A Last Day in Dallas

After a roller-coaster weekend at UNT Law, we had a half of a day left in Dallas before returning to SHSU.  We decided to use it by having a little fun and enjoying good food.

We could have had both in Klyde Warren Park, one of Dallas’s newest success stories.  Known as the “front lawn of the arts district: for its proximity to the arts district, the park provides an interesting 5-acre public space for families to enjoy a morning or afternoon.  It also has a ring of food trucks, offering fare of every kind, making it a great place for a group as diverse as ours to go.  But because we like to explore, we had our fun at Klyde Warren Park, before moving elsewhere for lunch.

There are large green spaces at Klyde Warren, with a .45-mile walking trail around it.  Along the trail or mini-recreation areas: a kids’ park, a board-game station, a reading library station,

a putting green, a Foosball table, and an amphitheater.  The amphitheater can be used for bands and such at night, but is used for yoga at 10am daily.  The day we were there, almost 100 people were participating in the yoga relaxation/exercise techniques.

But our primary purpose was to throw the frisbee around, and we soon learned who could catch.

Austin_Frisbee_2_WebAustin, for example, can catch.  In the picture above, notice the Jordanesque-shadow. Of course, he played college football until this year, so we expected him to be athletic.

Austin_Frisbee_WebAs it turns out, though, Kaitlyn Tyra can also catch, and she may be a dark-horse for our Spring 2015 Charity Football game.

Professor Yawn is getting up there in age, but we let him play because he grades us.


We think Megan can catch,  but we aren’t really sure.  She had a strict rule to only move one step in any direction, which earned her the name “One-Step Chapa.”  Here she is impersonating a stork.

Megan_Frisbee_WebBut the day wasn’t particularly intense for any of us.

Park_Frisbee_WebNotice the halo over Professor Yawn’s head.

Following some more fun, we had to call it a day at the park…


…and return to the hotel.  As we preparing to check out, the hotel went dark.  The electricity went out.  The LEAP Center Ambassadors pride themselves on adaptability, but this was difficult for Constance Gabel, who was stuck in the hotel elevator.  The fire department was called…


…and Constance was extricated from the hotel elevator.

Just in time for us to eat at Twisted Root, a restaurant that specializes in burgers and root beer.  Their burgers are wonderful, and their root beer is interesting.  The flavor of the day was “Irish Creme Root Beer,” which was better than the root beer from the last time we were there: Grape Root Beer.  Of course, that was better than their “Coconut Root Beer.”  Their regular root beer is excellent.  And their burgers are great.

Twisted_Root_Burger_WebOne of the interesting aspects of their restaurant is that, when you order, they provide you with a name from popular culture as your signal that your burger is ready.  In our group, we had Eva Mendes (Kaitlyn), Serena Williams (Beatriz), Apollo Creed (Austin, of course), Matlock (Yawn), Mike Modano (Brian Aldaco), and others.  It was interesting to see who knew which references, a process that led Austin to say, “Son, you need to watch more television” to one of the newer members.

With a general consensus that Twisted Root is a good place to lunch, we allowed Constance one more groupie for the weekend…

Groupie_Twisted_Root…and headed home.

But not for rest and relaxation!  The week ahead involved our weekly meeting (Monday), a law-school application workshop (Wednesday), a Moot Court Practice (Thursday), a volunteer meeting (Thursday), the showing of Nosferatu (Thursday, whew), a Mock LSAT (Saturday), and a volunteer event (Saturday).

More to come!



Moot Court Scrimmage: Aftermath

After an intense 24 hour period competing and observing Moot Court proceedings, the LEAP Ambassadors, Moot Court participants, and members of the pre-law cohort decided to relax a bit, explore the history of Dallas on a Segway, and fill their bellies.

The relaxation involved some downtime at the hotel, followed by an ice-cream treat.

Shortly thereafter, another treat was in order.  We stopped by Segway Nation for a tour of Dallas on a segway.


It was a beautiful time of day, what movie-makers call “magic hour,” and we made the most of it with pictures.


But, of course, with it turning a bit dark, Austin felt he need to serve as a protector of the group, and adopted a secret-service/tough guy look.


At first, not everyone felt totally relaxed…

Segway_Alex_Close_Up_Web…but eventually everyone got the hang of it, and we headed off to see Dallas.

The segway tour took us to Pioneer Plaza, a large outdoor sculpture that consists of 49 bronze steers and 3 riders created by sculptor Robert Sommers.  Note that it appears that Alex is saluting when, in fact, that it is a longhorn projecting in front of her face.


The tour, led by excellent guides Doug and Jack, also took us by I. M. Pei’s Dallas City Hall, where we were able to turn and see the beautiful Dallas skyline which, according to our guides, is regularly listed as one of the five most beautiful in the US.

The tour also took us by the Kennedy assassination site on Elm Street.  The students had a chance to get off the segways and walk to the “X” spots, which mark where the Oswald’s shots hit Kennedy.

JFK_Elm_Students_WebWe also entered the Kennedy Memorial, designed by Philip Johnson, one of the great architects of the 20th Century.

Kennedy_Memorial_Student_WebSpeaking of Johnson, we were also able to go to Thanksgiving Square, a public space he designed in the 1970s as a means of racial and cultural healing.  With a replication of Rockwell’s “Golden Rule” painting…

…and the “Ring of Thanks,” where visitors are encouraged to stand and offer thanks.  From the center of the ring, the sound reverberates, symbolically echoing the many things for which we are thankful.  In our group, thanks went to family, opportunities, school, and even the LEAP Center.

Thanksgiving Square also has a spiral chapel adorned with one of the largest stained glass assemblages in the world.  The glass, designed by Gabriel Loire of France, is designed to become brighter as it ascends and moves to the center.

In the midst of such beauty, it was easy to be thankful.

And with that, we returned to the segway base, where we shed our helmets and headed to Hoffbrau Steaks (thanks for the recommendation, Doug!) and enjoyed a robust end-of-the-day dinner.


But before heading out we gave a few more thanks: to our LEAP Ambassadors, who came to Dallas to cheer on their Moot Court friends; to the Pre-Law cohort, who came to check out the action and consider joining the team for next year; for Kristyn, who decided to stick with the “team” rather than go home; and to our coach, Jean Loveall, who spent a lot of time teaching us the finer points of law.

The Noise of Laughter Fills “Noises Off”

While many students take weekends off from school and learning opportunities, LEAP students took this Saturday to grow culturally by going to dinner together and attending a play in Houston. We began the evening by dining at a small cafe near our main entertainment for the evening: Cafe Express. The Cafe Express provided us with an abundance of choices ranging from flavorful salads to decadent pastas. I enjoyed their Harvest Salad, which included fresh spinach, strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, feta cheese and delicious strawberry vinaigrette dressing. While conversing about the beginning of school and classes, we got our fill of salads and pastas before the play. It was a wonderful choice as our meal before we headed down to Playhouse 1960 for the showing of “Noises Off”.

Playhouse 1960 is a non-profit community theatre that was founded in 1973 and has since been providing their community with memorable theatre productions.  “Noises Off” was very much a memorable play. The first act made it very clear to the audience that it was a play within a play, and when everyone was focused on watching the stage, we were caught off guard when we heard the voice of the director, Lloyd Dallas, shout from behind our backs. Act One is the actor’s disorganized dress rehearsal, which presented us with ditzy actors missing lines, prop malfunctions and confusion coming from the stage.


It delivered abundant laughter in the audience. The intermission gave everyone a chance to catch their breath from the laughter.

Interestingly, the intermission also gave us the chance to see the stage machinations in action.  Unlike most theaters, much of the scenery changing occurred with open curtains.


Act Two was a behind the scenes look at the matinee performance of “Nothing On”. This act showed the entangled romantic relationships among the cast, which led to many on-stage missteps and misspoken lines. While all of the other characters were caught in their romantic turmoil, Selsdon Mowbray (the burglar with a fondness for alcohol) provided plenty of comedic relief along with the comical actions that were taking place back stage. This act was filled with behind-the-scenes whispering and misunderstandings among the cast while they performed their play. The act ended with a cliffhanger with the announcement of a pregnancy, which left us wanting to know more.

In Act Three, the actors are on their last show of the tour. With all of the relationship mishaps between the actors, we could see the growing tensions. The tensions were resolved with the more rational actors trying their best to tie up the play. Once the play had reached a point of no return, it ended with a quick confusing wedding ceremony. The entirety of “Noises Off” had us laughing until the end.


Afterwards we were even able to have our group picture taken with the entire cast!