Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Long time, no post. I'm really frustrated with my job search at the moment. Before law school, I waited tables at TGI Fridays. I went to law school because I didn't want to wait tables anymore. Foolishly, I thought that a graduate degree would help me realize my dream of never having to ask some how they wanted their burger cooked.

3 years, $100,000, and countless hours of studying later, I'm no closer to having a job outside the food industry. I now have my JD and am looking at job listings on Craigslist because I have no prospects for work whatsoever. So far, I've been actively been searching ( 9-5, M-F) for almost a month. And yet still, I have nothing. My career services office has been a joke; they took 2 weeks to even respond to my email requesting help (which I resent to the them out of frustration). And then, all they did was give me the contact information for a supposedly helpful (i.e. connected) alumni in the area. Normally, I would be happy with this; I don't mind networking at all. However, after sending him multiple emails and letter I haven't heard anything from him at all.

Earlier last year, I went in to speak with the Career Services office (CSO). At that time, I was having trouble finding work and wanted some help. What a mistake. The CSO employee I worked with actually took the time to teach me how to search for law firms on Yahoo Yellow Pages. I wish I was joking. There I was, a 3L at a Tier 1 law school being taught how to search for firms. Not job listings, mind you, but firms so that I could send out cold-call letters begging for a job. Worse still, Yahoo is not even the best place to search for those.

So here I sit, trying to put off the inevitable. Today, tomorrow, and the next day I'm going to be applying to WAIT TABLES again. After all the finals, the "volunteer" work, and sacrifices, I'm going to be back waiting tables. And worst of all, it's even harder to find a job waiting tables now because I've been gone from the service industry too long. . .

Last bit of advice: if you think getting a law degree will get you a great job, think again. Throw away your law school application, toss on that apron, and get back to work. One day you might just make shift lead. . . your chances of getting a legal job out of law school are just about as good as your chances of getting one before you go (i.e. none at all).

Sunday, January 21, 2007

2006 New Year's Resolutions Debriefing

It's been a pretty busy year for me, filled with all kinds of suprises (some good, some bad). Anyway, I thought I would go through the resolutions I made at the beginning of the year last year and see how I did.

1.) Get down to weighing 190 pounds or less by Spring Break.

Done. By Spring Break, I weighed 188 pounds. I didn't do this in a healthy way, however, so it came back pretty quickly. I'm currently back to 200 pounds. I am, however, working out and trying to lose the weight the hard way.

2.) Do an informational interview with one club owner.

I didn't get this done, and I'm not too stressed about it. My overall career goals have shifted over the last year, and interviewing a club owner is no longer relevant to my job search. We'll call this one a draw because I obviously didn't accomplish it, but I no longer think it was important anyway.

3.) Make at least $100 in a way that doesn't involve working at Fridays or student loans.

Done. I made somewhere around $1500 working for an attorney this summer. I also made money selling books and starting my own style website. Thanks go to amazon and google adsense!

4.)Develop photographic ability - take at least one roll of film a month.

Incomplete. I started off doing well, but stopped taking pictures after the first couple months. What kept me from succeeding was the fact that real film photography is a pain in the butt to learn. I wasn't always sure if my settings were good, so taking pictures was a crap shoot - I didn't find out whether I was doing things properly until I got the roll back. I'm going to look into getting a decent digital SRL camera so I can learn the fundamentals of photography and get instant feedback on my efforts.

5.)Read "Delivered from Distraction" and apply its principles.

Done. To a certain extent. I've begun taking Omega-3 supplements, which the book recommends as an aid for reducing the effects of ADD. If you have ADD, I'd recommend taking them. It makes the prescription meds seem more effective.

6.) Get skydiving license.

I didn't accomplish this. In part, because the weather didn't cooperate. On most of the weekends I had free, the weather was either too cold or too windy to go up. And by the time the weather started cooperating, I didn't have the money to drop $50 a jump to get the license. I am planning on jumping at least one more time this semester before I move to Cali.

7.) Make at least one new mix tape.

Done. I made a mixtape right after Spring Semester finals. It's kind of crap though, so I don't want many people listening to it.

8.) Learn introductory Russian tapes.

Unaccomplished. And this one stings me. I failed to go through the tapes, and I really should.

9.) Tan at least once a month.

Draw. I'll admit, I went a couple months without tanning. But tanning once a month doesn't make me healthier or wiser, so I don't really care.

10.) Spend a day a month completely on my own. Bring a notebook and write down/draw whatever comes to me.

Draw. While I didn't spend a day each month on my own, I did spend at least 12 days completely alone. Which I really enjoyed.

11.) Do at least ten hours of community service.

DONE AND DONE. I spent a lot of my time last year volunteering for the Pro Bono Project. Some of it was for class credit, some of it wasn't.

12.) Make twelve complete stangers laugh out loud.

Done. In fact, I probably got twice that many people to laugh out loud. Whether they were being genuine or not . . . I don't know. ;-)

13.) Search for a creative outlet for energy - spend at least two hours a week doing something that sparks my imagination, whether it be painting, drawing, mixing, producing, etc.

Unaccomplished. And I'm pissed at myself for failing on this one. Needless to say, it will be on my resolution list of '07.

14.) Plan and take a day trip to a wierd destination in the Midwest.


15.) See at least two live DJ shows


Final Breakdown of How Many Resolutions I kept:

Accomplished: 6
Unaccomplished: 6
Draws: 3

Closing thoughts:

I think I learned this year that I need to spend more time focusing on resolutions that are actually important to me. Hopefully, my 2007 resolution list will reflect this lesson.

Monday, November 06, 2006

"Be like me: throw away your vote on Tuesday"

Tomorrow, I'm driving up to Carmel to throw away my vote. Why? I'm in a district that's far from highly contested. The democrats rarely even put up a candidate for most offices. So I'm going with my ideology and voting straight libertarian ticket.

I personally believe that the government like a reverse King Midas; everything it touches turns to shit. Sure, there are certain things we need government for; protection of property rights, defending us against other nations, and giving people something to whine about. But that's about it. I don't thnk the government has any right to tell me what to injest, what to say, or how to behave when my actions don't affect others. That's why I vote Libertarian.

Are you unsure about who to vote for? Obviously, I say vote Lib - it's the cool new way to avoid voting for Republicans. Plus, you'll be in the company of cool dudes like the creators of South Park, John Stossel, Clint Eastwood, Drew Carey, Dave Barry, and Milton Friedman. But if you need more information, check out these sites; they explain things better than I can:

  • The Agitator - talks about how the government is stripping away our liberties.
  • Reason - a great magazine about libertarian politics. You can buy it at Borders, but they put all the content online for free.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Best Birthday Gift Ever

Today I turned a quarter of a century old. Usually, I like to buy myself a birthday gift. I do this for all the gift giving occasions that affect me. People who know me know that I am a pretty picky shopper, so buying for me can be a real pain in the ass. However, I always get myself what I want. Earlier today, I thought about what I wanted for myself this year. Then, around noon, I gave myself my best present ever (I think).

I was sitting outside of the law school waiting for Amanda to come out so we could go to lunch. The rain was gently falling, and I watched the traffic go by. As I was standing there, I thought to myself "A car could lose control coming out of the parking lot and hit me. I could be moments away from being paralyzed or killed, and I would never see it coming." I began to think about what it would be like to lose the use of my legs, and what I would think about the last few seconds I got to use my legs, standing outside the school. I began to notice how my legs felt and what it felt like to stand on my own, knowing I could walk anywhere I wanted to. Basically, I began to think about absorbing as much of the sensations of standing on my own. . . kind of like building a complete awareness of what it was like to stand, so that I could look back and remember exactly what it was like if I ever became paralyzed.

This simple act of awareness consumed my entire mind state; I became completely wrapped up in the sensation. Even though I was standing out in the rain, waiting for someone, I was completely content because I was standing in the rain. It was all I could think about, and it was all that mattered at that moment; Amanda could have stayed inside for an hour, and I don't think I would have gotten upset.

This blew me away; I spend my days watching TV, surfing the internet, studying, and going to the bars, and I'm still bored and restless. But when I took away all the external stimuli and focused on being, the time passed quickly and pleasantly.

Eventually, Amanda came out and we went to lunch/breakfast at the Village Deli. Breakfast was good, and I had fun spending some time with Amanda. Throughout the meal, however, I began to think about applying the mindset I had towards my legs while I was outside of the law school to other body parts and senses. I thought to myself: what if this is the last meal I can ever taste?; what if this is the last time I can talk to someone?; what if I go deaf tomorrow?; what if I go blind? With each thought came new sensations. Breakfast ended quickly, and Amanda and I parted ways for the afternoon.

On my walk home, I continued my exploration. I thought about losing my sight. I asked myself, "If I went blind, would I be able to say that I appreciated my vision and used it as much as I could?" I spent a minute just looking around at everything, trying to soak up as many images as possible. If I ever lose my sight, I know that I would miss seeing sights like the hundreds of ripples that course through a puddle during the rain, or all the nooks and crannies in a brick wall. I did this with my hearing, too; I noticed the sound of cars swooshing through the rain-drenched streets, and the sound of rain hitting leaves.

I then kicked it up a notch; I tried to appreciate two senses at once. I challenged myself to try to notice every sight and every sound at once. This was next to impossible; it was a sensory overload! But the ability to appreciate every sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch would be amazing. Focusing on one sense is fine if you could know that you'd lose it one day; but if I lost my sight, but had spent my life noticing and appreciating sounds, I would be depressed.

I think "enlightenment" in the spiritual sense of the word, refers to the ability to notice and appreciate everything around you at once; all the sights, all the sounds, all the smells, all the feelings. Not many people reach enlightenment because 1.) it requires incredible mind power; and 2.) we constantly create new amusements and distractions that draw away our attention to the present. Things like TV and radio are great, but they occupy our sight and sound senses so completely that we can't think about the other things going on around us.

I think this is why buddhist monks spend years in solitary meditation. They want to pair down the amount of stimuli so that they can use all there senses at once and be completely present in the moment. And maybe this is why they seem so peaceful and content; they know that they've appreciated as much of their world as possible. If a person notices and appreciates every sensation possible, they won't be as remorseful when they lose a sense. If an enlightened man loses his sense of taste, he'll be able to look back on all the things he tasted in the past and remember what it was like. The same goes for sight and other senses too; he's appreciated everything he can, so he won't be caught of guard - no matter what life throws at him.

I'm going to work on this more in my life, as I think it's incredibly important. If you want to try it out for yourself, do this: next time you're walking to class, look around and try to notice everything there is to see on the way there; notice the cracks in the sidewalk, the shimmer coming off the wet pavement, the trees swaying in the wind. Can you notice them all at once? Are you focusing so much on the sidewalk that you fail to notice the cute girl walking down the street? If you start working to notice everything, you may find that you don't have the mental power to soak it all up. If you think you are noticing everything, try to notice all the sounds at the same time. Pretty freaking hard, eh?

I think that meditation is the tool people use to develop there ability to become more aware and notice more of the world around them. A person with a restless "average" mind looks at the world through a set of blinders; he can only focus on one or two things at a time. With meditation, the mind becomes capable of focusing (truly focusing) on more things simultaneously... it's like the blinders are being pulled apart. I'm guessing that the enlightened person see the world with no blinders; focusing on everything but blocking out nothing. That's what I want to achieve; that would be my heaven.

I read a passage recently that pretty neatly sums up my break through today: "Once years ago in China, a young monk asked his Zen master, 'What is enlightenment? What is it like for you?' The master replied, 'When I eat, I eat. When I sleep, I sleep.' Most of us are not usually paying attention to what we actually do and say. Too often we are either lamenting about and clutching at the past, or anticipating and fearing the future. Instead of fully inhabiting our bodies and experiencing our experience, we're semiconcious at best - not fully present, barely away. . . In this way, we miss the beauty; we miss the sadness; we miss the actuality, the full texture of our lives. . ." Awakening the Buddha Within", Lama Surya Das, pp. 298-299.

I honestly can't think of anything I want to buy myself for my birthday this year. I think this brief glimpse into what life can be like was enough; the revelations I had this afternoon will keep me busy for many birthdays to come.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What happened to people raising their hands in class?

It seems like no one does it anymore, and it really pisses me off. Why am I raising my hand and waiting only to wait longer when some douche bag starts talking without being recognized by the prof.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Today is officially mispronounce common words day:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to mispronounce common words all day. I'll include some examples to guide you on your quest:

Escape: shall be pronounced "eckscape".

Ask: shall be pronounced "aks."

Library: shall be pronounced "Lie Berry."

Nuclear: shall be pronounced "Noo cue lar" (the S is silent, dummy).

And so on.

Go forth and be idiots.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A while ago, I wrote a post to my myspace blog regarding worthless words and phrases. Whenever I hear these words/phrases, my blood runs cold. I dream of a day that these words and phrases will be erased from society's lexicon. To assist in the pursuit this dream, I've copied the original blog post over to this new blog. In the coming days, I'll be adding new words and phrases to this list. That said, here's the original post:

Irregardless: this is not a word. It never has been, it never will be. Regardless means without regard. Irregardless, therefore, would mean "with regard".

"I could care less": This phrase is fine if you're trying to tell someone that you care about something, but could be convinced not to care anymore. I've never heard anyone use it in this way though. Rather, people use it to say "I couldn't care less", which is something entirely different.

"Be that as it may" : uh, what? This phrase is so worthless I don't want to waste time explaining why it should be banned. If you don't understand what's wrong with it, do the world a favor and replace your rubber duckie with a plugged in toaster next time you take a bath.

"It goes without saying": If it does, why did you have to say it?

"It just goes to show you": What goes to show me? Are you talking about the way the phrase "It just goes to show you" shows me you're a retard?

"principality": If you're talking about a political unit, we're fine. If you're talking about an underlying principle related to your current conversation, you're an idiot.

"I won't dignify that with a response": "I won't dignify that with a response" is a response, jackass.

End of.