Exact Approximations

Friday, June 30, 2006

I'm Goin Back to Cali

This morning, Boyfriend, Daughter and I arrived in California. We're dropping Daughter off for a month long vacation with her grandparents, other family, step-dad and Berkeley friends.

I feel like fellow drivers recognize my Arizona license plates, realize I must be a terrible driver, and avoid me accordingly.

In fairness, I am a shitty Arizona driver.

Kudos to smart Californians for paying attention to proper stereotypes.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Movie Review Thursday

I just finished watching Broken Flowers, starring Bill Murray. His work in films like Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums, Life Aquatic and Lost in Translation has been amazing. He is my favorite actor.

The movie is about an older Don Johnston (Murray). Don is wealthy, having made it big in computers. Don lives in a really nice house. His girlfriend leaves him and he's left alone in his really nice house. Don reads a pink letter recently received in the mail, telling him he has a resourceful 20 year old son looking for him. The letter, written by the mother, is unsigned. Urged by his neighbor, Don goes on a search to find all the potential mothers.

As the movie progresses, you see a series of lives changed. The women, without giving details, reveal Don's past as a womanizer, definite charmer, and possible asshole.

There is a scene at a cemetery that lasts just moments. Don says not a word. But the work in that scene by Murray... my God... worth 5 Oscars.

The point of the movie is summed up well in a random piece of philosophical advice Don gives a 20-something year old boy towards the end of the film:

"Well, the past is gone, I know that. The future isn't here yet, whatever it's going to be. So, all there is, is this. The present. That's it."

The movie ends with Don standing alone at an intersection. And that's all he has. But he wants so much more and finally knows it. It is gutwrenchingly sad yet beautifully happy. The character learned so much about life in the course of just days, as he reunites with himself.

It's a really good movie. Highly recommended for those who need to feel more Alive. If you need the inspiration to find symbolism and meaning in your day, watch this movie.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Shared Misery

A friend of mine who is sitting for the California bar emailed me today, freaked out about passing. I mailed back that we are all supposed to feel overwhelmed right now and that, according to my BarBri audio lectures, it will all come together during the last couple of weeks of studying. I sent the mail off and realized, 'hm, this is the last couple of weeks of studying...'

So it's time to kick it into high gear. I need to do more practice MBEs, that much is clear. I also need to spend more time reading the Yellow Book. I dunno if that's what it's called in other states, but here in AZ, it's the book with the practice questions and model answers. I feel like if I had had that book before, I wouldn't be here studying for the bar today. Actually, I'm at work today, but you get my point.

It's so easy to get freaked out and convince yourself that you won't pass the bar. I wonder how the people who get cocky and think they will pass no matter what feel when they fail? Do they ever fail? If you just know you're going to pass the bar, does that make you delusional, or just really insightful into your ability?

I guess I'm delusional. No matter how much time I spend at the doctor or at work or otherwise putting less then the "suggested" amount of time into studying for this thing, I'm pretty sure I'll pass it this time. Maybe that's because I can't handle the consequences of what it will mean if I fail. Ucko.

Friday, June 23, 2006

So I Found an Apartment.

It's a little expensive, more than I was hoping to pay. But The Boss will be paying move in fees and first month's rent. I figure the cash that will save me can be dragged out across the following two months until I get my raise after I pass the bar.

And I am so going to pass the bar this time. I can't believe I came within 20 points last time, I didn't know shit. So, lesson is, you can bullshit your way within 20 points of passing the bar. But to hit it, I recommend BarBri.

I still miss my mom. She went to go visit some family recently. She hasn't come to visit me since I moved to Arizona. I think I miss her so much because I've been sick still and I want to cry on her shoulder. I can do that with Boyfriend, but it's just not the same as when it's your mom. When I lived in Berkeley, mom used to visit every few months, but that's because she left her heart in San Francisco about twenty years ago. When she visits that place, it's like a recharge to her soul - you can see it in her eyes. I wish her soul needed Phoenix.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bad Blogger

I haven't blogged for days. There's not a whole lot going on on my end of life. Feeling sick, studying for the bar, turning in motions for The Boss.

I could go into the funny story about the guy who asked me if it was sacrilege to get a Greek Salad with Italian dressing. He then went on to recount a story about getting a Jewish friend a Pork Cookbook and having it wrapped in paper with Menoras all over it by the Barnes and Noble staff. That was funny.

Remember Voter Registration Lady? The one I told I wouldn't sign her "One Man, One Woman" petition because I'm, like Arbusto, really, really gay. Daughter was at the library recently and Voter Registration Lady gave her a coin. It had the 10 Commandments on it. Does this violate the Establishment Clause? It should. The coin says that God sees hatred as murder. Harsh. So I might as well kill those I hate then. Same crime.

I was back at the hospital recently and no one had signed my entry in the chapel book. Still. Lame club anyways, I totally don't want to be in it. Go Atheism. In fact, go comment on Atheism in that post, it lacked numerous comments. That's lame too.

Flah flah flah.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Where's the Hallmark Card for This?

On a day when I should be thinking about my father.

I really just miss my mom.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Lex's Diatribe on Atheism

I am an Atheist. I do not believe in a conscious anything that somehow exerts power over the entire universe. I know many people believe there is a collective energy that we disperse into upon death - but I see that as the equivalent of dying, being buried in the earth, fertilizing the ground and growing into grass.

For me, when I say I am an Atheist, it means I do not believe one retains a sense of self - consciousness, memories and thought, after the body physically dies. I was asked why I believe there is no memory of self upon death. My answer is that, having studied psychology, I know that consciousness and sense of self are completely tied to brain activity and neural networks. This is most evident when you look at the effects of brain injury. Brain injury can fundamentally change how one thinks. Brain injuries have been documented to lead to amnesia, a loss of the ability to form new memories (short and long-term), and there are even cases where injuries to portions of the brain completely change a person's personality or blunt their emotional affect. Biological research is what leads me to believe that when a person experiences brain death, the "self" also dies. It makes no logical sense to me that something completely dependent on neural networks (the self or consciousness) could survive complete brain inactivity (brain death).

Why does this matter? Well, vanity mostly. I think the human desire to believe in something "greater" or "bigger" than this life is linked to a human vanity. A wish to be part of everything forever. An egotistical need to somehow feel that one is part of everything, rather than a small piece to something larger than any one thing. Without a continuity of consciousness after death, the "afterlife" loses meaning to me. If one were to "disperse" into a greater energy upon death, but not know it - to me that is equal to, as I call it, "having your T.V. turned off." If you don't take the experience of life with you when you die, then it's not really an afterlife in my book. It's fertilizer.

My post about being in the hospital and asking God to show himself to me is a direct manifestation of my ego, vanity and recognition of just how awesome it is to be a human. I would love for it to never end. It's a miraculous thing, this consciousness that humans have developed, and it would be nice to have it forever. But, really, that probably wouldn't be a good thing for an evolving universe. If things didn't die, evolve and thereby transform - we would be 21st century humans having to deal with retarded cavemen. And I've seen the Geico commercial, dealing with cavemen is no fun.

In response to CECU's insinuation, I don't think it's logically sound to say that atheism is a placeholder until a person begins to ask themselves the questions of what life is, what it means and why we exist. I am disappointed that CECU even suggested such a thing, as I believe the comment displays the type of simplicity and historically stereotypical notions of spirituality that CECU so often warns against. Atheists can and do ask themselves these questions and toss about answers, answers that can simultaneously conform with their Atheism.

For an Atheist, this life is all you have. There is no belated forgiveness. Wrongs that must be righted must be righted during this life. An intense sense of personal responsibility is central to the Atheist's morality. Any journey to reach "good" must be obtained in this life. There is no back-up option, no requesting forgiveness at the last moment. There is no opt-out provision that allows an Atheist to disconcern him/herself with the world. For an Atheist, life is Heaven, and we have to treat it as such. And that's ok. While one person can never reach the pinnacle of "perfection" by him/herself, one can get closer, and bring others closer, and take away the knowledge that they have begun rolling a ball of good that will catch others upon its journey.

The miracle of life is the amazing experience of self-consciousness. To think, reflect, remember - that's fucking amazing to me. Now, it's only for a limited time, but lets just step back, look at the big picture, and be glad we're not a worm. Being a conscious being, I believe, is a random occurrence. A random occurrence that must also be occurring in other places in this universe. But it is random and it is brief. That is what makes it so special, the uniqueness of an isolated period of time where one can reflect, think, plan, etc.

What I don't understand is why people always ask Atheists - "What is the meaning of life then?" Or, as CECU assumed, that not believing in an afterlife is equivalent to not searching for or finding meaning in life. I don't understand the notion that for life to be meaningful, it must be eternal. The things in life that are most meaningful come to an end: that first kiss, raising your children, a sunset beautiful enough to make you cry, a comet, an orgasm, a butterfly... life is full of amazing, meaningful things that have marked beginnings and endings. If anything, the short nature of being Alive breeds the opportunity for making your life more meaningful. It becomes that much more precious. Intensity of time limitation can lead to a fantastic desire to take nothing for granted and to seek meaning in everything.

We are conscious, able to self-reflect, for a limited, brief period of time. This is meaningful. It gives us the power to influence those life-forms that have not evolved to this level yet as well as others that have. Self-consciousness permits the opportunity for a great deal of meaning. My question for those who do desire to be a part of everything forever is why? I have explained my own motivations, and they boil down to rather superficial reasons.

But I really, really want to understand why those who believe do believe. Why is it fundamentally "better" to exist forever. Is that what is best for the universe? Is that what is best for the future? Is there an element of selfishness to the desire to exist eternally? Why is it less meaningful or spiritual to be a small part of something larger than any one thing can ever be?

I have what I call a "what others take with them" approach to the meaning of my life. The people I see, meet, interact with - even the child I have made, all of these people are influenced by their interactions with me. We have moments of shared self-awareness. The better person I am, the closer I get to being "good" - the more likely it is that others will pick up on that and do the same. If Daughter becomes a loving, sympathetic, encouraging, (hopefully liberal) person, that will continue, even after I no longer have self-awareness (because I am dead). Daughter, in turn, will take that with her, and influence others. The purpose of life is to facilitate good. To contribute to the evolution. To seek the things you love and to love seeking things that are good.

Admittedly, my spiritual beliefs are ever evolving. I constantly evaluate what the purpose of life is, what I can do to be better at living it, how I can become more ALIVE. I hope that in 10, 20, 30 years... I have developed a deeper understanding of the meaning of the brevity of consciousness, and the ways it can be used to help evolution. I want to become a better person, all the time, for the rest of my life. And pass that on as much as I can.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Empty Bed Syndrome

Boyfriend is away tonight. He is doing a "sleep study." Basically, this consists of going to a doctor's office, rigged up to look like a cheap hotel, and getting all sorts of wires and probes attached to you. Then, you're supposed to sleep. Boyfriend has some sleep difficulties, and I guess the idea is to check on his sleep cycles.

But it leaves me alone. I'm so used to cuddling up with him to sleep at night, that it is really hard to sleep when he's not beside me.

Boo. Lex is lonely.

So I'm working on tomorrow's post regarding Atheism. It's hard to sit down, attempting to seriously lay out one's thoughts on sprirituality and life. Finding it difficult to say things in a way that conveys my thoughts correctly. I predict a comment war. Oh yeah.

But until then, I'm Boyfriendless.

Boo. Lex is lonely.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Big Brother

I am screwed if there are video cameras in our building's elevators. I realized today, as I was lifting my skirt to adjust my undrewear, that I could be the laughing stock of a group of overweight security guards somewhere. When I'm alone in an elevator, I lack inhibition to a level similiar to that reached by people alone in their bathroom. I talk to myself, sing, do a little dance, pick my nose, lick my elbow...

I've done pretty much everything but masturbate in that elevator.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Is It Just Me...

... or does it make zero sense to have a personalized license plate that reads "P I" and a bumpersticker that says "Private Eyes Find it Better"?

Seriously, aren't those people supposed to be on the DL?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Health Update

So I spent a few days in the hospital last week. This included some "minimally invasive" tests that left me feeling like I need to join a support group for violated women.

In the hospital, before I figured out how to disconnect and restart my own IV, I had to come up with good reasons to leave my bed. The best way to do this: say you want to go Chapel to pray. Even if you really just want to go outside and smoke. To maintain my honest integrity, I did make a trip to the chapel. Twice. On the first visit, I made an entry into this book where everyone asks you to pray for their family members that are likely going to die soon. People wrote back that they will, had and would continue to pray for these strangers. I wrote:
"I have been an Atheist for as long as I can remember. I find no logical reason to believe. Every rational thought leads me to the answer that the existence of God is ridiculous... something out there watching over us and determining our destiny. I would trade in every moment of my remaining life just to believe in God. Believers, please pray that your God might show himself to me so I can have the solace of knowing equality and rightness exist as it should somewhere, anywhere. If God would make himself known to me in a believable way, I would become his greatest advocate and devote myself to doing all I can to follow his way and help others do the same."
I went back to the Chapel the next day to see if anyone had logged their prayers for me. Not one comment. Not one person who said they would devote some of their sacred prayer to my salvation. I guess you have to be in the club for members to help you out.

For the actual, honest update on what the hospital people found: the endoscopy showed severe stomach inflammation, not unexpected for one experiencing nausea and vomiting as often as I do. There was also apparently a polyp somewhere in my lower gastro-system, likely now sitting on a slide somewhere in a pathologist's lab waiting to be explored. After four days of the madness, I told the hospital people I wanted to go home. I couldn't stand being there anymore. It was awful.

My regular gastroenterologist called me today at home (on a Sunday!!!) to tell me that the hospital had failed to conduct some key studies related to my gallbladder or something. I have more tests scheduled next week. Apparently, the hospital, which opened its doors for admission the day before I came in, was not completely on top of things and left out some key stuff that needs to be done to completely rule-out a major problem.

Cheese and Rice, I am so sick of doctors and hospitals. Which sucks, because I have to go to work tomorrow and deal with doctors and hospitals. Is this a case of life mimicking work or vice-versa...? I dunno. I'm loaded on pain meds. I'm in a lot of pain. I want an answer and a diagnosis and a plan to make everything better. I want to have the strength to write things here worthy of reading - I know my content has been disappointing lately. At least for me it has been, I miss funny Lex. I don't like being sick Lex.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

When The Ambulance Chases Back

Sorry for lack of posting. I've been in the hospital all week. More on that fiasco - including good time trips to the hospital chapel - after I rest up.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Watch Your Back

If this is a real video of Bush at the border, then it is just way too funny.

Turns out, Bush is an even bigger moron than previously believed. And it's really hard for anyone to reach a higher level of stupidery than Bush had already attained in my mind.

Hat Tip to CECU

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Realities of the Legal Profession

Recently, I have been working on a motion for a new trial. I put blood, sweat and tears into it. On Friday, I overheard The Boss say that he is not certain he will file the motion.

Also on Friday, The Boss put me to work researching an issue on another case. After The Boss left, I learned that the research will most likely never be applicable to the case. Still, I have spent all weekend on the matter, so I can memo The Boss by tomorrow a.m.

I was initially frustrated. It makes you want to pull out your hair trichotillomania style when you discover that hours and hours of work will never come into play. But I realize this is common to the legal field - there is a lot of pre-emptive attack planning for assaults that will never be fought. It's strategery. I really need to stop getting aggitated when my efforts become unneccesary, because it happens all the time. This would bother me less if I worked at BigLaw, since the hours would be billable. That's about the only pro I can think of besides the pay. But the pay should level itself off when I become the Queen of Plaintiff's Attorneys in ten years and make 3 million annually.

The worst part about spending my whole weekend working is that I am now 2 days behind on my BarBri self-study schedule. I need to figure out how to tell The Boss that I can't be doing these sorts of projects when I am supposed to be working 18 hour weeks.

Welp, back to work.

Friday, June 02, 2006

When You're in a Public Restroom Stall...

... and someone says "Jenny, is that you?"

The answer apparently is not:

"No, but if you need to talk, I'm here for you."