Saturday, November 04, 2006

My Next Obsession

That right tharr, is a Canon Powershot SD800 IS Digital Elph (psst... you might be able to find it here for as low as $332.26). It seeks to replace my Canon Powershot SD300 Digital Elph, which has been a fantastic and dear camera to me, and is responsible for some 8,000 +/- pics on my laptop. I've had it for 2 years now, and I am ready for the next version.

Anyway...if somehow I wound up with this as a Christmas present...I wouldn't in the least be upset (or, if you're in a time crunch, this is roughly how it would make me feel).

Ghost of Halloween Past

This would be my brother, Ryan, on the left and myself on the right. Ryan was obviously a punk rocker, and I was obviously a cowboy.

What is not so obvious, is why Ryan's pants are so short, and why I refused to thread my belt through my beltloops. But, whatever, I have 2 guns, so I dare you to judge me!

Dude, Blogging Takes Time!

Not only does blogging take time, but it also takes effort, imagination, creativity, etc. Jessi blogs pretty much on the regular. So do Danielle and Rob. It's hard, because, you know, you have to...think of stuff to write. But, whatever. I'm not even blogging right now; and I don't even really care if you like my blog.

Anyway, chillin' in Hagerstown this weekend, and having a great time.

Getting ready to take my family's money in a giant poker blowout!

I'll let you know how that turns out.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Waste Some Time...

You must play this game. However, you must not play it on my blog. I would have embedded the game into this page, but the music starts immediately, and, while it is excellent music for playing the game, it is terrible music to read my blog to.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mom's Cats...

Just a couple pictures of Biff (top) and Julio (bottom)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

10 Years

3,652 Days....

Ryan and me, before Prom - May, 1996

This is the latest picture I could find before I got sober on October 5, 1996. I just wanted to write a little about what it was like for me then and some of the things that have happened since then.

The day that picture was taken: Despite being 16, going on 17, I couldn't drive myself to prom because of a little DWI trouble I had a few months earlier. In February of 1996, I got pulled over for going 70 in a 30. I couldn't exactly, you know, walk or talk straight, and I was busted for Driving While Intoxicated with a BAC of .157. Also, the cop wasn't too happy to find a bong in my pocket, so I caught a little possession charge as well. Anyway, I went to court and was put on probation - with random urine tests. Despite random drug tests, I didn't really feel the need to quit doing the drugs.

Prom passed without significant incident. By June of 1996, I had failed a couple of drug tests, and ended up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning (BAC .289 this time). I agreed to go to a rehab because I figured it would look good in court (to which I would have to go as a result of my recent violation of probation - you know, the whole hospital, alcohol poisoning thing...).

This thing is getting too long already. Long story short: I went to rehab for 18 days, started going to AA immediately, stayed sober for 12 days after that, relapsed for 3 months, then ...

On October 3, 1996, I snuck into my brother's room and stole enough pot to roll a joint. I ignited and subsequently inhaled the resulting nebula from said joint (smoked). I remember feeling very confused as to whether I was high, not enjoying the experience at all. The following morning, October 4, the first thing I did was roll over to my brother's room and roll up another joint. It was at that point I realized that I was indeed insane - doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. That much had crystallized in front of me as reality. I saw that I was headed back to the same life, and that it would happen quickly. My probation officer had had enough of me and threatened to send me away to a juvenile detention center or a forestry camp for 6-9 months. At that point, I surrendered - standing on my back porch, stoned. I said to God something like, "If you want me to go away for 6-9 months, I understand that, and I deserve it. They told me what was going to happen if I did this, and I'm doing it. So, I accept it. But, I think I'm done now, and if You want to give me another chance, I'd take it."

So, October 5, 1996, was my first day sober. At that point, whatever obsession I had to drink or drug was lifted from me. I didn't know it was lifted. It is only in hindsight that I realized it. But, looking back, I can see that the thought of getting high or drunk had pretty much left, as I immersed myself more deeply into AA.

Ok...the rest of my life. Yeah, Prom... So, that was my junior prom. I was 16 years old - 17 by the time October 5 came around. I graduated high school the following year. Started the community college in 1997; worked numerous odd jobs; graduated with an associate's degree in 2000; finished my bachelor's degree in 2002; and went to law school the following fall. My brother, Ryan, pictured above, died by suicide in 2004; I got married 10 weeks later; my wife's mom died of cancer 6 months later. I graduated law school in May, 2005; was admitted to the Bar in December '05; and finally, am in business for myself as a lawyer in 2006.

Somewhere along the way I became a christian - I'd say in the 2000-2001-ish time period. I started going to church with my wife, and last year started attending a small-group bible study, which has truly been an amazing experience.

Anyway, I just wanted to look back a little. I figure, hey, 10 years is at least a round number, and as my wife pointed out, it's the only time I'll transition from single-digit to double-digit sobriety (God willing, that is!)

Most of all, I have to say that I am grateful. From a 16 year old criminal trying to stay out of trouble to a 27 year old sober, christian lawyer, trying to help everyone else stay out of trouble. It's been an interesting ride so far, with the downs being equally as surprising as the ups. I have to say, in the end, though, that, as my friend Danielle said to me today, "we're all a work in progress". I certainly haven't "arrived", and I surely have a lot of growing up to do, but I do recognize that I have been blessed, and that is something that is indeed amazing.

Friday, September 29, 2006



And hello to working for myself again. This way is always more scary, but much better... Better money, better hours. The only thing is now I have to drum up the work myself - which, I have found is actually not all that difficult. The thing I struggle with now is trying to not drum up so much business that I overwhelm myself. I'm taking it kind of slow for now, because I want to make sure I can do the best I can for everybody. The good news is that the business keeps getting easier to find and the money keeps getting better. I never thought this is where I'd be a year and a half out of law's actually kind of better than what I was expecting.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Umm... Things have changed

So, I changed my layout, big deal.

Here's a couple random pictures:

Spent Coffee Cup:

Wife in a Bottle...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Being a New Associate Attorney...'s like being a waiter in training... you just stand there, with your hands behind your back, and smile and say "hi, i'm in training"... and everybody looks and says to themselves, "aww, how cute... a training lawyer."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Nobody Cares About Our Gardening

And, holy crap, it's nearly 1am.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

76 Rejection Letters

Or, perhaps more accurately: 75 Rejection Letters, 1 Rejection Postcard, and 1 Job Offer (not pictured)

Well, after more than a year, literally hundreds of job applications, freelance assignments, temp jobs, working at Starbucks, and starting my own business, I have finally landed a job - as a lawyer - in a law firm.

So, with that, I have saved most of my rejection letters, in the hopes that some day I'd finally get a job, and it would be funny to see how many letters I had. I considered wallpapering the office...but I thought it was easier to re-tile the kitchen floor.

Here ya go. (make sure to click the picture to see it in all its dejecting glory)

A Midsummer's Blog (weed control)

This is what Jessi and I did today...

No, those aren't trees...

Yeah, Harry and Henrietta Homeowner... err... renter.

Oh yeah... you like our gardening gloves?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Ultimate ffffrrrotoshop

So, after we wore ourselves out playing ultimate frisbee, we wanted to take a group picture in front of the sign that said we couldn't play there. Only problem was that there was no one there to take our picture. Our solution: Take two pictures and photoshop them together.

Danielle took the first picture.

Then I took the second picture.

Then I work a little photoshop magic (can you figure out whether I added Danielle or myself to this picture?)

Then, just for fun, I gave everybody Rob's rock-hard abs!

Good times.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Projected Layout for New Apartment

Now, this is just an artist's rendition, but I'm pretty sure that this is what our apartment is going to look like after we move in.

Copyright (c) 2006. (Each item sold separately. Scout, Pat and Kristen not included. Void where prohibited. Disco balls may cause loose stool. Use only as directed. Items not actual size. Ask your doctor about Denta-Bones. Slanted poker table available only while supplies last.)

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Best Buddy-Bear Ever...

Hello. This is the Buddy-Bear. Also known as: Riley; Rileford Benson Montgomery, III; Buggy-Bear; Ry-Guy; Bud; Bug; Boggy-Bear; Buttery-Bear; Bogga-Boo; the Rilenator; Riley-Buddy-Baby-Bear; Baby-Bear; Bear, Regal Beagle, Legal Beagle, Illegal Beagle, etc...

Although I have many names, I have only one favorite activity. That is being outside. Anywhere. I especially like car rides.

Now that we're out, allow me to assume the position.

Now, this is more like it...

I LOVE it when we really get goin'!

Well, now that the ride is nearing the end, it's time to check my hair. I have to look good for all the Beagle Girls.

All in all, it was a good trip. I got to go O-U-T-side, AND for a car ride! Time to sleep for another 36 hours.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Holy Poker Face, Batman!

Just thought I'd give you guys the benefit of an inside tip. If you're ever playing poker with me, and I make this face... I have been scared by your large bet. In the poker industry, this is what's known as a "tell". It means I've "told" you something about my hand.

Let's have a look at some other "tells"...

The "I Can Beat You With My Eyes Closed"

Be on the lookout for this one. Look for the ever so subtle, yet still detectable smirk. This tell signifies confidence - or impending diarrhea. Poker experts have yet to figure this one out.

By the looks of it, the tell probably signified confidence rather than diarrhea:

The "Please God, I'll Never Ask Another Thing if You Will Only Make My Straight Come In."

This tell signifies that the player is waiting for the river to give her that one last card in the deck that can fill up her gut-shot straight-draw.

The "If You Do Not Fold to My Bluff I Will Headbutt You So Hard Chuck Norris Will Be Jealous"

Be on the lookout for this menacing tell. Even though you might be tempted to stay in the hand because your opponent has clearly indicated that he is bluffing, you are better off to fold. It's just not worth it, man.

Trust me.

I nearly died next to the cat on the dining room floor after calling his bluff.

Well, that's all for this week. Tune in at some indefinite time in the future for something else that may or may not be related to poker tells.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Hey look, another blog from yours truly...

Unfortunately, this one has to be short... it's cutting into my billable hours...

Good times.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Exxon Boycott Email - DO NOT BOYCOTT (here's why)

Here's the email that's been going around:

"This might be worth a try and it certainly won't hurt to test out this theory:
GAS WAR - an idea that WILL work

This was originally sent by a retired Coca Cola
executive It came from one of his engineer buddies
who retired from Halliburton. It's worth your

Join the resistance!!!! I hear we are going to
close to $ 4.00 a gallon by next summer and it might
go higher!! Want gasoline prices to come down? We
need to take some intelligent, united action.

Phillip Hollsworth offered this good idea. This makes
MUCH MORE SENSE than the "don't buy gas on a certain
day" campaign that was going around last April or May!
The oil companies just laughed at that because they
knew we wouldn't continue to "hurt" ourselves by
refusing to buy gas. It was more of an inconvenience
to us than it was a problem for them. BUT, whoever
thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can
really work. Please read on and join with us!

By now you're probably thinking gasoline priced at
about $1.50 is super cheap. Me too! It is currently
$2.79 for regular unleaded in my town. Now that the
oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us
to think that the cost of a gallon of gas is CHEAP at
$1.50 - $1.75, we need to
take aggressive action to
teach them that BUYERS control the marketplace..not
sellers. With the price of gasoline going up more each
day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we
are going to see the price of gas come down is if we
hit someone in the pocketbook by not purchasing their
gas! And, we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves.

Since we all rely on our cars, we can't just stop
buying gas. But we CAN have an impact on gas prices if
we all act together to force a price war.

Here's the idea: For the rest of this year, DON'T
purchase ANY gasoline from the two biggest companies
(which now are one), EXXON and MOBIL. If they are not
selling any gas, they will be inclined to reduce their
prices. If they reduce their prices, the other
companies will have to follow suit. But to have an
impact, we need to reach literally millions of Exxon
and Mobil gas buyers. It's really simple to do! Now,
don't wimp
out on me at this point...keep reading and
I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of

I am sending this note to 30 people. If each of us
send it to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300) ... and
those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 =
3,000)...and so on, by the time the message reaches
the sixth group of people, we will have reached over
THREE MILLION consumers.

If those three million get excited and pass this on to
ten friends each, then 30 million people will have
been contacted! If it goes one level further, you

Again, all you have to do is send this to 10 people.
That's all!
(If you don't understand how we can reach 300 million
and all you have to do is send this to 10 people....
Well, let's face it, you just aren't a mathematician.
But I am . so trust me on this one.) :-)

How long would all that take? If each of us sends
e-mail out to ten more people within one day of
receipt, all 300 MILLION people could conceivably be
contacted within the next 8 days!!! I'll bet you
didn't think you and I had that much potential, did
you! Acting together we can make a difference.

If this makes sense to you, please pass this message
on. I suggest that we not buy from EXXON/MOBIL UNTIL

Kerry Lyle, Director, Research Coordinator"


When I first saw this email, I thought it made sense. Here's why I think it doesn't.

About a week after I first saw this email, I began to remember my antitrust law class. It was then that I realized that boycotting Exxon will actually give them an incentive to RAISE their prices rather than lower them. Everybody else will follow.

I know that this is counter-intuitive, especially to those who have not studied economics or antitrust. This is a simplified explanation of why it's true:

Exxon is presently the market leader (or so I will assume). Competitors want to be just a hair cheaper than Exxon - just enough that people might choose them over Exxon. This might be 5, 10, maybe even 20 cents/gal. Generally, you only see a difference of less than 5 cents between gas stations that are within a mile of each other (just based on personal observation). But, we can assume it is as large as maybe 20 cents.

If Exxon suddenly loses, say, 1/3 of its sales due to boycott, you would think that they'd lower prices to try to gain more sales (sell more gallons). You'd probably be wrong. Here is the conversation that Exxon will have with itself:

"We've got a target to hit for profits this quarter (or year). We have lost 1/3 of our buyers. We have to raise prices. But, if we raise prices, we'll lose even more sales, and it'll be so much easier for the competitors to undersell us, by a lot even. This would be a losing plan, right? Wrong. We're the market leader. Our competitors don't want to beat our prices by a lot. They want to beat our prices only so much as will make consumers choose them over us. So, the solution is to RAISE prices. We might sell fewer gallons, but we'll make more per gallon sold. Our competitors will follow suit by raising prices, because they only need to be competitive with us. If we go to 3.00 or 4.00/gal, they might follow behind by like 20 cents at most, but we'll be making even more profit."

This is by no means a comprehensive antitrust/economic analysis/prediction. But, it is a general sketch of how the market operates. Don't trust me. Trust your own experience with corporations. They're generally out to make as much money as possible. They are not constrained by morals. They are only constrained by the law (and only then when the law actually works).

This is why the free market does not operate to keep prices reasonable and competitive. It is because all the big players know that that's how everybody else thinks. If they overtly agreed to behave as such, it would clearly be illegal conduct. However, because they know how each other is going to act - based on their knowledge that the others are trying to maximize profits, regardless of morals - they do not have to overtly agree. The agreement is tacit. This is oligopolistic coordination, and for the most part is legal unless you can prove that some conspiracy exists. This is nearly impossible to prove.

Thus, gas needs to be a price-regulated industry. It does not matter that much when plasma tv makers engage in this type of behavior, because it is a luxury item. Gas, like it or not, is not a luxury. It is a necessity for today's society.

I don't know. Maybe it's good that prices are going up, and it's actually putting pressures on companies to develop more fuel efficient/independent machines. I'll leave that debate up to those more qualified.

All I'm saying is that if your goal is to LOWER gas prices, DO NOT BOYCOTT EXXON. Lobby your representatives for governmental control over gas prices, and elect representatives who are committed to this goal.

Thanks for reading. Your comments, criticisms and arguments are welcomed.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Joys of Job Hunting...

As most of you who know me know, I have been looking for work as an attorney for some time now since graduation. Today, I submitted my resume for a job listing through

I've decided to post the correspondence we exchanged today. Please bear in mind that my opinions and suspicions expressed in my response to BCG are merely opinions and suspicions. Form your own opinion about the companies. I have edited out the personal names and phone numbers.

This is what BCG Attorney Search wrote to me

On Mar 22, 2006, at 8:49 PM, BCG Attorney Search wrote:

Dear [EDIT],

I wanted to drop you a short note to thank you for taking the time to contact BCG Attorney Search. I just finished reviewing your resume and, prior to that, a BCG Attorney Search recruiter in the area of the United States you are interested in reviewed it as well. I offer the following observations.

First, there is no doubt that you have an outstanding record. Your record since graduating from law school appears quite strong in all respects. We feel privileged that attorneys in positions such as yourself contact us on an ongoing basis.

Second, the issue we have with your candidacy is that your most recent experience has been in an in-house environment, and at BCG Attorney Search we do exclusively law firm placements. As I am sure you are aware, the transition from an in-house to a law firm environment is not an easy one to make. It is our belief that you would be best served by pursuing a search for another in-house position (it's up to you, however) and are likely to experience the most success by pursuing this line of employment. The issue with a recruiting firm such as BCG Attorney Search representing you if you want to work in a law firm is that your odds of success would be greater if you were to do the search on your own. When a law firm uses a recruiting firm, they typically want people who are a "perfect fit" and coming directly from another law firm with a very narrowly defined skill set. Nevertheless, that is when a recruiter is involved. Were you to apply to law firms directly, the result wou! ld likely be different. Below I would like to explain what we believe is the most effective means for going about finding either another in-house position or a law firm position.

As I am sure you are aware, an in-house position is typically difficult to obtain. Some of the largest obstacles to getting an in-house position are (1) the dearth of recruiter opportunities in this field, and (2) the dearth of advertised opportunities in the in-house field. At BCG Attorney Search, we used to make in-house placements but found the entire process extremely inefficient. With so few in-house opportunities, it was difficult to give our candidates the type of options and breadth of choice that should be the cornerstones of any effective job search. When is the last time you heard of a recruiter having 10+ in-house opportunities, for example? In addition, how many job boards do you frequent that have a high number of in-house positions? Virtually none.

An Excellent Way To Locate Actual In-House Openings
Because we are a legal recruiting firm, a large part of our job is screening candidates for employers. More importantly, due to the fact that employers pay us to locate attorneys, they also give us much more demanding hiring criteria than they might otherwise have if you were to approach them for the same positions on your own. This is especially so when you are coming from an in-house environment. A law firm is more likely to hire you if you are applying on your own than coming through a recruiting firm. In addition, because we are contractually obligated to only introduce candidates matching an employer's "specific" hiring criteria, we cannot give away the identity of our clients with positions unless someone meets exactly what they are looking for.

One source which can provide you with immediate access to virtually every open attorney position in the United States is LawCrossing. Since the same opening you expressed interest in on the BCG Attorney Search website is also most likely on LawCrossing, you probably could profit from checking them out. LawCrossing is very effective in tracking down intelligence on jobs and distributing that information to attorneys. LawCrossing is a "job aggregator" and has virtually every in-house position in the United States listed on its website. You are going to find a large number of in-house and law firm openings on LawCrossing that you will not locate elsewhere. However you are going about your search, LawCrossing is a good way to know! what is going on in the market.

The Most Effective Way To Initiate Contact With Employers On Your Own
Probably the most effective way to get a position is through Legal Authority. Legal Authority can assist you in applying to not only the law firm opportunities BCG Attorney Search recruits for, but also in-house, government and public interest opportunities as well. From what I understand, Legal Authority is responsible for getting more attorneys jobs than any other single organization in the United States. Numerous in-house attorneys use this service to transition into law firm environments each year. Some of the success stories from Legal Authority are really quite remarkable. Most people that have used Legal Authority have received multiple interviews - regardless of their background.

In terms of finding a law firm or in-house environment that matches what you may be seeking both culturally and financially, we believe you are going to have far better luck using a company such as Legal Authority than any American recruiting firm. There are thousands of potential opportunities in the United States you would be suitable for, and Legal Authority has access to all of them.

Once again, [EDIT], we appreciate you contacting BCG Attorney Search and wish you the best in your search. I hope my advice has been helpful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at or by telephone in our Los Angeles offices at 213-895-7300.

Kind regards,


Chief Executive Officer

TEL: 213-895-[EDIT]
FAX: 213-895-[EDIT]

175 South Lake Avenue, Suite 200
Pasadena, CA 91101


This e-mail message is confidential, intended only for the named recipient(s) above and may contain information that is privileged, attorney work product or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this message in error, or are not the named recipient(s), please immediately notify the sender at 213-895-[EDIT] and delete this e-mail message from your computer. Thank you.



I must say that I am surprised that the CEO of BCG has personally reviewed my resume! I appreciate that your responses must be somewhat "canned" due to the large number of resumes you likely get on a daily basis. If you had looked at my resume more closely, you would have seen that I have spent a few months filling in a temporary position at [EDIT name of University]. While I would enjoy working in such an environment, I doubt that I have pigeonholed myself as an in-house attorney as you have suggested. If you look more closely, you will see that I have significant experience with a number of law firms, a government law office, a summer clerkship for an appellate court, and that I am a motivated self-initiator who has taken an otherwise unfriendly job market and created work for himself by independently finding and negotiating consulting contracts.

I have previously employed Legal Authority, who happily took my $750 and sent me a couple hundred envelopes to stuff. I have learned that if I want to do a mass mailing campaign (that ultimately proves to be of marginal utility), I can save a lot of money by doing it myself.

As for Law Crossing, no thanks. It is a matter of common knowledge that "job aggregators" that charge for job-seekers to see their listings are a waste of money. I'd rather spend the extra money on extra cell-phone minutes calling the employers myself to see if they have openings.

Also, to an unfamiliar person, you would seem to be giving objective advice about Law Crossing and Legal Authority. At first glance, you would appear to be selflessly honest - telling me that your people probably can't help me, so go ahead and check out these other services, they can probably help you better than we can. My, a company turning down business? They must be telling the truth. However, as I am familiar with both companies, it is readily apparent from your web-design alone that BCG, Law Crossing and Legal Authority are all fruit of the same tree and likely share a close corporate relationship.

That said, and being somewhat disappointed that BCG appears to be fishing for attorneys who aren't a "perfect fit" so that it can refer the dejected candidates to its sister companies to then PAY for their essentially valueless services, please forgive me if I have some doubts about the genuineness of your reply.

It is difficult enough as it is trying to make ends meet when you went $150,000+ in the hole earning a law degree from a top 25% law school, only to be borne into a depressed Baltimore job market where you have to compete with 50 to 100 or more resumes for even the most menial of attorney positions. I certainly do not need to be donating any more of my hard earned money to companies who offer only marginally helpful services.

I have worked for real placement agencies such as Special Counsel. I know they're real because they call me on a regular basis to find out where I am, whether I'm working, what kind of work I'm looking for, etc. Best of all, they actually come through with jobs. You see, they don't have sister companies to pawn me off to, so they are motivated to take a talented individual like myself and place me into a job that is a good fit for the client and for me. People like me make people like them very happy. I do excellent work every time I am placed. I get rave reviews from each place I do work. That makes the agency's clients happy and gives the clients more confidence in the agency. The agency's reputation thus grows stronger in the community ultimately generating greater profits for the agency.

I feel that any recruiting company that's worth its salt ought to be looking for candidates to fit each individual job. The impression I got from your response was that you could tell by looking only at my most recent position, that I would not be a "perfect fit" for any position that BCG would have to offer. Bad for BCG, but good for Law Crossing and Legal Authority.

Feel free to take a second look at my resume and actually compare it to individual positions as they are posted to see if, indeed, I am not the kind of person that anyone BCG services would want to hire.

I look forward to hearing back from you.


[EDIT], Esq.