If I knew that updating a .plan file was this entertaining, I would have started doing semi-regular updates a long time ago. Oh well. My web space is located at http://nuthouse.org/~hendersa and I can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Archived .plan entries can be seen at http://nuthouse.org/~hendersa/finger. ****************************************** *19 June 2003 - The legal battles heat up* ****************************************** I had mentioned before that I was subpoenaed and had to go testify in court. I also mentioned that most of my time on the stand was spent defending my character from a lawyer who had found my .plan archives. She was intent on using the archive to prove what an awful person I am. Now that the trial is over, a final decision has been made, and the dust has settled, it's finally time to fill everyone in on what happened during my day at court. But first, I need to back up a bit and tell you how I got into this mess. Be prepared for a few shocks. First off, I'm engaged. This hasn't come up in the .plan before, but it's coming up now. Not only am I engaged, but the woman I'm engaged to, Faith, is still married. Faith also has a son that just recently had his fourth birthday. To add to the complication, Faith currently lives in Georgia. You don't have to be Marco Polo to realize that Georgia is quite a distance from California. There are quite a variety of objects that are located between the two states... items such as deserts, mountains, rivers, swamps, forests, and Texas. Faith is freshly divorced and no longer anchored in Georgia because of her husband. Words can't really begin to describe this man, but I'll give it my best shot. Remember back when you were in high school? Hell, some of you fine readers might still be in high school. You could probably take a good look at most of your classmates and guess where a lot of them were going to end up about five years outside of school. On one side of the spectrum, there were those that were destined for higher education and great things. There were also those whose grades weren't that great, but they were going to become personally successful just because they worked so hard at everything they did. On the other side of the spectrum, there were those that were destined to pump gas for a living because they sought an existence requiring a minimal amount of effort. Finally, we have the ones that still live at home with mom and dad and sponge resources with all their might. It's hard to pigeonhole anyone into any of these categories because there are a lot of factors acting on someone going through high school. Still, there is a certain level of drive, independence, and effort that makes up a large part of an individual's personality. It's the motivation to become something better and provide a better future for you and your family that really separates the winners from the losers in life. Those that give up on themselves will have their personal development stall. At that point, your daily routine stops becoming interesting and becomes more of a tiring run on a gerbil exercise wheel. Combine the gas pump attendant with the guy living at home with mom and dad, and you're approaching Faith's husband. Throw in the gerbil wheel and you're just about there. Add in the internet dating and getting your girlfriend pregnant, while still married to your wife, and you're closer still. Finally, mix in the fact that he was demoted because he was caught screwing around with a 17 year-old checkout girl at the grocery store where they both worked, and I think you've got him just about pegged. Did I mention that he was still married to Faith when he was screwing around with the 17 year-old checkout girl? Roll that in there, too. Faith is the opposite of her husband in many, many respects. She's a tiny little thing while he's nearly a foot taller than she is. Faith is an orphan from a huge family (we're talking fourteen kids here, folks), and her husband is from a small family with a rather controlling, dominant, and not-quite-that-swift mother. Faith is a genius, and her husband is determined to reserve thought for emergency situations. Faith's continued steps towards high education were strongly discouraged by her husband, who felt that a woman's place is in one of three places: the kitchen, the bedroom, or straddling a pole in a bar. Faith and I have known each other since college. We bumped into each other at freshman orientation, and we became close friends rather quickly. We were both in the Air Force ROTC program on scholarships, and she was often in the background while my roommates and I were merrily blowing up portions of the countryside. It wasn't long before Faith's high school boyfriend started to realize that he was going to lose his girlfriend to some guy she met at college, so he decided to marry Faith to stand his ground. She happily accepted and was looking forward to the calm, stable home life that she never really had a chance to experience while growing up. Seven years later, two of which have been spent trying to divorce him, she's continuing her research into time travel so that she can go back in time to warn her younger self not to marry him. When Faith decided that enough was enough, she took matters into her own hands. She left her husband, found a job, and got her son in daycare. She worked as much as she could in order to afford her own apartment, and then she began saving as much as she could in order to continue her education. Not many people would be willing to start from scratch like that, but she's not typical in many respects. I mean, hell... she's marrying me. That proves that she's a little nutty. While she was in the midst of this large-scale juggling act, the two of us got back into contact. We were a whole country apart from each other, but phone calls, e-mail, and instant messages cut that distance down considerably. After several visits out to the west coast, one Christmas visit to my parent's home, and countless e-mails and phone calls later, we decided that getting married would be a pretty smart move. The tricky part in all this was the actual "move" part. You see, Faith was still trying to get divorced, and her husband was trying every stall tactic he could to delay the process. He turned in paperwork late. He filed incorrect paperwork. He made false claims. Basically, he threw everything he could in her way to delay the divorce. It was largely out of spite, but he also had the misconception that one day he'd win her back by beating her independent streak into submission. She'd admit she was wrong, dejectedly return to him, and he'd once again be free to drink beer at strip clubs while she was cleaning the kitchen at home. The most powerful stall tactic he had, though, was his son. He twisted the entire divorce proceedings into a long and drawn-out custody battle over his son. He wasn't too crazy about having his son around all the time; of course, since that would involve daycare, supervision, and time that he felt could be better spent elsewhere. Still, when it comes to tormenting your spouse, using your child as leverage is one of the more effective approaches. He demanded that Faith should not be allowed to leave Georgia or Florida with his son. This made it rather difficult for Faith and I, since that halted her plans to relocate to California. His attempts to stall Faith's relocation continued for quite some time. He'd agree to something, and then change his mind at the last minute and submit paperwork saying he changed his mind. He demanded that a custody evaluator examine both parents in an attempt to drain Faith's financial resources. His lawyer would delay court dates, drag out depositions over multiple days, and aid in his attempts to delay Faith. Almost every one of his stall tactics backfired as Faith quietly recorded phone calls, collected receipts, and gathered evidence that discredited all of her husband's invalid claims and delays. Her stash of evidence was staggering. His attempts to break both her spirit and bank account just made her more determined to win. Finally, it looked like Faith's day of justice was at hand. Her husband had run out of stall tactics, everything was in order for the trial, and even the judge himself had admitted that "this case needs closure". It was going to be a battle royale between the husband's whining about how boys need their fathers and Faith's massive stacks of evidence, reports, and research supporting her divorce and relocation to California with her son. This is where I come into this story. I was subpoenaed to testify at this trial on behalf of Faith's relocation. I received the subpoena in the mail, and let out a big sigh of frustration. Then, I took my business suit to go get cleaned, shined my shoes, and started hunting around online for cheap plane tickets from California to Florida. I was going to have to go head-to-head with the husband's lawyer during questioning, and her whole goal was to display me as being a bad influence on Faith and her son. I was the reason she wanted to move to California, so it seemed that assassinating my character was probably the easiest way to shoot down Faith's prospects of relocation. And now for the exciting part: Faith's husband knew little about me aside from the fact that I had this "interweb thing" that told people how I'm a dangerous character that blows stuff up, racks up credit card debt, and doesn't respect baby Jesus. So, his lawyer hit the web, found my .plan archive, and started to read. All she knew about me was from what she saw on my website, so all of her questioning was based off of things in the .plan and my resume. She was certain that she'd be able to bury me with all of the things she found, and she prepared a massive list of questions that were designed to make me look like the kind of person who would microwave puppies. I take great satisfaction in the fact that the husband had to pay his lawyer for the hours she spent reading and analyzing the .plan archives. I'm certain that there are some words in the archives that she had to look up in a dictionary, and I'm also certain that she got completely upset when she couldn't figure out how to decode the Geek Code block I've got in one of my .plan updates. Perhaps she should have taken that as a hint of what she was going up against, but she completely missed the hint and carried on with the planning of her infallible smear campaign. Someone should have warned this woman what she was about to get herself into. Next Court Update: The .plan goes to court Matlock was never like this.