Day 45 – Into a Dark Corridor

No escape.Had to abandon escape route two week ago. Now somehow, I have muddled into a dark corridor. Salt on all sides. Behind me, the light is fading.

Intermittently, I hear a sound – click, click, click. A perfunctory and hollow sound, made somehow more ominous with each step I take into the corridor. Is someone following me? Too late, I realize the sound, the terrible click, is emanating from my very self.

Even so I continue on. I’m lost in a haze of uncertainty. It seems to me that the path behind me has closed. So I can’t go back. I can’t choose to undue choices I made earlier in my journey. Now, the path, which was once as expansive as the ocean and open on all sides, has narrowed considerably.

The best course of action may be to stop and take stock of my decisions. Possibly, I should re-evaluate my course. Perhaps other paths, options, magic portals, etc, are available. Or most likely, what I see before me – the narrow dark deep that lies beyond – is all the course I have regardless of rationalization.

Brutal Week on the Job Search Front

I was rejected for four jobs in the past two weeks.  This is good thing, because at least recruiters are seeing my resume and giving me calls.  This is bad thing, because it is so demoralizing.  But you know, my previous job was frustrating, stressful, and demoralizing too.  So what can you do?

Look, I am basically not qualified to work anywhere at this point.  I’m over-educated in the wrong disciplines.  I have too much experience in the wrong jobs.  I have too little experience.  I am not an expert in this particular software. I hate lawyers, generally.  I hate the legal field in a macro sense.  Furthermore, my hygiene is atrocious. My fingernails are bite weary. I am frumpy.  I’m fat.  I’m toasty brown.  I come from the dry lands of West Texas.  I’m flippant.  I’m badly, badly polished. Badly polished. Like I’m so socially awkward, inelegant and unrefined that I’m practically gauche.  Gauche y’all! I will not do.

I am planning to move on.  I just want to bitch about the application process for the position I was just rejected for.   It was a temporary position as a eDiscovery Attorney.  The listed duties included leading a team of document reviewers, conducting quality control of said reviewer’s documents, and groveling beneath the shining intelligence of the real attorney, i.e. some dewy skinned first year right out of Southern Methodist University Law School (the Harvard Law School of Texas.)**

The position was advertised as scheduled to last three to six months.  I took that to mean that it would last, at most, four months, but only if you were good.  I didn’t think I perfectly qualified, but I am getting bored staying at home all day, so I applied any ways.  In retrospect, I probably didn’t qualify at all, since I’m bitter, brilliant, and bulbous, but like you never know, right?  Truth is I figured, I could do it.  I suffer from an extraordinary case of “that job isn’t rocket science, quit treating it like it is, you insufferable person”-itis.”

So after I submitted the application, a recruiter contacted me via email to set up a call.

Wonderful.

On the day of the call, I was actually working on a temporary document review, so I had to go outside to take the call.  I chatted the recruiter.  He was very nice and understanding, even though we were conducting the call surrounded by the noises of careening traffic and an impending thunderstorm.  Anyhow, I was sort of honest, I did lead a team of document reviewers once.

Decent.

The next day, I had a skype call with the recruiter.  It also went well.  At the end, my new best guy friend basically said I would be submitted for the job.   This induced me to agree to 1. fill out a long ass application, 2. submit my details for a background search, and 3. contact my references.   Also, he told me the hourly rate, which was more than fair.

Yay!

Hold on, backing up here…

Read I didn’t think I was going actually GET THE JOB.  I thought I was filling out reams of paperwork, allowing strangers to search through my credit and criminal reports, and bothering my references, in order the chance – the mere, fucking chance – to get an interview for a three month contract position!  Think about that.  Let that fucking sink in.  This took another day.  For a 3 month temporary position as a glorified document review attorney!

But, because I’m an optimistic dumbass, I I figured I was a lock on interviewing with the client.  I mean he told me I would be submitted! Again, what kind of dumbass am I that I actually believe a recruiter?  Am I 20 years old? Am I sitting in a meeting with other dumbasses hoping to sell Cut-Co knives door to door? Am I?! Well, that was me, but that’s not me anymore because I’m fucking almost 40 years old.

Today, he calls me and says something like*, “Nope…we are totally not going to submit your sorry ass, because we literally found other people who are way more qualified than you.  Also you’re a complete fucktard for filling out the paperwork, the background check, and allowing us to bother your references.  Also, for your information honey, did you actually contact your references?  Because they really think you’re a retard.  And really, even though it’s 2018 and we’ve collectively agreed as a progressive society to stop calling people retarded in polite society, I’ve got to say that I tend to agree that you, my dear, are a retard.  Have a nice day.”

 

*Not verbatim; my blog, my liberties with reality.

** Not really a thing, no.

#StayAtHomeDogMom My Dogs. My Dogs. My Kingdom for My Dogs.

IMG_0689In my many meaningless meanderings I often muse about mutts in my midst.  Much has been written about dogs lately, as the fertility rates of Americans fall, rates of ownership of canines rise.  If I were some sort of fundamentalist I would, no doubt, rue this consequence of wealth, feminism, and birth control.  Alas I am no fundamentalist, rather, I’m a lady approaching middle age who often wonders why has no one, not one person, written about my dogs?  What’s up with that?

Let’s rectify that.  I have three dogs.  First let’s talk about Pachuco.   Pachuco (“Chuco”) is a merle chihuahua.  He weighs 8.6 lbs.  He is nine years old.  It took Chuco a good seven years to garner the courage to leave the cozy confines of his domicile and venture into the great outdoors.

Like any chihuahua worth his salt, Chuco relishes a good fight.  He is always spoiling to go paw to paw with the hapless and howling canine enemies behind countless fences.  Chuco particularly enjoys his almost daily forays near, what my husband has deemed, “The Gauntlet.”.’

The Gaunlet comprises of a series of about four backyards that abut the trail across from my house.  Each yard houses one or two dogs of various makes and sizes.  I’ve never actually met any of the dogs.   I’ve only ever heard them.

Each early evening, most likely after dinner, they muster outside near their respective wooden fences and wait.  They wait for the tiny patter of tiny paws.  They sniff the air in anticipation of meeting their doom.  The doom that will be surely dealt to them by the vicious Pachuco!  And this is why they bark and growl.  This is why they wallow in horror and yelp in fear as Chuco high steps toward the Gauntlet.

They are lucky, really, that their masters and mistresses have seen fit to equip their territories with fences.  The fences are not to keep them in, no!  They are too keep them protected from the Pachuco.  Small and ferocious is he.  He with the brown spots.  He with the upturned and straight tail.  Chuco the greatest Chihuahua in Texas! Or even, the world!

What Does a Document Review Attorney Do?    

A common refrain among attorneys and other legal professionals is that if there is something like the dregs of legal work, it is document review.  In the past, say thirty years ago, most business was conducted on paper.  I don’t know this for sure, but I suspect, that paper was fairly expensive.  I suspect this because paper is created from trees and while trees are ostensibly a renewable resource, they are not particularly easy to grow. Moreover, the Western world didn’t get an abundance of paper until, probably, the early to mid 20th Century.  Then, during the 60s and 70s, people became very much aware about the decimation of forests by lumber companies in order to produce, among other things, paper and, well, paper stayed expensive.  I’m talking in relative terms. Obviously, I haven’t conducted any research on this this subject.  I’m speculating.

Mostly, I came up with the above speculation in order to make one point – namely, the cost of paper was a natural buttress against the proliferation of data.  However, since most business is no longer conducted on paper, there is no longer any natural buttress against the overwhelming creation of data.  This is a good thing on a macro level.

On a legal level, the constant creation of data, be it via email, or word-processing, or databases, or any other myriad of places, means that the work that was once solely relegated to a few first-year associates must now be parceled out to dozens of underemployed attorneys.  And it must be parceled out cheaply.

The legal world is very hierarchical.  Everyone has their place, and in this world, document review attorneys (aka contract attorneys) occupy the lowest rung.

What do document review attorneys do?  They review data.

They look at contracts, emails, text messages, and other errata for eight to twelve hours a day.  They sit, let’s say ten to a row, in front of workstations set atop elongated, and often flimsy, desks that are placed in horizontal formation to fill an, often poorly lit, room.  They eat at their desks.  They sip coffee from mugs.  Usually the coffee isn’t that bad.  Neither is the water.  And sometimes, oh sometimes, there are even snacks.

They listen to music, or audiobooks, or podcasts.  Sometimes they surreptiously scribble notes into notepads, because they have real clients, and this job is to keep food on the table and pay student loans.  If the reviewers know each other, and often the long-timers do, they keep a constant, knowing chatter.

“This isn’t so bad.”

“It could be worse.   Remember?  Where you on that project?”

“I was on the so and so project for eighteen months.”

“I remember.  The CFTC kept coming back and asking for more documents.”

Or more quietly, “Why is she watching constantly watching Netflix?”

Or anxiously, “How many documents we have to review an hour?”

Or more anxiously, “I hope we get paid on time this week.”

Or even more anxiously, “I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, I hope I don’t get blacklisted from this shop.”

And so on, but eventually, “This isn’t so bad.”

They crowd into tiny bathrooms that lack toilet paper.  Sometimes they drink at their desks.  Sometimes they complain about having to take a thirty-minute break, because that will cut into the money they earn. Sometimes the team lead is power hungry.  Often the project manager is a non-attorney who is at the mercy of an overly optimistic sales manager.  Respect is in short supply.  They are on the “review line” after all, meaning they couldn’t cut it in the real legal world.

After three weeks of twelve hours days spent sitting in front of a glowing screen, they become pale and bedraggled and, somewhat, “out of it.”  They are not quite there.  Yet they are ready the next day, ready decide whether a document is relevant – is connected to the case – or irrelevant – not connected to the case.  Sometimes they code for privilege – did a real attorney give advice to the client.  Sometimes not.

The oldest among them remember the good old days.  The days before technology assisted review, where the software helpfully spits out only those documents that it calculated to be potentially relevant.  Or even further back, in the days before most people had internet at home and so did all of their porn viewing and email on their work computers.  In those mythic and halcyon days, a document reviewer could, every so often, stumble across an illicit affair, or a character sheet for a Dungeons and Dragons dwarf warrior.

Not so much now.  Not so much now.

Michelle Wolf Scares Me

Michelle Wolf is not funny.  Let me step back.  I like to listen to NPR in the morning.  This morning, I heard these words as I lay on my pillow, Pork Chop’s big pug butt to my face, “”I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye…” And I thought, “poor Sarah! Leave Sarah alone!” And then I cried.

Not really, I actually thought,” wow, that lady I not funny. She seems kind of mean.”

Later, as I sat in my office, eating a big faux pot brownie, I heard the voice again, but this time she was being interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air.  I learned that her name is Michelle Wolf, that she’s a comedienne, that she was a correspondent for the Daily Show, and that she’s under fire for her act at the White House correspondent’s dinner.

Who the fuck watches the White House correspondent’s dinner?  If you are watching that broadcast and are not intimately related to one of the participants, you should be ashamed of yourself.  It’s just another celebrity/journalist jerk off fest.  Seriously, go for a walk.

Before this morning, I didn’t know who Michelle Wolf was.  I quit my job recently.  I’ve been doing document review.  Document review is legit.  You sit around for roughly nine hours a day and review documents.  Your time is so absorbed by sheer tediousness that you don’t have any time for CNN or basic hygiene.  Alas, a post is for another time.

This post is to rant about mean girl Michelle Wolf.  Michelle Wolf is a mean girl.  Her comedy is laced with smug, mean, bitterness. People, apparently, lap that shit up.  Not I, because women like her have always intimidated me. She was a track star.  She majored in P.E. in college.  So, of course, she’s the smartest bitch in the room.  And she is a bitch, that’s her shtick.  Like her comedy special is called “Nice Lady,” and, in it, she revels in not being a nice lady.  Or so, it seems.

I’ve not watched her comedy special, because, again, women like her scare the hell out of me.  In my experience, super-athletic smart girls who are better than everyone else, are super judgmental.  Like, for example, they often do not like fat girls. And I’m a fat girl.  They often don’t understand silly people. And I’m a silly person.  They often don’t like people who can’t run fast.  And I can’t run fast.

I will admit, however, that she can say some hilarious things.  On Fresh Air, she said something like, “I’m a science person…I majored in kiniesology in college.”  Hilarious.

 

I Sometimes like Margaritas

In the summer, after a drenching summer rain has passed, and the sun begins to sear when not hidden by bulbous grey and white clouds, I like to go outside and lay on my hammock and read. Now on these days, the weather is not particularly cool. 


Often, however, a cooling breeze filters the heat enough so that it is just possible to comfortably lie very still, under the hammock’s canopy and enjoy some Cold War era science fiction.


When I am chilling in my digs down here in Texas’ Gulf Coast, I sometimes like to partake in a classic libation called the Margarita. This tasty and refreshing concoction is by no means my own creation. You may well know it. It comes in various costumes, most, no doubt, festooned in colorful suger draped nightmares. The most egegiously awful are those created with sour or premade margerita mix. But who am I to judge? I don’t like too much sweet and my comfort food is an episode of King of the Hill.
I like a tangy, lime drenched margarita with triple sec, contreau, tequila, and a splash of soda water. The contreau allows just a bit of sweetness to an otherwise limey drink. The triple sec, well, it makes the drink good too.

Sources of Yeast for Beer

There’s this show on television where some blonde haired broad from California apparently wonders around the country tasting homemade craft beer.  Her name is Meg Gill.  She loves beer.  She also seems to be looking for home brewer to steal a recipe from or some such nonsense.  Okay, maybe “steal” isn’t the right word.  I think she’s holding a contest of some sort.  Like whomever wins, gets to have their beer brewed in an actual, real-life brewery.  So anyhow…

In one particular episode, this chick is wondering around New York City, hanging out with hipsters, and drinking beer when she encounters a self-styled anarchist. The anarchist lives in a house.  The anarchist seems clean, well-groomed, and clothed.  The anarchist has a job, because anarchists have to eat too.  He also brews beer.  He wins the contest, because anarchists are all about competition.

The most interesting thing about this anarchist fella is that he sources yeast from a log.  He found the log in a park somewhere.  This makes him unique because yeast is pretty important to the production of delicious beer.  Also there are many sources of yeast.  Basically yeast adds flavor to beer.  From what I understand, if you ferment strawberries with yeast, or something…look I really don’t understand the science behind this, but I think the yeast eats the strawberries and poops in the mixture or whatever, and “magic” beer that tastes like strawberries eventually appears in your closet.

Anyhow, upon hearing about log yeast, I thought – “I create beer using yeast harvested from my very own, special, vagina.”

Of course, I thought this was hilarious.  I’m sad that way.  So I immediately skyped my husband, because he was in the bathroom and I can’t say such marvelous thoughts aloud when my a dad is around.  My dad is sitting right here.  My dad thinks dark drinks, like coca cola and Guinness, are the devil.  I asked my dad why he thought this.  And he didn’t answer, so my assumption is that he’s a stealth Mormon or something.

I also skyped my sister, Pat.  Pat sends me a picture of her new couch in response.  This makes me sad.  I want a reaction, damnit.  I can’t keep vulgar stuff like this to myself.  Finally she responds – “Eww, tab, eww.”

 

 

Mundane List Plus a Story

  1. Got banned from /r/gendercritical
  2. Purchased toilet paper, paper towels, and other, various, household sundries.
  3. Set up a mosquito trapper in the back yard.
  4. Inflated my taco pool float.
  5. Joined my dad in making fun of my chihuahua – “Mexican Gigolo.”
  6. A tiny triathlon on my own.

Now here’s a story.

Bad Situation

It never happens like they say it will.  This is, obviously, a horrible way to start a story. It’s very cliche.  Of course nothing “ever happens” like people imagine it will.  But I’ll say this first, I really get energized when listening to disco music from a century ago.  So when that’s how they caught me.  Isn’t it weird?

I was listening to some Gladys Knight.  Keep on keeping on, as I’m apt to say.  But really I never say things like that.  I’m skittish person.  I’m always scared.  Always scared.

When the knock came and Gladys Knight was singing and I was shaking my shoulders and just trying, trying to be happy, well, I lost it.  You could say I panicked.  The thing is, what are your choices?  What are my choices?  There are two.  Run or die.  How dramatic is that?

Last week though I was pretty sure I was just going to submit.  Wrong place; wrong time.  No use for me.  Very rare anyhow.  What was my father thinking?   “Oh she’ll be fine, I can just raise her to be as gender nonconforming as possible.”  Cue my obsession with nail polish and frilly dresses right?  No. not at all.  I’m what they used to call a “tomboy.”  There was no other way.

Here’s the deal though, there was no other way.  The money or prestige or whatever was too good for my for my dad to pass up.  I don’t blame him.  The idea was he’s work the five year contract and then get us the hell out off this rig.  But then, as it happened, he died.

And I was left in a foreign country with no hope of escape, unless of course, I agreed that I was a man.  I had always been a man. And, guess what, I would be happy to undergo a, not too invasive, procedure to affirm my gender identity.  The little thing that my had hadn’t mentioned to me when we came here was that he had vouched for my masculinity.

They don’t like us.  This country was founded on the ideal that we are not needed anymore.  And they’re right.  We aren’t.  Tits. Vagina. Babies.  They can manufacture those.

So by now you’ve guessed that they really didn’t catch me.  I was here all along.  I was waiting for my affirmation.  They were friendly towards me.  I was cooperating. Gung-ho. Totally a man.  Ready to join the struggle to create a real technological utopia.  Ready to help haul in an asteroid.   My father was pretty smart.  So am I.  Or so their tests said.  But there is this pesky problem.  Pesky. Pesky.

[to be continued…maybe…if I feel like it…]

 

 

Confessions. Chicka Chicka Lit!

Confession Number 1.  I like reading Chick Lit.  There I said it.  Phew!  This crazy gorilla monkey has been weighing on my conscious for like, at least, a year.

I’m sure that it comes as a surprise that someone as burly, hirsute, and masculine as me secretly devours stories about dainty, usually rich and (gasp!) privileged, but fun loving, ladies who are forever looking for beauty, love, sex, and an equal wage.  Just looking at me, you’re probably all thinking “gosh, that’s a totally  lady (err dude?) who never fantasized about working in the fashion industry and dating male models.”

Well, like you know what buddy? You’d be wrong, okay?  I totally dug Glamorama.  Seriously, if you haven’t read Glamorama, you totally should.  It’s all sorts of dirty.  Also, it features an international terrorist organization comprised solely of hot models.  Now I know what you are saying, “Tab, that sounds like the plot of Zoolander.”  It sorta does, but Glamorama came out first and it features a lot of raunchy sex.  Like lots.

So I listen to lots of audio books, since like my job is fine but it’s not really that hard.  So I listen to a lot of books.  This week I’ve listened to three books written by ladies who have decided to be okay with being fat.  This is called “health at every size” or “fuck! is it really my duty as a chick to diet from 12 to 72? I mean seriously?”

I generally agree with that sentiment.  I mean there is more to life than worrying about food.  I think.  Hell, may as well take up smoking.  You’ll die sooner and the thin people’s precious, precious taxes can be preserved for war or more “shovel ready” jobs or whatever.  Maybe space exploration or beggars in Spain. Here’s a review of one of the books I listened too.


 

Fat Girl Walking – Sex, Food, Love and  Being Comfortable in your Skin – Every Inch of It

The Who:

Brittany Gibbons is a mommy blogger and a body positivist. In the medical vernacular, her body is what would be termed “obese.” She gave a TedX talk about being comfortable in your own skin.  During the talk, she took off her clothes.  Yes, she got naked on stage.  So that’s why she’s famous.

The Good:

Brittany dropped out of college, because she had a crazy mad panic attack after her boyfriend left town.  Her mother wasn’t some diet crazed mother dearest – “No more BUTTER BAGELS!”  Her husband genuinely seems to love her. Brittany was a stay at home mom for several years.  Her husband lost his job when Chrysler went bankrupt. As a result her family had to go on public assistance.    She found a new calling as a blogger.  Apparently, she makes money off of the blogging.

The Bad:

Brittany is not a good writer.  I can say this with certainty, because I have a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from an – wait for it – IVY LEAGUE UNIVERSITY.  Her grammar and sentence structure is fine or whatever.  I guess? I was never good at the grammar.    But the book was seriously boring for long stretches.  This may be okay for some folks, but for hard working analysts like me who toil all day staring at spreadsheets, long stretches of rambling mendacity is not okay.  Not okay.

My Fancy Opinion:

Brittany comes off as conceited and self-important.  Also, attention seeking. I think taking off your clothes in front of an audience is a little uncalled for.   I get that she is trying to prove to the world that she’s beautiful in spite of weighing 220lbs.  That’s fine, if that’s what you’re into.  Oh yeah, she wrote a whole chapter about forcing herself to have relations with her husband for a whole year.   To be fair though,  I’m not really the target demographic of this book since I don’t have kids and I have relations with my husband all the time.  I’m mean, isn’t that why people get married?  To have dependable relations?

Brittany is also really dopey. Throughout the narrative, I kept thinking “wow, this lady…this lady is sorta dopey.” Like she complains about having lots of student loan debt, but she 1. dropped out of college, 2. was a stay at home mom, and 3. she got naked during her TedX talk.  Dopey.

And the killer, Brittany is not funny.  That’s unforgivable in my fancy opinion.

Rating: 2.5 chin whiskers

 

 

 

 

My old dog is a tough old bird

My fifteen year old miniature pinscher is dying. She has a tumor that is pressing against her heart. This is causing congestive heart failure. Her kidneys are also failing.

My 15 year old miniature pinscher is  a jerk. (I can’t say bitch, because she is unable to have puppies.)  She bit the vet during her last examination, despite being muzzled and despite subsequently collapsing from fatigue. She marches around the house and demands food. She argues, cajoles, and pleads all the while her hind leg is mercilessly shaking from arthritis.  She terrifies my 64 lb lab-mix.

She’s basically always been a giant asshole. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that her charm hasn’t diminished with old age and sickness.

I  love this stupid dog. She reminds me of my maternal grandmother. I know that seems harsh or wrong or something else for my cousins to dislike me over.  But hear me out!

My grandma was a fucking badass.  She raised sixteen (never mind, fifteen  – dammit. But seriously, what’s one more kid in this scenario? Like they could field a baseball team or something? Right?  I mean wtf? Go grandma’s uterus!) kids.  She raised several of my cousins. She worked hard all her life.  She was a great cook.  She was hilarious.  But she was also mean, crude, and well, she could be fairly blunt and hurtful. (Not to me, though ’cause I’m like vulcan or something.)

Anyhow I think my grandma would have loved my old ass jerk face of a dog. So like when my dog dies, I hope she and my grandma can hang out in heaven or wherever. That would be great. Thanks.