Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Archive for July 2010

Big Fish, Small Pond

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Total Black: $1,375.96
Total Red: $270,000.16

I referenced back in Time to Shine the opportunities that may present themselves here.  I’m starting to see things materialize.  I recently was “drafted” to serve on the executive board of a local organization.  It’s a new organization and may provide a significant amount of exposure.  Keep reading . . .

Sockpuppets and Doppelgängers

with 14 comments

Total Black: $1,545.96
Total Red: $270,000.16

If Above the Law‘s David Lat thought the brouhaha in Breakfast With Narcissus was a bit of a catfight, I wonder what he’d say about the commentary to that same post.  Nothing is what it seems on the Punch & Judy internet show.   Keep reading . . .

Breakfast With Narcissus

with 32 comments

Total Black: $129.96
Total Red: $270,000.16

Yesterday began a little tête-à-tête in the comments to Knut’s post Raise. Your. Voice. on his blog First Tier ToiletKnut alleged that he dropped my blog from his blogroll because I’m narcissistic and write about boring things like what I ate for breakfast.  So, let’s have some breakfast with Narcissus, shall we?  What am I serving up today?  Keep reading . . .

Meet George Jetson

with 10 comments

Total Black: $2,364.76
Total Red: $270,000.16

Talking with Officemate yesterday got me thinking about my plans after clerking.  Officemate will be finishing up soon and moving on to something new.  I feel confident that I’d have the opportunity to continue for a second year here.  Whether I want to and whether I should are two separate considerations.  But I got thinking about my career path.  I don’t know that I have one.  Keep reading . . .

What a Mint!

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Total Black: $2,352.41
Total Red: $269,991.43

Last Sunday, while bored at home waiting to leave to meet some guy for one of those quasi-dates—those “let’s grab a drink” things.  Never materialized.  It was raining too much.  The place we were going to meet at was closed on Sundays.  He’s local so I suspect he may have gotten cold feet.  But I digress.  Anyway, while waiting at home to leave, I started browsing the App Store on iTunes on my iPhone.  Time-killer, right?  Well, I came across one app, Seize the Day, that looked interesting.  Downloaded it.  It’s an app to keeps track of tasks and alerts you to outstanding To-Do list items.  Do we need it?  No.  We can just take a pad of paper and create our own To-Do list.  The iPhone has a Notes section too.  But I thought, why not!  Anything to help organization in this cluttered, electronic world.  But it was the app for the personal finance website Mint.com that really intrigued me.  Keep reading . . .

Oops . . . I Did It Again

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Total Black: $2,358.16
Total Red: $269,991.43

Well, it looks like I haven’t ironed out the kinks in my financial systems here.  I’ve sent $1,200.00 to the canceled Visa card.  Balance is down to $2,900.00 from $4,000.00 back in Twelfth Day of Accounting.  I’ve also transferred funds from my Bank of St. Croix account to my Bank of America account.  Already made the IRS payment for this month.  But somewhere in the mix, something went awry.  Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

July 26, 2010 at 21:21

Scuba Sunday

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Total Black: $2,958.16
Total Red: $269,991.43

I spent all day today learning how to scuba dive.  S.C.U.B.A., for those who don’t know, is an acronym for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.  A local dive shop here in St. Croix, the Cane Bay Dive Shop, has a local rate to get PADI certified for Open Water Diver certification.  I started the day with a Discover Scuba Diving course, a sort of snapshot of scuba diving to expose you to the activity without forking over the entire amount to get full certification.  Well . . . that’s at least how they advertise it.  It was a full-on experience, scuba diving over the beautiful Caribbean coral reefs.  I liked it so much I may seek to get certified as an instructor.  That could be a great part-time job.  Keep reading . . .

In Memoriam

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Total Black: $3,160.16
Total Red: $269,991.43

This time last year I was five days away from the Pennsylvania bar examination when my grandmother passed away.  She had lived a long, happy life, having traveled all over Europe, the United States, and the Caribbean.  When I was twelve years old, she took my sister and me on a cruise to Mexico.  She was the matriarch of our family and showed by example how one family cares for each other.  I am who I am in part because of who she was.  Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

July 24, 2010 at 23:09

What’s In a Name?

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Total Black: $3,497.43
Total Red: $270,410.31

A rose, by any other name, right?  That’s what Shakespeare claimed.  Not always if its your first name.  I walked into a very interesting conversation this afternoon between Officemate and Other Law Clerk.  Other Law Clerk was talking about the crazy names black mothers give to their children.  She’s taken this on as her cause, compiling a list.  She’s already at 700.  It’s the first time I’ve ever heard a black person expressing frustration with names like Ququisha or J’Wona.  I’ll have to let her know she’s not alone.  Chris, of Stuff Black People Hate, agrees.  One name she noted really floored me: Le-a.  I would not ever have guessed how that name is pronounced.  Keep reading . . .

Living Wage

with 8 comments

Total Black: $3,956.23
Total Red: $270,710.31

President Obama signed an extension of unemployment benefits today.  Somehow I missed the news that Congress revived the issue and then passed it.  Last I had heard, Republicans blocked it.  And the media rang its death knell.  While driving home from work today I heard debate on NPR about extending unemployment benefits.  A year ago I was still collecting unemployment.  Keep reading . . .

19 Days Left

with 15 comments

Total Black: $4,565.28
Total Red: $270,599.27

Today was the first time I noticed that the countdown timer I set-up months back on the website has counted itself down to double digits. That startled me for a second. Not that I’m upset or distraught that debt elimination looks unlikely in the next eighteen days. But more so because I’m unsure what to do when it counts down to zero.
Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

July 21, 2010 at 21:18

Water Water Everywhere

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Total Black: $4,638.28
Total Red: $270,550.77

That’s not my car.  But that’s pretty much what driving around St. Croix has been like for the past two days.  And it’s not going to let up any time soon.  The court let everyone go home thirty minutes early today.  We may not have work tomorrow if the roads are closed.  It’s kinda crazy.  And this is just heavy rain.  Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

July 20, 2010 at 23:00

Pouring Down

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Total Black: $3,074.67
Total Red: $270,855.95

The past few days have brought nearly nonstop rains to the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Flash-flooding warnings.  The island of St. Croix is very mountainous so in a short stretch of land one can go from up high to down low.  And at the bottom of that high can be a large amount of water that pooled quickly.  I’m happy I have a jeep to plow through road lakes.  It’s got me thinking though about making it through a hurricane season.  Something I’ve never had to think about before.  Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

July 19, 2010 at 23:46

Tears for Tiers

with 20 comments

Total Black: $3,163.08
Total Red: $270,855.95

Having a job that does not require weekend hours leaves me with much more free time than I’ve had in years.  That free time has freed me to read a few of the other blogs out there that chronicle the current state of the legal profession.  A few have included this blog on their blogroll.  Aside: I never instituted a blogroll.  I noted back in Fiftieth Post that I wasn’t much of a blog-reader.  Tides are turning a bit.  Keep reading . . .

Ain’t Missin’ You At All

with 3 comments

Total Black: $3,253.08
Total Red: $270,855.95

Yesterday Officemate asked whether I missed New York.  I laughed and paused for a moment to scan my feelings and consider the question.  The answer: not really.  Sorry New York, I ain’t missin’ you at all.  Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

July 17, 2010 at 21:36

Good Little Boy

with 9 comments

Total Black: $3,323.08
Total Red: $270,855.95

A discussion in the comments to Burning a Hole prompted today’s post.  I found valid but conflicting information on the internet and in those comments about how to handle credit card debt.  Even Suze Orman has modified her advice.  So I thought I’d take a moment and blog about it. Keep reading . . .

Burning a Hole

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Total Black: $3,371.21
Total Red: $270,855.95

Since I was a kid, my mother has always said that money burned a hole in my pocket.  Guess I haven’t changed much.  Well . . . no . . . somewhat I have actually.  I got paid today.  Almost $3,400.00 after taxes and other deductions, about $5,100 before—a check representing five weeks of pay.  But I’m starting to feel that heat rising on my backside.  In the interim, I opened a local checking account with the Bank of St. Croix.  It can’t hurt to have a bank account here.  Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

July 15, 2010 at 23:01

Getter Done

with 3 comments

Total Black: $32.21
Total Red: $270,855.95

Today at work Officemate and I got to talking about a number of different subjects.  When we hit upon one—a listserve for the law clerks—that I decided to act upon.  I’m not sure why, but my efforts were successful whereas when Officemate asked last year, that same request fell on deaf ears.  Officemate is black and from the Virgin Islands.  I’m white and not.  Does that matter?   Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

July 14, 2010 at 23:18

No Ka-Ching, Ding, or Bling

with 4 comments

Total Black: $33.08
Total Red: $270,745.95

Well . . . looks like I won’t become a dealer any time soon.  I got my answer without having to ask.  No ka-ching. Nor ding.  And no bling either.  None of that in my near future.  At least not as an employee anyway.

Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

July 13, 2010 at 22:10

Root of Evil

with 2 comments

Total Black: $83.40
Total Red: $270,623.78

Short post today because of a long day at work.  Another trial.  Expected to last all week again.  As I watched voir dire, I was struck by the depth of the problem of class and crime.  I must beg indulgence because today’s post will be off-topic.  I’m no bible-beater.  I value the book as a source of collected wisdom of one group’s beliefs and culture, and perhaps also a larger testament to humanity.  But the last time I blogged about the Bible was back at the beginning in Keeping My Brother and then a bit later in A Time For Everything.  The past few days, however, had me thinking about that famous biblical passage about money and evil.  Keep reading . . .

Permanent Vacation

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Total Black: $109.30
Total Red: $270,623.78

Yesterday was the first day I spent under the Caribbean sun.  I actually wrote this post on Saturday but had to adjust it to accommodate my Twelfth Day of Accounting as yesterday was the 10th.  With an afternoon spent in the sun, it passed my mind completely.  Lord & Lady took me out on their boat.  We sailed over to Buck Island, a national park untouched by man.  Well except for the random droppings he leaves behind.  Or she—like the tampon applicator I came across in the bushes.  But I digress.  I shot this photograph from the edge of the water with my iPhone.  We needed to know the time.  The temperature of the water varied in an instant from refreshingly cold to amazingly warm.  And the colors!  From this turquoise to teal to deep blue.  Just within a few feet.

Keep reading . . .

Twelfth Day of Accounting

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Total Black: $109.30

Here’s the Breakdown:

Primary Checking: $12.21
Secondary Checking: $80.64
Savings: $5.50
PayPal Account (Personal): $0.00
PayPal Account (Blog): $0.00
Amazon Payments Account: $0.005
Mutual Funds Account: $0.00

FICO Score 513

Total Red: $270,527.19

Here’s the breakdown:

Credit Card Debt:

Master Card: $4,699.50
Visa: $7,651.50
Visa: $4,000.00
American Express: $2,382.10
Raymour & Flanagan Credit Line: $6,340.68
Saks Fifth Avenue Credit Card: -$0.10

Student Loan Debt:

Federal Stafford Loans: $94,504.20
Private Student Loans: $31,610.26

Back Taxes:

IRS (2007): $0.00
IRS (2008): $27,041.05
IRS (2009): $0.00

NY State (2008): $0.00
NY State (2009): $0.00

Other Loans:

My mother: $72,000.00
My sister: $1,800.00
Auto loan: $18,498.00

Well, there it is.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  All laid out.  And that’s about as “bad” and as “ugly” as it’s gonna get.  But certainly not as good.  Keep reading . . .

Lifestyle Changes

with 13 comments

Total Black: $106.99
Total Red: $252,067.04

News alert: the International Monetary Fund wants Americans to change our lifestyles.  In an article in the Wall Street Journal, “IMF Urges U.S. to Consider Higher Taxes, Social Security Cuts,” journalist Tom Barkley reported that the IMF encouraged the U.S. to take strong steps to cure our budget deficits.  “Spending cuts aren’t sufficient, the IMF said, and it suggested a number of politically difficult ways of reducing debt, including eliminating the popular deduction for interest on mortgages, raising energy taxes, reducing Social Security benefits or imposing a national consumption tax.”  C-SPAN reported on its Open Phones program this morning that the IMF’s annual review was a call for lifestyle changes within the US.  So . . . spin or straight-talk?  Keep reading . . .

Island Living

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Total Black: $155.55
Total Red: $251,982.09

Today’s post almost wasn’t.  Electricity on island is a bit touch-and-go at times and today was one time when it went.  And took a while to come back.  With electricity out, the internet modem goes out as well.  Clearly it’s back on if I’m posting, but I’ll be brief in case it cuts out again.  Aside: it is dark here without lights.  I forgot how beautiful and vivid the night sky is.  But it’s also spooky when the rustle of a palm tree makes you think some animal . . . or person . . . may be around the corner.  To date on island I’ve seen bats, iguanas, deer—opened my door one morning to a startled buck chomping on the shrubs—storks, geckos, a huge strange beetle, and a few mongooses.  Or would that be mongeese?  Keep reading . . .

Staying the Course

with 11 comments

Total Black: $175.86
Total Red: $252,394.42

Way back in Vindication! I shared an email I had received from a former law firm colleague.  He expressed his encouragement and remarked at my ability to stay the course in the face of many challenges and opposition.  And criticism from commenters.  I haven’t heard from him since, but while channel surfing tonight after work, I stumbled across a program on C-SPAN’s Book TV that featured Nobel Prize winner Muhammed Yunus discussing his latest book Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs, followed by CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo discussing her book The 10 Laws of Enduring Success.  Both were fascinating presentations and they got me thinking a bit about the beginning of my blogdom experience and my commitment to see it and myself through these challenging times.  Keep reading . . . .