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.


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).