10 ways email can suck

Communication via email has many advantages, but it can suck too, especially in certain contexts. We’ve all had at least one of the following happen:


1. Wordy and long emails.

2. Cryptic emails with too many abbreviations.

3. Spam and unsolicited advertising.

4. Excessive announcements on email lists.

5. A person hits “reply all” to a large list when the message is only directed to one or a few people.

Clock Ticking6. Someone who has multiple email addresses listed, some of which are never or rarely checked.

7. A person who waits to respond to an email for no reason.

8. Someone says “email me at this address” and then they don’t check and/or respond.

9. A person who says they are going to respond when asked if they read the message and they still don’t.

10. Someone who doesn’t respond to emails, period!

Email me at pantilat@stanford.edu and I promise I will respond to legit ones.

Also check out 10 Law Classroom Annoyances

10 Law Classroom Annoyances

A list of things I have found annoying in class. I am only minimally annoyed by any one of these and I think they are funny :)

1. Somebody asks a question that is so long that neither me nor the person posing the question can remember what the beginning was.

2. I ask a question to somebody and they respond by asking a question back to me.

3. When answering a question in class, a student incorrectly or incoherently answers the question and then we move on and I have no idea what the right answer is.

4. Hypotheticals that are way too long.

5. A student who neither answers nor poses a question when called upon by the professor after raising his/her hand.

6. Somebody who talks more than the professor during the course of a class.

7. A student who answers a question from another student obviously directed at the professor.

8. Whenever we parse statutes.

9. Classes that run significantly over allocated time.

10. A student who has his/her hand raised for an extended period of time.

Many of these characterisitics embody a person known simply as a “gunner!”

Building a Great Exercise Program

I’ve had a number of people ask me about building an exercise program that will work so here are my thoughts, enumerated in five main points:

First, get ready to workout. From my experience running Division I NCAA track and cross country, the hardest part of the morning runs we did at 6:30 am was getting up and tying my running shoes. Once I was out and moving, the mental aversion disappeared. When you think about it, once you put on your exercise gear, you are basically committed. You are not going to sit there ready to exercise and then not follow through. So, put on those shorts, tie your shoes, get to the gym, and the mental obstacle to exercise will be destroyed!

Second, a consistent program is a successful program. All you need is a 30-45 minute time commitment per day. Think about how much time you waste every day and carve out less than an hour of this time for exercise. You must develop a fitness plan and stick to it for the most part. You can be flexible, however – if things come up, you can adjust your schedule from time to time, but try to make those adjustments few and far between. If you become lazy and prematurely terminate the program, you will fall right back to where you started. As an incentive to not blow off an exercise session for TV, it takes a fraction of the time to lose the shape you worked so hard to achieve. Note: if you get injured or sense an injury coming, it is best to lay off until the pain disappears and/or the injury resolved. Further exercise on an injury can prolong recovery time significantly. Once committed to a plan, it’s difficult to take a day off, but one day missed early on is better than a week later.

Third, make it enjoyable (or as enjoyable as possible) to stay motivated. To that end, don’t go out and kill yourself one day and then take the next three days off. It’s better to take it easier and exercise everyday than train so hard you need three days to recover. Moreover, much of the recovery from an overly hard workout is mental. You want to finish your exercise session thinking “Yes, I feel good and I want to come out tomorrow and exercise again.” If you over exert yourself every time you train, you will be mentally burned out and training consistently will become a chore. Additionally, the longer you stay with the program, the harder you will be able to push without causing injury or mental fatigue. If possible, exercising with a partner is a great way to make it enjoyable and increase motivation.

Fourth, and perhaps most important, is diet. Eat everything in moderation, but make sure to include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet. You don’t need to become a health nut, but there are some foods that are simply incompatible with an exercise program. Stay away from fast-food, greasy pizza, bacon, and other foods loaded in saturated fat. An occasional ice cream or pizza will not ruin the program, but don’t get in the habit of eating these foods frequently. You can exercise all you want, but if your diet consists of greasy, fatty foods, it’s going to be difficult to trim down. Next time you eat these foods just think about how much exercise you have to put in to burn off the fat and you will realize it’s just not worth it. Also, try to avoid eating just before you go to bed because your metabolism slows down while you are asleep. Finally, to the dismay of many people, I suggest limiting beer consumption. Beer is loaded with empty calories and you can get more than a meal’s worth of calories by drinking beers if you are not careful. I will write about the specific details of diet in a later post, so stay tuned.

Fifth, be patient. Do not expect to see a transformation in one week. There is no magical one-week fitness program. In fact, for most people it takes several months. However, you will see improvements early on and those will hopefully spur you to continue with the program. Once you get in the routine, it will be hard to not exercise.

This list is not exhaustive as there are many other factors that go into a successful exercise program, but with consistency, patience, proper diet, and motivation, you are well on your way to achieving your goals!

For the ever popular list of 10 great ab exercises see my earlier post here.

Feel free to drop me a line and I’ll try to answer any questions.

10 Great Ab exercises

Some people have great abs with little or no work. I know I don’t have the genetics to get a ripped 6-pack by watching TV. For me, it takes lots of work and dedication. I am happy with where my abs are going, but I am eager to tighten up the pack up even more!

Preface: There are three keys to improving your abs: diet, cardio, and some ab work (you can overtrain abs like any other muscle). Diet and cardio are important because it gets your body fat down to a level where the ab muscles are visible. No matter how many crunches you do, you won’t see any definition if there is a layer of fat covering the muscles. If abs are your goal, make sure to get at least 2-3 cardio sessions a week and forgo those fatty foods like cake or ice cream.

Here is a list of the ab exercises I do (pick 3-5 of these when you do your ab workout):

1. Decline Leg lifts: really effective, do these on a decline sit-up bench. I try and keep my legs straight and you can really feel your abs getting pumped up. You can bend your legs to make it easier and turn it into a decline reverse crunch. I do about 20 reps, but to start you can do 10 reps and bending your legs is ok.

2. Roman chair lifts: I do these in sets of 30. Mix it up by lifting your legs straight in front of you, bent in front of you, and also bent to the sides.

3. Medicine Ball twists: These are really good at working the core, abs and obliques, helping to create definition all around. With your legs lifted above the ground, move the medicine ball from side to side. I usually do sets of 50 reps. You can work up to heavier medicine balls.

4. V-ups: Oh yea, the traiditional! The true V-up involves actually making a V with your hands and feet, but I usually keep my hands in the same place in front of me and bend my knees (aka tuck-ups).

5. Side crunches: Another good way to work the obliques along with the side part of the abs. Do these in sets of 30-40 reps for each side.

6. Ab press: We have these at Arrillaga and it is great. You can add weight and you really feeel your abs get a solid workout. I usually do sets of 20-25 reps.

7. Runners: Move your feet like you are riding a bicycle (aka air bikes) with hands behind you head. Do this for about 30 seconds at a time.

8. Medicine Ball Crunches: With medicine ball in hand, do a normal sit up lifting the medicine ball above your head.

9. Side Bends with Dumbell or Plate: With dumbell in hand, lean over to one side and feel your obliques burn! Repeat for the other side. 20-30 reps usually does it.

10. Cable Crunch: A great way to add some resistance to your ab routine. With knees on the floor, pull each end of the rope attached to the cable downward.

Have a great workout!