|I have been playing contract bridge since
1978, although I have never put in the time to become an expert like
my friends Alex Kolesnik (a classmate from Austin High) and Sharon
Beynon, who have traveled in far more elite circles. I did get
to represent the Oxford University team in the Oxfordshire Bridge
Association's Wessex League in 1989-90. Robert Sergeant and I
flummoxed the locals with our peculiar variant of the Precision
I play occasionally these days, usually on
Bridge Base Online.
If you'd like to play a few hands with me,
let me know.
|Career Guidance (or Lack Thereof)
|I was admitted to both UT and Oxford
without filling out an application to either university (or any
other university for that matter -- I totally fell through the
cracks of academic counseling). My application to Yale Law School
was three weeks late. I won both the Rhodes and Marshall
scholarships despite learning about the competitions just eight days
before the application deadline, by the grace of the late French and
I became a law professor because
Bill Powers told me it was the
greatest job in the world. Twelve years later he gave up being a law
professor to become president of UT.
|Print: In elementary school,
I wrote and published 111 weekly issues of The Needham Gazette, a
two-page newspaper largely paraphrasing articles I found interesting
in the books and magazines lying around our house. It was
printed in purple on the school's ditto machine. I was the
science columnist for Murchison Junior High School's La Manteleta,
co-editor-in-chief of the
Austin High School Maroon, associate
editor of the
Daily Texan, a reporter for Oxford's
and notes development editor of the
Yale Law Journal. During
high school, I had part-time jobs at the
Neal Spelce Communications. I wish blogs had been around back when I had more of an interest in
TV: In the fall of 1994, at the suggestion of
Wong Mok, I began producing a public access cable TV show called
Asian American Austin with the help of a small group of University
of Texas students. Our show was instrumental in calling the UT
administration's attention to the need for an Asian American Studies
program. The series has likely met its demise in the age of YouTube,
but I'm still fond of the medium and hope it will survive. For
several years I co-produced
numerous episodes of a similar show, Asian American Focus, for
cablecast on the
People's Channel in Chapel Hill.
|Over the years I've taken
courses in Mandarin, German and Hungarian. Only the German has stuck
to any extent. I don't think there's much point in targeting Chinese
language education to American-born Chinese Americans. Only the most
linguistically gifted and committed will be able to rival the
bilingual abilities of rank-and-file Chinese American immigrants,
and those gifts and commitments are likely to be discounted in a
world that still has great difficulty recognizing our Americanness.
|I resigned from my position as UT student
government president in January 1987 to prepare for graduate school
Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program. The program
was only two years old, and although
Pál Erdős (the most prolific
mathematician of the 20th century) was no longer teaching, we
benefited from some of the nation's star professors and class sizes
of between 5 and 15. My
Erdős number is 4, courtesy of
Mike Paterson and
|In chronological order:
Kennedy cooked breakfast for me in Hyannis Port.
Saltonstall explained to me why tomatoes were a fruit in a train
station in Needham.
Mike Dukakis waved to me from his car when we
were stopped at a light.
Walter Mondale used the urinal next to me
before a campaign event in Austin.
John Kerry walked past me on the
way into a Metro station in Arlington.
Newt Gingrich sat behind me
on a commuter flight from LGA to DCA two days after the 2000
election, and I overheard him on his cellphone telling someone that
"We'd better get that to
During law school, I had Thanksgiving dinner with Cory
Booker and pizza with the then 25-year-old CEO Thomas
Massie at SensAble's offices.
My degrees are from Texas, Oxford and Yale, the schools attended
W's first term.
|Early: Most of my
Rhodes classmates left me behind in Oxford in 1989 as I continued
with my doctoral research. When I suggested exchanging email
addresses, most of them looked at me quizzically. I get the same
reaction these days to Skype addresses.
Late: I didn't own a cellphone until 2004, and I
still hardly use it or even turn it on. I'm also planning to be a
late adopter of high-definition television.
|I own some useful domain
names, including this one (unclaw.com). If you'd like to have
a firstname.lastname@example.org email address or a yourname.unclaw.com
subdomain, just let
unclaw.com: It's not just for lobster-eaters anymore!