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.