Archive for the 'Informative' Category

New Attorney Seeks Life After Law School

January 23, 2014

I got my results on Nov 1st, and I am happy to report that I passed the bar exam! I was licensed on Nov 1st, sworn in to the bar by a very kind local justice of the peace, Russ Casey, and have been working with my father in his law practice since then. You can see a picture or two of our office and the local courthouse on the firm website here.

Its been an exciting few months, even if we don’t consider the holidays, moving into an apartment, and family traveling as well. I’ve been 2nd chair on a few jury trials, accepted a court appointment, been reading lots of cases and statutes, and been giving people advice that they hopefully act upon for the betterment of their lives.

I’ll be honest (as I have to be according to the state rules/laws of being an attorney), it’s a lot of responsibility when people come to you looking for advice because people won’t pay attorney fees for unimportant matters. But! I wanted that responsibility because it meant I could do some of the good works God prepared for me to do, and that I would be well placed to see the results of that help in my client’s lives.

Its an exciting time. I feel blessed and thankful.


Nice Guy Finishes 2nd at Warhammer 40k Tournament at the Alamo GT

May 18, 2011

I’m back! A whole year of law school finished. Now I’m just waiting to find out if I did well or not, so I’ll update you when I find something out.

In celebration of the end of the first very long school year, my friends and I went down to San Antonio last weekend to attend the Alamo Grand Tournament for Warhammer 40,000. 40k, as the game is known to players, is the science fiction themed war game I’ve been building and painting in the monthly spare moment I have found in the past year. I’ve discovered that I enjoy the creative outlet of painting and constructing these small things and look forward to doing some more of it since my schedule should slow down a bit this summer. Until I leave for England to get married, I mean.

As if I needed more encouragement, at the Alamo 40k GT in San Antonio this weekend, I was awarded 2nd place Sportsmanship, or the Davy Crockett category. I didn’t win it due to my amazing generalship and impeccable win ratio (I went 1 win, 1 tie, and 3 losses), but because I was such a gracious player and was charming. Also, the incredibly bad luck for my dice might have had something to do with it, and I definitely wasn’t getting any painting points. I think my opponents felt sorry for me and rationalized it like this: “Good Game! Sportsmanship points for that depressingly bad luck you had there!” Or something to that effect. Oh well, I won $75!

I also hope to do some more blogging, but we’ll see how that goes. Progress has been made, however, since this post doubles all the posts I had since last year at about this time.

I have some pictures from the tournament and always some cute ones of Luke from recently. I’ll try and get those up in a timely fashion. If you look for thefathermapple on a couple of the big forums, or my favorite,, then you might see more of my painting process.

In the meantime, I’m going to go paint in preparation for a doubles 1 day event in Plano on the 28th, and hope to hear from any and all of you!

P.S. I’m trying to type more of this on my phone because that seems like a good idea. It means I’m into it more often and its more constructive than looking at things like… This.

10 Days

May 2, 2011

So, a lot changed since that April 18th post preceding this one. Let’s just tick some things off the list:

– I got engaged to Tamsyn last August. That was very nice.
– I passed my first semester of law school at Texas Wesleyan. Fun.
– I got to visit Tamsyn after Christmas due to snow storms and horrible service from American Airlines. That was incredibly frustrating followed by lots of joy.
– I started a hobby of painting and modeling plastic and metal figures, which I wish I had more time for instead of homework.
– My son turned six, I hit 28. His party was better than mine.
– In ten days and four tests (one today) I’ll be done with my first year of law school.
– In two months and 14 days I’ll be getting married to Tamsyn in England.

So if you’ve got some spare prayers or happy thoughts, I’d appreciate them the next 10 days.

What have you been up to?

P.U. at B.U.

March 5, 2010

In a letter dated February 26th, 2010, which I received this week, Baylor Law School Admissions Committee regretfully informed me that, after careful review, my application for admission to the Fall 2010 quarter has been denied.


Actually, Double-Shucks. Five years ago, I could chalk some of the disappointment I felt upon receiving a denial letter from a law school to several factors. I hadn’t studied at all for the last possible LSAT date of the school season. I had applied during the “late” windows for most of the schools. I didn’t get to spend much time with the personal statements or essays. I was expecting my son to be born in a few weeks and was nervous.

I don’t have those excuses this time. I am consoled by the fact that my father wasn’t admitted to Baylor either. He didn’t need those Bears, and I don’t either!

Perhaps I shouldn’t say that, so other future schools don’t think I’m some kind of fair weather turncoat, spitting childish names at a university because they turned me down amongst their huge pool of other applicants who are just as qualified and successful as I am. I should, in theory, be wishing the other happy, accepted applicants well on their personal journeys and hope they are successful in their endeavors.

Except, of course, if they are facing me in some future court room. I’ll go to lunch with another attorney where we’ll talk and laugh over law school stories. I’ll find out my opposition graduated Baylor Law School in 2013. Casually, I’ll put my napkin on the table after finishing my food, say I’m going to the bathroom and would they wait one moment, and then walk out the doors to my car.

They’ll sue me or something.

The “or something” part is why I want to go to law school.

Brussels or Bust

May 18, 2009

I had an ok weekend, for staying at home and doing almost nothing. I did go out Friday with a buddy and saw Star Trek, which received mixed reviews from the Trekker I went with. I thought it was a good reboot that met the spirit, if not the particulars, of the old show. Trek needed a reboot like this since the late 90s.

We stayed through the end and watched the Watchmen, thereby answering the old latin proverb. That movie is worth a second viewing, just like the comic stood up to multiple reads. The imagery, foreshadowing, themes, and dialogue are so rich that it’s a wonder that anyone debates whether it’s a good interpretation of the comic or not.

But besides laundry and some video games, not much else happened this weekend. That’s deplorable. I’d hate to break my record of 3 weekends at home in a row, so next weekend I’m going to Brussels, Belgium. I’m going to sample the fine Belgium Beer I hear so much about, see the palaces, and submit a couple of resolutions to the European Union for them to vote on. I’ll let you know when the motion for my nomination of “benevolent dictator for life” is passed.

What does this mean for you, faithful reader? Hopefully, more pictures. Also, a happier blogger. Thirdly, a chance to use the word thirdly.

If anyone has any travel suggestions of things to see while there, please let me know. Otherwise, I’m going to go read the Wikipedia entry on Brussels, and figure it out from there.

Paris Marathon: Completed!

April 5, 2009

Picture this… about 37,000 people running in the streets of one of the oldest and greatest Western cities. Every 5km, people grab oranges, bananas, and water bottles, consume them, and toss them to the side of the road. Pictures me, slowly plugging along for a total of 42.2km, or 26.2 miles, up and down hills, through the streets, past monuments and museums, bands playing every 2km, 200,000 people cheering us along the course, and the perfect weather for a long run.

That was my day today. I ran the 2009 Paris Marathon, when I didn’t think I’d make it 15 miles due to some severe and long hiccups in my training schedule over a month ago. I never ran further than 15 miles, but finished 11.2 more today than I’d ever run beofore. It was glorious.

At 18 miles, I was on pace to finish at 4 hours and 25 minutes, but then the cramps started. We’re talking cramps that made prior “charlie horses” I’ve had feel like small annoyances. When I ran to the side to stop and massage the muscle, I could feel it spasming under the skin. But I walked through them and continued on. I ate even more bananas and oranges at the rest stops every 5km. They were gone by mile 22.

I had to walk up most of the hills after mile 18 (Paris is on a river, but it’s not flat) and I walked the rest stations with perhaps 100 meters on each side, but I ran 95% of it. I have finished something that less than 0.05% of people will ever do. My knees and legs don’t know it now, but I feel amazing.

Pictures will be forthcoming.

My New Barracksmates, the Podcasters

March 23, 2009

I got my very own Army barracks room. This is great. It’s the same size as the room I’m in now, but all mine. Seriously, I’ve had the best  in my long history of many roommates (maybe it’s me…) but to be honest, I’d still rather just be barracks mates with Me, Myself, and I.

I had some help moving some of the heavier things, but mostly it was 100 small trips of stuff I could carry, without trying to pack and repack since I moved, literally, just down the hall. This is the first “move” that didn’t involve stairs. That, in itself, was amazing.

This is all well, and nice, but you may be asking yourself, “Self, why does Mark think this warrants a blog post?” Well, Self, the reason is… the result is completely counter intuitive. Perhaps I got content, or took my great barracks mate for granted (you’re still swell, Chad), but it is so incredibly quiet in here. This is deafening silence: where you can hear nothing, and all you can think about is how there is no sound. Then I get a bit lonely, and start listening to Podcasts.

I hope you listen to podcasts too. It’s like radio that you download in chunks. That’s the best way I can describe it. I listen to ones about history, current technology, video games, books, philosophy, several NPR shows (only the entertaining ones, no news), sermons from churches I used to go to, and other things too niche to describe fully here. Most podcasts have more than one person, since people are social beings and improv is easier with other people to bounce ideas off of. Even with just single host podcasts, it makes it feel like there is another person in the room and a conversation is going on. Granted, the conversation is one sided, but that just reminds me of being a teenager and talking to my dad. (Still love your lectures at 26, Dad.)

What did people do before radio to fill the silence? Did we have such great thinkers in “ancient” times because they had no one to converse with but their own thoughts? Is that one of the reasons for the fall in modern religious attendance, since the need to feel connected and personable is easily replaced with 1’s and 0’s off the Internet now?  Or are there people who really do enjoy the solace and solitude of silence, regardless of how they fill their head?

I think that may be interesting.

Marathon Update

March 10, 2009

Yes, I am going to the Paris Marathon on 5 April 2009. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be able to finish it right now. I am recovering from a month long struggle with shoulder bursitis, which is an inflammation of the shoulder joint. This means, when I ran over 4 miles, my shoulder would ache severely due to the constant jarring from the running, and the only way to get rid of bursitis is to wait it out, take anti-inflammatories, and go easy. Apparently I have a family history of this. Thanks, Mom and Dad! I suppose the above average smarts and good looks you gave me will have to make up for the frail health.

This means the long runs of 15, 18, and 20 miles never got done, and my regular runs of 6 or 8 got shortened as well. I am still going, and I am still running, but I don’t plan of finishing the whole marathon, just the half marathon. That is still an acomplishment, I think, since I haven’t run a half marathon in competition yet, although I’ve run the miles at one time.

It will still be Paris, France (just in case you thought it was Paris, Texas) and in the height of the spring season, so it will be gorgeous. My mother is now coming with me, which will be nice since travels shared are better than travels selfishly hoarded. Plus, I’m adding to the 6 days there by going to England for 9, so I am making good use of my time off.

There will be plenty of pictures. Of note, I plan on re-visiting the sites my Grandfather on my mother’s side visited while he was in Paris with the US Army in 1944 or 1945. I imagine the sites will be almost the same as on the postcards he sent back, but now they will be improved since humans have developed the ability to see in color. Or maybe we saw in color and the photographs were behind… either way, it will be great!

If anyone has some suggestions on where to go, or what to see besides the obvious ones like Notre Dame, the Louvre, le Eiffel Tower, etc, let me know. When I travel, I like to “go native” as much as possible, so I try to eat at little places and learn enough of the language to sound local, although this time I’m going to pretend to be a German tourist. We’ll see how well it works.

Promotion Speech

June 30, 2008

Effective 1 July 2008, I am promoted to Sergeant Mark Mansfield. The ceremony was actually on the 30th, at 1700 hours in the evening. I was pinned by LTC Robinette, and CW2 Diaz read the orders. Below is my speech after a flattering introduction by LTC Robinette.

“Thank you, Sir.

As the colonel mentioned, I have a degree in English Literature, and not in Public Speaking, so I’ve written this very short speech out.

There are a few people who I would like to thank for helping me have this privilege of becoming an NCO.

First, my parents and family for providing the support and role models that have helped and inspired me to get here. I have countless old war stories that are not mine, but that I grew up with. Whether they were told by pilots, MPs, Rangers, enlisted, officers, or even military spouses, I grew up to appreciate how incredibly noble it is to serve in the military, and from an early age, I knew I wanted that for myself.

I also want to thank the officers and attorneys I have worked for who have listened and taken my advice. When they disagreed or I didn’t understand, they thought it was important enough to take the time and effort to explain it to me. It has been an education, and a pleasure.

I’d especially like to thank all the NCOs I’ve worked for, SFC Davis, SSG Cooper, SFC Neal, and SFC Preston, all who have taken large amounts of their time to give me advice (whether I asked for it or not), answering my limitless questions, and for taking an interest in this soldier ho wanted to live up to the good things his NCOs have said about him. I am sure I wouldn’t be promoted without their hard work and good graces.

Finally, I’d like to thank my wife and child. They could not be here today, but they are my inspiration to continue to try and make the world a better place; one job, one day, and one soldier at a time.

I’m not going to be cliche and say I know exactly what it is that makes people good leaders, because leadership is not like some object you can hold on to, and tell what color it is. Forms of leadership are as varied as the people who have it. It is one of those qualities that is easily recognized, and hard to duplicate. But I am confidant that with the leadership I’ve had, I will be able to lead soldiers and provide that good example that I have had provided for me.

Thank you.”

A Month! A Whole Month!

February 4, 2008

Yes, this is the longest I have gone without updating this site. Yes, this is the longest I have gone without writing some of you individually. But, I now have an excuse for at least the last week.

Have you heard that the pipeline for much of this region of the world was cut last week? An underwater cable that handles phone, internet, and other types of digital traffic got severed, which is severely limiting an entire portion of the world’s access to the rest of the whole. This amazes me.

Now, initially, since I’m in the Armed Forces, I thought, “Terrorists. Obviously. Lets find them and shoot them for taking our internet!” but I was, thankfully, proved wrong. That’s just a knee jerk reaction to the years of training I’ve had so far. It turns out the situation is much more pedantic than I initially though: it was cut by some boat dragging something. Of course, it is hard for me to confirm it since the American news they pipe in here hasn’t mentioned it yet, and any other resource I would use is limited by the line being cut, so I may be wrong.

When I tried to call my parents, or my wife, all I got when I actually got in contact with someone, was a skipping record type of conversation. This was worse than cell phone static, because we couldn’t even understand if each other were even talking or had said anything half the time. It was frustrating, to say the least.

With my fears stayed for a while without internet access and all this additional free time since I wasn’t calling home, I came across a troubling thought. “Hey, Good-Looking,” as I call myself, “what would happen if terrorists or someone else did cut the lines on purpose? What kind of economic, militaristic, and social effects would that have on things?” I decided it would be a bad time, if one line being cut affects this much of the world.

Economies could be disrupted since shipping and deliveries could be delayed, or notifications normally handled digitally or in phone calls could not be verified. Any decent military has its own set of cables and satellites, but placing undue stress on satellites would mean a possible loss in traffic information since re-prioritization would have to be done quickly. Socially, people wouldn’t know what could be affecting them, lose contact with family and friends for a while, and their constant attempts to make sure people are ok could flood the system, as has happened with cellular networks in the USA during natural disasters, or 9/11.

Of course, the personal application is that I didn’t ever think of something like this until it already happened to me. I’m not blaming myself, or anyone else, but events like this have led me to believe that life, in many ways, can be a bit scarier and sillier than fiction.

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