Thursday, September 30, 2010

Do you deserve....

Ramblings Post #139
I believe in a lot of things. I believe in love and warm summer afternoons spent with friends and a few libations. I believe in home cooked meals, holding hands and a comfortable pair of shoes. I believe that the force is real, fame is 95% luck, money doesn't buy happiness and most people are kind deep down. I also I figured out what not to believe in.

I've often told a girlbuddy [new term] when talking about affairs of the heart that they "deserve" someone good and who will care about them for them. But am I making a gross assumption? Do they really deserve someone good?

This idea comes about because, well, I read a lot at work, primarily because I don't have time anywhere else. And, the creative company internet blocking protocols mean whereas you can read Facebook and get Lindsey Lohan updates, other things termed "social media", games, sports or Armed Forces news are blocked, so half of being on the web is figuring out the logic of the idiots running the web server. Which is how I ended up on the website the Frisky. Don't ask. There, the advice lady had a letter from a woman who described herself as pretty, but in less than likable personality terms. Okay, evil terms. Then she indicated she knew that"she deserved someone good" in the end. The columnists first question, and rightly so, was a succinct: why the hell would you believe that?

Sadly, not all of us deserve someone good.

If ever there was a sense of entitlement that existed in the world, it's that we "deserve someone good" to be in our lives. Simply for breathing apparently. Think of all the unpleasant people you know, and ALL of them are waiting on that special person. They believe it. We believe it. I mean, we can be short sighted, selfish, mean, petty, materialistic and vindictive and still believe that someone "great" is just around the corner, and that they will overlook our shortcomings and it will all be magic! It is a subtle ego trip that that many of us indulge in, for far longer than we should. What are you really doing to deserve someone good?

Who among us hasn't said or thought "I deserve better" in the midst of distressed couplehood. When the reality, if you looked at it with a serious detachment, there was a whole other story. You were putting a robust 30% into the relationship (when you could find the time), or trying "win" the relationship or expecting someone to worship you. Everyone claims they're looking for a partner, but for a partner you have do something crazy like, sacrifice or occasionally put their needs ahead of your own.

The applicable saying is,"we judge others on their acts, but we grade ourselves on our intentions." They need to act, be great, and do those great things but we only need to mean to do them, and its the same thing. At least to us. I've already written about the wrong version of love most of us have come to believe should exist, the worship version, so I won't repeat it here. (apparently the worship thing will be another post, because I can't find it here)

But let me repeat this: We don't all deserve someone good.

I mean, if we're fucked up...and a lot of us are...does the good person deserve to have to deal with us and our drama?

So the question we need to ask ourselves, are we good enough to deserve someone good? What are our good tendencies? Are we really selfless, patient, kind and forgiving? Do we do good things because they need doing, not for a reward? Are we really good people, and not deluding ourselves? [ If you really want to find out, ask a close friend or somebody who hates you for a real opinion. You'll be surprised how close the two opinions are.]

I'd like to believe I deserve somebody good. I wonder if I'm right.

Barkeep, something to make the world a much friendly place. With ice and just a spritz of Sprite.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Preacher Man (as required by Internet Rule #47854)

Ramblings Post #138
I don't really do scandal. I can do gossip a little, but I draw the line at scandal. It's fun for a minute, but then you realize it's real people, not scripted drama where the actors all go home at night. Then you have to go WHOA. Because everybody in a scandal, especially those at the edges, don't always deserve to be there.

You may live in a part of the country where things like Unemployment, Human Rights or Middle East Peace Process are the top stories of the day. Or maybe the ailing budget of the US government, long term environmental impact of industrial accidents, deflation worries of the current wages of the modern worker, or changes in socioeconomic trends that indicate a coming shift in the always moving balance of the world's power and thus the future standard of living for you, me and, well at this point, my most likely imaginary progeny.

Or...if you live where I live, you could be worried about the image of a preacher who may or may not be sleeping with young men.

You see what happens when you put these things in perspective?

Now, I'm not a legal scholar, or a crisis expert, but that preacher man down at the church called New Birth (25,000 strong) is in a peck of trouble, and is not handling it well at all. The suits filed at this point number four, and I think we're maybe two more from someone making the Tiger comparisons. Or the Micheal Jackson comparisons. Not the greatest company for a man of the cloth. I could make a call, I think Tiger's folks are free right about now.

I didn't wait with baited breath like some for Eddie Long's response to the allegations, but I do know he needed to at least, for his supporters, deny them, instead what he did - making a vague reference to fighting it in court. You could fight it in court and win, and still be gulity of the actions. The other side just may not have enough evidence to prove anything. What he gave was a legal answer, one as a lawyer you will tell or write down for your client to make. Calculated words. It begs the question of why not deny it? The legal response that has to be filed pretty much will deny it all, it has to, so why not have him say it on the stage? Like those pictures of him in a muscle shirt that "apparently" were sent to the young men, it makes you think.

I read the complaints, which are online, and even with my naive legal eyes I can see trouble. The suits name Eddie Long in particular, but also the church as a whole as a defendant. And it mentions how the church spends it's money. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that this means at some point the plaintiff is going to want to go over the church's books with a fine tooth comb. If nothing else, nobody wants that. A church's books and how it handles its money are one of the last great vestiges of mafia accounting and creative "figuring" left in America. A trip though them will take a forensic accountant or six, two NASA scientists to keep the numbers straight, and Lara Croft.

In the interest of full disclosure, my own relationship with God has always been more personal. I grew up in the South, where the preachers sometimes kept the collection money in the trunk of their car and occasionally visited attractive female parishioners to "lay hands" in private. My father referred to that type as "Jackleg preachers", and although I never understood the complete meaning of the term, I knew it wasn't a compliment. So there's that background, and the idea of needing an intermediary to learn the word or speak to God never really sat well with me. My grandmother taught me he was everywhere, always listening, so I figured I could directly talk to him whenever I needed to and I can read the word myself. I'll listen and learn. I'll fellowship. But I can't take any man's word as gospel if I got a bible and brain myself. But that's just me.

I can't say if Bishop Long did or did not do what he as been accused of. But I can say with what little I know, the plaintiffs should be able to get at least into "Discovery". And that's when the fun starts.

Barkeep. Just start pouring, we're gonna be here awhile.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

FAMU-TSU Weekend 2010

Ramblings Post #137
A man must always doubt himself. If only a little bit. Confidence is a much admired aspect of a man's makeup, one which lets him rise in the morning and attack those obstacles between him and his goal. Arrogance is a much despised concept that creates enemies and closes off routes that later might be retraced. The difference between Confidence and Arrogance is that Confidence realizes it might be wrong. The difference is doubt.

It's the FAMU-TSU weekend.

People been partying since Wednesday night (I got the emails). There have been drop-ins, drinks at the bar, cocktails, parties, soirees, gatherings, groupings, day parties, parades, tailgating and oh yeah, a football game too. After that time when the band plays, er...the game is over, there will be more of the parties, gatherings and other stuff. My fellow alumni are doing it big. Always have.

And I'm home. Alone. I've been reading through my notes, reviewing the rules of Evidence and getting ready for a mid-term.

And if one person says "but you're investing in your future" or "doing the right thing"...I might have to give them a piece of my mind [Note: that comment reads that way for "legal" reasons]. This is borderline torture.

When I first got to school, one of the professors gave the entire evening program a short talk about how to treat spouses and loved ones. Law school is famous for breaking up marriages as studies get more intense and you immerse yourself in study. If you're going full time. If you're going part time, you got a whole different set of issues. It's not the's life in general.

I work. I go down to the office and put in a full day. And not a simple set of tasks either, but a series of issues and problems that are always an emergency, always need an immediate answer and somehow always require somebody do something...and that somebody is usually me.

Then I leave work, drive downtown and go to class. Some nights until 10pm. For which you need to be prepared, you need to have read the cases, briefed the cases, done the hypotheticals, reviewed the terms, etc and so on. You can buy a casebook, but to use it effectively, you read the case, the casebook to tell you what you just read, then re-read the case to see if you can see it now. There really isn't a substitute for actual reading.

Then I go home to....nothing.

I'm single, so there is no wife, no girlfriend, not even a pet. I go home and eat something, if its not too late for my diet, the meals of which all have to measured and prepped, then crawl in the bed and the next day...repeat. My off days I'm home, making sure I read what I need to have read, my weekends are spent doing all that case reading and briefing I talked about earlier.

It is not very exciting.

My diet, and by the way I'm down over 40 pounds, says no alcohol, so on those rare moments I do head out, they're brief. The diet also limits the water intake, so even that is out as option. There are times I wonder who this program was designed for, its so restrictive, but we'll see when it comes to the next phase.

So I'm home alone, on the weekend. This weekend. Of all weekends. Studying.

Yay me.

This is how lonely looks.

Barkeep....hello, barkeep....can I get a little service over here? Barkeep!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bar Chatter

Bar Chatter #14
Sometimes it just ain't enough to make a post, but it's still needs to go's just bar chatter.

I've been half writing posts for the past few weeks. A few words here. A snippet there. A political theory that halfway through I realize I need more documentation on. A philosophical point halfway through I realize I've lost interest in. A quick update that I get interrupted making, and by the time I get back to it I don't think it carries any weight.

I'm tired.
Tired of my house.
Tired of large parts of my life.
Tired of not being able to see and talk to the person I want to the most. This would be Sporty.

[Note: I haven't heard from her since Saturday, and suddenly four days is a long time. Which is odd because I don't hear from Spanky or Schmoopy sometimes for months and its not an issue. Hmmmm.]

I've got too many distractions, not enough resources, and my motivations are fluid.

Things were simpler when I could pretend all I wanted was the money.

Monday, September 20, 2010

When a writer has no words...

Ramblings Post #136
Words. Sometimes all I have is words. Sometimes when I've got an opportunity, in the moment, when I missed my chance to act, sometimes all I've got are words. They can be eloquent and soothing, or cold and terrifying. Words more than anything show who we are, by our use of them, or lack thereof, by the way we hold them, read them, discard them. Words are. So what happens when you have no words?

Sometimes, I'm at a loss.

The first anniversary since Sporty lost her grandfather, a man she with whom she was very close, just went by. It promised to be an emotional day for her. She said she'd keep busy and asked for me to pray for her. I did.

You ever just want to hold someone until their pain goes away?

When you're half a country away, that's kinda hard. So, because sometimes all you have is words, I thought I would throw to together a short story, something with elements of fantasy with a theme of the love of family being eternal and dragons and all matter of foolishness. Something to read and take your mind away from it all for minute, but still give you a good feeling about family, only personalized. And just when I began thinking how I wanted to lay the whole thing out.... each page a chapter, five or so chapters, character creation, etc.... then I remembered I had a midterm to study for! And in my mind this was turning into a multi-hour project that might take all night.

So maybe installments? But that would still be writing and editing in one hour chunks all day.

Okay, I got realistic. I couldn't write an epic in a night and still get in my exam prep and class reading. Maybe words of comfort, so I started looking through the bible trying to find the right verses, figuring if I could find enough I would send them every few hours as encouragement. So I went to sleep, a few passages ready for the morning.

That morning I did my reading, and some clean up and then hit myself with a new question. What if she's coping well, and my words just muddy the waters? Well that would have been fine and dandy, now wouldn't it. Nothing worse than good intentions.

So I spent the day reading for class, working out my outlines and notes for upcoming classes, sneaking in football scores, making personal flashcards, going through previous classes power points and debating if I should or should not contact her. I didn't want to derail the coping train (she's a strong girl), but then I didn't want to call up and find out I should have spent the night writing, because I didn't have enough to send (she can be fragile too). There I was: thoughtful but helpless, clueless, and busy with my own shit.

In the end, I did nothing...and I feel like I abandoned her. But I don't do death well.

She asked me to pray for her and I did. I didn't want to intrude on a what is a highly personal moment. So why do I feel so bad?

Barkeep, a time machine and cold glass of water. Set it to 1975...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Unofficial National Holiday

Ramblings Post #135
There are several unofficial national holidays. Superbowl quickly comes to mind. It's one of those days we put all our petty grievances aside and curse each other out for the abstract reason that my team a) will beat your team, b) got cheated out being there, c) will be on it next season or d) are the Detroit Lions and so I'm just mad, 'cause I cheer for the Lions. Either way, the end is cause for celebration. And now, so is the beginning.

Football season is upon us again, and the very idea of it brings back the visceral memories of the smell of sweat and grass, the vision of the world through a helmet and sudden realization that in the heat of the moment I really wasn't concerned with possible pain when I hit somebody. Yeah, I played a long long time ago, but I'd have to think about, I specifically wouldn't think about it... but would just go do it again.

It's a day of celebration. The start of football season is an unofficial holiday, and well, okay the Cowboys lost. By a flag. But we got less to work on than a lot of teams, even a couple who won on Sunday. Although I came in dead last in the office pool, there were a lot "upsets", but then that's why they play the games. The saying "on any given Sunday" exists for a reason. One of the factors I think in why pro football is just a little bit better than college. Well, that and my college team basically served as the opening act for the marching band, who by the way are spectacular. So go football.

But it's still a day of celebration, it's Sporty birthday and she turns ....well, let's just say she gets better with age. A lil seasoning if you will. She's not that old, because I swear [officer] I did not realize she was that young when i met her. She could drink legally when I met her! I think. She's a little bruised right now from all her athletic endeavors, but she'll be fine shortly.

I'm kinda sorry I used the US postal service to send her "box o'goodies" this year, regretting the lack of tracking number for my own personal peace of mind. I'm not sure what I was thinking, the UPS store was like another half block! It's like I sent a box of manna via somebody's cousin Pookie 'cause he "headed that way". In that little cardboard container is a mix of something I hope for all sides of her personality.

It's a funny thing, trying to get a person from all sides. When you recognize that someone is complex, you finally start to see them.

Unless they're simple, which a lot of people are.

That's deep.

Ah football. And Sporty.


Two things Holiday worthy, in my humble opinion.

That said I won't really see anymore of it until December. It being football. Studying...remember? School? Yeah, that.

Barkeep...what's brain alcohol? No really, there's got to be a drink to make you smarter....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Buying Time

Ramblings Post #134
I am not a role model. You can do what I do, but you aren't me, so even though I will be cheered for my actions, you will be vilified. I am not a role model. I am exceptional as a human being, but that is accident of genes, a poor social upbringing and a burning desire to craft myself into something better. If you attempt to emulate me, may I suggest you start with the Merlot. This opening piece has absolutely nothing to do with what follows, but something had to go here.

The other day I went to buy a new alarm clock. This is necessary because of several factors.

1) The alarm clock I currently own I've had for at least a decade, and as such the normally annoying alarm sound is no longer annoying and just another sound in my dream. It blends in.

2) I've learned to turn it off, or at least hit the snooze in my sleep. It matters not where it is in the room. Seriously.

3) My morning routine takes the better part of an hour and a half, so waking up late means everything else slides back, which means my schedule is ruined.

[ note: disregard my current habit of staying up until 2am after I finish my readings to watch some TV or look up useless crap on the internet. Although directly related, these issues are unimportant for the purposes of this discussion.]

So, with a few trusty bucks in hand I made the trip down to the Devil's Money, I mean Walmart, to place my offering up, sorry, to buy a new alarm clock. I figured they'd have a fairly large selection, and it couldn't be more than $20 for something that was a little different, and they were open at 2am on a Saturday morning.

There I made an interesting discovery.

Alarm clocks are so advanced now. They come with an automatic time setting radio controlled via the national atomic clock and can reset themselves for daylight savings time. They have a calender on the screen, play downloaded MP3s, and hook to your iPod, and with their remote sensor you can know the exterior vs the interior temperature. They are marvels of technology.

...If you get a battery operated one.

I wanted one that plugged into the wall. I mean, I'm already paying for that electricity, why not maximize? I mean the battery operated ones came with dimmers and the ability to play music to fall asleep to but switch to alarm for the wake up, so the plug in ones must come with holographic projectors to put the time on your bedroom wall, internet access and little toaster oven so you can warm up a hot pastry while still in bed.

With the plug in model you get a radio.

I must have stood there for twenty minutes trying to figure it out, but with a battery you can practically beam yourself to work, and with a get get a time machine to 1950. Not one of the fifteen or so alarm clocks I saw that had a plug did anything other than tell time. I thought for second maybe all the good ones had been purchased, but a careful study of the layout of the display [ i.e., looking at how they sat on the shelf ] hipped me the reality that this was it.

I am not amused.

I didn't get a clock that day. I'm going to check out Target or Kohl's or somebody else and make sure of my findings. Battery operated is great... until you run out of batteries. Sure my power could go out, but then that's POWER went out! That, and as the consumer I should be able to get what I want!

This would be the part where I curse.

Barkeep, gimme something that will make me forget what time it is.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Notes from Field

Ramblings Post #133
You have to learn to prioritize. I haven't been that good at that lately. There are a lot of things that need to get done, and I'm not doing them. Well, I am studying a lot, but after that, I'm probably sure that trying to figure out ways to get around my diet should be lower on my list of things I'm frequently trying to do. Probably. Maybe. I better be able to eat pie when this is over.

I haven't been updating this lately, too busy with school and work, trying to apply myself and keep this train moving at the same time. Classes have been picking up speed, I'm going to have to get my shit together earlier this year to keep up, and I'm trying to crystallize what the future holds at the same time. At least the crush at work has smoothed out so I'm able to get to writing this at the office between clients.

The Weight thing
I'm holding off clothes shopping until I get closer to my target weight. I'm about halfway there and currently look swallowed up by most of the clothes I own. I've successfully gone from the first notch on the belt all the way to the last notch, and am considering getting another belt to continue this crude manner of "guy" measuring.

As I mentioned before I'm not really sure how this weight thing is going to work out either. I've used the weight as an excuse to myself for personal social failings, what happens when you don't have the excuse. I realize to some extent I'm repeating myself here, but it's on my mind. And I'm really hoping at the end, to maintain this, I can just be conscious of what I eat and not focused on it like I am now with the daily do I have my snacks, do I have the supplement, is it too late to eat and all that BS.

The Life thing
As school begins its normal consumption of my time and energy, I'm finding that many aspects of what I used to call life - the parties, the drop-ins, the events, etc - are starting to fade into the background. My planned projects are on hold for the house, my planned projects (the oh so many books and other things) are on hold, and so I'm unraveling on one level and coming together on another.

There was supposed to be a Sporty section, but I'm just going to roll it into the Life section here. She was, is and hopefully always will be a big part of my life. We hit each other up at least once a day with little life quotes and such. It doesn't sound like much, but I read somewhere that all that little cutesy crap we get from friends is supposed to be their way of saying I was thinking of you without getting all mushy. And so yes, I can confidently say I'm thinking of Sporty everyday. So my life has devolved into school, work, and thinking of her. And I say devolved because there is so much more the world, even when she's in it. I love her, I'm not stupid, geez.

The Job thing
My usual statement when asked, when I get off the elevator when I can bring myself to show up (which incidentally is everyday) is the effervescent "Just another day of joy and laughter, fun and excitement". If feel like I'm subtly parodying the marine Sargent from Aliens, "Every meal's a banquet! Every paycheck a fortune! Every formation a parade!." Them that know get the joke...or at least realize the sarcasm. You'd be surprised at how many evidently don't.

I keep reminding myself that I agreed to this, this work stuff, all of this, and so I need to keep doing what I'm doing to get where I need to get. If I can hold it together until next June I'll be fine. I say next June because if all goes according to plan that's when the sprint to Spring graduation 2012 starts

The Political thing
Has anybody seen my President? I elected a black guy from Chicago, which, and yes this is stereotypical, implied certain things. A certain tinge of amoral political is what I was looking for, with a touch of strong arm tactics, not a middle manager with a long term goal. And I need Obama to succeed, for my own personal reasons. My mythical future legal career depends heavily on the magical wise old negro archetype embodied by Morgan Freeman in so many films. I'm getting gray haired and can speak in confusing old riddles if necessary, but if Obama can't pull off a political miracle or two, I might need a new plan.

I think a large part of the problem with any politician is that they're always running for re-election. Nobody stands up and says, you know what, I'm not gonna get re-elected. I think as a congressman or senator, if you could detach yourself from the fund raising and poll watching, and just do the basics...I hesitate to use the phrase "what you know to be right" because as it turns out "right" is a relative concept.... just do the basics, the world would be a lot better.

Well, gotta run. Reading for the last class is calling, because it took so long to write this I'm having to finish up at home.

Barkeep...and yes, there is a bar in my house...set'em up, I need to knock'em down.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A little more

Ramblings Post #132
We talk about life changes all the time. We promise to make them, make elaborate plans to set them in motion, pity those who are in the same spot and dream about how life will be once we've embarked on that mission of change. Then if we're smart, we stop the whole process and start over never accomplishing anything. Because sometimes, you get what you ask for. And that's when you find out you had no idea what you wanted.

Many weeks ago, I joined a cult.

Okay, I joined a "weight loss" program that was going to help me manage my habits. I'm a big carb eater, so I really needed something beyond the two weeks of low carbs that usually knocks of 10 quick pounds and fakes me out into believing I'd done something. So I paid a whole bunch of money, and headed on down to the program.

I'm currently 11 pounds ahead of the program schedule for where I should be.

I wish I could say that this is due to my strict regimen and adherence to the principles of the program, but this is rather in spite of my own actions of subtle sabotage. I did break down and have a pancake brunch one weekend. I'll occasionally snack on a dry bowl of Frosted Flakes. I still use some actual sugar. I've had the occasional cookie and brownie when out and about. But it despite all that, the weight is still coming off! My best week...well, the week after I had the pancake brunch and put some weight back on, I took off eight pounds for a net gain of three overall.

I'm starting to look swallowed by my clothes. There are lines on my face I don't recognize...because they used to be filled in with fat! I'm that far from not having a gut, but just a pudge.

It's an odd sensation. That look from the side I used to always think was a set of push ups away is looking closer and closer to a possibility. Only now... mind is asking what happens when it's over? What do you do when you get there?

I entered this with no real belief the damn thing would work. Okay, I'd lose a few pounds, but I figured I would cave in a couple of weeks and chalk it up to a good effort. Now I'm actually doing it, and am coming along pretty good, so now I'm concerned about what happens at the end. I like food. It took me fifteen years to learn how to make my grandmother's biscuits, and one day when I can get the crust right the sweet potato pie will be mine too. Thanksgiving dinner with the family is like ....*sigh*. I would like a slice of pizza. A meatball sub. Some ice cream. A burger and fries. Ribs. If I get to the end and it calls for me NEVER really enjoying these things again...we're going to have a problem.

Sweet Potato pie tastes as good as being thin feels.

A lot of things taste as good a being thinner than I was feels. All total, since I've started I've lost 35 or so pounds. It is noticeable. I'm trying to lose somewhere in the neighborhood of 60. It is doable I see now.

But is being thinner enough of a reward in and of itself? Okay, part of this was feeling better health wise, and part of it was a number of the comments friends had made that I was a great guy, just not physically attractive. Well, if I get to physically attractive...and this chick was checking me out the other week.... what does that mean? I've used the weight as an excuse for a lot of things over the years and removing your excuses means you got to step up and execute. Yes, I have harbored the secret notion that Sporty will find this immensely pleasing, and no, the reality is it means less than I want to give it weight too. When you get down to the nitty and gritty of it, I'm still a weirdly shy person.

Have I set myself up for failure?

Am I mentally prepared to be thin again?

Barkeep...a thick vanilla shake, with caramel topping and Oreo bits...