Monday, November 30, 2009


Ramblings Post #69
Sometimes bad things happen to bad people. But more often than not, good stuff happens to bad people, and then keeps happening and then continues on as long as you can stand to watch it. This is how some people get rich, despite certain personality attributes that would normally render them "beat down". Every now and then though, they slip. And it makes the world right again.

Last week, apparently upon his own initiative, Naive Mogul decided to hold a meeting. As long as I have been with my current "chicken plucking" firm, we've been trying to implement a system that eliminates, well, er...error in chicken plucking. The idea's been tossed around and put on the back burner more than a few times, but apparently it was time to drag the old beast out again.

It is Naive Mogul's plan to show he really should be management by implementing something.

The meeting was a rehash of old ideas, wasting a good hour and half of my day. We don't go through his printed agenda as it's unfocused, he leaves out whole sections of the process that we have to go back and fill in, he doesn't know what the new process will do the existing processes, he's not sure of the value of adding the new process and we spend the bulk of the meeting deciding which "chickens" to which we even want to apply the new process. Typical first meeting stuff, you know how it goes if you've ever worked in an office: You've hashed out some basics, everyone gets a few assignments to report back and we schedule the next meeting to work over them, repeat until you get something workable.

Naive Mogul then announces, as I start to get up to leave, "at the next meeting we'll talk implementation."

One meeting and implementation?

There is a momentary silence.

There is that quiet, almost furtive look around that everybody does, because somebody is going to have to burst his bubble, and they don't want to be the one.

Then the tech guy, whom he invited because it's a "tech" process, starts into him. He's the one guy not in the usual chain. The tech guy basically explains how you have a complete and through implementation process. Tech guy goes over what all is required to fully document a process as it exists now, and how future changes will affect that process, the pros and cons of the changes proposed, value gained etc, and why certain people invited to this meeting probably didn't need to be invited (that would mean me!). Basically in front of four or five senior people, including Naive's boss (via conference call), he told him that he doesn't know what he's doing.

And then I got up and left.

Barkeep. A shot of the Russian vodka.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sometimes I surprise myself

Ramblings Post #68
A few weeks ago, I hit the six month mark of time left on my cell phone contract. And those duffers at AT& Suckers are playing hardball. The little online thing I got said I could renew my contract and upgrade my phone for only $18. Apparently there was some fine print I did not read. I am less than happy about this whole affair. What does that have to do with post? Nothing. Just wanted to rant.

The many colors of my life...

For the second time in three years, I'm not heading home for Thanksgiving. Two years ago it was because my brother and I donned our painting togs for my new house and since we both had jobs, it was the only time frame we had to get the work done.

This year it's Law School finals, which happen the first week of December. Last year I believe I was a little too cavalier in my approach, believing that a single day of brushing up before the actual test would be enough. And since our program was broken into to two parts and we didn't get our grades until the end of spring, I had no real idea of how I was doing until grades arrived some many many months later. Now, I'm still in school, but let's just say I'm not in danger of knocking the valedictorian out of their spot. So this year, I'm stocking up on snack food and kool-aid and battening down the hatches.

Promises to be fun. Not.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, my usual last hurrah of the school semester didn't happen - the Halloween bash, so I've been dribbling out bits and pieces of social life.

Sporty and I are burning up a chat. I'm sending her email two or three times a week and texting all the time. I'm not sure where we're going, but I'm still down for the ride. I apparently have a bible to read...

Slim and I hung out for a hot minute, but she still is in recovery from her accident. She did put me on this really live little chinese spot in Marietta which I should have reviewed, but I need to eat there again just to be sure. Okay, I'm cheesing, but I did like it.

And then while I was studying this weekend - my parents had traveled up north to visit my brother - another girl buddy "whose name hasn't been decided yet" called and invited me out to a bullfight. Like with matadors and throwing roses! I've never been to a bullfight. I really wanted to go. But instead, I took the practice exam under the actual conditions (3 hours - no breaks, no notes). I be a gud stujent.

Good ole Spanky is still mad at me for even going to Law School. She texted me from Orlando mad that I didn't make the trip. That and I am proud of her for deciding not to spend any money on her new man-friend. As opposed to all the other guys upon whom she was very generous, she's tightened up the purse strings as of late. But then I could have used some new shoes.

Schmoopy is out of town for all of December, on a month long vacation to Africa. We had our last little brunch, well, lunch since to me brunches only really happen on weekends, and caught up on the last few weeks. We've been meeting up every so often again for a while, between her training for a half marathon and studying for the GMAT and as she says, she talks to me more than most. I felt special.

That and, well, Schmoopy looked good enough to start a fight in church between deacons. She claims, or thinks anyway, I don't notice her a lot, but a lunch she had on these black tights and this fairly small top with the puppies out. We made it through lunch without me noticing her whole outfit because she beat me to the restaurant. But as we drifted into that comfortable lazy conversation after the meal that always happens with us, relationships, life, etc, my office called and she stepped away from the table. At that moment she stood up, I lost my train of thought. She looked like ...well, let's just not go there.

Trying to figure out again why I didn't marry that girl when she asked. Man running does a body good.

Then this weekend after my folks left town and the study session was over I ran by one of partner's house to check on him after his car accident. While there, and he had a house full of folk checking on him, another girl buddy of mine "whose name hasn't been decided yet" ran up on with a hug I took as more than friendly. Just all extra friendly. I have no idea what's up with that.

And I needed a haircut.

(that's not a metaphor, I really do need to see a barber)

So apparently despite all my efforts not to have one, the last little bits of my social existence do still carry on. Surprised me to.

Barkeep, some Bookers and a little Sprite. Apparently I'm doing good.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thoughts on Things...

Relapse Post #5
It's been a long time since I've been down this road. And although I'm familiar with the trip, I get lost every time. It's scary, and searing, but just a little bit fun. Okay, a lot fun. The trip alone is worth whatever the destination.

I wish I knew where I got this...

Sporty and I have been chatting on IM a lot lately. And the frequency in which she hits me up tells me I might be on her mind as well from time to time. In what capacity I try not to speculate. She's making moves to try and get her situation straight and I keep hoping part of that plan involves me. Our conversations happen on Sunday mornings and after class and on slow afternoons at work, ranging from the philosophical to the mundane, from the silly to the almost serious and I'm like a teenager trying to pace myself and not appear to eager to hit her up every hour or so. I miss the nights we'd spend talking for hours after the dinner plates were cleared away. Her live "in concert" is so much better than digital.

Is this one of those life moments? And how would I know if it was?

She's on my mind a lot, despite my need to concentrate on law and my upcoming finals, and in quiet moments and during some of the slower periods of work I've managed to craft a second novella for her. It's in pretty much the same format as the previous work I mentioned last summer, in which I've mixed her love of travel and our relationship into what I hope is a cute little story. I include the poetry she's inspired me to write and some other things to round it out to 30-40 pages. She claims she loved the first one. We'll see with the second.

As of late I've justified the concept mentally of her NOT moving back to Atlanta with the idea that she would be a huge distraction from my career aspirations. [ Sidenote: Law school can make you see both sides of nearly anything ] I feel like I'm bracing for the hurricane of emotions that will come when she says she's heading to XYZ Faraway West.

Over the course of my life I've had good fortune, or God's blessing if you will, for the most part. My parents are still with me, and the grandparents I've lost I was too young to comprehend what I was missing. When things go badly for me, opportunity for redemption or rescue has a way of presenting itself. Even those things that end up really bad eventually reveal themselves to be object lessons that make me a better person.

But Sporty is that which didn't go well. Not as well as hoped anyway.

As you can see from earlier justification she really would be a huge distraction. Even though work and school and the life that's happened between now and then mean even her being back wouldn't be a return to the same ole same ole, but I want her in Atlanta anyway.

Barkeep. The good brown stuff.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Law School Tips #2 - Concepts

Something Else #2 - Law
Last time I gave those fabulous 1L's some advice. That's what they call first year students, One and El, learned something new. Well that was advice, now here are few concepts to get you through this first...of many...rough patches.

They don't really want to to fail

Well not most of them don't. I did have one professor who was relatively clear in his need to "protect future clients from our potential incompetence." Which is admirable. But the vast majority of at least first year law professors want to help you pass. That and you're paying that tuition thingy. If they let you in, they want you to be there. So go and see them in their office, ask them questions after class, and don't be afraid to say the words that no one wants to say in front of you competitive peers - " I don't know." I can just about promise you that half your class is in the same boat. And if they aren't, you need to drop the shame and catch the hell up!

Your professor isn't crazy.

To practice law for any real period of time....then go into teaching... you have to be some sort of character. Especially teaching new lawyers, all of whom have these notions of what law is based on old episodes of Matlock, Law and Order and the movie Legally Blonde. [ sidenote - law professors love that movie. I don't know why. ] They have to wrest the sugar candy visions you have of law from your head and make you realize most of law is reading and writing, and there are very few "right" answers. They may be peculiar, and sometimes you don't get it, but it's kinda like watching a part two of a trilogy without seeing part one - you have no idea yet why they're doing what they're doing. Yet. There is a method to the madness.

You'll get it eventually

There is no middle ground here. At some point, as my professor told me, you'll start giving more commentary than answer because not only do you know what they're talking about, you've developed an opinion on it. My first year of law school I was a mess. I talked a lot, but I didn't know what I was talking about. Law isn't really about memorization and regurgitation, which is the premise of 85% of all other education. Law is about a foundation based looking at how the actual law was created, then taking that and applying it to a given situation. It would be simpler just to give you the law and ask you repeat it, but then you'd suck as a lawyer.

Write it down

The law is about writing. Yes, you can read it and get it, otherwise you wouldn't be in law school, we know all that. But it's the application that always gets us. We know what we want to say, but can't figure out how to squeeze it all into the space limitation they've imposed. And since, because you're smart, you waited until the night before it was due to get don't have time to craft an answer with grace. I'm telling you now...WRITE IT. Practice writing it. A lot of us issue spot - go through looking for the issues to see if we got it - and don't practice the actual writing down a cogent response part. The people who got 95 and above? They're practicing writing. Or they are law prodigies.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Office Breaks and Gold Ping Pong Paddles

Ramblings Post #67
The office is a strange place. You go early in the day, sometimes before the sun comes up, meet and hang out with mostly like minded folks doing pretty much what you're doing for 8 or 10 hours a day and then....go home to real life? If I'm not mistaken, that job is your Real Life, and what you do at home is get ready for it, relax after it and on weekends recover from it. And yet it's taboo to try to pick up dates there. In the dominant part of your life. Go figure.
Sometime ago, while cleaning out her rec room, the director of the department I work in decided to upgrade their family Ping Pong table. And rather than throw the old one out, they took down a few empty cubicles here in the office (there seem to be so many lately) and set up the Ping Pong Lounge, complete with futon couch and chairs, so that we could relax. On Breaks, during lunch and when we weren't working.

This has resulted in sweaty Ping Pong players coming to my desk to ask about client questions.

If you ask me what I do, I am for the most part a professional chicken plucker. It's easier to tell you that than explain what it is I actually do with technology and client's and other people's time. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. So when the Office Moguls and the rest of the office gang aren't plucking chickens, they're playing Ping Pong. A whole lot of Ping Pong.

I knew it had gotten out of hand when.... a) they began purchasing new the $50 Ping Pong paddle, b) they started to hang around on Friday night AFTER work to play Ping Pong and finally when c) they started a collection to purchase a NEW Ping Pong table. Yeah, they asked me for money for a game I don't even have time the play. I hear managers looking for people to get stuff done, knowing these fools are on the table. I'm certain in the team meetings "Ping Pong time management" has been discussed.

Sometimes as I'm creeping out on Friday night to go fall into a law book, I'll see someone who has been off for two hours waiting to play. Or someone hovering above the table waiting to return a tricky serve and I'll pass their waiting wife in the parking lot. Is there something about Ping Pong I'm missing? I hear "come and be graced by this whipping I'm about to give you" and other Ping Pong challenges and exhortations on the floor. Guys discussing serves and returns, angles and stances. I get the impression before long I'll get the email about a company "Ping Pong Tourney" complete with prizes.

Hath the Ping and the Pong cometh for us?

If you are looking for a job and getting frustrated, you should be pissed. Because some of the folks still working don't appreciate what they have, and are mad they can't go to the office and just play Ping Pong all day.

Barkeep. A whiskey and soda for me, and round of beers for the guys at the Ping Pong table. They're not going anywhere.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Law School Tips #1

Something Else #1 - Law
I'm not quite sure which category this post falls into. It's not just general rambling, nor is it bar chatter or political. Maybe I had another category somewhere but I'm too lazy to look right this second.

First year law students, here is a quick bit of advice.

Start your outline now.
- Seriously. You need to do your complete outline, copying it over if that's all you do, but do it twice each weekend. Add in the little bit for this week, and then write it over from scratch. Your outline is your bible. And the more times you look at it, the better you will do. Law school isn't undergrad. I remember one undergrad class I only went to for the last review session before the for tests and the tests. You cannot do this in Law School. I know you're overworked as it is, but believe me, now is the time. Hell, now is almost too late! Start your outline now, even if you can't take it into the test with you. The repetition will ingrain it in your mind.

Read your professor
- Each professor is different. I had one prof who gave tests with references to the Three Stooges and German Opera, in the same question. I had another who sounded like a mix of Richard Pryor, Bernie Mack and old preacher. And yet another who was a good ole boy who mixed in jingoism and good old common sense. Each one's test was different, but looking back I realized that they telegraphed how the test would be during class. Some personality traits shine through. The good ole boy's final was straight forward, just like his teaching. The property prof with the Hawaiian shirt collection and the great stories, loved answers with great stories and odd references. Read your prof, learn what he likes. It will be on the final.

- Some call them horn books, or treasties or whatever, but you need them. Reading cases cold is hard. You didn't get it. You know you did get it, but you're wrong. Go to amazon and pick out the matching supplements for your casebook and order it now. Then read the case - read the case synopsis - and read the case again. You'll be surprised at what you miss. Don't use the supplement as a substitute, ever...but use them.
- Sidenote: only take the supplement to class if you sit in the back.

- Law is a funny animal. Sometimes I think some folks got out of law school only because they lucked out with a slow bunch. You're all in the pit together. The curve is set by whoever is best, so you need to get to running now. You want to do better than everyone else, but you need everyone else to assure your own survival. You need a "study group" and by that I mean you need another set of eyes, so one other person is enough. I personally don't have a "study group" but I do have folks I will talk an issue over with. And it's different people, so I get different perspectives. And different answers. And in law, the more answers the better. Most times.

A few quick one liners to get you through. Just remember you're doing this for the greater good of humanity. Besides, even if you quit now, you'll still owe the student loan.