Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Backwards Guitar

I was dreading my first reading through the rough draft of the novel. Was I going to think the manuscript was crap, and thus wasted three months of my life? The good news is that this novel flows better than my first attempt at a novel, and will have to undergo minor tweaks. The bad news, well, there is no bad news at this point. I will have to get some fresh eyes on this because I'm way too close to it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I'm Not Part of a Redneck Agenda

“None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead.” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)

“Give me liberty or give me death.” Sen. Russ Feingold (D- Wisconsin) quoting Patrick Henry in replying to Sen. Cornyn

The exchange between Sen. Cornyn and Sen. Feingold starkly summarizes the two contrasting philosophies within the American populace today, and it is Sen. Cornyn's view that truly endangers this nation.

Don't get me wrong. I believe in times of extreme emergencies, ceding a few civil liberties is necessary for national security. But the problem with Sen. Cornyn as well as those who place national security above civil liberties under this "War on Terror" is that they clearly view civil liberties as a luxury. Sure, due process, equality under the law, freedom of speach, and freedom of association make life easier in this nation, but they don't "matter much after you're dead." At least, that is the logic of Sen. Cornyn and anyone who sees nothing wrong with not just the Patriot Act, but with racial profiling, the FBIs spying on anti-war, environmental and poverty groups.

What Sen. Cornyn and those portions of the American populace who agree with his stance forget is that liberty is not a luxury in this nation, but in fact one of the fundamental cornerstones. They forget that the American Revolution was fought in part because many of the colonies did not have the due process afforded to British citizens. And as such, in this nation, national security serves civil liberties. National security is not an end to itself. Or I guess to put it another way, the United States was not founded upon the principles of pure survival alone. That is why Patrick Henry's cry of "Give me liberty or give me death" resonates still today.

Those who will say, “None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead,” I ask, "How are we different from Singapore or China if that is your belief?" Now, Singapore is prosperous, clean and almost totally free of crime. But say something against the government, and the next thing you know, you're charged with defaming the state. In China, everything is second to the State, and if you ask the typical member of the People's Congress, they would whole heartedly agree that "none of your civil liberties matter much after you're dead." And they would further explain that this is why their vision of Communism (this latest version a nascent free market without civil liberties) is superior to democracy.

The easy, intellectual lazy comeback to all this would be that the Founding Fathers didn't have jumbo jets flying into their buildings. But the Founding Fathers were fighting for the very survival of the new nation, as much as this nation is now fighting for its survival. Had they wanted to, they could have created a government and enacted laws to enshrine the primacy of national security. In fact, Congress during the late eighteenth century enacted a series of Alien and Sedition Acts purportedly because of national security (though in reality to shut up people like Thomas Jefferson), which lapsed at the end of John Adams presidency and were nevery used. Furthermore, although the Supreme Court never ruled on these acts, the Supreme Court, subsequent mentions of the Sedition Act in particular in Supreme Court opinions have assumed that it was unconstitutional.

Yes, we are fighting for our very "survival." But what Sen. Feingold, Patrick Henry, the much derided ACLU and likeminded folks realize is that "survival" in the context of the United States includes civil liberties. When civil liberties are viewed as luxuries, luxuries are unnecessary at best and dangerous hinderances to national security at worst, then those terrorists who "hate our liberty" are winning. If we can't or unwilling to retain the primacy of our civil liberties while protecting our national security, if we admit that we are a nation that solely cares about our physical existence, then what is the point?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Before you say, "Buh-buh-but Clinton did it!", bullshit. Clinton did not engage in warrantless domestic spying.

Monday, December 19, 2005


In the last entry, I was railing against the inherently contradictory doublespeak in Shrub's justification, which boiled down amounts to "To protect everyone's civil rights, I need to curtail certain people's civil rights." Obviously, you haven't protected everyone's civil rights if you curtail certain people's civil rights. (And for those who say, "Well, these guys were terrorists," the presumption of innocence applies to every American citizen last time I checked. Furthermore, how do you know these guys were terrorists? Remember, this administration listed anti-war Quakers as a threat to national security, so I call bullshit on the "why are you protecting terrorists" pablum.)

The more and more I read and think about this warantless wiretapping program, the more incensed I get, and the more I want to tell people to start critically thinking.

Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), the NSA already had the authority to conduct wiretaps on American citizens so long as it obtained a warrant from a special court (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or FISC) created for this purpose. As stated in the link, over 15,000 such warrants were requested, and not a single one denied. Furthermore, FISA authorizes a FISC judge to allow a wiretap of U.S. persons under one of these four conditions: (1) the target knowingly engages in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of a foreign power which "may involve" a criminal law violation; (2) the target knowingly engages in other secret intelligence activities on behalf of a foreign power pursuant to the direction of an intelligence network and his activities involve or are about to involve criminal violations; (3) the target knowingly engages in sabotage or international terrorism or is preparing for such activities; or (4) the target knowingly aids or abets another who acts in one of the above ways.

FISA also allows for immediate, 72-hour emergency wiretapping without court approval. Should an emergency come up immediately, the National Security Agency can eavesdrop on any person for three days, so long as they receive the warrant after the three days. The only time FISA authorizes a warantless search is if there is no "substantial likelihood" that the intercepted communications include those to which a U.S. person is a party.

FISA gives me the heebie jeebies, but for the sake of argument, let's assume that FISA is the bee's knees.

Now, given that the NSA could already wiretap United States citizens they suspect of planning on blowing up the Brooklyn Bridge for three days before going to the FISC, why would the Administration circumvent the FISC all together? You can't say that the FISC will slow down any emergency wiretapping with paperwork, given that the NSA has three days after it starts wiretapping to seek a warrant from the FISC. And it's not like the FISC was picky in authorizing warrants given that they never rejected a warrant.

Or another way to frame this argument is "Against which targets would the FISC deny a warrant for a wiretap?" The only reason for the Administration to circumvent FISA is if the administration were afraid that FISC would deny a warrant. Given that FISA as well as the past history of FISC gives broad latitude to the NSA to wiretap those supposed Brooklyn Al Queda sympathizers, in which possible scenario would FISC deny a warrant? The answer to these questions should give you a chill.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

American Idiot

Unfortunately, the masses don't seem to get nuanced arguments when it comes to politics. Thus, there will still be people who fall for Orwellian double speak everytime. You can try to explain to them that eavesdropping without a warrant is diametrically and fundamentally the opposite to the concept of civil liberties, but they'll just bluster about "War on Terrorism." (Which in and of itself doesn't make sense--when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, FDR didn't declare a "War on Surprise Aerial Bombardments.") But I digress. Now, one way to get the masses to understand logic and how a statement is totally illogical and bugfuck is to keep the structure of the statement, but replace the proposition with two extremes.

Now, here's part of the AP article on Bush's defense on his authorization of warrantless wiretaps:

WASHINGTON Dec 17, 2005 -- President Bush said Saturday he personally has authorized a secret eavesdropping program in the U.S. more than 30 times since the Sept. 11 attacks and he lashed out at those involved in publicly revealing the program.

. . . "This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. The American people expect me to do everything in my power, under our laws and Constitution, to protect them and their civil liberties and that is exactly what I will continue to do as long as I am president of the United States," Bush said.

OK, me again. Now as I said, "secret eavesdropping program" is wholly contradictory to "civil liberties." But Bush is saying the U.S. needs to engage in a "secret eavesdropping program" to protect civil liberties. I guess the supposed rational is to eavesdrop on the supposed bad guys to protect the rest of our civil liberties (though that rationale is the subject for another entry). And a lot of people don't see anything wrong with this rationale (though Senator Arlen Spector gives me hope that Republicans are getting pissed off at King George).

OK, so let's replace "secret eavesdropping program" with something extreme, like "knifing someone in the kidneys." Now, "secret eavesdropping" is totally contradictory to "civil liberties". So what is totally contradictory to "knifing someone in the kidneys"? Well, that would be "not getting knifed in the kidneys." OK, let's see how Bush's justification reads now:

WASHINGTON Dec 17, 2005 -- President Bush said Saturday he personally has authorized knifing someone in the kidneys in the U.S. more than 30 times since the Sept. 11 attacks and he lashed out at those involved in publicly revealing the program.

. . . "Knifing someone in the kidneys is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. The American people expect me to do everything in my power, under our laws and Constitution, to protect them and their not getting knifed in the kidneys and that is exactly what I will continue to do as long as I am president of the United States," Bush said.

So to paraphrase in his argument using my replacement terms, Bush is saying that knifing someone in the kidneys is necessary to protect people from not getting knifed in the kidneys.

(And before you start going on to say, well maybe knifing "terrorists" will save everyone else from a knifing, the next question you have to ask yourself is whether you trust the government to decide who a terrorist is. Because this government, more specifically, the Pentagon, had listed an anti-war meeting by Quakers--who are all pacifists--as a threat to American security. So that kidney that may get knifed is yours, fucko.)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Shock The Monkey

Some more on intelligent, or rathter, incompetent design.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Way Station--First Version

The glade was a large tranquil pool fed by the rush of falling water and surrounded by lush greenery. The canopy of the trees formed a large, leafy dome, making the glade feel like a cathedral. Through it, thin shafts of sunlight like gauze curtains fell onto the water. The air was cooler and crisp, with the vapor from the bottom of the waterfall lazily drifting onto his brow.

He had come to the glade in hopes of healing, or if not that, to relieve some of his burden, to remind him of awe and of things outside of himself. And when he reached the glade after the long journey in between stations, he looked at the sunlight and at the canopy. He listened to the white noise of the falling water and the birdsongs. And he still felt nothing but loss.

When they finally found what remained, all that time later, there was nothing but an old, empty journal and tattered clothing. There was nothing else to suggest that he ever existed, much less the complexity of his life.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I Am Waiting For The Stars To Change

I don't really want to harsh your mellow if you truly are religious, and I certainly do not want to demean your faith. Just think of this as a thought exercise.

When those who propound intelligent design try to use the framework of science and logic, it always seems a bit awkward, like William Hung singing--sure he's speaking English, but not very well. You hear them say, "Hey, the universe is so complex, it must be made!" See, we're using your own "rationality" and "logic" to show you that you're wrong! We're scientific too!

Now, a lot of well respected scientists have debunked "intelligent design" and have shown how intelligent design proponents have taken bits and pieces of real science and contorted them into their own agenda. To use another music analogy, all intelligent design propenents have done is make a mash-up--like that "White Lines" cover that sampled Ronald Reagan's speeches to make it sound like the Gipper was covering Grandmaster Flash. So instead, I'll take a different tact. Instead of talking about rationality, I'll talk about miracles.

The bulwark of "intelligent design", which is just a fancy word for creationism, has always been about faith. And the framework of faith had originally been about the mystery of God, and the miracles that God presents as a testament of his existence and of his benificence. Thus, underpinning religion is this notion of the miraculous, that which cannot be explained by rationality alone (which is why the current use of the rationality framework by, oh well let's just say it, the religious right, seems as awkward as the English language instructions on chopsticks at cheap Chinese restaurants).

So if the basis of your faith is the miraculous and the mystery, then here's a question for you. Which is more miraculous? That a universe as complex enough to lead to intelligent life was designed, or that it spontaneously arose from nothing with no design at all?

(And before you say, "Ah hah, well if you believe that it would be miraculous that the universe arose out of nothing, then you have to believe that the rational explanation is intelligent design," I call shenanigans. In this case, the miraculous explanation of no designer is supported by scientific evidence).

Friday, December 02, 2005

Wave of Mutilation

In High Fidelity (both the novel and the film), the main character Rob drops out of college, ends up working at a record store and generally loses the plot all because of a woman. I can empathize, though not just because of the whole been done wrong by a Jezebelle thing (that comparison would be too easy and as such, a bit too trite as well). Instead, I'm talking about the whole losing the plot.

When you go through your own life, working that nine to five job, living for the first and the fifteenth of the month when that check gets deposited into your account, and maybe if you're lucky, the pleasant chats and the odd back rubs that lead to some rumpty rump, you get complacent. Not necessarily content, not necessarily happy, but complacent. It's that routine that lowers your guard and dulls the mind. And it's only when something unexpected and dreadful gets thrown your way do you realize how fragile that routine is. I keep thinking of a spinning top on a table that gets shaken--before it was spinning in a steady upright position, and not it's just swirling and toppling chaotically. Maybe there's more apropos or clever imagery, but give me a break, I'm just saying shit off the top of my head right now.

So September and October was full of routine. I was writing consistently. I had a sorta kinda relationship. I had a routine. And then at the end of October, the person that I had kept letting back into my heart managed to burn everything down. But still, I kept writing. I wrote the thirty-plus pages that would serve as the ending to the novel then. In the middle of November, I found out that my blood potassium level was dangerously high, and that my kidneys (which had already been significantly damaged by the malignant hypertension) were starting to deteriorate again. At the same time, I caught a bad cold which has left me with a hacking cough that I still have.

I kinda lost the plot these last couple of weeks.

I've been wondering about what I'm going to do with my life. I can go back and do contract work if I need the money, but the legal lifestyle probably contributed to my health issues to begin with. Plus, I fucking hate the law and its endless grind of worthless conflict. And writing, well, most writers have day jobs. In fact, the paralegal at GatewayGig had previously written a published book--and she was still a miserable paralegal at GatewayGig.

And I haven't been contemplating not just the professional aspect of my life, but the social aspect as well. I used to be the intense melancholy romantic, looking for the one who would melt my heart and make it beat faster at the same time, searching for that soul mate over the horizon. And now, well, some time has passed and that hurt, angry part of me was right--I have nothing to give. Well, that's not accurate. I can give a warm body, some clever words, but after that, I'm afraid I'm spent. And if that's all I can give, then really, what is the point?

But the worst thing about the past couple of weeks is that I had lost faith in my writing. It's a horrible feeling to write sixty thousand words (two hundred and fifty pages) and hear that internal voice telling you that you're a fraud, that what you've written is crap, that this isn't the novel you have in you, that you've wasted your time.

I am trying to get it together though. I might as well finish the fifty to forty pages left, and see if it is really crap. If it is, I guess I gotta revise it till it's not, or starting working on another novel.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I've Been Downhearted Baby

In states that use lethal injection, prisons use potassium chloride to stop the heart. Potassium is necessary to keep muscles functioning, but too much interrupts the heart, causing cardiac arrest. My general practioner told me that last bit of information before I found out my blood potassium level this month, which was unexpectedly and dangerously high. So high that I'm on additional medication that binds with potassium in my kidneys to flush it out, that my kidney function has decreased again, and that I've been eating celery, rice and apples and avoiding broccoli, cheese and potatoes (boy do I miss potatoes). And if diet and drug therapy doesn't work, then, well, I'd rather not like to think about it.

I've been more pensive in this last month. The girl's gone, my health is shot to hell, depending on the health situation, the money might be gone and I might have to go back to a job that is a soul sucking vortex of misery. Oh yeah, and my Xbox finally died. If this happened to a fictional character, this would be so over the top that you would be unable to suspend your disbelief.

If you had an inclination toward a higher authority, or a belief that this existence is but a single aspect fo a greater existence, then I guess it would be during times like these that you would find religion. I'm intelligent, creative, somewhat funny, and kind to animals, so there has to be a purpose for all these bad things happening--enlightment perhaps, finding God, etc. Otherwise, life would be such a waste, chaos, wouldn't it?

But even after all this navel gazing, I've found that religion is not my path. The universe is too complex and too quirky to be designed by a single entity (I know it sounds counter-intuitive to you intelligent design folks--gosh if it is complex it must be designed. But engineers strive to design things as simple as possible while providing the most function, not as complex as possible. If an engineering student designed the eye, where the image is turned upside down by the time it reaches the retina and our mind is meant translate that upside down image as rightside up, that student would be flunked).

Unfortunately, I still don't know what the deal with life is. I mean, theoretically, I could literallyhave a heart attack at any time, and thus each day could be my last. And yet I've had no insights. The only event that has resonated with me since I found out about this high potassium is that dream where I saw the Milky Way.

In the meantime, I had to take a break from writing (not only do I have dangerously high blood potassium, I have a vicious cold I'm only beginning to get over). Things seem stuck.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Soft Dangerous Shores

Dreams have a geography. If you remember enough dreams, you'll see commonality of places in the ever shifting landscapes and emotions. You can become a cartographer of your subconscious mind.

My dreams are full of dense cities comprised of high rises that create narrow but deep concrete canyons. These cities are never the same, but they are always near the water--wide rivers, the ocean--and are full of tall bridges. In the waking life, driving over bridges make me nervous. The idea that only pylons and wires are keeping me in the air, hundreds of feet above water. In dreams, when I'm in these dense cities, I think nothing of crossing bridges. When I'm not crossing bridges, I'm looking at the water, deep, blue, unfathomable. I'm thinking of those tall, dense buildings. I don't live in these cities. I am travelling.

When I'm not in these cities, I'm travelling along long, rolling green hills, or through dusty stretches of two lane highways in the desert. Sometimes, those green hills lead to suburbia, where I'm back in a old neighborhood, getting lost in developments I thought I knew. Lately, instead of driving when I have travel dreams, I've dreamt of airports, of waiting in large planes the size of cathedrals.

When I dream of a residence, it's always a dorm. I'm trying to figure out how to arrange my belongings, to get a sense of place in a room shared with other students. The dorm rooms are generally large, larger than the rooms I've lived in, always triples. The dorm rooms are also old, the floors warped with use and the lighting a butter yellow.

My dreams are populated with strangers for the most part, people I don't know. That doesn't bother me at all. When I do see people I know, friends, parents, the dreams are fraught with emotions I can't control.

Two weeks ago, I had a dream that shook me. It was unlike any dream I've ever had. I can't remember how I got to it, but I dreamt that it was a pitch black night (which if you know anything about Jungian theory, is a dream of low points, a dream at your lowest).

I looked up in the sky, and suddenly, I was looking at a band of stars and celestial gas, thin at the edges and bulging in the middle. It filled my field of view. The image was crisp and defined. This wasn't the hazy lights that comprise the Milky Way when you go up to the mountains. It was if I were in space myself, far away enough in that inky blackness that I was able to see the entire galaxy on its edge. To be able to see the galaxy so clearly was to be billions of miles from anything. I heard a voice say, "This is what the Milky Way really looks." I was both awed and terrified.

"Every angel is terrifying." Rainer Marie Rilke

Black Milk

You can't choose who you fall for, or when. I think we can all agree on that. You don't wake up one day and say, "Hey, I think I'll fall for the cute coworker," and you certainly don't say, "Gosh, that person to whom I have no attraction, with whom all my friends think I'd make a great couple, I think I'll decide to have a crush on her after all." The heart wants what it wants.

So if you can't choose who you fall for or when, then you can't choose when to end your feelings, can you? Which means you can't simply choose to move on. Either you do or you don't, there is no choice. You can choose to distract yourself, play a shell game with your heart and mind. But if you move on, it's not because you have chosen to move on. It's because your heart has found something new.

I guess the question is, what if there's nothing left in your heart to give? If you can't choose when to fall in or out of love, then you can't choose whether you have anything left to give, can you. I've been thinking about this lately.

Don't get me wrong. I still laugh at funny things. I still write and read and talk with friends. I think about winning the lottery. I'm not about to do anything stupid (well, except perhaps the lottery thing).

But I feel empty. On second thought, empty isn't the right word. Empty assumes there is a vessel left to fill. Empty assumes that once I meet the right person, or accept religion or drugs or great sex into my life, all will be well. Instead, it's not a matter of me accepting anything. It's a matter of me giving anything. I have nothing to give back, no thrill. I have nothing to give but clever words and a warm body at night, but nothing beyond that.

And yet I'm still breathing.

I guess it really is easy to say, "Snap out of it." I'm sure if I had to listen to myself, I'd tried to cajole me out of this, then get pissed when I hadn't changed, and leave in disgust to get a cheeseburger.

Sometimes I think about going back on the Lexapro again. But Lexapro doesn't make your mind all sunshine and lollipops. All antidepressants do is take the extreme lows and extreme highs away, so you can live with a dull (but livable) medium. And the thing is, I'm not feeling extreme lows (though I shake with anger once in a while, I'm inconsolable at certain memories--but those are few now). Instead, I feel nothing. A lack of affect to put it in clinical terms.

I know there are people living in misery, that I should be thankful for what I have. But for comparisons to be successful, you need that sense of, well, you need feeling. I'm sorry I can't muster it.

So where do I go from here? I really don't know.

"You say you want to be with me? I've got nothing to give." -- "Karmacoma" by Tricky

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Wandering Stars

I know Michael Stipe was trying to offer solace to the hopeless when he sang in that nasal voice, "Everybody hurts . . . sometimes." If that weren't true, there would be no songs like "Everybody Hurts," and more songs like "Everybody Feels Hunky Fucking Dory." So yeah, at some point in our lives, everybody hurts. That's a fact.

But what's also a fact is that knowing everybody hurts doesn't fucking help you, does it? If everybody had been slammed at a crosswalk by a drunk driver going 50 in a 30 zone, you probably aren't going to say, "Hey, my legs are so fractured they might as well be dust, my spine is broken, and I can see my back without turning my head, but that's OK because everybody hurts sometimes." No, what you'll probably be saying (or screaming) is, "Someone please come shoot me in the fucking face because this pain is so intense I'd rather die than live another minute."

Yeah, I know, your friends are trying to help when they say everyone has had their heart broken. But that isn't the point. The point, which has been made with such a startling clarity through such heart wrenching pain, is that you have made someone first in your heart, that you have let her/him get so close to you that she/he knows more than you about yourself, and that she/him has decided to totally burn you down from the inside out so that there's nothing left to give anyone else. That someone else may have felt something close to this in the past means fuck all to you right now.

And yeah, I know, people get heartbroken, fall in love again, get married or remarry, even those who scream and wail how they will never fall in love again. Those are the ones you hear about.

But we also know there are broken, sad, angry people who actually do not ever fall in love again, who have been torhced and burned too many times that they are merely embers waiting to die out.

And to say you always have a choice which person to be is also bullshit.

Yes, there are men who are born sociopathic, who are charming and debonair and will break a lady's heart without thinking so long as they get the nookie. But most men aren't born that way. Instead, there are men who keep giving all they can in a relationship, and it doesn't change anything. It doesn't change the fact that those men will get played, over and over again, getting used for comfort until the hot thing or the new thing or the I'm finding myself thing comes along. And in the end, getting burned over and over again, there's nothing left to give. And all we hear are complaints about men not wanting to commit, about not giving enough.

We are a nation of kicked dogs, and you wonder why we snarl.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

So Tight

So I'm almost a week into this whole being thirty-three thing. I'm not going to so the standard "oh crap time is inexorably marching me on toward my death boy do I feel old now I'm in my last years of being in my 'early thirties'" bullshit, because there is always someone older who will say, "shut the fuck up you're young you asshole," and that someone older will always be right.

And I've been thinking what exactly to write for my first entry as a thirty-three year old, so much so that I kinda blew past actually writing an entry when I turned thirty-three. I mean, this is really the first birthday that I have nothing to complain about. I'm doing what I want to do (for now). I have someone who loves me (though unfortunately she's still going through her searching for herself phase, but at least I'm gettin' some, yo). And so the only thing that I really want that I don't have is to be a successful writer, which probably won't happen within a single year (I'm over 35,000 words, a little less than halfway through the novel). Well that and the reason why Berkeley / foodiemaniac chick went incommunicado so suddenly after telling me how I was basically Christian Slater and she was Patricia Arquette in True Romance (and trying to figure that out goes more into trying to figure out the female mind, which is as futile as trying to teach a dog not to lick its nuts).

So this entry is more like the agnostic version of a prayer, a wish that before the next birthday, I'm well on my way to becoming interviewed by Entertainment Weekly, featured on Rolling Stones Hot list, a rugged black and white photo of me in a black suit and holding a baseball back slung over my shoulder (that is a reference from the novel) inset in various magazines.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Future Proof

I was drunk googling over the weekend, looking up various former co-workers and seeing where they were in life. Golden Boy left Phuqued Firm, which is saying a lot for how fucked Phuqued Firm is. He was viewed as the lead partner's heir to the thrown, groomed to the mantle of all that was passive/aggressive and psychotic. He's at one of the major insurance defense firms in downtown Los Angeles, a slight setback to my belief in karma. But Phuqued Firm is, well, fucked as usual. They now have a single litigation associate to work between two partners and two counsel.

One of the associates who started the same day as me at BigLaw One is now a partner--only after seven years. He was even lead counsel on a trial. Now that is a true Golden Boy. BigLaw One does not have small clients, and since he was in the intellectual property group, it's not as if the trial was some limited jurisdiction fluff. He's a good guy too, so I don't begrudge him his success. It's lawyers like him that make me pause, take stock of where I am, and wonder where I'm at.

Non-Married Blonde Lawyer is still non-married and blonde, but at a different firm. She's four years younger than me, but she's been listed as a "Super Lawyer" for two years straight. I guess when she said she wouldn't go to any small firms after GigByTheOcean, she didn't mean it.

I had reviewed the attorney lists at the firms I was at, seeing where people I knew ended up, and then, another world opened up to me.

In this other world, on that weekend, at that time, I was in my second floor office in BigLaw Two. The hall lights had already shut themselves off automatically. I had turned my office lights off save for a desk lamp and a corner halogen lamp turned to low. It was two in the morning and my office was dark save for an orange glow. I had a large U-shaped desk, and it was covered with legal research and deposition transcripts.

I was in that two-year grace period where I either made partner, or I shipped out to be come counsel somewhere. This was night number five where I stayed past two in the morning. I was second in command on a matter, so this motion for summary adjudication was mine to fuck up. There were three empty instant noodle styrofoam cups near my keyboard and five empty cans of Coke. I knew this wasn't good for my blood pressure, but it was either my pressure or my job.

When I went to the hospital a year ago, one of the partners had called every single day to find out when I'd return, incredulous that I had to be hospitalized for blood pressure. He had even talked to the managing partner, who politely and almost apologetically informed me of this complaint. I could have mentioned labor law, but why rock the boat. I knew I wouldn't be able to pull the trigger. But luckily, the rainmaking partner seemed to like me, and reigned the other partner in.

So here I was, on a Saturday night, being the good soldier. There is no time. Everything is one single deadline. Once every month, the one day I have off, I buy a twelve pack of Heinekin, a bottle of Jack Daniels, and five liters of water. I finish those off in a single night. I decompress. Then I go back to thirty more days of meeting with clients, deposing witnesses, managing discovery, drafting motions, yelling at opposing counsel, reviewing the work of associates which more often than not I have to redraft from scratch.

At two in the morning, I'm not thinking about the relationships that I've never had. There are other associates, other lawyers, who have significang others and spouses and families. But they met them prior to becoming a lawyer. The associates that are single maybe have random hookups, or if they're female and in corporate, end up dating clients. I'm not jealous or angry at two in the morning. At least, not about relationships. I'm trying to keep awake, to focus on starting to draft this motion. What will put me in a rage are missing documents, or incorrectly inputted facts in the litigation database. That will make me punch the walls, bloodying my knuckes.

This has been my life for four years, when I decided not to leave the law. A total of seven years of eating from vending machines (eating food ordered in takes too long, breaks the work flow), weekends at work, diving into work so that I don't have to think about that creeping loneliness, that malaise.

Outside, the only traffic on the 101 are trucks barrelling into unknown destinations.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Everything In Its Place

It's a cliche. That photograph, actual or imagined, that we all have, that we all look to when things are rough and we need to escape. Everyone's photograph is different. A beach where the sand is sugar white and the water is a cool blue sky. A lone cabin in the woods where the trees are topped with snow. The idea is serenity. The idea is escape.

And yet the photograph, an imagined one, that I keep coming back to isn't a landscape. Nor is it very serene.

It's a photograph of a me, it looks like twenty years from now, looking out the window of a hotel room at night. I'm sitting and I have a glass of scotch in my left hand, held near my lips. I can place myself in this photograph. It's almost 11:00 p.m. The hotel is very nice, but I'm not in a suite. I've just come back from some dinner on yet another tour. I've taken off my tie and my shoes, but my black suit jacket, my white shirt with too much starch, my black dress slacks are still on. I'm uncomfortable in them, but I've kept them on. I have the air conditioning set at arctic. Every once in a while, I'll sip the scotch. I'm being pensive, just looking into the city at night. I can't tell which city it is. San Francisco? Baltimore? I'm not sure how I'm feeling. I'm not sure how I got there, why I'm there.

When things have gotten tough, at work, in my heart, this image keeps coming back to me. It feels like the completion of a mosaic. I have no idea what it means.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Jumping the Shark

"Didn't watch it. Instead I played with pets, made dinner, and resigned myself to the fact that anything Ben Affleck touches turns to shit." --My pal Rach after I mentioned that last night's Alias sucked ass.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Not So Instant Karma

Hey Mr. Delay, before you start calling your indictment a political witch hunt by a Democratic partisan hack, maybe you should check this "partisan hack's" record: Eleven out of fourteen of the politician's that Travis County's District Attorney Ronnie Earle has prosecuted have been Democrats. These include a Democratic state treasurer, a Democratic attorney general, a Democratic Supreme Court Justice, and a Democratic speaker of the Texas House. Now if the fucking mainstream media will take their collective heads out of their asses and call bullshit on Mr. Delay's shrill cry of partisan politics.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Come On Everybody

Ohmygod go listen to "Nth Degree" right now! I'm not fucking kidding. Go listen to it!

You done? You fucking bobbing your head like a kid on a pixie stick bender? You got a fucking grin on your face and jumnping up and down? You have that hook running through your head? You chanting "M-O-R-N-I-N-G-W-O-O-D" over and over again? Good. Thought so.

Now here's the part you fucking hate me. Morningwood's debut album doesn't come out until January 6th. Grrrrrrr.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Go To Sleep

You'd think that, now that I was free from the lawyer lifestyle, I'd be able to pour more attention on my blog, provide fanciful snippets of prose and creativity that crackle through my brain onto the computer screen. But obviously, that hasn't been the case.

I write about five to seven pages a day, and I still have other ideas flowing through my head. A day without writing feels like wasted time. I have so many ideas, so many turns of a phrase that pop through my head without any context. Maybe too many. But even though I've fiddled around with prose on this blog before, I don't think you want this turning into all prose all the time. Hell, even author blogs aren't clogged up with their failed experiments--though that may have something to do with copyright issues. Who knows, maybe I'll set up a new blog just to deal with stuff that comes through my head.

But as for this blog, well, there just isn't that much happening in my life. I write. I hang out. Wheeee. By necessity, there's less drama, less shit I can get into. I'm not saying I'm shutting down the blog. I'm just trying to work out where I'm at. As much as I like David Eggers, I'm not sure I can spend a whole entry writing about waking up at 9:00 a.m. and how weak my shower pressure is these days and boy do I like oranges.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Is It Something So Good . . .

Of course, the whole smitten phase was too good to last. I learned something from Berkeley Chick which has thrown the situation for a loop. I'll figure out my next move by next week. So what was it, like a week from smitten to confused? And before, it took a month for the drama with CFC to play out. At this rate, with everything speeding up and compacting, I'll be living the my life in tight 30 minute sitcom mode.

In the meantime, the novel is coming along slowly but surely. I think I'll hit 75 pages by Saturday. But I still have those moments of doubt that will wake me up at night, wondering if this is it, if this is all to life. I guess you can tell I've decided against taking the Lexapro.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Betty Blue

"You're so cool." --Alabama Whitman to Clarence Worley in True Romance
--Berkeley Chick to Marty Stark, also referencing True Romance and yours truly

So I'm trying to enjoy that smitten feeling for what it is, pure unadulterated giddiness knowing that some adorable yet sexy chick is also smitten with me. And I'm trying to ignore the fact that she's 359 miles away, although I'm trying to bridge that temporarily, or that she is just as cynical and jaded as I was nine years ago (probably because she's nine years younger), because she's also just as weird, eclectic and did I say weird as me now. Holy fucking shit is she adorable. Plus she curses like a sailor. And she told me she felt the way Alabama Whitman felt about Clarence Worley.

She's probably right. If we were closer in distance, it would end in disaster because we're both insane people and it would go sour and then we wouldn't be able to talk about weird shit. We might end up not meeting in person ever if she's too afraid to wreck that feeling we have now. But right now, who cares. I'm fucking smitten and I'm trying to enjoy that. What a difference two weeks can make. Fucking aye, man, fucking aye.

"She said--
You wanna go for a ride?
I got sixteen hours to kill
And I'm gonna stay up all night,
all night"
--Teenage Wristband

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Uptown Again

It's been two fast weeks since I've left Gateway Gig, enough time to look back at the crap I had to do and breathe a sigh of relief that I'm not there anymore. It's been a while since I've written a law related post, so I figure why not pitch one out there.

I won't lie--CFC was a reason for leaving. But another significant reason was Morally Flexible Partner. The man is a disaster. He knows the short term strategy for surviving in a firm--get your associates to do all the work. Unlike associates whose value is measured by how many hours they billed, partners are generally measured by how much revenue they generate. Thus, it doesn't matter who bills, the partner or the associate, just so long as six figures a month keeps coming in. And the easiest way to do this if you take two hour "business" lunches and go home at five is to have the associates do all the work. Churn baby churn. This is probably why Morally Flexible Partner was in two firms in two years before landing at Gateway Gig. You get clocked as the lawyer who's not pulling his weight pretty quickly. He already has a reputation among a couple of partners as the guy who does jack shit.

But enough of the firm reasoning why Morally Flexible Partner won't last, and into the trenches. The man is a disaster organizationally and in the quality of his work. For a whole week after I left, I got one call a day asking me where shit was even though I had given MFP all the work or placed it on the server. He didn't recall whether he had filed shit that I had given to him to review. He would throw out stupid shit ideas ranging from harmless to get you sued on a weekly basis, and I ended up being the guy who told him that his ideas were shit. He had me doing secretarial shit. He was the hurry up and wait type of partner.

And now I don't have to deal with him, a feeling of blue skies and fluffy clouds.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

You're So Cool

Oh my God, she throws movie quotes around like rag dolls. She's freakin' insane, but in a cute, adorable way. And I make her blush. Looks like I should plan a trip to the Bay Area soon.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Amber Headlights

And then you're reminded why you went off Lexapro. Putting in that album you've waited for, pressing play, hearing that drum and roundhouse rock n'funk guitar and that voice with the drunken swagger. And suddenly you're that guy in the dive bar, peanut shells crunching beneath your shitkickers. That beat, that guitar is making you a fuck monster, walking toward that not so sweet but oh so hot thang in the corner. And you get that feeling from thirty seconds of the first track. There's eight more tracks. Do you really want to give all this up?

Heartache versus inspiration. Not an easy battle.

"Get the wheel let's go for a ride,
If you're trouble then I'll follow you down."
-Twilight Singers, "Cigarettes"

"I got my hand on the wheel and another on my fire."
-Twilight Singers, "So Tight"


This non-thing with CFC has scarred me deeper than I thought. During the day, I still have thoughts about her every once in a while. That's to be expected. The Secretary blew me off, but I have Harmless Chick lined up. And if Harmless Chick doesn't work out, I'm just a random meeting away from a hookup. Upward and onward, right?

That animal part of the brain though, well, it's a bit tenacious. Last night, I dreamt I had to go back to Gateway Gig to pick up something. I saw CFC but she didn't see me at all. Then I thought how much I wanted to change things, but couldn't. I knew absolutely nothing at all would change the way I felt about her, and even worse, nothing at all would change the way she didn't feel about me. I left to go meet my pal the Big Jew at his gig, and NC was there. He saw me and gave me that shit-eating grin. I couldn't avoid the guy. I woke up pissed and not a little bit sad. It might be time to go back on the Lexapro.

In the meantime, I'm trying to get used to writing full time again. I did it before. Half a year of almost complete solitude. That's the toughest part. At two in the afternoon, most people can jaunt over to their co-workers office, shoot the shit. I have the commentary track of "Undeclared." But I chose to live this life for the next couple of month. The hanged man. A sacrifice for a better and brighter future.

Monday, September 05, 2005


On my first day, I wrote about 1,600 in five hours. Over the weekend, I plotted out a work that will either be a novella or a screenplay. On my last day of work, my friend Rach said "I think this is a turning point. Better things will come your way."

Like moving in the three spatial dimensions, moving along time takes you farther away. Each second that passes is no different from a footstep toward the horizon. Eventually you'll look back, and you won't be able to see where you left. What will be ahead of you will be such a lovely warmth.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Honky's Ladder

Before I get into moving on mode, there's one loose end I have to tie up. I'm afraid for most of you, this will sound like some uncharacteristic scary shit, but it has to be said. Sorry to be cryptic, y'all, but this reader knows what I'm talking about. And if he hasn't been following this shit as it was going on, I know that he'll be peeking in sooner or later.

So here it goes. Yeah, you won. You got the last laugh, and I'm sure you were feeling so fine with your honey when I left on Wednesday. I saw that shit-eating grin in the lobby as I saw y'all going to lunch. You pulled that whole male dominant this is my girl "So, what're are you all doing" when I was having my last heart to heart Tuesday. Fuckin' aye man, you choose anyone more experienced, she'd clock you in five seconds for the insecure guy you are--and insecure does not play out well. But as I said, you have the last laugh for now. I was played, whether or not she intended to play me, and now you have that sweet thang all to yourself. Go ahead and write that in your blog. Feel free to link to this shit. But here's the thing.

I've got five years on you.

Here are some of the things I've learned the hard way in those five years. If you start out insecure in a relationship, your insecurity will not go away. Hell, it'll get even worse. She's young, intelligent, sweet. You pull that pissing to mark your territory move when I'm talking to her? Guess what, you will be having a lot of sleepness nights in your future.

And fuckin' about with a coworker? Not exactly a smart move. I know, you think you'll remain friends even if this doesn't work out. But three months from now, when you're totally sweatin' when she's out with her guy friends or out of town, and then she comes back and you see her everyday and it just gets to you, that uncertainty. I would say that's almost as bad as when she tells you she's seeing someone else, and then you have to walk past her everyday, knowing that she's not thinking of you. But the reality is that she won't tell you she's seeing someone else, because she doesn't want you to feel awkward, and when it comes out, it will feel like the ground has dropped from beneath your feet.

Yes, I am bitter about the situation, but not out of jealousy. If she wasn't into me, so be it. I can accept that. I'm friends with women who I've had feelings for, and women who've had feelings for me. I'm bitter because a yearlong friendship, the hours of talking and getting to know each other and laughing, that easy feeling when you know that someone gets you, disappeared almost overnight because of a two month relationship. I'm bitter because the last goodbye was simply a terse goodbye where she couldn't even bother to look at me. I know it was her choice, but I also know that you had a hand in it. You confirmed that with your dickwaving on Tuesday.

So you won. Enjoy the next month--it will be the best. Speaking from a guy who hasn't been exactly a good guy myself, these things play themselves out past that month. And that life you'll be living, let's just say you've read this blog and you know you better be praying to fate, chance and Lady Luck that this is the one time it will actually work out.

Now I'll get over it eventually, or if not, at least get some good writing out of it down the line. I'll be out away from the office, away from the bad drama, while you will be living some major bad mojo--it's not a matter of if, just a matter of when.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Random snippet from conversation today:
"Hey, you never know Marty. Their relationship might end next week."
"Yeah, and monkeys may fly out of my ass next week, but you don't see me stocking up on banana chow."

Three of Wands

"Say you don't wanna be here,
Leave then-
Time comes , to get gone
Say good morning to another set
Of creature
My dear, I'm gone-she said-

You wanna go for a ride?
I got sixteen hours to burn
And i'm gonna stay up all night-"
-Twilight Singers, "Teenage Wristband"

"The months go by
And I don't think of you
The signal is frail
An imprint of what you do
So I turn up the sound And you are nowhere
I have learnt this
To my cost
But I maintain In the slow lane"
-Curve, "Recovery

"There is
Something exciting about leaving everything behind
There is something
Deep and pulling leaving everything behind
Something about having everthing
You think you'll ever need
Sitting in the seat next to you

And I watch

Another white dash
Another white dash
Another white dash
Fly beside us
And I watch
Another white dash
Another white dash
Another white dash Fly beneath us
Away away"
-Butterfly Boucher, "Another White Dash"

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Deleted Scenes

Although the deleted scenes from "In the Mood for Love" are all beautifully shot and somewhat heartbreaking, I can see why Wong Kar-Wai left them out. The scenes either clarify the ambiguity in the movie, which isn't necessarily a good thing (maybe I'm a sap, but I'd rather that Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan not consumate their desire), or provide a resolution in a movie that is all about how things left unresolved will damage you.

Even though I'm a sap when it comes to relationships in general, I've also learned enough to be pragmatic. Unfortunately, it's that gulf in experience between CFC and me that will prevent anything in the short run from happening. If my heart and soul is that of "In the Mood for Love," my mind is really the deleted scenes. So for shits and giggles, here's what would be cut out of Angry Yellow--The Third Season Finale:

1. Before my last heart to heart with CFC, I asked out another secretary. She works for a sole practitioner who rents out an office, so technically she's not part of the Scooby Gang. Don't get me wrong--I am heartbroken, but time still passes, my heart keeps beating, and life goes on. She gave me her e-mail address, so who knows what will happen.

2. I talked to CFC today to try to convince her in my best lawyer logic that we should at least stay friends. She's the monogomous dater type, and doesn't think it's fair to still be speaking to someone who she knows likes her while she's seeing someone else. She knows that NC wouldn't like it. I told her if I was some random guy who she met a month from now, NC wouldn't like that either. If their relationship truly isn't exclusive, then that's just part of the risk of dating. And I told her that we're all adults. I told her I asked out the sole practitioner's secretary, and she was shocked (yeah, Marty stuck his tongue in the fan again). The point I was trying to make is we both know that life still goes on, we both are seeing or will see other people, so why not still remain friends? Giving me "false hope" just isn't an issue, and thus to end a friendship based on a "leading me on" or that I'm a threat to the other guy is just bunk. Now she doesn't want to talk to me because she doesn't want to intrude on another woman--even though that other woman and I haven't even set up a date yet. Yeah, can you tell she's young? We've left it as she will think about just being friends.

3. In the middle of the above conversation, NC walked past. CFC and I were laughing about the fact that I had asked the sole practitioner's secretary out so quickly. So NC then did a second walkby, and said "So, what's happening here." That's the first thing the dude has said anything to me in the last two weeks. Insecure much, dude? Of course, he still has the last laugh because he's the one going out with her. But as the guy causing the insecurity, it sure felt good to put someone on the whole "I need to show my male dominance" offensive and to simply laugh it off.

Now don't get me wrong. CFC is only the second woman I've felt this way about. It does break my heart that she's choosing to end our friendship for a non-serious two month relationship. But I've learned the hard way that brooding does me no good. So there's another woman in the office with whom I have things in common and that I enjoy talking to. She may not return my e-mail next week, or we may go out and hit it off. Either way, I'm moving forward.

See, that type of insight you get through experience. Maybe if CFC were a little older, she would realize that getting rid of a friendship for sake of not pissing off a guy she's only been dating for two months may be a big mistake. He might meet someone at a bar a month from now and start getting serious with her--which will leave CFC still working in the same office, awkward, and without that yearlong friendship. She has my contact information if anything changes, but I won't be holding by breath. Given how quickly I asked out the sole practitioner's secretary, CFC certainly knows that.

Monday, August 29, 2005

There's Nothing For Me Here . . .

There's a scene in Wong Kar-Wai's "In the Mood for Love" where Tony Leung's character, Mr. Chow, confesses to his neighbor, Mrs. Chan played by Maggie Cheung, that he has fallen in love with her. However, Mr. Chow knows that Mrs. Chan will not leave her husband. So Mr. Chow says, "I'm leaving Hong Kong. There's nothing for me here. I know you won't leave him. So I'd rather leave."

Unlike most American movies where there is a happy resolution and the characters get what they want, neither Mr. Chow nor Mrs. Chan get what they want. "2046" shows the effects of Mr. Chow's heartbreak. He treats the one woman who genuinely loves him in the movie carelessly and recklessly. The woman who reminds him most of Mrs. Chan, he helps to move her to Japan with the one she truly loves. In the end, he's falling asleep in back of a taxi, alone.

You probably don't need me telling you what happened today with CFC. She decided to respect the relationship she's been in for two months, and have me walk out the door on Wednesday, out of her life.

I know there will be other women. Time will move on, and I'll think of CFC less and less. But CFC will be the other woman always in the room for a long time.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Teenage Wristband

I gave notice on Monday. My last day is August 31st, and instead of enjoying that carefree "I don't give a shit anymore"-ism, well, let's put it this way, Ryan Adam's cover of "Wonderwall" is still on repeat.

I've known Cute File Clerk for about a year now. Yes, she's only twenty-two. But she's incredibly well read (she was reading J.D. Salinger's "Franny and Zoe" when I first started talking to her). She's responsible (she called from her vacation in Cancun to get her time sheets done). She's funny and sweet and adorable. She can also be incredibly raunchy--when we talked about a Certain Someone, she would ask me questions that would make a sailor turn pale and steady himself against the wall. We would talk each day for anywhere between half an hour to a couple of hours.

The event that turned my thoughts from lazy observations of how cute she was to my heart melting whenever I saw her has to do with that South Park icon you see in the corner. We were working late one evening, and I had shown her a link to the South Park icon webpage as well as the icon I did of myself. CFC asked me to make her a South Park version of herself. When I did and printed it out, she shyly smiled and she asked me to sign it. I asked her if she was serious, and she stated that she was. After I signed it, she taped that printout to her cubicle so that it faced her whenever she went to do her filing. She still has the icon in her cubicle.

I know, that isn't exactly a Baz Luhrmann/Moulin Rouge type scene. And if it doesn't blow your socks off, I don't particularly care. It was her kindness that she asked for my signature, and that she ended up placing the printout where she could look at it everyday that got to me. I started thinking about the times I would have to call into the office while she was at reception, and when I said "Hey, this is Marty," she would reply "Hey, this is E*******" and giggle. I started thinking about our conversations. Or how the one time we went out for lunch in a group, she would try to crash into me while pretending to be drunk, or hang back to talk with me as we walked back to the office.

I did not act upon my feelings.

Instead, I joked with her, told her about Financial Advisor and my various non-adventures, and all in all acted the same way I did before. In the meantime, Newbie Clerk started working and became part of the Scooby Gang at work. And I began to notice that there were not as many shy smiles to me in the past two months, and that there was a change in behavior--extra eye contact, an extra flirtation--between CFC and NC.

So I made my second mistake (the first one being not quitting Gateway Gig when I realized I was just stagnating) and asked NC if he was seeing CFC because I didn't want to be a cockblocker. It came up last week because I had been mulling over quitting and told this to NC. NC said that he was seeing her, but would tell me if things changed. Hindsight being 20/20, I should've just told CFC that I was leaving and asked her out for drinks.

I'm an intense guy, which in this case meant my next action was intensely stupid as well. I then talked to CFC, and admitted how I felt. She grinned that shy grin, then covered her mouth with her hands like a Japanese schoolgirl and said, "No one has ever told me that before." We then ended up talking again for an hour and a half after work. She was telling me how sweet I was, and her eyes began tearing when I told her how I felt again. I admitted that I was jealous of NC, and CFC said I didn't have to be because NC and CFC were just hanging out with his friends, and that in fact I knew more than she did about how NC felt. I told her I might have to move up my timetable for giving notice, and she got really quiet and said "I don't want you to leave because of me." We had to stop talking because other folks were staying late and were starting to mill about the hallway.

The weekend passed, and I was hardly able to talk to CFC this week. CFC was incredibly busy, though the OCD chump that I am, I began to wonder whether CFC was blowing me off. I asked her if we were going to be able to talk before I left, and she said "We'll see." So I told her, "If this is your polite way of letting me know you don't want to talk about this, then I undestand and I'll drop it." She said, "No, I'm just hella busy. NC and I have been talking, and I definitely need to talk to you. We definitely need to talk."

I left CFC alone today, and went home early to prevent myself from doing more OCD things. That I saw CFC talking to NC this week, including this morning, doesn't give me much hope about what she could possibly say to me.

I have this vision of next Wednesday afternoon. As I leave, I'll say, "So, I'm leaving." And she'll say, "Bye." I'll say, "That's it?" And she'll say, "Yeah." And off I'll walk and that'll be the end of a years worth of shy smiles and conversation. Eventually, that printout with my signature will be thrown into the trash.

Look, I know I really got this FUBAR'd. I know I made a mistake by talking to NC, because when it's only about the women. Regardless of all the machismo shit guys say, when it comes to real relationships, women have the final say whether to initiate them or not. I made a mistake by not simply asking CFC out when I left, because all those deep feelings mean nothing if there's no potential at all for reciprocation. You throw all that intensity out there, the best you can hope for are some platitudes. I also am pissed that the one time that I followed the "Don't shit wear you eat" rule, fate fucks me over.

Some of my friends say that my vision is overly pessimistic--that I simply don't have enough information to know whether Wednesday will have me giddy, or downing a bottle of scotch by myself in a dark, hot room. After all, if I really meant nothing to her, she wouldn't say that she needed to talk to me. That doesn't guarantee that she'll say she wants to see me--she could care enough about me to feel that she owes me an answer, even if that answer is thanks but no thanks. But right now the only person with enough information is CFC.

However Wednesday turns out, my life after September 1st will necessarily have to be more stripped down, with less players and less drama. Beginning September, expect Angry Yellow--Unplugged.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I Said Maybe You're Gonna Be The One That Saves Me

You walked in just like smoke . . . Posted by Picasa

A couple of weeks ago, a random friend-in-law read my palm at a martini bar. She was friendly, cute, but a bit overly locquacious for my tastes. She cupped the back of my hand with her long fingers, studied my palm for a few moments, and said, "You do not know what you want in a woman, which is why you will date around, never settling, you will not be faithful to any one woman."

My friends and I stifled a laugh at this. Out of my circle of friends, I'm the Johnny Straightarrow of relationships--perhaps not just a little naive, and a strong believer in putting 100% in whomever I'm with. I'm intense, which can be read as passionate if you're inclined to give me the benefit of the doubt, or which can be read as fucking unstable if you meet me at the wrong time. Put together, this means I will not be the one to stray in a relationship, because I will be devoting everything to the one who eventually lights the forest so I can find a place to stay.

Or at least, so I thought.

A real Johnny Straightarrow would not intentionally fuck about with a woman who he knows to be engaged, making love to her even as she has her ring on. A real Johnny Straightarrow would feel some guilt for breaking up a relationship, even if it were a relationship that had been rotting from the inside for three years. A real Johnny Straightarrow would not be pouring out his heart to someone he knows is seeing someone else, putting his friendship with her on the line and valuing his own feelings over anything and everything. So maybe my friends and I are wrong, still thinking I'm still that naive intense guy that I was ten years ago. I'm just a man--a fucked up, dirty, manipulative but at least honest man.

The talkative palm reader was dead right on one aspect--I don't know what I want in a woman. I'm almost thirty-three, and my only response to the question "What are you looking for in a woman" is "someone who adores me as much as I adore them." But honestly, I know that's a fucking copout. Unfortunately, it's the truth.

I can't say, "I'll know her when I meet her," because that's not true. I fell unknowingly for Certain Someone over the course of a year, and the latest situation over the course of six months. And Makeup Chick, though I had an intense reaction when I first saw her, would've probably burned out in a course of just a few weeks had things been different.

And all the standard shit people put down, honest, funny, nice--well, I've met honest, funny and nice women, and once they left my life, I've forgotten their names and faces. The standard shit I used to put down--quirky, artistic, creative--also come with unreliable, and psychotic attached.

My pals used to point out women and say, "Now there's a Marty-type woman for ya." Usually blonde, sometimes brunette, green or blue eyes, slender, petite, a cornfed Midwestern prettiness just a shade over plainness. But that's no longer true either. Certain Someone, Bee's Knees and Financial Advisor are all Asian. File Clerk is Mexican.

Sometimes it's liberating to realize the truth. Not this time though. When the arc of my desire for a nice, stable relationship hits the arc of the knowledge that I have no idea what I want, there's just this hole.

View this entry as "poor me-ism" if you want. That's fine. This is my blog after all, and it's here partly to be my de facto therapist. And in the meantime, I'm going to listen to Ryan Adam's cover of "Wonderwall" on repeat, both dreading and impatient for what will happen tomorrow.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Wake Up Everyday, That Would Be Start

Love is all a matter of timing . . . Posted by Picasa

"We all spend so much time not saying what we want, because we know we can't have it. And because it sounds ungracious, or ungrateful, or disloyal, or childish, or banal. Or because we're so desperate to pretend that things are OK, really, that confessing to ourselves they're not looks like a bad move. Go on say what you want. Maybe not out loud, if it's going to get you in trouble. 'I wish I never married him.' 'I wish she was still alive.' 'I wish I'd never have kids with her.' 'I wish I had a shitload of money.' ' I wish all the Albanians would go back to fucking Albania.' Whatever it is, say it to yourself. The truth will set you free. Either that or it'll get you a punch in the nose. Surviving in whatever life you're living means lying, and lying corrodes the soul, so take a break from the lies for just one minute."
--JJ in Nick Hornby's "A Long Way Down."

I wish I had read this three months ago.

Friday, August 19, 2005

All the Strange Things, They Come and Go

Water in your dreams in supposed to represent your subconscious, all those emotions that you have bottled up inside you. I guess my dream last night won't be that hard to interpret.

I was at the Santa Monica pier. In the waking world, I usually head to Santa Monica to relax--get some fish and chips, do some people watching, catch the breeze coming in from the ocean. And I was doing the same thing in my dream. I was at the edge of the pier, noticing that for some reason, a new post office branch had opened. Then I saw a larger that usual swell of water coming toward the beach. I thought how lucky the surfers were, how lucky I was to see such a large wave as it passed by the pier.

And then I looked out into the ocean again, and I saw a much larger swell. It wasn't so much a wave, but rather a sudden rise in the height of the ocean. I realized that it was a tsunami. I yelled to all those around me to get to higher ground. I climbed up to the roof of the post office on the pier, hoping that would be high enough. And the water came. Not crashing, but a sudden and rapid increase in the water. The ocean rose up to my feet and nearly knocked me down.

When the ocean receded, I realized this was but a lull and there was a larger wave coming. I scrambled down, running to my car in hopes that I could drive to higher land.

I plan on giving notice to GatewayGig on Monday.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


My pal Dubois was right that I should've quit Gateway Gig earlier, and for more reasons than he knows. Not only have I delayed my writing for no good reason, I think I passed up on opportunity to move on conclusively and decisively from a Certain Someone.

The lesson to be learned is when your gut tells you to leave and your heart falls at the same time, maybe, just maybe you should fucking listen. You can avoid the realization that everything you feel, the certainty that things will fall in place, that heart skip feeling you felt as a kid jumping down a hill happening whenever you passed by, that secret warmth that you felt thinking about what would happen when you left, is weaker than a breath on a feather.

I'd like to think that my honesty has made a difference, but I know I'll hear the same platitudes all nice guys get. And whatever happens from here on out, I'll know that I should've listened to my heart six months ago.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

I'm A Midwest College Student . . .

It's Random Anecdotes Time!!!

1. This afternoon, one of my female neighbors was having a loud cell phone conversation in the hall, which would usually annoy me. I mean, c'mon, it's not like you can't have this conversation in your own unit which is less than 10 feet away. But then she said the following magic words, "So I started making out with her . . " I know, bad me listening to a private conversation. But let me remind you--she was in the hallway, and she was loud. She might as well have been screaming in a megaphone exclaiming to the world her bisexuality. Oh, and she was slender, Asian and not just a little cute.

So on she went, discussing with her friend, who is apparently also a bi female, about being bi. And an incident where she crashed with another female bi friend and a male friend-in-law on a futon. And how this other female bi friend always initiated things with her, like "we'd get our legs tangled, and then she'd pull my hair and kiss me on the forehead."

There are no adequate analogies to describe my frustration at this point. I can only say I'm as frustrated as a heterosexual male knowing that one of his cute neighbors is having sex with women in the same apartment complex.

2. To the FOB woman who IM'd me on Thursday night. What part of "I do not give out free legal advice" do you not understand? And you don't want your insurance raised? Well maybe you shouldn't be following cars so close that you end up rear-ending them when they stop for a firetruck. And take some fucking responsibility for your actions--it was your goddamn fault you rearended her. Also, if you're interested in meeting people on-line, maybe you shouldn't tell them you're into surveillance cameras and hidden microphones--see, that screams out STALKER. And maybe you shouldn't tell them that you just came from a church singles group as a way of introduction, or ask for their photo within the first five minutes. And honey, maybe your complete inability to put a proper sentence together may turn on pasty-white middle-aged accountants from Secaucus, but it's a complete turnoff for everyone else. And I sincerely hope that your church group is a support group, 'cuz you sure do need a lot of it.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

And We All Shine On

This was originally going to be an open letter about karma, perhaps a tad overly bitter and vindictive one at that. See, I was going to provide concrete examples of karma, like the Weasel Partner back at FirstBigLaw who ruined many an attorney's careers and pulled the whole "if I don't get what I want I'll quit" schtick until FirstBigLaw finally called his bluff and now he's a small fish in a bigger pond who doesn't have enough pull to get his favorite associate hired. Or like BigFuckingLiar Associate who got me involved in a bad sitch just so he could get into the pants of an accounting chick before he left for a gig that paid more, and ended up not getting the accounting chick, going back to the shrieking harridan of his ex and finding out that the new gig was a big old clod of manure hidden beneath the group of red apples. (Like these sentences, karma takes a meandering path.) Then I was going to say to the Professionalgamerchick on*, I'd really hate to be you when karma catches up, what with giving me your number, telling me you're interested in having drinks, and then at the last moment before our first date telling me you met someone who you had actually been e-mailing for the month prior to giving me your number (and who coincidently hadn't asked you out until after I did). Yeah, because treating me like a safety school, using me to get to the other guy and being a pricktease is baaaaaaad mojo.**

But then imagine my surprise when I was surfing for game release dates (damn you Sony, couldn't you have released more than three decent games for the PSP for its rollout?) and happened to come across your name in google as part of a gamer profile. And lo and behold, the profile has all of your photos, and they're all from 1998. And one of the more recent photos on this gamer profile--from 2001 and which isn't on your profile--explains why none of your photos are close-ups. Let's just say I should be thanking you for cancelling.

See, you saved me from accidently calling you Mr. Ed when you let rip that non-close-lipped smile, or wondering why I was sitting in front of Auntie Mao instead of Hello Kitty, and then taking a long hot shower with a brillo pad exfoliant afterwards to scrub away any carnal thoughts I had before I actually saw you in person. Or as my friend Rach put it, "It looks like karma already hit her . . . at birth."

*No, Professionalgamerchick is not her real profile name.
**Yes, I know, we men have done really shitty things as well, and probably the very things I have identified (what's the male version of pricktease, oh never mind). But I note that this entry is not an "all females are manipulative soul-sucking black widows" rant, and anyway, men who do shit like this end up getting their come-uppance--there's a whole tribe of them in Jersey, balding, beer gut like burst bratwurst covered in a beaver-like pelt, smelling like Olympia beer forty-year-olds not able to get within 10 feet of a real woman.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I'm the King of Me!

"Yeah, because we all know Hemingway said 'I would run with the bulls in Pamplona, but I still need those two MCLE ethics credits,' and Kerouac decided not to hit the road because he was five credits shy. Wuss."
-Dubois calling bullshit on yours truly and my excuse for not quitting my legal gig.

I frakkin' hate it when my friends are right.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Mile End

I Might Be Going To Hell, But All My Friends Will Be There Posted by Picasa

Back in Palo Alto, my buddies and I once went to this all-ages club on California Street--downtown Palo Alto wasn't exactly hip so you can imagine the coolness factor of an all-ages club on the street a couple of miles away from downtown Palo Alto. The inside was all blue light, day-glo and little girlies on their cell phones calling daddy. Hey look, we were bored. Anywho, in walks this pair of poser goth chicks--fishnet stockings, ankhs, eye shadow, etc.--holding hands. Now, I'm assuming that my buddy was deciding to go with the adage of "go ugly early" with his next action, but up he walks to the skinnier one and asks her to dance. And she looks at him, wrinkles her nose and says no, walking away hurredly.

So last week, Gateway Gig told me that I was, essentially, the smartest kid on the short bus. Yeah, I know I don't want a permanent position at Gateway Gig. But I'm sure my buddy didn't want to score with Clymidia Blackthorn.

Gateway Gig is one of the better firms I've worked at, but they are horrible with administrative matters. Newbie started this week, and I didn't want a sitch where I'm sitting on my ass for a week because no one had bothered to tell me they weren't going to give me work. So I talked to Named Partner to ask him directly if he still needed my services after Newbie started.

Named Partner said yes, and that he wanted me to stick around to do contract work. However, he also said that there was no way they were going to offer me a permanent position because someone always had to look over my work. Gateway Gig still retained me because I was better than most contract attorneys. Or in other words, I was the smartest kid on the short bus.

Now I don't want to be a permanent associate. But being told that my work was only just passing cheesed me off. First of all, I'm a temp, I'm not a full time associate. The firm does not pay me associate rates. So fucking aye, of course someone will have to look over my work because I'm not managing these cases. Second, I'm not the attorney who left things at the last moment so that we were forced to file a 52-page errata (legalese for we made a few mistakes--and by the by, the average errata is 3 to 4 pages), nor was I the attorney who had drafted 3 separate briefs in three separate cases quoting the wrong local rule. So yeah, I make mistakes every once in a while, but I'm not the only lawyer on the short bus.

In the meantime, I need to get my MCLE requirements done, which is easier and cheaper when your with a firm. Plus, earning some extra mulah is, like, a good thing. But the end is near, and soon I will be back to writing, working for the day in which my mind, my heart, and my wallet are content.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Hang The Bloody DJ, Burn Down The Disco

So it's that time of the year again when all around the United States, thousands of folks flock to convention centers, airport hotels, and bingo parlors with highlighters (one color for each different issue you spot in the essay portion), pens, typewriters, and flashlights (just in case of a power outage) to take that legal version of getting whacked with paddles and forced streaking through the campus known as the Bar Exam. In California, this exam lasts for three days, so those of you in Illinois or New York, quit your complainin'. (California has something called "performance" tests in addition to the standard essays and multi-state. These tests are supposed to measure your aptitude for the practical side of the law--here are some documents or a client file and write a research memo in 2 hours. Of course, in the real world, if you have to write a legal memo based on a review of a real client file in 2 hours, watch your malpractice insurance rates rise faster than my blood pressure after listening to an RNC PR flak). For those of you rushing off that cliff with the rest of the lemmings, good luck. And please, remember you have the duty NOT TO BE STOOPID.

You would expect that the Bar Exam would weed out all the folks who keep trying to push the square peg through the circle hole, and yet the short bus of the legal profession always seems to be full.

Let's take, for example, the Family Lawyer who was a partner in a short-lived two person firm who decided to switch over to litigation. Trusting Lawyer made him a partner (despite the fact that Family Lawyer only had three years of legal experience) because Family Lawyer was the godfather to Trusting Lawyer's daughter and had been Trusting Lawyer's college advisor (Family Lawyer started law school a bit late). Now, as a litgator, Family Lawyer was a complete fuck-up. When asked to draft things, he would just cut and paste from other briefs or discovery without bothering to check the rules on whether he could do that. He didn't serve opposing counsel notice because he didn't know he had to serve opposing counsel notice (to non-lawyers out there, that's just like not unzipping your fly before you take a piss). He simply flat out refused to do the most basic of civil procedure research. And yet because he was a partner, he tried to exert his authority over yours truly, a litigator with six years under my belt--and when I called him on his shit, he'd go to Trusting Lawyer to get his take on the issue and then, when he found out he was wrong, tell Trusting Lawyer I was the one who spouting the wrong position. The partnership fell apart within the year because Trusting Lawyer realized he was doing 90% of the work (including fixing up Family Lawyer's fuckups) and yet Family Lawyer was still getting 50% of the take.

And then there's Asshat Housing Lawyer. His client, the Dragon Lady, is a Not Breaking Any Stereotype Canadian Chinese woman with a husband on the run from the SEC and two children. The gist of their lawsuit is that our client, a homeowners association in the desert, has discriminated against her because she's not Jewish and she has kids. Asshat Housing Lawyer filed a preliminary injunction motion requesting that the no-kids-living-in-the-community clause not be enforced. See, here's the problem with that motion--Dragon Lady, her husband and her kids live in the community. So obviously, that no-kids provision isn't being enforced, derrrrrrrr. Or in other words, Asshat Housing Lawyer was going to the Court and saying "Hey Court, please tell these guys not to enforce the no-kids provision that they aren't, well, enforcing." Needless to say, Asshat Housing Lawyer's motion was not granted. (And as to the not-Jewish thing, well, the current president of the homeowners association is a goy, so it really sucks to be Asshat Housing Lawyer if this gets to trial.)

Please guys, when you pass the Bar, please don't be stoopid, OK? My blood pressure is high enough as it is.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sacrificial Bonfire

I was planning on writing a rather detailed entry about fighting smart, and how the kneejerk reaction of a lot of liberals regarding Judge John Roberts is like that one friend that you have, that one stupid friend, who starts pissing off people at a bar by staying inane things, and you know that this idiot friend of yours is gonna get his ass kicked, but so are you because he is your bud and you have to have his back. See, I was going to do that, but the Democratic leadership as well as the calmer heads over at dailykos already know about fighting smart and not making idiotic statements about "oh look at the briefs he wrote" (which were in private practice) or "oh look he's Republican" (like Shrub was going to nominate John Kerry--and by the way, when we get back in power in 2008 of course we're going to nominate our own whipsmart qualified judge who, you know, will be a Democrat) or "oh, look he's a white male" (because, even though I think Shrub is the worst president since Herbert Hoover, you can't really say that his adminstration isn't racially diverse).

So instead, it's back to doing that gabba gabba hey on random stuff. Like how I found out from Dubois last night that CNN Asia Chick got fat. And not like oh just a little bit puffier around the face fat, but wholly unrecognizable until she said her name fat. I seem to have a knack for dodging bullets (insert image of Asian with badass goatee and hip striped shirt--cuz striped is the new black--dodging bullets in slo-mo).

And yes, I had to shell out some moolah to replace a tire despite only a pinhole sized, well, you know, hole because the whole inside of the tire was absolutely shredded from driving on it with low pressure. But on the other hand, it didn't blow out on me last night in midnight in the shadier sections of Hollywood. Plus, since the only auto place that was open was the Sears automotive near 3rd Street Promenade, I had a rather nice lunch at Il Fornio, just a block away from the ocean. Nothing says simple pleasures like a mandarin orange sorbet with a chilled pinot grigio under 80 degree heat, gray skies, palm trees and Argentinian soccer playing at the bar.

So I guess that I can't kvetch that much about not finding that special girl with the anime eyes and glossy lips who can talk about absurdism and old school hip hop lives within 10 miles of Casa de Stark. But you know, I will anyways.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Hey Karl! Posted by Picasa

Yes, this is another political rant, so for those of you not politically inclined, go ahead and think of cute widdle kittens what with the widdle paws and whiskers and whatnot.

OK, so this is yet another entry among millions I'm sure about Valerie Plame. And already, the Republicans are deifying Karl Rove--e.g. Representative Peter King from New York saying it was "gutsy" for Rove to out Plame--and vilifying Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson--e.g. Valerie as nothing more than a desk jockey who was guilty of nepotism and thus deserved to be "frogmarched" out of D.C. and Joe as a partisan lying unpatriotic sonofabitch. All you have to do is go to any conservative blog to see this.

Now, DailyKos as done a lot of analysis debunking these repo talking points, so my rant here isn't so much a policy wonk discussion, but more of a breaking it down so the average joe can understand sorta thing. Crap, part of my job as a litigator is to take complex issues and simplify them so that the average state court judge who worked in a small ass firm and got his J.D. from Upstairs Beverly Hill School of Law can understand it in less than five minutes (though I usually do so with much less extraneous asides than my blog entries).

So here it is. Let's assume that the Republican talking points are right: that Valerie Plame was a desk jockey, and that she abused her position within the CIA to get her husband that trip to Niger (though if she was just a glorified typist, I guess she was a very powerful glorified typist if she could get her husband that Niger trip). Let's assume that Valerie Plame deserved to be frogmarched out of D.C. for putting her personal aspirations in front of national security, that she engaged in nepotism of the worst sort.

The problem is that, even if we assumed all that, at the end of the day, it still doesn't justify blowing her cover--a cover that other CIA agents may have shared.

The leak of Valerie Plame's identity also exposed the identity of the CIA-front company, Brewster Jennings and Associates. In turn, this necessarily exposes the work of other CIA agents who had been using Brewster Jennings and Associates to risk--they can't very well run covert operations when it's suddenly become public knowledge that the company they've told everyone they worked for is a CIA front.

No doubt, there will be people who will still say Valerie and Joe are at fault for the outing--it was their conduct if nepotism and undermining the President that caused Rove to do what he did. Thus, we should blame them for the damage to Brewster Jennings. However, assuming that the constructive termination of Valerie's career was justified, that doesn't mean that the manner in which this administration constructively terminated her was justified. If the CIA or the administration thought she acted improperly, why didn't they quietly fire her so as not to reveal that Brewster Jennings was a CIA front? Or to put it differently, even assuming that Valerie and Joe were at fault for the termination of her career, they were not at fault for howher career was terminated.

So even if you assume that Valerie deserved to be "frogmarched" out of DC, as certain conservative blogs are saying, the Republican Spin on this is still ridiculous--they are in effect arguing that the wholesale compromise of a valuable CIA front company, as well as any ongoing and future operations run out of that front company and the loss of intelligence that could have been gained in those operations, is completely justified because one of their glorified secretaries tried to get her husband a high-profile trip to Africa. And liberals are accused of being soft on terrorism?

Please people, all that I ask is when you hear spin from anybody, you think things through, OK? That way, I'm not up at 2:00am in the morning seething about politics, and I can go back to seething about other things, like how my Financial Advisor looks like a younger version of Kelly Hu but unfortunately I can't tap that.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Please Don't Let Me Hit The Ground

Tonight I'll Think I'll Walk Alone Posted by Picasa

Given that I was out last night, I make no apologies for blogging on a Saturday night. Plus, I got a lot running through my head. Anyway, time for yet another half-assed random list of shit that's keeping Marty awake these days.

1. An open letter to the partner at Gateway Gig who thinks he was doing Marty a favor: I really do appreciate that you told me the firm hired another associate who is supposed to start in August. Knowing how most of the partners really can give a rat's ass about actual firm administration, if you hadn't told me, I would've been sitting with my thumb up my ass, getting pissed off about reserving my time to do Gateway Gig's work and not getting any straight answers about whether they need me or not. Though for future reference, it would have been preferable had you told me this when I wasn't doing the post-urinal shake in the friggin' john. I'd rather not have my hand around my dick when you're laying me off.

2. So I've been off the Lexapro for the last month, and given my post-medication feelings, I can definitely say there was no placebo effect. The colors are brighter (and the darkness is deeper) without the Lexapro, I can feel inspired when I watch movies or listen to music, and, oh yeah, I'm a friggin' horntoad now. All I need is a gust of wind hitting me in a certain way, and BANG, I'm looking for some lotion.

3. For all those aspiring writers, at one time, you've probably heard "show, don't tell." Well, here's a perfect example, from one of my favorite writers, Michael Marshall Smith:

"You know how sometimes, when you're just walking around, living your life, you'll see someone on the street and fall hopelessly in love with them? How something in the way they look, the way they are, makes you stop dead in your tracks amd stare? How for that instant you're convinced that if you could just meet them, you'd be able to love them for ever? Wild schemes and unlikely chance meetings pass through your head, and yet as they stand on the other side of the street or room, talking to someone else, they haven't the faintest idea of what's going through your mind. Something has clicked, but only inside your head. You know you'll never speak to them, that they'll never know what you're feeling, and that they'll never want to. But something forces you to keep looking, until you with they'd leave so you could be free.
The first time I saw Rachel was like that, and now she was in my bath. I didn't call out to hurry her along."

Much better than saying, "I was so lucky to have Rachel in my life," no? I'd stick a skewer through my hand to write like that. And hence you see once of Marty's writing inspirations.

There Is A Light

And In The Darkened Underpass . . . Posted by Picasa

So, Marty's financial advisor got a case of the smarts and decided that she didn't want to date her clients. Which means I won't be able to say "Yeah, she's putting my assets into a Roth IRA" as a euphemism for anything. The lawyer side of me is frankly a bit relieved--I've seen business actions go completely bugfuck because of soured relationships. The "man she has an ass you can bounce a stack of quarters off of" side is disappointed--I mean really disappointed. Think when the waiter brings by the dessert plate and shows you a mouthwatering cheesecake with a fresh strawberries and creme and says it's all yours, and just when you're going to bite, he takes it away and says he's oh so sorry, another table actually had ordered the cheesecake before you. Man, why do I keep using food imagery to get across romantic and sexual points? Excuse me, it's time for my daily binging and purging.

The Financial Advisor and I got into a rather interesting discussion about the genders. She apparently keeps getting into situations where her male friends or her clients become romantically interested, so she talked to her guy friends about why this might be. It seems that guys are always optimistic, and much more direct in their communications, whereas chicks don't feel comfortable being direct and hence tend toward giving "hints." And that's where the problem arises I told her.

See, Financial Advisor is attractive, smart, and fun to hang out with. A guy who is able to make her laugh is stupid if he doesn't try to tap that. And she's right, most guys are optimistic--and it's a real bitch of time trying to figure out if that optimism is well founded or just false hope. So when a woman tells a guy she's able "to keep being friends separate with anything else that might develop", or she's "not interested in focusing on romantic relationships now", that little spark of optimism in guys focuses on all the modifiers--"might develop," "now". To us, that's not being direct at all. When a woman tells a guy that she can't hang out because she's "busy", well, she could honestly be busy. Whereas to the chica, she's being as direct as she can and thinking that should take care of it. And therein lies the rub. The guy will keep sniffing around with this hope in his heart that something might develop later, the hope blooming and expanding and having a life of its own, while the chica is totally uninterested, and that leads to bad drama later.

Now lucky for the both of us that I was able to be direct and forthright, and forced her to be so as well. Situations where you're thinking "Oh my God she's so into me" while she's thinking "Gosh, I really like vanilla" six months down the line are awkward enough as it is, but doubly so if she's managing your money.

And what have we learned? Yes, I know Snoop Doggy Dog advised "Don't sweat the pussy," which is all fine and good advice. But we also know that in reality, if guys were truly able not to sweat the pussy, that male market in hand lotion would collapse overnight.

The practical lesson for the rest of us guys is to have the chicas define their boundaries as early as possible. Otherwise, you might think you're about to storm her castle when you're actually 50 miles outside her state line playing pinochle. Now, you have to be smart and simple about it--don't make it about you. Just lay out that you like her, you don't want to put her in an awkward position which is why your letting her know that you would like to be more than friends, but that if she doesn't feel the same way that you understand. And that if she wants to stop hanging out, you perfectly understand. That way you're defining your expectations without creating an ultimatum (which is a sure way dropping nookie probability to 0%)and allowing her a way out if she really isn't interested.

Financial Advisor's main qualm was that she wasn't comfortable with being that direct. Well, we're not comfortable trying to read women's minds. So if a man is honest enough to be direct with you and is polite enough to leave you an out, the least that you can do is be direct and honest with him, and define your boudaries.

If you think that the hints and such are a necessary part of the game, well, as a man you should be prepared to find out that she was thinking about how much she liked vanilla the whole time and start stocking up on hand moisturizer, and as a woman, you should be prepared for annoying phone calls from pissed off guys three months after you thought you told the chump (indirectly and never saying the words)"I'm not interested."

As for the Financial Advisor and me, I needed a financial advisor and was going to use her even if she had told me she wasn't interested, gay, had plans, was clinically dead the first time we spoke. We have fun when we hang out, so I see no reason not to hang out with her every once in a while (though not more than that because a man can only be around a tight ass like that before something bursts somewhere in his body). In the meantime, it's onward for me. Plus there's always that 22-year old file clerk in the office who has a female crush on Zhang Ziyi. Heh heh, girl on girl crushes. Excuse me while I get some hand lotion.