Sunday, February 28, 2010

My reflection on how I did on the bar, and what to do now.

I'm very relieved to be back at home with my two children and our newborn. Just a week or so ago it seemed so difficult to have everything under control because one was crying or climbing on the table while the other one needed to be changed. Now my wife and I have adopted the "zone defense" strategy. If the new baby is asleep, we assist each other with the two (or one takes care of them and the other takes care of chores or housework, etc. I don't mind the housework; I just do as much as I can (which is certainly helpful) and I leave the hard parts for my wife.) *evil grin*. I'm only half kidding.

In my estimation the bar was a success. I explained to my wife last night that I believe that when I left on Sunday or Monday to the hotel (rather than the Thursday of the week before as planned), that I was [in my own estimation] around 53% ready for the exam (assuming that I needed to be at least 65% ready to pass the exam on this scale). Spending those days at the hotel cramming non-stop and being able to study on my own schedule of when I had energy and relaxing when I didn't, I believe I was able to walk into the exam about 70% prepared.

The first time I took the bar in Colorado, I remember reviewing the bar materials before the exam, and it went like this. I asked myself, "do I know this?" and if I did, I just reviewed it quickly. If it was a topic I wasn't prepared for and it would take a while to learn it, I'd just pass it over and hope I didn't get tested on it. In all sincerity, the day before the exam is not the time to be learning new concepts. If I didn't get it by now, I simply wasn't going to learn it and I'd move on.

So again, the first time around when reviewing my materials when I first took the bar and passed, it went something like this, "know this, know this, I know that, I know that... oops, not sure about that... okay, know this, know this, know this..." This was how I went through my materials the day before the exam.

This time around, it went something like this. "Don't know this, um, understand this but can't remember the elements, know this, know this, don't know this, don't know this, don't know this, oh! I remember this! Okay, know this, didn't know this, etc." In other words, I was not nearly as prepared as I was the first time around.

All this being said, I truly believe that the hotel brought me from a place where I likely would have failed to a place where I can confidently believe that I passed. So now in a few months, I'll be a New York attorney.

Now the question is what to do until then... I suppose I'll take a few needed days to rest and to give my wife the needed brake that she needs. I'll be helpful around the house and will help get our systems in order. I will relax a bit and spend some good time with my kids and will establish for myself a daily routine that has been seriously lacking these past few months that will include things such as minyanim (prayer), shiurim (learning sessions), and working out at the gym.

I'm guessing after the few days of doing this will have passed, I'll start looking for a document review position and will send out resumes for jobs to fill the time gap until I get admitted. The goal is simply to survive and to tie up loose ends. I have a few lawsuits to take care of, to defend against, and to file against those who have done things which I've been meaning to sue over these past few months. A few examples include suing my past landlord for still not returning our security deposit now after 10 months, suing General Motors for not giving the $500 rebate they promised me when I bought our car two years ago (the statute of limitations possibly passed on this one), and defending against the most heinous accusation for which every time today when I stomped my feet and booed when Haman's name was mentioned I could think of nobody else except for the person that filed the false complaint against me.

When I was reading the story of Haman, I couldn't think except to picture the person who did this to us, and I tried many times to distract myself from my feelings of hurt, worry, and betrayal over this slimy piece of garbage. I hope Hashem builds a symbolic tree and holds him up on high making him think he's prevailed so that when the truth comes out about what he did, he will share Haman's fate. Y'machshimo on both of their names.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Naming our newborn child.

With the quickly approaching deadline in choosing a name for our newborn daughter and with Shabbos coming right around the corner where the baby-naming ceremony was to happen, my wife and I still didn't have a name. Thinking about it, I decided to give in to the name my wife wanted, and I told her that I would be very happy with naming our daughter the name she suggested. As soon as I did that, she told me that she wanted to name our daughter the Yiddish name I suggested because the person I wanted to name her after was my grandmother who I was very close with, but the person she wanted to name her after were names of people up the family tree she never met.

So I went to the baby naming ceremony this morning over the Sabbath and I named our daughter. I'd tell who what we named her, but it would be a fake name anyway, so why bother. ;) The funny thing is that even though I'm not one to give both an English name and a Hebrew name (I think parents should just give one name not to confuse the children with mixed identities) her Hebrew name and English name are identical. But this evening when I looked up how to properly spell the name (because there were so many possible spellings), I realized the name was not a name of its own, but was a contraction of a name COMPLETELY AND UNEXPECTEDLY DIFFERENT than what we named her.

It's like my name here is Zoe. But pretend, in real life I call myself "Zan." Did you know that is short for the name Alexander? I didn't know that until I looked it up. Still don't know what Zoe is a contraction for. I do know it's a girls name too, but hey, that's life. So now we have a name.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Conflicts in naming our daughter.

Just some ranting about naming our daughter. I'm a bit pissed because I just had a fight with my mom over what my wife and I are deciding to name our daughter. We actually haven't decided on a name, and it is a bit of a tough one this one because I named the first one (boy), she named the second one (girl), and now this third child is a girl, and I feel that my preference should be a preference over her preference because it's my turn. Truthfully, I think EVERY CHILD should come from Nevuah (prophecy), but this time around, neither of us are getting anything... maybe our spiritual antennas are broken. ...and the baby naming would have to be tomorrow in shul, so time is coming upon us.

Personally, I think this "my turn, your turn" thing is silly, but I read it in a Jewish customs book as the halacha when parents are not in agreement what to name the child. Honestly, after the fight I just had with my mom, I want to just give in and name her what my wife wants to name her just to spite my mom.

The fight with my mom revolves around her guilt feelings and negativity about her mother. Her mother was a great woman, and was an amazing grandmother. I was VERY close with her in her life, and I'm sure she's a guiding light for me now in my death. My mom on the other hand has a different story. My grandmother was a very modest woman, and as such, she was very afraid of the Ayin Hara (the evil eye) and thus she never spoke well of my mom in public. This damaged her in many ways, filling her with lots of guilt for many years to come, even after her death. Oh, and she was great at the Jewish guilt thing with my mom; it never really affected me because I'm just a SOB so I never really cared when someone gave me a guilt trip.

Anyway, I was persuading my wife lovingly for the past few months to consider my grandfather's name, and it finally succeeded and that was what we were going to call this one, but then whoops! It was a girl! Honestly I don't think I have an argument here because she was going to go along with me, and now I lost my chance because we got the gender wrong.

That didn't stop me from asking my wife to consider my grandmother's name, a Yiddish name. Now if you know Israelis, they HATE Yiddish names. It's just not authentic to them, and having such a strong Jewish identity being tied to the State of Israel, Israelis hate those with Yiddish descent because they feel inferior to them. Me? I'm American. I come from a Yiddish speaking heritage, but it hasn't been in our family for three generations -- I brought it back when I became religious and it's become a part of us since.

The problem is that my wife is very Sabra. I mean VERY Israeli - like with a dark-olive-skinned Israeli mentality on a lot of things. That's great and all, but we're an American Lubavich family, not an Israeli one (custom goes according to the father, and I've set the custom a certain way long before I even met my wife - a weak argument, yes, but custom is custom.) I don't think I have a drop of Israeli blood in me, and I'm not so excited about the culture either way. I feel that our family should represent who we are and who we represent ourselves to be. We are not an Israeli family; we never were, we never will be. Anyway, all this being said, I think she should respect my wishes and I should respect hers and so probably both names should be out and we should come up with something together.

Last, but not least, I suppose my greatest consideration in bending towards my wife's wishes is that firstly, it is not fair to push on her a name she doesn't like, even though she should make an effort to become amicable towards it because she's my wife and she owes a duty to me to do so, but second of all, I feel that my wife has had a very difficult past few months with me, or so it seems from the way she describes things. As such, with all the extraneous factors, I feel that I owe her for her sacrifices with regard to her time in spending every moment with the kids, the diaper changing (as she reminds me about almost daily), the being absent due to all the frustrations we've had these past few years, firstly in working over an hour away from the home in our previous state leaving her stranded with our son, and secondly, after now moving to New York, where I haven't stranded her one bit and she's been closer to her friends and her family than she has ever been, but where I have been absent either emotionally, or physically by being on some crazy document review position or another, or studying for the bar exam which has essentially left her as a single mom for months now and she's tired of it.

I'm completely negating my own feelings here and my own needs which have not been met as a husband, such as being appreciated and having my work acknowledged, and having her understand that times have been very tough and in spite of being laid off and fired from my job many months ago, I have provided for her and for our family QUITE WELL given the circumstances as they have presented themselves for us. For me, I feel that this move to New York has been one heartbreak after another, and I've been more stressed than I ever was. I have changed career paths more times in one year than most people do in a lifetime. I have gone full force into becoming an engineer to augment my patent attorney license; I have gone full force into being a patent litigation attorney until I was cheated by the guy I was working for; I spent months in a document review job where most of the time, I left the house before my kids woke up, took the subways for over an hour, and then I got home exhausted and literally tormented from the terrible people working with me. Then came the whole cramming for the NY Bar Exam thing which has taken me away from my family for months. I feel that each of these has been a huge sacrifice that should be appreciated every day.

However, all this being said, I ignore all this and I'm likely going to side with my wife if we cannot come up with a name, and so we'll end up having our girl with some name that would make an American cringe, and I'll make myself love it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I suppose I should wait a day or so before posting more, but the birth of this new baby has given me a new view of the world. I've worked so hard to fight against all the adversity up until now, but I think I'm going to adopt the "roll with it" mentality where anything goes, and anything that comes my way is within my power to deal with, and if not, no big deal.

Prior to today, I was of the worldview of "we've made XYZ decisions in the direction we want to go in life, and I will get very upset at any force that diverts us from this decided-upon direction."

What this means is that I no longer know for sure that I'll pass the New York bar exam. I studied profusely, but limited to my capabilities due to my surroundings, my responsibilities as a father and as a husband, and my environment. After the Barbri classes in the city ended, I set out a modest plan of the minimum I would need to accomplish to walk into the bar exam prepared. Then when that minimum didn't happen, I made the SEVEN DAY PLAN of essentials (a sort of triage of what I wanted to cover at a minimum due to my limited time constraints) which turned into a FIVE DAY PLAN. Then when I realized that Friday was a half day of studying because of Shabbos, and Shabbos itself was one of the five days, I realized that the plan was really a THREE DAY CRASH COURSE PLAN giving me a minimum competency in the areas in which I needed to cover at a triage-type of bare minimum.

Then last night, our baby girl was born and I was UNABLE TO STUDY AT ALL TODAY, killing 1/3 of my three-day plan. To add to that I need to watch the kids all day tomorrow and run errands such as driving probably an hour to see my wife and to pick up flowers and so on, so my half day of tomorrow is pretty much shot. The hotel canceled my reservation because I didn't check in today, so I no longer have a hotel near the bar exam as I did prior to today, and that hotel does not allow check-ins on Sunday because nobody is there that day -- one of the funky things about those extended-stay hotels that allow you to book a room on a weekly basis rather than a nightly one. So first thing Sunday morning, I'll go online and see if anything is available, and if I can't find anything, I'll drive down and will find a room by eyeballing what is available. It no longer makes sense to pay for a week when there's a new baby and I'd only be able to use the room SUNDAY-WEDNESDAY, four of the seven days I would have paid for. This is just G-d pointing me in the right direction.

In sum, I have SUNDAY to study, and MONDAY to review. Not sure what I can do with that time, but this is what it is. I'll try to do some issue spotting for fun over Shabbos, but I doubt I'll have the chance with our new baby holding my attending and our wonderful two other children who will be needing my love now more than ever.

THUS, I HAVE DECIDED TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE and to roll with whatever comes my way. I will do my best, but I cannot guarantee results other than me promising to do my best with whatever time I have available. Similarly with everything else. I'll roll with it all. No promises that if someone throws punches I won't fire back with a few of my own. ;)
As I was writing the previous blog, my wife delivered a beautiful baby... GIRL!

I called the hotel and left a message asking them if I could postpone my reservation so that I can check in on Sunday rather than today. That way I can spend Shabbos with my newly augmented family.


In delivery room now with wife having our baby (yes, the bris if its a boy will be on DAY 3 of the NY bar exam.)

We are literally days away from the bar exam, and I'm sitting in the hospital waiting room down the hall from the delivery room where my wife is sharing our third baby with the world. She's giving birth now as we speak.

Until now (and even up to and including last night), I was really worried that she might have a boy, and being Jewish, that would mean that his circumcision (being on the 8th day) would fall out on the day of my NY BAR EXAM. This has been a joke between us. "Don't have a baby on the Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday before the bar exam, or else I might have to miss it because of the bris." Of course, this has only been a joke until last night, when at 3am, I heard her talking to her doctor on the phone.

I half thought to myself that if I went back to sleep that she wouldn't want to wake me and she'd go back to sleep too and she'd have the baby another day. Haha no dice. We went to the hospital at 4am this morning because she was having regular contractions. Now, almost 10 hours later (it's been a long, but calm labor), she's doing the final pushing. Why am I not in the delivery room with her? Because we're in Niddah, silly! Chassidic Jewish men don't watch the births of their children. (This is probably why we have so many of them - we don't have the image of the crowning burned into our brains and so when our wives heal, we see them in the same way we've always seen them -- just like the day we were married.)

Anyway, so if it's a boy (and we both think it will be a boy), the bris will fall out on DAY 3 of my bar exam. If that is the case, I will have to have the bris NEXT THURSDAY before DAY 3 of my bar exam. I don't know how this can work out because I would have to stay up the night before saying tehillim, and we would have to have it early early in the morning (or perhaps the evening beforehand? is that even done? I have to call my rav) and then I would have to drive as fast as I can to the bar exam around an hour away from our house. Next Thursday is also TAANAS ESTHER, a FAST DAY (to add to the interesting details of the day).

With all this, I can't deny that this was all G-d's plan. It was his plan for us to move to Crown Heights. It was his plan for me to have the bad experiences I did these past few months. It was his plan for me to be sued causing me weeks of trembling nervousness on top of having to study for the bar exam, and lastly, (if it's a boy), it'll have been his plan to have the bris next Thursday on Taanis Esther and Day 3 of my bar exam. I'm rolling with all this. I don't know what will come of it, or how it will turn out, but I'm calm now that it's no longer in my hands.

...I wonder if this means that I'll have to withdraw from the bar exam altogether. I wonder why everything has happened exactly as it has. Oh well, this is our life. Baruch Hashem!

One question I have for the ladies and happily married men out there -- I was supposed to check into a hotel this afternoon (Thursday afternoon) and stay there until the end of my bar exam next Thursday. Now that the baby will have been born, I'm no longer leaving a pregnant wife, but a wife with two children and a new baby. The plan so far has been that we're all moving into her parent's house 10 minutes away from our apartment for the next few days so that they can help her with the new baby. What I'm wondering however is whether I should cancel the hotel or postpone checking in (regardless of whether I'd lose money) until, say, after Shabbos, or until Sunday or Monday. The bar is Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. What do you think? What kind of man would I be if tonight I drove off to the hotel to study? Truthfully, I really NEED to study, and I completely lost today's study day because I've been at the hospital all day. I fear that I won't pass without going. ...but if it's a boy, I might not be able to take the bar anyway if I can't arrange for the bris to work out.

Please share your thoughts.


...gotta run. The nurses have called me back into the room. Delivery is complete!

Monday, February 15, 2010

I want to be a government agent.

Today was a hugely productive day. I made a makeshift desk in between my wife's bed and my bed using a wooden insert that we leave out of the dining room table because it makes the room too small. I studied all day without pause, and by the time nightfall arrived, I was happy with my accomplishment.

I do not know whether I will pass the bar, but I will do everything in my power to better my chances without losing my sense of humanity. I might be a post-graduate law student, but I'm still a human being.

This evening I watched the pilot episode from season one of Alias. I've been thinking about it for some time now, and so I decided to go online to see if anyone has it available to watch. I was so excited throughout the first episode that after it was over, I noticed four burn marks across the base of my thumb from the heatsync on my laptop which has a tendency to overheat. It's not painful and it will probably fade in time, but it combined with the show gave me a powerful feeling that I don't have to be ordinary. There are people who do exciting things, and I wouldn't mind being the type of person who kept secrets. I already do, so what would be the big change if I did it for a career? My whole life is one big secret.

The hardest thing to come to grips about is that I am (and I emphasize am) a nobody. I have few friends, and even they are spread around the world living different lives than I am. My life is that of a religious reject with a law degree who doesn't like his surroundings and who doesn't connect with the people around him. I'm an actor standing in the role of my life, and for the benefit of those around me, I am happy to be in the lives of those who have dedicated their lives to being part of my family. I love my wife. I would be empty without her. I care deeply for her, and I think about her all the time. That doesn't mean that it wouldn't be nice to have some action in my life.

The fact that the highlight of my life as it is now is showing up in a room with a bunch of men who read words off of a page and sway back and forth in prayer kills me. I cannot believe THIS is my goal in life - to be one of them. Spiritually, I need more. I read some time ago that from a Jewish perspective, meditation is for someone who needs meditation. A healthy functioning person shouldn't feel the need for meditation. You know what, however? I feel the need to meditate.

On another level, I'm bored with the opportunities as they have presented themselves to me, and I'm bored even with the goals and dreams I have set for myself because I feel they are so limited and mindless. I want to be an attorney, woo hoo, great goal. I accomplished it long ago. I want to work in a law firm... WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT?

I want danger. I want risk. I want skills that I use on a daily basis. I want to be like a sharp scalpel in my practice. I want what I do to matter. I want out from all these laws and rules in life. I want to speak with people in foreign countries in foreign languages about something important and secret. I want to live an adventurous life. I want to gather information, identify issues, make inferences, take action like a government agency such as NSA does. I want to know who or what Echelon is. I want to understand what Einstein 2 is, and I want to be one of the people who directs projects and missions. There's something that separates a regular ignorant on the street and someone in the know. I want to be in the know.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Complaining about bar-study conditions.

I wanted to take a moment to write about my feelings about my studying for the bar and about things that are going on.

Firstly, I have been going to Starbucks to study; I'm here now taking a 5-minute break (really a 10 minute one) before resuming my studies. I am freaking out that we are getting so DANGEROUSLY CLOSE to the bar exam, and that there are SO MANY TOPICS THAT I KNOW I DO NOT KNOW! The last time I studied for a bar exam, I was still single and I had full mobility and er, sovereignty to move and study when and where I wanted to. Now, I'm limited by my family constraints which really KILL my ability to effectively study.

First of all, I can't study in the morning until after 9am when I drop my kids off to school (or my wife more frequently does) because even if I woke up in the morning, the kids wake up before I do and I can get NOTHING done when they're around. Secondly, now that I'm here at Starbucks, I've gotten a good 2.5 hours of studying done, but in half an hour, I'll need to pack up and leave because my wife needs the car to pick up our son.

I really have violated my own rules and guidelines that I set for myself to study for the bar. First of all, I promised myself that I would go to morning Barbri classes. After class, I would have lunch, and then study for around 5 hours and be home in time for dinner. This NEVER EVEN ONCE happened.

After my morning class, I ALWAYS CAME HOME so that my wife can have the car. Then when I was home at 12pm, I never got even a chance to study until 4:30pm. How? Well, I got home at 12pm, spoke to my wife a bit, printed some documents, ate some lunch, and then it was 2:30pm when my wife picked up our son. It wasn't until 4:30pm that I could get out of the house at the earliest, and even then, most of the time I stayed home trying to study at home (usually unsuccessfully causing a fight between me and my wife in the process). I studied the best I could and come seven or eight o'clock when the kids were finally asleep, I never studied even once.

More common was this schedule. I woke up in the morning, waited until 8:30a until my wife dropped our son off at school. Then when she returned at 9am, I went to Starbucks until 1pm getting three hours of work done (and wasting another hour trying to get the computer to work, or to pack up and unpack the computer and everything every time I needed to take a bathroom break (which was quite frequent because coffee goes right through me)). Then at 1:30pm I arrived home and didn't get out of the house until 4pm because I had to pack dinner, take a shower, help a bit with the kids, etc. 4:30pm I would actually end up in the car, and 5pm I would arrive at the Starbucks, but only with an hour before my 6pm Barbri class (most of the time I would go at night). I would stand on line, buy coffee, drive to class, park, and head in. I would usually sit down around 5:30pm and 30 minutes is not enough to do anything, so I would review my notes or browse the web until class started. After class, I'd come home at 9:30pm-9:45pm every day, and my brain would be fried. I'd try to review my notes, but shortly afterwords, I'd sit down and watch an episode of 24 or Lost or something with my wife and the night would be over.

I really feel there was not enough time to study for this exam. I set out so many tasks which I felt were BASIC FUNDAMENTAL NEEDED ACTIVITIES to simply PASS (not to excel), including 1) GETTING MY NOTES IN ORDER, 2) REVIEWING MY NOTES, 3) DOING THE ASSIGNED PRACTICE QUESTIONS, 4) DOING ESSAYS, and I almost never got past item 2 (until two weeks ago when I said "to hell with the notes; I'm doing practice questions and essays!" -- well, to date, I've done many questions but not in all topics and I still have so much to do, and I HAVEN'T EVEN APPROACHED THE ESSAYS OR THE MPT. I also have two classes to make up which I'll have to do online. Luckily, they're not main classes. I also have a number of classes where the notes are only half completed, and family law, where I haven't even begun.

I'm feeling so helpless, and I wish I could check into a hotel and get away for more than a few days before the exam. This coming Thursday, I'm checking into a hotel, but thinking about it, maybe I can arrange to get away as early as Sunday. The problem is that my wife is about to give birth any day, so this is a HIGHLY STRESSFUL TIME and I don't know what to do, whether to stay, whether to go, what to do, etc. I wish things were easier. I wish I weren't in New York where it takes me forever to get from my apartment to anywhere I can study. I lose so much time taking the train or driving around; I wish I had a desk in my home and a door I can close so that I don't have to lose 30 minutes at a time every time I have to run to the restroom.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Estranged also from myself.

Negativity drains me like someone shooting me with a Taser gun. I also hate complaining all day long because I am a trooper and a fighter, but you poor souls who have the curse of reading my blog get to hear all the "poor me" wah wah comments and postings. Sometimes I feel that if I could step out of my body I would turn around and slap myself for all my sad thoughts. There must be something so deeply wrong with me going way back to my childhood or not that has me so darn bent on seeing the world as evil and hopeless.

Tonight after my Barbri class ended early, I wanted to take some time and watch this week's episode of the Bachelor. I really wanted to see Jake with the families because I think seeing a woman with her family is a real indicator as to the quality person you have. This surprises me because I really like my wife's parents, and if my wife and I ended up like them, I wouldn't be sad in the least bit. However, let's just leave it that I ask G-d every day that I have the chance to find out what it would be like to make it to their age and still be married.

Let's switch back to the Bachelor for a moment. Everybody there is so infatuated with everyone, and I don't think any of them are in love with the other. I think they are in love with themselves, and how the other person makes them feel. Today when I saw Ali come to Jake and say, "I can't choose between you or my job," I knew it was over because IF IT WAS EVEN A QUESTION then the relationship is OVER. Now she's the whiny bitch drama queen who needs to just pretend she never met Jake because she's stupid for letting the "other love of her life -- her job" get in between the "love" (yeah, right) between her and Jake. For this reason alone I don't think she was ready to get married, and between us, I think this job thing was just used as an excuse to bow out of the show without getting kicked off of the show. People like us who have negativity oozing out never fool those around us for long; it always seeps out and destroys everyone around us if we're not careful.

Now back to my wife. I really wanted to watch this last episode of the Bachelor, and I knew my wife wasn't expecting me back from my Barbri class for another two hours, but tonight we had the MPT class and we ended with almost two hours to spare. I had internet access and headphones where I was, and even if they kicked me out, the Starbucks down the street had internet access and a couch and I totally could have disappeared for two hours and nobody would have known. However, I wanted to be kind to my wife who was home with the kids, and even if they were likely already asleep, I still couldn't chance the fact that she might be having a hard time and it would be just my luck if the day I decide to pull something like sneaking away to watch a show on Hulu is the one day she needs me (and my phone was dead so she couldn't reach me), so I went home.

Every night when I've come home, my wife was watching a show online using the slow computer (the one that barely functions because I took hers when mine went into the shop almost two weeks ago). I thought that I would watch the show (I already saw the first half while eating lunch, so I didn't think it was a big deal) so I asked her if she could continue watching her show for half an hour and then I'll give her the good laptop computer (this one is pitifully slow too, but at least it works like it should) but she refused and insisted that we trade and she get the good computer. Still in good cheer, I gave her the good computer thinking that she would ask me to join her on whatever she was watching.

Instead, she turned on Facebook and started playing Farmville, a game I DESPISE because I think it's the biggest brain-drain in the universe and it's a waste of time. Plus, she could have done that with my old slow computer. She didn't need mine (well, hers, but mine until after the bar) to play Farmville. I immediately got really upset and probably because I was highly caffeinated (I had around 5 strong coffees the hours beforehand because I spent most of the day at Starbucks studying), my blood boiled and I could have spit fire again. Instead, I grabbed a huge bag of pistachio nuts and munched away at it while watching Brian Williams on MSNBC (I don't know why I feel compelled to watch this news every night -- I am always disappointed by the lack of content) with the frame skipping making the video not watchable but I didn't care. It was either that or lose my temper.

I felt that I was kind for coming home. I felt that I was kind for offering my wife my computer. i felt betrayed that when I gave, she took, leaving me in the dirt. What did I expect? If you give, you expect the person you give to to take. I don't know why I was so angry that she didn't let me watch the Bachelor, and I don't know why I fumed over her choosing to go on Facebook rather than do something together with me after I just went through so much conflict to NOT watch the show before I came home. In my good graces (which means my warped mind) I even considered spending time with her until she went to sleep an hour or so later and then I would watch my show. But she hogged the computer I gave her and I felt she was selfish.

Instead of popping or breathing fire, I put my headphones on, went into our bedroom and listened to a Holosync Awakening Prologue session. I don't know that this does anything for me, but I've been playing a game with myself trying to see if I can get through it without falling asleep. Tonight I was so upset and angry that I stayed awake throughout the whole session. In hindsight, I did have a mind-altering experience in that I stayed awake, but in a meditative state which is an accomplishment for me, but I couldn't get over being so angry.

What frustrated me the most is that it was over something so small, tiny, and stupid. I visualized 100 times my wife climbing into my bed and giving me a hug being oblivious to the anger I had for her this night and me telling her in a nasty voice to go to hell. I went back and forth in my mind during the Holosync session whether to just drop the anger and the fight because it was over something so stupid, and I reasoned with myself that it wasn't worth the hurt to our relationship to get all worked up over something like this.

I awoke from the Holosync session (well, it ended and I lied there on the bed for a few moments feeling that my wife was still awake and was looking at me), folded up the earphones, and walked out of the room without looking back. I softly closed the door behind me and I wondered, "did she know I was so angry tonight? Did I hurt her tonight? Have I done damage to our relationship?" I visualized my daughter older coming up to me and asking, "Daddy, why did you leave us?" I couldn't imagine being a divorced father with just visitation rights and in my short hiatus into my mind, I abandoned my children thinking that a clean break would be better for them than a father that was not able to be a father to them. I cried inside my mind over my divorce and over the loss of my children. I then wanted to go back into the bedroom and kiss my wife, but I was still angry at her and I heard her snoring so I didn't want to wake her.

All in all, I really hope I don't damage my marriage or my relationship with all this emotion and anger, and I really pray that this difficult time pass and that we get a chance to be a family and that my wife and I get a chance to open up to each other (since I feel as if we've been estranged for some time), and all this extra pressure of having charges filed against me, having to defend myself against the NY Character & Fitness Board, and losing all of our unemployment and having absolutely no money come in -- well, I wish it would all go away and that I can be a successful attorney with a happy wife and a healthy home.

PS - To my new father friend also taking the bar exam (Matt), you shouldn't be spending your time reading this blog. It'll kill your time, it'll poison your mind, and it'll distract you from doing what you really should be doing instead of reading this... you should be either studying for the bar exam or doing kind acts for your wife and your children, not reading my warped misogynist thoughts.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Fuming, but really nobody's fault except my own for trying to study in my apartment with my wife and the kids screaming.

[I wrote this a few days ago but am only posting this now.] About five minutes ago, I was so angry that I could spit fire. Today is my first "crunch" day in studying for the bar. I loaded up my schedule to the brim giving myself tasks to do from 7am until 11pm -- things Barbri say I need to complete to be prepared for the bar. Since I'm one that believes in following the system to get predicted results, I almost passed out trying to keep up with the things I assigned to myself. I concluded that I couldn't finish everything, but I'll do my best and circle the tasks I didn't get to. As I get more efficient in the coming days, I'll pick up what I couldn't do today.

So my wife took the kids out to her parents all day -- this was wonderful in that she was making time for me to study and to stick to my new schedule. A few minutes before 7am, she kicked me out of bed and reminded me that I needed to get going and I did. From then until around 6:30pm, I was going full force. Then at 6:30pm, she came home and I was in the middle of my recorded lecture online.

Barbri has this funky thing that you're only allowed to listen to six make-up videos, and if you lose a connection or shut your window and listen to the same one again, that counts as if you've listened to another video, even though it's the same video your counter was already dinged for. I was listening on my broken laptop which can't be unplugged to move into another room or else it goes into hibernation mode and I lose my internet connection (and I get dinged again when I start the video back up). My wife knew I was scheduled tonight to listen to a makeup class video from 6pm - 9pm and I was under the impression that she would put the kids to bed at her parents house and watch the superbowl with them since they're all into that kind of stuff. Nope. 6:30pm she came home, and I was 1 hour into the video (I started early because I wanted to end early). I had to keep the video on pause (and I actually lost the connection costing me an extra makeup class ding) and I didn't get to return to the video until after 8:30pm when the kids finally fell asleep.

I was fuming mad, so mad that my face made angry grimaces and I couldn't control my fuming. I was so angry that my blood boiled, so much so that I am sure that I knocked at least a few months off of my life from the bodily damage I caused through the burning flames of my anger. I want to use a stronger word for flames, but I can't think of any -- plumes, flumes, fumes, whatever. Substitute it for flames in that last sentence and you'll get an idea of how angry I was. I am sure I even popped a few blood vessels in my face from being angry.

I won't go into how ironic it is that I'm able to hold back my anger even though at one point my right hand started shaking and I made a fist and let out a large breath of air that could have burned a hole in the wall eight feet across from me.

All in all, this is just one of the many experiences I had where my wife worked hard to accommodate my studying needs, but fell short which screwed me over because I lost some piece of studying that would have gotten done if she didn't interrupt me by coming home early or by some other distraction BUT WAIT! I don't fault her for this because she HAS been trying really hard to help me have time to study, and there are certain things that are simply out of her control. If she's at her parents and its getting late and the kids are screaming, she HAS TO COME HOME and if I'm there, tough luck on me.

The advice I give to other fathers taking the bar is... get as far away from your home as possible. When you are physically in your home, be 100% present, be at home, and don't think about or do any studying for the bar. If you need to study, pack up and leave for however many hours you need to study. It's not your wife's fault if you can't focus at home because she has no control over the kids, and if she's helping you out by watching them many hours a day to help you study, then she may physically not be able to go all the way to meet your study expectations.

The week before the bar, I'll be going alone to one of those cheapo hotels that have a bed, a desk, and internet access, and I'll be staying there until after the exam. It's a tough prospect to separate myself from my wife for that long, but really, I need the separation to focus and learn as much as I need to. Since my exam is at the Javits Center, I found a place right outside the city that is able to accommodate my needs.

Friday, February 05, 2010

James Ray, the Secret, and a waste of your time reading this.

Okay, how I'm doing personally. BTW, I think it sucks that Blogger took away my ability to post pictures in my blogs. Now there is just text which can lead to a visually unstimulating blog page. But who cares. My readership these days is near zero anyway.

I've been Zoe Strickman now online for almost 5 years now. I was wondering what would happen if from time to time I decided to take Zoe out for a ride in reality and start creating a character on the street with that name. You know, open a few accounts under that name, start doing business with this name, write a few books, etc. Of course, I would do this legally and I wouldn't break any laws, but then again, BYE BYE ANONYMITY. BTW, I wonder whether my wife would enjoy going on a date with Zoe rather than me. ;) Maybe I can form him into a character that is different from me -- dressing different, speaking differently, acting differently, etc. Wouldn't that be fun to sometime be Zoe and sometimes be me?

Okay, down to business... my personal life. I've been reading about how James Ray (apparently the author of the Secret and some wealth book I have in my bookshelf unread) was arrested for a few deaths and hospitalizations that occurred at his seminar. I have no opinion of him except that he's a self-help self-proclaimed guru, and he's no Anthony Robbins (who I still have a deep affection for, even though I haven't seen him in almost ten years now). There was a time that I wanted to be Tony. I acted like him, I thought like him, and I emulated him. Well, everything except his wrecked marriage and bubbly personality. Sorry, I'm too cynical for that. I wanted to BE him, and I have no doubt or regrets that I could have. Although, I have no confidence in myself and no believe that I would have succeeded, because in my eyes, I never succeed at anything. I do a lot, and I accomplish so much, but I never succeed at anything. Somewhere along the line I always hit some wall which stops me from reaping the benefits from what I sowed. That's an argument I have against G-d, and I can't believe he'd tell me, "well, if you davened and put tefilin on every day like I told you too and you guarded your thoughts you would have everything you set out to accomplish." BOLLUCKS. I did the religious thing with full devotion and with careful attention to detail and I still kept hitting the wall. I fought my yetzer hara and my evil inclinations. I prayed every day, put on tefillin, learned Torah and circled myself with truly religious people. But I never succeeded, and in truth, I broke my promise to G-d so I have nobody to blame except for myself.

I'm not going to defend myself. I still keep taharas hamishpacha, I still daven although certainly not regularly, I say every beracha and after beracha, I learn Torah each week (although not regularly), I keep kosher, Shabbat, and halacha (except the do not steal part). Maybe from a spiritual perspective I kill and murder too. I'm angry all the time and I'm sick in the head because it's a piece of cake for my imagination to feel as real as reality, but that's all between me and G-d. Nobody is ever harmed by me, I watch my tongue and my actions, I think kind thoughts, and that is the end of my explanation.

As for the bar, I'm a nervous wreck. So many topics to learn, so much to do, but not enough time to do it all. I could throw blame at my family for this, but really if I point a finger it should be at myself for not having the discipline to do more than I already have. Anyone who sees me, however, will think this is preposterous because I'm always studying. I could always be better, be more efficient, waste less time, and devote my energies more than I have. Then I'd be superhuman.

From a psychological perspective, I am daunted by the world I am sure I created around me. I feel as if my failures are from my own actions and are consequences of my habitual thoughts and if I changed my thoughts, my reality would change as well. I cannot and would never want to think away the people in my life (except the son-of-a-bitch who will get what is coming to him one day) because I feel as if my wife and children are my biggest accomplishments, and I should hope that I am my wife's biggest accomplishment. There is so much both right and wrong and I see my own responsibility for each negative and positive. I could have (and still can) make my life so much different; I could move our life in such a different direction than the horrible apparent poverty that we live in. It's just such an oxymoron that when I am working, I'm making close to 6 figures, and when I'm not, I'm making zero. My income last year was close to $60K which is very surprising considering that I was unemployed 6 months out of last year and am still unemployed to date (although now we're no longer receiving ANY income, not even unemployment, and we're digging into every penny saved just to pay the basic bills) and yet with ALL THIS, I have child number three due in just a few weeks.

My head is swirling in the fact that if things aren't tough as they are, we'll have one more set of diapers to always be buying; one more mouth to feed; one more beating heart to share our unending and limitless love with. I feel lucky that my wife and I are a team. Our family couldn't make it without her, or at the very least, I would have needed many many months ago to become someone very different from who I have become leading towards today.

Alright, I feel as if I have let you down because I don't think this post is very telling, insightful, or meaningful. I've probably repeated myself yet again to your boredom. I am sorry for letting you down.

Privacy, VPN tunneling, and Evidence

As if I wasn't obsessive enough about privacy and anonymity, my heart palpitations based on a fear that this son-of-a-bitch will get an e-mail from Google every time I post something have caused me to fear doing anything on the web without severe encryption and VPN access through multiple countries. Especially with Google's news today that they're teaming up with the NSA, I think to myself, "well, if covering my tracks and staying private wasn't important before, it just became a priority." My wife thinks that if I'm not doing anything wrong then there's no reason to hide my tracks, but I disagree using the current accusation against me in point. This SOB took bits of information scattered around the web about me and pasted together a story and an accusation. If I didn't have proof to the contrary, and if I didn't have proof that HE KNEW to the contrary, I could have wound up in jail!

So it gives me a slight chuckle that every time now that I log onto, it welcomes me in German, Dutch, or some other language. Tunneling through an encrypted VPN really slows down my connection, but in cases such as this one where it says, "last logged in from" (or whatever IP address), this concerns me because I *KNOW* that if I were on the other side monitoring my own connection, I could say, "Okay, Zoe logged onto his e-mail from this address, and someone from that same address (must be him) also logged onto this other user on Blogger. This frumpter account must be his [not so] anonymous account that he's using." Whatever, nobody is likely going to do this, but if I -- a semi-techy hacker-type of regular guy -- can think of how easy it is to do this AND I own both Google, Blogger, and so many other services used by my subscribers, YOU BET YOUR ASS I WOULD BE LINKING ACCOUNTS BASED ON WHICH IP ADDRESSES LOGGED ONTO THEM.

Anyway, while I should be preparing for the bar exam (and I am full force), I spent much of yesterday and today gathering evidence into one orderly place. I also filed a response to the accusation, and so we'll see what happens. I believe there is a strong likelihood that I'll have to hire an attorney eventually, but for now, my actions cooperating with the authorities are innocuous. I really didn't have anything incriminating that I had to worry about, and so I wrote out a reply and sent it in. Really, I am not at a place where we can afford a lawyer at this point, but then again, we are really at a place where we cannot afford NOT to get a lawyer should this thing move to the next level and a criminal investigation be filed. At this point, it seems as if everybody is just gathering evidence and so there was nothing to hide.

So that is the update on my main worry of the day; I'll post this and write something more personal following this.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

What I value in a relationship with my wife based on a conversation about me watching "The Bachelor" on

Now my thoughts about other matters. My wife chides me that I enjoy watching TV shows such as "The Bachelor", but I find the interactions between the characters quite telling of real life. There is so much to human interactions that even if everything looks good on paper, it might still not feel right. The chemistry might not be there.

I also enjoy the quite obvious theme of "what do you get when you squeeze an orange?" ANSWER: ORANGE JUICE! 'What about if you squeeze an apple?" ANSWER: APPLE JUICE! Moral of the story, when a person gets squeezed, what EVENTUALLY COMES OUT is WHAT IS INSIDE. I see these girls with such perfect-looking exteriors break down with their inner insecurities. I see honest people get caught lying and have to face the consequences of having to be asked to leave the show. And then I see hated people like Vienna who everyone dislikes be shown kindness even in the face of being accused from every side. What made me smile tonight while watching the latest episode is that I felt that she let her insecurities slip when she went to visit whoever the guy is in bed. I loved it when he felt uncomfortable and he sent her upstairs. Jake I believe is his name.

In other words, what people are can never be hidden indefinitely by a facade. Eventually the truth ALWAYS comes out. This comforts me because I feel that life would vindicate me if what is inside really came outside to be viewed by all. I don't think that I hide much. I certainly hide stuff, no doubt. But not much. At least if my insides were exposed, people would see that I have a good heart. There's not much beyond that that I have to fear. Yes, I used "that" twice in the last sentence on purpose.

Then i think about my wife. My blatantly rough and honest wife who I can trust. our relationship is nothing like what I see on TV, but we both work very hard and are just trying to make due with what has been given to us in terms of skills, blessings, and opportunities. It still phases me that I can rarely get a read on what my wife is thinking, but it occurred to me tonight that this is only because after three years of marriage, she has not yet opened up to me. She has not yet learned to lower her guard, and she has not learned to be vulnerable and open around me. Even though this is a serious violation in my values in what I expect out of a husband-wife relationship, and even though there are other serious complaints I have about our marriage such as the distance we share from each other and lack of intellectual and emotional intimacy, the one deep bond that I can rely on her for is that she is honest and she is faithful to our relationship and to our family. I suppose there is nothing more needed in a relationship than that, and all my other complaints are silenced because I wouldn't trade these traits for the others that I sometimes miss.

Anyway, again, the second watch of the evening is upon us, and thus I must force myself to give up my streaming evening thoughts and I will force myself to retire to my bed listening with headphones to my holosync audios as I fall asleep to awaken to yet another very difficult day in a stream of many difficult days, weeks, and months. Life will get better, because everything changes eventually.

False accusations, lies, and bearing false witness.

I have been trying each day and every moment not to think about what has been done to us, and while some moments I am able to distract myself, other moments just haul me right back into the feelings of hurt and violation from the objectively innocuous but malicious attack that has transpired. I will consciously not think about it again, but I will post about it after the intended posting of this article (either at the bottom or in a separate article). The injury, however, is still too fresh and so I am not sure how much I can share, and I am not being mysterious or dramatic on purpose.

Oh hell, I'll talk about it now, and let's see what comes of this.

Naturally, I am not the most politically correct person. In real life, I am rough around the edges, I speak my mind, and I am honest (apparently to my detriment here). I used to believe that if I am forthcoming, authentic, and if I have integrity, people would respect me. I've always wanted to be seen when I get older as one of those rough lumberjack-like mentalities who have a very clear and set way about me, and where every bone in my body was real and even though people may not like me, they trust me that I wouldn't deceive them.

But I find that this kind of honest person does not operate well in this world; he is at a significant disadvantage because people all around him are scheming to hurt him, to trick him, to attack him, or to nudge him to reveal the dishonesty that MUST be under his rough skin. "Every man has skeletons in his closet," people think, but mine are not the kind that people suspect.

If you saw me on the street, whether or not I thought you were likable or whether I thought you were garbage, I would still smile and give you real kindness. I'd say hello and I'd mean it. I would not share my thoughts with you about you, but if you asked, I'd tell you what I was thinking. Being a bit more broad in my description, I do stick out of a crowd as being smarter, wiser, better, possibly more virtuous than those around me. This is not my intent, but it's the reality of it and even though I NEVER BOAST about my qualities (I mean in person, not here on the blog or in my thoughts), people very often feel put off by me, and they often think that I think that I am so much better than them and it really pains me to say that too often, they are right.

Apparently, I stepped on someone's ego. Instead of shaking it off, this person went violent on me and my reputation, but he didn't stop there. He gathered tenuous evidence and made false accusations about me about things that he knew not to be true. He filed complaints with government agencies charging me with crimes I did not commit and that I have proof that I did not commit, but now the livelihood and integrity of my family is now at risk because my reputation is at risk. The kind of things he accused me of will always be with me, and if asked about, even if I am found not guilty, I will always have been accused of it.

It digs into my chest like a knife that this person did this for the sole purpose of causing me emotional harm. I think if and when he reads this blog, he will have immense satisfaction knowing that he has caused me pain. I have vomited over being accused of this, and I have felt dizzy, shaky, nauseous, and light-headed since I found out about it. I cry privately over this, because the aggravation I am feeling now that I have to hire a lawyer and defend myself right in the middle of studying for the NY bar; it is unthinkable. NY's character and fitness board has even contacted me and told me that if I am found guilty, I might not be admitted into the state. All this while I have been doing nothing except what I should be doing -- studying for the bar exam.

Here is my source of calm. I learned a long time ago from a woman who troubled me to no end but taught me more than I could ever acknowledge that everybody is dishonest, trust nobody, and document everything. I learned to keep records of everything with dates on every page of paper. My source of calm is that I keep records, and I can prove that his claims are incorrect. However, this being said, I cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his circumstantial evidence is not sufficient to have these agencies take action against me and I am lucky I do not have to. However, I have not yet been formerly charged, and thus with all these informal hearings not subject to the rules of evidence and law, I fear for my family's stability and financial well being every moment because I know that this can change our family's fate and possibly force us to leave the state.

On the note of fate, I believe with every fiber of my being that there is a G-d and that he controls everything and everyone, and thus this is happening for a reason. I think to myself that either I have made a wrong turn and he is correcting my path, albeit via this unbelievably complicated way, or that this is a divine decree against me and that I and my family are being punished for things I have done or not done. I am bitter about this, and I've always wished that Hashem would not test me and would just set me out on a calm pathway and let me live out my life with my spiritual struggles, but apparently he loves me because he has turned his attention towards me with these hardships.

One thing my accuser has not anticipated is that I don't forget. I will defend myself against his claim, and regardless of whether I win or lose, when the moment presents itself, I will hit him judicially hard and where it hurts, and I will do it with truth. I will sue him where it hurts, and if G-d is with me, he will know that dishonesty is a very dark and painful place that I pray to G-d that he wishes he never visited.

Until then, I am the injured sheep. I am the defeated, meek one going "be'eh." However, I promise that I will learn to become the viper with sharper fangs and more poison than anyone would have ever imagined.

I have so much that can be attacked with truth. I have so many secrets, so many skeletons, and so many unpopular beliefs that any attack dog can have a field day with any of my weaknesses. But to attack me with falsehood, no. I do not consent to be lunged at with a lie. I still believe the justice system is good. Please don't jade my idealistic view of things with your filthy lies, you dog. Even worse, I saw you as my friend.