Friday, September 7, 2012

Don't Eat Before Going on A Chocolate Tour, Educating New Lawyers & Other Musings

Oh, who the hell am I kidding. This entire blog is my musings! These are just going to cover more of what I've done recently.

First off, my book review for Hello Kitty Must Die was just published in the latest NYCLA newsletter (the New York County Lawyer). Go to page 14 to read it. That whole nearly missing my train did actually happen when I was reading this book. I was reading the book as my train had stopped & realized that we were at the stop I needed to get off at to catch my next train. It was one of those "Oh, shit" moments though I could have gotten to my stop if I'd missed that one. It just would have been more annoying to get to that freelance gig. I was actually early in the book when that happened.

Oh, and what you're thinking is happening in the first chapter is totally happening. That reference will either fly right over your head or make you laugh your ass off like I did after writing it. I like to think this particular selection for a book review is unique since it's not the sort of book that only lawyers would want to read. It also is anything but bland or boring.

Perhaps this is yet another example of why I should not teach since I'd be making things interesting by picking the books where sex, violence, all the "forbidden" but captivating stuff happens. I believe history & many things in general come alive if you can relate them to people's real life, day to day experience. I know I was never interested in classes or discussions that didn't have some of the zeitgeist of today in them. Translation: make things relate to ME & my life if you want me to care about your subject. Passion also never hurts.

Speaking of passion, I went to the law student's welcoming reception yesterday at City Bar in an official capacity. Apparently despite my doing nothing for the ending of my term in the Entertainment Committee this year, I'm still on the membership roster. My purpose in going was to be honest & show that City Bar is not a place where stuffiness has to rule. It may be the majority opinion but that's not to say you can't make bar associations fit you if you aren't the stereotype. If I've managed to get some acceptance with these bar associations & make them fit ME, what's to stop anyone else from doing the same thing?

After all, I got thrown into the mix by nomination; I didn't seek things out so I do have a legit argument for demanding acceptance for who I am.

It seems my approach was a good one since I had law students & grads talking to me and asking me insightful questions. I was honest since first off, I'm not a shill & if you want me to be one you'll have to pay me and I'll have to at least be neutral about your cause. If I'm violently opposed to your cause/purpose/mission, there's not enough money in the world for me to lie about it. You can at best buy my silence but that does not make a good shill. I also noticed people walking up to me as I spoke to one or two people; maybe I was that interesting?

Second, a friend of mine is forming a new bar association & I did see some disaffected folk. I made a specific mention to one person who approached me & totally struck me as just the sort of person we could appeal to.

Third, I told people things I'd have liked to know when I came in as a new lawyer. I really didn't have mentoring & still feel like the only mentoring I'm really going to get will be through my own methods via committee (since I've never met one person who's doing every single thing I'm doing & has the same status with folk).

Finally, I'm just not a liar. I would hate someone doing that to me so I believe in not lying to folk who didn't start trouble or cause problems with me. Those people deserve the benefit of the doubt & my honesty.

For my own committee, I touted networking since that's something I've found useful. When you're one of the youngest members someplace & you're asked about an attorney in an area different from yours while in a committee with many established attorneys (way more established than you) who are in those different areas, you can start seeking referrals. I've even referred people from this committee when asked about an area that I knew someone in the committee did. Because of them being in the committee & my mostly dealing with creative types, I figure the folk I recommend are at least receptive to creative people and won't be assholes to them.

Point blank, if I like you & remember you for a certain area that comes up in conversation you're likely to get a potential client from me. I've done this for Twitter followers as well so if you follow me on Twitter & are tolerant of my views (or at least my 1st Amendment right to speak), that puts you ahead in my book. Being an ass to me means you won't be getting a referral & I'll steer folk away from you if it comes up in conversation.

I figured the networking angle would be effective since the people being there obviously had some interest in it, everyone wants to network (at least if you've got a brain, you do) & newer attorneys definitely need to be doing it. If you're a business owner, you absolutely must do it or get a partner who is willing to do it or you're going to fail. Even the established ones have to adapt with the times, have backups for if people retire, die, etc. Contacts also come in handy for vetting (which you do a lot of in entertainment).

Plus, I like the fact that being on that committee is an informal means to meet people & earn their respect without having to be a Rhodes Scholar on an issue.

Today, I had that make-up day for the chocolate tour. Oh, my God! It was worth it. It was through Celebrity Planet & this thing is typically booked through forever & a day but last week's tour guide was kind enough to reschedule me for a close date.

A big part of this tour is samples & getting desserts from places you'd normally have to wait in long lines for (such as Magnolia Bakery, which is apparently well know from Sex & the City; I watched it with my former friend in NC in blocks & couldn't tell you what episode anything in NYC was featured since I had to forget things from there to do writing, not to mention the whole negative association with the former friend).

Normally, this tour is $50 per person but I got a discounted rate through Living Social (you've got to love those deal websites when the vendor takes the voucher & isn't a dick). Deal websites = a frugal person's best friend.

As part of the tour, you get chocolate samples & dessert samples. We were getting free cupcakes from Magnolia & figured they might be tiny, specifically smaller samples than what you'd normally get.

Oh, no. These were HUGE, FULL cupcakes. Chocolate with chocolate buttercream icing. They were good. No, not just good. Incredibly fucking good!! However, eating my cupcake did make me full. We also got free cookies at Milk & Cookies (again expected a small portion). Nope, we got still warm double chocolate chip cookies that were also incredibly fucking good. I had to eat mine gradually as we were going to the next stop.

After that, it became the pig tour for me. Also got the best cannoli in NYC (literally, this bakery's chef beat Bobby Flay in a cooking throw down). You can find this at Pasticceria Bruno in the Village.

On top of chocolate pieces from super fancy chocolate (and we're talking quality, meaning it's very filling), I'm still full as I write this at 10 at night. Only a little hunger is peeking through. Imagine if I'd gone last week after eating lunch before hand. I'd have died & the experience would have been wasted on me.

We also got a special bonus in our tour: while at a different site, we met a woman who's family owned the space downstairs. Since we were on the tour & had lots of samples of sea salt chocolate (which I also like & our tour guide said she could have some), she offered to give us a tour to the backyard gardens in the building. I took pictures & our tour guide said it was the first time he's ever gotten to see any. The steps are just very narrow & I had to watch my head to get down there. Getting that glimpse of old NYC was a great added highlight.

While on this tour, I also got a flyer for yet another sample sale right in Soho so after the tour ended I stopped by there. I saw one item I'm a maybe on since I actually could use it but I'm not wild about the price (less than $100) & don't know if it's something I ought to go for or not. I asked the sales person how long they were going to be there but she didn't know. I tried on some things to try & get my size in Calvin Klein so I'd know for ordering purposes (apparently, I'm also a 2 there).

This was actually my first food tour ever & my first walking tour. Some great hints for tours:

1. They aren't just for tourists. Most of my group lived in NYC, Jersey or the surrounding area. I wasn't aware of some of these places so now I have resources to get food or find recommendations for others. I collected business cards so I would remember addresses though I'm also going to write online reviews (since I had the food, I can technically do that).

2. You probably won't enjoy a chocolate tour unless you're a chocoholic or at least the type who can't have too much chocolate in life. I might not be able to eat tons of chocolate in a sitting but I don't think I'd ever get sick of it & never want to see it again. After all, I'm a former Godiva employee & didn't get sick of chocolate after working there. Nor did I get fat from it; I think my weight stayed the same.

3. Don't eat before you go!!! My stomach was growling but I had a few Wheat Thins before leaving the house. This was just the right amount of food & that was as I was rushing out to try to get to the train so I wouldn't miss the rescheduled tour.

4. Wear your comfortable shoes if it's a walking tour. We did a lot of walking & I am definitely feeling it still.

5. Finally, if it's sunny out & you're in the sun wear some sunblock (especially if you burn like I do). That probably saved me from killer sunburn today.

I definitely feel like I got my money's worth here. Go if you can.

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