Monday, July 16, 2012


Like most years, a birthday is just another day in the calendar, signifying that you are, in fact, one day older. But on the one day a year we count the years, and not just the days, it seems okay, even if self indulgent, to take stock of what the last year brought and what the next year may bring. It's difficult to do, currently, in the midst of the strangest two to three month stretch of my life thus far, studying for the bar while also finding brief moments of enjoyment and perhaps even growing up.

While slightly detailed in a prior post, bar study is like a full time job, if your full time job also involved cramming three years worth of knowledge in to your head for a three day test while having your teeth pulled. Unlike the first year of law school, which I only realized was miserable when looking back on it, this is pretty miserable in the moment- not necessarily one conducive to an exercise such as this.

But, pausing to take stock in a brief break from the books, the past year and upcoming year may well prove to be the most formative when I (hopefully am able to) look back 50 to 60 years down the line.  A true end of formal education, combined with beginning a new job and career, is both intimidating and exciting, a unique blend of dread and adrenaline not often experienced of doing something stupid (like skydiving, I would imagine, if I ever had any desire to jump out of a plane.  I do not.).  With this change comes a longer-term perspective than I have needed to undertake in the past; there is now a need to consider more than just my immediate 1-2 year needs.

Part of this thinking happened to come when my grandfather passed away last May, as I was set to finish finals and graduate law school. Outside of my immediate family, my grandfather was (is?) probably the person who influenced me most.  While experiences (thanks, college!) truly help you to find out who you are, my grandfather helped to instill the values and direction which help make those choices leading to that experiential learning.  He is missed, but his passing as the last of my grandparents also shifts the focus to the future.  I, despite the presence of the next generation in younger cousins, thought of family in a 3 generation strata: grandparents, parents, and myself (and sibling). But now, to continue that model, we all move up a level. For me, that means no longer being the "youngest," but rather, being more "adult" than before, leading to this longer term perspective. No longer am I, and presumably, dear reader, you (due to the whole 'there are only about 17 of you, and I know who 16 of you are- so, disregard this, the 3 married people who read) on the bottom of the generational totem pole, but, in due time, we will be the role that has always been filled by our parents.

That said, I cannot wait for that next step. My parents are extraordinarily fortunate to have a fantastic set of close friends, found as they were beginning a family (and before).  While college was unmatched in terms of meeting some wonderful people, we have mostly since scattered to different cities. I will always care for those folks, but sadly, they are not and likely will not be part of my daily life.  The people around me now, including an incredible set of friends who surprised me with dinner for my birthday and have been travel companions in the past, are the people I am going to be lucky enough to surround myself with moving forward in the long term.

Normally, and historically, I have been reticent to accept change.  But that is less true now; I currently welcome the longer term perspective, and the growing up and changes it brings. 

Per usual, TFR, but also thank you for likely being more than just a reader. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happiness is...

revisiting favorite old albums after far too long.  Welcome back to my ears, London Calling.

iTunes Store, because if you do not own it, you should. Easily one of the best rock albums of all time; if you disagree, let me know in the comments. Happy to hear your favorites.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Sometimes You Eat the Bar...

Studying for the bar makes you many things: a hermit, albeit mostly for the beard, an asshole (to your friends who do not understand where the hell you went for three months), but mostly, a little stir-crazy from the stress. We've all slightly turned in to a permanent finals mode, where days of the week become irrelevant and weekends seemingly fail to exist.

That's the truth of the matter. It is nothing like what the tours walking past the Anheuser Busch School of Law tell you: it does not give a new meaning to passing the bar.  The joke on Wash U tours, usually eliciting laughter from only the parents in the back whose child had tried as hard as possible to dissociate himself from, for fear of actually attending the school and being recognized by someone on the tour by association. Other puns and references abound; Jay-Z ain't passed the bar, but he knows a little bit- he apparently ditched bar class to do better things, like reign over a rap empire and marry BeyoncĂ©. No, it is not an open bar exam.  The only one that really makes sense is the quotation referenced in the title, said by the mysterious cowboy of Big Lebowksi fame.  Sometimes, but hopefully not this time, the bar eats you.

One more note, on perhaps the worst mnemonic ever created: HERO.  It stands for.... Hospitals, Education, Religion, R Something, Or Government.  The O stands for or.  And then you have to add another R.  And a G.  So, to remember HERRG, remember Hero.  Professor, the bar ate you.

TFR, and see you on the other side, July 26.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Sports, Love, and Fighting

Sports love often expresses itself as wearing the jersey of a favorite team, player, or city. While there are differing opinions on the matter, I recently purchased a few jerseys from a cheap international site (including ones like this) (worked like a charm, highly recommend)  for the upcoming baseball season. But I also purchased a hockey jersey because of my friend who has gotten me in to hockey. I also got her a matching one, as a thank you. Since they didn't have Troy Brouwer options available, we got this guy [Brooks Laich]:

This is really only to drive up the female readership.
I've been wearing it around because it's been a bit chilly, and it is long sleeved and still has that whole fun-because-its-new element going on. I wore it home this morning from dog sitting, and my six year old next door neighbor was outside as I was walking in.  He commented how I was wearing a hockey jersey, and how he had just started playing in a league.  I joked around that I don't know the rules of hockey (that part is true), and asked if hockey was the sport where you aren't allowed to touch other players.  He laughed at me and informed me that you can fight in hockey.

This is not news. The New York Times and a variety of other news sources have been detailing the gruesome effects of hockey fighting on the pugilists who partake in them.  I have mixed feelings on the issue, but my neighbor was the first person I saw who may actually be affected by these things. Yes, he is six, and cannot even check other players in his league yet. But his dad is a triathlete, and the kid will also grow up to be athletic, and if he sticks with hockey... he's going to be in a hockey fight. He understands the difference, I think, between fighting on the rink (allowed) and off of it (punishable by time out, I guess?).

But sports does not only lead to fights on the field, despite increased incidents in the last 15 years. I honestly believe that I could not date a passionate fan of teams I hate (Dodgers, Yankees, Giants, in no particular order).  So sports can combine love and fighting- loving the person, and fighting about something incredibly dumb in the greater scope of things.

But mostly, sports is love. I speak about baseball because it is my sport, the one where I feel part of a community. I have written in the past about the beauty that is the first day pitchers and catchers report to spring training, the regalia of opening day, and the feeling of smelling fresh-cut grass and hearing the ball hit a glove, the beauty of having a local beer while watching some batting practice, surrounded by like-minded fans.

If this does not make you a little tingly, just ignore the entire previous paragraph.
So, dear 13 readers, Happy Opening Day. May sports bring you love this season.

Thanks for reading, and for excusing the rough transition from fighting to love, from hockey to baseball.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I wouldn't be so sure about longitude and latitude...

I re-started watching West Wing a little while back, and my favorite episode, titled 'Someone is Going to Emergency, Someone is Going to Jail,' involves cartographers who request a new map become widespread since it showed the true size and location of each continent, which are markedly different from the maps we all used in school. I like this part because I like maps, but the episode later brings around the quotation I used as a title, showing that you cannot necessarily count on the things you know you can count on.

One of the things we should know, count on, and not have to question is the axiom that children bury their parents. It's not the other way around- it never should be. Yet, twice in the last few months- once for a friend's younger brother, and this week, for a friend of mine- longitude and latitude are not so sure. While my friend was a truly incredible person, she will be written about by those who knew her better than I. I will only mention that her love of baseball was one of the few I have found that equaled or exceeded my own, and I will dearly miss that along with the rest of her kindnesses.

Honestly, I don't really know what to think. Like others, I am filled with sadness that my friend was taken away from those who loved her far too early. I heard the news via a phone call from someone whom I thought had mistakenly dialed my number- I didn't answer just in case, but called back immediately once I heard the tone of the voicemail, without even hearing the words. It's amazing how some things simply trump everything else, how after months of all but ignoring each others existence, someone can feel the pain and suffering in another's voice, and all is forgotten, with the greater purpose of making sure that someone is OK because you know the pain they are in.

I say I don't know what to think, which is true, but I also cannot help but feel the sinking pit in my stomach when thinking about the whole situation. For the seventeen of you who know me, you may have figured out by now that I don't often talk outwardly about things going on in my life, and while it is something I am trying to be better about, the death of a friend is one of those things that will probably just be shut in for a while. But I know the feeling that everyone else is also feeling, and I want nothing more than to help ease that sickness in other's souls. My friend meant a lot to a lot of people, and a lot of my friends. And I am powerless to do anything about it, and that takes away from what I thought I knew.

I am not so sure about latitude and longitude. I guess part of growing up is learning that you can't always believe a map, and sometimes have to find the path without guidance.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Many holidays provide us with time to reflect and appreciate what we have, but Thanksgiving gives us the chance to do so while eating the best meal of the year, with the family and friends we cherish.  To me, this makes it the best of the bunch; as such, allow me, please, the self-indulgent "things I am thankful for" post.

Ultimately, I am thankful for relationships.  I have had the opportunity to evaluate some of mine recently, and feel extraordinarily fortunate.  I was recently asked to be a groomsman in a friend's wedding, and feel truly honored to have been asked. It's incredible to have a manifestation of how close someone actually feels to you; quite honestly, it's nice to have a friendship validated by having someone ask you to stand and represent them at their wedding. It's truly an honor.  And that's just the beginning- those of you reading this probably know me, and fit the mold of being someone incredible whom I cherish. This is especially those of you around the country whom I am still in contact with (and who will email me to correct my grammar- you know who you are).

The same can be said of family. I am lucky to have my family in town, and to be able to spend time with them whenever I can- I'm heading there later for Thanksgiving, where I will get to play with my little cousins. Four generations will be around the same table, which is something to be thankful for in and of itself.

Long story short, if we have a relationship of any sort- if we've crossed paths in school, passed each other on a bus, or if we can count each other among friends- thank you. I appreciate it.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The E-mails We Get...

Dear School,

Please stop sending me absurd emails, like the one below, which is so ridiculous that it makes me wonder if anyone filters the listserv.

Graduate and Law students:

Please join Graduate Student Life for a unique event: Candle Making. We will join together to create handmade beeswax candles infused with essential oils and herbs, as well as, your intentions for the last month and a half of the semester.

Also, you should know that my intentions for the last month and a half of the semester are fire retardant, and would not go well in a candle. Maybe you should consider that it is a unique event because everyone else realized that no one wants to go, so they haven't done it.

With love,