Monday, September 28, 2009

Law School Stuff

I have had a few people ask some questions about law school so I figured I would talk about it, but I'm going to break it up into three parts: applying, what it's like once you get there and bar exam stuff. I'll just go chronologically and start with the admissions process.

Law school admissions boards basically look to three basic things in deciding which applicants to admit.


This is pretty self explanatory really. Get the best grades you possibly can. It depends on the school how high your gpa needs to be to get in. You can get that information either from schools you apply to or from the Princeton Review. Keep in mind that gpa is only one factor they consider, a low gpa can be overcome by a really good LSAT score and strong extra curricular activities.

LSAT Scores

The LSAT is basically a test that requires no outside knowledge whatsoever. It primarily tests reasoning ability and reading comprehension. My advice for preparation is to take some type of course or to at least buy a prep book for at least on portion of the test, the "puzzles" portion. I did not prepare well enough for this part and I was lost during the exam. From what I've heard at a course they will teach you a proper approach to these questions, which would have helped me a lot. These questions are insane and without some kind of game plan you will just wind up confused, which I was. Luckily I still wound up with a good enough score to get in to a decent law school.

There is also an essay portion, however it is not part of your score. They do send it to the law schools you apply to though where they might use it as a "tie breaker".

Probably the worst part of the test for me came before any of the scored portions even started. Before the test they had a paragraph written out that basically said the test taker promises not to cheat and not to steal any of the test materials etc.... The problem was they wanted me to write the whole paragraph out, in cursive. I hadn't written cursive since elementary school. The only letters I really knew were the ones in my name. I was sweating and all stressed out. "Is she already finished? I don't even have a sentence written yet!!! I'm so screwed on this test!!!" I got through it ok though in the end, but that was not fun. They did it again to me at the bar exam by the way.

The information for what LSAT scores are usually acceptable to what schools is also available at the Princeton Review site I linked above, but again they take all the info together. There is no minimum for any of the criteria for each school.

Extra Curriculars/Admissions Essay

This is the only real area where you have all the control. GPA and LSAT depend on test taking ability and other factors. You can join as many clubs and other activities as you want. If you have a lower GPA and are having trouble with your LSAT score, this is the place you want to make up some ground. I included admissions essay in the heading because that is where you sell yourself to the schools. Tell them what you've done in school, tell them why you're unique, why you will succeed in law school, and why you would make a good attorney. Put a lot of work into the essay because you are not only selling yourself to them as a candidate, but you are also showing them your writing skills.

So if you want to get into law school, try to get the best grades you can, take an LSAT prep course and if you have weak extra curricular activities go find some more. Be realistic in where you apply based on your GPA and LSAT scores. Make sure you apply to a school or two where you know you can get in just to be safe. After that, all you lose is the application fee if you don't get in.

In a later blog, I'll talk about what law school is actually like. Then one more after that I'll talk about the bar exam. Speaking of which, on a personal note, I am getting to the point where I could get my bar exam results any day so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'll post a blog when I finally do find out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Great hamburger bun/bread

I've been looking for a really good bread for a long time, and last week I finally found exactly what I wanted. I wanted something really thin so it wouldn't be too many calories, it had to be whole grain, and it still needed to bring some fiber to the table. I also needed to find it reasonably priced and available in southern Illinois. So when I saw just that at Wal-mart last week I probably looked like I had just scored a game winning touchdown. The product I found was Arnold Select Sandwich thins.

Each "thin"/bun/roll is only 100 calories (that includes both sides). It's only a total of 21 carbs and five of those are fiber. It's also 100 percent whole wheat, which is a hugeplus. If you're the type of person that eats a decent amount of bread, replacing what you currently use would make a huge difference in your overall diet. Especially if you were eating regular old white bread before. I'm going to try to do various blogs about changes like this that people can make that will help a lot. In my personal experience it was much easier for me to make little changes gradually in my diet and fitness regimen. I think one of the problems people have is going with an all or nothing approach to losing weight or getting healthier and I think that leads to a lot of burnout. Implementing gradual lifestyle changes is the way to go in my opinion, so that's one of the things you can expect me to blog about in the future.

Friday, September 18, 2009

DVR is a crutch

Don't get me wrong, DVR is probably one of my favorite inventions of all time. My problem with it is I become dependent upon it when I'm not actually watching tv. Somehow my mind doesn't make the connection that you just can't rewind real life if you let your mind wander. I've actually had moments where I missed something, and thought it was no big deal because I could just press the rewind button, go back and get the information, then catch up when nothing really important was going on. Imagine my frustration when I realize that not only is that information gone forever, but I also just missed another 30 seconds of whatever was going on because I had to convince myself that I couldn't just rewind in this situation. It happens all the time when I'm listening to the radio. I think it's more frustrating because it's just like tv, just without pictures. The technology to do it is totally there, I guess it's not worth it to most people. Or they don't want people wrecking their cars while trying to rewind their radios. If someone could only invent real life DVR. Unfortunately this would likely require some type of time travel mechanism, and I'm not sure how close the scientists are to that yet.

Despite my issue, there is around a 0 percent chance I will cancel my DVR service because well, it's pretty awesome to be able to watch one thing and record another, record two things at once, or rewind to see a score on the bottom of the screen you missed all without having to use a single VHS tape (saving the planet one tv show at a time).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Your mother was right

Well, at least she was right when she told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. She probably didn't know exactly why it was so important exactly. She probably told you that it's because that's where your energy for the rest of the day. That's partially true. Breakfast does give you energy, just not for the rest of the day. If you didn't eat again, I can assure you the stuff you ate for breakfast would run out eventually. Aside from energy though, there are a couple other reasons that it is incredibly important to eat a solid breakfast.


If you want to lose or not gain weight, maximizing your metabolism is extremely helpful. Breakfast sets the tone for your metabolism for the rest of the day. The analogy I have always heard is that your metabolism operates like a fire. The more you feed it, the hotter it burns. Now you need to give it quality fuel, but breakfast is what gets the fire burning from the start.

You haven't eaten in a long time before breakfast

This is important because while you're asleep, your body uses up all the calories you have eaten the day before. Now wouldn't it be great if your body just burned some of that body fat you've always wanted to get rid of while you slept? Sorry, that's not what happens. Your body starts to burn muscle tissue instead when it think's it's being "starved". See, your body still thinks it's back in the stone age when food was scarce and people didn't get to eat every day, let alone 3 plus meals. So when you don't eat, your body has no idea when it will get another meal. It reacts by going into self preservation mode. Because muscle tissue requires more calories to be sustained than fat tissue, your body uses the muscle tissue for energy instead of fat. This decreases the amount of calories your body needs to survive and keeps the fat stores for energy later, in case you still don't get to eat for a long time. This is a great feature if you're ever starving in the wilderness, but a real drag when you're trying to lose weight.

So that's a long way of saying that eating breakfast in the morning stops that process of your body using muscle for its fuel, which is a really good thing because if you're trying to lose weight, muscle tissue is a good thing to hang on to.

So, what to eat

Yes, almost anything is better than nothing, but I recommend something that contains plenty of protein, fat(yes, fat is ok), fiber and good carbs. Good carbs would include whole grains, fruits, vegetables.....really anything that doesnt contain a ton of sugar or flour that's not 100 % whole grain. Look out for anything that says anything about whole grains, but doesn't say 100 %. That's a trick from food companies that makes things look healthy, when they're really not. I'll actually write a whole separate blog about little tricks like this that food companies use.

So actual stuff that would be good for breakfast: eggs, bacon, pretty much any meat, milk, whole grain cereal, whole grain bread, peanut butter (preferably natural pb), oatmeal, fruit, nuts, and pretty much anything else that meets the criteria of the above paragraph. Stuff not to eat: dougnuts, pop tarts, nutrigrain bars (yeah, they try to act all healthy don't they), and most other breakfast foods you can buy in a box.

Here's what I ate this morning

That's two whole eggs, a cup of egg whites, 3 strips of bacon and a bowl of oatmeal. Keep in mind I weigh around 260 pounds and lift weights 5 days a week, but a similar meal with reduced portions of each would be a great breakfast. Not to mention delicious

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm on a blog

Due in part to some prodding from my wife Emily, I'm starting a blog. So, what's it going to be about? Well, that's a very good question. I don't really have one thing that I know a ton of stuff about, but I do have a few areas where I know a thing or two. Hopefully I can at least throw a few things out there that give some people some useful information and/or be somewhat entertaining. So why don't I start with a little bit about myself.

My current ocupation is sort of a kept man/trophy husband. My wife is a tv news anchor and a youtube makeup guru. I'm guessing 99 percent of you already knew that though, and it's probably the only reason you have any clue who I am and are reading this in the first place. Anyway, I am an attorney who just took the bar exam in July. I'm waiting to hear whether I passed or not (I think I did), but I should know within a month. They say its much, much easier to get a job once you actually have your license, so I hope that all happens soon.

Until that happens I'm just working out a lot, cleaning more than I ever have in my life, job hunting, watching tv and playing video games. If you do read this blog, those things are probably a lot of what I'll talk about, but I'm happy to take requests too. Emily has told me some of her viewers asked me to talk about some things already so I'll try to get on that. A lot of what I'll talk about will be in the exercise/nutrition realm. I have a lot of knowledge in that arena and I feel like there is a lot of information out there that is misleading and things generally accepted as true that simply are not. I also recognize that at least for a while the people reading this will be mostly women, so I'll keep that in mind. Feel free to tell all your husbands/boyfriends/dads/brothers and other men in your lives about it as well.

So I'll try my best to write on this with some level of frequency. I'll probably get better as I go as far as incorporating pictures and cool stuff like that so try to be patient with me for a while. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy it.