Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Curmudgeon's routine -- or -- How the Internet ate my workday

I have always believed that a good lawyer should be well informed. Able to speak with authority on a wide variety of subjects. And, besides, you never know where you'll find the tip, the news item, the inspiration, that leads to the next case, or helps you settle an existing one.

But I think I'm starting to push the envelope here.

I read the Chicago Sun-Times every morning on the train. Sometimes that provides fodder for this blog. When I get to the office, I check my various emails. Lately I first check the one that routes comments from this blog. I'm thrilled when there's a comment or two, crestfallen when there's none. I didn't used to be this way: I knew no one was reading this when I started, but I was doing it for myself. But now... now that some people are reading, I'm becoming greedy. I want more readers, more, more, more! (Insert maniacal movie evildoer 'bwahaha' here.)

The only way to get more readers is to read more blogs. Thus the first dilemma every morning: Start reading the blogs I go to every day? Or go to the other email -- which today had 96 emails waiting for me when I logged on. (Some days it's nearer 200.) Sure, a lot of these are nonsense ads, but I also subscribe to 'listservs' sponsored by the State Bar. A lot of these are nonsense posts... or not relevant to anything I'm actually doing in my practice... but sometimes... sometimes there's something that has to be printed out. Saved. Put in that big pile of paper in the middle of my desk where, when I find it again, I may... or may not... remember which file I had in mind when I printed it out in the first place.

And today there were emails about Youngest Son's travel baseball team that had to be handled. And one from Middle Son's college baseball team: A parent roster, with all the names and addresses and phone numbers. I have to print that out for further reference... and I had to ask, ever so humbly, if the person who obviously spent a ton of time putting the list together could please spell Long Suffering Spouse's name correctly. Because that's a pet peeve of hers. And everyone can have one pet peeve, right?

And I have to check the kids' away messages: In college, you leave your computer on all the time, and you have an "away message" set up on AIM so people who know you know where to find you, or what's going on, or why they should or shouldn't call you. Today, Oldest Son had an away message that read something like, "Hoping to get a job before anyone sees my midterm grades." Now that's funny: He's a senior, he's interviewing, he's had some serious interviews, and follow-ups are scheduled. Why interview season coincides with midterms is beyond my ken. But as I've told Oldest Son recently, people will be making unreasonable demands on your time for at least the next 45 years -- if you're lucky -- so you might as well get used to it.

Assuming my role as father and wet blanket, I immediately IM'd him and told him that I hope no prospective employer sees this message. He must have been nearby because he shortly thereafter IM'd back and told me I was paranoid. The companies he's interviewing with, he said, have better things to do than to 'stalk' possible hires.

I hope he's right.

But, finally, I can start to look at the blogs. Ken Levine's Northern California travelog today was hilarious. Judging from his comments, Bee had better watch out that her husband Charlie doesn't steal her blog entirely. And Bee's post about Charlie cleaning house for the BA meeting is a classic.

And there's another problem: There are way too many talented people out here in the Blogosphere. From the newspapers you'd think that most blogs were from young mothers writing how 'today baby made a poopie' or teenagers writing about their fantasies. If only it were so: I'd be a commodity. I'd get my book contract in no time. But, no, all of you people with talent have to ruin it for people like me.... (Wait, did that come out right?)

Not everyone is everyone else's cup of tea, I realize. I look forward to Captain Picard's Journal every day -- but not everyone has been watching Star Trek for 40 years like I have. (OK, 39 -- I didn't really catch on until the second season of the original show.) I recently became a regular reader of Doctor Anonymous -- and he's not necessarily light reading. Despite myself, I can actually learn stuff there... and then there's all the links to and from Dr. A. -- where I've met people like Mother Jones RN (who really does have the best artwork).

There are a lot of nurses blogging, I've noticed: There's a one-liner here about record keeping, but I don't have time to think it through now. Best to recognize that this is a potential mine-field and move on. I'm on a roll.

And then there are the writers' and writing blogs. I started reading Patry Francis some time ago. Sometimes it takes awhile to go through one of her posts, and longer still to formulate a comment. And then I found Miss Snark, the literary agent and Agent Kristin -- allegedly polar opposites in temperament, both dispensing seemingly good advice to the author wannabes. (If I ever get brave enough, I may someday actually try following some of that advice... instead of hoping that someone will just find me here and throw money at me....)

Speaking of writers, Edie found me here, as did Heather and Qulicum RN(speaking again of nurses) -- but they weren't the ones who could throw money at me. I haven't figured out much yet about Shelly Franz except that, when you click the buttons underneath her title, her entire page background changes. So far I can't get past playing with that.

I've also noticed that there are not a lot of lawyers doing this kind of blog. There are a lot of *haruuumph* very stuffy legal blogs very seriously addressing very serious subjects. (These are called "blawgs." Get it?) I have one of these as well, under my real name, which I don't update very often. In my defense, it takes a long time to write a serious article -- and I don't have the time... because I'm over here doing this stuff.... Hmmmm. This defense may need work. Anyway, the only semi-regular visitor here who admits to being a lawyer is cmhl -- and she doesn't write much about that sort of thing. There's another one-liner in here about why lawyers don't blog. Nurses? Go ahead, I can take it.

Anyway, I've checked the email, looked quickly -- really quickly -- at all these different sites... and a few others besides. I've made a comment or two, and taken a couple of calls from Younger Daughter -- who's home sick with strep today -- and one from Long Suffering Spouse, who called me from school when she couldn't reach Younger Daughter... because she was talking to me. I had the land line phone in one ear and the cell phone in the other relaying their questions and answers. And, yes, I thought they should have heard each other right through my head, too.

But, now, finally, I'm ready to start my own blog entry... and the morning is nearly gone and I'm flat out of time.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

Thanks for the mention. Your blog is a reegular stopping-off point as well.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

well honestly i START with you!

and usually you are not there yet, i have thought about moving you down the list a bit but always seem to go up from the bottom of my links rather than down from the top.

i also thought about not going back to you until the next day, that way if your late self might already be there waiting for me to read, but sick puppy that i am, i go back all day.

now just so you don't get a big (bigger) head, you are not the ONLY one i go back to. but you are usually the latest one.

now if you could just get in to work a little earlier that may help. (said with her arms folded and her foot tapping!)


Anonymous said...

well thanks for the honorable mention in your blog. Bee suggested that i get my own blog but my fat ass is too lazy (she says). and it would require some effort on my part, learning how. i no longer get paid to work, i just do things for pleasure and that's not all bad! it is much easier to glom on to bee...

The Curmudgeon said...

Bee: The "latest one"? I'm not sure what that means -- but I can only try and do better in future....

Charlie -- if I can do it....

Mother Jones RN said...

Thanks for the mention. There is a term for your condition, you are a "mouse potatoe." Trust me, I know, I'm a nurse. I'm also a mouse potatoe. I don't know if this will work in the comment section, but here's a link to a post I wrote that explains what's happening to you.

Anonymous said...

the latest one in the day usually, in other words the last of my little blog-links i look at until i get my blog fix from them for the day. see? just so you know...bee

The Curmudgeon said...

Oh my, "mouse potatoe" -- I read the post -- like Opus I now have still another anxiety for my closet.

Anonymous said...

You called me a writer! It just tickles me pink when people do that!

Did you know that I am going to be in Chicago in a month? :-)

I know what you mean about wanting more and more readers. I've had my blog for more than two years now. It was addictive when I actually started getting commenters. I still adore and appreciate my readers but the blog is mostly a place for me to write and reach out and I realize that different people will be drawn to different posts.

I always enjoy reading your posts.

Anonymous said...

thursday am: checking, not here yet... 7:46 am edt

cmhl said...

You're right, I don't talk much about THAT sort of thing, because... sigh... oh, you know. I would have to be all serious and all.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking maybe I should put an introduction somewhere in my blog sidebar...or embedded in the background...*grin*.
Saw your comments, and there's a couple of replies to you over in my comment section. I don't know about agent this or that, but someone SHOULD throw money at you for writing, lots and lots of it, too, because I'M still laughing with delight over the last two posts...

Anonymous said...

Shelly rules...I should know, I'm her husband.
Long-story-short, she's about as gifted with HTML and Paintshop Pro as anyone I've seen, and has forgotten more about Windows than most people will ever remember; I say this not as her husband but as a DeVry student and all-around power-user who started out with an Apple IIe at Hamlin junior high about a century ago and never looked back. High praise? Not high enough IMO...

Cynthia Bostwick said...

OK. You win. I am adding your blog to my links. I love this entry the best so far, but then I've only read three.

The best I can come up with is this: too bad you are married.

I love you.

If you'd read my blog (NOT a blawg) I'd appreciate it.

Yours, truly,