Cupcakes

Dan and I grabbed lunch a couple of blocks from the office today. On our way there, several men were taking to the sidewalks, giving out free snack cakes. They also have a program where you can take your picture in front of their Little Debbie-branded Smart Cars, which you can win!

In light of the new FTC Guidelines on Endorsements and Testimonials, I should make clear that, though Little Debbie gave me a free cupcake, this post represents my own views.

No More in Darkness



In a previous post, I proclaimed that I wanted to be a lifetime learner. Specifically, I said the following:

I would like to learn more about the history and craft of stained glass. It would be my first entry into the visual arts, which I've neglected for my entire life.


Well, I've been reading up. As I've learned more, I've found that the church we attend has some beautiful pieces. There are some grand, exquisite works with painted glass and stained glass, but they're not my style right now. I'm more intrigued by the series of windows on the north wall. The best, in my opinion is the western-most window in that group (see picture above): the colors, the geometric patterns, etc. It clicks. The picture doesn't do it justice. I spent a large part of one Sunday morning just enjoying the light pouring through the window. The thing that is most enchanting about stained glass is that it is both an art and a functioning part of a building. To be successful, designers can't get carried away or over-indulgent with any one element because everything in the piece is a slave to the light. There are so many constraints, but the ultimate product can be otherworldly.

The other aspect that I most love about stained glass is that, due to the fact that it is functional, every piece is a living work of art. Glass breaks, buildings shift, things have to be replaced. It's tough to tell from a distance, but most aged windows have obvious patches (see close-up image below). I'm sure that bugs some people, but I love this part of the process, the restoration.

Young Mandolin Prodigy

Last weekend, we had some friends (Ruby and Yenny) come over to eat dinner with us. They just had a baby a few months ago, and he came along for the fun. Addy wasn't sure what to think at first, but she became excited at the possibility of running/crawling around with someone who is closer to her size. Fun was had by all.

Our friends asked if we'd play some music, so I got the mandolin out to play:


Now, most of you know that I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies, but I do like playing with kids once they're old enough to interact. I'm not really sure at what age that ability arises, but I found it amazing how clearly Christian Samuel could interact without using words. When I was playing the mandolin, his eyes were darting back and forth between my picking hand and my fretting hand. It was obvious that he was putting the whole mandolin-playing thing together. Pretty soon, he started holding his hands to mirror mine (see picture).


After that, he wanted to get his hands on the instrument and start his burgeoning bluegrass career. Most kids usually just want to strum the instrument, but not this kid. He had both hands at the ready, strumming with one hand and pushing strings to frets with the other. Watch out, Chris Thile. You might have started young, but I've got one that's going to put you to shame over here in Cincinnati.

Where Every Padgett Knows Your Name



I know. I know. We've been out of touch. To go ahead and make some excuses, we've been settling into our new routine and we're enjoying television more than the internet. Plus, all of our blogging friends have a lot more to write about than we do; it makes it tough to write about everyday things when everyone else has magnificent things to talk about. So, now we're getting some extra stories into our arsenal.

Anna and I got tickets through the firm that I work with to the Chamber of Commerce's VIP event at Cincinnati's Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest is a downtown street fair that takes over 5th; we live on 7th. There are tons of food and drink vendors lined down the street and a ton of bandstands (see video below). The Chamber brought in Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams) and Cincinnati native. Fun fact: about a third of Sam's line-up is brewed right here in Cincinnati.

Along with Jim, came George Wendt. You might remember him as Norm from Cheers. We had a ton of fun listening to the two of them banter back and forth. It really felt like our two worlds (New England and the Midwest) were colliding again. It wasn't enough that they had to bring a Segway store (a NH-based company) into Over-the-Rhine . . .

Check out the video below for some good Oktoberfest music. Also watch for the first guy to pass through the shot (on the right)--the entire reason for making the video. This guy lives for Oktoberfest.


video

Happy Birthday, Addy!


Our dog Adelaide turns 4 years old today. Happy birthday, Addy! Here's a picture of her awaiting her celebratory cake:

Kicking and Screaming

As a lot of you know, I started work this past Tuesday. After starting, I got an e-mail that said the firm was offering free health screenings. Recognizing a great benefit, I quickly signed up . . . perhaps too quickly.

After signing up, I realized that I would need to fast and be emotionally prepared to have my finger pricked and bled onto a small strip. Fasting is not a problem (I regularly skip breakfast), but drawing blood makes this a "medical procedure" in my book, triggering a certain level of anxiety and obligations on my part.

I am a notoriously bad patient for medical professionals. When I was little, I once kicked one of my doctors (Dr. Todd) in the shin. I also kicked and screamed through a very minor procedure, embarrassing my mother. As Anna could assure you, I am a terrible patient. With this history, I always feel like I have a reputation to preserve, so I go out of my way to make life difficult for medical professionals. It's quite possible that I'm one of the causes of the nursing shortage in America.

With that background, I was ready to go in and really give some grief to those nice ladies doing the health screenings. I was quiet to begin with, planning on really yelping out once the finger-pricking device made it's debut. The lady sterilized my finger and rubbed it off with a cotton ball, and I looked around for the blood-letting weapon. When I turned my head back around, she was wicking the blood on my finger onto the strip! She had used a little cube that I hadn't recognized to stab me, and I hadn't felt a thing! Caught off guard, I gave up my act and just pouted for the rest of the screening.

It turns out that I'm in pretty good health--though I probably eat hamburgers too often. I do appreciate the screening. I particularly appreciate the free pedometer they gave me along with the advice to take 5,000 steps per day (or at least shake around a lot). Still, I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't give my nurse lady the thought that she didn't get paid enough to do these %$*& health screenings. I'll give myself a break this time, but I expect better performance in the future.

Blast from the Passed: In Front of God and Everybody

I know that the bar exam is over, but I'm still sending out good vibes to those that are currently grading answers. I'm also finishing up going through all of my old pictures that were never captured digitally. I've played a lot of music over the years, but I only have a few pictures of myself on stage. So, when I came across these pictures, I re-lived some good times.




Wil, the guy on the drums, is one of the best players out there. The weird thing here is that the guy behind the camera is my buddy Joey D. He is, undoubtedly, a more talented bass player than me, but he graciously ran around and snapped a few brilliantly framed shots so I could remember the summer of 2004. Lots of fun playing music with these guys! (For more musical memories, see this previous post.)

Fourth Anniversary


Today marks the fourth anniversary of our wedding. It has been an awesome four years, and we're pretty excited about what this next year is going to have in store.
I'm planning on getting Anna the traditional gift for four years: fruit. Any suggestions would be much obliged. I missed out on last year's opportunity to get us matching leather chaps. I don't want to let the fruit year pass by without something huge.

From the Floor: What We've Been Up To


Adelaide Macaroni Padgett is a puppy, specializing in sleep and play. She is author of The Perils of White Puppies in New England, Growling at Windmills, and Bichon: The Story of an Urban Sophisticate. Her series for this blog "From the Floor" strives to provide a commonplace-if not subaltern-view of newsworthy events.

Milton, FL--As you can probably tell from the picture and my geographic location, we are on vacation, giving me the opportunity to catch up on some much needed rest. We went by Gorham's Bluff for a few days, saw Anna's family, and now we're down in Florida with Grandma Nancy and Uncle Whit.

I am sure that one of my less-furry counterparts will update our blog soon about our trip, but I thought that we should get something out there before we get back. Yet, I'm on vacation and want to do as little work as possible. The answer: a bullet list.
  • Congrats to all of our friends who have had babies in the recent weeks. I dare not try to name them all--lest I forget someone. I look forward to licking your babies' faces.

  • We got some new wheels through the oft-debated Clunkers program. It is a Ford Fusion Hybrid (we call it FuFu). It's been a great ride for us on our trip.

  • Austin and Nate launched their new comedic blog. It's funnier than a monkey on a bicycle.

  • Uncle Godfrey came up and helped us get some stuff in storage, so I've got tons of room in the apartment now.

  • We stopped by Samford University to visit with the people that made a big difference in Austin and Anna's lives. I growled at this man (pictured in the middle), but I came to trust him once I found out that he, like Austin, attended CCM in Cincinnati.

There is a lot more, but we'll update you soon. I don't want to overtax my paws or my brain.

From the Floor: My New Favorite Place

Adelaide Macaroni Padgett is a puppy, specializing in sleep and play. She is author of The Perils of White Puppies in New England, Growling at Windmills, and Bichon: The Story of an Urban Sophisticate. Her series for this blog "From the Floor" strives to provide a commonplace-if not subaltern-view of newsworthy events.

Cincinnati--It has been so long since I've written anything, and many of you are asking about how I am adjusting to all of the changes in my life right now. To be honest, it has been a tough transition. I don't have as much room to run around since we're living in a downtown loft, and it is impossible to get walk around downtown without someone telling me how beautiful I am. While I appreciate the compliments, I walk with a mission in my mind, and we've got to keep moving.
Things aren't all that bad. In fact, I've found my new favorite place to relax. We've had a big leather chair (pictured) since I started shacking up with these people, but I've never really taken the time to sit on it. I wish I could turn back time and take advantage of my new cathedra for the past four years (I'll be four on Sept. 10--please, no gifts). Not only can I achieve a near-liquid state in this chair, but I can see out of the big window down to Seventh St. I really enjoy people-watching and occasionally "giving them [my two cents]" for their odd or poor behavior. People, for the most part, are ridiculous, but the people that made this chair are angels in our midst.

Before the Exam

The months leading up to the bar exam were certainly stressful, but, overall, it's actually been a pretty great summer. One of the best nights came just a week or so before the bar exam--when the crunch-time was at its . . . crunchiest. The firm that I'm going to work for opened up its Reds suite for all of the incoming "first years" (you enter as a "class" at many law firms). It was a completely relaxing experience. Though most of us there were taking the bar exam, very few words were spoken about the exam, and I definitely felt like my proverbial batteries were charged.
The suites at the stadium have an awesome feature that I loved. There is a computer panel that allows you to bring up any of the available broadcast cameras on the big screen in the suite. If you want to watch someone warm up in the bullpen, for example, you can select that particular camera. The system also provides on-demand replay from any of the cameras. When Brewers relief pitcher Todd Coffey did his sprint to the mound, we could watch it as many times as we wanted, speeding it up to look even more ridiculous. You can also see the Kiss Cam rejects that don't make it onto the Jumbotron. Hilarious.The outside sitting are for the suite contains some great seats and gives a great view of the ball park, the river, and the opposing skyline. Last summer, I came to love sitting in right field (when Griffey still played for the Reds), but I'll take suite seats any time!
After such an awesome night at the ball park, it was only fitting that the bar that operates at the bottom level of our building should ruin everything. I've written before about how loud the bar's customers and music are , but this night was particularly raucous because the Girls Gone Wild bus was in town:
I love that they haul a hunter green mini-van behind their misogynistic, exploitative bus. You know, just in case someone needs to make soccer practice while the bus is in use. The worst part was that there was a huge bachelorette party taking place (their party bus was parked on the opposite corner). These girls, including the future bride, were so wasted and freely jumping on the bus to be filmed or whatever they were doing on the bus at that point. Still, if a sleepless night is the trade-off for a relaxing/fun game in the great give-and-take of the universe, we'll take it.

Anna's Cake

Anna has always been a great cook, but she has been on a roll lately. As evidence, I offer you her fantastic pound cake:

What makes this pound cake special? The texture. It's not as heavy as a traditional pound cake, but Anna has not sacrificed any of the quintessential characteristics of the dessert. This delight has the creamiest texture you'll ever have in a pound cake. It is moist and robust. Fresh and rustic. Simply fantastic.

Blockheads

Several posts ago, I told you about a film project that Nate and I had been working on--complete with a poster. The pitch was for a live action version of A Charlie Brown Christmas, complete with some quasi-artistic liberties. Well, it seems that we were not alone in having Charlie Brown as our muse or envisioning him in a more violent, urban light. When Anna and I went to visit my brother, we saw this painting:

It actually has nothing to do with Charlie Brown. It was in a series of paintings with different colors, and the series as a whole was quite striking. While I'm talking about artistry, I'd like to announce that Nate and I, the dudes that brought you Rhubarbicon, are developing a new comedy venture. I'm not going to be giving any hints right now, but I'll let you know when you should start reading and where you can order a promotional t-shirt.

Treasures of the City: The Library

I read a lot of blogs about Cincinnati, and I've noticed a common thread that runs through all of them: defending the city. It seems like the city's biggest cheerleaders are always shouting "De - - - fense, De - - - fense." While I do believe that the city gets more than its fair share of media attention, I don't think that all of it is unfair, unwarranted, or inaccurate. I criticize things about the city as well because I see so much potential here. When you are not a Cincinnati native and interview for a job here, you'll often find that people simply can't believe that you would want to live here for an extended period of time.

Cincinnatians, there is no need to be self-conscious. You actually live in a city full of treasures. Things aren't perfect, but the city is so much better than it was when we lived here three years ago. In an effort to do my part, I'm going to take a different route than playing defense. I'm going to tell you what makes this city great in our eyes. First up: Cincinnati Public Library.

Cincinnati's Public Library system is a 41-branch behemoth. Currently, we live only one block away from the Main Branch in downtown. This branch, as of 2008, moves four million volumes per year--the highest circulation of any single library in the United States. In short, the library is huge, encompassing two city blocks.

It is hard to describe how extensive their collection is. Whenever I hear about a book, a DVD (feature films, documentaries, concerts, anything), a CD, any type of media, I send myself an e-mail so I can remember to search for it in the library's database later. I would say that the library has that particular volume 19 out of 20 times (and I can always get an inter-library loan for that other 1/20). When I was writing my MM thesis, I didn't go to the school's library. I did almost all of my research in the public library's archives just one block from our apartment. I became quick friends with the librarians who were able to (1) point me to any obscure volume that I thought I needed, (2) tell me about resources that I didn't know existed, (3) and research any question that crossed my mind along the way. The people and the resources are simply astounding.

The library also has tons of computers for people to use them. I think this is great because it is helping (at least in theory) to narrow the gap between the haves and the have-nots. The library also hosts programs to teach people how to use new technology. A few weeks ago, I heard the program announcer come over the loudspeaker and tell everyone that the "How to Use Twitter" program could squeeze a couple more people into the room.

For the month of July, I spent, on average, at least seven hours per weekday studying for the bar in the Main Branch. I wouldn't recommend the "Quiet Study Areas" since they are anything but quiet. Also, don't sit near the high school year book section in the genealogy section as it is oddly/creepily popular. Still, there are some great places to hole up and get some work done if you know where to look.

On Finding Myself in the Bar Exam


The moment that it finally set in, the moment that I realized I was taking the bar exam, was in the middle of the morning of the second day. The morning task was 100 questions on a variety of legal topics. After a long day of essays the day before, I was surprised that the "rush" had carried into the second day. I was answering the questions like a well-oiled, bubble-filling machine. Then it happened, a hair from my head landed on my testing booklet right on top of question 62. I was in a room with 1177 other test takers, and I wasn't sure how many thousands of other people were shedding into their testing booklets all across America. How much total hair, I wondered, would be collected in the July administration of the test? I bet they just throw it away when hair actually has significant potential to help clean up oil spills or reducing the need for herbicides. After these thoughts, I realized, for the first time really, that I was in the middle of a difficult exam. Time was of the essence, and I was sitting there thinking about human shedding.

As promised in our last post, I'm writing today to tell you today about my trip to Columbus. I rode with my buddy Dan up to the Hyatt in downtown Columbus so we could walk to the testing center. Our thoughts were along the same path: "because the test has so many unknowns, control the elements that you are capable of controlling." We took a huge cooler that Anna had packed so we were sure that we'd have food. The night before the test, we timed ourselves to see how long it would take to get to the testing center. We even got to go inside the building and peek into the hall to get a feel for how it was going to go down. We went back, grabbed some food, and then we reviewed some notecards while watching a National Geographic special on Charles Lindbergh--who actually led a disturbing life.
The test was in the North Hall of Veteran's Memorial. Imagine a Sam's Club warehouse with all of the merchandise removed and filled with 600 or so tables for the 1177 applicants. That's what this place was, the perfect venue for a gun show or a baseball card show.

Upon entering the hall, you are quickly branded with a label: computer or handwriter. Handwriters went to the right, computers to the left. I figured that I would never see my computer friends again, but a lot of them broke through the social hierarchical construction and ate with us handwriters at lunch. It was like West Side Story without the lame snapping ("get cooly cool, boy") or the comical dancing/fighting routines.


When I arrived at my seat--Seat 186 (see diagram)--I discovered a long table with a metal folding chair at each end, facing the opposite wall. You see, you share a table with someone - - - unless you're me. The guy that was supposed to sit next to me must have backed out, and I had a table to myself for the entire three days. I'm not opposed to sharing, and I don't think anyone had a terrible seating partner, but I was grateful that I had my own domain and could stretch out a little more.

At the head of the room was the director of admissions for the Ohio Bar Association. She maintained control of the scene, which could have been crazy. I was really surprised by how easily the test was administered, and the organization was great. While you were writing on one set of essays, the next set would be there waiting for you when you finally craned your neck up to see what was going on. The best feeling came when I finished my last essay on Thursday. Before I looked up, I had the wonderful thought that there wasn't going to be another set of essays waiting to be completed. When I finally unlocked my neck from the down position, I found a Hershey's Kiss. It seems like a simple gesture, but, after three days of testing and stress, it was the best.

All in all, the test was tough but fair. I got a lot of strength from knowing that, even in this very North Hall of Veteran's Memorial, so many had gone before me to do great, great things:

Examples and Explanations: The Bar Exam

. . . and we're back.

I apologize for the long delay between posts, but the bar exam was an all-consuming task. Now, life is closer to normal again. I wanted to spend one, and only one, post explaining the bar exam process. I'm going to write a follow-up post about my trip up to Columbus for the actual task.

After graduating from law school, there is very little satisfaction from completing the task. This is because the true gatekeepers to the profession are the bar examiners of each state. So, the week after graduation, I started taking bar review courses in a program called BarBri. This program costs a few thousand dollars and includes several books of substantive outlines and practice questions and lectures from law professors on all of the topics. I took the bus up to the University of Cincinnati's College of Law every day and listened to live lectures or taped lectures that hit the highlights of the material for about five weeks straight. While I did learn a lot of the topics in law school, the bar exam is quite different. Here are the topics that the Ohio bar exam covers:
  • Civil Procedure
  • Criminal Law*
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Contracts
  • Business Association (Agency, Partnership, and Corporations)
  • Commercial Paper*
  • Secured Transactions*
  • Evidence
  • Constitutional Law
  • Wills*
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Torts
  • Property

The asterisks note the classes that I didn't take in law school. Fortunately, these particular topics were easy to pick up. I actually loved Wills and wish I had taken it in law school.

The Ohio bar exam is a 3-day exam. The first day is a series of six essay questions in the morning, and you get thirty minutes to get something down on the paper or computer screen (I chose to handwrite my exam). You get the essays two at a time, so the tricky part is to apportion the right amount of time to the topic depending on its demands. In the afternoon, the bar examiners provide two, closed-universe, practice-based essays that you get an 1.5 hours each to complete. Basically, you get a "memorandum" from your hypothetical boss that tells you about a hypothetical client with a hypothetical problem. Then, you get to read a few made-up cases and statutes that give you a few rules that you might or might not use. Then, you get to see your client's hypothetical case file that includes interviews, letters, and anything else that might provide relevant or irrelevant facts. Then, your job is to follow directions and put some final product together for your hypothetical boss. I found these exercises to be the most enjoyable part of the exam.

The second day is a multiple choice test that most states have adopted: the Multistate Bar Examination. This six-hour test covers six major topics in 200 questions. If you want to answer a few questions from a sample test for giggles, click here (the answers are at the end). I recommend question 15 as a "typical" or "average" question in length and difficulty.

The third day is another set of six essays (again, thirty minutes per question in sets of two). The Ohio bar examiners group the substantive topics into 11 testable areas, and you will get a question on each of those areas. After Day 1's six essays, you know exactly what topics are going to come up, but a topic (probably from the first day) will repeat. I heard one person refer to this as "the grab-bag question." It was like nails running down a chalkboard. "Grab-bag" sounds ridiculous, and I hate the way it rolls off of the tongue with its shallow vowels. "Toss-up" might not be as appropriate or evocative, but it feels more robust and adult.

So, that's the basic explanation of what the bar exam is. If you have any questions, please stand up and wave your arms (what you do at the bar exam if you're [1] in need of proctor assistance or [2] dying).

Quick Update: Google Voice

Greetings, all. I know that we haven't posted in a while, but August is right around the corner. We'll hit the ground running then. The bar exam studying is going well, and we're in the process of closing a sale on our house.

We received our Google Voice invite the other day, and we got a pretty sweet number. I'll try my best to contact all of you in August and get our new number out there. However, you can use the new number now by using the widget over here on the right of the screen. The process is quite simple:
  1. Click on the "Call Me" button.
  2. Input your name and number (you want your phone by you).
  3. Click "Submit."
  4. Your phone will ring. Pick it up.
  5. Your phone will then ring our phones.
  6. Hopefully we'll pick up. If not, feel free to leave a message!

That's it. Easy enough?

Blast from Someone Else's Past

The other night, I junked out on PBS (I love the News Hour). There's a local show about Cincinnati events. For some reason, the show played a long clip from Hamilton High School Class of 1956's 50th High School Reunion DVD. It looked like everyone was having a great time--particularly one lady (featured in the clip). The very beginning of the clip is from the dinner performance by The Avalons (here's their updated website). Nailed it.

video

I hope my 50th high school class reunion is just as magical to me as this lady's was to her. Bye, Y'all.

Blast from the Passed: Chanson des Voyageurs


I've played in several groups in my brief time on this planet. In recent years, I've played with The Prodigals and was a voice in The Rhubarbitones. After three years of law school and getting so close to the end of the law student chapter of our life, I realize how I sometimes miss making music on a daily basis. I was talking with my buddy Joel about his ever-growing music career, and I remembered how we used to sit in the computer lab at Samford or stand on various stages and work on creating music for hours and hours and hours. Will I miss it? Definitely, but I didn't go through law school without gigging a little. Let me introduce the greatest law school band that there ever was (look for me on the drum kit; we were "rebuilding"):


We only played together three times (though we're hoping to get some Franklin Pierce alumni meeting gigs). Our school has an annual show, and we served as the house band for all three years. Every year, we had a little different lineup in the group, but our core consisted of Dan "Flashy Fingers" Landau, Nate "The Meat" Harris, Gaelan "Pretty Mouth" Flannery, and Austin "Dry Spell" Padgett.



We made some great music together, and we had a strong following in the Greater Concord region (which includes Concord Heights). In fact, it would be safe to say that we were the best law school band in the South-Central New Hampshire area.


We were known as The Tortfeasors from the the beginning. Though we thought of other names (e.g., The Attractive Nuisances), we adopted the perfect band name. With any other name, we would have had to practice more than we did. We practiced as little as possible because the annual show was always scheduled right after midterm exams.



While we were known for the soul-searching lyrics, soaring vocals, and sparse textures in our music, we also had a reputation for wearing awesome "get-ups." In the picture above, we came out for our final set--after an evening of bow ties and corduroy jackets (with elbow patches)--wearing track suits. Man, we looked amazing. Historical/Editorial Note: The drum set pictured belonged to the school. Though we abused it (turning it over, etc.), it deserved a better fate than what the school gave it.




I will miss playing with these guys. My favorite days in law school were spent with an instrument in hand.


Final Note: I read this post to Anna, and she said that it sounded "sad." To be clear, I love what I'll be doing in law. It is actually a creative outlet, and I love helping people figure out how to best protect and get what they want out of their work.

Blast from the Passed: Choir Tour 2003

Before I begin the substantive portion of this post, I just wanted to remind everyone that the title of the post series--involving the word "passed"--is totally intentional. My upcoming career depends on people having faith in my ability to distinguish between the homophones "past" and "passed." As explained in the first entry of the series and somewhat in another post (referencing The Power of Positive Thinking), I'm trying to take little steps to convince myself that the bar exam is a done deal--that I've already "passed" the test. It's not as clever as I first intended it to be, but it's too late to jump ship . . . in more ways than you know.

Now, today's post is a series of photographs from Samford University A Capella Choir Tour in 2003 (the same week the U.S. started to bomb Iraq for their supposed weapons of mass destruction; remember that?). On our choir tour, we got the privilege of staying in people's homes (and eating most/all of their stored rations). Usually, this was a great experience, but there were some homes along the way that freaked us out. First picture:



In 2003, one of the homes we stayed at took in four guys: me, Greg (pictured below), Terrance (pictured above), and Brett. The family that took us in for the night had a great home, but, while touring us around, they showed us the son's room where Terrance would be sleeping--complete with a confederate naval flag hung above the bed. Next picture.To give the son some credit, he had a lot of various flags in his room. So, while we were a little creeped out (particularly at making Terrance sleep in that bed), it might have just been part of his collection. We soon found out that the kid also had a fairly expansive collection of sharp blades to go along with it. Next picture:




I've given the kid a happy face and some anonymity in case he grew up and changed. I wouldn't want his life to be ruined just because he retained his boyish face. After a while, the kid kept showing us a bunch of weird stuff, and we would take pictures and video of every minute of it. The next picture of the kid, the samurai sword, and Terrance's hilarious face is one of my favorite pictures ever.

The kid also had an extensive collection of various guns whether they were hanging on the wall or in a built-in-china-cabinet-turned-into-a-gun-rack. The weaponry just never stopped.

My next favorite picture comes from when we were hanging out with the entire family. The kid was needing some attention, and he really wanted to show us his favorite knife. He was so fascinated by Terrance and made sure that T saw every knife he brought out. It was just a weird night, but I always love having these experiences. They're like the choir boy version of war stories. There are tons of others. Perhaps I'll share more in some other post.

Blast from the Passed: Measure of a Man

What is the measure of a man? In the Padgett household, every man will be measured against a giant, wooden cutout of a Polar bear. If any man be less than a polar bear in his heart, he is not a Padgett.


This picture comes from the Cincinnati Zoo when my mom and brother came up circa 2004. The Cincinnati Zoo has a wide assortment of creatures. The polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are hilarious in their pool; they like to do backstrokes. I'm not joking. I've thought about trying to organize some sort of crude, pay-per-view race between Michael Phelps and a polar bear. It would be man versus bear in water. Of course, with an improper lane change, it turns into a mauling. It would probably be hard to get the financing for such an event considering the insurance costs. Oh well.

On another note: When I was researching my M.M. thesis, I came across a Cincinnati Zoo postcard that Elgar sent to his daughter (with some help from a librarian with the Elgar Society--shout out!). It had some sort of inside joke written on it that, like the Enigma Variations, still remains unsolved.

Blast from the Passed: Far and Away

I've been falling behind on the blog; I admit it. With the bar exam getting closer with each minute, I start to feel guilty when I'm not thinking about the exam. It sounds weird, I'm sure, but I know you've had something in your life like this.

With that said, the blog will slow down between now and August. I promise to kick it back into high gear after that. For now, I thought it would be fun to do some shorter posts since Anna and I have been going through old photographs. In a nod to positive vibes for the bar exam, we'll be calling this series "Blast from the Passed." Here's our first entry:

That's me and the then-future Mrs. Padgett in Russia circa 2001. We're standing outside Peter the Great's Palace in Peterhof. It is an amazing place, simply unbelievable. The gardens go on forever, and the fountains are very, very "tricky."

Potter Goes Hufflepuff

I promise this is the last look-a-like post for a while (see this post and this post for previous discussion). After my previous post, Nate reminded me of a providential encounter with a man at The Barley House.


Imagine walking into a room and realizing that you're looking at the darker side of yourself: your fears, your most evil, unrealized thoughts. That is exactly what happened to me a couple of summers ago (see picture). First clue--we were wearing the same shirt. Really, the only difference is the facial hair, a few extra pounds, chunkier glasses, and lack of a pretzel in hand. I congratulated the guy on his good looks, and he, mine. I don't want to go on about the encounter because it still spooks me.

Though it's already been written, it bears repeating: the encounter was like the Mirror, Mirror episode of Star Trek. Never have I felt more like Spock. I've needed some new glasses, so I'm thinking of going with the chunkier frames. Thoughts?

Celebration

This weekend was Anna's birthday, so I planned a few things around the city for us to do as a celebration. First, we headed down to Fountain Square (pictured below, click on the link for a beautiful HDR image of the fountain). We live two blocks down and one block over from the Square, and it is definitely the heart of the downtown area. When work starts up, my office will be a block from the fountain.


PNC bank, in conjunction with others, sponsors a series of totally free events on Fountain Square during the week. They play movies and Reds games on the jumbo screen overhanging the square, have a food market on some days, and lots of other stuff. Every Thursday over the summer, there will be salsa dancing with a live band on the Square from 7 to 10. Thus, the birthday celebration began.

The organizers moved the cafe-style tables around to make an open dance floor in front of the band (Son del Caribe). The band was tight (big shout out to the trombone section), and they have the personalities in their group that will make people get out and shake what their mothers and, possibly, fathers gave them. There were some very experienced couples out there, who were fun to watch/mimic/bump into, but the dance floor was definitely a "no-judgment zone," free for anyone--including some of the "local natives"--to come out, move, and have a great time.
During the band's breaks, a salsa instructor came out and led 200+ people through the steps for the Bachata. Unlike the Duggars, who have a family rule against dancing, the Padgett household presumes dancing will occur unless there is clear and convincing evidence against it (attending a funeral, etc.). We successfully added the passionate Bachata to our repetoire.
We danced and had fun for a while, but it's hard to dance for long when the world's greatest ice cream vendor has opened a shop right on the square. So, we grabbed some ice cream to more-than-offset any of the calories that dancing might have burned. We returned home and relaxed for the rest of the evening.


On Friday night, I took Anna to Pompilio's (pictured below, photo credit to some Flickr user), an Italian eatery in Newport. Again, we had a fun, and the restaurant's courtyard made me hope that the next Wii title is WiiBocce. I would hope that they would include online play. If they could get it ready by early June of 2010, it would save me some time in picking out a present for Anna's birthday. Done and done.



Shaking Our Fists



Just to be clear, we now live in Cincinnati. Here's the weird thing: we live in the same building that we moved out of when we left Cincinnati three years ago. As a married couple, it is "our first place" and "our third place" all at the same time.

Our apartment building is downtown, just a few blocks from where I'll be working after I cakewalk the bar (See The Power of Positive Thinking). When we lived here before, there was a great restaurant in the bottom of the building. That restaurant is gone now, and the new tenants are less-than-desirable neighbors. I normally wouldn't disparage a local business--particularly on our blog, but this bar has started to ruin our lives.

During the day, the place is pretty quiet. I've had one of their burgers, and it's really good food. Though the bar bills itself as a "sports bar," I would offer that multiple televisions doth not a sports bar make. I look at the activities, like the Thursday night Beer Pong tournaments. Over the past month, the bar offered a Carnival-style theme every Saturday night, including a fire-breathing man placed--brilliantly--on the public sidewalk. While these events are not a problem by themselves, the bar accompanies these events with subwoofer-heavy club music until closing (2:30 a.m.). Sports bar? Not likely.

I invite the bar, their administration, their landlords, and our dear readers to take a look at Cincinnati's noise ordinance. I invite the fire marshal to visit during peak times. I would also invite some particularly proud fathers to come downtown and watch their daughters dance on top of the tabletops for some of Cincinnati's finest gents.

We're having a really hard time getting to sleep on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The thumping and primal screaming is keeping us awake, and it's really messing with Addy. This doesn't provide for the best bar-exam-studying environment either. We're complaining up the chain, but we'd also love the economic downturn to hit this establishment really hard. At least as hard as they pump the dance-club music. "In the club, in the club . . ."

Of course, we're old coots down in our souls (see picture above). It's just that it's a terrible disappointment. I thought the city was getting better, but now we've got a bunch of mouth-breathing miscreants down below.

Aerosol Pancakes

Fun product review time! Have you ever wanted to combine the great taste of pancakes with the convenience of EZ Cheez? Do you still need the product to meet the USDA's standards for an organic label? Your wish is my command. Meet Batter Blaster:



Amazing! I first read about this product on Jorge Garcia's blog. When we spotted it at Whole Foods, I knew that we had to try it. I'm a huge pancake fan, but I'm not a huge fan of doing dishes. The Batter Blaster seemed like it would alleviate the need to dirty up and subsequently wash a mixing bowl, so it was worth a shot. However, I was skeptical going into the grand experiment.

The batter actually tastes pretty good. It flows really easily from the can-as you would expect-so you can make designs. I wasn't thrilled with the density of the pancake (very, very light), but that one concern is overshadowed by the simplicity and taste of the product. Have I mentioned that it's organic? If you try it out, let us know what you think.

Bringing It to Life

I'm trying to organize all the files on my hard drive since I have a ton of folders from law school scattered across the hard drives of several different computers. This kind of activity reminds you of things you might have forgotten about. Case in point, check out this picture:


This is a "movie poster" for a project that me and Nate were working on. here's the idea: update A Charlie Brown Christmas as a live-action film (like the Grinch re-make) but target it towards the 18-49 male demographic by including senseless violence, bioterrorism, and, of course, a grown-up version of the little red-headed girl. Also, we decided that we'd have to remove the holiday elements since we wanted it to be a summer blockbuster. This film didn't come to fruition beyond the poster and this YouTube promo. Scary? Sure, but we projected a huge return at the box office. This is what people want, but I have a feeling we'll have some problems getting the proper licenses for the characters, etc.

From the Floor: Done and Done


Adelaide Macaroni Padgett is a puppy, specializing in sleep and play. She is author of The Perils of White Puppies in New England, Growling at Windmills, and Bichon: The Story of an Urban Sophisticate. Her series for this blog "From the Floor" strives to provide a commonplace-if not subaltern-view of newsworthy events.

Concord, NH--So, Anna and Austin are super-busy right now with unpacking and bar review, so I thought that I would give you the post about graduation. After moving back to Cincinnati, we turned right back around to New Hampshire, including a 17-hour day in the car--very long for a puppy. When we got back to our New England house, I was ready to play/practice my bipedalism.




The best part was that Grandmother Nancy and Great-Grandmother Hendricks came up to join in the festivities. They are two of my favorite ladies (check me and G-G Hendricks making eyes in the top picture), and they treat me like one of the less hairy members of the family.


While processing through the line, Austin snapped some pictures from his "Tam-Cam." You can really see the beauty of White Park and the scruffs or nuchae of his classmates' necks.


White Park is one of my favorite places to go for walks and a great place for pictures. I've also heard that they have an awesome hill for sledding in the snow.

I'm proud of Austin. After three years of hard work, he gets to go work hard. Have fun with that, dude. I'll think of you when I'm napping and playing all day long. But seriously, I love this guy.

Alright, Big Guy. It's time for me to help you keep it real while you study for the bar exam. You will pass this thing and buy me another yard in which to play.