nonsuit

with no genuine issue of material facts
the correct answer,
as a matter of law,
is to stay together

with heavy limbs and eyelids
stumbling, fumbling, mumbling
blind return, always
find and yearn, always
love is a choice

old people call it a directed verdict
and even older people call it a nonsuit
and I call it the way I know
that nothing is bigger than this

In Defense of Lindsay Lohan

sometimes we all mutate
gyrate
seal our own fate
face homegrown hate
and emotionally masturbate
the world into something easier to understand
that fits in your hand and keeps plans and
knows dates and times
something that isn’t so blind
something that knows we’re not fine
and forgives the crime of being
too self-centered to know any better
and too distracted by the world that lives sick in our heavy throats to fix it

Overhaul

My old theme and tagline were too demanding. Every time I tried to make a post, I’d worry about my branding. About those sharp black bold words and the cute pink dots. I’d worry that my insides were nowhere near as cute as those pink dots and that, in fact, nothing I had to say was anything anyone would want to read anyhow. The words of the last literary agent I spoke with rang in my ears: “This was important for you to write, but no one else needs or even wants to read this. You can do so much better.”

Seriously, I’m going to query this woman again someday. Pray for me.

So, I’d try to do “better” by sterilizing myself out of my narrative and, predictably, wrote a bunch of stiff lifeless shit. Then I swung back in the other direction and wrote a bunch of livejournal-style entries so excruciatingly personal that I didn’t even bother with my usual anxiety-ridden posting-and-removing-immediately ritual. I’d feel so panicked about what the HUGE number of new people in my life would think about me that I forgot the golden rule:

Winning is not giving a fuck unless you want to.

I’ve been giving an awful lot of fucks about the lack of creative work in my life lately. I’ve also been giving a fair few fucks about how I’ve been too paralyzed to post anything here out of fear that all the new professional relationships I’m forging will dissolve when everyone finds out what a strange bird I am, but I’m starting to remember that I don’t want the people who don’t like strange birds anyhow. So, I’m going to start posting poetry and prose which, um, is mostly what I used to write all the time anyway. Why I thought I’d suddenly have funny, insightful opinion pieces is beyond me. I think it was that stupid “thinks she has something to say” tagline, which I chose because of the sharp black letters and the pink bubbles and the clean lines and real-name domain. I fixed the cosmetics. I’m still attaching my real name to it, though. It’s the only username I can think of anymore.

Someday I’m going to write a “personal essay” here (not an funny, insightful opinion piece; some navel-gazing shit. That’s what I do, okay? I’m owning it.) about why I use my real name almost everywhere on the internet. I’m probably going to try NOT to write about political issues or my zany life (which were my initial platforms) outside of some potential confessionalist prose shit. I might still post a recipe once in awhile, though. I trust that not enough people were reading to care, anyhow, so… yeah. Solid. Good talk. Here’s a poem that I wrote like five years ago to ease me back into this. It’s been a long time since I wrote poetry and much longer since I’ve shared it, but I do remember what it feels like, and I know I used to like the feel of this:

shipwreck

She climbed up
the hard
floor. Onyx

oscillating
through gyres
slowly churning.

Another anomaly
abomination
defective & decadent.

What capsized,
jumbled, scrambled,
short of

shore, hard
of heart
melancholy & gargantuan?

Follow Your DREAMS v. Do Something MARKETABLE: A Case Brief

Procedure:

-This is an action for specific performance. The plaintiff is suing for breach of contract for the right to a satisfying career, as agreed upon prior to the American economic recession.

-The plaintiff appeals from summary judgment, where the trial court held that the agreement between 1990′s economic optimism and real-world present-day economic truths was not enforceable because Dreams did not provide adequate consideration so as to create a binding contract.

 

Facts:

-In the 1990′s, the United States economy faced vast prosperity.

-During this period, Marketable purported itself to consist of virtually any career path to which one could reasonably commit and apply oneself

-Dreams distributed ideology and literature to most economically solvent people raising children during this period on reliance that these circumstances would not change

-Following the economic collapse of 2008, Marketable narrowed the definitions of “marketable” considerably as millions of Americans became entrenched in financial ruin

 

Issue:

Whether the trial court erred in holding that years of job satisfaction-based career conditioning for “millennials” did not constitute sufficient detriment so as to be binding consideration

 

Holding:

Judgment affirmed; Consideration must be provided for each individual contract.

 

Reasoning:

-Marketable argues that the continued agreement with Dreams was nudum pactum, as Dreams granted benefits only to those whose efforts led to economic success due to factors external to their actual desires and NOT to those whose desires were not marketable to begin with.

-In contrast, Dreams asserts that the dreams of those responsible for the 1990′s economic boom benefited Marketable by expanding the definition of what “marketable” could be during that time.

-Further, Dreams contends that Marketable shifted the meaning of “marketable” where Dreams had neither actual knowledge nor reason to know the meaning.

-Ultimately, “marketable” necessarily shifts based on market conditions. Policy dictates that, under Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 89D(a): “A promise modifying a duty under a contract not fully performed on either side is binding if (a) the modification is fair and equitable in view of circumstances not anticipated by the parties when the contract was made. . . .”

-Further, § 77 states: “A promise or apparent promise is not consideration if by its terms the promisor or purported promisor reserves a choice of alternative performances. . . .”

-Therefore, the onus to expand the definition of “marketable” must necessarily fall on Dreams and its subscribers. Each individual agreement (or “dream”) requires good consideration be given to Marketable in order to be enforceable.

 

Rule:

There’s no guarantee that dreams will be marketable. Each dream must be considered in terms of whether there can be a market for it.

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(Note: Obviously, I haven’t updated in a few weeks. I’ve been pretty sick [physically] and am hoping to resolve that soon. I have 3-4 unfinished posts sitting in a document labeled “Blog.” This was the quickest one to finish and is an example of what my homework looks like for basically every case I read… so roughly 6 of these babies a night. I thought it was a fun structure in which to consider big questions [even if this one wasn't ENTIRELY flawless in execution] and I imagine I’ll likely do more of them in the future. Consider this a taste of features to come!)

Too Busy for Politics

Put on your tin foil hats, kids. It’s about to get weird in here.

First: http://healthcarereform.procon.org/

Above is a non-partisan explanation of what Obamacare is and does. Up until this point, I’ve refrained from commenting on the political shitstorm because I’ve had ZERO time to inform myself.

Here’s what I know about Obama’s healthcare reform: Because of some sort-of recent changes, I was able to get health insurance under my dad’s plan until the first day of December (the month in which I turn 26). That was good, especially when most of my post-college jobs required a 90-day waiting period.

I have very little to say on the matter beyond that, but I felt like it was important to find, bookmark, and share a way to obtain non-partisan information on a decidedly partisan issue.

My understanding of the shutdown is that it was a partisan measure taken in protest to a law that has passed through all three branches of government. Given that threatening government shutdown has been a near-constant right wing ploy for several years, I’m almost impressed that it actually happened this time. That said… WHY? The people staging the protest are still getting paid a lot of money and they seem to be the same ‘bootstrappers’ who claim that everyone should be able to pull themselves up in America. Since government jobs were generally regarded to be secure sources of income and benefits, it seems like they’re derailing their own arguments by forcing thousands of government employees into life without income until stuff calms down. I don’t get the logic.

Maybe I just need to read more. In fact, I almost CERTAINLY need to read more, but I’m learning Trusts and Estates in Property and all real-life thought processes have temporarily been suspended until this unit is over. Further, with all the time I’ve spent getting angry about Congress’ shitty behavior, I’m not sure it’s worth it anymore.

That’s the core of this post: Is it worth getting riled up about anymore?

Over the weekend, Bill and I watched The Panama Deception, which is a great documentary about some horrible shit the United States has done. There are a lot, for the record, of great documentaries about horrible shit the United States has done. The United States has done a lot of horrible shit.

I invoked Panama to say this: How can you trust a country that unapologetically rigged an election, burned down civilian houses, and set up concentration camps in an unjust act of war AND purposefully ensured that the media kept its own citizens in the dark about it? Sure, that was 20 years ago, but we’re neck-deep in debt with another unjust war right now. What kinds of hair-raising tales will we hear about Iraq once it’s all over?

For that matter, how many of us are still into the idea of the war in the MIddle East? A quick Google search tells me that more than half of us thought it was a mistake by 2007. I haven’t seen any more recent figures than that, but how about the figures showing that between 65% and 91% of us are against action in Syria? How much of a deterrent effect do you think that will have?

What about the NDAA in 2012? What about how we face government-sanctioned sexual assault every time we get on a plane? What about the drone strikes? What about the fact that the media is so muddled that many of us are simply UNABLE to reach an informed conclusion about major issues without being swept away by one side or the other? Is that just a coincidence?

What about how most of Congress, whose JOB it is to get this information, never read the Patriot Act? What about how virtually no one outside of those making a career in the political field has the time to dig deeper into the meat of these issues and find out the truth?

Most of us have lives to attend to. These lives include Property homework, putting dinner on the table, changing diapers, dead-end jobs, and hundreds of other tangible concerns that, generally speaking, do not pertain to US policy goals. Does anyone really think that the people in charge here haven’t caught onto that?

Why else would provisions about indefinite detention and other basic constitutional rights be slipped into the back end of wordy, unrelated bills? Why else do they not show footage of what happens in Iraq and Afghanistan on the news at night? Why else is EVERYTHING pertaining to government presented as a blue-vs.-red battle royale?

Anyone who’s ever studied history knows that there is power to be gained from the ignorance of the masses. George Washington’s oft-quoted farewell address said: “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

The career politician sits pretty atop the heap of his winnings and we, the red and blue clad cheerleaders, are none the wiser. Congress, collecting their paychecks while the rest of the country is left hanging in the balance, embody Washington’s nightmare perfectly today, and there’s not a damn thing any of us has time to do about it.

I can’t say I’ll never get pissed about a political issue again. I voted in 2012 (though mostly because gay marriage was kind of a big deal in Maine). I can’t say I’ll never frantically try a senator or representative’s phone or email again, because I have and I’m sure something will make me feel that desperate again, sooner or later. What I am saying, however, is that I’ve long since disabused myself of the notion that any of this shouting and flailing makes much difference, besides the token social issue here or there. Red or blue is merely the wrapping paper you choose for the same out-of-touch money-driven cog in the policy machine. The partisan system has bested us all. Without a complete overthrow of all career politicians, our chances of ever living in any meaningful version of democracy are slim to none.

Since we all saw what Occupy, the largest scale protest anyone’s found time to put on in recent memory, accomplished, I won’t be holding my breath.

RECIPE TIME: Three-fer Dehydrated Coconut Dulces

I was going to do a week three recap of Law School, but I’m reserving judgement until after one full month has passed. One of the people in my class posted this graphic from tumblr that basically sums up my thoughts right now, anyhow:

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So, recipe time. This could have been paleo or vegan, I guess, if I’d found a way around sweetened condensed milk. I’m sure that xylitol caramel and greek yogurt or something could have done the trick… but Bill had the brilliant idea to try and replicate these coconut candies he gets from El Salvador and I didn’t think twice about what they most tasted like. 

I apologize for the photo quality. Most are stills taken from a video Bill made me promise never to share. Additionally, many steps do not have photos. I’ll be more diligent next time!

One coconut makes one Chinese takeout soup container full of candies. (Like those measurements? Yeah, you do.) In addition, at the end of this recipe you’ll have the candies AND sticky coconut caramel AND sweet coconut milk-liquid that tastes AMAZING over your favorite hot cereal. You’ll need:

-1 (or more, if you’re very patient/hungry) coconut

-1 can of sweetened condensed milk (per coconut)

-A machete, hammer, both, or some other coconut-cracking device

-A good knife

-A food dehydrator

-A sense of humor

Prep Time: Depending on how quick you can skin a coconut, a few hours and then at least one overnight soak

Dehydrator Time: At least 24 hours

Step One:

Cut the top of the coconut and drain the water.

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(Pro-tip: Should you have a bellyache, add lime to the water and drink it all up. It’ll make you feel better.)

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Step Two:

Once drained, crack the coconut WIDE open. We used a hammer on our concrete steps for this part. Your mileage may vary.

Step Three:

Set about removing the white coconut flesh from the hard outer shell AND the thin dark one. If this taking FUCKING FOREVER, you know you’re doing it right. You’ll want to keep the pieces as big as possible because it makes for nicer candies. Our method involved prying the flesh away with a sharp knife and then using a potato peeler on the remaining rind bits. Please share in the comments if you know a better way!

Step four:

Slice the coconut into ribbon-like strips. You don’t want them to be TOO thin, but they should probably be about as thick as the rim of a mason jar or… I don’t know, a good piece of cardboard… 1/4 centimeter? Sounds about right. Ribbon-like but not paper thin. They dry best this way.

Step Five: 

Put the coconut strips in a bowl. We let them stay in the bowl (covered with a cutting board) overnight because I’d forgotten to buy sweetened condensed milk and I think this served the purpose of making them dryer (and thereby more absorbent), but I’m sure you could just proceed to the next step.

Step Six:

Dump a can of sweetened condensed milk ALL OVER that coconut. Yeeeeeeah, buddy. Don’t eat it with a spoon. I know you want to, but try to resist. If you can’t hold off, I’m told the recipe does not suffer from munching on a few coated raw coconut bits. Mix everything well so that it’s coated evenly. Cover it, put it back in the fridge, and leave it overnight. We left it for two nights, but I think one would do the trick.

Step Seven:

If you have fruit roll trays for your dehydrator, now is a great time to use them. Parchment paper might also work, idk. If you’re going to try to do this in an oven, a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper is a good call. Grab the coconut out of the bowl by the handful. Squeeze out SOME excess liquid, but don’t worry too much about it, since having extra milk on the trays means extra sticky caramel for you later. Spread the coconut over the tray so that everything lays flat and nothing overlaps. For one coconut, we used two circular dehydrator trays. Reserve the excess coconut-infused liquid and serve over hot cereal. (Theeeeere’s dulce numero uno!)

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Step Eight:

Turn the dehydrator on! We set it to 135 degrees and left it for 24 hours. I suppose an oven at the lowest setting would have the same effect. Check periodically to see how they’re coming along. Taste tests are encouraged.

Step Nine:

Once they’re turning golden, pluck those babies off the sheets and put them in a refrigerator-friendly container with a cover. (Dulce numero dos: the intended product!) 

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Ours probably could have waited more than 24-hours. I maintain that two days would have been better… but it WAS really hard to wait that long and they WERE delicious after one day.

Step Ten:

Scrape the AMAAAAAAAZING sticky coconut-infused dehydrated sweetened condensed milk from the trays. I ate it with a spoon and regretted not making more, but I’m sure you could shape it into pretty little candies if you had better self control. (DULCE NUMERO TRES! FTW!)

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So, there you have it, kids! Food adventure of the week. Hope you enjoy as much as we do… especially because this recipe is a contender for our Christmas baskets, provided we can find a better way to skin a coconut… and a way to resist eating them all before they’re really done. Hrm.

 

Brutal Honesty

I bought my first domain name today. Welcome to my Adult Blog.

For a twenty-five year old who has actively utilized the Internet for the last seventeen years, I suppose it’s a little late in the game. For a novelist who has survived two query cycles, it’s bordering on shameful… but I was afraid. Image

See, like many people of my age and background, I’ve been prone to giving away Too Much Information on the internet. I had a LiveJournal starting around the time I was fourteen and prone to writing fanfiction and ending around the time I was twenty-one and really into writing about my “conquests” in confessional style. Bad poetry, of course, was littered throughout, but so was what I like to call “Brutal Honesty.”

In my teens and very early twenties, “Brutal Honesty” basically meant giving zero fucks about what anyone else thought or experienced and saying exactly what I thought or felt all of the time. Given that my perspective was severely limited AND that these years were some of my worst with regard to mental health, this did not always have positive effects. I thought being open about what was at my core would help me to connect to people… but in real life, I actually felt more alienated.

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I’ve grown up a lot since then–or, at least, I’d like to believe I have. I’ve graduated college, spent four and a half years in the workforce,  and am now beginning law school. I’ve stopped allowing mental illness to be the center of my days. I’ve gotten used to paying my own bills and bought a house. I’ve found my life partner AND realized that having a life partner isn’t the end of all life’s troubles. I guess you could say I’m better adjusted. I guess you could say I’m maturing…

…but I won’t say that. The truth is that I’m not entirely sure I trust myself with an Adult Blog. The truth is, I’m afraid that even NOW I’m saying something I’ll regret later. I bought this domain name with my real name and put my real face on it to remind myself that I’m accountable for what I say here. This is my “brand,” to use dumb corporate language about it, and I know I need to represent myself well.

I hope that this space will soon be filled with insightful cultural analysis, discussions of legal and political issues, recipes, reviews, and anecdotes about my personal journey that someone else may someday find useful or entertaining. I hope that it will be honest, but not so BRUTALLY honest as to ignore issues of privilege and perspective… and I’ll try to avoid the more uncomfortable overshares whenever possible. The best anyone can do is to try… and trying and failing is better than remaining silent. So:

Welcome to my blog! Here’s hoping for a smooth(ish) ride…

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