Thursday, September 29, 2005

If your hotel requirements include a Downtown L.A. location, a heavy dose of pretention, a rooftop bar with waterbed chambers, a pool, and Cool Hand Luke projected on the building across the street, a bathtub that seats 4 comfortably, a supply of magazines you're not cool enough to read, and a giant foam foot sculpture in your room, I cannot recommend The Standard highly enough.

I'm on my second (of, probably, 2) callback interview trip, and the travel agent for my host firm clearly has too much cash on hand and a weird sense of humor. I will say this, though: I actually feel like I'm in L.A. this time around, and I think the reason is because I have a car this time. You're just not experiencing L.A. if you aren't driving. It's also allowed me to detour past my old apartment in Koreatown, to drive through Hollywood, and to eat dinner at Koraku in Little Tokyo--all very good things. Also, you could do a lot worse than to wander over to The Pantry at 7 a.m. (because your internal clock still thinks it's 10) for breakfast, including my one Pantry essential: the grilled sourdough. So so good.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Two things I left out of the Tivo post:

My Fair Brady: I'm not a big celebreality fan, but the first episode of this show was fabulous and made me set up a season pass. The concept, if you're not familiar, is that Christopher (Peter Brady) Knight, 47, and America's Next Top Model Adrienne Curry, 22, are now dating, and this show follows their lives. In the first episode we got to see of the the Go-Gos eat birthday cake off of Adrienne's breasts, and yet it was somehow a big deal when the same Go-Go gave Christopher a bit of a kiss. She is a quality nut-job, and he's a great foil for her crazy.

Awful new commercial type: While watching Carolla the other night I was skipping through commercials when I had to rewind because I couldn't quite believe what I'd seen, but it turned out I had in fact seen it: the 1-900 commercials for a new generation are ads where "actual" "live" "girls" will TEXT MESSAGE YOU!! Oh. My. God. As if phone sex numbers weren't creepy and impersonal enough, now you don't have even the slightest idea of the gender, age, or even actual physical existence of the person you are discoursing with. I don't even have a line here; that's just f*$%ed up.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Actual AIM conversation mere moments ago between myself and Bill:

Joe: sadly i haven't had time for anyone's blog lately
Joe: including mine
Bill: law school will do that to you
Joe: no law school's fine; Tivo will do that to you
So the truth is out--my neglect has something to do with classes and interviews, but mostly it's all about the fact thatthe weekend before classes started, my ex-roommate convinced me that going from TV-lessness to TV+Tivo was a good way to transition from 1L to 2L. I regret nothing, but like my freshman advisor told me about Usenet newsgroups, it is a sinkhole for time.

So since I have little else to write about, here are my reviews of things I've Tivo'ed recently:

The Daily Show: A staple. Evolution, Schmevolution week was tremendous, highlighted by Kurt Vonnegut's tongue-in-cheek argument that nothing but intelligent design could have brought about "giraffes, hippopotami, and the clap." If I had any one complaint, it would be that Tivo considers all 5 daily airings a "First run" episode, so I had to manually set up daily taping of the 11 p.m. showing, instead of "Season Pass"ing 20 episodes a week. But now I know how to manually set up daily taping, so good times.

Too Late w/ Adam Carolla: The single most devastating time-sinkhole development out of all of this was Adam Carolla getting his own show at almost exactly the same time I got Tivo. I could watch Carolla read the phone book--I think he's the funniest person in entertainment, period, end of story. I'm worried about the show, though. They've alread moved it back to midnight, and it runs the risk of simultaneously being too Coastal and yet too offensive to much of the lefty Daily Show audience. This week was even more problematic, as Adam brought on Jimmy Kimmel for an episode that was nothing by Man Show reminiscence, then he dropped the live studio audience on Tuesday, and Wednesday he had the guest (The Donnas) out for the whole episode with no monologue and brought out the old Loveline "Germany or Florida?" bit. Format and timeslot changes in month 2 generally do not bode well. The real problem in my mind is that Adam needs a straight-man; the callers perform that function somewhat during phone-in segments, but without a Drew or Jimmy, Adam's strength (off-the-cuff reaction to banter) is missing. Still, I'll watch every episode until it sadly disappears.

Arrested Development: The season premiere was just, I mean, my God, why doesn't everyone watch this show? So many levels! And watching certain details a second time on Tivo reveals more levels, such as Eve Holt's yearbook nickname being "Eve Holt." And I've really been enjoying I'm Oscar. (Dot com.)

The Swinger (1966): I Tivo'ed this movie from AMC on the principle that there's hot, there's really hot, and there's Ann-Margret in the mid-1960s. I pinpointed the extent of this movie's charms very precisely.

NFL Matchup: Jaws and Merril, great stuff. Have they mentioned that they're the only show that shows the coach's tape? Other than that reminder 10 times per episode, this is must-see TV for the NFL fan who wants to see what's really going on in the game.

How I Met Your Mother: This is a gimmicky, somewhat-enjoyable sitcom. It appeals to both stoners who loved Evil Doogie in Harold & Kumar, and geeks who haven't gotten over their Willow crush. I'll keep watching for a few more weeks to see if N.P. Harris keeps saying things like, "Lebanese is the new half-Asian."

Out of Practice
: Another CBS Monday sitcom, this one starring Henry Winkler, Stockard Channing, and 3 people you've seen but don't know the names of. They're a family where the youngest son is a marriage counselor, and both parents and his older sister and brother are doctors. In the pilot, the marriage counselor's wife (ironically!) leaves him. Zany. The fact that there are 4 Dr. Barneses has the potential for numerous comic misunderstandings. It probably has one more episode to get funny before I dump it.

The Office: With Scrubs temporarily on hiatus, this is the only show I've seen that can compete with Arrested Development for funniest out there. Routinely makes me laugh out loud, and the Dundie Awards this week killed me, because I worked in an office once that did that (once, not annually, but still) and it was a total disaster.

I'm open to suggestions of shows I should be watching, but please don't tell me Desperate Housewives, Lost, and House. I know people love these shows, but the chances I'm adding an hourlong show where I have a whole season to catch up on are slim. Also, no HBO, so don't go there either.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Possible early versions of the pay-off line in The Killers' "All These Things That I've Done":

  • I got plums but I'm not a plumber.
  • I got back but I'm not a backhoe.
  • I got soul but I'm not a solo artist.
  • I got rhythm but I'm not a rhythmic gymnast.
  • I got milk but I'm not on one of those billboards.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The question that I have most frequently asked and been asked over the last 2.5 weeks is a simple yet silly one: how did the interview go? Of course, everyone tries to put a different spin on either, "Who the hell knows?" or "Ask the other guy," or occasionally just a slunked head with a slow, resigned shake. Last week I added six 20-minute interview, three 30-minute interviews, and 2 lunches to the whole on-campus slate. In two weeks I'll be doing two more on another flyback. Conversely, the pile of dings has started to suggest that I have most of the interviews that I'm going to have.

But here's the thing:

It turns out there is an objective test for the whole "how did the interview go?" question, and I can now definitively say this:

  • At least one of my flybacks went well.
  • I will not be scrambling for work next summer.

So, you know, good times...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

So I'm hitting here in the lobby of the Westin Century Plaza, which is a very nice place by the standards of all the hotels I've ever stayed in, which is not that high a standard. My first interviews went fine, as far as I can tell. They have a lot to offer, and I will be perfectly content if I end up working here. How they compare to other places? We'll see. I will say that there are at least 3 other U-M law students at the hotel, all of whom interviewing with a firm I really wish I'd gotten an interview with. But that's neither here nor there.

The sky is impossibly blue. I spent an hour lounging in and around the pool and spa, and it was heaven. I'm also remembering, though, that an afternoon is remarkably hard to kill here without a car. But there's free wireless in the lobby, so here I am.

I forget whether or not I mentioned DEK's and my new side project. This blog might suffer in favor of that one for a while, which I say mostly because every time I write that this blog is about to suffer, it seems to pick up again.

I made a last minute change to my class schedule, so I'm back to Secured Transactions, First Amendment, and Enterprise Organizations. The first two are taught by dynamic, interesting teachers I really like, which should help me through the fact that I'm in back-to-back-to-back classes. The jury's still out on the last one, but it's an absolute core class I can't be without.

Santa Monica tomorrow, and then a red-eye back to Michigan in time for the Notre Dame game...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thoughts on the week that was:

  • Overall I had 24 interviews from Monday to Thursday, including two that were unscheduled but where I begged onto the schedule. It's kind of a blur, honestly, but by the end I started feeling like I was getting the hang of it. I was totally ready to throw a suit on Friday morning and try again.
  • Things that came up in exactly one interview: my "best available headcase" fantasy draft (Jamal Lewis, Randy Moss, and Jeremy Shockey in the first five rounds), cod (actually, Cod), the Basel II revised international capital framework, my LSAT score, Bulgarian food (similar to Greek, but with much better feta, at least according to the Canadian interviewer with the Bulgarian wife), whether I failed any of my interviewer's friends at USC, Playa Vista.
  • Things that came up in many, many interviews: vaudeville, how 1L year teaches you nothing about transactional work so I want to try it out next summer, my 8-week internship 11 years ago with Arlen Specter that I keep thinking I should take off my resume because I barely remember it.
  • Only one place asked HR-ish questions: "Describe a work situation in which you had to manage conflict." Well, right now I'm conflicted about trying to avoid laughing out loud or punching you in the face.
  • Thursday at lunch I ate at Zoup!, and all I can say about that is that with a name like that, avoid the temptation to have a half-sandwich/small soup combo and just stick to the soup. Outstanding chicken-collard green soup; mediocre at best Italian chicken panini. Then again, I don't really like panini, so I shouldn't have been surprised.
  • In addition to the interviews, I attended 8 evening receptions over 5 nights. Good rule of thumb: when you start asking honest questions or answering questions more honestly than you mean to, it's about time to leave.
  • The gray suit worked out great; the navy suit was OK. The store guy and Dad picked out some great ties as well.
  • One thing you hate to see from one of your few non-headcase draftees is this in the injury report--questionable (artery).
  • I have nothing against subs, but never in my life have I been excited when someone suggests lunch or dinner at Subway or Quizno's.
  • The coolest piece of swag from the four days would have to be the off-brand Magic 8-Ball: The Mystical Orb! The cleverest: the Latham flash drive preloaded with their brochures. The most handy day-to-day: the hi-liter eraser.
  • The practical upshot of all this so far: two callbacks to date, both on the Westside. I'll be flying round-trip coach from Detroit to Los Angeles for a three-day, two-night stay at the fabulous Westin Century Plaza. While there I'll be participating in fun-filled activities such as: interviewing! more interviewing! remembering that lunch is still part of the interview! and collecting receipts for valuable cash reimbursement!