Monday, August 29, 2011

New Found Freed...hey, hey, hey, not so fast there.

Ramblings Post #157
First weekend post chicken plucking, I think. I say that because I got no exit interview, no packet, no nothing and still have my badge. I'm not sure what happened, only I know I'm not going, it's on to the next thing. Maybe I'm just on vacation and don't know it. Hmmmm. What can they do? Fire me?

This weekend its been party-party-party and drink-drink-drink. For somebody. I mean I know it's happening because I'm seeing the adverts and hearing about people heading out and the like, but your guy is home studying for the most part. I did dip out on Friday night - for the first time in absolute ages - to Spanky's birthday drop in at Six Feet Under. But I didn't get there until eight and was headed home at eleven. I thought she'd gotten a private room or something, but she preferred the excitement of the bar, so our little party of fifteen or twenty mixed in among what I assume is their normal Friday night crowd. SFU seems like a cool place, only the evening came to an abrupt end when Spanky's "guy" showed up and her priorities changed. Abruptly.

But it was her birthday, she can do what she wanna.

Saturday was studying. I actually woke up and read for class. And then I realized I don't have work on Monday, or any other day, so I can read then, and promptly started looking for stuff to do around the house. I could have gone down to One Music Fest, which Spanky was making day four or five of her Birthday week celebration, but by all reports, the sun had shown up and had taken off its shirt. Temperatures were in the mid-90's in the part of Piedmont Park with no shade. So that was a no go. Then I remembered my Tax HOMEWORK is due Monday by 9am, so I realized I did have some weekend school work to do and started doing that, because it normally takes a while. A long while.

By Saturday evening, upset and frustrated at my inability to decipher Federal Tax Code, after six or so hours off and on, I headed over to my RP's house. Earlier this year I finally let him know that I was over the "Mega Party" Concept we'd been keeping alive for the past few years, and he admitted he was kind of tired of it as well. So this was a small gathering of maybe 10 or 15 folks. We played cards, dominoes, ate, drank and whiled away an evening. It was nice, but again was home before midnight.

Sunday, I woke up and started on my tax problem again, piecing it together, line by line. After this semester, I'm going to ask the dean to re-write the descriptions for the tax class. I could have sworn the phrase "discuss tax theory" was in the listing when I signed up, not "we will try to make you a tax attorney." Especially since currently I have no desire whatsoever to be a tax attorney. Zero. This promises to be my challenge class, if I can make it through this I'm going to see if there is Underwater Basket weaving has a legal angle. After much whittling, and five more hours, I finally got the problem down to something I was comfortable turning in and dutifully emailed it.

This is gonna be a long semester.

Barkeep. Let me get a tea.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tne New Groove

Ramblings Post #156
You got to have a plan. Even if you don't stick to it, you have to have a plan. It is the metaphorical picking a direction and heading out instead of just wandering to wherever fate and the winds take you. Even if it's just a few parts sketched out, as long as it contains the basics -where you are, where you going, and the realization it's some distance - you're good. It needs to be flexible, becomes things change, but resolute to a great degree, because it's far too easy to give up...and just pretend you made every effort. You got to have a plan. And a towel.

What I envisioned for this next part is straight out of the movies. The rising at 6am, heading to the gym then home for breakfast. Dashing to campus to spend my days flitting between the library, various student organizations and the career center. Body sleek, mind honed to a razor's edge, rested and prepared for classes for which I've read the material enough to recite it from memory.

Then again, considering the demands of my SECOND tax class (yeah, I know, brilliant idea) that reciting from memory part might not be that far fetched.

What's really going to happen will be a lot less pretty. I've already found out the parking situation on campus borders on surrealistic tragic comedy, so one idea may already be dead. Funny, now that I write that, I suddenly remember my undergrad Alma Mater having similar issues, with parking problems that NASA and Watson would have been hard pressed to find solutions for. Here its an urban campus, with school structures next door to office buildings, and no verdant lawn of green to act as a hedge against the vast swathes of uneducated masses...or something like that. This promises to be fun.

I'll be in and out, I see that now. Or there will be days I go and stay from 8am - if I can sneak a park close - and don't leave until 9pm when my last class is over. Or I'll break down and ride Marta, which for your information on the urban side ISN'T imbued with the nice secure parking structure that exist up north. I'll be packing lunch and dinner and looking for the quiet spot in the library. The ladies in the career center will either come to love me or begin to hurriedly jump up to lock the door when I turn the corner. It's going to be a mix of ardent study followed by periods where I have to force myself to read, carefully structured reading and research along with periods where I'm winging it because I was doing something I shouldn't have been doing.

It's going to be very real.

What I don't want is become the hermit student. It's all too easy to read the cases, do the write ups and stay home, avoiding the traffic and worse on campus. I resigned so I can do now, let's do this.

I think I need a hug.

Barkeep. A jagermister and the five hour energy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Five Minutes Watching: The A-Team

I don't watch a lot of movies, because I don't have time. But at the end of day of work, then class, then reading for the next class, and writing down what I wrote so I can remember it all, I'll turn on one of them pay channels I have for just such an emergency and catch five minutes of something.

Utilizing my new found freedom, and as a present for doing my homework, and because it was on, I watched the A-Team movie the other night, starring Liam Neeson as the venerable Hannibal Smith. Er, was George Clooney not available? Maybe even Bruce Willis in a bad wig? Because the guys who played Face, Murdock and B.A were on point, but Liam Neeson just looked out of place. Like he was trying too hard. Like he wasn't playing Hannibal, but doing an impersonation of George Peppard as Hannibal. There were times he even looked like Al Bundy playing action hero. And this selection alone lowered the whole thing to parody.

That and the final showdown, but more on that later.

Now, to be clear, the writing for the film version of the A-Team actually wasn't horrible. Considering how bad Hollywood has done some other ideas, a great deal of it actually made "action movie sense", in that it worked as long as it stays in its own little universe.
The trying to "fly the tank" bit was good, and the some of the set pieces were nice, although the obvious (and I mean really obvious) use of CGI kind of snatched away some of the thunder.

But there were one too many coincidences. One too many shots of Liam Neeson looking like he ate something bad. And the use of the new Hollywood hot villain - the rogue agent. Hasn't this character been the antagonist of ALL three Mission Impossible and the Jason Bourne movies, as well as every other spy movie for the past five years? Maybe we could have like a villain type villain going forward. At least James Bond tries to shoot somebody NOT on the same payroll. I will admit it was a nice bit of writing to work the rouge agent trope into the origin story trope, but I'm really kind of tired of that fighting against an insider concept.

That concept, and the way they did the final showdown. First, it was Face's plan and not Hannibal's which was the first problem. Then in the middle of it you have that obviously CGI mess that makes no, and I mean NO sense. I realize there was the ability to print your own money at stake - although how long you could get away with NEW small faced hundreds is anyone's guess, but all the running through the streets shooting at people? The explosions at the end (they blew up a ship!) should garnered some interest, from some kind of law enforcement. Even if they had a stand down order from rogue agent. Somebody should have noticed. Somebody. Anybody?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So that's what happens....

Ramblings Post #155
There is only one thing constant: change. Rarely if ever are the we same person who awoke this morning as the person we take to bed that night. Life, sometimes in sudden swoops and sometimes incrementally, has a way of changing us, of making us other people. It's why sometimes people who haven't seen us in a while don't really know us anymore. We're changing. All the time. Scary, isn't it.

I been gone for a minute, but I feel the need to yell into the darkness.

I have pressed the shiny red button. It's ova.

I am no longer a chicken plucker. It's been a long strange trip but now it's onto the next phase. That spring of 2003 the job was supposed to be a way station to the next big thing, but after a while I just got used to it. It became routine and I let myself get mired in the client's issues, which in many cases were amplified by third parties really only interested in themselves. I got used to Sporty being there, having the ability to hang out with friends, to occasionally splurge on something for myself. I wish I could say now that I'm leaving I have to dial it back, but its been dialed back for a while. A lot of what this position initially gave me, I haven't had for a while. So now, in the middle of an economic downturn, I walk out the door? Buying low they call it.

My stomach is unsettled.

For the first time in a almost a decade, I'm not sure how I'm going to get to the next. Before now, there was always a next check, knowing that if I went in and did what I had to do, that money WOULD come. When it reality they could have eased me out the door at any time, for any reason and in hot skippy minute I could be scrambling for something. It's eerie to think I had convinced myself that that place was "my spot" when I never really knew for sure. At least the way I'm leaving, it's on my own terms. Still, "pushing away from the table" is mental struggle.

My stomach is unsettled.

This whole period is bad for my diet, as for the past two weeks while things have been working themselves out - the money, the classes, the job, my life - I've been over indulging like its going out of style: fried chicken, copious amounts of red meat, too much bread, not enough fruit. I've been sugared up and salted down. But I'm too tired of thinking about what comes next to take the time to make something healthy. But I'm going to have to tighten that back up as soon as I can. The sugar and salt are now just fleeting joy in the sun.

My stomach is unsettled.

There was time a long time ago when I lived off temp jobs and hook-ups, and what I'm about to do was the norm. But that was a long time ago, and like a pro athlete trying to regain his step, this is going to take a minute. I want to say that there is no fear...but I'd be lying. They say god watches out for drunks and babies...and I stopped drinking like that years ago. Let's hope I can get a toddler exemption.

My stomach is unsettled.

Someone once described my approach to life as metaphorically comparing me to a glacier. Slow, steady, but always moving forward, almost inevitable. I've thought of it more in term of a freight train. Slow to start, but once its rolling it is incredibly hard to stop. This experience right here, is more like an ejector seat. I was just doing this one thing...then bam! I'm 500 hundred feet up and rising.

My stomach is unsettled.

I'm in it for the full time this last year of law school. Now, I did jimmy it - five classes, three final exams, one paper so it's not completely ridiculous. And since the paper is due before the end of the semester, once I'm done with it I can focus on the exams - and only one of the three already has me nervous. It's more but it's not more, ya' know? But now the shenanigans leading up to taking the bar are about to start. It's gonna be a matter of my focus and my discipline. In the end you just want to get to the next part, but what happens when you actually get there?

I didn't think I would but I'm going to miss that spot. It was the outlet on the other side of law school. All I have now is me...and school.

Barkeep, something cheap. I got to make this little piece of change last...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

So what happens if I press this button?

Ramblings Post #154
I read somewhere that no one is original. That in reality, we are all just the sum total of our experiences, squeezed through the prism of time. We were born raw material, and since then we've been molded by our family, our friends, our choices, luck, circumstances, fate and whether or not we like Miracle Whip. But right now I'm at a cross roads. I'm glad this debt ceiling this is over, even though the agreed upon solution appears to reheated and warmed over greasy dog droppings that no one likes (one of the signs of good compromise), I'm tired of talking about it. This is about me.

Very shortly I have to decide if I'm going to switch to law school full time or continue my part time "shenanigans."

You can see by my slightly biased characterization which way I'm leaning.

If I were your typical 25-26 year old with the world in front of them, bunking on a friend's couch and living off cold pizza for a while wouldn't be nothing but a thing. At this point in my life however, I'm saddled with grown up stuff - a mortgage, a credit card bill, car insurance, me insurance and few other necessities (water, lights, phone). And what happens if I have another break in? I'm getting by now with those because the guy who does my work is one really understanding guy. Really. But one bad Thursday with broken windows, missing stuff and other sundry destruction would be devastating.

The reality of it is that unlike undergrad, my finances are more imposing upon decisions than they used to be. Don't get me wrong, I can dial down or turn off the DirecTV, catch the bus to downtown twice a week to save gas and go back to eating the dreaded Ramen noodles and variations on the potato for a year to get my degree. Part of getting what you want is sacrifice. But funny thing, part of bar fitness will be my credit rating, so I'll have to be able to meet my accumulated bills for the year I'm down under. It would be shame to reach the end goal and denied on the technicality. So I can't just go all out trying to get there.

The benefits of full time vs. part time are boundless however. With full time I get the ability to go actually speak to the professor on a regular basis. Better access to the career center. Opportunities to join a professional club and participate REGULARLY. A chance to go to the mixers that happen while I'm in evening classes and make the connections I'll need later in a practice. A better ability to study and actually get my stuff together that doesn't involve staying up until 2am trying to re-read what I already read the previous weekend trying to refresh myself. You know, all the stuff I was to stupid to do during undergrad. Amazing how those life lessons come back, isn't it. It all hinges however, on my ability to make these payments.

When my parents suggested this years ago, their idea was to borrow to the hilt and go full time. Looking back, having not been in a class room in a decade would have caused that plan to be a disaster. But now, my study habits have improved and I've gotten my mind more in harmony with how this is all working. And as I explained to a class mate, considering the student loans I've already accumulated, I'm kinda "all in" with this thing. Why half step the rest of the journey? Worse, looking at the math of my accumulated hours, if I don't go full time the bar would be kicked back to almost two years away. Which is a long time at my age.

The worst part is everyone wants me to go full time. My folks. My classmates. Sporty. Me. But the reality of the situation is the reality of the situation.

I've got lot of number to figure out. And I went to law school because I'm bad at math, so I might be a minute.

Barkeep. Water. I gotta keep my wits straight, and the my diet won't let me have any sugar.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Sugar Coated , um... Sandwich with Hot Mustard.

This a political post

When I first got to college, one of the first classes I took was accounting. Now, I'm not Einstein, but I can add and subtract, and since accounting wasn't supposed to have variables or sine curves, I figured it couldn't be that hard. Had I said that before I went to college, those would qualify as famous last words. Accounting is NOT math.

And the budget process is more akin to a Potions class at Hogwarts than to something you could put down on paper. Tax cuts, revenue increases, deferments, entitlements, and all that come together to form what has to be one of the great messes of history. Its so convoluted that it's possible to imagine that one fanciful night, someone would realize a decimal point was out of place on page three thousand, all the numbers would suddenly fall into place, and all our problems would be solved.

But finally, after much hemming and hawing, we've reached a deal. As a sign of a good compromise, neither side particularly likes this deal. No revenue increase, although the tax rate is the lowest been in anyone living's lifetime, and tax cuts of things that actually drive the economy. And because Obama is in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation, he's gonna sign it. He's not going to like, he doesn't want to do it, and if he's already conceded he might be a one-termer, he may was well just say it.

What he needed was somebody willing to take the rap, what he got was the stereotypical smoke filled room. The President can only do so much. He was a Constitutional law professor, he knows where the lines are. But these folks are wearing him out. I hate to say it, but we abandoned him halfway through, getting excited about the Tea Party as though they were 21st century Beanie Babies, and now we're paying for it. This "austerity" plan didn't work in Japan in the 1990's, it's not working in Greece today, and now the Conservatives are forcing it down our throats here as though its the brand new electric slide. Forget hoping Obama gets re-elected, considering his competition that's not a great leap, we need to hope he still wants to lead us next time.

Considering how we've treated him, I would understand if he gave up the ghost.