regular meal if I needed to lose weight. Doing this diet for 30 days was hard towards the end. The novelty of the diet also made it easier to stick with it. As Dr. Terry Simpson said, people generally don’t like this diet, just the results.

What smoothies you recommend and what smoothies you don’t recommend?
I loved my breakfast smoothie (almond milk, nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt, coffee, and sugar-free chocolate pudding) and smoothies that combined almond milk, nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt, mango, and either raspberries or pineapple. Those were my favorites.

The only smoothie I didn’t care for was the peanut butter smoothie, but I’m not a big peanut butter fan.

What was your mindset going into the diet? Do you have any recommendations for others on how to stick to a diet like this for 30 days?
In my mind, not sticking to the diet was not an option. I was going to finish it without cheating no matter what. Having my friend Evo Terra doing a crazy diet at the same time helped. We could compare stories and commiserate about missing real food.

How did you deal with the ebb and flow of cravings?
I just accepted that cravings were part of the deal. I’ve done raw diets before so I’ve had experience craving things that weren’t on my diet. You just ride them out like a wave. Posting my cravings on my Google+ profile was somewhat validating.

How much pre-planning time did the diet take?
Not that much. I went to my neighborhood grocery stores and figured out who had the best deals on my primary ingredients and made sure the fridge and freezer were always well stocked. At the beginning of each day, I jotted down a few notes about the smoothies I wanted to do that day to make sure my expected calorie count was between 1000 and 1250 calories.

How much clean up did you have to do every day?
I just had to wash my blender(s), cup(s), measuring cup, cutting board, knife, spoon, and spatula.

When you were out with friends what it harder? Any will power strategies? 
I didn’t do meals out during the smoothie diet. If I had a reception or networking event, I just drank water or club soda. The only really hard part was when my parents stayed with me for a long weekend and had friends over for dinner. I sat with them at the table and watched them eat real food while I had my smoothie, but even then it was mostly a non-issue.

Did you have more trips to the “powder room” on this diet? How was your poo?
I didn’t need extra trips to the restroom after I lost the initial water weight and I could definitely tell that I was on a very low fat diet.

What was the total volume of smoothies you consumed?
I drank 2404 ounces of smoothies on the diet, or just under 19 gallons. It would have almost filled a big party tub.

Did you win?
Dr. Terry will declare who won after he looks as Evo and my labs. Evo lost 14 pounds and 3.3% body fat on the diet. I lost 8.5 pounds and 4.3% body fat.

Dr. Terry’s fancy scale will tell you what your basal metabolic rate – the minimum calories your body needs to maintain itself if you did nothing but wake up and breathe. At the beginning of the diet my BMR was 1331 calories. At the end my BMR was 1294. I asked Terry if all I had to do to maintain my weight loss was reduce my pre-diet caloric intake by 37 calories (which I can easily do by adjusting the cream and sugar in my coffee). He said, “Yes!” It’s that easy. I guess little changes do make a big difference in the big picture.

The Smoothie Diet Recap

I’ve been on a smoothie diet for the entire month of April. It’s been really convenient not to have to worry about what I’m going to eat this month and what I need to pick up at the store.

Photos taken on 3-31-2013, weight = 121.5

Photos taken on 3-31-2013, weight = 121.5

This post is coming out on April 30th, but I’m writing this on April 26th. So far, I’ve lost between 9 and 10 pounds, and according to my last weigh-in, I’ve lost 2.5% body fat and my BMI is down to 19.7. One thing I’ve learned on this diet that’s really interesting is the fact that my bathroom scale says I’m 1-2 pounds heavier than the official scale at Dr. Terry Simpson’s office.

My smoothies all consist of almond milk and nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt. In the morning I add coffee that’s been frozen into ice cubes and sugar-free pudding and/or unsweetened cocoa powder. For the rest of my meals, I add frozen fruit and maybe some spinach. I learned the hard way that I tend to have more energy when my smoothies have banana and spinach in them. The spinach tends to turn my smoothies kinda gray or green depending on what other fruit is in it. If I get too hungry or tired, I get to have black coffee or a sugar-free gelatin cup.

Photo taken on 4-28-2013, weight ~ 113.5lbs

Photo taken on 4-28-2013, weight ~ 113.5lbs

I’ve been keeping track of my calories and my average intake is 1077.40 calories per day. I try to stretch my smoothie calories out by keeping my smoothies in the freezer and every 15-30 minutes I go to the freezer and eat the newly frozen portion. That can make a smoothie last for 2-4 hours. That’s definitely helped me stave off hunger, which was my biggest fear about doing this diet.

Of course I’ve been having weird craving, especially as the month’s been going on. Lately I’ve craved tortilla chips, a gyro with tzatziki, red velvet cheesecake, a toasted bagel with butter, glazed doughnuts, and pasta with cream sauce and bacon. As of this writing, I have no idea what my first real food is going to be. I have a feeling I should go easy on the fat and sugar at first, even though part of me would love to start my return to real food with dessert or pizza.

It’s been really easy to set up both my blenders with ingredients and let them defrost in the fridge at the beginning of the day and then blend them up when I get hungry.

Here’s my favorite breakfast smoothie that I’ll probably make on a regular basis once the diet is over:

  • 1 cup Almond Breeze original almond milk
  • 5oz Lucerne nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 3oz sugar-free chocolate pudding cup
  • 1 cup of coffee, frozen into ice cubes

Put all the ingredients in the blender. Let it stand for ~15 minutes to let the ice cubes melt a little. Then blend until the ice cubes are broken down and the ingredients are blended.

I hope I keep off some of the weight I’ve lost, but given how low my calorie counts have been, I know I can’t/won’t keep it all off.

If you want to see how my dieting counterpart, Evo Terra, has been doing on his beer and eggs diet, check out The Beer Diet page.

Thirty Days of Smoothies

My friend Evo Terra has successfully done a month-long beer-and-sausage diet. Oh yes, he lost weight and got healthier eating sausage (and whatever came with it) and drinking beer. (I know – it doesn’t seem logical, but it’s true.) He recently announced that for the month of April he would be doing a beer-and-eggs diet.

Evo & Ruth

Evo & Ruth

Whenever Evo does a crazy diet, he is supervised by bariatric surgeon, Terry Simpson, who is an expert on weight loss. I asked Terry if he could design me a diet around desserts. He said, “Of course.” I was so excited by the idea of eating ice cream and pie for a month. Then he came back and said he could a month of smoothies. That’s not exactly milkshakes, but I was already committed to the diet idea. So Evo and I are going head-to-head for 30 days to see who gets healthier (as determined by Terry).

So for this entire month, I will be drinking my calories. My smoothies will have a base of almond milk and Greek yogurt, and I can add virtually any food I want to it. I’ll probably start my day with a mocha smoothie and have fruit-and-spinach smoothies midday in the midday and evening. My expected total calories for each day will probably be between 1,000 and 1,250. I’ve already declared I get one ice cream smoothie for PMS purposes. I also get to have water, carbonated water, and black coffee.

For anyone who is freaking out because I’m already small, calm down. According to the fancy scale at Dr. Terry’s office, I weigh 121.5 and my BMI is 20.9 (my bathroom scale said I was 123.8 that day). A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24. I’d have to drop below 108 pounds to be considered underweight. I’d be surprised if I drop below 112 on the fancy scale (114 on mine).

Photos taken on 3-31-2013, weight = 121.5

Photos taken on 3-31-2013, weight = 121.5

Why am I doing this? I like challenges. It’s the same reason I ran half marathons and trained to climb the seven mountains in Phoenix in one day. And I want to beat Evo.

I will be documenting my daily intake on my Google+ page. Feel free to add me to your circles if you want to keep up with the daily update on what I’m drinking, how I’m feeling, and what I weigh.

I’m looking forward to having a month where I don’t have to think about what I’m eating or what to get at the grocery store. And I won’t really have to do dishes except for my blender, measuring cups, cutting board, knife, and cup.

I think this will be fun once I settle into the new routine. I have a feeling I’ll be sipping on something most of the day rather than drinking large quantities at three separate times, but we’ll see how it goes.

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Don’t Lose Your Personality When You Get Your JD

Foot tattoos Ruth Carter

My Awesome Tattoos

I got an interesting email from a friend over the weekend. He just graduated from law school and is studying for the bar. He’s also training for an ironman race. He’s been in fabulous shape for as long as I’ve known him and his preferred running outfit is teeny tiny running shorts and sneakers. He doesn’t put a shirt over his tattooed chest. When he was in school he lived near campus but now he lives downtown near the courthouses and a lot of the big law firms. He was concerned that his running attire could have a negative impact on his career if judges and lawyers saw him. He wrote to me asking for my thoughts.

I told him the same thing I tell everyone: “Don’t do anything in public that you wouldn’t put on the front page of the paper.” If you’re ok with being seen shirtless and in little shorts in the newspaper, why would you have a problem with judges and lawyers seeing you? They’re just people. And who’s to say they haven’t already seen you? Most people are so oblivious that they wouldn’t figure out that you were the shirtless guy if they met you at a professional event.

My friend’s question made me reflect on my early days as a law student. I was told that I should change my clothes, my hair, and even my sunglasses before I started law school. I took out my excess piercings and kept the tattoos on my feet covered with shoes, dark socks, and tattoo concealer. I gave all that up and was back to being 100% myself by the end of my 2L year. I was happier for it and got more professional opportunities as a result of being me instead of trying to fit the law student mold.

Why are lawyers seemingly held to a different social standard than other people? When we graduate from law school, we don’t suddenly all become interested in golf, going to tea, or smoking cigars. Lawyers should never give up their personality or interests because they’re lawyers. I see nothing wrong with a lawyer being a shirtless runner in their free time, or even something more daring like a burlesque dancer or a nudist. It’s no more shocking than any other fringe activity like having extreme religious beliefs or seeing your favorite band live in concert 33 times. As long as you’re not hurting anyone or breaking the law, let your freak flag fly!

I can see where my friend might be concerned because he doesn’t have a job lined up after the bar. Bug here’s something else to think about – if you have to hide who you are to get a job, is it a job you really want? I’m not saying that you should flaunt your eccentricities, but you shouldn’t have to hide them either.

The only other advice I can offer of this topic is the wisdom that was bestowed upon me by my friend Evo Terra. He said to figure out whose opinions truly matter to you and then don’t give a shit about what anyone else thinks. It’s easier said than done, but those are definitely words to live by.

Top 10 Blogging Tips for Law Students

Blogging Research Wordle

Image by Kristina B via Flickr

I recently got an email from Jonathan Negretti, a 2L at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. He and his classmate recently launched a legal blog, and he asked me to provide some feedback. They’ve created a good based they can build on. Starting a blog as a 2L is a great idea because it gives you some time to build a following and demonstrate some areas of expertise before you graduate.

Here are the top 10 blogging rules that I shared with him.

  1. Whenever you do a legal blog post, put a disclaimer at the top that informs the reader that you are not a lawyer or giving legal advice. Here is the disclaimer that I use: “I am not an attorney. In accordance with ABA policy, this blog should not be viewed as legal advice. It is simply my experiences, opinions, and stuff I looked up on the internet.”
  2. Use lots of links. Put links in your posts to applicable laws, other blogs, and news stories. This builds up your credibility and is a great way to connect with other bloggers.
  3. Get a Twitter account to network and announce when you publish a new blog post. It’s better to have an account for yourself, not your blog, because people want to connect with you as a person. You should also announce new posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+.
  4. Complement your posts with interesting images. I get good ones for free from Zemanta and CreativeCommons.org. If you are using images from Creative Commons, be sure to use images that you can adapt and use for commercial purposes.
  5. It’s perfectly acceptable to invite others to write guest posts on your blog. Be sure to include a bio for them at the bottom with links to their blog, Twitter account, LinkedIn account, etc.
  6. If your plan is to open a law practice after graduation, check your state’s ethics rules regarding legal advertising before inviting people to hire you.
  7. If you are compensated for writing a blog or get free merchandise in exchange for writing a review, you must disclose it in the blog post. There’s an FTC regulation about that.
  8. Approve all non-spam comments, even from people who are mean or disagree with you. It shows that you’re not afraid to discourse and that you’re open to other perspectives. If you can stay level headed while other people are losing their minds, it makes you look articulate and confident.
  9. Respond to every comment. Blogging is an effective way to start conversations.
  10. Don’t be afraid to be bold. Some of the most memorable blog posts are the ones where the author takes a strong stance that not everyone agrees with. They inspired people to leave comments and be part of the discussion. One of the best things I did in law school was Sponsor A Law Kid, and it was also one of the most controversial.

If you have any questions or tips for neophyte law student bloggers, please leave them as comments. This is one of those areas where law schools don’t always prepare their students to effectively use a networking tool.

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Breaking Into Digital Publishing

Evo Terra, (cc) sheiladeeisme on Flickr

I spent last Saturday at ePublish Unum’s first Digital Publishing Workshop for Authors. EPublish Unum is a new company started by Evo Terra and Jeff Moriarty to educate and assist digital authors in publishing their work. Between the two of them, they have a host of knowledge and experience in writing, marketing, social media, and podcasting.

I am at the beginning my writing career. I attended this workshop because I’m ready to take my blog writing to the next level and become an ebook author. This workshop taught me that writing a manuscript is just the beginning of being a successful digital author.

Jeff Moriarty, (cc) sheiladeeisme on Flickr

Being a digital author is completely different from using a traditional publisher. I co-authored a book chapter during law school. I wrote the manuscript and had to proofread the draft after it came back from the editor and that was basically it. As a digital author, you don’t have the burden of shopping your work around for a publishing house, but there are so many other things you have to do and consider.

  • A digital author is an author, publisher, and promoter.
  • An acceptable layout on paper may not translate well to an iPad or Kindle.
  • Your cover art has to look good as a thumbnail.
  • Ebooks are a lot cheaper than paper books, but they are outselling paper books.
  • You have to convert your book from a manuscript to an ebook and decide which service to use.
  • You have to proofread your work after conversion to catch any “gremlins” that were created.
  • You have to decide how you will promote your work and interact with your fans.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg! There was so much information, I felt like a sponge taking it all in. Despite the enormous amount of information that was being presented, Evo and Jeff always presented the material in a nonthreatening way. I walked away inspired and feeling like being a digital author was something I could do successfully as long as I was willing to do the work.

I currently have three ideas for ebooks:

  • The legal side of blogging,
  • The legal implications of being a flash mob organizer, and
  • The best thing I did in law school was take off my pants on the light rail (how I made law school work for me).

I am petrified and excited to begin working on these projects. I am grateful that there are successful digital authors I can look to for inspiration and the incredible people at ePublish Unum I can turn to for guidance when I need it.

Is That Legal – Internet Wedding

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.  This blog should not be viewed as legal advice.  It is simply my experiences, opinions, and information I looked up on the internet.

Photo by Sheila Dee

My friend, Evo Terra, is an ordained minister through the Universal Life Church.  If you have five minutes and an internet connection, you can be ordained too.  He’s performed a handful of marriages over the years but this weekend he performed a most unusual marriage ceremony.  The bride and groom were in North Carolina and he performed the ceremony over the internet via webcam.  When he agreed to perform the ceremony, he put the responsibility on the couple to make sure that the marriage is legitimate.

In California, Colorado, Montana, and Texas, you can have a marriage by proxy, where a third person stands in for the bride or groom who is unable to be there.  If it’s possible to get married when the bride or groom isn’t physically present in the room, is the marriage valid if the minister isn’t physically present?

According to the law in North Carolina, all you need to have a valid marriage is a marriage license and a consenting heterosexual couple who freely, seriously, and plainly take each other as husband and wife in the presence of an ordained minister of any religious denomination.  The law does not provide any specifics regarding where the minister needs to physically be during the ceremony.  I would not be surprised if the couple signs their marriage license and sends it to Evo, who then signs in and sends it in to the appropriate recording office in North Carolina, that they would accept it without batting an eye.

This issue boils down to what is does it mean to have a marriage ceremony in the presence of a minister.  I could not find a definition for “presence” in the North Carolina marriage laws.  Is a being present live via web cam enough or must the minister be physically present in the room?

This issue reminds me of the use of proxy signatures on a will.  In Arizona, if a person cannot sign their will themselves, they can direct someone else to sign it for them in their “conscious presence.”  The requirement of conscious presence could not be fulfilled over the telephone, and probably not via web cam according to my Decedent Estates professor.   North Carolina only requires a proxy signature on a will to be completed in the person’s presence and at their direction.   I don’t know if the definition of “conscious presence” in Arizona is the same as “presence” in North Carolina.

Did my friend perform a valid marriage ceremony this weekend?  I don’t know.  I called Wake County in North Carolina.  Someone there said that the marriage laws have not been changed since they were enacted; therefore the marriage isn’t valid unless the minister is physically in the same room with the bride and groom.  She basically said that since marriage couldn’t be performed over the internet in the past, they can’t be performed over the internet now.  I think that answer is incomplete and that this issue deserves some exploration.

I don’t think this issue is going to have a legal answer unless someone goes to court and claims that their marriage that was officiated via web cam wasn’t a valid marriage.  That probably will not happen unless a spouse who was married over the internet dies without a will and someone who would get a larger inheritance from the deceased’s estate claims that the surviving spouse should not inherit from the estate because the marriage was not valid.