Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dear faithful readers...

I can't believe how much my life has changed in 2008! I'm now in New York City, about to start a new job, plant new roots. For those who are interested, I do have a new address and a new phone number.

With all the changes going on, I believe it is time to retire this blog. I will probably print out a record of it, just so it's not lost forever, but very soon afterward I plan to delete the contents.

What next? I may start a new blog, I may change the format, I may do nothing... dunno. Meanwhile, I just wanted to say thanks for reading. Please keep in touch.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gas prices

No doubt we've all seen lots of jokes about the skyrocketing price of fuel. These are a few of my favorites:

Friday, May 23, 2008

I'm a juris doctor.

I did it! I graduated! They handed me the diploma, and I put it in the frame, and it's on its way to a storage locker in Connecticut for the summer along with all my other belongings.

Having my parents and sister in town was really fun. Saying goodbye to friends was hard, but I'm sure I'll see most of them again - we'll run into each other in Utah, or they'll call when they're visiting New York. My sister helped me sort through all my stuff and clean out my apartment. I was shocked how many emotions came to the surface as I went through all my belongings, photos, ticket stubs, files, just everything. I said goodbye to my apartment, the law school, and Virginia.

Now I'm spending the week in Cincinnati. My best friends from college are driving in to spend the weekend with me here, then I'll hang with my sister's family for a week, then I'm off to Salt Lake to study for the NY bar during June and July.

I'll post photos of graduation and my family's visit muy soon.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Prepping for Graduation

Our family and friends are on their way. The law school is waiting...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I'm sitting in the law school library computer lab while my computer is being fixed by our fabulous ITC staff. PS why are there so many people in the library right now? Looks like mostly law review cite checks and papers. Ouch.

Anyway, my laptop's ethernet port stopped working about a year ago. Then in the fall the sound stopped working. The law school ITC people performed a battery of tests, and then sent me to Cavalier Computers. CC performed a series of tests and sent me back to the law school people. I think we've finally arrived at a solution: it's a software problem. Time to REFORMAT the hard drive!

Why is that such a scary concept to me? Something about deleting everything on your entire hard drive is just freaky. Am I sure I saved all my photos? Do I have all my mp3s backed up? Where did I put all my disks? What if I lose my address book?

There's just something frightening about starting over. Which of course got me to thinking about graduation, moving, and moving on. So much of my identity is tied up in certain people; okay, let's be honest, a certain person. And certain friends. And so much of my identity is tied up in this place, here in Charlottesville. What happens when I move on? Will I lose some of my identity? What will I be without these things?

I recently joined Facebook. I was startled to see what has become of some of my childhood and high school friends. It's fascinating to see where people live, what they do for a living, how they look, and what their passions are. This has obviously made me even more reflective about my life and how I have changed over the past couple of decades. I guess I've changed a lot, but since the changes happen so slow, I didn't even notice them.

For example, I'm graduating from law school. People are constantly congratulating me on my "big accomplishment." I know in my head it's a big accomplishment, but it doesn't feel like it. I've just taken one class at a time, one assignment at a time. All of a sudden I'm done!

As another example, I'm moving to New York in the fall. This has been a long, drawn-out decision for me, carefully considered and made. But to others who have spent their whole lives in the east Bay Area, and who haven't seen me or heard from me in years, this seems like a huge step.

I mean, since most of those friends saw me, I became fluent in Spanish, I got married, I made some lifelong friends, I learned to like green beans, I lived in a foreign country for two years, I wrote a senior Linguistics thesis on "pop versus soda," I gained a sense of fashion, I became president of a non-profit music organization, I produced a highly acclaimed album, I got a young man acquitted on DUI charges, and I tried sushi. Graduating from law school is just one thing among many!

So as I sit here reformatting my computer, I'm realizing that we all sometimes have to re-format ourselves. At certain times in our lives, we delete some things about our lives in order to restore ourselves to a better state.

But that doesn't mean we have to forget. Or even that we have regrets. Sometimes it's just time to move on. I'll still keep my photos, my address book, and my memories. I'll carry lessons learned and friendships earned.

But it's about time for my laptop and me to get a fresh start.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I'm in the clear

I'm not really sure what I wrote on that corporations exam - it's kind of a blur. But I answered all the questions, and I wrote legalish stuff, so I'm hopeful that I did well enough to pass. That's really all I care about at this point!

What now? All that stuff I've been putting off until after finals. Piles to go through, house to clean, stuff to pack,... everything on that May list from a couple posts ago. But for tonight, I'm mostly just going to relish in the moment.

I finished law school.

My head's in the guillotine

I'm about to take my corporations exam. I've got my computer all set up, my exam document open and ready to type, my casebook, my supplement readings, my backup flash drive, my in-case-it's-freezing fleece, my Fiji water, my cashews, and best of all... my gummi bears. Sounds good, huh? If it weren't for the fact that I'm about to submit myself to three hours of torture, it would be a party in here.

I've chosen to take my exam in a classroom in our law school's Slaughter Hall, in honor of how I feel about this experience. As scary as that sounds, consider that my alternative was Brown/Withers!

For anyone who reads this between 2 and 5pm eastern time, please send corporate thoughts my way.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Yay for May

This is my final finals season. I take my final final exam tomorrow. Finally!

I promise I will post more soon. Right now I owe every second of my day to corporations.

After this, I have a busy month. Cleaning my house, family in town, GRADUATING, moving out my stuff, moving myself, visiting my sister's fam, selling my car, visiting my friends, moving in with my folks for the summer, nephew's birthday, other nephew's birthday, Mother's Day, brother-in-law's birthday, sister's anniversary, and beginning bar exam study ALL IN MAY. *inhales*

And it's already the 7th! I better get back to work...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm trying to be patient


I pull up to the Taco Bell intercom.
Me: I'd like two tacos and a bean burrito with no onions.
Me: Okay thanks.
I pull around to the window.
Me: Did you know your intercom is at an eardrum-blowing level?
Taco Bell lady: Yeah, there's nothing we can do about it.
Me: Ohhhkay.


I pull up to the Taco Bell intercom.
Me: I'd like to try something new. I'll have two tacos and... a spicy chicken burrito.
Voice: Anything else for you?
Me: No. Wait, unless there's onions in the burrito.
Voice: It has fiesta.
Me: .....
Me: Mmm, sounds like a party.
Voice: I'm sorry?
Me: I don't know what you mean when you say it has fiesta.
Voice: The burrito has fiesta in it.
Me: Right. What does that mean?
Voice (clearly annoyed): Fiesta is a combination of onions, tomatoes, and chilis.
Me: So it has onions in it?
Voice: Well, it has fiesta. But yeah, it has onions.
Me: Okay, then on my chicken burrito, hold the fiesta.


I pull up to the Taco Bell intercom.
Voice: Can I help you?
Me: I'd like two tacos, a bean burrito, and a nachos.
Total silence for an honest 30 seconds.
Voice: I've got a nachos, a bean burrito, and a nachos?
Me: Close.

Monday, April 28, 2008

An addendum

Okay, I must confess that I've re-taken the typing test several times now and every time my score has been lower than 118 wpm. So I guess I'm a bit of a phony. But the 118 was legit when I got it; I really did.

The good news is that every time I've taken it, I've gotten over 100. So I do find that somewhat fulfilling.

Can you tell it's finals season? The most fulfilling thing in my life is a TYPING TEST.

No, Dad, I'm not wasting precious study time. I'm... "practicing my typing skills so as to better utilize the 3 hour exam slot to its fullest advantage." Hey, now I'm really starting to sound like a lawyer.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lousy Charlottesville

ENORMOUS cricket in my sink right now. The kind that would make Rosa freak out for days. Just standing there next to my soaking dishes (not that I ever leave dishes in the sink, Mom). This is the beauty of living in a town out in the middle of nowhere.

Speaking of that, we were enjoying a lovely day in here, sun, highs in the 80s, light breeze, all of that, when suddenly CRACK! Thunder, a little lightning, and out of nowhere a major downpour. With my car windows open. Sorry, Sis Who's Buying My Car In A Month - but don't worry, our father raised me to have dozens of rags on hand for occasions just like this. The car is fine.

But anyway, since it's raining in Charlottesville and the wind is blowing a little, of course we lost power for a bit. Props to Virginia Dominion for getting it back on swiftly, but oh my goodness.

At least classes are over. And at least I'm moving to Salt Lake for the summer where my fabulous parents have a fabulously new house with a fabulous backup generator. And then off to New York City where the crickets don't dare enter a midrise apartment complex for fear of being shot.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Good Samaritan Robbed

This morning I saw a story on the Today show that just broke my heart.

A young ROTC man walks out of a store, strikes up a conversation with a homeless man, and then hands him some spare change. Moments later, the ROTC man suddenly suffers from a major seizure. While the ROTC man is convulsing on the ground, the homeless man doesn't run to get help but instead robs the distressed man.


I should say that all of this is not proven, but only alleged. But they've got it all on videotape.

Read the story here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Church choir

So true. Which one are you?

Hat tip: Church Times via A Cappella News.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A few laughs

From Jay Leno's monologue Monday night:

"Vanilla Ice was arrested and charged with shoving his wife; and like most people, the police had none of his records."

I'm sorry, but I thought that was just hilarious.

Then I just had to share this email I got from Rosa Monday night:

Esther and I were at Walmart, and we were walking out of the restroom when we saw this can.

Did they really need to clarify??

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My car

I'm sitting here in the Toyota service center waiting for my Highlander to have its 75,000-mile checkup. This seemingly mundane moment actually brings a set of mixed feelings for me.

A gift from my generous parents as I returned from Spain in Fall 2002, my car has been my most reliable friend over the past 5+ years. She's driven with me back and forth from Utah to California numerous times; all the way to Virginia and back twice; and to Georgia, North Carolina, and New York for various school and music commitments. She spent last summer parked in New York just outside Manhattan, making a couple trips upstate to visit friends. Though sometimes a little late on my timing, I've given her every service and every update she's needed. Which, since she's a Toyota, hasn't been that many.

So why the mixed feelings? The truth is that our relationship is doomed. I'm moving to New York City in the fall to start my new job and I just can't take her with me. Having a car in Manhattan is more of a liability than an asset. Not including all the expenses of insuring and fueling the car, the parking alone is cost prohibitive; The $500+ per month you spend housing the car is like letting it have its own apartment. In essence, my new job is taking me to a place she can't come. So sad.

The silver lining here is that I'll be selling the car to my sister in Ohio. Her car is on its way out, and considering how expensive a new car is, and how unreliable an unknown used car can be, it's actually a win-win. It'll be a good car for her family (they already love their other Highlander), the price is right, and I need to sell. Jenga.

Even so, it's still a little sad for me. This was the car that greeted me at the airport when I returned from Spain. This was the car that moved me to school after my mission. This was the car that provided me a social life while in college. This was the car I drove away from my wedding in. We're nearly inseparable.

But alas, we will soon separate. We now face the inevitable. We only have another 6-8 weeks together. I should start one of those construction paper chains so I can count down the days.

Of course it's all for the best. Here's to you, my Highlander.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

No foolin'

I don't really have anything to write about, but I thought it would be cool to have a post on April Fool's Day with that title.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Happy Easter!

... or as Rosa said this week, HOPPY Easter. So gross.

This past weekend was Easter, of course, and it turned out to be a very nice one for me. The morning started out with a surprise Easter basket on my doorstep! I was ding-dong-ditched, except it wasn't a ding-dong since I don't have a doorbell. A knock-knock-ditch. That expression doesn't have the same feel to it. It needs to be alliterative. A rap-rap-runaway?

Anyway, this is the beautiful sight I saw when I opened my door. It's also the same beautiful basket that has kept my caloric intake a little higher than I'd like this week. But Cadbury cream eggs?! Come on! So good!

After a lovely Church service, I was invited to the Forbes' home for a delicious Easter potluck dinner. And the second annual EGG BASH! That's right, egg bash. Everyone shows up with all their beautifully decorated Easter eggs, like these that the Olsons brought:

Then we're all seeded into a very complicated bracket system. For each round, one of us brings his or her eggs to the gladiator ring (in common circles, this may be referred to as a disposable plastic table cloth). You line up against your competitor with eggs in hand.

Then you roll them at top speed toward one another.

And WHAM-O. Whoever has a dented egg loses that round. Each person brings six eggs to the competition, and the last one with an egg still standing (not literally, though we are close to equinox) wins.

Here are my lovely eggs before the contest. They didn't want to be decorated. Instead they spend the past several months training for this event. Jersey numbers only. BEFORE:

Little did they know what awaited them. AFTER:

It was a slaughter. My last egg held out for several rounds. But she went out in a blaze of glory, getting the shell actually knocked off her. Ouch.

We did this at the Forbes' place last year (apparently it's a tradition in Steph's family), and I'd forgotten how fun it is. I recommend it to everyone - what else are you going to do with those decorated eggs?
Despite a scary losing streak in the middle of the contest, Josh pulled out as the winner, actually finishing with TWO intact eggs. Here he is in a scandalous shot with the egg that brought him all that glory.

I hope everyone had a... hoppy Easter.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Law Firms Rank UVA #4 in Nation

The publication Vault, highly influential in the world of law firm rankings, has just published its first set of law school rankings. They surveyed a huge batch of large law firms, asking them which law school produces the most employable grads. UVA is #4, baby. My father must be proud.

Check out the story.

UVA ranks somewhere in the top 10 law schools on basically every survey out there. But I think this is the first one to put them in the top 5. Booyah.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Big Day

Spring is here! Woohoo!

[editor's note: Okay, it's also my birthday.]

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Busy weekend

A couple weekends ago, I had a whirlwind of a time up in Northern Virginia. I attended the East Coast A cappella Summit, full of the best pro groups and music experts around. I got to attend a bunch of workshops, and I had the great opportunity of working with a whole batch of high schoolers and semi-pro groups, trying to help them improve. The weekend was really fantastic.

I actually wrote a review for the CASA website. Check it out here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

My debut on NBC Sports

I never thought I'd be interviewed extensively by a writer for a major sports website. Dork as I am, the article is about collegiate a cappella competitions. For those who don't know, these competitions are fiercely competitive. It's a lot like March Madness!

Since I work for the company that produces the competition (Varsity Vocals), and since I have a history with both of the last two ICCA winning groups (Vocal Point and Noteworthy), the sports writer gave me an extensive interview a couple days ago. He had been to a couple of these competitions and was just fascinated by the precision and the rivalries. He's really on to something - many of these groups take this competition very seriously.

Anyway, so here's the product: an article about a cappella competitions and then a follow-up article purely about the rivalry between Vocal Point and Noteworthy. So exciting!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How cool is this?!

This is my new favorite product. When I move to New York and have virtually no closet space, I've gotta get me one of these.

Rakku makes some beautiful products. Check them out here.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Noteworthy News Nod

A nice little piece in the Deseret News, published yesterday, about the group I helped found back in 2004:

"Tight harmonies and a preponderance of vocal percussion mark the performances of Noteworthy, a nine-member a cappella group of coeds from Brigham Young University.

"Performing in the group is considered an outside activity and not a part of BYU, although 'everyone knows' they represent the school and its owner, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, co-founder Esther Yoder said.

"Yoder recruited Dave Brown and Dan Dunn of the male vocal group Vocal Point to help her launch the all-female group in 2004.

"It wasn't long before Noteworthy picked its first..." [continue reading]

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Craig Jessop Resigns!

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Director Craig Jessop suddenly resigned last night. I am totally and utterly shocked. He just took over in 1999! The Deseret News has a good report:

"Mormon Tabernacle Choir music director Craig Jessop resigned Tuesday night during a meeting with members of the choir, leaving the group stunned and emotional, according to one source.

"He made the announcement to choir members following a regular rehearsal. Associate music director Mack Wilberg will serve as interim choir director.

"Jessop apparently read a letter to choir members..."

Continue reading the Deseret News article here.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Torture in Provo

A supervisor at a local Provo, UT business is accused of using waterboarding as a demonstrational technique. What kind of business do they do? Motivational coaching! Check out the Salt Lake Tribune story here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

NOT guilty!

Not a bad start for my legal career!

This semester I'm participating in a criminal defense clinic at the law school, which means I take on real clients with real criminal charges. The public defender's office refers a few cases over to the clinic, and we do all the work on the cases (with supervisors looking over our shoulders). Because I have my third-year practice certificate, I can advise clients on my own, and I can appear in court with my supervisor.

So today my first case had a court date. After lots of investigation and preparation, I appeared this morning with my client in the Charlottesville city General District Court. Since we weren't making a simple appearance or making a plea bargain, but instead we were having a trial, we had to wait until the end of the docket. The long wait made me pretty nervous -- I think the prosecutor was just trying to ice the kicker.

The last case of the morning was mine. It was thrilling to stand right in front of the judge, shoulder to shoulder with the prosecutor, and stay on my toes throughout his questioning of the arresting police officer. It was a DUI case. The officer explained about the accident, the field sobriety tests, and arresting my client. He was very honest about how well my client had done on the field sobriety tests, and didn't try to spin anything to make my client look worse. I was really impressed by the officer's integrity.

Fast forward, there was no record of when the accident actually took place. No evidence whatsoever. So they couldn't establish that the breath test taken after the arrest was done within the necessary 2 hours required by law. Because they lacked this key piece of evidence, they couldn't get the blood alcohol content certificate admitted. When the prosecutor said, "No further questions," the judge replied, "aren't you going to move the certificate into evidence?" We all looked at each other with smiles, realizing he couldn't get it in. The judge jumped in and said, "As far as DUI cases go, this isn't the strongest case ever." The prosecutor added, "Plus, there's so much reasonable doubt since he did so well on his field sobriety tests." Essentially, the case was over right there. The prosecutor just made my closing argument in one sentence.

But the prosecutor added, "I don't think it's fair for this clinic student to win his first case without having to ask a single question." I quickly pointed out that I had made an objection during the questioning of the officer. "That's true," he said. "Okay, then." My supervisor defended me, saying, "He was very prepared with everything anyway." The judge agreed: "I could see he was ready to go with all his questions and everything, just chomping at the bit."

The judge looked at my client and said, "You're free to go." So exciting! My client had the biggest smile ever on his face. He shook my hand and gave me a hug, then gave my supervisor a big hug. As soon as we got outside the courthouse, he and his girlfriend were just jumping for joy. After he was arrested for DUI, he got fired from his pizza delivery job, and now he can probably get his job back. So thrilling.

And for anyone concerned reading this, we did take the opportunity to remind him he might not get so lucky in the future. The case might be a little stronger next time. So don't drink and drive.

It was exciting to win, though I can't credit myself for having done much. I felt very prepared, and I knew when to object, and I knew why the prosecution didn't have enough evidence. So I guess I did something. And I held this poor man's hand through the process, which I hope was a help to him. All in all, it was a great start for me. I'm 1-0. We'll see how the next one goes...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


UVA has chosen a new dean. I've never had a class from Professor Paul Mahoney, but he served as advisor for my journal and the symposium we produced last year. He was always very nice.

I did have a class from his wife, Professor Julia Mahoney. She was eccentric to say the least, but the perfect person to teach property. You'll never find anyone so excited about remainder interests, public easements, and adverse possession.

Although John Jeffries' wingtips will be hard to fill, I believe Mahoney will be a good man for the job.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

And the answer is...


Seriously, think about it. Craft.

Congratulations to my mother-in-law for coming up with the answer in about three seconds. But boo for not writing it in the comments! (just kidding)

This weekend was a blast, but my body took a little toll. I ended up pretty sick the last couple of days. I'm only now just beginning to move around again...

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I'm off on a crazy driving tour of the southern United States this weekend, as I produce ICCA shows in two different states. Friday I have a show in central Georgia and then by Saturday afternoon I'm supposed to be in southern Virginia. I'll be a busy bee this weekend. Home on Sunday.

Before I head out, I wanted to leave a clue about the riddle in my last post. The answer is a single 5-letter word that starts with C. Keep guessing!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A little riddle for you...

I'll leave this riddle up for the next few days. Post your guesses in the comments section.

Sometimes I am very sly;
Other times a trade I ply;
Through the air swift I fly;
Now, pray tell me, what am I?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

True Story

In honor of Papa Parma's new joke blog and Rosa's real life news reporting, I thought I'd post a true story I recently heard about. This comes from a little email newsletter I subscribe to called This is True.

ALL ABOARD: A conductor on a commuter train from Grand Central in New York, N.Y., and Stamford, Conn., stopped the train and went up top with a fire extinguisher after he noticed a power glitch when the train switched from track power to overhead power lines. It was handy that he took the extinguisher: a man riding on top of the car had burst into flames from the 11,000-14,000 volts that surged through his body after the switch-over. It was unclear why he was on top of the train. Thanks to the conductor's quick reaction, Ricardo Chavez, 36, was hospitalized in fair condition. (White Plains Journal News) ...Clearly, Chavez was an excellent conductor too.

Oh zing! I know the Parmas will appreciate the punchline.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

CASA President

Most of you know I've spent the past couple of years participating on the board of directors for a non-profit music organization. Last month, I was elected president! The editor of our website did a quick interview of me recently, and it's now been posted. You can check it out here if you're interested.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Giants Win!

What a game!

Rosa and I were invited over to the Olsons' house to watch the big game on their new flat screen. The food was fatty and delicious, and the game was just awesome. Since Rosa and I are planning a move to New York this coming fall, we've been trying to follow all the local teams there (especially since Virginia isn't much of a capitol for professional sports). So we were rooting for the Giants, and boy did it pay off!

I think we have a new "Big Catch!"

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Gordon B. Hinckley

Today the LDS community gathered throughout the world to remember the life of President Gordon B. Hinckley, who passed away this week. His funeral services were broadcast across the globe. Never forgotten, he will always be the prophet of my youth.

I recommend reading the positive and largely accurate New York Times article about President Hinckley, as well as some highlights from his memorial services.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Meet the Mormons

This week Charlottesville's local newsweekly published a huge piece on the local growth of the LDS Church. It's actually the cover story! The article features photos of my bishop, some of our friends, and the new stake center.

Check out the article here.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Christmas in Cleveland

Although it's been over a month since la Navidad, I hope you'll still enjoy these fine iPhone photos of our trip to Cleveland.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Darn it

The battery just died on my bathroom scale. I know that's not the same as breaking, but it sure doesn't make you feel good when the scale won't even respond to you when you step on it.

Maybe it's for the best that I don't know the number. Is it fair to keep blaming holiday meals?

I think I'm going to wait a while before putting a new battery in...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Warning: reading this blog may be hazardous to your intelligence

It seems the best way to amass a series of comments on your blog is to wait several weeks between posts. But I promise not to do that any more. The past several weeks have been very busy and quite eventful in the Brown household. Frankly, the main thing that's been keeping me from posting is the difficulty of uploading photos to Blogger. But alas, I should do it.

In the meantime, I thought this was a great way to return:

blog readability test

It takes more than SIX weeks to get grades back from Fall semester, but it takes less than six seconds to get a horrible grade on my blog. If it's any consolation, Rosa's blog is elementary too.

To close this post, I'd like to make a feeble attempt at raising my grade level by inserting some of the words I've actually heard in the last hour during my corporations class:
confidentiality agreement
contract drafting
residual loss
property rights
discretionary authority
recurring disputes
ownership of information between corporation and partnership and participants

Class is over. I'm going home to read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.