Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nerd Helmets Engage!



(That is normally the type of expression Kat has on her face any time that I am involved in what we are doing. It perfectly encapsulates what it is like to live with me on a daily basis)

Kat and I returned to our former bicycling ways today with our first ride with our new bicycles. It was a lot of fun, and I’m glad that I only dragged my feet for a few months before getting my bicycle.

We went about eight miles along the Grand Canal from our house to Tempe for a round trip ride of sixteen miles. We wanted to go all the way to Papago Park, but we didn’t quite make it. But it was a lot of fun.

Here was the route.

Not a whole lot else is going on. But I do have a bicycle and a helmet and a light and a bike lock, so I hope to do some more bicycling. It also means that we are actually using the garage for something because it is where we keep our bicycles.

We already have a route planned for next weekend. If it does not deliver more interesting tidbits than this week, I probably won't blog about it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Do Declare

My extensive readership is calling for me to regale them with the news of my life. And when they want blog, I give them blog.

Impressive hailstorm on Tuesday here in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Since it was finally cool enough to go outside, I was enjoying my luncheon on the veranda when I do declare, such a conflagration of breeze and rain presented itself without the briefest warning so that I was forced to scurry back inside the protection of structure while clutching my picnic basket tight to my bosom. (It’s a somewhat oxymoronic unwritten writing rule that any mention of a veranda requires the author to write the entire sentence as though he or she were a Southern belle in the 19th Century. If patio is used, the writing can continue normally, however, any mention of the v-word requires gentility and an immediate case of the vapors)

So anyway, I had to run inside before I was finished with my lunch. That particular squall, however, was not the one that really did the damage here. Later that afternoon it turned quite black and the hail was impressive. There are few more discordant sights than a cactus covered with hailstones, and I saw this sight many times!

The commute home was quite long but uneventful. While Midwesterners tend to drive too fast in poor weather – I can recall many times I have driven or ridden through borderline apocalyptic blizzards only to be passed at an alarmingly high rate of speed by a Chevy Tahoe with Colorado license plates. These neighbors to the west (now northeast!) always appeared to believe it sensible to drive as though on the Autobahn on a clear summer day because “I’ve lived my whole life in the snow, brah!” – the people of Phoenix seem to drive far too slow for far too long after the danger has passed. Admittedly, Phoenix streets do not drain too well since this is a desert, but I do not know that some water on the street requires quite the concern that was raised. Nevertheless, as a law school graduate and noted pansy, I appreciate the abundance of caution in place of recklessness.

There was no damage at our house, although rain storms always mean muddy dog feet and a dirty house. There were a lot of tree limbs, signs, and power lines knocked down, but they were not near us. Basically, what I used to sleep through in the summer in Nebraska is a cause of great consternation here. Ah well, the only constant is change.

In other news, I am traveling on a secret mission to our nation’s capitol later this month. Details are sketchy and current operations are need to know.

In other “secret meeting” news happening in October – this of much greater interest and importance – one week from today Kat and I are going to see The National at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre. Will it be awesome? Yes. Will it be transformative? Likely not. But the awesomeness is a definite. I promise a full report afterward.

As for sports news, Joe Buck’s involvement in playoff baseball and the fact that I can’t sit still long enough to actually watch an entire game tempers my interest in the October excitement. As for football, well, I am not super excited about either college or pro at the current time, although I keep watching both anyway. Our own Arizona Cardinals are looking much like the Cardinals of the past. Last Sunday, I went to the gym during the Cardinals game because I figured it would be less busy and because I could not watch a better game. As I was ellipticaling – that’s a thing, right? – this dude walked up to glance at the score just as Antonio Gates caught his eleventh touchdown pass (I’m guesstimating) of the game. The dude let out a long sigh born of years as a Cardinals fan. A sigh that said, “Oh, Buzzsaw, is it back to mediocrity then, back to whence you came?” To that dude I say, I’m afraid it is.

Also football-related, the AP poll has Nebraska at number seven and Arizona at number nine. I think that probably guarantees that of all the poodles in this country that have two sports snuggies in their crates (an extensive list, I promise you), no poodle other than our little Lily has Snuggies for two teams so highly rated. If I’m wrong, I will provide a mea culpa, but you must provide photographic evidence!



Nebraska does look pretty good, although some of the teams - most notably those with a large amount of purple in their particular color schemes - may just be terrible. Still, a defense like that and a quarterback like that are good steps toward a successful team.

But all of this sports talk was really so I could get to what I’m excited about: the NBA. I’ve already been watching preseason highlights, which probably says something about the depth of my mental illness. But nevertheless, I think it will be an exciting season. One sad note is perfectly encapsulated here. That is both sadly awesome and all too true. Agent Zero is no more. His depression, scraggly beard and hobo tendencies are making me depressed. In happier Wizards news, John Wall seems pretty awesome and incredibly fast. However, this Wall quote about Arenas confused me:

"You never can judge nobody off something that happened. Everybody makes mistakes. ... He's a great guy to me. I can't control what happened last year."

What do you mean you can’t judge someone by something that happened? I think it is wrong to judge someone by something that did not happen, but I think our system of justice is premised on finding facts so that we can judge people based on things that happened. Regardless, I let it slide because of things like this.

In other NBA news, the Big Shaqrock looks like a giant fridge Oprah would give away for free. In some highlights I saw, Shaq had two plays where he made soft little lay-ins. At 7’1” and 470 pounds, I’m not sure that he can still dunk. But I like seeing him in green because, well, it’s something. And, oh yeah, Delonte!

In sum, I guess, Ball!

(I know this deteriorated quickly. My NBA talk is not particularly coherent, or, I guess, is any of this. Right now, I’m reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. It is quite good so far. I am very impressed by how he can include so many seeming unrelated digressions and yet maintain such an excellent flow in the writing. I do not have this ability. That is why he is paid to write things and I blog for free. Well, I guess that’s life in a meritocracy. OK, good night and good luck.)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

4242

That's the new house number here in Phoenix. While in the past I have changed the blog name to correlate to my city of residence, I think I am going to stick with Tucsonic Boom since people have set up bookmarks and such and because I can't think of a good Phoenix name. (I was considering "Valley of the Son of Dad" - you know, sort of a catch-all - but I am going to stay with things as they are.)

So now a virtual tour of the new house:

This is the front. There is a carport on the south side and a lawn. The trees are pretty low, so tall people should be aware. (If you look closely at this picture, you can see me!)


Kat at work. This is her new office where she does her job. It is working out pretty well so far. The four photos on the wall are Eric Krouse originals and are pretty amazing. They must be seen in person to be fully appreciated.

This is my desk in the guest bedroom. It isn't really a bedroom yet, so we need to work on that.

This is the poodle laying on a dog bed next to Kat's desk. She lays here all day while Kat works. This dog bed was purchased for Lucy, but she rejected it. Lucy also rejected another dog bed that we purchased...

...because Lucy prefers that her dog beds come from IKEA and cost hundreds of dollars. This used to be a living room couch, but it is not that anymore.

This is the backyard patio where we put the new grill. We also have a covered patio area by the backdoor, two sheds, and a giant garage for storage. We have three fruit trees in the backyard and plenty of room for the dogs to roam around - although they are always pretty intent on getting back to the house and resuming laying around.

Kat and her mom did basically everything getting the house in order, and it was quite impressive. I really like it here, and I think Kat does too. Just about everything a person could possibly need, and hundreds of things they could not possibly ever need, are available in a one-mile radius. Phoenix never lacks for stuff.

I hope to blog much more regularly now that the bar exam is over. I have a lot of books I want to read, movies to see, albums to listen to, and cable television to watch. I will let you know how that goes.

On Monday I am taking my talents to the Arizona Court of Appeals, and I'll let you know how that goes as well (at least what I can discuss, that is). I'm excited to get started and hope that it is fun. Take care.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sometimes you eat the bar...

and sometimes, well, he eats you.

The Stranger
--The Big Lebowski

That quote isn't entirely accurate since Sam Elliott apparently is saying bear, but you can forgive me if I seemed to have misheard him. I seem to think of little else than the bar and whether or not he is going to eat me. But I am trying to just keep working, and I think it is helping. If I still have time to blog, the reader says, then you must not be too worried. Well, I counter that this is merely procrasti-blogging because I don't want to do the essays and questions that I must. But I didn't really want to talk about the bar, so I'll try to steer the discussion somewhere else.


Kat and I have been packing up the house so some interesting things have been found. This was in some old photos. While it is only five years old, in some ways it feels like a long time ago. Looking at this photo makes me a little sad but mostly happy, although some people may have an inverse reaction. But I'm happy that that day happened. I was happy then and I am happy now, although a whole lot has changed.

I think studying for the bar exam makes me contemplative because being contemplative is less work and stress than studying. But I am feeling good. This summer is probably going to be the worst one of my life - at least I hope it is - but when it is over, it will be over. Unless it is not, a possibility which is scarier than Joan Rivers' face.

I have not been blogging because I have not been doing anything of interest other than listening to lectures, making notecards, and surfing the Internet when I was supposed to be studying. I hope everyone else is having a good summer.

One nice thing about the Arizona summer bar exam is that it is too hot to go outside anyway so it is relatively easy to stay inside and study. But it is also easy to stay inside and listen to podcasts, daydream, or just organize a sock drawer. I have done all of these things and more than once.

But looking at this photo reminds me that it is just a test that I am taking. It is just another thing. It is nothing more. It can't change the people in that photo, all of whom I love dearly, and it can't change me, regardless of what happens.

And with that, I return to the depths of the law.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

29

Today, April 28, 2010, is momentous. In fact, it is very momentous. Let me run down for you, the reader, just what today represents. It is my 29th birthday, it is my 3rd wedding anniversary, it is my last day of regular law school classes, and it is Kat’s second anniversary as a Wheatmark employee. It is almost as though 24 hours is not enough time to fully reflect on what that all means. That is why I had to actually start this blog post early in preparation for this day. I have a few things to say about each one.

(I know that even the idea of a personal blog is a bit egotistical. But if you came here for cogent analysis on the inherent tensions among the Free Exercise Clause, Establishment Clause and freedom of speech in various public and non-public fora – I can totally do that, btw, just I won’t be doing that in this blog (double parenthetically, If you have questions on those topics, just send me an e-mail with the basic factual scenario and I can help you) – this is not the proper blog post to be reading. We are traveling to Me City, hitch a ride if you like.)

OK, with that out of the way, here we go. It is my 29th birthday. I don’t have much to say about that except that as the years pass I am finding it easier to put up with myself. I think I will always find myself a little bit annoying, but I am more at peace with who I am than ever before. TMI, you say, well yeah. That was why the second paragraph proviso (hereinafter “SPP”) was included.

The best part about today is the three years with Kat. She seems to get more awesome each day, however, this decreases my awesomeness since our combined awesomeness is a constant. But really Kat is the best thing in my life. She makes everything else so much easier, and I can’t thank her enough. She is the best friend anyone could ask for, and I am thrilled that I get to spend so much time with her. I won’t even add anything snark-astic to this paragraph because it is all true.

Finally getting to the end of law school is great and a little bit scary. I still have my exams for this semester and then the bar exam this summer. But it is amazing that I have come to the end. People sometimes ask me whether it has gone by quickly. They are always quick to point out how fast they think it has gone. I normally agree with them, but I also add in that “I remember every single day.” I was in each one of those classes and exams. It did not necessarily seem fast at the time (although exams do fly by quickly – if time moved at exam pace in real life I would already have lived a full life and now be dead).

To quote the long-dead but still shilling Earl Woods, “Did you learn anything?” I would say yes, I learned a lot. It was not always fun, but it was always a good experience. I enjoyed law school, although that is not a good thing to say around an actual law school. I remember lots of highs and lows, people liked and disliked, professors good and bad, results fair and unfair. But the whole package is the important thing. If nothing else, I will call it an experience. And it is an experience that I am glad I had.

(The attendant debt that came along with this experience is another issue entirely. I’m leaving that out of the equation because sometimes it is best not to think about it. There will be plenty of days in the future for doing that.)

As for Kat’s second anniversary at Wheatmark, that is for one of her many personal blogs. But I will say that it is fantastic that she was able to find such a good company that now has found her to be indispensable. I hope that when I am forced to start temping (which very much may happen) the first place they send me is as good as Wheatmark.

So what does it all mean? I don’t really know. This cosmic confluence of events does not necessarily mean anything. Does it mean something that my high school, college and law school graduations were all on Saturday May 15 (that’s 1999, 2004 and 2010 for anyone with failing memories)? Does it mean something that I got engaged and accepted to law school on the same day (December 4, 2006 – aka “Best Day Ever,” according to Kat and I)? Does it mean something that all of these things are happening today, April 28, 2010? No. It doesn’t mean anything, but it could be at least an interesting factoid when I turn this blog post into my full-length memoir (to be published in 2011 by Wheatmark Books!).

I don’t know if anyone will make it to the end here. But whether you do or not does not matter. It does not matter because, as the SPP explains and I have made abundantly clear throughout, this is about me. Thanks for your attention.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Strip Trip Quick Pics

Nothing encapsulates my trip to Las Vegas better than this picture. It is perfect in every way. Anyhow, here are a smattering of photos from my sojourn to Sin City. I had a lot of fun. Lloyd provided great hospitality, and Mom was fun, too, when not yawning.

This is where you get on the gondola ride at the Venetian. I did not get on the gondola ride.

This is the Strip looking north from the Wynn. The Space Needle-esque structure is the Stratosphere. I did not go to the Stratosphere.

"What's the deal with people showing you pictures of their vacation?" (I did not go see Jerry Seinfeld. He was not performing at that time)

This is the conservatory at the Bellagio. It is not currently the setting for a Tim Burton film, but it is being considered.

This is the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas. I did actually go to the top of it. I did not gamble at Paris Las Vegas.

The pyramid structure is the Luxor. I did not go inside the Luxor.

This is a lion at the MGM Grand. I did not get a good picture of it.

This is another lion at the MGM Grand. I did not get a good picture of this one either because of the dolt in the red hat.

This is the Mandalay Bay. I saw The Lion King here. I did not get any photos of Simba or Mufasa or Scar or Timon or Pumbaa or Ed or Banzai or Rafiki or Nala because no photography was allowed during the show. It was excellent, however.

This is the Hoover Dam. It is quite large. I did not get its full majesty into a single photo because my camera is not capable of such feats.

This is the giant bridge being built just south of Hoover Dam. It makes the dam look somewhat less impressive as a result. I do not want to ever drive across this bridge because I will be frightened.

This is Lake Mead. It is enormous. I did not swim in Lake Mead.

I hope you enjoyed the trip in pictures. Viva Las Vegas!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Forgive the lack of blawging

My inability to blog regularly is based primarily on my lack of original ideas. I have like one or two a month and they often involve things like the best way to get to the airport or how to arrange my law books so they look the most impressive. Needless to say, they are not groundbreaking. And needless to say, they often are not shared on this blog because that would just be sad.

However, my main "original" idea lately has been focused on how with each new station in my life, I re-evaluate the opinions I previously held and find that I was, for lack of a better word, stupid. Now, this stupidity is not manifested in destructive decision-making or poor treatment of others. It is simply continued evidence that I seem to go through life perpetually learning things a bit too late.

When I would visit my grandparents' house in rural Missouri, I always enjoyed this tapestry "thing" they had in the guest bathroom. (I guess that considering its location it was "bathroom humor.") I don't recall everything it said - it was mostly focused on the humorous antics of European immigrants trying to farm in the New World - but the one line that has always stuck with me is where it said "You're too soon old and too late schmart!" (There were umlauts in there somewhere as well, but my typography skills are lacking).

I'm not old yet, but I think I need to get much schmarter much more quickly. I can think back to being a first-year student (you know, in 2007, about 20 years ago) and always wondering why the third-years never came to play basketball on Friday. Supposedly third-years didn't have to do anything and yet they never seemed to be available. Today, I am that third-year, and I can't play basketball on Fridays. I get text messages saying that people are playing, but I always have something I should be doing and normally end up doing instead.

I didn't understand what things were like at that time, but I do now. But with this realization comes the accompanying realization that I don't know what things are going to be like two years from now. I hope that I'll be able to adapt to those changes, but I also know that experience can be a cruel teacher.

In general, I am a little tired, and I need a break. Helpfully, I get one next week. In addition to doing real work, I am taking a trip to Sin City (a place not known for being old or schmart), which should be fun. I'm excited to see all of the world's greatest sights in miniature on top of hotels. They have to be at least as good as the real things, right?

After spring break, I will only have about six or seven weeks left, so I'll just have to put my head down and power through Michael Bluth-style. I don't know what it means that this semester, my last one, has probably been the hardest yet. It wasn't the way I meant for things to be, but I guess that just proves the thesis. Too often, I just don't know until it is too late.

In other news, Kat's friend Lena visited here in Tucson and a good time was had by all. Lemon bars were served.

I took the professional responsibility exam, but I won't know if I passed for an indeterminate length of time.

It has rained a ridiculous amount already this year. Washes that normally have no water in them actually look like rivers; it is quite disorienting.

The Suns seem to be winning more than they are losing.

There is a new episode of Castle on tonight. (Yes, I realize that it is basically Murder, She Wrote, but I like it anyway. I also like watching Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes, but mostly I just like watching it to make fun of him. I would like to write the definitive biography of Andy Rooney's eyebrows and am currently in discussions to do just that. I think it could easily be a bestseller.)

Aloha!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ends and Odds


This is me eating a rather enormous donut from this donut shop here in Tucson. It was quite good. I ate the entire thing. I was a little depressed afterward. Those of you who are hip to the Twitter might recognize this as my new Twitter photo. I post it here for my extensive readership that is not hip to the Twitter and really are only hip to nursing homes, Snuggies, and, ironically, replacement hips.


It has been raining a lot lately, so there is plenty of snow on the mountains. Here are a couple shots off the back patio.


video

This is a video taken quite early in the morning on January 13, 2010. I think it can actually double as a short film. The pathos is off the charts. I'm thinking of entering it in some festivals, so tell me what you think. (The file was too big so I had to convert it. My converter was a free trial version, hence the words. However, I think they simply add to the overall aesthetic. If my hip readers care to help with converting this file, they should contact me.)

Be good.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"He's Like a Kid Out There!"




I don't know that it is transformative or important or anything other than interesting that I was present for the last game of the Agent Zero Era. Keith, Shaleah and I watched a less-than-enthused Wizards team mail in a game against the Suns, mere hours before the plane flight card game that would lead to real guns in the locker room, finger guns in the pregame huddle and the likely end of Gilbertology. I have the magnets to prove who Gilbert was, but I doubt I'll have the opportunity to watch him play much again.

While most athletes receive second, third, and often seventh chances, the fact that Gilbert clearly is not half as good as he was prior to the knee injuries mixed with his "quirkiness" is likely going to keep him from ever getting another contract, whether he gets paid from his current one or not. Obviously, I could not have foreseen the events that would unfold when I was watching the Suns disassemble a terrible Wizards roster, but as the game went on, it was clear to me that the sideshow of Gilbert had clearly superseded the play of Gilbert. He defended no one, he shot an eight-footer that hit the side of the backboard and he did nothing to ever help any teammate succeed offensively. The quirkiness is far less endearing without good basketball accompanying it.

But the point I want to make is not that Gilbert isn't Gilbert anymore; it is that somehow it is wrong for Gilbert to be Gilbert when we want every other athlete to be themselves. I am not condoning committing felonies, but I am condoning taking joy in a game that is meant to be joyful. Today I read columnists who revise history to say that things Gilbert did int the past prove that he is imbalanced or disturbed. They write that any NBA player who would run and dunk off of a trampoline during a timeout obviously is not "fit" to take the court in the NBA. But if Brett Favre grabbed a T-shirt cannon or wanted to take part in the Dr. Pepper football-tossing challenge, the media would race to tout how he was the "gunslinger" or "just like a kid out there." (I have a recurring nightmare wherein Mike Patrick is on loop saying "And you don't think he's having fun out there??!!!" The me who exists within this dream is clad in a straitjacket and simply drones "No, Mike, I never said I didn't think that he was not having fun out there. You intimated that I thought he wasn't having fun out there when at no point I thought any such thing." I have pretty terrible grammar in my dreams, apparently).

When it comes to Gilbert, I loved that he dunked off the trampoline because he did exactly what every one of us would have done if we were lucky enough to be him. It was Gilbert himself who said: "So if that's crazy or quirky, just give me season tickets to any arena and let me sit there with 20,000 other crazy or quirky people." We wanted to jump off the trampoline, but Gilbert did it for us. He joined us as crazy or quirky people. He made the NBA more accessible by being someone who seemed normal. In fact, during that Wiz-Suns game, when the Gorilla came out to dunk off a trampoline, I was totally uninterested in the aerobatics. Instead, I told Shaleah about the time that Gilbert dunked off the trampoline, even though he was coming back from a knee injury and had a $111 million contract. I appreciated the joy he took in it, even while it might have seemed stupid.

And now that Gilbert has done something that was, rather than just seemed, stupid, it might be over for him. He won't be able to make multiple comebacks interspersed with brush clearing in Mississippi. I'm not accusing Brett Favre of breaking any laws. His worst crime has been to be annoying and manipulate the sports media. If that were a crime, there would be no professional athletes walking free. However, I just see an incongruity in celebrating Favre's version of "realness," which apparently is Wrangler jeans and mud football, and denigrating as careless Gilbert's version of "realness," which apparently is that the only currency is joking merriment.

However, for Gilbert, we will see whether the currency of fun is as useful when he doesn't have any real currency. Some fans will be pleased about his exile and the possibility of him losing that contract. But even though he allegedly has done what he allegedly has done, I cannot be pleased about his exile. I enjoyed him too much to move on that quickly.

Kobe Bryant is so good at basketball as to be an automaton. His artistry can be appreciated, but it is impossible to identify with. (Sentence-ending preposition the result of writing this during a dream!). Gilbert was more earthbound. He was clearly gifted but also understandable. For people like me, he WAS the people's champion, even if he was never a champion of anything. And while the NFL continues to placate its people's champion; the NBA's has been sent away - tossed off the entertaining edifice that he had himself built. I cannot blame others for Gilbert's failings, but I can celebrate his greater moments, that edifice that he built, that joy he brought. Those things, I can celebrate.