Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Three Things

Alright. Here's today.

1st: Found out, after 2 months of swimming almost every day and usually swimming at least a mile a day, that I have lost, quite literally, no weight. I weigh, today, exactly what I weighed the last time I weighed myself.


2nd: This girl that I'm kind of into at the moment agreed to go to this fun-sounding dance/exercise thing with me tonight. She didn't show. I called a couple times. No answer. She also did not ever call to apologize or give an excuse.

Why do I feel like the bad guy for being irritated about this?

3rd: Got rejected by the FDIC today. I currently have next to no job prospects and am just waiting for the letter of rejection from the Hutchinson firm. Surely that'll be coming in the next few days. How much fun will that be!

Look, I realize I'm kind of a douche bag. I know I throw just about as many impediments in my own way as anyone else might. But is this really my life?

God, even that sounds asinine. "Oh. Boo-hoo. Not everything in my life has been handed to me on a silver platter. Why doesn't everyone feel sorry for me?"

Maybe this is just one of those tired things. I already exercised tonight. I ate dinner. I watched humorous television shows. Typically, if none of those things work, I can go to sleep and everything will seem better in the morning.

Except this feels kinda different. Actually, a lot of my rants have been feeling different these days. Perhaps it has to do with my aging, but I'm slowly getting less weepy about life and more pissed off. I mean, sure, I've made mistakes. Every reader of this blog can attest to that. One even has recently.

But is that all there is? I make a few profound mistakes in life (another example, not getting good enough grades my 1L year) and I'm relegated to some sort of weird life that's a partial mix of has-been and never-had? I'm freaking 27! This is prime of my life territory! Why do so many things suck?

Maybe it's because of mornings. I go through an awful lot of my life content and patient. Except the fact of the matter is that content doesn't get you major life advancements. It doesn't get you a job. It doesn't get you a promotion. It doesn't get you a girlfriend. In the paraphrased (and made up) words of Freud, it doesn't get you laid.

And without those things, what is life? The collective purpose of humankind is to contribute to the whole through work and to procreate. I've managed to do neither of those things. I mean, it's not even close.

So here is to every single one of my friends. You, every single one of you, have managed to accomplish more in life than I. Kudos.

Alright. I guess that's enough of this pissed off rant that appears to be tinged with what might callously be called a mild self-loathing. As I do not consider myself a callous individual, I will choose to call it a frustration in efforts of self. Time to go to bed, so I can wake up and turn back into the nice, friendly, happy version of myself who will be embarrassed about this discourse.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Who won the VP debate?

I should note, before beginning, that I am a registered democrat, which means I am a communist who is always on drugs, hates America and freedom, hates babies and our troops, and feels joy when America loses as something. Just kidding. I'm just disclosing the democrat thing to disclose my initial leanings. Ahem...,

Alright, it's been a few hours since I watched the Veep debate. The dust has settled. I went drinking for a while. Things are as they ought to be.

But now I come back and I discover that maybe this debate didn't go, in the minds of those watching, the same way it went in my mind.

Let me put this in context. I watched this debate, and I saw a woman repeating talking points in an obvious way. The clearest case in point being the discussion of Obama's naivete, a word I'm guessing Palin has never said before last week. Or, at least, a word she's never pronounced as she pronounced it tonight.

The reason I think this? She used the word within a few minutes of using the word nukular. Not nuclear. Nukular. A person who says "nukular" does not also say "nigh-eve-eh-tay."

In my mind, she was a bit like a robot or recording machine, save for the insanely irritating moment when she grinned really big and wide after she thought she'd caught Biden in a gaffe.

Also, I had a great deal of trouble following anything she said. I definitely thought I was witnessing a lot of confused rambling.

Meanwhile, I thought Biden did an incredible job. Not only did he talk in clear sentences, but he actually pointed to specifics. He mentioned some actual things that would probably have to be cut because of this bailout. He was willing to point to a misconception or mistaken belief he'd had as a senator. He was, amazingly, genuine, which is a fair sight better than anything Palin, McCain, or Obama had done up to this point.

And yet, now that I return from the bars, I discover that a lot of people completely disagree with me. People, admittedly on conservative websites, are talking about how Palin wiped the floor with Biden. How she connected with people at a gut level. How she was honest and straightforward and had Biden on the ropes, cowering in the corner.

When I'd finished watching the debate, I was trying to be impartial. (Obviously, not to other people. To other people I was saying exactly what I thought.) But mentally I considered the debate and had figured that the thing was probably a tie. Honestly, before going into this debate, a democrat's best hope was for a tie. If Biden had gone in, guns blazing, attacking the crap out of Palin, he'd have been wildly castigated by both the media and the public. The veep debate of 1984 taught us that you cannot be mean to a female candidate in a debate. The nation will respond poorly.

So Biden, if you recall, did not spend a single moment attacking Palin directly. Instead, he spent his entire time going after McCain. Indeed, the only person to really highlight the differences between Palin and McCain was Palin herself.

Under that kind of scrutiny, Biden's only hope was to continue beating down McCain and placing himself in the best light he could. This I thought he did.

I've already expressed my views on Palin's performance. She did a decent enough job with what she had to work with, but there was nothing interesting or exceptional about her efforts.

And yet, now I discover a large chunk of America not only disagrees with my actual opinion, but also with my attempt at an impartial opinion. This concept borders on shocking to me.

But maybe it shouldn't. Maybe this is the very definition of what a polarized nation is. It isn't only that we have differing opinions on what is happening and what should be happening. It's also that we have differing views on what has already happened. We focus on different moments. We remember different things.

Here was my focus:

My favorite thought suggested by Biden was one that most people probably completely dismissed. He said, to paraphrase, that the way he'd try to draw both sides of Washington together was to throw out preconceptions about motive. In other words, he would go in believing that every person in Washington truly DID want to help America and truly did want to make a positive difference in the world.

Instead of believing in the inherent good or bad in a person, he would assume good in all and seek only to determine why the judgment of both sides differed.

I really thought that was an unusually uplifting ideal, as we sit here, a month away from one of the more contentious votes in our nation's history, and it is one that I will hopefully keep in mind as we move along.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

A good post after 2am?

Here's a new one. It's after 2am, and I'm actually writing because I've calmed down.


I know!

I mean, sure, we've all seen me go to sleep and wake up embarrassed and calmer, but to do so in the same night? I'm pretty sure that is unprecedented.

Anyway, I've decided that I was too quick to jump to conclusions earlier. Maybe the entire world isn't out to get me. Perhaps comparing myself to the Wandering Jew was stretching the problem. The fact that I haven't had anything even remotely resembling a real relationship this close to 30 is a little frightening, but the fact of the matter is that an enormous lack of self-confidence is a thing I will probably always battle. A need to please everyone in the room will be the albatross around my neck for quite some time to come.

Perhaps women are idiots. Perhaps men are too. Regardless, the fact of the matter is that I haven't ever actually played the game. Oh, I've come close once or twice, but I always pull back before the game ends.

I used to say that I was a great wingman, because I had preternatural skill in convincing women to come talk to me and my gang. I also said I was a great wingman, because the skill ended at this point.

Maybe I was wrong about that. Maybe the skill didn't end there. Maybe the problem was that I just didn't stick with it. I see guys stick by the side of a woman all night that they barely know, and I think, "What a tool." Thing is, maybe that tool knows a thing or two that I don't.

Maybe to get where we're trying to go in life each of us has to accept the fact that we can't always be the life of the party. Maybe, we need to grow a pair, make a choice, and stick with it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Enough of this bullshit

I'm back. And I'm fucking pissed.

Look, I'm sorry. I've spent 14 years blaming my problems on myself. What am I doing wrong? Why isn't it working? How is it that all my friends have had serious relationships/have gotten married/have had ridiculous amounts of sex, when I - poor little old me - appear to be the unpopular kid that all the other unpopular kids avoid in embarrassment.

At this point, that is just bullshit. You know what's wrong with me? Me fucking neither. I am a great guy. I've spent year and years and years being a great guy. I'm thoughtful, funny, contemplative, interesting, broad, and broadminded. I speak two language, have been to half a dozen countries, care about politics, and meet people easily. I can swim a mile easily. I have good genes. I'm gifted. I've written a book. I'm fluent in the language of technology and enjoy every brand of humor from low brow to high culture.

I have no trouble operating at a level that is skin deep, but am equally at home delving deeply into the issues. People trust me enough to tell me their hopes and fears, and I never break the sacred bond by blabbing those hopes and dreams to others.

I graduated college in four years. I have a masters degree in applied psychology. I'm one year away from being a lawyer. Fuck, I've even won the John fucking Philips Sousa award. I know how to play chords on a piano and am at least decent in the karaoke scene. I can match a shoe with a belt. People have conversations about what a great guy I am behind my back.

When I have money I am generous with it. If I don't have money, I'm willing to donate time.

I write enjoyable and interesting prose. If I author a mailing list, people who are no longer members of the list sometimes choose not to unsubscribe, simply because they enjoy reading what I've written.

I am, not to put to fine a line on the concept, fucking awesome.

You want to know why I don't get dates? You know why I've spent my entire life (save a very limited number of days) alone? It's because women are idiots.

That's it. Idiots. Dummschwaetzerin. Vollidioten. The freaking bane of my existence.

Someone out there might try to rationalize the idiot gene going on in the so-called fairer sex, but I assure you, anyone who would pick the skinny guy who looks serious and works in a bar/coffee shop over me needs to have her head examined. It's crap. It's a joke.

So what the fuck do I do about it? Fucking nothing. There's nothing to do. Give up. Given in. Accept the fact that, no matter how hard you try, you are doomed to walk the world, unknown and unloved until the seas boil and the four horsemen charge forth from the rumbling sky.

Of course, if I did that, there would be no satisfaction. Why should I spend my life being all depressed? Sure, for whatever inexplicable reason I will never have the ability to seduce women and then leave them heartbroken and alone. But that doesn't mean I have to be polite about it. I think it's time to start being the world's biggest prick.

Fuck yes.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

a willingness to chat?

Alright, folks, no guarantees, but I have this resolution to try to update my little corner of the interweaving webs, so here's my attempt for tonight.

You know how I seem to have an interest in chicks/women/the ladies who are currently in relationships? Tonight I figured out why that might be.

Specifically, I was hanging out with two cute girls. Both of whom were very high on my interest-0-meter. One was dating a guy. The other was not.

Can you guess which one said more that three words to me?


Yes, that's it. That's the magic. I'm really pretty easy to please. Be mildly attractive and actually spend 5 seconds talking to me. I'll be like a love-sick puppy for the 2 years.

With that said, I'm curious about the other side. Men all know that an engagement ring guarantees that every woman you see will instantly be attracted to you. Ditto, to a lesser extent, having a girlfriend at all.

Is this actually because men in relationships are more talkative and interesting, or is there something else going on on your end?

I'm just a humble, fat, short(actually, average heighted) man lookin for some answers. Anyone got any comments?

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Update: It only took a year, but yesterday I GOT A JOB!! Yup. I'd like to take this time to thank all those who supported me in my multitude of dark hours, along with the little man and the Fonz.

I'd especially like to thank the Fonz. Hey!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Play it one last time, Sam

So here's an interesting concern. What if the main reason I didn't get so many of these jobs is because I didn't know the right people?

It sounds like my most recent rejection was due, in part, to someone at the office knowing a guy who had applied. If it is the person I think it is, I'm pretty sure my grades are better or at least the same; I've had an extra year of experience; I worked in a law related field last summer; I have any experience with the judges and court in Topeka; and I'm really an all around more interesting and outgoing person.

However, the person who got the job had an relationship of some kind with an associate, and I have a friendship with a part time law student who is also working there.

I mean, in retrospect, shouldn't I have given that job up for lost the second I found out about this other person? His qualities over-power mine in every way.

It's possible that my current year long job hunt has, and is continuing to make me a bitter person. Here I was, thinking the only thing missing in my life was the ability to get a date. I had no idea that getting a job can be so equally horrible.

It'd be neat if every three years or so, from this point forward, I became terrible at one more thing successively, so that, by the time I was about 75, childless, and reviled by all those around me, I could die mercifully in my sleep.

Wow. Even I thought that was a little too dark. But dammit, I HATE this process.

Tomorrow morning I'm driving to Topeka (that'll be today, for those of you reading) to be pleasant at ANOTHER job interview, just so I can rejected again. Mind you, the odds for this job sound slightly more decent. It isn't being advertised at KU. I applied because I had an in. Thing is, if they only hire one person, it is simply impossible for that person to be me. This, I've learned, is a maxim of the legal profession.

"Thou shalt not hire NJ, for he is flabby and unworthy."

Update: It's funny reading some of these recent postings again. They remind me of my "why can't I find an attractive woman who is even vaguely interested in me" speeches. In those speeches I spend a great deal of time wondering exactly what, in the rational world, could be the reason for my failure. Usually, I decide it comes down to my weight. And my incredible lack of trying and fear of failure.

The nice twist on the job front is that lack of trying isn't an issue anymore. I've definitely put myself out there plenty of times.

If I had to compare the two, I would say I prefer my lack-of-women thing. For one thing, I'm probably richer for it. (You know, a penny saved...) The other nice thing about is it the notable lack of complete failure. Oh sure, I've been rejected occasionally, but never as many times in such a brief span of time. My dating rejections have had good healing time spans in between. With this job thing, since August I've been rejected every month but January and maybe March. Big difference there.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Late Night Musings - Stream of consciousness rocks!

It's funny how much doom and gloom a person can feel during the hell that is finals. Ditto in the world of job searches.

I just googled myself. Turns out you can get to this blog from my real name in about 3 clicks.

That's not a lot of clicks. Honestly, it's pretty unnerving. What if some hot chick, or God forbid, some employer gets to this blog and figures out what's going on? I seriously sound like a whiny little bastard who is possibly crazy and almost certainly a depression risk.

I imagine I also sound like a self-involved writer of mediocre talents who does, admittedly, have the ability to turn the average joke on occasion. Talk about a terrible representation of... well, no, that's about right.

At least I'm honest with myself on here. I may not come off as the greatest job candidate of all time, but dag-nabbit, I'm an excellent first alternative!

Anyway, I really like approximately the third day after finals. You know, that's the day when you've finally gotten enough sleep; you're pretty sure you're not going to be having any finals-related nightmares; and life can start being good again. At least, this is true until you start worrying about grades, but that's not for like another whole week!

(I almost wrote "a whole nother," but recalled the Family Guy episode where that was frowned upon. See! You can learn English everywhere!)

What are some other things going on in my life? Um, I keep meaning to call D. It's weird. It seems like every day for the past 3 weeks it occurs to me to call her, but then something either comes up or I assume she's working. Can't say I approve of that behavior.

I recently dropped a few places on the Facebook compare people application. I'm still holding steady in my better upper rankings, including smarts and reliability (I know! Reliability? Really? Maybe I define reliable different than other people). Plus, I'm holding steady in my two favorite upper categories, Best Singer and Person I would Most Rather Travel With. So that's awesome.

But I have sadly dropped to 17th sexiest and 20th most likely to succeed. I guess I can't fault people for the sexiest thing. I mean, there's no reason to split straws about that one. But 20th most likely to succeed!? Gosh, people, talk about no faith.

You know, Eisenhower was voted most likely to be a librarian. Maybe we should all remember that when we go around picking "most likely to succeed." Seriously, I am unimpressed with that ranking. On the other hand, there was only a vote 3 times, and I won 2 of those three, so I guess it's not all bad.

OK. I'm done. Bed time. After rereading this post, I can definitely guess that I'm tired... in a good mood, certainly, but tired.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Rejection. Failure. Choices.

Tonight, I'm going to try to tip-toe around some depressing topics without getting all depressy. This is partially because I don't want to go there tonight and partially because I've been thinking about some things that I find interesting.

My focus tonight is a topic, or series of topics, maybe, very near and dear to my heart. Rejection. Failure. Choices.

That's what an awful lot of the world is all about. And I don't understand why.

I mean, think back on the evolution of our species. Choices, certainly, were pretty big for us. Failure, also, meant quite a bit. Both issues were crucial in the long term outcome of mankind.

But rejection. What's that about?

No, even that's the wrong question. There are a million things that rejection can be all about. Most obvious and simple is that we're all looking for the fittest of the fit.

So what am I getting at tonight?

Yesterday I got rejected for approximately the 8000th job. Last night I went to a dinner in which one of the chief justices of the Kansas supreme court and I reminisced about our job interview failures.... Only Madam Chief Justice's story was about how she'd forgotten the name of one of the five high power, high money Washington, D.C. firms she'd interviewed with, and my story had to do with being rejected over the phone for a job that - I think - paid $11 an hour.

Talk about two distinct points of view.

Almost all of my law school friends have jobs now. The ones who don't have summer plans.

Maybe that's it. I've never been here before. (I've also never used as many 'e's in a sentences as that. Two in every word but the first! Wow!)

Um. Back on point. I've never been in this position before. I am the odd man out. I'm, all of a sudden, the kid who gets picked last for kickball, not because I suck at kickball, but because everyone else just happens to be a little bit better than I am.

And it's true in every aspect of the job search. I don't have the grades to go into the big time defense jobs. I don't have the interviewing skills to wow the mid-size firms of the world. I don't have the integrity to send out a million applications the super small time firms of the region. And I don't have the personality or connections to accidentally fall into a job.

I'm the first alternative. The first runner-up. The person they'd hire if they could hire two. And even that is on a good day. On a bad day, I'm the person who gets rejected out of hand.

Thing is, I think we all already know that. Lord knows I've bitched about it enough. Why write tonight? Why keep going on about these things, if the problem has already been so well-defined?

I keep writing, because I keep looking for the way out of this mess. The third issue. Choices. For all that I complain about the problem, I've never really addressed the solutions. And why haven't I addressed them?

I don't know. (Mind you, this isn't the pissed off, defensive type of I don't know. This is the kind of "I don't know," where the tired old man shrugs his shoulders and hangs his head.) Maybe it's a little to do with fear. Some of the choices leave me a poor, financially strapped man with very little hope of ever breaking my head above water. I mean, do I stop? Is that the solution? Do I quit law school altogether? Sure, I have a ton of loans, but a law job won't get rid of them, if I don't GET a law job.

There are other solutions, beyond giving up, but giving up feels so much like a nice enemy that I know. I know where that path will lead me. I don't have any idea my current path is leading. I'm not going to be on the KU Law board of governors. I can comfortably say that, I think. I'm probably not going to be a judge. I will not graduate with honors. I will not have been on Law Review, Law Journal, nor the Moot Court Council. I'll have gotten nearly every position I've ever won because I ran either unopposed or against disinterested competition. I will never have received a CALI award of excellence.

And, with all of that said, my resume still looks nice. The thing it is missing is the thing that would turn me into a good lawyer. The instinct. The will. The WIN.

That's it. That's the thing I'm missing. The win. I am not the best at anything at all. I'm the guy who is decent at things. I'm a middle cog. To borrow from another metaphor, I live in a perpetual state of spinning my wheels.

Thing is, I don't think I can change that. At least, not while in law school. Maybe when I hit the real world and things start to count. Maybe then I'll be able to move out of this malaise.

But perhaps not. Perhaps the options are really very simple. I can either quit/finish law school and stop this whole lawyer thing altogether, or I can finish, become a public defender, do the loan forgiveness thing, and quietly accept that I am who I am.

And, for my most likely option, maybe I'll go another way completely, ending up doing something that is acceptable but not optimal. (i.e. Montana State... eh, not bad. Not the George Washington U., but not bad.) I guess I can cross my fingers for that one.

But wouldn't it be cool if I wasn't stuck with these choices? Wouldn't it be cool if I were the person who was having a hard time, because I had two awesome job offers, and I couldn't pick between them?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Many Faces of NJ

Hey! I'm blogging on this blog, right when I'm SUPPOSED to be blogging on my official blog! Is that irony or just an unfortunate coincidence? I'm still a little stuck on the difference.

I just finished this blue rockstar, and I appear to be having the shakes. It seems that whatever tolerance I developed to caffeine has left me high and dry. Damned body!

Um, anyway..., so I realized something about this blog. I'm doing a pretty bad job with it. I have a couple different modes in life. There's the standard, positive, day-time NJ. The much less positive, desparately grasping at straws, 2AM NJ. And, of course, the superhero NJ with secret decoder ring and x-ray goggles.

Anyway, I think this blog turned into the 2am NJ show by mistake at some point. All my typical humor seems not to be present.

Talk about some bullshit!

Sorry, dirty-mouthed NJ just got through. I tell you. That guy...

Screw you!

Right! That's it!


And I'm back. I forgot what I was talking about. OH, I let depressed, grasping at straws NJ take the reins too much. I mention the grasping at straws part, because that bit of me seems certain that I have hardly any options in life, zero women are interested in me, and I will never reproduce.

Whether I, happy (and currently hyped-up) NJ, agree with him is certainly a big question mark, but the fact of the matter is that I don't get so depressed about the whole affair. I figure that if something is going to happen, it will eventually. If not, then I'll just donate some sperm to a sperm-bank at age 40 and hope for the best. Who knows? Maybe some nice lesbian couple out there would be interested in kids with a bright dad with an ear for the piano. Who wants to leave THEM high and dry, I ask you? Probably HITLER would. And I am NOT Hitler.

Also, to the best of my knowledge, I don't hate gypsies or the Jewish religion, culture, or populace.

Nor clowns. Even if I am scared of clowns. And Hitler. And President Lincoln's ghost who lives in the basement of my old farmhouse.

Long story on that last one.

Anyway, I'm going to make a renewed effort to have the positive NJ post to this site for the foreseeable future.

Until next time...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Russian Brides

You know what would make life a great deal easier? A Russian bride.

I was watching this movie. IMDB calls it either "A Foreign Affair" or "Two brothers and a Bride" I'd call it ok at best. Not a great movie, not ridiculously terrible. I couldn't figure out what the point of it was, really, but I still didn't hate it.

Anyway, the plot is all about how these brothers need a wife, because they live on a farm and their ma died. It's not a sex thing. It's a "who's gonna do the dishes now?" thing.

Like I said, for the most part, take the movie, leave the movie, who cares? The only thing I really took away from it was how ridiculously straightforward the mail-order bride thing is.

Seriously. No red tape. No wondering if she does or does not like you. Sure, the issue of getting along and having anything in common might come up, but those are problems AFTER marriage.

Would it be cheating to skip all that? Is this trying to establish love thing really all that useful?

I don't really know. The only thing I'm sure of is how tired of it all I am. It should come as no surprise to anyone out there that mine is not the firmest of spines. I wilt quickly and easily. I see my weight displayed prominently in a photo, and I am totally without words for coming up with a reason a woman would be interested in me. Similarly low self-esteem? The desire to settle, maybe?

So wouldn't it be so much easier to marry a woman named Oxana or Olga?

Of course, going that route would be the ultimate admittance of defeat. I couldn't do that until I'd been earning money for a few years and had COMPLETELY convinced myself that the weight just is not coming off. After that, though, smooth sailing.

I saw D yesterday. I'm not sure if I've used other abbreviations before. She's the girl I think of as my Sally (Of When Harry Met Sally). If I were ever to end up with someone whom I had know for years and years, it'd almost certainly be her. We don't always agree on everything - she's more conservative and religious than I am for example - but we seem to get along so well.

In fact, as I think about it, she really seems to be like a sharper-edged version of our very own kee, as I think on it. Plus, I'm pretty sure - with her - that, when the right woman came along, I would have no problem saying, "No thanks. I'm married."

That's not very descriptive, is it? Well, no matter. As I was saying, I saw her. We sat around. Drank a little. I met one of her coworkers.

And the whole time I found myself wondering if our friendship, to her, is just an unusually long lasting long-distance friendship. There's no When Harry Met Sally. There's no wondering if and/or when this was going to happen. There's only totally safe NJ.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kansas English

So some guys are working on a light by the bookstore. It's in a pretty inaccessible place and doesn't look like a lot of fun.

Anyway, one of them just said, "Probly ain't never been dealt with 'til now."

The question I have is, where do people learn how to talk that way? "Ain't never"? I mean, Kansas is known for having a very neutral dialect. With the possible exception of pin/pen and crayon/crown, we just don't deal with a lot of accent around here. (Also, among old people, "warsh.")

I think I'm going to blame Oklahoma and Missouri on this one. Somehow, all the blue collar folk from down and over there get imported to Kansas, where they seek to destroy our clean dialect.

Whether that is a bad thing, of course, is another issue. Language does change based on the efforts of the poor and the lower, middle class, so I guess I should just learn to accept that improper English is the wave of the future.

How do I show my support? I dont no! lolz! wut r u gunna do?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


A lot of times I write in this blog because I've read something else that inspired me to do so.

I believe that is right and just.

Unfortunately, I then get to the blog and realize that all my creative juices are really just a pale shadow of the creative work of others, so naturally I move on to bitter diatribes against those in better position than I.

I figure, if I'm not going to create, I may as well destroy. Clearly, I believe in an obliteration of the status quo, regardless of the direction that takes us all.

Does this mean I'm a democrat?

Ha! Political humor!

Anyway, I've been at a stand-still and a crossroads with my book for the last little while. I'm starting to get that hankering to write more frequently these days, but every time the desire to write strikes, I can't decided whether to start something new or add-to/change/fix something old (i.e. my book).

This is problematic. At least, it is some of the time. Half the ideas the ideas simply wouldn't work in my book.

For example, here's the rudimentary beginning to a new story idea I've been playing around with...

The best stories usually begin with a really great opening sentence. Or at least a great opening paragraph. Authors like to bring up men in black or “In the beginning.” Honestly, most of those stories are probably better than this one, especially if you enjoy plot, suspense, humor, intrigue, or divine inspiration.

Nevertheless, this story exists with all of its many imperfections. Perhaps that is for the best. How can we know the great stories, if we don’t have a few terrible stories to compare?

As I was saying, the best stories have great beginnings. This story does not. If this story were to great stories as pond scum is to Aquafina water, then the beginning of this story is – at best – the primordial soup that conceived of pond scum and thought, “Hey! Now there is something we can really look forward to achieving!”

This story begins in a closet.

It is not a magical closet. If you walk into the closet and close the door behind you, you won’t suddenly find yourself in some fantasy kingdom with talking rodents and Jesus-Lions. Nope, this is just an ordinary closet. On the floor of this closet is a pair of boots.

If you were curious, there is nothing particularly special about the boots either.

Actually, that is not entirely true. If you were to define “special” as ugly, worn, and a particularly gnarly shade of blue, then they were just about as special as a pair of boots can be.

In about two hours, a nineteen year old girl is going to open this closet, pull out these boots, and put them on. Somehow, beyond all the evidence to the contrary, she has convinced herself that they are cute.

Had the boots the ability to think and form opinions, they may have taken affront at this statement. They made it through three generations of feet. Surely boots at that stage in life ought to be given the courtesy and respect due their venerable age! Kids these days!

Fortunately, the boots did not have this ability. Also, being a combination of rubber, plastic, cloth, and cow skin, they would not have been about to act out their irritation, even if they could think.

However, all of that is still two hours off. For now, the boots are just sitting there, doing not much of anything and really expecting not much of anything.

Which is why, if they had eyes, the ability to think, and a bit more interest in the world around them, they would have been very surprised when the jacket hung on the rack above them bellowed, "Ah ha ha ha ha ha!"

A pair of dress pants hissed, “Shh! Do you want them to hear us?”

“But I just thought of something hilarious,” replied the jacket, plaintively.

At this point, the pair of boots probably would have moved beyond surprise into the sad realm of Thrown Out Preconceptions.

“Hey,” rumbled a pair of slingback flats, “I thought of something funny last week.” The pair paused. “Forgot what it wuz,” came the disappointed mumble that followed.

Had the boots been in the habit of making judgments, they would not have pegged the red and white polka-dotted shoes as something that would rumble when speaking. Fortunately, as might be guessed, the boots did not do a lot of pegging.

The dress pants spoke again. “Please! You are going to ruin everything! Remember Taiwan!”

This brought a thoughtful pause to the conversation. Taiwan had been a bad time. They all knew it. Actually, most of them knew it. The slingbacks thoughtfully paused because they were trying to remember what Tie-Won meant.

The boots remained silent, because they were just a pair of boots.

See? Isn't that a great time! And so completely and totally wrong for the book that I'm working on. Honestly, it might only be great for people with a really out-there sense of humor, like myself.

But I digress.

I do have an awful lot of thoughts that might better fit my novel. For example, I've been playing around with Interludes lately. They're a great time. They can add a whole new dimension. If you have 3 of them, you'll very effectively satisfy the reader's desire for sets of three. They would perfectly fit, if I decided to put the three Kansas books together, included a Prologue, and then put together two interludes. I'd suddenly have a 330 page novel on my hands and the world would be a brighter place.

As an additional bonus, I could end the first book exactly where I currently have it ended, and people wouldn't b*tch and moan about the semi-cliffhanger ending.

But do I really want to keep working on this book? Is it honest-to-goodness a strong enough story and plot to blow two or three more years of my life putting it together?

See. Difficult crossroads.

Ultimately, though, I think I should probably persevere. I'm a young lad, yet. I thought I was finished when I got to 119 pages all those many months ago. Now, through the miracle of editing, I know I was still a million miles away.

All of that is immaterial, though. This book may be the biggest load of crap ever, but I think it's essential that I finish it. Really finish it. In some previous post I talked about the pain of finishing and finding out that the result is really worse than the what-if. Perhaps that's true.

But at least I'll know.

Monday, February 25, 2008

My Bad Timing

The internet is down in the law school at the moment. It is 11:37 am. I have one of those colds that just keep on running, and I took some stuff that seems to be making me feel numb. Or else that’s the disease doing its thing.

I tried to get a haircut today. I have a job interview at 4pm, and my hair has reached the point of unruly. I’m reasonably certain I can get through this interview; I just wish it had occurred last Monday, rather than today.

Back on point, I tried to get a haircut. It seems allocating an hour to get a haircut just isn’t enough. If I don’t have an hour and ½, I’ll never get the cut done.

Speaking of which (for want of a better transition), what do I want to talk about today?

It’s funny. Ever since I changed this into an officially titled law blog, I’ve been talking less and less about the law. Perhaps that’s part of the point, whether I knew it or not, of the use of the word “casual” in my title. If nothing else, this blog is the document of a guy going through law school, not because he’s in love with the law, but because he doesn’t know what else to do with himself.

Of course, that could just be the drugs talking. (A.k.a. cold medicine. Seriously people, what other terrible things will you believe about me?)

Today I think I’d like to talk about my bad timing. Sounds like a Scrubs episode title. My Bad Timing.

I’m a bit of an oddball. For whatever reason, I’m significantly better at talking to women who are in relationships than I am with women who are available.

This was the primary thing I considered as I drove home from Law Prom last weekend. It’s been revolving it in my mind for a few days now, and I’ve come up with a few possible reasons why this might be.

Reason #1: I hate competition. Pretty, single girls get talked to a lot. I don’t do well in pressure environments where I have to try to compete with guys around me.

Reason #2: I’m not an especially attractive man. Oh, sure, I have some nice facial features, but the weight thing is the real elephant in the closet. Women in relationships don’t care about this, because they’ve finished looking, at least for the present. Single women who clearly haven’t found themselves in my friend zone yet; however, don’t have this luxury. I am an unknown factor. I am a threat, in the same way that I feel threatened by large, ugly women with wide mouths, when they start giving me the moon eyes.

Reason #3: Self-fulfilling Prophecy. I believe reasons number one and two with an unshakable conviction. For this reason, I shoot myself in the foot every time. If a woman is looking at me from across the room, I instantly assume she is looking at me for the same reason I’d be looking at an unattractive person: I just can’t help it, like a car wreck.

Regrettably, this all puts me in some pretty awkward positions. At the moment I’m interested in three women in the law school. Obviously, there are a few others that are more or less attractive, but these three all meet the all-important personality requirement. For those of you curious, there is no hard and fast rule for the personality requirement. Chattiness is usually good. An interest in politics is always a plus. The ability to start dancing in an area where dancing isn’t especially encouraged is neat. Hell, a cute laugh is effective. But, I guess, if I had to point to one thing, it’s probably the exact same thing that the ladies look for in men. I like it when women take an interest in me.

Unfortunately, the first girl is in an extended relationship. She’s not married, and it sounds pretty rocky. It’s just pretty hard to compete with extended relationships. The second girl just started a relationship. No love is more difficult to break than young love. This one may be the most frustrating, because I started being interested in her shortly before she started being in this relationship. Timing is frequently a bitch for me. The final girl is something of an enigma. She’s single. Thing is, I can’t tell if she is hung up by my weight, or just really into me and overly shy about it.

You can probably guess which one I’m guessing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Life is Moments

You know that terrible moment when you step on a scale for the first time in months after having thought you were doing pretty good this week, and you actually weigh a few pounds more than you expected?

I hate that moment.

Law Prom

It's official. I now live at the law school. Most weeks from now until early April, I'll have to be here until around 8 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Freaking ridiculous.

But I guess that's what becoming over-involved does to a person. Maybe I should try to learn from this and grow.

I think I've decided to go to the Barrister's ball. That's basically Law Prom, to those outside of the know. People dress up all fancy and go to some place where we eat hors d'oeuvres, drink wine, and pretend like we're 18. Hopefully there will also be a breathalyzer, otherwise I'll feel like something is missing.

Anyway, last year I had boycotted the event, because I hated going to these painful date things without a date. This year, shockingly, I still don't have a date. AM, however, wants to go and offered to do the friend date thing. It could be that the only the more painful than going dateless to a law prom is going with a friend date. Nevertheless, I'll probably end up going now. I'm just that way.

On another note, I've recently begun hating looking at pictures of me. Specifically, I hate pictures of me in judge robes.

Seriously, I look like a beach ball. Or a mole. Not the best look for me. Perhaps I should consider losing a bit of weight. Anyone have any ideas that I haven't already heard a thousand times?

Monday, February 11, 2008

A little honesty

I hate to admit this, as I think a stigma still exists about it, but I am currently a member of an online dating service.

For about one more week.

So far, I have netted zero results that have amounted to anything, and I'm getting tired of paying for essentially nothing. I can get no play for free in the real world!

Anyway, in my last week I've decided to have fun with the site, rather than actually try to get somewhere.

Recently, I was progressing along the conversation path with a girl who, in her "can't stands" list included "excessive overweight." Regrettably, that almost personifies my outward appearance.

For a while I was furious after reading that statement. I mean, I have two pictures uploaded on the site! It's pretty freaking clear that I'm not Mr. Skinny. Why would you drag me through these introductory stages if you were just going to deny me after wasting my time? There's a freaking reason I put my pictures up.

Those were my initial thoughts. Honestly, those are still my thoughts, but now they are less filled with rage. The next step was for us to ask three open-ended questions of each other. I didn't really intend to move to this stage, since I didn't see the point.

A day passes. Suddenly, she initiates this section by asking me the three questions. At first, I figure that I'll just ignore her. I mean, honestly, why waste a few seconds typing when I could be doing something useful? Like horticulture? Or toe nail maintenance?

But then I recall that I enjoy writing irritable and ironic prose, so I choose to answer her questions. Plus, since this isn't going anywhere anyway, I said screw it to the carefully couched phrasing. I was going to answer them as honestly as I could. Brutally so, even.

Anyway, the second question asked me to describe my personal style. Clearly, this girl had a thing about appearances. So... I let her have it. The following was my answer.

I think it would be fair to say that I don't have a personal style. I dress in what is comfortable and available. I only have one ironic t-shirt. I dress up when the occasion demands and down most of the rest of the time.

I let my hair grow until I feel uncomfortable, then I have it cut short.

I've never intentionally torn a hole into my jeans.

I do enjoy looking good and, when the occasion demands it, make an effort in that regard. Though I must admit, that's only when the occasion demands it.

I own a pea coat, dark jeans, and skater shoes, all of which I wear frequently.

I'm very friendly in person, though that tends to keep my "getting to know you" conversations, at least at the outset, on a surface level.

I'm highly involved in the world around me and frequently a member (and usually the VP) of groups I agree with.

Ultimately, I'm just this guy, though.

[end reply]

Regrettably, I was going to keep going off like this for a few thousand more words, but the program limits how much you can say. Regardless, I feel like I got my point across.

Another question asked me about physical activities that I participated in, so I talked about occasionally swimming and playing racquet-related games. Then I said, "That said, I'm neither a meathead nor particularly skinny, so if either is the goal, I'm not gonna be the answer."

Seriously, how much fun is that? I should be this direct more often. Screw building bridges. People aren't made out of glass.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

When NJ met D.

Um... Yeah. So today is better. It always is.

Oooh. Also, I had dinner with D. If you don't know who D is, I can drop a few hints.

1. Her first name starts with D.
2. I've known her since the Warren.
3. I've inexplicably been able to maintain contact with her through the years, to the extent that she is probably my longest female friend who didn't go to Andale High School.

Anyway, I had dinner with her, and I came away thoughtful. See, D is an interesting character. We're very different. For instance, she's conservative, and I'm liberal. She is uncomfortable letting other people help her, and I practically demand it. She isn't great with authority, while I'm very greasy and subservient.

The thing is, if I'm going to have one of those When Harry Met Sally relationships with anyone, it has to be her. We don't see each other for six months at a go, but then we're very amiable again, but nothing ever comes of it.

Anyway, I had dinner with her, and she was just about as pretty as she's always been, but as the dinner went along I got two very different impressions. On the one hand, we're different enough - socially, religiously, and politically - that I don't think a real relationship would ever actually work.

On the other hand, I get the impression that, over the last 2 or 3 years, D has really matured an awful lot. I wouldn't like to say how I think this has happened, because I'd be betraying confidences, but it seems like she learned how to open up at some point.

There was once a time when D was like a wax figurine. She had this very pleasant, outside self, and there was absolutely no way to know what her inside looked like.

I think that's gone now. In fact, I think, at some point, she actually matured past me. Who would have expected that? D? More mature than myself?

Anyway, much like When Harry Met Sally, I don't think I'm really gonna work for this one. If we end up living in the same city, maybe we'll end up together. If not, then it won't be a huge deal.

Of course, it could be that this thought process is entirely one sided, and D couldn't even conceive of any of this.

Either way, it's something to think about.

These are the things I hate

You know those moments where it's late at night, you're really tired, and suddenly you are struck by all the things in your life that aren't going right?

I hate those moments.

I hate retreating. I hate not realizing what I have. I hate doing poorly at something and thinking, I guess I better give up and try something else.

I hate wondering what I'm doing wrong, then finding untestable hypotheses that could be the answer, and so I assume they're right. Furthermore, I hate assuming these hypotheses are right, when there's a very good chance that the problem, as I see it, doesn't really even exist.

I hate being fat. I hate thinking I'm fat. I hate believing that this fatness is an impediment in life.

I hate going to sleep, certain that I'm floating through life, and I hate having to assure myself that it'll all be better in the morning.

I hate the fear of being poor.

I hate being a snob, and I hate that I don't have the resources to justify being a snob.

I hate that reasoning through every element of a problem does not come naturally to me. I hate that I invariably stop when I know the right answer, before I know the complete right answer.

I hate that I'm not creative enough to be an artist, hardworking enough to fix or produce things with my hands, and personable enough to excel at interacting with others.

I hate that I don't have the guts to always be closing.

I hate being afraid.

I hate being afraid. That one is worth saying twice.

I hate that I don't come off as a self-possessed leader of men.

I hate that the grin that works so well upon first meeting can really only be interpreted as the grin of a fool.

I hate that I don't follow through on things. I hate not finishing. I hate having only enough drive to know that I don't have enough drive. I hate my mediocrity.

I wish that being 27 meant I was grown up. How is it that I don't have this switch that so many other people seem to have that makes them responsible adults?

You know what the nice thing about having something you've never done but wish you did? Like sky diving? Or writing a novel?

The nice thing is that, for all that it is a regret, at least you aren't/haven't failed at it.

Because what then? A failed dream is basically the same thing as lost hope.

Alright. It's 3am. Time to recite that mantra that proves true every time (except the time my advisor yelled at me in Bozeman, but that's another story).

It'll all be better in the morning. Screw tiredness and whatever bizarre chemicals are coursing through my body. It'll all be better in the morning.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

advertising and downers

Hey folks, I hate to advertise, but I hear, if you have MS Outlook, that this is pretty sweet.

Xobni Outlook add-in for your inbox

Mind you, you need not click on the link and sign up, but then I would be less likely to be bumped up to the top of the beta users list, and then I'd probably cry.

Also, I spent half an hour today listening to some woman give this downer talk about how her step father doesn't love her. It made me realize that I try very hard to avoid giving downer speeches in my life, saving them, instead, for you lovely people.

I'm not sure why more people don't thank me for that.

P.S. BTW, those of you who guessed that the date mentioned did not exist were correct. The British finally adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752.