Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Death of Motherfucker Girl, and Good-Bye, Anal Speculum, and Pajamas.

Why are you so shy?

People ask me that, a lot. Usually, it's after they've known me long enough to realize that I'm not, actually, at all shy. It's usually in the same conversation that they tell me that I'm not at all like they thought I was, when they met me.

What did you think I was like?

Quiet, usually. Nice, sometimes. Stuck-up, occasionally. At least three times, developmentally disabled.

So when people ask me why I am so shy, they are really asking me "Why do you SEEM so shy?"

I'm not shy. I'm reserved. Shyness comes from fear; reservation comes from experience. And judgment. I am experienced enough to know that some things that I feel like saying can be taken the exact. wrong. way. I have good enough judgment, though, to be a bit tight-lipped around most people, for perhaps a little longer than is usual.

Judgment, I'm told, is the number one most important characteristic in a good lawyer, as in, one can't be one without it. A lot of other stuff seems to be required, too, but none of it's for shit without good judgment. That's a paraphrase, of course, from the wise words of many. Many, who are wise enough to not use the phrase "for shit," when giving advice.

Judgment, I learned, is why, if one wants to be a successful solo practitioner in a small community, especially when one is a woman, and young - one cannot go to the grocery store in their pajamas in the middle of the night. (Learned this at a class this weekend. Important advice. Because I would go.)

Judgment is why nearly everything about you is open to scrutiny, when you're a lawthing. A sign of bad judgment might bode much worse than a low grade in Fed. Courts. Fed. Courts is hard, and a bad grade might just mean a single misread phrase in a fact pattern, or showing up to the exam with a flu. A facial tattoo...that shows that you lack the ability to weigh the benefits and consequences of a very public decision.

I did the leadership thing, at school, this past term. Demonstrated a bitchload of good judgment, reasoned decisionmaking, self-discipline, setting both examples and boundaries with staff- all that fine-ass shit. Balance. Good time management. Priorities. Professionalism.

At the same time, though, I was blogging. I was writing my very first stand-up comedy routine. It killed, by the way. I opened with an old favorite, went through a quick routine on unemployment, my low expectations from relationships and fear of commitment, into a great bit comparing medical specialties to legal specialties, then came right back around to "Rectum? Damn near killed 'im!"

One of my blogs took the fuck off. I got about 3,000 hits on a post about Polygamy, around the same on a post about Octomom (loathe that moniker, so much), 2,000 on a post about the commerce clause, of all things...

It was around that time that I started to hear the same thing, over and over again, from many trusted sources. Trusted sources who, I'm sure, have "good judgment."

"Hobo, I love your blog. Please delete it." Except, of course, they don't say Hobo.

"Hobo, you have a perfectly good psuedonym which is not at all traceable to your actual identity...why don't you use that?" or,

"Hobo...have you considered that blogging is a better tool for marketing than it is for ensuring that you don't get a job?" or,

"Hobo, have you ever noticed that the more serious the topic you're writing about, the more likely you are to include words like "bullshit" "dickbag" or "motherfucker," and have you considered that that might be a sign of some inherent self-defeating tendency?"


"Hobo, do you think you might have waited until the dean and faculty had left the fundraiser before you got onstage and made a joke which relied, to a great extent, on an extended metaphor comparing your classmates' ambitions to aspiring proctologists' dreams of someday performing invasive rectal exams?"

None of these, however, convinced me to take down the blogs. Then, I went to my sister's engagement party. Her fiancee is very involved in music. The type of music which meant that every single one of his male friends showed up to the party in a scally cap and black work jacket. It was a lovely event. Drinking. Snacks. Standing on a porch. Socializing.

When I next visited my parents, though, I had a little shock. It was Sunday dinner - a lovely tradition. It's a sign of a healthy and satisfying life to have a guaranteed opportunity to drink someone else's wine at least once a week. My father, pouring me a glass of wine, called out to my mother:

"Hey! (my mother's name), Motherfucker Girl is here!"

Yup. Motherfucker girl. Apparently, I'd made a great impression on at least one of my sister's guests. I had been christened. It wasn't surprising that my sister had reported the new appellation to my parents, immediately. Some families are protestant. Some families are agnostic. My family are dyed-in-the-wool anecdotalists. Redemption through storytelling.

It was, however, surprising, when I learned who had found my language quite so salty.

The gentleman who christened me had once worked as a drummer for a quite well known band. A band that would have become MUCH better known, if the name weren't so filthy...that it must be referred to only by its initials. So, I began to reflect upon my use of language.

It doesn't really matter if I gain a reputation in the hard-core music community as a stellar hostess with a filthy mouth - but, it may matter if I gain a reputation as the otherwise shy lawthing...with the inexplicably poor judgment when it comes to online presence.

So, after a bit, I'm going to quit this blog, and my other. And I'll leave it up, but carefully redact identifying information. I'll try to strike any backlinks that identify me, as me. And I'll stop using the word "motherfucker" in front of anyone more sober than I am at the time. There will be a few more posts before the end; then a long absence for the bar.

After a while, I'll start a new blog. It'll either be entirely invitation-only (completely unnappealling to me - I like to shout into the wind), carefully screened for propriety, or carefully screened for identifying information.

I hope I can still wear pajamas in the middle of the night, as long as I don't leave the house. It's going to be hard to sleep in a suit. The drycleaning costs will be intense. I'll go through spray-starch like a ghost with erectile dysfunction.

Monday, February 16, 2009

So, you want to go to law school.

Sit down, and let's have a chat.

It's a fantastic thing, this whole "law school" experience. And I'm very glad you'll be following in my footsteps. And I'm delighted that you've come to me, a stranger on the internet, for advice. And I'm so happy to share with you some advice.

1. You know how people generally say that such-and-such isn't at all like it is in the movies?

Fuck that. Law school is exactly like the movies. It's exactly like Legally Blonde, in fact.

But wait, Hobo!That movie didn't make any sense! And I'm pretty sure it was sponsored by Pantene!

True. And yet. The one inaccuracy is that Legally Blonde takes place at Harvard. While Harvard exists, you will not be going to Harvard. How do I know? Well. You're looking for advice on the internet. That means at least one of the following statements is true about you.

1. You have poor judgment, and an inability to sort valuable information from useless information. That, or you can't manage your time for shit. I know this because, well, the internet is on all the time, this blog is found easily by google. For real advice, you'd have to find a bookstore, get there while it's open, and either loiter long enough to learn something, or buy your ass a book. Obviously, you were unable to do that.

2. Neither your mommy nor your daddy is a lawyer. Nor are they rich enough that their friends or your relatives are lawyers. How do I know? Because then you'd ask them; or someone else you know, about what law school is like. Not me, the aforesaid stranger on the internet.

How do I know that if either of the above statements are true, you're not going to Harvard? Well. I don't. Actually, and this is good practice for the LSAT's - if both statement one and statement two are true, you're not going to Harvard. If statement two, but not statement one is true, you're not going to Harvard.

If statement one is true, but statement two is false, you could probably still go to Harvard, because nepotism and privilege trump judgment and intelligence. Get used to it. If you can find some shmuck to pay $3,000 for a Kaplan LSAT course, and some shmuck already paid a buttload for your SAT course, and your "rigorous education," so your undergrad degre doesn't have the reek of proletarian accessibility, you'll get into a good law school. But fuck you, if you do.

So anyway, other than the fact that you're not going to Harvard, Legally Blonde is a pretty accurate portrayal of law school. First year is confusing; everyone's a fish out of water; cliques form quickly; you'll be humiliated in class at least once. Then, after first year exams, you'll find out that someone you thought was a dipshit is a genius, and someone you thought was a genius is full of shit (me! me! me!).

After that, there's a montage, and you graduate. Seriously. I have no real memory of second year that doesn't involve Fed Courts or washing Mr. Miyagi's car. And that one time I got so drunk that I fell and actually bounced.

2. Everyone says that the first year of law school is the most challenging year of post-secondary education in America. I don't know if this is true. I'm not, after all, Hoboustabeamedstudent.

It's tough. It's time consuming. It's strange and it's rigorous, and the way that the classes are taught is so completely different than the way that anything else is taught - it's like foreign-language immersion, especially if you are the first person you know to go to law school. I was. I didn't know what a casebook was, what, really, a "case" was. I didn't know what a brief was, or a memorandum.

But I had two advantages that got me through the first year of law school, better than most. First, while I was an undergrad, I was a barista. I worked as close to full time as the coffee shop would let me. That meant that I would often get up at 4:30am to be at work at five, work 'til one, get in my car and go to class until eight or nine o'clock.

As an undergrad, I didn't have time for luxuries like "keeping up with the reading," unless I was willing to sacrifice in other ways, like "not paying my rent" or "living on stale pastries and stolen milk." If you spend your undergraduate years working 14 or 15 hour days, always feeling like you don't have enough time to really get anything done, always having to switch between being a college student and a wage slave -- the eight or nine hour day necessary to keep up with your work as a first year law student seem like a vacation. And, really, it can be. Being able to focus on one thing is amazing. All you have to do is show up, work hard, and learn. How decadent.

The second advantage I had was that I didn't really care about being good at law school. Although I had decided to become a lawyer, it wasn't a long-standing childhood dream. I didn't feel like I was destined to be a lawyer. Thoughts of Clarence Darrow didn't dance through my head. I just wanted to get through it. Law school is hard; you WILL feel like you're doing it wrong. The only way to get through it is to have more investment in working hard than in doing well. Some people do phenomenally well, and always feel like they're failing. Some people feel like they're really getting it...and they end up doing really poorly. If you go to school every day feeling like you must have escaped from a diagnosis of serious mental disability - don't let it bug you. It doesn't mean you shouldn't be a lawyer, or even that you're not getting it.

So relax. Care less. And remember, if you've worked your way through college, or you've been out in the workplace, or you've been in the military, or you have kids - you've done something harder than this.

3. Consider not going.

I mean it. I'm $125,000 in debt. I'm the motherfucking head lady of our publication. I've got actual legal experience. I've gained serious respect for my work, both on the job, and in school. And I have no serious job prospects. None. I've loved law school. I loved, loved, loved working in legal services, and at the tax court. I want to be a lawyer; I realized today, while putting off writing take-home exams in order to work longer on some work for the publication - that I love legal work, even the nitpicky little stuff.

But it might not be worth it. I might have, I'm realizing, been just as happy getting a teaching degree, and working as a substitute teacher. Or, continuing to work as a barista, and spending more time seeing if I coud write. I might have been happy being a housewife, and perfecting my blueberry muffin recipe. Or raising and slaughtering heirloom turkeys. Happiness can come from a lot of places; and not a lot of them result in $125,000 of debt.

So think hard. And don't assume that going to law school means that you're going to get to be a lawyer. And if you can actually sit and think of what it would mean to you, to sit, like I am now, and write about what it is like to have fallen for the law - bereft of any hope of practicing - and you still want to go - more power to you.

4. Think about what school to go to. As I said above, you're not going to Harvard. It's fairly useless to make a list of schools to consider before you've taken the LSAT's. By the way, treat the LSATs like the single meaningful determinant of your admissability - because that's what admissions committees do. A 4.0 is cheap; a 172 is dear.

There are two, and only two, good strategies for picking a law school. I endorse both of them. The first strategy is to go to either the highest ranked school that will accept you, or the highest ranked school that offers you significant scholarship money. I did not do either of these. However, if I had, I might be in a slightly better position than I am now, because the highest ranked school that accepted me also offered me a full scholarship. (Note- consider changing blog title to Hobojackass). This is a strategy which may go far towards ensuring future financial solvency.

The other strategy is to go to my alma mater. Seriously.

I have absolute confidence that the law school I attend provides the best legal education available. This is not mere rah-rah jingoistic chauvinism; I'll admit that my school is lacking, well, in several areas. The physical plant was half-crumbling; now it's constantly under construction. The school can be unreliable, when it comes to getting grades out on time, letting you know about important deadlines. It can be a little bit dishonest about placement figures. It can be freezing and damp and leaky in the summer, and sauna-like and steamy and smelly in the winter.

It offers no, and I repeat, no, long breaks. No summer. No Christmas. It's expensive, and they're cheap with scholarships. The rank is low. There's only one publication, and we haven't published yet, because I'm blogging instead of providing leadership.

But I can't possibly imagine having gone anywhere else. I can't imagine being on the verge of graduating from another school, trying to face the legal world, without the preparation I received at my school. Conversations I've had with students from other schools, purportedly better schools, only confirms my belief that the education my school provides is far superior.

I can't go further into it, because I'd lose all semblance of anonymity. But, if you happen to be actually reading this for advice, email me, and I'll tell you. And when I tell you why, I think you'll agree: considering going anywhere else is fucking ridiculous.

5. Never look back.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Feelings are poo.

I think that's the most crude title I've ever put on a blog post. Not the most obscene, but the most juvenile. That said, it being the day before Valentines' Day, and also the day after the day after the occasion of my little sister's engagement, I'd like to share a bit of personal philosophy that I originally shared only with her:

Feelings are like bowel movements.

If you can remember this, you will never go wrong.

Everyone has them, barring serious pathology. Although frequency and significance may vary, both feelings and bowel movements are a part of life. This is known to all adults, but very small children are often informed of the fact at appropriate times.

Babies are not expected to be in control of either. Their parents find this endearing, but others, less so.

It is not necessary, and in fact, often displays poor judgment to talk about them in casual conversation. However, it is often appropriate, if something appears seriously amiss, unusual, or painful, to speak with a doctor, very close relative, or trusted friend about them.

No matter how strange, disturbing, or uncomfortable they are - it is very likely that you are not alone. There is no shame in seeking professional advice, if the pain persists for an inordinate amount of time after its' cause. (say, lamb vindaloo, or a bad breakup).

Speaking about either on a cell-phone in an packed elevator or on a crowded train is a guaranteed way to make strangers wish for your death, although sometimes, eavesdropping on these conversations can be quite entertaining.

If you expect to experience either with any degree of severity or violence while in the workplace, you are advised to scout out the most private bathroom in the building, in order to best preserve your professional reputation.

Never trust someone who wants to talk about them, in any depth, on a first date. While the frankness may seem, initially, refreshing - it cannot auger anything good. As well, even in long term relationships, talking too much about them with a romantic partner can result in the loss of all mystery and romance between you.

Attempts to induce either, whether in yourself, or especially in others, are really creepy - although increasingly common on the internet.

While it is best to have some control, attempting to hold either in for any extended period of time will just make things worse. Self-medication, similarly, while occasionally necessary, will similarly come to no good if relied upon. The result is likely to be an absolute inability to have them without chemical assistance, or an unexpected outpouring at an inconvenient time.

It is sometimes best to just let these things take their course, and see how it comes out in the end.

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

If you like pina coladas....

This is just somewhat of a random reflection, but have you heard "The Pina Colada" song lately?

Basically, it's not just about someone seeking a companion who likes to drink cocktails that taste like sunscreen and diabetes...it's a cheery tale of thwarted infidelity, and how it brings people together.

There's a guy, our hero, the narrator of the piece. He has a girlfriend - they live together. It seems to be a long-term relationship, but all the verve is gone. Perhaps, even, sexual intimacy is on the wane. There may be other problems, but all our narrator chooses to emphasize is his boredom.

One night, while his girlfriend is asleep in bed next to him, he starts trawling the personals. He reads one ad, promising outdoor sex, syrupy cocktails, and escape - and that's all it takes. Forgetting all about his girlfriend, he writes back. He arranges to meet with this stranger in a local pub, and take off together.

The purported happy ending of the tale is that the woman who walks into the bar is his old, dull girlfriend. Finding out that they were both into alcohol and mild exhibitionism, their relationship is rekindled, despite the fact that they were both prepared to scuttle the entire thing for the first stranger who happened along with a blender and some docksiders.

Somehow, I don't think this is how it would happen in real life. Somehow, I think the real ending to the song would involve "Cheaters"-style screaming and crying, and the sentence "Get out of my sight, you coke-addled whore!"

I suppose, though, "coke-addled whore" probably didn't fit in to the rhyme scheme.

Monday, January 05, 2009

I love chocolate cake.

This is not a metaphor.

I really, really love chocolate cake. Fudgy, rich, with that catch-you-on-the-back-of-your-tongue chocolate bitterness, and that jaw-tightening non-sticky sweetness...something with enough chocolate in it that the cake looks almost black. Velvety, but still...resilient. Frosting slightly under-sweetened, cocoa-scented, almost gritty at the moment you put it in your mouth, melting by the time you withdraw your fork.

But I rarely eat chocolate cake. Most chocolate cakes...are not the above. They are fluffy, black, almost foamy, small-grained, sweeter than yellow cake, sick-dog-brown frosting tasting of nothing but table sugar and fat, or worse, artificial butter...

Loving chocolate cake and eating chocolate cake at every opportunity- these things are incompatible. I'm not immune to cake-disappointment yet. I only recently learned that cake can be what I thought it was. I'm not ready to go out and search for...

-let me pause, again, I reiterate -this is really, and truly, and in all earnest, about cake-

I'm not ready to go out and learn more about cakes that will disappoint, and make the memory of the last crumbs of the last good piece seem false or implausible. I would try to convince myself, after a couple failed slices...that all cake is this way. That the ur-cake, the cake which I had imagined, the cake which I have recently pulled, warm, from strange ovens, and barely managed to resist digging into with both hands...never existed, or, if it did, wasn't nearly as good as I remembered...

-again, seriously, this is truly about cake, not heroin, or sex, or ambition, or politics-

Self-protection almost dictates that I go out, find a stop and shop, find some kind of cake with frosting flowers and a yellow sticker that says "Chocolate!" on its plastic dome, and eat it, like cookie monster, but weeping, so that I can relax, and tell myself that dark sponge-and-corn-syrup IS chocolate cake, and that nothing else is possible.

Because, seriously- I've bought three pounds of butter in as many weeks. Someone should intervene, before I'm found bloated and smiling and chewing frosting from underneath my fingernails, in a bewildered neighbor's kitchen.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Two chicks at the same time...

A very, very important question is posed in this clip. A question I've spent some time considering over the past couple days.

Not - Am I the kind of chick who would double up on Lawrence, if he had a million dollars? I haven't actually considered that.

But I'll give it some thought. Let's see. To be honest, I don't actually KNOW how a man does "two chicks at the same time." So there's, obviously, a flaw in my contemplation. I can figure out how a threesome, in general, would go, but that's not really "doing two chicks at the same time." It's more like the recycling symbol - somebody does something to somebody who is doing something to somebody who happens to be the first somebody mentioned. At least, that's what I imagine. Except, I think, it might be, "something does something to somebody while somebody does something to themselves or waits a bit and then, fortified by the acts of the two somebodies, goes on to act upon either of the first somebodies..." Neither of those situations seem to fit the definition of "two chicks at the same time." I figure what Lawrence really means is that he would do two chicks in a quick succession...

oh. Shit. Never mind. I think I figured it out. Fuckin' mustache.

So, I don't know. I figure that I would double up on Lawrence with a million dollars only to the extent that I would double up on Lawrence without a million dollars. And that requires much further and deeper contemplation, so this whole digression ends here.

But what would I do, if I had a million dollars? (Or, some amount of money that would allow me to not worry about money?)

I think...I'd do very, very close to nothing. I'd dick around, cook elaborate meals and bring them to people, bake far, far too much cake. And pie, jesus christ the pie. And cookies. With butter. Oh, god, butter...

I'd read a lot. Constantly, probably...I'd probably start at about three novels a day until I was able to slow down...which would mean that I would run out of decent books in about three years...and have to start reading grocery-store romances. That's ok. I'm not too intellectual to read about "creamy skin" and "growing stiffness"...

I'd go to the movies a lot - and I think that I would start to go without regard for the merits of the movie, which is one of my dirtiest secrets. Left to my own devices, I would smuggle in those terrible three-pack chocolate chip cookies, and watch whatever movie was playing...often. Three, four times a week.

And when I say..."without regard for the merits"...I'm quite serious about it. I'm not here referring to my bottomless lust for zombie movies. I'm talking about movies that are the products of bad meetings, movies that are the product of ill-conceived multi-picture contracts, movies that all involved would disclaim, if possible.

Two of my favorite movies, which I have never, ever watched in the presence of another human being:

That's what I mean.

I'd also probably write some. And draw a bit. And, yeah, even if I didn't need the money, I'd probably do a bit of law stuff. Thinking about it - without regard to "Could I get a job doing..." or "Could I live on..." ...I'd try and do appeals. I really, really like appeals. I like the closed record; I like that the arguments are in court, and fully legal - no witnesses, no fucking around with cross-examination, credibility...your law mojo against someone else's law mojo. And I wouldn't even haveto do fancy appeals...I mean, even little dippy property tax shit would be fine...as long as there's a brief to write, and the possibility of an oral argument every now and again.

So I guess this means that I should be a lawyer, but a lawyer so fantastically wealthy...that they don't have to work much. How do you do that before you've tricked some motherfucker into giving you that first job?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

On running...and kicking...and punching...and moving.


I kickbox now.

It is the most amazing thing that I've ever done. It's hard, but it's straightforward. It's like physical origami - the actual thing you're doing is simple to understand, but the execution is ridiculously difficult.

Block from the outside in. Parry from the inside out. Four steps to every kick. Pivot the foot that's not kicking. Keep your hands up. Don't lean in to a punch. The front hand is the speed hand - the back hand is the power hand. Shuffle forward, shuffle back.

I also run now.

Something else that is incredibly simple. Walk. Then go faster. Then go fast enough that both feet are off the ground at some point in each stride. Don't stop. Until you're back home. Then stop.

I'd stretch, but I'm not that into not being injured.

I did my second 5k today. I was too sick to do it, but I already paid the entry fee. Therefore, I threw up. Somewhat distressingly, my time for 5k-where-I-was-sick-and-threw-up-next-to-someone's-honda is 6 second shorter than my time for 5k-while-healthy-and-not-vomiting.

I also just moved.

Something that seems incredibly simple - find all stuff in apartment, shove into containers, convey to new place, remove from containers - and is in fact incredibly complicated.

Find stuff. Identify stuff. Sort stuff which is meaningful from stuff which is actually retained trash. Sort stuff again into stuff which should occupy new apartment, and stuff that should be shoved into the basement of new apartment. Identify analogous locations for all stuff once conveyed...very, very difficult. Exhausting.

If moving were somebody, I'd punch it, and kick it, and then run away from it - if it ever threatened me again. But, unfortunately, it's a process, not a person. Processes cannot be punched in the kidneys, and running away from moving is actually just making the affirmative decision to either become homeless or never, ever, ever move. Which is hard when one isn't a homeowner.

That's all.

No real point.

Seriously, though - if you ever get the chance, try kickboxing. No matter who you are. No matter what you ordinarily like to do. It's like...1.2 times as fun as making cookies. And that - is my highest endorsement.