Monday, March 30, 2009

the wretched will

The wretched will, laying in tatters,
overwhelmed by the masses,
conquered by the opium induced malaise,
an unforgiven carnage left in its wake,
as it crawls in despair towards darkness.

Seeking shelter from the light,
from the ill conceived resolutions
drawn from feeble minded characters,
it hides itself from the populism,
the condemnation of disagreement.

Vanquished, by lower souls,
with their lesser thoughts and
common refrains of righteousness,
if fades slowly, desperately away,
into the deep abyss of oblivion.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The New Mini Laptop

I think in an earlier post I mentioned that I bought a mini laptop with some birthday money...well it finally arrived from Dell this past Friday and I have enjoyed it immensely thus far. Its the base model of Dell's mini 12, with the 12 inch screen, and instead of running windows, it is running a Linux operating system called Ubuntu. I have been looking forward to getting something like this for a while now, mainly to have something to go back and forth with from the office. I like to have the ability to do some of my writing work at home, as well as research, but with Jackie also needing the computer we have at home for her work projects, and the fact that our laptop is close to six years old, and such, it gets so hot that irritates the heck out of my skin when typing on it a lot, it just wasn't an appealing option. I had been using my computer at work for all my writing, including all my blog writings, emails, and such, and basically never got on the computer when at home.

While its nice to have some separation from a computer I guess, I like being connected to the information...and I really like being to have more frequent access to email and blogging. Anyway, I think what I like most about it is just how light it is when it sits on your lap - its the first time I have had a laptop where I could actually see myself working on for a long period of time while its on my lap, its very comfortable. The keyboard, while smaller than normal, is surprisingly easy to get used to. Some other things I notice that I really like about: the operating system, Ubuntu, is very intuitive, very easy to pick up on; tomboy, which is a note taking application, is incredible - I wish I had it when I was in law school; it has open office (which I have used before - to those who don't know - open office is free office software, just like Microsoft Word, Excel, etc. - and it can save the documents in word format if you need to open it on a computer that only has word (like I do for work purposes); it really is a great thing); it has a webcam built in, although I am still figuring out how to use it;

I am sure I will think of more things I like about it, but I for now its suffice to say that I am looking forward to be able to use it at home and at the office to make some things go more smoothly, hopefully do some more blogging, and continue to learn the Ubuntu OS.


the journeys of home ownership

I tend to think about home ownership, as a state of being, a stage of life, and so on, quite frequently, and think that I have written several blog posts over the last two years regarding some of those experiences associated with home ownership, from dealing with water leaking problems in the lower level of our tri - level home, from coming home and seeing our mailbox hanging at a 90 degree angle after being hit, to getting bags upon bags upon bags of mulch each spring to re-mulch all the landscaping put in by the previous owners. As much I enjoy having my own place to live, and not having to move, and especially not having to share walls with anyone, I have been slow to "happily" accept some of the duties of home ownership, primarily on duties regarding the yard and garage.

I can't stand mowing the yard . . . and yet its something that obviously needs to be done on a a regular basis. And while I can't stand mowing it, I don't want it to look brown, to be full of weeds, to have moles running underneath it, and so on. So the last two summers, I have just kind of meddled through with it, just mowing, not paying attention to any other details. Then, at the end of last summer, I noticed some problems at one of the back corners indicating mole issues, and I noticed how many different sections of the yard had a growing weed problem, and how lopsided the rate of growth of the grass was in various lawn sections. I really didn't like the idea of having to put a lot of work into the yard, again, not really my thing. But, I think I disliked the idea of having a bad yard even more. My whole neurotic side coming out, I just can't accept that something I work on isn't up to my defined expectations.

Thus, a trip to Lowe's this morning. Picked up Scott's turf builder with crabgrass preventer (crabgrass is all over the place in the yard last fall) for use in early spring, along with weed control that gets used later in the spring, more in the May and June area. Picked up some grub killer to help move any remaining moles from the winter away from the property. All stuff I never thought I would get into. I was planning on putting down the grub killer and scott's turf builder (they go on different parts of the property - where the moles are, grows twice as fast as the front yard and the primary side yard - faces the main street in the subdivision, which means everyone sees that the grass doesn't grow as fast as it should, or just that I think everyone sees it and only I do); but it looks like the weather will be a bit cold much of today for it, including some rain, which I can't have this soon for the grub killer. So hopefully sometime this coming week.

In other news, while at Lowe's I also picked up some channel tracks to try and help solve our growing storage problem in the garage. The growing problem - its getting more and more crowded, and we insist on always being able to park two cars in the two car garage. The previous owners left some nice storage lockers the fit nicely, but the channel locks should allow to use the vertical space in the garage better. This is a task that I will hopefully get accomplished later this afternoon...maybe not the hanging of storage on the channel tracks, but at least get the first set of tracks up securely on the garage back wall. I hear many people tell me that at some point, we won't be able to park two cars in there, that with lawn equipment and other power equipment, and everything you accumulate over the years of home ownership, that its just not possible. Well, my in laws have successfully done it so far...and I really enjoy not having to wipe a bunch of snow off my car, or to have to defrost it every morning during northern Indiana winters, or having the inside so hot that the seats stick to you when you get in. Its a really nice thing to have, and something I never had with my car until we bought the house, so I am determined to keep it that way.

Anyway, hopefully it will be a productive day in the garage for me. I have to pick up Ellie from her grooming appointment shortly, and then plan to get the work done before the basketball games start today. A relaxing day to watch games after MSU's squeaker last night. Ahhhhs Saturdays.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

a helpful trip

Many times, these seminars we are required to attend are nothing but a waste of time. I don't say that as someone who dislikes going to them. On the contrary, any time I can be in "student" mode again, I enjoy. Its just that these seminars often tend not to be well structured to the audience, in part because the people who attend, while all lawyers, tend to have such a wide range of practices and experience that such a task would be very difficult. In any event, I often find that one section, or one hour of the agenda for a six to seven hour seminar is actually useful to my situation, to my practice. This is not always the case, but I think that's about average.

Being a "newer" lawyer, I often have high hopes that I can take something valuable from each seminar I attend, sadly, these tend to be unfulfilled hopes. However, this last seminar was very useful, but the contrast between this one and the "Applied Professionalism" course last November is somewhat sad. Every new lawyer in Indiana, within the first three years of their practice, has to take the Applied Professionalism course. Without going into too much detail about the course itself, it basically reviewed all of the professional rules of responsibility that lawyers are supposed to follow, pointing out missteps in client interaction, communications with other counsel and the court, and so on. It sounds good, and if they required you to take it within the first six months, it might actually be helpful. Further, simply providing a regurgitation of those rules, which we take a class on during law school and have a specific exam we have to pass separate from the Bar exam in order to get license, is a bit redundant. I understand what the course is intended to do, help us be "professional" (as if a course can teach that) and help us avoid common pitfalls (which you tend to know in the first year or so, or you start getting into trouble quickly).

The seminar yesterday, How to Manage Work in a Law Practice, was so much more practical and on point for a young lawyer than the Applied Professionalism course. There was a little review of the responsibility rules, but there was so much about how to organize cases from beginning to end, how to plan for a legal day and its unique interruptions as opposed to just planning for school classes or whatever. The course gave so many varying tools and tips that can be used to increase efficiency.

The part for me that was most helpful, and I imagine could be helpful to young lawyers similar to myself, is how, when planning a case, appeal, or project at the beginning and making a list of the tasks that need to be completed, is to ask who the responsible person is. In asking this question, part of it revolves around "does this particular task require my level of expertise, my legal education and training?" On some level, it might seem elitist, if that's the word, to view the assignment of tasks in this light. But in reality, preparing the research and arguments for an Appellant Brief, requires my training and skill, whereas preparing the Table of Contents, and index, and various certificates does not, as it comes off a form. The reason why this question is helpful to me is that it allows me to see where I can delegate work in a project appropriately, thus allowing me to work on other projects, and thus, be more efficient and handle more cases.

Delegating has been one of my biggest challenges since starting this career. Part of it is that I am a bit of a perfectionist and I like things done a certain way, so I should just do it. Part of it is that the most common task delegating in our firm and other law firms is typing, but due to my age/generation, and growing up using computers in school and for school work, I am used to typing as part of my writing process, and frankly, I can type faster than anyone else in my office. Another difficult aspect of delegation for me is just the idea of giving someone else work to do that, on a major level, feels like my work. Maybe its the student still in me, but sometimes it just feels awkward, or wrong, for me to give "my work" to someone else to do, even if it is part of that person's job to assist in that work in whatever fashion I decide is appropriate. Its a situation, learning the art of delegation, how to be responsible for another person's work load and training, the whole "being a boss" thing that is vital to a good business and a good law practice, not to mention a good working environment, that it amazes me that legal education has so little on these issues (I understand we need to know the law, obviously; but let's not get too full of ourselves, law practice is a business, its about helping people at some level yes, but its about making money, being able to pay rent, the utility bills, and employee salaries just like any other business).

In any event, I've already digressed on the topic longer than I intended to . . . suffice to say that I found the seminar yesterday very useful and helpful in how to plan my work day, and some tidbits to help me accomplish some personal goals as well. For that, I am thankful.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A History of God


I finally finished reading A History of God by Karen Armstrong over the weekend. I say finally because it took me about two and a half months, which is a very long time for me to finish a book. The book was very thorough and packed with information, which after days of work involving lots of reading, made it difficult to pick up the book or get through more than 20 pages or so at a time. But it was definitely a worthwhile read, particularly if you have an interest in religion.

Before I say anything about the book, I think its important to note that the book is not a faith book, or a spiritual commentary book, or even a book commenting on religion in today's society. It is, quite simply, a history book, looking at the history and development throughout time of the concept of monotheism among Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. It would be no different than reading a book about the history of Western Philosophy, it summarizes the view points of the various thinkers involved. I only mention this because the book, from a historical or academic sense, points to inconsistencies or questionable judgments made by developers of each of these religions, which some may not like, so they should probably avoid this book I suppose. I can read the book very openly because I view religion as a man made creation to understand the existence of something divine, with each religion coming to different conclusions and representations. Because of this view point, I can dissect each religion's history as it is a philosophical school of thought, and believe that I am not tearing down or criticizing "God." Just background, probably unnecessary at this point.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It highlighted many things in the history of Christianity that I was unaware of, as well as really laid out some of the fundamentals in the split between the Western Christian Church and Eastern Christian Church that I have never really gotten a grasp of. But the book, from my perspective, earns its salt with its discussion of Islam and Judaism. Growing up in a predominantly Christian society and in the West, its hard to get a lot of information about these religions. Judaism is important only in the "Old Testament." After Jesus, Judaism's development is irrelevant in education. Similarly, you learn about Islam simply in a history class as being on the other sides of the Crusades, but nothing substantive about their development. In every class I have had where religious history has been discussed, Judaism is again limited to the pre-Jesus events and history, and Islam is limited to Muhammad, their Prophet. Its not that these times are not significant for the history of these two religions, buts its like the equivalent of not paying attention to Christian history after Jesus . . . so no Paul, no Bishop Iraneus, no Council of Nicea, no Reformation, no Vatican II, no whatever. I think we rely on things that happened after Jesus within Christianity to continue Christians' development of their belief structure and their religion as a whole.

I think Islam and Judaism is the same, and this book provided great detail about the development of these religions. There are stories of Judaism's development and interaction with mysticism and the rise of Kabbalism, Judaism's reaction to the scientific revolution, how the rise of anti-semitism in Europe led to an increase in Zionist tendencies, and how the Holocaust effected the Jewish image of God. Similarly, we learn how the followers of Muhammad continued his thoughts, the utmost importance of the creation of a just society to Muslims, how the scientific revolution affected the Muslim view of God, and even a great discussion of mysticism within Islam.

The book also describes in good detail the rise of fundamentalism in all three religions in the past half century, with a myriad of possible causes and explanations. What's really fascinating, is that each religion has had its own brand of mysticism at one point or another, each its own fundamentalism, and each a significant (or many significant) person(s) after the religion's founder that influenced the direction of the religion (Islam - Muhammad; Judaism - Moses; Christianity - author argues that Paul is actual founder of the religion of Christianity, which based on how much of Christian thought is based on Paul's argument, is at least a grounded position). Its also interesting note how each reacted to the modernity of scientific thought, and in particularly, how Christianity, which during its development allowed for a more literal translation of its scriptures, led to such conflict in western societies between religious and scientific thought that didn't exist in these other religions because God was less an anthropomorphic being, than a representational, or symbolic Being. The other religions seemed to accept the limitations of human mind and language when explaining God earlier in their history than Christianity, which the author argues made for less conflict in those religions and the discoveries of modern science in the last two centuries or so. I found interesting that the author posits that this could be one of the reasons that today's concept of atheism, of belief in no God, is much more prevalent in the Christian societies than in others. Something to chew on...

Anyway, as I said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There was so much information, and for someone who approaches these things from a historical and philosophical perspective more than a faith based perspective I guess, it gave me just an unbelievable amount of information to digest and think about, ideas, concepts, and explanations that give me much to process as I continue my own path in a religious world.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

seminars

One of the many things that I must do in order to keep practicing law is attend continuing legal education seminars every three years . . . I think the requirement is to take 36 credits worth every three years, with at least six credits every year. Thus, today, I will be headed down to Indianapolis for a seminar tomorrow at the ICLEF (Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum) building in downtown Indy. On some level the trips are nice, I usually can get a decent hotel room, and usually can eat at a nice restaurant for no charge to me personally since the firm picks up the tab. The downside of course is being away from home for the night, which I guess isn't the big deal, but I think both Jackie and I look forward to spending time with each other each night after our work days, so it upsets that routine a bit.

Anyway, I'm off to my three hour or so drive pretty soon, to attend a seminar discussing more of the management and business side of law practice than anything actually law related, which is to say that it will discuss those issues of practicing law (client attraction and retention, management of trust accounts, business "stuff") more than three years of law school did. I hope its worthwhile, and who knows where I'll end up at dinner for tonight . . . I'm right on Monument Circle, so I should have plenty of nice options.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

birthday reflections


I'm not usually one for "celebrating" my own birthdays, not because I have any issues with being a year older, but because I usually, at some point around the week of my birthday, reflect on things and end at a conclusion that I should have accomplished more by my "____th" birthday. The last couple years, with Jackie's help to lighten up a bit, I've learned to relax a bit more about things, but every now and again, I still get the reflection bug.

Birthdays to me serve better purposes for yearly reflection than New year's . . . other people tend to make New Year's resolutions, I attempt to make promises to myself each year to accomplish something before I turn a year older. Somewhat inevitable, because of the scope of these promises, the next year is always a bit of a downer because I have failed to maintain the promise. Birthdays are funny - sadness or disappointment at the past, hope and optimism for the future.

Yesterday I turned 28. It feels weird because it "sounds" like such an adult age, and yet it seems not that long ago and I was still in school (in part, because I've only been out of school for almost three years). But chiefly because it sounds so adult, grown up, mature, and sometimes I'm not sure I really view myself as that yet, even though I've done the "adult" things of getting married, buying a house, and establishing a career. Self image and perspective is very controlling at times though, and its still somewhat weird to view myself as an adult, for whatever sense that makes it.

Its also somewhat weird because of what year 27 meant. Going back, things have happened quickly and there always seemed to be somewhat of a bigger step or event each year. During year 21, Jackie and I got engaged. During year 22, was graduation from college. During year 23, I made law review at Valpo (which doesn't seem like a big deal to me know, but at the time, it certainly seemed important). During year 24, Jackie and I got married. During year 25, it was graduation from law school. During year 26, Jackie and I bought our first house together in little Middlebury, and I made partner at my law firm. During year 27 . . . . . . . . .

It just seems that nothing big or momentous, or whatever the word would be, happened in the last year for me. There was obviously big events . . . I became an Uncle as my Sister had her first child; Jackie and I dealt with the pain of losing her faithful Bichon Toby, who passed away in September after 14 years; Jackie and I got a new puppy this past January; I bought a newer car and finally moved on from the old trust Echo; but nothing that makes me look back and think, I will remember that I did this when I was 27, the way I look at those other events.

Ultimately, I think the way I view time will change, less on a year to year basis, which being so close to a school schedule kind of forces the view of time, to less structured, to an understanding that time will just kind of pass by seemingly quicker and quicker, because there are less things to mark it, less "big" events such as graduations, job promotions, marriage, houses, and the like. Looking ahead, obviously any job changes would be big (although I sincerely hope there isn't any, I like where I work), new house at some point would be big, and obviously any children that come along, but I think the years of having something defining happen every year are probably over, and now its time to start looking at the whole of the future with the aforementioned hope and optimism, instead of trying to control it by structuring it so much on a yearly basis. But again, I'm only 28, so I'm sure the views and thoughts I have now will evolve and morph over the future years.

As for the birthday itself, it was very nice. My parents, sister, brother in law, and nephew all came down to have lunch with Jackie and I at Olive Garden, one of my favorite restaurants, and then came back to our house for some ice cream cake. It was nice to be able to spend the time with everyone. And due to my family and Jackie's family incredible generosity (seriously, I cannot be convinced that I deserve to be so blessed with such incredible people as family in my life), I was able to get some new things I have been wanting for awhile, including a new golf bag, golf shoes, and even a mini-laptop that I can't wait to use to help in doing more work at home (which might be a later post).

Everything considered, its been a great time, and not to sound overly corny, while its nice to get the gifts of things from people that create little moments, what's always nicer is the time I get to spend with family, and the wonderful reminder of how loved and blessed and fortunate I am . . . I love that reminder, a reminder of what I have been given but didn't deserve, and what I should strive to give to others, even if they may not deserve it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Short Stories


I feel like I have been in a reading rut lately . . . I had a couple weeks at work that was very research intensive, and thus involved a lot of reading, and so I haven't been able to get through my reading list like I would have liked to and move on to other books. For someone who likes to read as much as I do, its a bit frustrating.

I am almost done with the book A History of God by Karen Armstrong, which is fantastic, and I finally made it through a compilation book of selected short stories by O. Henry. The book obviously has so many different stories that a review really isn't appropriate, but I enjoyed it so much, just for re-introducing the short story to me. Outside of class work during high school and college, I've never read any short stories, and now I find that to be a shame. They are obviously an easy read, provide a complete story, and often are, at least with O. Henry, very humorous and even thought provoking. I particularly like the story where two friends agree to meet in a spot twenty years later, but during that time one becomes a cop and the other becomes a criminal. Great storytelling involved in all of them, and I will have to remember to check out some more short stories on my reading list in the future. Especially if I can find some more "modern" writers, because as much as I liked this book, its would have nicer to understand more of the references without having to look them up.

Hopefully I'll finish the Armstrong by the end of the weekend and then be able to move onto some new stuff.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

fighting forgetfulness

From my morning notes......

One of my devotional readings today was about forgetfulness...when we forget to partake in the invitations we have been offered. In the story, it was forgetting about a dinner invitation, and then comparing it to Lady Wisdom's dinner invite in Proverbs, and how God invites us and we tend to forget due to busyness.

I very much relate with this theme...its something I have believed for a long time. We are not really bad people, selfish people, although we do bad and selfish things. We just forget, in the midst of our daily life, to remember who we want to be and how we want to act. It can be difficult to remember a principle or belief that you want guiding your life when you are under the stress of a deadline, or worried about paying the bills this month, or trying to figure out finance a car repair. For lack of better wording, sometimes life just gets in the way of remembering all the things you want to be.

Its one of the reasons I have tried to put more effort into reading a devotional or reflection each morning, be it from a Christian service like Upper Room, or getting emailed ones from Belief Net for Judaism, Islam, or Buddhism. Its why I try to remember to say a small gratitude prayer before I eat a meal. Its not that I am agreeing wholeheartedly with the reflections I am reading, most of the time I struggle with their message. Its not that I think that prayer is a vital thing, I'm actually very undecisive regarding prayer, its purpose and impact as a cause/effect factor with the Divine. And its why I try to write as much as I can about these things, about what my reaction is to a particularly Scripture reading or spiritual quote. All these things serve the purpose of grounding me each day, each hour, each moment. They give me a constant reminder as I start my day what to be thinking about, they remind me throughout the day as I think about what to write, they remind me of all the thoughts I have about the person I want to be, and how having constant reminders of those ideals, helps guide me in making decisions and participating in actions that better accomplish those ideals, thus, hopefully, continually making me closer to the person I desire to be. Which of course is not to say that I am anywhere near that, as I am still a deeply flawed creature in a myriad of ways.

But I have no doubt that without this semi-obsessiveness about reading these things and writing about them, all for the purpose of remembering my ideals throughout the day, that without these constant steps for remembrance, I would be further away from my ideal, and I would be making no progress at all. The need for me to remember is great, to remember to be charitable when I get stressed out by bills and financial obligations; to remember to be kind when the feeling overwhelmed by deadlines; to remember to share and be open when I get tired of "dealing" with people throughout the day; to remember that progress towards the best version of myself during times of self-doubt; to remember that I am extraordinarily blessed during times of selfishness; to remember that there is something far greater beyond me, something else worthwhile working for, to remember something divine.

Monday, March 16, 2009

a radio listener


One of the most relaxing and peaceful things for me is to listen to the radio, often times while reading a book, or just laying down and thinking about stuff. Television, even when I am reading, comes off as nothing more than noise sometimes, and for whatever reason, makes my reading experience less relaxing and peaceful . . . . . . especially compared when listening to the radio. Television noise tends to be more disjointed, constant changes in volume and tone, inharmonious. As compared to music from the radio, which is melodious and smooth flowing.

When I partake in a radio listening night such as tonight, I can feel myself slowly relax and take a load off, I think back to nights in Valpo with the cool breeze coming in through my patio bringing the scents of spring; I think of times sitting in my room at college, listening to music for hours, and just letting go of everything. Each and every time, regardless of the type of music that's playing, its a peaceful experience, a relaxing moment. And as things continue to be a bit stressful at work due to common deadlines and such, it will do me good to remember these moments, and remember to employ more nights such as tonight, to help ease the build up of stress. To take a moment to pause and take a breath, and just be.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Selection Sunday

Yesterday was a very nice day...beautiful weather up here in Northern Indiana, made for a nice drive down to Fort Wayne. The Komet hockey game last night was a ton of fun, as usual, and it was just a nice time to spend with Jackie's family.

One down side was that we learned, at least for now, that Ellie gets a car sick. She threw up right when we made it to Fort Wayne on Saturday, and when we left today, her energy level went way down right away, and then she ended up throwing up several times in her kennel during the drive back. Hopefully she grows out of it, because we tend to be on the road quite a bit with both our families living a fair drive away, but I think they have some medicine to help motion sickness with dogs if needs be. Also with Ellie, she has her spaying surgery tomorrow, assuming there are no complications due to experiencing motion sickness today. Maybe it will calm her down a bit, who knows. Hopefully everything goes smoothly (its odd to get nervous about your dog's routine surgery - signs that you care for the animal, and have a relationship).

Other than that, the work week obviously starts up again tomorrow, and with today being Selection Sunday for the NCAA Basketball Tournament, I'll be busy studying my brackets before Thursday to make some picks, and then start hoping for a good showing by Michigan State.

Friday, March 13, 2009

aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

How nice it is to be able to leave the office today and know, for the first time in about three weeks, that I won't be coming into the office tomorrow. What a great feeling, already like something has been lifted off my shoulders.

Off to Fort Wayne tomorrow to watch a hockey game with Jackie and her folks. Should be a good time.

Out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

time capsules

One of the activities that I really enjoy partaking in is the reading of my old writings, be it journals, blog posts, or old papers from school. It really is a small time capsule into my mind, past thoughts and beliefs, past struggles and joys. Its interesting to note the development of my own writing, my own thinking, when looking at papers from my sophomore year as compared to my senior year of college. Its interesting, due to the nature of philosophical inquiry papers, to note the self-exploration I was on at that time, and how it relates to the exploratory journeys I currently undertake. Some things have changed drastically - believe it or not, I am much more efficient with my writing now than I was then, its not even close; some things I had doubts about then, regarding myself and my relationships, I no longer have; some things which I had a lot of supposed certainty about, chiefly my views in politics and religion, have changed pretty drastically and have gotten a lot more complicated. All in all, it makes sense for such a transition to take place, I just love looking back and viewing the process over again with hindsight. Its always a nice reminder to not get too caught up in the stress or doubt of the here and now, because it too shall pass.

Due to this hobby so to speak, I usually have to spend a lot of time on my computer to read the old papers or see the old blog posts (my journal entries, thankfully, give me a break from the computer screen). Over the past year or so, as I have spent much more time on the computer at work, I tend to hardly get on the computer at all when I am home, partly due to just being tired of being on a computer, partly because our laptop is pretty old and I can't play music on it and do anything else at the same time, which is sort of a prerequisite for me. Thus, in order to keep up my little joy of reliving my journeys of thoughts and introspection, I have casually looked into such services as Blurb and Lulu, two self-publishing web sites - allowing you to submit material, and they bind it for like a book, for a small fee. Great stuff, and such a nice service for people like me that really enjoy reading their own writings and thoughts over and over again. In theory, these sites also give you the opportunity to use them to self-publish books for sale, which while I wish I could do that, I enjoy the services just the same for simple personal use.

I've used both services already, and both have their own advantages and disadvantages that really depends on what the user wants out of the service...I find both acceptable, and am not really sure if one is superior to the other, or any other similar services out there. But the whole idea has so much potential...I already look forward to keeping a journal or sorts for my kids, chronicling events from their birth, first step, first day of school and so on, and be able to give a book as a gift to them when they are all grown up. I think there is so much potential for great sharing and reflection with services like that, and glad that I happened on to them and have been able to have personal benefit from the service.

do not pass Go

In the spirit of using this space as a place for random quick updates outside or in addition to Facebook and in place of Twitter, today will be my first trip to meet a client who is currently in jail. I do court appointed appeals for defendants who otherwise can't afford an attorney, and while most of the time by the time I get appointed the client is too far away (i.e., on the other side of the State in a correctional facility) to make a visit practical when considering the costs (lots of letter writing), a recent appointment has presented the opportunity to meet the client prior to such a relocation. Should be a worthwhile experience, always like the chance to meet people face to face, and it always allows for better communication.

So, off to the jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

never ending joys of home ownership


So, as I mentioned briefly in my last post, been thinking about giving up Twitter. In part, an easy decision, as everyone I actually followed or followed me was also on Facebook, which still allows me to post little status updates with my phone. However, when there are moments when 140 characters won't do, which gives this blog potential to have more frequent, albeit shorter posts when random things occur.

Such as today, when I get an email from Jackie letting me know that part of the carpet in our lower level is soaked due to all the rain. The water comes into the house from a particularly corner (this is the third time we have had this problem - always when there is a substantially above normal rainfall). I think the main problem rests with the downspout off the gutter - it shoots it out straight into the frontyard away from the house. Unfortunately, the water puddles there and slowly seeps back towards the house's foundation. I think I'll have to stop putting off that trip to the hardware store to pick up some more gutter spouts to try and redirect the water all the way down the front of the house to the side yard, where the ground actually slopes away from the house instead of towards it. With a house, there's always something to do...

a bad habit

Have you ever felt that you might have an "addiction" issue with something? An odd question I guess, but one I have thought about lately as I wonder if I have an slight addiction to something. Usually, and I think the dictionary definition of addiction supports this notion, we think of addiction as a physical addiction to a type of drug, usually a narcotic of some sort, or alcohol. There's a physical reaction that draws the individual to continue to feel the need to have that substance.

I'm not talking about any of that, but an addiction to an activity itself, which I guess stretches the definition. Maybe a better characterization...do you have a bad habit, that you know is a bad habit, but it draws on you or your mind so much that you struggle with not letting it overtake a part of your life, or struggle maintaining any type of balance between that activity and the rest of your life? The past couple weeks have given me an opportunity to think about this question as I have such a habit, one that makes me a worse person, yet I have trouble not letting the activity overrule everything else in my life. Ultimately, I don't have a problem stopping "cold turkey," which is further proof its not really an addiction type issue. But once I get wrapped up in the activity, I have trouble not thinking about, not engaging in it for hours on end, even be woken up by thoughts of it in the middle of the night.

I wish I could understand the psychology that goes into such an attraction to a self-defined bad habit...what the draw is and so on. The activity is harmless, but my engagement in it prevents me from being a better person, to put it simply, which is why I call it a bad habit. Its truly a silly thing, but I wonder, anyone else ever have these types of "addictions" to a bad habit?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

15 days and counting

So I get that post out last week about blogging more, and than do nothing in addition to it. Its unfortunate, but things have just been crazy busy lately. (A quick side digression that popped into my head - I have really stopped using Twitter as everyone that followed me on there now is on Facebook, so that might present opportunities for fairly short, almost Twitter-ish posts on here...maybe). Anyway, nothing exciting going on, just lots of work trying to finish up an Appellate Brief.

Due to that fun project, along with some other random projects at work, today marked the 15th consecutive day that I have been at the office working on something. And last night, after spending the entire afternoon at the office, I worked an additional couple hours at home. I shouldn't be complaining, having a job right now in these times and in our community is fortunate, but I am a bit exhausted. I have five days this week to get through before Jackie and I head down to Fort Wayne on Saturday for a hockey game. So that will push me to 20 consecutive days in the office before I finally gain a respite. I am looking forward to that, if for nothing else to get a little break from the office.

As this stretch has developed, I have become more and more aware that I haven't taken a real vacation from work for about a year and three months. And the ways things look, it may be another year or so before we really have another opportunity to take a vacation somewhere. At least when I was in school, there was always a break on the horizon, always an end to the current "period." Now, particularly in times like the last few weeks when things just seem to snowball, it all just seems endless...there's nothing out there to work towards, to look forward to, so to speak.

It seems like the weather is starting to change towards spring, so hopefully that will bring some better weather-related moods, and maybe some eventually, some half days with some golf. As Jackie always reminds me, just have to keep plugging away.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

a quickie

My Parents, this past summer during our annual family camping trip to Pentwater, MI. This picture is at the beach in Ludington, right on Lake Michigan.





I unfortunately let the last few weeks pass without posting anything on here...its not for a lack of things happening or worthy topics to write about, just a combination of being fairly busy and falling back into some bad habits time management wise. Anyway, hopefully I get around to posting about some of that in due time. But for now, things continue to roll along, both at work and at home. We have a pretty busy stretch coming up about the second weekend in March when various things will be going on for us, and various travels accompanied with those happenings. And mostly I am jealous of my parents right now, who are in San Antonio at the moment, where it was 51 this morning and supposed to get up to 80, according to my Dad's text. Its so nice of him to let me know that while we're sitting in below freezing temperatures once again in northern Indiana. I can't wait for Spring.