Been awhile and I felt like doing some random writing that wasn't necessarily part of a story. I'm just going to bullet/stream of conscious this thing.
* I'm struggling to write right now. Possibly related to a complete disinterest in job hunting brought about by the sheer unpleasantness of it and reminders of how long the last unemployed period lasted.
* I am quite convinced, however, that my next job will make being let go from this one the best thing to ever happen to me. I have been miserable about work and, therefore, not very good at my job, for the last half of 2013. It is hard to be such a mismatch in a company, to know you are doing good work and yet not being well-received because OMGCHANGE!
* I learn more about what I don't want about my future work life than I do about what I want somethings I think. I want to work with a good team of smart, dedicated, driven people who aren't afraid to argue, don't hold grudges, and want to build something. I could care less where this job is (well, I don't really want to live in Saudi Arabia, but you get the point), or whether I can make scads of money (enough to get myself out of the debt hole would be nice).
* At 5-6 years, whatever the hell this is, I don't think I want to be a lawyer anymore. But I don't necessarily know what else to do with myself. I do not want to do the same thing every single day for the rest of my life. I want variety, if such is possible. I am goal-oriented and like projects. I like learning new things. Just crunching the same contracts over and over is incredibly dull and I could only take about 2 years of it before wanting to shank myself. (Can one shank themselves?)
* Being in debt is emotionally crippling. There is a sense of needing a job because you have to pay back all this money for an education that was as much about you as about the societal benefits (as has been touted for years). There's a sense of being confined and being laden down and you just want to escape it and when you can't see a path there or a light at the end of the tunnel, it's exhausting.
* The fucked up higher ed system in this country should go down as one of the biggest debacles of our nation's history for what it's done to the economy and an entire generation. It won't, but it should.
* If universities are going to become billion dollar enterprises, why aren't they hiring people whose job it is to keep overheads down? Also, what's the point of an endowment except for times like now when the system is so shattered that students can't pay without mortgaging their entire adult life. I know so many people who will be strapped down by student loans until they are near retirement age.
* Why do we spend X times as much on maintaining the life and living standard for old people as we do educating and maintaining the life of our youth? Education + foodstamps + medical assistance for the young is far less than medicaid/social security/food stamps for the old. Our society is backwards.
* Moral Hazard is an important term. Why is student aid, with its 8% interest rates (more than housing, auto, and far more than govt to bank/bank to business rates), not dischargeable in bankruptcy? Especially with a narrative about investing in oneself and the whole anti-poverty/social good narrative? How is it fair that I can run up credit cards on hookers and blow and a weekend in Vegas (I think that combination requires Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber, god forbid), and declare bankruptcy, but I cannot do so on my student loans? Moral Hazard.
* Last note on this topic: Can the Personal Responsibility Brigade STFU? Individual problems, in sufficient aggregate = Social Problems. I'd say $1T in debt is sufficient aggregate, wouldn't you? $1T nondischargeable student debt = No Consumer Spending = Stagflation = No new jobs = no new tax revenue. Lovely cycle, no?
* Let's talk about something new: There is something incredibly lonely and alienating about modern life. We are more connected than ever before, the world is smaller, and yet the dreams are smaller, the hopes are smaller, and the trust and goodwill we show toward others is so diminished. I panic over forgetting to lock my door and step cautiously in my house, worried I'm being robbed, that someone is within. When I grew up, in the suburbs of the midwest, there was never this major worry. Columbine was the first mass shooting at a school I remember and it was so incomprehensible at the time I was glued to the news for days trying to understand. Now, there's a shooting every six months or so on a comparable scale and I'm becoming numb.
* Wealth disparity. Tom Perkins should STFU. If his VC firm is smart, they're looking to oust him (not just shove him into retirement) and strip his name off the firm. Also, for as much money as he has, he can buy an island, emigrate and set up his own government in whatever format he wants. But whatever else, he can GTFO.
* Coincidentally, I read an article recently that the wealthy are giving less percentage of their wealth than before. Here we are, shrinking incomes, shifting all the money upwards (I'm sure we all know by now that the recovery didn't go to you and me, right?), shrinking government services, etc. Well, there's this big diatribe on the right about how the private market will pick up the slack when the government shrinks, right? Except that the need is growing with declining real wages and opportunities and additional costs (I'm totally eating my Obamacare fine. FU Obamacare. Can we fully socialize medicine and education already?) and yet the aid isn't growing.
* Perhaps this is why the new Pope is so popular. Francis, after the animal lover, yes?
* Sometimes I look at the world and see the Parable series happening. Octavia Butler. Good books. We're on our way toward a completely broken future, I think, where the rich live in their compounds (or penthouses. Tom Perkins, I'm looking at you) and the rest of us live in worse and worse. In Neal Stephenson's fantastic Snow Crash, the main character, Hero Protagonist (online name, can't remember his real name), lived in a converted storage facility. You know, the ones where you pay $100/month to stash your extra furniture. Are we on our way there? Will the rich live in those terraformed skyscrapers that are so hot in the architecture world now with green terraces built into the sides and roofs and balconies of these 100 story skyscrapers, getting clean oxygen while the rest of us suck on the fumes of industrialization on the lower levels? I'll probably end up writing this soon.
* Getting older has led to a much more cynical me. I thought I was clever enough to be firmly ensconced in the upper/upper middle classes when I was younger. Now I'm fighting just to feel secure. My ambitions feel further out of reach than ever and I feel less and less confident about the future of this country and world. I started law filled with this inherent faith in the Rule of Law, in the system, and all I see now is the Rule of Green. Jaime Dimon will just pay another billion in shareholder dollars for the next fuckup that ruins a million lives, right?
* Government contracting, btw, is evil. Anyone who wants to really save money on government services (i.e. not paying $100/hammer) should take a look at the retarded Federal Acquisition Regulations and their various varients. It's shameful the kind of taxpayer gouging that goes on all up and down the supply chain when Uncle Sam is involve. People forget that Uncle Sam is funded by their labor.
* Have we ever disrespected labor so much in our history? We have so devalued labor on so many levels, drank so much KoolAid (btw, this is an expression that is going to die since only obese kids get Koolaid anymore), that we are rejecting unions at a time in history when we should be retaliating against capital. Marxism might, on a government level be wrong, but there's a lot of truth about the inherent conflict and value of labor and capital.
* Did anyone see the movie Her? There's a lot of stuff going on there: the alienation of people, the struggle to connect with real people, the withdrawal into a digital, personal world, the aching potential of technology. Did you notice the only jobs anyone seems to do are creative and personal? Did you notice the subtle feminism slam in there with the kid's game they made? Excellent movie.
* Randomly, I've been watching a lot of Korean stuff lately. How come the Korean female protagonist always chooses the rich asshole over the rich nice guy? Just sayin'. On the whole, however, there's some quality stuff coming out of Asian cinema/tv these days. China/Japan/Korea (I haven't dipped into Bollywood yet, but if anyone has suggestions, I'll take them).
* On a positive note, I had the weirdest job interview of my life this week. I interviewed for a job in China and the interview was conducted on Skype (Yes, I still dressed up). I was trying to speak intelligently about what I could do for the company in terms of helping them, without diving into the higher levels of my vocabulary. I didn't want to speak too simply, obviously, and wanted to express all of the things I could do, but I also wasn't sure if the other side could follow along if I really started diving into some of the more detailed stuff with specialized vocabulary. It made for a challenging interview. I really want this job, I think. So, wish me luck, even if it would take me to the other side of the planet.
* Also, I don't think I want to stay in the U.S. Not sure how to go about finding a job overseas, but, yeah. I'm not really interested in staying here anymore. I can watch all my sports and tv shows online, talk to my friends and family with Skype and Facebook, and stand a better chance of being valued as a highly credentialed, qualified, experienced attorney overseas than here. Large swaths of the world still lag far behind Americans in education, training, opportunity, skills, etc. Apparently Americans work harder/longer hours than a lot of the rest of the world as well, if my dad is to believed. I have no ties to the US (i.e. kids/spouse) that would keep me from taking advantage of this if I can just find the right niche/market/company, etc. Also, first 90k or so of income earned overseas is untaxed. Food for thought.
* I should have a good set of comments back on my novel soon. That means I'll be diving into the large project of a mass rewrite/edit of the Big Beastie. I've been outlining the second book, a bit, and contemplating whether I should outline the third (yes, this is a series), but I've been hesitant to fully commit because I don't want to lock down on a future path that might force me to be artificial instead of organic with the edits of the Big Beastie.
* I like quotes. Here's the quote I'm working on (yes, i make these up) for the second book. The taller the tree, the more its shadow touches. Fear, then, the man who casts no shadow. - Keshan Proverb
* I'm also working on a bunch of Scifi shorts right now for my Jack Goodrich collection, although I have been really bad lately (call it a huge buzzkill based on losing my job). Roughly, they are: Fait Accompli (about a woman who fails to accomplish her destiny and her counterpart that does), Project Nemo (about a felon sent into space on an experimental solo mission), Heroin Digital (about drugs created by distilling media content and injected straight into the brain), and Shattered Helix (about genesequencing and bioterrorism). I've already finished a story on the horrors of a corporate controlled future, one on evolution, one on an academic controlled future and a mad scientist, and another on unions and corporate space mining. Hopefully I can get a collection together by the end of the year.
* I need to work out more. I'm getting FAT. I can't just say I'm overweight anymore. I'm getting Fat. It's lame and since I have time, I should be working out more. But I dropped my gym membership to cut costs. Maybe I should restore it. I'm thinking seriously on it. Hard to figure out if you can afford to do so when you're eyeballing your expenses really hard. (Also, pie is fucking amazing!)
* In the silence of our lives, we shout for meaning, but go unheard.
I'm out of things to talk about for the moment. So, here you are. Think what you will on this mess.