Friday, February 25, 2011

Bam! Spring Break ...

Ramblings Post #173
You want to to know when it's bad? When Spring Break sneaks up on you! Up until my professors started mentioning "after you come back from Spring Break", it wasn't even on my calender. This is my third year of school after school and I'm tired. But I didn't think I was that tired.

I wish so, so hard.
Thanks Patrick Star...

Things I'm gonna be doing for Spring Break...

Or rather, what I really wish I was gonna be doing for Spring Break, because in reality of what I'm gonna be doing is fleshing out my outlines for class, working on an opening statement for Litigation in case my trial partner expects me to do it, putting together an actual desk I promise I'm gonna buy (really!), maybe a bookshelf from Ikea (to get these books off my floor), getting back on my diet strong - maybe even gym time - and cleaning up my house.

I WANT to sleep in, play video games and drink beer all day. Hang out all night a couple of nights. Maybe eat bad food and at least one night fall asleep with a spoon in my mouth. Spend one whole day walking around in my underwear.

Or I used to.

In reality, while Spring Break for me means I don't have class, I still have to go to work and get at that. And the job is rough. So the term doesn't mean the same thing it used to long long ago. Those were occasionally spent at the beach, or just lounging about the...inexpensive college accommodation. Inebriated. But no more, and honestly...I'm not sure I would want to.

I really have been meaning to fold up ALL my laundry. And move it off the washing machine this time.

I want to stop the endless cycle of plates moving from use, to sink to the drying rack and then back to use. Instead I plan on letting them make overnight stays or five in the cabinets.

I want to get my books arranged, so that I can look at them without digging for something. When I get a chance to read. Not that it will be anytime soon. But they're MY books!

And much to my personal chagrin, there aren't a whole lot of foods that taste as good as thin feels. Yes, I can feel when I haven't been on my diet. My midsection feels thick. And it's really annoying. Really. Because I am so into the brownies from Boston Market.

Maybe it's maturity. But as I told my RP a while back, I'm done with the big party. You know, those shoulder to shoulder, screaming and hollering to talk to somebody, who are you and are they supposed to be in here, type party. I've thrown the shutdown a sub-division party. Thrown the folks parked a mile away party. But it's all noise and fury, sound and light, and tiring beyond belief. I'm looking for something different. I been there, done that. Over and over again.

This week off I'm going make some tactical moves to make this work better in the long run. Although my graduation plans are going to stall, due to the lightness of the summer program, I'm not looking at it as a setback, but more time to get my strategy right.

Barkeep, it's Spring Break. Yeah! Can I get a glass of ice tea, un-sweet, and some celery. Diet.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Maybe I missed something...

This is a political post.

Two foes getting ready to face the coming dragon.

Red Knight: We're going to face the dragon. I need you to not stab me in the back.
Blue Knight: Since we're facing the same dragon, I will not stab you. Take my short sword as proof of my honesty.
Red Knight: Not enough, I'll need your broadsword and shield as well.
Blue Knight: But after we finish the dragon, it will leave me defenseless to your assaults.
Red Knight: For the good of the battle.
Blue Knight:

Think of it in those terms.

The good folks at Low Country Dirty Tricks, Underhanded Dealings & BBQ have few things that they would like someone to bring them up to speed on with this whole Wisconsin mess. And by bring up to speed, we mean make us understand how several square pegs are supposed to fit into holes shaped more like circles.

First, if we understand this situation correctly, the Republican Governor cuts taxes to spur job growth. Which, if I'm not mistaken, didn't work. This cut in state intake creates a budget deficit. Now to fix this self created budget deficit the Republican Governor wants to have the public employee union...the teachers if I'm not more out of their own pockets for pensions. The union agrees that in these hard times, ignoring the insanity of the situation, to help meet the budget shortfall, their members will pay more for their own pensions.

And this all would be fine, except for the lower taxes to create non-existent job growth part. Lower taxes on top of the low taxes they've already had for three years of no job growth. Brilliant!

But then the Republican party says they also need to remove the union's collective bargaining agreement, so in the future the local leaders will have flexibility in working out their local budgets. Which sounds great, had the unions balked or fought at the proposed changes, which they didn't. I could even see where the need for flexibility might be needed, if the other side wasn't already willing to compromise, except this proposed change really places ALL the power in the hands of the small town government official. And saves NO actual dollars. Not now or guarantees them in the future. It only creates government without challenge.

The second part of the equation is that in the face of massive protest, the Republican party have not responded to the outrage by listening to the people...but have rallied around one another? Which sounds strange, when just last summer the Republican party as a whole (maybe not Wisconsin, I dunno) indicated that government should listen to the people and not pass the Patient's Right Act (Obamacare for those not really paying attention). And that bill was debated and fought over, this bill was introduced on Monday to voted on three days later. So the theme appears to be "listen to the people when they say what you want, and stand against them when they stand in the way of what you want to do."

Perhaps we missed a chapter. Does no one actually read history but me?

But what about the children? Especially when its not the unions that are bad, when you consider that the highest test scores in the country are in states with strong teacher's unions, and the five states with the lowest test scores...well, you see where that is going. True, unions protect bad teachers in a number of cases, but that's not all they do. And its not like the teachers are overpaid anywhere. So why are the Republicans so intent upon disarming them?

Square peg. Round hole. And now the Republicans are looking for a hammer.

Wait, what the hot phrase last year? Stuffing something down somebody's....

Ah, politics.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Well, here we are...

Ramblings Post #172
This post is the thing i have worked on the most this week. This post or the one before it, I'm not sure, but my output is not much farther beyond this. Sad, isn't it.

My concentration is fading. That urge to get things done, to achieve, to create, is slowing its impetus and for the last few weekends, instead of following my carefully constructed plans for self betterment, study, and personal achievement, I've intermittently napped, snacked, surfed the web, played Angry Birds and watched Spongebob reruns.

My plan was after my Saturday morning class to study in the library for a few hours. Then head home for a light dinner, and reading for the Wednesday night class to familiarize myself with the material. Then up Sunday morning to actually do some work on one of my many, many personal projects. Any one of them, all of them. Notes, update, rework, add a bit more to the story, something. Anything as long as it was progress. And then on Sunday afternoon, the reading for the Thursday class (since football season is over) and Sunday night would be TV or a computer game, or more on one of my projects. Simple, elegant, and apparently currently impossible.

It would be simple if it were just a video game. I could uninstall it or put the game system in the closet, and that would be that. Or just television watching. I just wouldn't turn the set on. But this past Sunday, I woke up around 9a.m. and didn't crawl out of bed until after 1 in the afternoon. Then after going to grocery store to buy veggies (I am still part the way on my diet!) I crawled back in the bed. For a nap. The brief that I have been working on and off for the past week was neglected. Again.

I need something to kick start me. I used to use the phrase: "I just need to make some positive yards", a few yards and few yards until I get to first down. Then I can start again.


Well, let me back to doing something productive. Oh, pillow.

Barkeep. I believe they call it a "nightcap"...

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Valentines Day...

Ramblings Post #171
We are who are. That doesn't mean we shouldn't work to better ourselves, but we shouldn't deny who are either. Because in the now is where we live. Where we eat. Where we love. And on a day like today, I wish I wasn't the hopeless romantic that owns the acreage in my soul.

For quite a few years, I've fashioned myself as somewhat of a rake.

It goes along with that whole thing of thinking things into existence mental concept, the "see it and achieve it" positive thinking, bent to less than noble ends. I guess to some degree I've been successful, but since at heart I'm really just a nice guy, I don't think I ever put my all into making the facade a reality.

Why bring this up on Valentine's Day?

Well with all the single people I know, still looking for somebody, the idea that we know what we're doing seems to be less a reality and more one of those air brushed "facts" we like to inhabit to get us through the day, especially at this age. We as a group project the image of we want to be and not who we are. We're all actors, and life is the stage. And we "deserve" the best looking leading man or woman the world has to offer. And so consequently we chose those we hope to share our lives with by what we're supposed to want as opposed to what we actually enjoy. Metaphorically, we cheer for Shakespeare, and pretend we don't get Harold and Kumar . We desire the caviar because we're supposed to, when in reality we really want a chili dog. Oh to be an Oscar Meyer wiener.

In the past I've suggested that for this one day, we play dress up for the one we've chosen and make their dreams come true. That we expend a little bit of effort for someone else, be it in the form of a movie night, a dinner made, dancing, or something more naughty. I would call it Halloween for adults, but if you've seen Halloween lately, adults have already co-opted that. No, we pretend far too much, too often already.Love whom you really want, the best way you know how. That's all that even the best of us can hope for.

But don't confuse love and lust. Far too many of us confuse the momentary fun and thrill of new desire for true love. I can't lie, I love the thrill too. But sadly, that life long affection we we all want won't be a series of forever emotional explosions of joy. It will more than likely be serene, almost comfortable, and punctuated by moments of happiness shared. And the occasionally explosion of joy. Real love is a marathon, not a track meet. Too many of us are sprinters.

Hopefully many of will wise up and find that love that has been waiting for us.

And if not, there's always Harold and Kumar and chili dogs.

Barkeep. Champagne. Oh, that's for everyone else, you know what I'm drinking.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bar Chatter

Bar Chatter #20
Sometimes it just ain't enough to make a post, but it's still needs to go's just bar chatter.

Right before mailing.

This year, with much thought and deliberation, I crafted the "third book" in a series that I'm getting increasingly better at making, although maybe not exponentially better at writing. That's right. Hand crafted. Card stock for the pages, colorful cover, bound with metal rings this time instead of the twine. Not too shabby.

And I sent it to Sporty as her Valentine's day gift (I accidentally trusted it the US Mail, and I'm sweating bullets that it shows up). I must make a note that life is too important to be cheap.

Here's hoping she likes it. And me.

After she's read it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Peeking into the Eygptian Night

This is a political post.

There has been a lot of talk lately about how the Obama Administration is handling the situation in Egypt, and most of it from people who haven't the first clue either, but just really want to some air time and figure it's a way to take shots at the President. The Middle East has been contentious for several hundred years, and neither a weekend at Camp David or even Batman Obama is gonna fix it just like that. What's happening right now is really more of what the local police word refer to as a "domestic situation" more than anything else, and no cop really likes to deal with those.

I'm no foreign policy expert, just a guy with internet access, but this is how I'm seeing it. Think of the situation as husband and wife in a fight, with Hosni Mubarak as the husband and the people of Egypt as the wife. The wife wants a divorce, now, and wants the husband to move out, now. No ifs, ands or buts. The husband on the other hand, wants to stay for a while. He's even agreed that he'll sleep in the guest room. And then as soon as he's ready, having gotten things in order, he'll find a new place. It's a weird analogy, but it works. And as anyone who has been between a man and wife fighting knows, taking sides is dicey at best. Looking at these circumstances, this divorce is going to happen. The problem is that the longer the husband stays in the house, the uglier this whole deal is gonna get.
What's funny is that Mubarak claims he wants to stay to effect a "smooth" transition. But the country is entering its fourth week of massive protests. Blood is being spilled in the streets. Video of the army driving over people floats around the internet. There are rumors are that the secret police are arresting protesters. The country's economy is shut down. This is smooth? How much rougher would him leaving make it? Theoretically, him leaving will make all that stop and life can get back to some semblance of normal, if not actually better.

Now while it is true that his resignation would trigger an election in a scant 60 days under the Egyptian Constitution, and who exactly would run for office is unclear, so there would be some degree of chaos. But this more about ego, as so many things are these days. Ego on the part of Mubarak, who wants to leave with dignity, but more importantly ego on the part of the US State Department. Seventy years of meddling in the Middle East has taught them nothing.

The question is presented as "will there be enough time to hold free and fair elections were Mubarak to step down?" The real question is, much like the Daily Show reporter joked, will 60 days give the US enough time pick who they want from the field? The fact is, the existence of the clause triggering the election means there IS a process in place for just such an emergency. So use it. It might not be pretty, or fit the plan...but it is the law. And who the Egyptians pick is immaterial, as long as they get to pick him. That's how democracy works.

The really real question is why hasn't Mubarak woken up one morning and found himself on a jet headed to Saudi Arabia, next to a box of gold bullion, a suitcase full of money and one of those cutesy termination letters that reads: "thanks for your dedicated service, but we've decided to go another way." He's over eighty, exactly how hard would that be?

It might not be the right answer. Okay, I'm fairly certain that's not the right answer, but it will get the country started on the road to where everyone wants them to be...which can't be all bad.

Now boarding at Gate 1, one way to not here. Heck, they should even give him an extra bag of peanuts.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I understand they played a game...

Ramblings Post #170
It is one those American Unofficial Holidays. A day when people gather to watch grown men play game. It is moment of joy to millions, frustration to millions, and a few great commercials to the vast majority of us. Who was I rooting for? Well let's just say, to have the Steelers win on my field would have hurt more than you know.

Last year, around kickoff of the Superbowl, I got a call from a friend with bad news. The game was really more of an afterthought at that point.

Well, technically, the game is usually an afterthought, as I attend most Superbowl parties for the party part of the festivities - the people, the drinks, etc. And since I started school, I haven't been getting out much due to maturity, responsibility and studying. So this year, when my RP hit me up and gave me directions to a little function around the corner from my house, I was ready to go.

You ever go someplace, a little confused and lost, then upon arrival you see a few familiar faces and everything is okay? That's how it was. The directions looked funny, but when I walked in it turned out I knew these guys, they had just moved. And upgraded.

I often thought what I have is a big TV. Well, I walked down stairs to the main party room, and these guys have what is at least a 100 inch HD projection screen TV. It took up the whole wall. The picture was crisp, the players on the field bigger than life sized. That said, I didn't know until today that the Steeler QB threw three interceptions, or that somebody missed a field goal, or that somebody fumbled. It apparently was a very good game.

Now that's a big TV
(Faces blurred because I don't where they claimed they was)

I did meet the bartender's mother. Very nice lady, from Ohio, worked with the Department of Defense. I ran into Slim, who I hadn't seen in a minute and who now wants me to go swimming with her to tone out my thinner frame. I met a lady who drives the pink Cadillac that the good folks at Mary Kay gave her. I got mistaken for the owner of the house (a common party occurrence). I ran into about twenty people that I hadn't seen in ages, including three or four I had to greet with a "hey!" because I don't ever remember getting their name the first time I met them years ago.

Then, as the third quarter came to least I think it was the third quarter, I remembered that had I promised Spanky that I would ride by her Superbowl party for a hot minute.

Spanky's party
(Faces not blurred, because some people might need alibis)

A few minutes later, I pulled at Spanky's There are a number of adjectives I could use here, but I'm going to say house. The difference between it and house I'd just left was roughly the difference between a private jet and a bi-plane. A very nice bi-plane - hardwoods, Ikea'd out, cozy, good bones - but still a bi-plane. Or at least that's how it felt. I saw a few more folks I hadn't seen in a while, and did get to see the end of the game.

Apparently there is a video of them playing the Micheal Jackson Experience on the Wii at halftime that a lot of hush money is going around to keep out of the public eye. If anyone out there can get their hands on it, I can reward you with $4, a copy of CD it think I got out of gift bag some years ago, and two old copies of Creative Loafing if I haven't thrown them all out.

Two sides of the coin. One party lavish, one homey. My folks at both. You could say I am, and by extension my people, are a little hard to pin down. And you'd be right.

After Spanky turned MJ back on as soon as the clock on the field hit zero and the coach got hit with the orange stuff, I wisely slipped out the back and made my way home. I knew I had work in the morning, partially because I'm dedicated like that...and partially because Hugo claimed he just happened to be having "something" delivered on Monday and wouldn't be in.

Barkeep. The stadium looked great. The 'boys house looked good. A quick one, I got to get back at them books.

I leave on this photo. Six months ago this guy was locked up. Yesterday, just like the former President, he sat in a box at the Superbowl. What a country.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Belly of the Beast.

Ramblings Post #169
Up ahead is darkness. The unknown. But you keep going. Darkness is the unknown personified, because we talk to and breathe the unknown every day. Today is never like yesterday, it is always something new. And though you can plan and predict circumstances, things can change in and instant, or not. Up ahead is darkness. My old friend the unknown comes again. I hope he still likes bourbon.

A while ago, when law school had lain me low, and my days and nights consisted solely of work, school, study, sleep and the drive back and forth betwixt these elements, I theorized that the day I would quit one of those, either work or sleep, would be that day where the women who worked in the warehouse at the chicken factory started to look or get cute to me. Look like "good" options.

Not the regular chicken pluckers, there a few potential candidates there. I mean, Sporty used to pluck them chickens, and she's a fine little bit, she's a catch. But the women who work in the warehouse, to a woman, are, how to put this delicately...a different breed. They're nice ladies, I've known all of them for years, but if we all were to go out for, say drinks, um, we'd all be checking out the chick in the short skirt lounging at the far end of the bar. For the same reason. Technically we're on the same team, know what I mean?

But after much hemming and hawing, the powers that be have moved me from among the chicken pluckers up in the Penthouse, down into the belly of the beast, in an effort to create a certain degree of synergy. I left behind Chatty Mogul (who is now into trying to make iPhone apps), the allure of office intrigue, and apparently heat, for easier access to the parking lot...and what else I'm not sure. Hugo and I, (Hugo is what I'm calling my new back up guy) packed up on Monday and hit the low road.

It's not bad. It's a new set of folks, people I've known for years, but never really had extended contact with.

It is a change of pace.

And since my game plan involves another "change" soon as I transition into a more legal atmosphere so as to take advantage of my fine education, I guess you can call this a gentle easing into the concept. I will admit that yes, I got, I got my comfort level with my current company and old situation reached sky high. I knew I could do those tasks assigned me, very well, and when my boss lady in as many words told me I could do as I wanted as long as the work got done so...

Well, let's leave it as I was not an model employee.

In the few scant days that I've been relocated, I've gotten together a new attitude. Coming in earlier although I don't have to, working better with my peers, bettering office communication skills, and reawakening all those skills I'm gonna need for the next situation. In a few months when I do dive in, I'll be better prepared, I think. Life changes, like anything else, shouldn't be entered into lightly.

Okay, I did enter law school on a bad intention, but I've gotten better. Okay, to more aptly put it, when you get a chance to prepare, take it.

Barkeep, them ladies down there I work with...send them a drank. They looking kinda nice.