Friday, August 22, 2014

A year later

It's weird that I remembered that I had this thing, decided to check it out, and it's been a year, to the day, since I last posted.  Well how about that.  Here's to another year!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

And the Flags Were all Dead at the Tops of their Poles

It's strange how a song can put you in the mood to write.
I'm listening to one that does that for me.  It's referenced in the title here.  It's called "The Dead Flag Blues," by Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Godspeed and I go back about four or five years.  I can't remember where I heard them first, honestly.  I do know that initially, much like now, I found the name of the group obnoxious, which apparently was a trend of theirs, with their associated bands A Silver Mt Zion (which has even stupider previous names) and HṚṢṬA (yes with the dots),Set Fire to Flames, and Fly Pan Am.  Regardless, these groups have grown on me, and I find them to be some of the most poignant music I can listen to now.  It's so haunting and full of emotion.  I made a Pandora station if you'd like to hear what I listen to when I need to escape.  It's here for your enjoyment.  Because Pandora keeps trying to force other irrelevant music on me, there is some other stuff that comes up, but most of it is pure postrock pleasure. 

So far living alone has been difficult.  I'm lonely, but I find myself not wanting to remedy that at all.  I sleep on the floor, on a thin bedroll, and have sheets I kind of use, as well as a pillow.  I told myself that I'd buy a bed when I closed my first case.  I just did a will for a friend, but I don't think that counts.

I think this is going to be one of those ones where I cut off for no reason suddenly.  Don't feel like writing anymore.  I'll try again tomorrow. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Take a Load off, Jürgen

I'm sitting here watching the US play Honduras in the Gold Cup.  We're playing well and winning 3-1, but seeing as how it's basically a Junior Varsity tournament, it's hard to draw too much from that.  I'd say that our roster has some good depth.  Hah!  Jürgen Klinsmann was just dismissed from the game.  He won't be able to coach the final as well.  That's pretty crazy.

I'm pretty excited about NBC showing all of the EPL games this season.  Now if only someone would pick up the Bundesliga.

I spent most of today trying to draft engagement letter and billing templates.  It's very difficult, as I'm not entirely sure what should go into them, and I can't seem to draft anything that I think sounds not idiotic.  The trick is to make sure you cover your own ass well enough in case the client sues, doesn't pay, or strings you along.  It's a delicate balancing act, also, because you don't want your billing statements to sound too dickish as well.

It's just frustrating, because it's hard to stay focused and motivated throughout the day.  I think I need my own place with a proper desk and white noise playing over a loudspeaker.  That or better ADHD meds.

I'm still not entirely sure what in the hell I'm doing with this law practice stuff.  This isn't for me.  Ugh.  Oh if only I could go back to undergraduate and make myself study something else and study more!

I met up with a friend yesterday.  It was really a breath of fresh air.  I'll refrain from going on about it, but but she was very uplifting.  Some people can do that just by being.  Good stuff.

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Greatest Fear

My greatest fear is that I will be unable to pay back my parents for all of the support they have given me throughout the years.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Reign of the Wit

When I was eighteen years old, I made a list of things that I expected to have done by age thirty.  They were optimistic, but at the time, the world was a big, bright, enticing place, and I was a wide-eyed naive boy ready to conquer it all.  I remember, still, most of the items on that list:  to fluently speak four languages; to be a cardiologist; to be married to a beautiful woman; to have cute, smart children; to be physically fit and still play soccer; to travel and have traveled.  I pictured myself as this much wiser, calmer, astute version of my then-self.  More adult, I suppose.

I have guess I have disappointed myself.

The world's vibrancy and potential waned as the path I'd chosen took unexpected turns.  Endeavors failed. Friends and loved ones died.  Promises weren't kept.  Mistakes were made. . . and made again . . . and the uncertainty and confusion that had begun to creep up on me in my late teens only amplified, slowly building from a hesitant whisper into a steady, rebuking chant.  As the stakes grew higher-- debt, obligations, and responsibilities-- not only did the uncertainties echo louder and louder in my mind, but the inner criticisms added their refrains to the opus.  With each passing year, the composition continues its crescendo, with no indication of stopping.

I don't pretend that the regret and disappointment that I feel is vastly different from that of others, whom I'm sure experience similar feelings when they have reached thirty.  I remember back to the "Baz Luhrmann" bit from when I was in high school, "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)," where the narrator says "Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life.  The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives; some of the most interesting forty year olds still don't."  Well I guess I am interesting, according to Baz.

I've just started my own law practice.  I almost get embarrassed calling it such. . . it's just me and a laptop and some books.  I'm eager to prove myself and make this into a business, but at the same time, I know that deep down, I have no interest in practicing law, and find it boring and uninteresting.  So what am I do to with myself?  I guess that's the question.  I'm stuck in something of a Catch-22.  I would like to do something else with myself (I have no idea what), but I have such staggering student loan debt, that the only option is to . . . practice law.  I'd like to lash out at my law Alma Mater for misleading us on our job prospects.  I'd like to lash out at the government for providing easy access to loans, and again at the school for jacking up tuition over and over again for no reason.  I'd like to lash out at the boomers for drilling us into thinking that we had to go to these overpriced institutions or else we'd be losers.  But mostly I just blame myself.  I should have known what I was getting into.  I should have done better.

I hope that some day I will not regret having gotten my law degree.

I'm hoping that some day I will look back at today and smile at the clueless SOB who wrote this diatribe about his life.  I'm hoping that a wiser, calmer, more astute version of myself will have assuaged the cacophony of uncertainty and regret, and will take a moment to congratulate himself on his accomplishments, having seen how dismal it all seemed so long ago.  Funny, that's how I felt when I was eighteen.  Funny.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Do a Barrel Roll

I almost died yesterday.
I figured I'd write about it while the memory is still fresh.
I'd just returned to Alabama, and had been in the state a mere three days, counting spending part of the day and the night with Julia in Huntsville.
Rebekah had made me a very good dinner, and she and I, along with her friend Margie, were on our way back to Troy to hang out with Brian.
I remember looking something up on my phone before the wreck. The classic rock station had just played "Hard to Handle" by the Black Crowes. The DJ had mentioned the song as "a classic," and I was surprised, as I remembered when the song came out when I was young. I'd expressed my disbelieve to Rebekah and Margie, because surely I wasn't old enough for a song in my lifetime to be considered "classic rock." The 80's was a strange time, and the styles and lingo seem foreign to us now, but even that age long ago can't be considered "classic," so I reasoned that this song, released in the mid nineties, wasn't either.
Where was I? Oh yes, the wreck.
A deer appeared in the road. I say appeared, because I was watching the road, and it hadn't really walked up, nor did it flash across the road into our path, but it was just there. It was there, its head down eating something or smelling something. It looked up at us, that all-too-appropriate and cliche "deer in headlights" look on its blank face. In the face of death, that deer just stood there, looking at us... staring down death without flinching.
Rebekah managed to wheeze out an "oh my god-" as Margie screamed "Rebekah-deer!", the former jerking the wheel first to the right. She then, to avoid going off the road, tried to jerk the wheel again to the left, but with the speed we were going, and the fact that a Nissan Xterra is as top-heavy as Dolly Parton, the front end of the vehicle jerked quickly across the road and we went airborn for a split second. I don't think we ended up hitting the deer.
It's hard to explain what that's like. I know many people have been in traffic have I... before this... but this was something surreal. My eyes were locked straight ahead, where the deer's eyes had been a second before. My body was tense, but not entirely rigid, and all I could do was stare in unmoving, silent horror as we tumbled into the oncoming lane in our two-ton casket. I'd always hoped I'd die listening to something other than country music, though. I guess we can't even choose the "what is playing in the background" either when the time comes.

We landed first on the passenger side, and went into a bouncing roll, the front end facing westward. I remember being jerked to the right and almost laying down against the seat, before being jerked again the opposite direction. My eyes never left forward throughout this process. We were all deathly silent inside as an orchestra of shattering glass and crunching and twisting metal bombarded us from all sides. Rebekah and Margie's heads followed the same course as mine...right to left...left to right... their voices choked in their throats as they too quietly accepted the inevitable. The horizon spun, and I was reminded of the various air combat games I'd played in the past, where you could take the aircraft into a spin and the ground becomes the sky and the sky becomes ground, et cetera, et cetera. The term for what we were doing on highway 231 was "auguring in." We were "buying the farm." We were crashing and burning, and soon we'd be dead. So it goes.

The strange part is that it was remarkably calm. Despite the sounds of glass and metal and concrete crunching, or the fireworks display of glass showering us between stolen glances of headlights from the audience, the only resounding thought in my head was "so this is it? This is what I've been dreading? This isn't so bad." I don't think it really was at the time. I've always been of the opinion that one should only worry about that which one can control. If you have no control over it, then don't worry about it, as worrying accomplishes nothing. I just never pictured this mentality coming through for me while in an SUV rolling into the oncoming lane at 65 miles per hour. So I wasn't afraid. That sounds like some moronic attempt at badassery, but I really wasn't. I was nothing. I was barely there, emotionally.

I think another part of it is that your body's energy shifts into certain functioning parts, shutting down the rest. My senses were on alert. I saw every shard of glass that flew across my vision. I felt every piece of gravel that ground into my shoulder, and could have counted every star that twinkled up at me from below. Everything went in slow motion and my mind raced taking in all in, but I was still conscious of just how quickly it happened. It's so hard to explain. I remember seeing the horizon pitch counter-clockwise through the windshield, and Rebekah and Margie's hair dancing in unison in the air as we tumbled, and my last thought was wondering what kind of vehicle would hit us and finish the job. I remember hoping it'd be a semi. Make it clean and quick. We would die regardless of what it was, but at least with a semi, it wouldn't drag it out, and the driver of the truck would probably be okay. The slow-motion scene took even longer as I clinched my fists around my seat belt, waiting for that final crunch that I figured had to be coming. One-two-three-four...five.

When we'd finally rolled over one last time, we were right-side-up. We had rolled five times, and glancing out what was left of my window, I'd say we had covered about 20 or 25 yards. In our wake were clothes, books, chunks of the car, and broken glass. I was still in shock. Was I dead? I should be. I shouldn't be alive. I can't be alive. This can't be right.

It was Rebekah's sudden scream, followed quickly by Margie's crying, that snapped me out of it. Well, it didn't snap me out of it, really, but it got my body moving while my mind continued to digest what had just happened. I had to kick my door repeatedly to get it open, and when it finally did, I ran to Rebekah's. I couldn't get hers open, so, at her suggestion, I pulled her through the driver's window and set her down on the grass next to the car (we were halfway over the side of the road). I just stood there like an idiot until Rebekah yelled to help Margie, who had already crawled out of the window and was hobbling to the grass. I helped her down the hill a bit, and when I started to let go, she said she couldn't walk, so I helped her the rest of the way. They both sat off the ditch. There was blood all over rebekah's arm and margie's legs. I stood up and looked around. For something. I didn't know what. What the hell was I supposed to do now? My mind was working at 50%, and given how little product 100% gets, it goes without saying that I was pretty useless at that point. I turned back to the girls right as a woman and a man ran up to them. The man was a paramedic and the woman a nurse. He said he needed something to wrap and bandage Margie's leg with, so I took off my shirts and handed them to them. Rebekah was crying and said she couldn't see without her glasses and that she had glass in her foot and needed her sandals. My limited capacity determined that it was necessary that I find those items now. Find glasses. Find sandals. I can do that.

I must have been a somewhat comedic sight -a fat, bald shirtless white guy with a farmer's tan stumbling back and forth down a highway between opposing sets of headlights. I was slightly hunched over, as my back and left shoulder were unusually tight and sore. I imagined that I looked like Quasimodo, staring blankly at the road, shuffling around like a barefooted drunkard.

(at this point I realize that A) I'm rambling and B) I'm tired, so I'm going to wind this novella down a bit)

Everybody there was really great though. The truckers offered us flashlights, and the people who had been behind us when we flipped let us use their cell phones to call our respective friends and loved ones. My phone and my sandals, as well as Rebekah's sandals, flew out of the vehicle at some point, and regretfully we haven't found them yet.

Rebekah seems to be okay. She had some major lacerations (from her arm hitting the pavement during the roll) and bruising, but would be okay overall. Last I heard, Margie had a deep cut (I heard "gash") on her right knee and something wrong with her toes on the respective foot, and would require surgery, but was expected to recover fully. I . . . have some bruises and my shoulder, neck, and back are sore.

I feel really bad that I came out without a scratch and Rebekah and Margie were hurt. It doesn't seem fair, I guess. It's also very painful seeing someone you love in pain like that.

I don't know what will come of this. I need to finish unpacking and study for the bar, but it's hard when your mind is still in shock and all you can think of is "I should be dead right now."

We flipped on highway 231 doing (what I estimate) between 60 and 70 miles per hour. We flipped into the oncoming lane at like 8PM on a Monday night, and we rolled five times. Nobody got any limbs rolled over. Nothing hit us from the opposite direction. Nothing caught fire.

We should be dead, but we aren't.
I don't throw the name of the Almighty around very often, and I'm more prone to give a thumbs up for happenstance than divine intervention, but God had to have been looking out for us last night.

I really hope everybody will wear their seat belt. And I really do hope that deer is okay.

I guess that's all I've got. I'm burnt out.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Unjust Desserts

Brittany (Shepard) Pugh died today. I found out through the facebook grapevine during, ironically, my wills, trusts, and estates class.
It rattled me pretty hard. I guess maybe because it reminded me of when Lauren died. Pretty blonde girl, everything going for her, no enemies in the world suddenly is ripped off this earth to the jeering of crunching metal and shattered glass.
And everybody is left in a daze, their eyes staring through their surroundings, looking for explanations. We're too comfortable with our beliefs in justice in this world. We're too accustomed to notions of karma and just desserts and retribution.
But then something like this happens, and we're all left staring like zombies, chilled through our skin from the feeling that Death himself brushed against us as he left, carrying Brittany's soul off to Judgment, and in his wake we shamble about looking for some rhyme or reason as to why. Why. I guess the main problem is that there is no "why," there just "is." She died. Despite her youth and her good looks and her virtuous nature and her kindess and courtesy and child and husband and loving family, she died. And in that moment, we spectators to this supernatural and confusing spectacle are left realizing how very little we control in our lives, and how mortal we really are.
And then after we have come to grips with the idea that the worst thing that could happen to a friend did, in fact, happen, all we can do is feel the heavy cloak of sadness that drapes our head and shoulders after someone so deserving of so much better was taken from us. So we send up our prayers and lamentations, despite our anger and sadness, and disagreement with the choice to take someone so undeserving of an early death, and press onward in spite of just how awful and unfair it all is. What else can we do?