Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding (As required by Internet Rule #47854b)

Ramblings Post #187
There are certain Rules. You don't scream fire in a crowded theater. If get served, then you tip. You don't talk about fight club. You don't tug on Superman's cape or spit into the wind. You don't press the little red button. The correct answer for "does this make my butt look fat" is always NO. And if it is a hot topic, you blog must comment on it...if only in passing. So, today, we discuss of all things, that thing that happened in Britain.

As required by the internet rule, I'm making a post concerning the most important nuptials of some unknown period of time until the next really important nuptials between two people I've never met but are for some reason real...real important. Again. Didn't we just do this for something else that was the really big something for something until some really unbelievably long amount of time...until next season?

As you may have not realized by now, I'm not big fan of the ruckus surrounding the circus that is the marriage of Willie and Katie-bear.

To quote the president "I don't have time for this."

And I damn sure wasn't waking up at 4am to sit down and catch the festivities. First, who gets married on a Friday? I thought the whole thing was tomorrow. Now, when I did rise I was greeted by people on my Facebook page who had indulged their curiosity, and become spellbound. Some were taken with the pomp and circumstance. Some with the spectacle. Some with the fashion. I never realized hats were such a big thing. Most of my friends who viewed it were women, so I'm certain there may even have been a big wedding/princess fantasy afoot out there somewhere.

I've already admitted I've thought about my own possible wedding. My current understanding however is that the best I can hope for regarding "our day" is being allowed to pick out my undies. I'm expecting my duties will consist of be here at this time, stand here and say I do when I poke you in the ribs. But that was whole different story.

There, comment over. You know with what they paid, I understand you could have rented Lichtenstein for a week. Oh, wait, why rent when you already own...

My bad.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You wouldn't believe me if I told ya...

This a political post...
( i was gonna let this go by with no comment)

Why does only the black guy have to have his paperwork?

As I understand it, Donald Trump at first did not supply his actual birth certificate for inspection, handing over a piece paper that looks suspiciously like a certificate you can win to certify your hotness from the local carnival. Mitt Romney's birth certificate is sealed, and there is a nary a peep raised. But Obama has to show his driver's license, social security card, birth certificate (both copies), high school diploma, immunization card, a recent cable and power bill, a bank statement and get two references. So here it is. The long form birth certificate. Properly authenticated by the appropriate state officials...from the opposing party.

And wouldn't you know it, now the Republicans are mad at him for releasing it! Although my understanding is something along the lines of 40% of their party members had serious doubts on the matter. And some GOP office holders encouraged the rhetoric. And the GOP party leaders would never go so far as to say it, only that they "took the President at his word". The line now is that it was always a "settled issue."

The sad part is, this will not make this story go away.

Rarely has their existed a weaker, more insane conspiracy than the idea that Obama wasn't born in Hawaii. Despite no evidence to the contrary, other than his father was Kenyan, the idea that he was a Sleeper Muslim planted over 40 years ago by radical socialists unknown found a deep seated place in the mindset of the troubled Republican mind and stayed there. It was as sure a sign of the aboriginal racist that still lurks around some of the darker parts of the national psyche as possible. That the Republican nominee wasn't born in the US (John McCain was born in Panama on a military base) was no issue.

The original crazy lady, Dr/Attorney/Real Estate agent/Carnival Barker Orly Taitz has already chimed in, claiming the document should read Negro, not African...although Obama's father was African, not an American Negro. There will be others who feel the paper isn't the right color...or the type looks like a typewriter used in the hospital reception, not the maternity ward....or something. Anything. Because, this just can't be right. Because they need their America back. Please?

My understanding, although a bit foggy, is that now, the birther crowd is already looking for a new hook. I mean the meetings were so nice, and they already got a bowling league started. So why quit now? How did Obama get into an Ivy League school like Columbia and then Harvard is already percolating in the pot of questions. Um.. he's black. Affirmative Action?

Why, that's a conspiracy!

Those who didn't believe the short form will never believe. And even if you prove A, they'll be onto B so quickly, and C once the second concept has been dis-proven, that you'll quickly realize that these are folks just looking for a reason, any reason at all, to not like the man. To discredit him somehow. For reasons I'm certain that some of them don't even understand.

The Obama didn't bring us into a post-racial America. It just made the ugly lingering scars of it more stark against the background of our imagined reality.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bar Chatter

Bar Chatter #21
Sometimes it just ain't enough to make a post, but it's still needs to go's just bar chatter.

I went. I saw. I conquered.

Yeah, I won that damn case on Saturday. And that's that.

And afterward, I went home and had me a tall whiskey and soda, fell in the bed and slept 'til morning. And think I went to bed around 9pm. I didn't even realize how serious it was.

Now, onto the rest of it...

Friday, April 22, 2011

You Betta Check Yourself...

Ramblings Post #186
"You betta check yourself before you wreck yourself". The words from the wise sage of my age, an O'Shea Jackson, better known by his public persona Ice Cube. It's a way of saying that overconfidence can get you big trouble. I'm no stranger to overconfidence, especially on those things I think I know. Okay, call it arrogance. And since I don't like myself when I get like that, and it's a slippery slope, I tend to stay low-key. But then there are moments like this...

Yes, that is a "Mike Tyson" quote....go figure.

I'm getting the big head.

My litigation class, and the subsequent exercise associated, is a pass/fail class. Now, they are handing out two A's in the section, but provided you showed up enough, turn in all the assigned work, participated and can actually show them you have a grasp of the material via the aforesaid exercise, you get to pass the class. Which is how the vast majority of the class views it. Way too much work for just a chance at an actual grade.

And since I have two other what look like very lengthy exams, a 24 hour and a 72 hour open book take home, I was all ready to just get on through this so I could concentrate on my "substantive" coursework. I really hadn't thought about being a litigator. Then my first assignment got good marks and I started thinking I could get the A, I got a little excited. I mean, who couldn't use an A on their transcript? But I figured it was wishful thinking.

Then it happened.

My "opposing counsel" had a mini-fit over a minor difference of interpretation, and insisted we all interpret the discrepancy his way, which happened to be in his favor. I had originally joked to the three people in my exercise, my trial partner and the two opposing counsel, that we simply script the whole thing out, pass and keep it moving. Then he decided he wanted to win. Needed to win. You could see it in his eyes. It was a must have.

So I'm not gonna let him.

So for the past two weeks, I've actually gone over this thing with a fine tooth comb. And since you've got either be a witness or juror for one other exercise besides your own, I've been to a pair that have been pretty straight forward if not basic. The exercise is a "fact pattern", designed to have issues both sides are supposed to exploit to show they understand the law and it's application. Our little two person teams will make the legal arguments, develop testimony, the whole schmear, as judged by an actual practicing litigator.

The whole idea of the problem as proposed is that there is no actual answer. Both sides are supposed to put on the best presentation and a group of individuals, typically the first year law students - who know none of the facts until we present them - act as a jury. In the end they reach a verdict and we get graded on if we hit all the needed parts to pass the class. It's a murder case, and its supposed to so ambiguous it could go either way.

Now, I think I've solved it. THINK, mind you. Solved it as in figured out who the real killer is. You see, when I was a kid, my mother got us a subscription to GAMES magazine, which my brother I fought over, and it included puzzles like the two minute mystery. So I've been looking at this as a big something to unravel. I don't think I was supposed do that though, so I got a problem.

What I'm trying to do now is figure out how to get through the session without getting smug. Okay, overly smug. Without playing to the imaginary cameras in the back of the room. Without turning into Vinny Gambini. Without believing that I have been anointed with the undeniable truth and will smite those who blaspheme against my message, as no weapon can be formed that can cleave the solidity of the word, as I have seen it. Which I have occasionally been prone to do. And have occasionally been wrong while doing it.

I mean, I could use the A, but I'm not sure what I want to do, how I want to play the whole thing will actually get it.

Some of my previous strategic decisions regarding law school have not gone over as well as I'd hoped (no complete disasters, I'm still IN law school). I so want to just get through this. Well, wanted. Past tense.

Now, because of my ego. I have to win.

Whoa. I DO have an ego. Well, there goes that theory.

Barkeep. A five hour energy drink and hot toddy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tell me you a little about yourself...

Ramblings Post #185
I'm probably the most forward shy person you'd ever meet. I can be jovial, warm and friendly and it might months before you realize you know little about me other than my name and that I like brunch and sweet tea. I can be a fascinating conversationalist on a number of topics, none of which include myself. Yet, as in poker, there is always a tell. And me thinks I've found mine.

I wrote a quick little story the other day, which I posted on my FB account. The idea came to me in a blur, and over the course of the day, between my job and making notes for my upcoming "litigation exercise"...formerly referred to as the mock trial... I sewed together the little idea chunks into a quick little story about a guy in love over the course of a lifetime, held together by a single act of intimacy.

I put it up as a note, attached the names of some friends, and the rest is publishing history. Well, not really. Is putting it up on FB really publishing? Anyway, it was a nice little short, I got some positive responses, but it still could use a little polish.

But reading it again, looking for those ever present polishing points, I realize now that a lot of my stories have less than happy endings. Okay, sad endings. In my stories the guy never gets the girl. There is usually lots of love and emotion, but they always seem to come up short, the "happily ever after" appears to have eluded me. Not even the happily for a little while at least until the story ends endings. In one of my stories, the guy gets hit walking off the sidewalk after getting rejected, another it turns out after he dies he finds out the he was never supposed to have existed, and in another the guy and girl meet again in the twilight of their lives and he lets her go even though he's just going through the motions without her.

Me thinks me got a problem.

I like to think of myself a fairly happy person. Reasonably happy. I'm doing okay. A "make the best of the situation you're in" kinda guy. Flexible. Amenable. Resilient. I have a good time, I have good friends, I enjoy the challenge of law school (did I just write that?), and just like everyone else there is good and bad in my life but all in all I'm way ahead of the curve here. I think.

But ... then I use writing as an outlet for a lot of things I don't talk about. Is that I believe I'm never going to get the girl?

Admittedly, my romantic life has never turned out quite the way I figured. But in reality, whose has?

Wait, did I just write "never"? Never. That's a mighty long time.


My poetry always seems to mention hope and possibility.
Well, except for the dirty stuff. Er...more adult fare.
My novels are always over plotted and start good but lose their way.
My stories are sad little tales of woe.


Maybe I do have an issue.

Barkeep, I need some thinking alcohol.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A pre-movie Review: The Hangover - Part II

Ramblings Post #184
I don't go to the movies. The last time I actually went to the movies I think it was me and Sporty, and come to think of it we still were supposed to go see Honeydripper, which I sincerely doubt is going BACK to the theaters, so we missed one. But I have a bunch of movie channels and can't sleep some nights. In any case, I know a good movie when I see one. And this has so much potential.

The trailer for the upcoming movie the Hangover II was pulled because it gave away too much of the story, which if you watched the trailer is pretty much exactly the same story as the first movie. Now the producers are scared that by letting people know that they've just moved the same story to some place in Thailand people will be disappointed.

Did the producers even see the first movie?

The Hangover was funny. Really funny.

Like Coming to America Funny. Like Animal House funny. Like Blazing Saddles, My Cousin Vinny, Caddyshack kinda funny. Technically, the film was so funny, they could have just re-shot the entire first movie from different angles and it would still make a mint. I still watch it every time it comes on HBO or Showtime.

So it's the same premise as the first film. Impending wedding, one forgotten night of debauchery, someone important goes missing, they spend the day trying to find him while they have to go back and face the by the light a re-hash of their shenanigans. So what? If the using the same basic idea was a film killer, the there would no such thing as a romantic comedy film. Boy and girl can't get along then fall in love. Bruce Willis would still be tending bar, Arnold would just be an old guy at the gym and Steven Segal would be your kid's karate instructor who hits him in the back of the head while you aren't looking, because we used up the idea of the action hero sometime in the mid 70's.

So it's the same?

So what? It will still be funny. I was laughing at the trailer and I knew it was gonna be the same thing.

For an industry that prides itself on turning out familiar fare, think of how many remakes and sequels you've seen in the past few years, now they want to get skittish? Really?

This one, I might actually have to go see. Maybe. I am taking classes this summer.

Barkeep. A Zambucca shake. Yes. No really, that's what I want. Seriously.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Short...short...story.

Ramblings Post #183
Suddenly it bursts forth. Little bits of inspiration. Bits of mental images to fill in the blank spots that are the stories in progress in my mind, those stories half written, outlined or started and never finished. Little shorts. Little scenes that encapsulate the moment. Poetry, from an age long ago when everything was pure and hope stared me back in the eye every morning instead of leaving a note promising his return.

A Great Evening.

A noisy restaurant, but all the sound has faded away.
An empty wine glass.
A dark whiskey.
Napkins covering plates.
Deep, easy, conversation.
Her smile.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Adding up

Ramblings Post #182
My friend Schmoopy once admonished me for not writing a little opening piece like this, and it turns out my brother thinks I skim them from the internet. These extra forty or fifty, or sometimes few hundred words are like that little quotation at the beginning of the chapter of a long novel, meant to prepare your mind for what's to come, or set the stage for that part of the story. Or like this one, to explain why they're here, because I damns sure couldn't think of anything else to write. I got too much else on my mind.

Lately I've been spending a lot of time alone.

Not metaphorically speaking, in that I'm not dancing with thoughts inside my own head like a good version of Suckerpunch while the people around me just don't understand my inner turmoil and a silent epic battle for my sanity rages. I mean I'm actually alone. I got work, then school, then studying, then sleep which means you don't have a lot of time for social life, AND when you factor in that all my folk have lives that they are getting on with just like I'm getting on with mine, my previously tightly packed social calender has seen better times.

As such I am getting introspective in these increasingly long quiet moments. But then there aren't any raging inner storms, so much as looking around my psyche and trying to figure out what the sum total of me adds up to. More like accounting that involves columns like soul fulfillment, present value of future potential evaluation and life goals. And I've realized, when I its my time, that I'm going to be on my way with a shit ton of regret over moments not seized, opportunities not taken, adventures postponed. It's not a good look.

Don't get me wrong, I've lived a full life. I've had more "good times" than most people my age, good being a subjective term (very subjective). More opportunities than I probably should have. Many moments, good and bad. But when I look back at my overall potential...well, let's just say I got a lot of explaining to do. To me and God.

There a lot of things I wish I could go back and change:

I wish that when I was thirteen I could have manned up and actually talked to her, the first object of my affection. And then when it didn't work out, that I could have just moved on.

I wish I had been a little more dedicated in college, the first time, instead of indulging in a gadabout fantasy. I had a real shot, and those moments could have reshaped my entire existence.

I wish that my time that girl in college who said to me "leave if I ever tell you I love you" had ended on better terms. And that I had stayed after she said it.

I wish I could have realized I needed to commit to something earlier in my life, and worked my way through my need to be a jack of all trades, a small part of everything. I think that because I needed to be part of everything, I think I missed out on a lot.

I wish I had said yes, to one of those times heaven had smiled in my direction and made me the object of someone’s desire to marry. A lot of things I treasure that happened later in life would have been forestalled then, and maybe it might not have worked out in the end. But the possibility....

I wish I had taken that hookup job through a friend of a friend. Maybe I was too concerned about getting in over my head, and should have been more focused on taking the chance. Or even that offer in New York, that might have been half conjured fantasy or an inducement to neophyte peon labor.

I wish I had taken the chance to find something else back before I got too used to heat, digital TV and eating in nice restaurants. But then I never would have met that’s kinda iffy.

I wish I had told Sporty how I really felt about her when first started hanging out, and not when we stopped.

I wish I had bought the other house. The house with the full basement and the huge master bath that as I was walking through I could already see the people coming through in my head, as opposed to the house that I bought because I thought I could sell it quickly, on the come up.

I wish I had gone to law school earlier, when I was certain there was more ahead of me than there is now.

I wish I could make the words sing. Not the breezy melody or the song I can make them do that now, but to craft a whole symphony, a complete beginning, middle and ending of what my brother would call the 21st Century Classic American novel.

This last one isn’t all the way behind me. That’s where I’ll start. I’ve always been a writer. Since I scribbled out stories on the back of old ticket books at my father’s dry cleaners I’ve had a story to tell. I am going to finish one these books in my head. It won't change my past, and might not even fix my future. In fact I'm sure it won't. But it will be something.

I'm not looking for the quick fix, 'cause it ain't coming.

But, to paraphrase Kipling, after it all fades away if I can pick up those tools worn of use and start over as though I had nothing... which is what the reality is about to be professionally... and maybe emotionally ... and get back at it, without fear of failure, quiet grumblings or issue, then maybe I can, I dunno, something. Get my mental, emotional and spiritual accounts in order?

I don't know where I'm going, but I do know I can't go back.

Barkeep. If you have to ask, then I haven't been sitting here long enough.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sparring Sessions

Ramblings Post #181
In boxing, your average contender prepares by dueling in sparring sessions where they get in the ring with guys paid to mimic the style of their upcoming foes. It can be educational, insightful, occasionally painful when you find where your own weak spots are... and they charge tickets for you to see it. So you can pay to watch him spar, and then pay again to watch him box which is a hell of a racket. They ought to be 'shame of themselves. What does that have to do with this entry? This is legal sparring.

Our law school "Mock Trials" are almost upon us, and for the first time I'm feeling a little nervous about this particular legal sparring session.

You see, as part of my law school's program, all students have to put together one side of a trial, as either the attorney for the plaintiff/state or defendant. Opening statements, direct, cross, objections, closing all that, closer to real life than Matlock or Law and Order. During one of those frequent "why are we doing this" discussions the infest law school, I was informed by a classmate, most law schools don't require this, because the truth of the matter is most lawyers don't go to court. The best ones keep you out. Lawyers are by in large negotiators and counselors, so knowing how to effectively run a trial is one more specialized skill in the legal quiver. But then my school also starts you off in Property law, which a lot of schools also don't require, so I guess everyone's mix is a little different.

I work for a living, so I went over my pre-trial motions this weekend, sat down last night and put a few final hours into it and sent if off...incidentally fifteen minutes before the power went off at my house due to the storm that rolled through.

I was feeling good about the whole thing until I got the motions from our opposing counsel today around noon. I thought I had crafted a fairly good argument in mine. I had researched a mix of motion formats from a couple of sources since I figured mine was fairly cut and dried, basic rules of evidence stuff, and cobbled together what seemed like a comprehensive motion. What I got from opposing counsel used the single example the prof sent out as a blueprint, and included what I consider to be a lot more depth than mine. A lot more. I cited rules and made impassioned argument - they cited case law.

I only just got the lasagna right, as evidenced by my previous brief earning a few good comments for being logical and easy to follow. My prof had given indicated it seemed like I was getting it. Did I get smug while I wasn't looking? I'm hoping it's that I just misunderstood the assignment or using the model I constructed was an acceptable option. I was just getting into the swing of this, getting all hyped up to get my Johnnie Cochran on, but now I'm not so sure. Yes, I figured not only would I do all those things necessary to show I understood the procedure (the point of the class)...I would win the case too! But that's just confidence, not arrogance, right?


In any case, its done and gone, and oral arguments are upon me - again. I need to get with my trial partner to see which motion she wants to handle.

Barkeep - one them aperitifs. I don't know why.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wasted Posts

Ramblings Post #180
This is a behind the scenes look at how all the magic comes together. A guided tour of the Mind Distillery. Please keep your hands and feet inside the tour vehicle at all times, there will be a question answer session at the end, it is $3 to take a photo, no snacks will be provided, a bag lunch might be served, everyone is required to line dance, please have your passports ready, and again ladies, autographs will be on the left bosom only.

Because I write a lot these in free moments while I'm supposed to be doing other things, a lot of these don't get finished. Which is why occasionally you'll see one of those "Things I meant to comment on" entries. I'll have a great point I want to make, or a thought I want to get to the meat of, then realize it looks a little lonely and its been awhile, so I'll start to tinker...

...and never actually get anything that amounts to anything. A fleshed out paragraph that needs a introduction, and that leads to other points. An outline of story. One great point connected to nothing. A scribble that looks like it might have potential. So I throw it all into a big entry. Or make bar chatter.

(Note: This has been open on screen at work for at least two hours as little window in the background. I'm just adding points when I get a minute or two.)

I hate when I get an idea, in the middle of an idea...and then I want to split it out into two updates. Which means even more writing during time I don't really have. I don't really like to let a good idea for a entry get gobbled up by another idea. And since I get ideas for stories all the time, what would make you think the errant update is any different?

(Note: At some point it happened today, and started writing literature about waiting for a phone call. Grand and prosaic language, themes and imagery. About a phone call. And in the end I decided I should call...or at least text if it was that damned important. Sigh)

At the end of the day, I'll wrap up. Now, there are times when I get home and have to put a polish on it or look up source for the political ones, but a good part of the writing is piecemeal. And idea. Then work. Then expanding the idea. Then more work. Then finally a good 75 to 80% done and its time to head home.

Or there are entries like this one, which is now in day Two (or really day three, because is started it two days ago but didn't touch it yesterday). Meaning I wrote what I thought was it, and then didn't put it up. So, I go back and, what's the correct phrase here? Oh yeah, fuck it up so that it doesn't read near as smooth as it used to. Or I stick in yet another brilliant idea that really should have been constructed into an entry of its own.

See, here we are roughly...two hours later, it's still open in the background, and I'm dashing off thoughts before one last round of checking for fresh chicken to pluck. And polishing on that phone call story. Which is at the bottom of the this same little window, saved in the same text file for ease of access. Typing in text allows me to type without having to worry about formatting, spelling. I don't realize how badly I spell until it hits the page here, and spell check comes on.

Then a last read through. A bit more polish. And ...

...well, that's really it. Seriously.

Barkeep...give it to me straight.