Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Day 5:

Happy Halloween! I wore my traditional Jack o' Lantern t-shirt to work today to liven things up a bit. Since my deadline for submitting my law school applications is quickly approaching (read: tomorrow), I am gearing up to finish my personal statement tonight. There are a few auxillary essays to write still, but those should be much easier as the scope is more defined ("Why our school?").

Listening to news clips of the recent debates has really depressed me, not because of the mudslinging and name calling, that has always existed, but because of the intelligence level of the statements being made. Compared to speeches and debates of the past, candidates speak to the nation as if we were 3rd graders. Spend two minutes reading transcripts
(I couldn't bare to read much more) of the recent Democratic and Republican debates and you get this sense. Compare that to the Lincoln-Douglas debates or even the more recent Kennedy-Nixon debates and today's candidates look like they were picked straight from some community college debate club (no offense to community colleges).

My favorite excerpt from Barack Obama:

"Well, first of all, I think some of this stuff gets over- hyped. In fact, I think this has been the most hyped fight since Rocky fought Apollo Creed, although the amazing thing is, I'm Rocky in this situation."
Do people really hear this and say - "What a way to start off a debate! Wow, this guy referred to a movie I like. He must be like me. He would be a great president. "

I want someone who is not like me to be president. They should be smarter, more well read, have an exceptional memory, be emotionally balanced, and thorough knowledge in economics. It wouldn't hurt if they were fluent in other languages as well. Those people do exist. How about someone with extensive knowledge of other religions? That could be handy.

While I've opted not to comment on the current administration, we can learn from their failures; the ability to surround yourself with only the highest qualified appointees & advisers is the most underrated skill. Warren G. Harding lingers near the top of many 'Worst Presidents Ever' lists and he wasn't that bad of a guy, it was the people around him. Sound familiar? On the other hand, Herb Alpert was certainly not the best trumpet player ever, but he was the most successful (monetarily speaking) because he had business smarts and surrounded himself with the best musicians in the world.

Either later today or tomorrow I'll post my solution to the endless election process.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Day 3/4:

Three days into my goal to write a daily blog and I fail miserably. It's OK though because I failed not because I had nothing to write, but because I simply forgot and this is supposed to be a writing exercise, not a test in memory.

Note to Rockies: Next time, only win 17 out of your last 22 games before entering the World Series and save the last four for when it counts. Baseball is a game of streaks, and if you didn't see that streak turning cold during their 9 day hiatus between winning the pennant and the start of the W.S., you're as out of touch as that guy holding the "Git R Done" sign behind home plate.

On the legal front, I have received numerous invitations to apply to various schools. Most of them have been 2nd tier schools that rely on heavy marketing to survive; however, I was surprised that Vanderbilt, Baylor and most recently UCLA sent me invitations as well as application fee waivers. I don't know if this is standard procedure, but it certainly boosts my confidence some.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Day 2:

I enjoyed a nice respite last night from my applications by attending the infamous Fortune Halloween Party. With the exception of having to walk up the steepest road I've ever seen, the party was great. It's always awkward going to parties where there a several people you somewhat know, even worse when they are in costume. People I would normally recognize (but not know their name) would start talking to me and I would be clueless as to where I knew them from. I guess that's a sign that my costume wasn't good enough since they could recognize me!

I made a dent in my law school applications yesterday by pounding out some supplemental material (work experience, honors received, etc.) for my long shot Yale. I was proud that I got through the dreaded 250 word essay, with great editorial help from my Mom. My next task - the personal statement.

While I spend time on social sites like myspace and facebook, I have noticed that when filling out my profiles I have always had problems with the "About Me" field, often times leaving them blank. Why can I list hundreds of books, movies, songs, heroes and things I enjoy doing, but not a single thing about who I am? Is it a self esteem issue, where I don't want people to read what I think about myself? Is it because I enjoy being undefined? This has created a dilemma for my personal statements, where I need to fill 2 pages worth of interesting, non egotistical yet self marketing stories depicting who I am.

At the same time, I need to convey my reasons for going to law school. It is tough for me to sound convincing since my passion is for music and I don't want to come off as being negative or a quitter. Maybe I just need confidence in the validity of my decision to switch careers. I have always been interested in the law, its processes and to some extent its mystique but never enough to pursue at the sacrifice of my music.

I'm going to think this through some more before I start writing, but after I take a short hike outside and listen through another Japanese lesson to clear my mind.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Day 1:

Saturday morning finds me alone in my Legend of Zelda sleep pants, coddling my cup of coffee with an extra pour of half & half in an attempt to make this day more special. The task at hand is to advance my law school applications to completion - procrastination is responsible for the birth of this blog. Each step during this process has been exhilarating, but at the same time pushing the limits of my cognitive and emotional bounds.

I've always wanted to be a musician -- wait, that's not totally true -- first I wanted to drive the fire engine down Main Street in Disneyland (which I haven't ruled out yet). Sage advice led me to do what I love as a career, for that is where happiness lies. This turned out to not be true for me, as playing the trumpet has turned into work, not the passion that it once was. Taking jobs because they were "at least related to music" but paid the bills has created an environment where I'm both unhappy and not doing what I love - performing.

Divorcing a lifelong passion has not been easy, in fact it has been gut wrenching. My mantra has always been, "There is no gig too far away, or pays too little." Paying my dues would create greater opportunities down the road, but how far down the road does one go if those investments don't come to fruition. I look at Abraham Lincoln
and his long list of failures and wonder if I should persist as he did, then I look at my musician colleagues who share my passion, many of whom are twice my age, still paying their dues, and not happy with their lives.

My decision was made strangely enough because of the recent surge in housing foreclosures. Many negative amortization loans had been given; combine that with declining home values and you have people who owe more on something that is worth less . After 12 years of paying my dues, I am at a point where I have to sacrifice more than I did at the start of my career to receive the same, if not fewer benefits.

The most promising advice came from a lawyer who had intended to sway me from law school:

"Most lawyers I know are unhappy people. They work 60 hours a week, have little time for friends and family, and generally don't enjoy what they do."

While I listened to his advice, in the back of my mind I was thinking, "You mean, I can work fewer hours than I do now, in a job just as enjoyable as my current one, and start off with a minimum 300% raise? Where do I sign up? Then I could afford those trumpets I've always wanted to buy!"