Tag Archives: personal

I am here because…

In working on a cover letter it dawned on me that there is much more to who I am, where I am, and how I’ve arrived at this stage of my life than my academic and vocational accomplishments. The formality of a cover letter – especially one targeted to lawyers conducting serious business at prestigious firms – is constricting. Thankfully, my blog is none of those things! So, what I have to say follows.

I was born in the cherry capital of the world to the two greatest parents in the universe. I am here because I watched hours of Voltron and Thundercats, experienced the creative wonders of Disney World at an early age, and learned hockey stickhandling from Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe. I am here because I spent every spare second from my 9th birthday through the beginning of college consumed by the sport of golf, which taught me the value of patience, brutal honesty, and friendship. I am who I am because of the many wonderful people who have been kind enough to say hello to me when I was too shy to say hello to them and because of the few great friends I’ve had over the years and because of the girls with whom I’ve fallen in and out of love. I am here because my sister has made me laugh, inspired me and nudged me in the right direction.

I built monsters and houses from LEGOS and Lincoln Logs. Refrigerator boxes became spaceships. Summer days ran until dusk then darkness. I fell down, then stood up again. Those hours of sax practice – or the lack thereof – are not lost on me. I will never forget the dinners at Mabel’s. I studied economics in college while wishing I was a writer. When not writing and reading, I played poker with friends until the sunrise. Law school has been a good excuse to explore New England, a place that reminds me of home. And a reminder of home is always a good thing.

I am here in Concord, New Hampshire two months away from graduation to the next phase of my life because I’ve done a million different things in my past. I have a feeling, regardless of how I package who I am on this cover letter, it will matter more that I’ve been where I’ve been, seen what I’ve seen, and met the people I’ve met.

Here’s to the next step – the great beyond. I love looking back, but I have to move forward. There’s a ways to go.

I Will Forge On

The following quote by Clint Eastwood got me thinking about stuff that I’ve been thinking about more lately than before.

My father died very suddenly at sixty-three. Just dropped dead. For a long time afterward, I’d ask myself, Why didn’t I ask him to play golf more? Why didn’t I spend more time with him? But when you’re off trying to get the brass ring, you forget and overlook those little things. It gives you a certain amount of regret later on, but there’s nothing you can do about it. So you just forge on. (link)

I feel like this a lot lately. Not just with my father, but with my mother, sister, and friends. Even the dogs. Life passes so quickly that I often find it difficult to keep up. I wish there were 48 hours in each day so that I could call home more often, play an extra round of golf, or just shoot the shit with the people that mean the most to me.

We traveled a lot when I was a kid. We went to Disney World, out West on a train, skiing at Vail, and many other places. I see now, more than ever, how difficult it is (and how much more difficult it is becoming despite cell phones, skype, IM, etc.) to keep in touch – to get people together – to squeeze in a round of golf between school, work, travel, and whatever else occupies my time.

Grand plans are nice, but not required. Activities that were once trivial now create some of my most cherished memories. It is the short sunny hikes, silent hours on the couch, grabbing a quick beer, or riding into town that give me a chance to catch up. I rarely have much to say, but it’s nice just to be there. To be with family. To be around friends. It is in doing things with these people that I prove my lonely stubbornness wrong and find meaning in my life.

I do forge on, Clint. But I also wake up each morning wondering if I’m making enough of an effort. If I’m talking enough. If I’m doing enough. If I’m headed in the right direction. If… if… if… And these “ifs” will forever remain. There will seldom be definite answers. But I think that is okay because in the end I’ll have definite memories, too. I’ll forge on with my definite memories held closer than most other things I cherish. Those memories will comfort me that I did enough, and that although I could have done more, I am so fortunate to have the memories I do have.

Early Morning Rounds

I haven’t had the opportunity to play an early morning round of golf in a long time, but boy do I miss it. There is just something about the chill in the air, the uninterrupted dew on the fairways and greens, and the empty course waiting to be played that makes for a peaceful morning. Dodging the mowers can be tricky, but fun.

My penchant for early morning rounds likely developed during my junior golfing days. At the young age of ten or eleven I started competing in nine-hole tournaments at local golf courses. The courses donated (I presume) early morning course time to the Traverse City Junior Golf Association for us to compete. And compete we did, once a week through the summer. There were usually about eight or ten tournaments, which worked out to one per week. Just enough to establish a competitive season without being too great a burden on our parents, who got us to the course at obscenely early hours.

Later, high school golf tryouts started at 6am and ran all week. Needless to say, it was a very tiring week. High school tournaments were usually played early, too. And there were always too many pranks to be played and fun to be had to get to bed early.

So, through all of this nostalgic wandering is the reason I like playing early in the morning. It gives me a reason to think back on my childhood when I had trouble falling asleep because I was so exciting and nervous about the next mornings nine-hole tournament. That feeling never went away, and to this day, I still get butterflies in my stomach when I tee up my Titleist on the first tee and take those stiff practice swings.

One Shot to Impress

Imagine that you are in the following situations with only one swing – one shot – a single attempt to impress. What shot do you hit?

Your significant other is watching you hit balls on the range for the first time?

You’re on the first tee with your potential boss. He just duffed it.
Modest 2 iron

Tiger Woods, strolling by casually, is watching. He needs a pro-am partner.
Smooth 6 iron.

You are leading by one at THE PLAYERS Championship teeing off on 18.
Hard driver.

Your golf pro starts hitting balls next to you on the range.
Smooth 7 iron.

Your best ball partner shows up after you talked up your (rusty) game all week at the office.
Hit the putting green!

Phil Mickelson shows up at the practice green next to you and starts hitting flop shots.
A higher flop shot!

You’re having a chipping contest with your dad in the back yard.
Low sand wedge.

It’s interesting to think of when you want to impress, show off skill, or ensure a solid shot. What would you do in these situations? Do you have any good ones of your own?

Law School Is Half Over

The end of my Evidence final came at 11:28am today. I am now chronologically halfway done with law school. (I think I’m a bit ahead credits-wise.) So, time to review my life.

Making the decision to go to law school was one of the hardest choices of my life. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but when I look at the time-line of my application process, it spans years and takes a few pit stops.

I took two years off after graduating from the University of Michigan in 2004. During those years I worked for two start-ups. The first, Ruckus, was a blast and forever changed my expectations for what I want out of a job – both good and bad. I was able to be creative and had very few limitations, but the down side of that was semi-chaos that left me anxious and beat at the end of the day. The second was K12, a start-up that was further along. It was more “corporate,” but still had a newness to it.

It wasn’t a complete coincidence that both Ruckus and K12 were education related. Ruckus provided digital entertainment to college kids (a slogan I’ll never forget) and K12 is a virtual curriculum. The people that helped me into those companies felt strongly about the importance of education and expanding education.

I can’t say with certainty what 1.5 years of law school has given me. There have been plenty of highs and lows. I’ve been to China to study, something I never took the time to do in undergrad. The coursework is becoming more interesting and application of it comes with more ease.

What I still lack is the notion of how to bring together prior experience, my undergrad studies and what I’m learning in law school. And then, once it’s together is some loose metaphysical ball secured with mental twine and spare post-it notes, how to apply it.

I look forward to figuring that out. Meanwhile, I have a month-long break before I start in on Law School: Part Deux.

Movies I Saw in 2007

My top seven movies of 2007:

1. 30 Days of Night
2. No Country for Old Men
3. Superbad
4. Juno
5. Grindhouse
6. The Darjeeling Limited
7. Stardust

Update: Let me explain my selections. I don’t really like horror movies. I was surprised by “30 Days of Night.” It scared me and thoroughly entertained me. As far as walking out of the theater having been entertained, that movie left me satisfied. I would not watch it again, however.

“No Country for Old Men” was very well done. I loved the use of silence throughout the movie. It made me feel ashamed to be digging through my Skittles at times. (Yeah, I was that guy.)

“Superbad” and “Juno,” both featuring Michael Cera among many other amazing actors, are two movies I would like to own. I could re-watch both of them today, next week, or in a year and know I would still like them.

“Grindhouse” and “The Darjeeling Limited” are stylistically significant movies that came out of 2007. Neither was broad enough to come close to being my favorite movie of the year, but each was well done and deserved the anticipation they received.

“Stardust” was interesting and fun, and thus, is on my list.

Chronological list of movies I watched in 2007:

1. Smokin’ Aces
2. Music and Lyrics
3. The Number 23
4. Reno 911!: Miami
5. Grindhouse
6. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters
7. Distrubia
8. Fracture
9. Waitress
10. Spider-Man 3
11. Knocked Up
12. Evan Almighty
13. Live Free or Die Hard
14. Ratatouille
15. License to Wed
16. Transformers
17. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
18. Stardust
19. Superbad
20. Halloween
21. Into the Wild
22. The Darjeeling Limited
23. Lars and the Real Girl
24. 30 Days of Night
25. Dan in Real Life
26. No Country for Old Men
27. The Mist
28. Juno

I also rented 57 movies on Netflix.

More on Personal Timelines

Mark Cuban wrote (link):

Our past, and really our profile was defined by the contents of shoeboxes and milkcrates. The places where we kept old papers, pictures, grades, notes we passed to the girl we had a crush on.

Over the last few years, its evolved to the equivalent digital placeholder. Its on Flickr, photobucket, Myspace, Facebook, wherever we host and store all the digital pictures, videos,blog entries , comments and discussions we participate in that we share publicly. Or its in an email database that is hosted or backedup online that we may or may not choose to make public.. And these are just the elements we self maintain.

Our lives are being documented , cataloged and indexed whether we like it or not. But since its a relatively new phenomena, there really isnt much history out there . Our pasts, even of high school kids has far more offline and out of the reach of search engine spiders, than online.

All of this is very true and there is very little we can do to stop it. Information is power, and it flows more freely than ever today.