Friday, March 31, 2006

M.C. Escher-type blog entry.

On second thought, it just occurred to me that there is a chance that she DOES know I am Zoe Strickman. I was just reading through my old posts, and I couldn't help to recognize hearing her words when I was reading mine. What does this mean? She was quoting me -- my words from this blog -- in our conversations and I did not even realize it. Perhaps she was testing me to see whether I would recognize that she found my blog. She also recently has guessed things about me out of the blue and I was taken aback by her keen observations.

Nevertheless, I cannot be sure of this and since she has been respectful enough not to undress me by telling me she knows about my blog, and since she has been respectful enough to keep my unspoken thoughts out of our conversations, I respect her for keeping my secrets safe. Between you and me, one more secret is that I love you.

I have been testing the waters whether to use the "L" word in our conversations. Between you and me, I have begun to feel it and I think of you all the time. Yet injecting yiddishkeit into this blog entry, we are not yet even engaged and we are still shidduch dating. I don't want to blow things out of the water by going too far too fast. Step by step.

One thing that I do take comfort in is the congruence between the Zoe Strickman character that I have created here in the internet world and my real identity. When I started this blog over a year ago, I felt that there were parts of me which I couldn't talk about in public. There were also viewpoints about yiddishkeit and my learning disabilities that embarassed me, among other things I dealt with over the past year. When I started blogging, there was my blog identity -- and then there was my public identity -- two separate people. I always thought that the Zoe character was more me than the me I was in real life. But thankfully over the past few months, I feel that "Zoe" and "I" have come together and now we are the same person both on the internet and in real life.

Interestingly enough, my friends have even noticed the difference. One close friend commented last week that they were impressed how I've changed over the past few years and how I've become more relaxed and more confident. Interestingly enough, against my desires, my closest friends have not yet found this blog because they stopped looking for it after I put my old blog back up with my real information on it. Four of you have actually found it.

Nevertheless, the most interesting point of my life which has experienced growth is my understanding of my anger towards my father. Today, my mother and I had a conversation about him and she was defending him saying that despite his faults, he is still a good person with a good heart. I sharply interrupted her and said, "NONSENSE. WE ALL KNOW WHAT HE DID WHEN YOU AND HIM GOT DIVORCED." In all senses of the word -- even from a legal definition -- my father was (and still IS) a . I'm not sure if I ever blogged about this. While I knew about this during my youth, namely that he hid his income so that he could avoid paying child support, it was only a hunch which was confirmed a few months ago when my dad asked me for legal advice to sue his employer for withholding money from his paycheck that he owed to him over the years. His boss recently paid him $20,000 cash, and an additional $30,000 of money that was owed to him. When I asked him where this money was coming from, he slipped and said, "this is the money that was left over from the child support..." then when he realized what he said, he stopped mid-sentence. I made sure to stay cool and calm, but we both realized what he said.

I won't go too deep into this, but in short, my father didn't pay his child support when my parents got divorced. Further, he hid his income and lied to the judge about his employment status claiming he was unemployed when he was working off of the books. The judge believed him and awarded child support of $25 each week to me, and he didn't even pay that. My mom worked many jobs just to keep us going. Again, this is a painful subject for me, but bottom line, over the year I have come to understand my anger towards my father. Keep in mind that my anger is not limited to what he did when I was a child. We won't even talk about the beatings or the neglect that we all experienced at his hands when we were younger. We won't even talk about the mental problems he has always had but won't admit to. We won't even talk about the current condition of the home that I agreed to live in to save money while in law school. We won't talk about the lack of furniture in our house, and we won't talk about the mess that I tolerate every day even though it saps my energy and I pray every day to get out of here. We also won't talk about the many promises he has made both financially and otherwise (in accordance with I took action and was on many cases left hanging) that have not and never will be kept. Don't get me started.

My point is that I feel that I have come a long way since I started writing this blog. You have all helped me so much by giving me feedback, calling me on my often stupid conclusions, and by supporting me when I was down. Although I will never be able to thank you the way I would like to, you all have my gratitude for being here with me while all these things have been occuring.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Identity Breach

I wish I could tell you everything that is going on in my life, especially with the shidduch dating (B"H I'm still with the same girl), however as fate would have it, she is one of YOU. Being anonymous and using a fake name really doesn't help me when my stories are a dead giveaway as to who I am.

I realized that she is one of my readers on this blog because out of the blue, she turned to me and asked me, "how do you feel about homosexuality?" When I explained my thoughts about it, she told me that she read that same opinion almost verbatum on a web site discussing Brokeback Mountain. I couldn't think of anything else to say except "me too," with a half grin. She didn't pursue the topic further.

Nevertheless, I hoped this blog could be a sounding board for objective ideas and it has been, however I've put enough personal information on this blog that people have started to figure out who I am. The Jewish world is a small world, and it seems as if everyone knows everybody, somehow.

Zoe Strickman and the real me are not different people. The icon isn't me, it's a photoshop work-up to make Neo from the Matrix look more Chassidic. Although stand me and the character side by side, and you couldn't tell who was who except that I have a full beard.

Otherwise, things are okay. I'll write more details in the next blog entry.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Patent Bar Exam Imminent

I am faced with the troubling reality that law school is coming to an end and I do not yet have a job. Knowing that patent law is the field I would like to go into, I have resolved to come home to New York after graduation to find a job in the city rather than to work in Colorado in some other field. I have applied to over fifty law firms in the New York Metropolitan area, and I have received over forty rejection letters and not one phone call inviting me to an interview.

"Thank you for applying to our firm. While your credentials are quite impressive, we are sorry to say that we are not hiring at this time. We wish you luck in your legal career."

I am starting to get nervous, especially because my school, my grades, and my activities are not of the top 20% as most of the law firms are looking for. As you know, I've braved through law school doing my best, and I have no thought that I could have done better. I am very proud of my achievements, but the goal of all this work was to get a job and this has not yet happened.

I spoke to an advisor from PLI (Practicing Law Institute) today and he told me that in order to get a job, especially since I am a "category B" patent applicant [meaning that I do not have a technical degree in a specific subject, but that I have pieced together my 40 credits of technical subject matter sufficient to take the exam], that my job search will require some crafty maneuvering. Further, he said that it is almost mandatory that I take my patent bar exam before I graduate which is in less than 24 weeks.

Regular review for the New York and New Jersey Bar Exam begins in the middle of May. Can I piece together enough time to successfully study and pass the patent bar exam? I don't know if this is humanly possible, but it looks like this is the path I need to take if I am to get a job by the time I graduate.

I don't know if I am physically capable of completing this task. I am in many ways a go-getter and a risk-taker, but I know my limits. This is above and beyond my capabilities, and my main focus is studying for the regular bar exam. I need guidance whether or not to take the plunge and once again go over my abilities to accomplish a feat that is highly improbable. I've done this kind of undertaking before and I've met with success. I just don't know if I can do it in such a short amount of time.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Homosexuality and Masteurbation -- a continuation of the Brokeback Mountain conversation.

[The post on Brokeback Mountain has created such a response that I felt that it was important to respond to everyone's comments here.]

I do want to stress that because Torah forbids male homosexual relations, a practicing homosexual damages his own Jewish soul and the Jewish soul of his male partner. However, according to all opinions, he is still a Jew and must be respected as one.

I commend any homosexual Jew that continues to practice Judaism and observe the Mitzvot (commandments) in spite of his "genetic" [in my opinion, "preferential"] disposition in that he is attracted to men instead of women. However, this is not the end-all-be-all of his Jewishness.

There are many of us who have difficulties with various halachot (for example, I have difficulty davening and putting on tefillin in the mornings -- among other things, this is my struggle). Let's get a bit more personal and bring up the masteurbation topic, since it is on the topic of sexuality. Masteurbation is a very bad bad bad thing to do. Torah forbids it. However, G-d gave me a very strong sexual drive and so I am tempted by my natural desire to masteurbate.

However, I don't throw my hands up in the air and give up the fight and call myself a masteurbator, nor do I seek to justify myself in my activities and convince society that it is okay to be a wanker. Every day is a struggle. Most days I win the struggle, but sometimes I lose and I give in to the desire. This doesn't make it right or moral and because I have been "genetically" given this desire DOES NOT MAKE IT OKAY for me to act upon it.

Masteurbation and even moreso, sleeping around (see Tanya, Chapter 7) are grave sins that cause a lot of impurity to come to the world. The Torah prohibits sexual immorality in the form of pre-marital sex, masteurbation, adultry, incest, and homosexuality, among other sexual immoral practices. Homosexuals, you are not alone -- all of these activities are forbidden.

Consequently, because they carry so much unholiness, Chassidus will teach you that they also become an unbearable desire for most of us. Sex has its source in holiness -- "be fruitful and multiply" -- and as such, it gets twisted by the non-Godly forces into unholy desires that we experience every day. This is true also with animal sacrifices. Sacrificing an animal to G-d [when done in the Beis Hamigdash and in the proper time and in the proper way] is one of the holiest acts a Jew can take part in. However, have you ever noticed what the most demonic black magic cults do as their ultimate unholy activity? Animal sacrifices.

I kid you not, in our world we're tempted by the lowest, dirtiest, and most unholy activities that do the most damage to our physical, psychological, and spiritual bodies. Masteurbation, adultry, and consequently homosexuality are no different.

Let's be straight [no pun] with what we are dealing with. Sexual impropriety (adultry, masteurbation, homosexuality, incest, and pre-marital sex is a taiva (a desire) -- Godly endowed upon us through either our genetics or through our choices -- upon which we can act upon these desires or we can choose to abstain from them, even momentarily.

Sometimes the desire can become unbearable, and I understand this. However, do what you must, but don't make excuses why it is okay to engage in these activities. They are forbidden, end of story. However, we do what we can, and nobody is free of sin. We each will have to answer for our actions, and this applies to both homosexuals and heterosexuals. We are Jews, and are commanded to be sexually moral. These rules have been laid out for us by the Torah.

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