Monday, July 31, 2006

Almost There....

By this time tomorrow night I will have my first law school exam under my belt. I think I'm ready, although there are some lingering doubts. I'll spend tomorrow in the library brushing up, practicing an essay or two, making sure I have my cases ready to cite...etc. If you are reading this, please send me a good thought or two, it might help.

In other news, my parents packed-up and drove to Pocatello yesterday. It was sad talking to my mom, she sounded depressed. It was her choice to move though, I'm sure she'll get better once they are settled.

The dog has developed a slobber problem, this morning we woke up and the bed was just soaked where she had been sleeping. She has a vet appointment tomorrow morning just to make sure she hasn't ingested some sort of poison or something. Other than the drool, she is okay, still is hyper and has an appetite.

Well, I should go over a few more subjects before going home (I'm at the library).

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Too Much for a Sunday Morning

I am a Mel Gibson fan, from the cheeky Mad Max films to his directing debut in Man Without a Face, etc...but apparently he's a nut. I have yet to see the Passion, namely because I'm afraid it would be like watching a train wreck, gruesome but you can't look away. All I know is that he is a good movie maker, he's an evangelical, and he's a nut.

I think this is why many of us are a bit weary of evangelical. I have a suspicion if you poured a little vodka in the punch bowl at the next campaign for Christ seminar, that a good number of them would start spouting the same garbage the Mel did, staggering around blaming the Jews and other heathen for ruining what could be paradise on earth. Do they hate the Jews, do they hate Muslims, do they secretly just opine for Christ to comeback and throw down with all these heathens that they have to live with? I know a lot of them support Israel, but I have a suspicion that they only support the state because they view it as a key linchpin in there doomsday wetdream.

I might be a little sore regarding this issue given the recent event where some man (Muslim I believe) walked into the Jewish league here in Seattle and just started firing, blaming the Jews for the wars in the Middle East and all other ills. This bloodshed and hate only serves to drive me, and I assume people like me, away from organized religion. If these religious fanatics, be it Muslims, Christian, or Jews, really thought about the teaching of their prophets, do truly believe that they would want to drive away people from religion because the followers are violent nuts?

Of course, perhaps religion is the answer? If we all embraced the same god would all killing and hate stop? Sure, if we all succumb to the same mindset what would there to be to fight over? But who wants that? Just every dominate religion out there, I suppose. Conform or die seems to be the new message, the radical Muslims believe they'll kill us now if we don't conform, the radical Christians believe you'll burn forever later if you don't conform, it's all very violent and punitive system.

Friday, July 28, 2006

This is it!

Today is the last day of my HR career. It's been interesting, but not very fulfilling. I am planning to write a longer post, perhaps an article, about why I'm leaving? I was telling a consultant acquaintance, who currently has a cover article in current issue of the Harvard Business Review, the story of why I was leaving HR and he suggested I turn it into an article and try to get it published. Sounds kind of far fetched, but the idea is intriguing.

Anyway, I am disappointed by the profession. As a young b-school undergrad I had high hopes, I has assumed the employee were important and those position tasked with getting the most out of employees would be a value add to their organization. They aren't, not usually at least. I think the profession bears a lot of blame for it's ineffectiveness, but so does management. Regardless, I'm out.

I need to pack up my cubicle and delete the personal stuff off my laptop and get a few more things out the door before heading off to this new challenge. It's a little intimidating for sure. I've got a good thing here. My wife keeps reminding that I make a lot of money for what is apparently very little effort and that I won't find that in law (I might make a lot of money but it will only be with a lot of effort). But, I'm bored and I don't like being able to excel without trying, this is not making me happy and I doubt it ever will. People have low expectation of HR, it's easier to astound when the bar is so low, some may want that environment but I do not. She says I'm nuts and that most people would love to me in my shoes, but she supports me anyway and will let me do what I want in order to be happy (besides, she concedes, that she finds it easier to picture me as a lawyer than an HR guy anyway).

It is tough leaving my coworkers. Management has been great to me and I feel a little sheepish leaving them (I gave them three months notice but they have yet to find anyone qualified) short. I’ll miss several people that I really like, we spend a lot of time together, and it'll be tough leaving them behind. I've left other jobs with the intention to stay in touch, but it's never quite the same when I contact old coworkers, everyone moves on.

Well, I suppose I should get back to work. I am wasting my employer's money, they don't pay me to blog, and I really should get back to my job (for the last few hours of it, at least).

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

This Just In...

The State Supreme court ruled on our DOMA law and found that it didn't violate our state constitution. Before starting law school I would have been pissed off right now. I was one who was certain that our constitution had to allow for the protection of the rights of homosexuals to engage in the same legal arrangements that are legal for the majority, how could it stand for this blatant discrimination? Having friends who are homosexual and knowing them as I do, I can say that I find it repugnant that the state can deny them a legal relationship that has been essential to the happiness I share with my wife.

However, after a short time in school, I have already changed my mind on this issue. I agree with the ruling! I still think it's morally repugnant to deny homosexuals the right to marry with all the duties and benefits provided, but I don't think it's illegal anymore. States have the right to establish due process and via laws deny certain activities if the people (voters) so choose and if they are justified in some fashion. Sometimes, the people (voters) make mistakes (ala our President), but in a democracy they have the legal right to collectively make them. Although specifically dealing with homosexual sodomy, there are two national cases:Bowers, which was later overturned by Lawrence, that help might you understand the current trend in the courts. While the SCOTUS overturned Bowers with Lawrence, I think the legal argument presented by the majority was rather weak in term of law but great on the aspirational side, especially when compared to Scalia's dissent (I just shivered in acknowledging my agreement with Scalia). States do have this right, they have the right to create laws that they believe are to the benefit of their society. That said, it should become a legislative debate to determine what is in the best interest of society, it is not that realm of the courts.

I think this is homophobias last gasp though. In the end, I believe the society will determine that is better to demonstrate respect, love, and equality and embrace non traditional families than to fear imagined culturalbogeymenn. I think that progressive states like NYC, WA, and CA; upon realizing that the laws do not automatically afford marriage to gays, will have to become proactive. Just as there is nothing preventing States form banning gay marriage, there is nothing preventing them from making it legal. This is something to be solved in legislature, no matter how slow the process.

However, on the national front, I think thatO'ConnorrĂ‚’s concurrence, but with dissent as to the analysis in Lawrence, does point out a key flaw that homophobes have in regards to the US Constitution and why they desperately want a banning amendment passed. The US Cont's equal protection clause is difficult to get around for them, I think if there are more cases brought in front of SCOTUS on these grounds they'll eventually have to rule gay marriage bans contrary to the US Constitution. In other words, drop the due process attack because you'll loose, the key is go after equal protection.

Hanging In There...

Just an update, I am still among the living...

I've been pretty busy as I am both prepping for my Crim Law final and, since this is my last week of work, trying to wrap things up on the professional front. Normally, I would be staying late trying to get some projects out the door so my manager isn't screwed (I really do like the guy, he's been very good to me), but with this test to prep for I can't stay late or work through lunch (these time are devoted to study). Thus, I think I'll leave a lot unresolved which is unlike me, grrr..(the grrr is my online expression of frustation). Things should open up next week after the test, though.

I have two weeks before the start of the fall quarter and I'm hoping to get some work done on our home projects, we have the plumber and the electrician coming soon so I need to work tearing down the lath & plaster and taking out the fixtures in the bathroom to expose the pipes. I'll try to post some pics of the progress (and the mess) given that the internet is a visual medium and so many of the kids today don't want to read...just show us some pics already!

In other news, there is another life changing event happening this week in addition to leaving my career. My parents move this weekend. I feel a little like a bastard child given that I'm the only one not coming over to help them move. My brother and sister are coming up from Pocatello and my other brother is driving down from Sandpoint to help them pack-up into the moving vans. My parents understand my absence, of course, they know that I have to stay and study for the exam, but's tough when you can't be there to help and say goodbye. Despite my guilt I'm sure my oldest brother will somehow try to make me feel bad for not being a better son and being there to help, every Christmas from now on he'll bring it up. Despite that fact that I'm nearing 30 and he's pushing 40 he still talks to me like I am an 8 year old (wonder if that will ever end).

Well, I'm just rambling and I have a lot of work to do, so bye for now. Thanks for reading.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hey, Am I alone in here...

It's a nice day in Seattle, climbing toward 90 and sunny. When the weather is like this on a Friday, my place of employement emptys likes an ice cold bottle of beer into my tummy. At lunch, the cafeteria was nearly empty save for the food staff. I should have been tipped off by the fact that someone brought his boat and had it taking up two spaces in the lot this morning when I arrived, wonder what time that employee took off?

Anyway, this four building campus feels strange when it’s this empty in the middle of a workday. I listen hard but can't hear anyone else typing, the phones are silent, and a single person hasn’t walked past my cube in hours. I'm alone with the air conditioning vibrating in the building's HVAC system and the electricity coursing through my computer monitor and the banks of fluorescent lights overhead. Outside my window, the sky is blue and the leaves of the trees are shiny like little pieces of green glass reflecting back the sun. I think I'll finish up now, I hear my backyard calling...

I might not be posting much this upcoming week (as if I was ever that prolific in the first place) due to the fact that I'm preparing for my first law exam ever!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Happy Birthday (if somewhat belated)

Our baby turned a year old on July 12!! And yes, we are those type of people who have no children and therefore treat our pets like they were kids, and what of it...

This pic was out on my parent's boat over the Fourth of July weekend. She's a Boston Terrier, for those of you not up on your AKC breeds. Here's a little trivia for ya, the Boston Terrier was the first breed to orginiate in the USA. It was also the number one breed in the 20-30's, sort of the labrador of the depression era. Thus, our dog is very popular amongst the older crowd. Every time we are out with her, we usually encounter a senior citizen who had a Boston as a child, or their parents had one, etc...

Most of the dog I had growing up were larger breed with the exception of a Daschund. Currently, my sister has two black labs, my mom has giant boxer, and my brother in law has a yellow lab, so I am a little partial to bigger breeds, however, I am going to admit that I think the Boston should make a comeback as America's number 1 breed, they are smart, cute (just look at the pics) and just great little dogs.

Here's few more shots.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

On Christ, Buddha, Law School and my own feeling inadequacy.

Recently, on HBO, there was a discussion about feeling comfortable in your own skin, and that this was a benefit of growing older. I must still be young because I admit to not quite feeling comfortable in my own skin yet, namely this caused by a nagging suspicion that things could always be better. I'm jealous of those who are content with what they have and what they are. There is something deeply spiritual about being content, whether it is the Buddhist who has succeeded in purging themselves of desire, or the Christian who has given themselves up to the satisfaction the comes from knowing that what they have is what god desires them to have; both outlooks lead to the same calm contentment that I can only dream of. The irony in this statement, of course, is that I desire something that possession of would negate my desire of it!

What prompted this recent plunge into synaptic circles of jealousy and desire? A brief jog that I took through the U of Washington campus, that's what.

To start out with, for those of you who have never been to the UW before, the main campus is situated on a hillside in Seattle; the campus extends from the top of a fairly decent sized hill all the way down to the shores of Lake Washington. It is comprised of acres upon acres of green grass, tall pine trees, and esoteric looking brick buildings in which students design computer programs, learn medicine, and write English papers. The campus was designed, coincidentally, by the same team who designed the U of Idaho's campus (my alma mater) a hundred (give or take) years ago, and it always remind me of my home turf except for fact that it is bigger and grander (of course, when the UW student body is 50,000 vs. Idaho's 12,000 - it has too be). Idaho has a great campus. I was told once, by one of my Fraternity’s traveling consultants, that Idaho was one of the prettiest campuses he had been to in his travels across the country. It is better, by far, than her rivals of WSU or BSU, but to be truthful I know that Idaho's campus is only a slight version of the grander UW campus that is essentially a giant park by the lake.

On a north-west edge of campus is the Gates Law building, a recently constructed building built by a donation by Bill Gate’s father, a graduate of UW law and a founding partner in the mega NW firm of Preston, Gates and Ellis. The structure is home the UW law school (for those of you blind to the obvious) and is a testimony to the might of the law school (if not a tad bit extravagant, dare I say audacious). It was this massive edifice that stirred up my feelings (is it plural?) of jealousy.

I had applied to UW law but was denied, I wanted to be in that damn big edifice but they wouldn't let me in. I shouldn't feel ashamed, according to the schools statistics the admitted rate was only 20% (2 out of 10). I was admitted to a fine law school in its own right, Seattle U. A feat in itself, I suppose, as SU admitted rate is only 23-25%, which is still pretty low when compared to other schools such as Gonzaga and Idaho who have admitted rates in the 30%s. On paper, there is no reason for me to feel that I am any less of a person now than if I had been admitted to UW. The Seattle U bar passage rate is nearly identical to UW (both are nearly 10% better than either of the other regional schools like Gonzaga or the U of Idaho), the employment of grads for SU is even better than that of UW, SU has the number 1 writing program in the nation, and finally, it was SU that took 2nd place in the moot court competition to Harvard last year, not UW, Yale, or Stanford, but SU!! But, still, deep down I know that UW is the more prestigious school and because of that I have a little burning ball of desire in my belly that I have yet to quash.

So what is it that causes desire? I went on a walk around the SU campus the other day to ponder that question. In it's own way, the campus is extremely beautiful. It sits on Capitol Hill not far from downtown. The city bustles beyond it’s perimeter and the campus is truly an oasis in the hustle of the city, beautiful but humble in the Jesuit tradition. It is nice, truly nice, so why do I feel as though it is inadequate when compared to the UW. Is it just from an objective sense that the market value of the land and the buildings of SU must be less the UW, that the history and tradition is minor is comparison to UW as well? Does any of this really matter; is true value of the Seattle University less because of smaller campus market value? Both studies of Christ and the Buddha would say no, it just makes it different.

I can’t help to think that one of the wisdoms of age is learning to appreciate things in the abstract. To learn that a whole pie isn’t necessarily better than one piece of pie if you truly stop to appreciate the slice you are given, so to speak.

I don't really have a conclusion to this post. If I had, than I would be a much better man than I am. If only I could figure out what causes desire and quash it with a simple trip to Therefore, I will leave this open ended as it’s certain to be a question I’ll come back to.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Hey, My Pepsi tastes like Coke!!

The above story about a conspiracy to sell Coke's trade secrets is pretty interesting and opens up several topics for discussion: 1) The decency of Pepsi to protect the notion of fair trade and alert Coke to the plot and 2) Why you should never trust executive admins.