The adventures (and non-adventures) of a marginally seasoned attorney.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Trash talking, part 1: The rules


I went to an athletic event this weekend, and it was one of those "friendly" competition type things where you're supposed to be cheering everyone on, even your opponents. And don't get me wrong, I think it was appropriate for that forum, but I have a reeeally difficult time engaging in spectatorship if I can't throw a little bit of hatin' in there.

I firmly believe that trash talking is sacred, though, and there are some general guidelines we should all follow when participating in this time-honored tradition. In part 1 of this two-part series on trash talking, I'm going to explain the general rules of smack talk:

1. You can always trash talk your archrival - There are no exceptions to this rule, period. And if anyone tells you otherwise, that person is just a pansy and you don't need to be listening to anything they ever say.
2. You can trash talk perennial favorites if for no other reason than it's annoying as crap to see the same teams win year after year.
3. You can trash talk a team that's better than yours, and I say this one with hesitation because I think it's unnecessarily self-deprecating to yell "OVER-RATED!" when your team beats a better team. Anything else is just fine, though.
4. You can trash talk anyone or any team associated with a person who ruined your team at some point in time - I'm looking at you, Houston Nutt.
5. You can trash talk a team if you're playing them in a big f'n deal of a game - And if you don't, then I don't really know why you're watching sports in the first place.
6. You can trash talk a team if there's a personal reason you hate them - Okay, the assistant coach knocked up your sister and said bad things about your momma. You go right ahead and trash talk away. Doesn't have to be that severe of a reason, though. I'll forever trash talk the Yankees because I hate Robinson Cano for snubbing Billy Butler in the 2012 Home Run Derby. This is not childish. This is being a good fan.
7. You can trash talk an opposing team if it it's going to annoy them and affect gameplay  - Same as #5, if you're not doing this, then I don't know why you're watching sports.
8. You can say bad things about your own team if they do in fact suck - I am a Royals fan. I know my team sucks. I get to say my team sucks. I have earned the privilege of saying the Royals suck because I have watched them do it for more than two decades.
9. You can't trash talk another team just because they do not play well - Fans of bad teams know their teams are bad. If the only reason you're smack talking a team is because that team has a losing record and none of the other rules apply, you're just being a douchebag. Do what you can to find another reason to trash talk them, but if you can't, just move on.
10. You can trash talk any individual or fanbase that is especially obnoxious, and I will elaborate on this in part 2 of the series.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Two years in

Being an attorney will skew your perspective on life. There is no getting around this; after you've practiced for a while, the world just seems different. Everything seems more ridiculous. Everyone seems more stupid. Everyone has a problem that they could fix, but you're convinced that no one is actually interested in doing what it takes to solve those problems, so you just sit and watch the world burn around you.

After you've practiced for a while, you will analyze every single text you write to determine whether that statement would be harmful to you in a court of law. You will watch what you wear when you go to Walmart, because you're terrified of the thought of running into opposing counsel - or worse, a judge - in your pajamas. And every now and then you won't be able to fall asleep, because sometimes you just can't turn off the mental work switch when you get home.

You don't get all worked up about some OUTRAGEOUS court case in the news everyone is talking about because you've heard worse during family court. You do get worked up, however, when people adamantly declare what the court should do in these cases even though they don't know all the facts. You love facts. You wished everyone else loved facts as much as you do.

Courtroom dramas aren't as entertaining as they used to be because no one on television follows the rules of civil procedure. Concerts and sporting events are still fun, but at some point in the evening, you're going to start analyzing potential liabilities at the event as they relate to the structures and logistics. You know that bringing those things up with your non-lawyer friends will kind of make you a douchebag. You have accepted the fact that you are kind of a douchebag.

This is how I see life now, and I'm only two years into the job. I look forward to seeing how things are after another 20.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Poetic Justice

Summing up a young lawyer's day in court ... haiku style. 

Yes, I'm a lawyer
I know I look like I'm 12
But you're being rude 

Pleeeeeease let me go first
So my trial will be done
I'm very hungry :(

Old lawyers fighting
They're really getting upset
Please don't pop a vein

Necessary fact
No one bothered telling me
'Til after trial

Public restrooms here
Are not very hygienic 
I'll hold it for now

I read the statute.
I'm young, opposing counsel.
I'm not a dumbass.

... Why did you say that?
No one asked you that, witness.
I can't unhear that.

THESE FACTS ARE AWESOME!
MY CLIENT IS SO AWESOME!
WINNING IS AWESOME!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hey Girl. Royals Singles Night.

When I saw talk of "Royals Singles Night" online, I genuinely thought that "Singles" was a reference to hitting a baseball and reaching first base. Oh, was I wrong. Singles Night is an actual promotion by the Kansas City Royals organization to match up the lonely people of the world (who also happen to be miserable because they're Royals fans).

I have no intention of attending this event. But if I did attend, I imagine the evening would be full of lines like these:

(Note: If you're not a Royals fan, don't worry; I've provided an explanation link for the Royals-specific lines. Though in my experience, the less you know about the Royals, the less miserable you are.)



Wil Myers reference.

Dayton Moore reference.



Yuniesky Betancourt reference.

Country Breakfast reference.


Good luck, everyone. Hope you don't strike out.

(Thanks to the folks who started the #RoyalsSinglesNightLines trend on twitter for the inspiration. I promise I didn't take any lines from you. At least, not *intentionally*.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Coconut Diaries

Another post in Incidental Justice's series on cooking.

I found a fun recipe for raw vegan coconut cream pie online. The pie looked delicious and awesome, and I love things that are delicious and awesome, so I decided that making this pie would be my project du jour.

Now, if I'm gonna do a project, I'm gonna go all out. When a recipe calls for coconut meat, I'm not gonna use the nasty shredded stuff out of the bag, no sir! I'm going to get an actual coconut and crack the heck out of that thing.

Here's my problem: I bought a young Thai coconut, and I had to look on Wikipedia to figure out how to get the meat out of it. I *think* you have to hack off the stuff on the outside to get to the shell, and then you have crack open the shell, and and then after you crack open the shell you can get to the meat.

I say I *think* that's how it works, because I still don't know. After a solid half hour of hacking away at that thing, this is what I wound up with:



Yeah. I'm gonna go ahead and rate this project "not successful." I am not one to be defeated, though. Sometimes, you have to take matters into your own hands.

Glutton for Punishment's Delicious Coconut Cream Pie
Serves 1
Prep time: 50 minutes, depending on traffic

Ingredients:
Young Thai coconut
Knife that you thought was sharp
Car
$10 bill (can substitute with two $5 bills or a debit card)
Kroger (can substitute with other grocery store)

Instructions:
Try hacking open a young Thai coconut. Fail at hacking open the young Thai coconut. Get in your car. Drive to Kroger. Pick up a coconut cream pie. Pay for the coconut cream pie. Drive home with the coconut cream pie. Eat the coconut cream pie.

That's right, the recipe says "Serves 1." You earned it, kiddo.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

All-Star Week


In some ways, the joy of baseball fandom is reserved for kids. As an adult, it's appropriate to discuss trades, wear your team colors, and talk game, but the "fun" things - getting autographs, keeping the foul ball, colorful celebrations - are viewed as childhood indulgences that we're supposed to grow out of as we get older.

This last week, however, Kansas City - host of this year's MLB All-Star Game - turned into a baseball playground, and I was nine again. All of Kansas City, from the bright blue fountain water to the baseball statues to the baseball exhibits throughout town, transformed into a grand homage to baseball. Accordingly, I thought it was appropriate to indulge in childish things and ooo and ahhh at the marvels throughout the city.

I wasn't the only one. The transformation from adulthood to a lively childhood for people throughout the city was apparent, particularly at FanFest. People of all ages stood in line to take their picture with cardboard cutouts of major league legends. Crowds waited for hours to get a signature from Bo Jackson, my childhood hero. Everyone marveled at the memorabilia surrounding us - Harmon Killebrew's possessions, Jackie Robinson's Negro Leagues baseball uniform, baseball legends' awards, you name it. It was the innocence of childhood coupled with an appreciation for the history of it all.


And everyone there had a story to tell from their younger days. You could overhear people talking about how electric it was to watch Royals baseball when George Brett was a part of the team and how that for at least this week, this electricity was alive and well in Kansas City. As we were waiting for autographs, several us chatted about what a beast Bo Jackson was when he played. And though my father was an adult when the Royals came to be, his eyes lit up when he talked about how fun it was to watch lanky Bret Saberhagen pitch back in the day. We were all giddy, and not only was it okay - it was expected.


Part of the joy of being a child is that it doesn't matter that your team is losing. For those of us who have been lifelong Royals fans, though, our relationship with baseball has been characterized by loyalty moreso than happiness. The game can be fun for us, but there's always a hint of reservation. We'll enjoy the good times as much as any fan of any team, but we know that our momentary success will likely be just that - momentary. 

For one week in Kansas City, though, we got to step back from the here and now and enjoy baseball in its greater context. Enjoy the successes of Royals teams past. Enjoy the silly things that we should have all grown out of but never really wanted to.

And for one week, we held on to the hope that perhaps the Royals can return to greatness, and perhaps everyone will then see that Kansas City is the great baseball city that we know it to be. 

I'll hold on to that hope for now. Perhaps it's childish to put hope in such things, but I was never one to grow up unnecessarily.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Glutton for Punishment and the Awful, Wretched, Sucktastic, Super Lame Day

I took a Unisom so I could fall asleep last night but then it made me fall asleep while my alarm clock was going off, too, and when I got out of bed this morning I stepped on one of my high heels and by accident I had thrown my court suit in the dirty laundry hamper and I could tell it was going to be an awful, wretched, sucktastic, super lame day.

At breakfast I thought that Sonic might be a good idea and then I thought that Panera sounded delightful but then I remembered that I'm on a diet and that I'm running late for work so I don't have time to go out to eat and all I have on hand is egg beaters.

I think I'll move back to Fayetteville.

When I got to the office, I tried to call a landlord who I've been negotiating with and who promised to help out my client and I was really, really excited that we were going to work out a deal. No one even answered.

I could tell it was going to be an awful, wretched, sucktastic, super lame day.

At court the judge liked opposing counsel's motion better than my response.

At closing argument time I left out part of my argument. At ruling time the judge said we didn't prove our case by a preponderance of the evidence and we lost. Who needs a preponderance of the evidence? I could tell it was going to be an awful, wretched, sucktastic, super lame day.

I could tell because I called a client and he told me he wasn't going to listen to me anymore. He said that the judge on the TV show was right about the law and his best friend was right about the law and that I'm wrong. I hope the next time his best friend tries to give him legal advice, the stuff he prints off the internet flies out of his hands and lands in Fayetteville.

It was an awful, wretched, sucktastic, super lame day.

That's what it was, because after work I went to CrossFit and I was the only one who couldn't finish the workout of the day. Be sure to come back tomorrow because tomorrow's workout of the day is going to be even more intense, they said.

Tomorrow, I said, I'm moving to Fayetteville.

I burned the vegetables I tried to grill for dinner and I hate burned vegetables. There was great play by Johnny Damon featured on Baseball Tonight and I hate Johnny Damon.

I missed a phone call from my best friend and the call went to voicemail when I called back.

When I tried to go to bed my sheets weren't done drying so I had to wait for them to finish and then my Kindle ran out of power.

The Unisom isn't working tonight.

It has been an awful, wretched, sucktastic, super lame day.

My mom says some days are like that.

Even in Fayetteville.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The evolution of a lawyer, as told by memes

I've been practicing law for about two years. My attitude about everything relating to the profession has changed during that time. Let's take a look at some examples...

How I feel about having to wear a suit to court.


At first, I was walking into court all:



But now, I'm all:



My thoughts when the witness on the stand doesn't answer like I thought they would.


I used to think to myself:


But now I'm pretty much:



My attitude when the bar association asks me to volunteer for something.


I used to act all:



But now, I'm like:



My reaction when I win a hearing.


My reaction used to be:
(Okay, I'm still like this sometimes)


But now it's like:



My reaction when I lose a hearing.


I used to think:



But now I think:


Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tompeepery

When George Gershwin was writing Porgy and Bess, an opera that is widely regarded as the greatest and most influential of all American operas, he chose to retreat to the beach to create this musical masterpiece. Just as Gershwin did in the 1930s, I, too, have retreated to the beach, though for only a few days. Perhaps I will find some inspiration just as Gershwin did and create something just as beautiful as he did. That probably won't happen, though. This is because I am distracted today, as I am convinced that there are Peeping Toms out to get me.

I swear I am not being paranoid, because you can only be paranoid if you're wrong. I'm staying at a Bed and Breakfast right now, and it's a lovely Bed and Breakfast, but it has a few things going for it that make me question my privacy:

  1. The desperate-to-stay-open blinds in my bedroom - I will admit that this is not that big of a deal by itself. The blinds were wide open to my room when I got there, and it was tricky to get them closed because access to the blinds was closed by a translucent canopy around the bed. It was fixed, but it took some ninja-esque effort to do so. 
  2. The impeccable sound quality - My room here is frickin' adorable. As far as the soundproof level, though? Let's just say that I would not advise staying in it for a romantic getaway, unless you want everyone else at the inn to know exactly how romantic you are. Or aren't.
  3. The Swiss-cheesed bathroom door - My bedroom at the inn has a private bathroom, but it isn't connected to my room. Instead, it's next door, and the door opens up to the kitchen. I think that's kind of awkward. There's a hole on the left side of the door, which makes things even more awkward. Potential peepshow over scrambled eggs, y'all.
  4. The lovely bathroom window - Yeah, so there's a huuuge wavy-glassed window that's the only barrier between my shower and the rest of the world. I'm sure it's harder to see in than it is to see out, but it reeeeally isn't that hard to see out. I call it a Beer Goggle Window.
  5. The shower chatter - Okay, after spending the afternoon on the beach, I'd finally made peace with the fact that someone inside the house could peer in while I'm showering, and I'd also made peace with the fact that some Peeping Tom roaming about the beach could possibly take a looksee. What I wasn't prepared for was someone trying to converse with me while I was in the shower NOOOO SOMEONE IS TRYING TO CONVERSE WITH ME WHILE I'M IN THE SHOWER. It was a decent conversation, I guess. *shrug*
  6. The camera in my room - wait, what? -  I asked the innkeeper how I could get the cable in my room to work, because Arkansas was playing Sakerlina in baseball and I wanted to see what the heck was going on. The innkeeper put something on top of my TV that's supposed to be the remote control reader. She said to me, "This looks like a camera, and everyone thinks this is a camera, but it's not!" but all I can think now is "OH GOD THERE'S A CAMERA IN MY ROOM OH GOD OH GOD!"

I will probably wear like five layers of clothing all times for the remainder of my stay, and because I'm so distracted, Porgy and Bess part 2 will likely not be happening. However, since I will not be spending my time creating, this means that I have more time to sip on umbrella drinks by the beach. That's what's important, right? Right.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

VERIZON FAIL

Okay, I got some strange phishing text messages sent to my cellphone today, so I called up Verizon to make sure this wasn't the result of a security breach on their end. You know what would have been comforting? Some assurance that my personal information was safe. You know what I got? A customer service rep who confessed to multiple hacking crimes.

This customer service rep - let's just call him "Thomas," because his name is Thomas - was actually a really friendly guy. I wouldn't call him the *brightest* guy, because I could've been an F-B-freakin'-I agent for all he knew. But, anyway, I told Thomas about the text messages, said why I thought that this was an issue on Verizon's end, and asked whether there had been a security breach at Verizon.

So I'll skip out the part where Thomas tries to pass the buck to anyone but Verizon. The important part is that Thomas thought this was a good opportunity to tell me about how these phishing messages really weren't a big deal because he used to hack "back in the day." And you know, whatever, but OMG DON'T TELL THAT TO A PERSON WHO IS WORRIED HER PERSONAL INFORMATION JUST GOT STOLEN OMG.

And maybe I should've just left well enough alone, but of course, I had to be all smart alecky and pretend that him telling me all of this wasn't any big deal. Apparently, my smart aleckness put me in Thomas's Circle of Trust, because then Thomas decided to tell me *even more* about his hacking history.

First of all, let me make it clear that Thomas does not hack anymore. Thomas told me that he does not have time for that stuff anymore. He also mentioned, almost as an afterthought, that you could go to jail for that now, as opposed to "back in the day" when you just got a slap on the wrist. But no sir, no hacking for Thomas anymore, HE IS TOO BUSY FOR SUCH THINGS.

However, "back in the day," Thomas did hack a bank's computer system. He did not steal any money from anybody - NO SIR, HE DID NOT! But he did add a few lines of code to the system, ya know, just to let them know he was there. So I guess it was just their little secret. Mine, too, now. And it apparently was really easy to do. But no money was taken from anyone, so it's not morally reprehensible, obviously.

But OH WAIT, there was this *one* time he hacked and got three free plane tickets. I don't know why he picked three. And I don't remember if he told me he got in trouble for that or not. But either way, it's okay because he is too busy for such things anymore.

Needless to say, I am not too happy right now. When my contract runs out with Verizon, I plan to upgrade to a phone system that will make me feel more secure than I did today. Perhaps two tin cans and a string will work.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Alternative Protest Slogans










And my personal favorite, borrowed from a friend:


Thursday, February 23, 2012

The "Don't Be a Jerk" Rule

In what I think is a FANTASTIC move, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a per curiam order that added a pledge of civility to the Arkansas attorney's oath. The full order can be found here, and the new language added is this:

"To opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications."

I call this clause the "Don't Be a Jerk" Rule, and I think it's important. Civility makes the practice of law and the legal system better, and I think bad manners are just a crutch that weak attorneys use because that's all they know to do.

Here's my beef with the rule, though.

The only people who take this oath are those just getting sworn in to practice law. In other words, if you're already a licensed attorney, you aren't going to be taking this oath. That means you haven't sworn to the "Don't Be a Jerk" Rule. And while I've had to hear countless old men lecture about "you young people" needing to be nice to other attorneys, it's rarely the young folks who aren't civil. More often than not, it's people who've been licensed for years who think it's okay to be uncivil.

This is what I think: Every single licensed attorney in the state of Arkansas should take this oath. If we're making the young 'uns pledge to this, I think that those of us who are already licensed should be held to the exact same standard. Do I think this will change those who have a habit of being uncivil? Absolutely not. But at least they will have promised to make a commitment to civility, and that's a start.

So even though I am not going to be re-sworn in, I am going to make this promise, right here and now: I'm not going to be a jerk. I applaud the Supreme Court for issuing this order and making the commitment to civility in the legal profession.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Pep Talk

Hellooooo everyone! We know that Valentine's Day is *just* around the corner because everyone is doing one of three things today:

  1. Whining because they haven't figured out what to get their significant other
  2. Whining because what they got their significant other cost a buttload of money
  3. Whining because they don't have to worry about the first two items on the list since they'll be spending their evening / the rest of their life alone
Now, I'm here today to let you know that everything is going to be juuuust fine, I promise. You don't have to whine, and I'm not just saying that because I'm tired of hearing you whine. No sir, each one of these is very fixable, and I'm here to help. Let's address each item in that list one-by-one.

1. You haven't figured out what to get your significant other - Oh shoot, I can't believe you're even worried about this one. You're thinking too much. I mean, who ever heard of someone dumping someone because "Gee, that Valentine just wasn't creative enough, I don't think I can be in a relationship with someone who got me a really nice piece of jewelry." (If she is actually saying that, let her go; she'll find a hipster soon enough.) Get something that you saw on a commercial, and you should be good to go.  Just try to avoid purchasing those chocolates with the fluffy Pepto-colored insides. That stuff is nasty.
2. You spent a buttload of money on your gift and now you're aggravated about it - Don't think of this purchase as a *gift*. Think of it as an *investment*. Because why do we make investments? We know we'll get something back and then some. Deep down, you know you made that investment because you wanted the "then some." So no need to whine about it. You'll be fine.
3. You're going to be alone on Valentine's Day - No no no, there is NO reason to whine about this one. You're not spending money. You're not having to go to some restaurant with heart-shaped balloons floating over the tables. Nope, none of that nonsense. This is the one night a year that it's socially acceptable to drink alone at home and not have people judge you for doing so. So DRINK UP in a respectable manner that won't give you alcohol poisoning, you fabulous person, you! This is YOUR night!

Now go rock Valentine's Day, everyone. And if you don't rock it, just remember - all chocolate will be half-off on the 15th. Chocolate makes everything better, right? Right.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Braised Rabbit Incident

Another post in Incidental Justice's series on cooking.

My parents got me the most absolutely fantastic cookbook for Christmas: Paleo Comfort Foods.



As soon as I got back to my house after the holidays, I started baking. I've tried out about a half-dozen recipes so far, and last Thursday, I decided that I would take on braised rabbit.

Now, I don't exactly know what it means to braise a rabbit, but it sounded all pioneer-like, so I was game. So I bought some raw rabbit meat:

Mmm...


And started browning it in the pan:

Hmm...


But to me, it didn't look quite right... I mean, raw meat isn't a big deal but OH GOD a liver just popped out of the pan A LIVER JUST POPPED OUT OF THE PAN!

Which led me to do this:

Yum...


And after about an hour and a half of hiding and cooking the meat, this was the end result:

Um...

Okay, it may be the ugliest dish I have ever seen in my entire life, but don't be deceived by looks. Even though it looks scary, I'm gonna rate the flavor a solid "it's not that bad."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Trail Run, or: How I Learned to Stop Whining and Love the... OMG THIS WAS THE WORST IDEA EVER!

Another post in Incidental Justice's series on running.

For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to do a trail run yesterday morning. I'm not sure *why* I thought this would be a good idea. For a little bit of history, I "ran" in a trail race while I was in law school. And by "ran," I mean that I jogged about one-tenth of a mile then clung to trees while traversing the woods and praying that my ankle wouldn't turn. It took me an hour to finish. It was a three-mile course.

Yesterday morning, though, was going to be a real challenge - the trail was 10K. Actually, there was a 25K course, as well, and while I am stupid enough to run a 10K trail, I am not suicidal enough to run a 25K trail.

Granted, I didn't think I was being stupid by signing up for the 10K. I can run faster than I've ever run before, and I'm in heck of lot better shape than I've ever been, which means that I am now more irrationally conceited than I've ever been. So SHOOT, a 10K wasn't gonna be no thang. I got this.

I got it for about a mile. I mean, I *wanted* to do better, but I got to a point where I was thinking, "Gee, I don't know how much further I have to go so I think I'm just going to enjoy this nice jog through the woods and OH CRAP MY LEGS ARE GOING TO RIP OUT FROM MY BODY AND NO ONE WILL EVER FIND ME HERE BECAUSE I'M SO FAR BEHIND AND I WANT MY MOM!" So needless to say, I didn't run much for the remainder of the race. I *tried* a time or two, but I was hurting enough that I was about to say a word or two that wasn't Jesus approved, so I slowed down to a stroll.

I did manage to cross the finish line; however, I've spent a good portion of the weekend lying down, barely able to move. Perhaps in the future, I will be smart enough to stay away from the trail. For now, I will enjoy my excuse to stretch out on the couch and eat cookies.