30 August 2005

Puppies and EBCLC

Matt got a puppy today!  It's a Westy, aka West Highland White Terrier:

Yes, it has already shit on the couch and floor and Matt's pants.  That being said, it's pretty freakin' cute ... in that "at least it's not a baby human" kinda way.

His name is Sam (a Spike Lee inspiration to be sure).


So I spent 10 hours at my "clinic" today, the clinic is a law school based program called EBCLC--the East Bay Community Law Center--where I volunteer but also get units for school.  We have a few departments at EBCLC which deal with basically the issues intersecting the law and poverty (housing, run-ins with the man, policies that keep the poor poor and the rich rich, HIV/AIDS, and others).  I work in a program called DeCOPP (though they're changing the name to DCP because some how someone got the idea that DeCOPP is anti-police, weird I know).  We help people "expunge" their criminal records amoung other things.  I was there for 10 hours today, longer than I expected since I had to have some time to create a meeting agenda and signup for the little soul selling event called "OCIP" where law students interview with mostly corporate defense law firms for jobs that pay $2400/week over the summer (and over your first year out of school if you are offered a position with them ... that's $125,000 right out of school which is pretty tempting for most because we all owe somewhere in the $60k-120k range in loans).  I'm applying to some plaintiff side firms but I really don't expect much; these firms are kinda sought after because they are frankly less evil, some are even pretty good at helping the folks that most law students wanted to help when they applied to school.  It give you an idea of my profound thoughts on the subject I first decided which firm to look into based on their support for KQED's "Fresh Air" ... yeah, Lieff Cabrazer =)  They are quite compeditive though because they have top lawyers and some great causes along with the standard (i.e. INCREDIBLE!) starting pay--really a rare combo in the legal universe.

Now I have about 3 hours of homework to do (who's glad they're back in school!)

PS - the count of people and animals currently living in our two bedroom: Jason (the new guy), Matt (dog owner/Alabaman), Megan, Abe, Osito (the pig), and Ratty (the, yes, rat).  Officially only Jason and I are here so don't spread any rumors on the internet(s)!

21 August 2005

Lady on a taunt piece of elsatic!

Lady on a taunt piece of elsatic!

That's all for today, I have to pretend to dread the return of school tomorrow but really I'm just sad about not having my final apartment situation established yet. 

Then again, life is still good over all ... at least I got a new backpack =)

17 August 2005

The highest scoring word in scrabble is ...

If you were wondering what words are in the scrabble dictionary or just want to waste 15 minutes, check out Scrabble Word Lists.

Where can you see pictures of the world beard championships? HERE!

Back to apartment hunting.

Apartment hunting continued!

Well yesterday we looked at two great places and our applications are in. Our favorite is on Harmon/65th st on the Oakland/Berkeley boarder, it's a 3 bedroom, 1 bath (with unique shower panels, you'll have to come see them if we end up there) for $1395/month. The kitchen and rooms are big, there's a backyard that I think is shared, but better than the yard is the view from the back porch, looking out over the Berkeley/Emeryville flatlands toward the Bay Bridge. The house is old enough to be "cool" in the "it's not just a stucco and plywood rectangle" sense, but most everything seems to be in great working order (there's even a mechanical door release lever at the top of the stairs, one of my favorite parts). We talked with the owner for a while and he seemed very together; long time Berkeley type and actually interested in talking with tenants to find a good match ... and he can have his pick from amoung many since there have been 4 or 5 groups of people looking at his place each time we stop by (going again today to drop of more info and tomorrow with Matt).
Matt's coming back today and we're taking him to the next open house, I'm sure he's going to love it though. He should be over Taipae right now and arriving in SF at 7:20 tonight. He should have some pretty good stories about Nepal so stay tuned.
We looked at a few other places yesterday, one was pretty good but there were so many other people there it's hard for me to stay optimistic. It was a nice place with parking, but really I think Megan would prefer the Harmon st. house (I bet Matt would too).

Dated gift: my dad found a mailed gift for me from my brother John from about 8 months ago (x-mas is John's favorite holiday) ... inside was a 2005 Dilbert calendar. Since I missed the last 8 months they will be my nighttime reading material tonight ... certainly better than the reading that is coming up (school starts on August 22, I hope we manage to get this apartment before then or soon thereafter).

Thanks to everyone who has been offering us their space, I'd hate to call on you guys (or move my stuff twice) but I do appreciate it.

10 August 2005

Apartment hunting and backpacks

So I may or may not be apartment hunting because of my (and my roommates' and the co-op's) stupid timing error.
Here's how to look for an apartment in Berkeley:
(1) Craigslist.org is your friend. It has actually put other listing services out of business (mostly the other free/cheap ones) but others remain (mainly ehousing.com - $35/month). Craigslist will be the easiest and cheapest route. I focused my search by looking for only 2 bedrooms, max price $1500 and searching for street names where I'd like to live. This requires a map ...
(2) Google maps is also your friend ... if only there were a way of combinding google maps and craigslist .... like at ...
(3) Housingmaps.com gives you a geopraphic view of craigslist housing ads and has additional filters.
If the above sites don't get you the apartment you're looking for then try some more common Berkeley apartment rental broker types:
www.kands.com (actually called K & S)
I'm not ready to jump the Fenwick ship, but these sites gave me the best idea of what the real market is for Elmwood area apartments.

I am a complusive shopper, and being Jewish I'm good at it. I bought my last pack about 3 years ago and it has served me well ... but the bottom is ready to fall out and I don't think it's ready for any more legal texts (neither am I for that matter ... school starts 8-22, so much beer, so little drunk).
So I began applying all my powers of Jew to the finicky filly we call the backpack market. Basically I just wanted another backpack like the one I had but, if possible cheaper and comfier.
I decided that I'd go with Jansport again. This is mostly a time saving meassure. I considered North Face, but, well, it's too Berkeley yuppie for me. Jansport has this crazy gellyrubbergoofilled strap "technology" (otherwise know as rubber) that's pretty nice when carrying 3000 pages of soon to be forgoten BS plus a laptop (an IBM T42, the "black because its owners want to pretend to be executives, it's better than Dell, penal substitute of laptops," highly recommended if your work/school cannot deal with Apple ... a sure sign of how law school pushs students to become corporate whores if there ever was one).
There are two ways to go from here: (1) eBay which has some of last years' models (no difference really, but can be cheaper though more time comsuming) and (2) eBags which often has closeouts and "coupon codes" to reduce the price by about 20nd ship for free (coupons cna be found at www.fatwallet.com under "hot deals"). eBags has user reviews, loads of pictures from different angles, and standard prices to compare the eBay prices with. Go there to find what you want--then go to eBay to find a better price.
Searching eBay for "Jansport Air" (air is in the name of most the bags with the crazy goo straps) gave me some prety affordable options. It certainly beat the $43 prices of eBags. I'm going with the Jansport Air Zone Ultra, Equinox, Skyrim, Airlift, or Air Juice depending on which has the lowest auction price. Use hammertap auction stealer to "snipe" auctions (bid at the last second).

Finally, here's my daily list of joys and worries:
Meg is bummed about the prospect of moving and a bummed Megan leads to a bummed Abe. I crawled all over Berkeley to find about 20 moving boxed I hope never to use (thanks Berkeley strangers on Craigslist!) and took pictures of apartments on Southside and in Elmwood ... most were too expensive (the ones I could contemplate living in), already rented out, or 1 rather than 2 bedrooms. Then I wasted time reading about how to succeed during my first year at law school (1 year too late). My older brother Marc sent me an invite to his post wedding party in Forrestvile which should be fun (Marc is a lawyer too, provides free legal aid to those accused of violating their parole in what are called Morrisey hearings). Doug has a giant beanbag couch thing, that's awesome. Megan's dad is coming home from the hospital (he had stomach cancer, he had it removed sugrically, now he's on the recovery trip and relaxing on the mattress Megan and I picked up for at Costco ... great mattress btw, or as Veljko would say ... actually, that is probably too graphic for the holy 0's and 1's we call the internet). Tomorrow I am going to look at an apartment I have little desire to rent at 11 then I have to get some tart to do her gardening workshift and then I've got an appointment with "Career services" to help me plot an attack against a lawyerly/corporate future. I just finished putting some bolts onto Megan's Corolla that hold an important looking crossmember in place (wonder what's been holding it here for the past XX years, sure weren't any bolts to be seen). Before that I spent 45 minutes trying to break into my friend Misti's apartment (the bottom lock, a relic from Berkeley in the 60's, was busted but somehow locked in place) to feed her cats ... both of whom hate me (cats don't often seem to like me ... you know how some cats are friendly and they like everyone but others only like maybe 1 in 50 people, well I'm always one of the left over 49, I'm just not a cat person I guess). And I started using my blog as a diary sort of thing, probably just so Ronnie can read about my troubles without acutally having to interact with me since he's left me for the muggy streets of NY City.

PS - anyone looking for a husband (e.g. women of UC Davis) look no further: