Short Version: So, yeah. I’m back.

Long version: Man, life does take its funny twists and turns, doesn’t it? One minute you’re blogging like a fool every day, knocking it out, everything’s going smoothly. And seemingly in the blink of an eye, you take some time off to catch up on a couple of weak areas of your primary business (which for me is Internet advertising), you hit a couple of personal snags, and bang — you look down and a couple years have passed and you’ve left thousands of pretty loyal readers hanging.

That feels really shitty. And has felt that way for a good while now. So after much personal and professional house-cleaning, and knowing that the need for solid, real-life advice for high school student is bigger than ever, I’m back. I won’t blather your ear off today, but I’ll catch you up on the last couple of years. Maybe it’ll make help you understand why I disappeared in the first place. This is the Cliff’s Notes version:

Lorenzo Barsch

Knowing him, he probably picked the lock.

I had my 3rd (and final!) kid. His name is Lorenzo Antonio, and he was born in January of 2011. He’s a pretty sharp and very personable little dude. Unlike my other kids, he grew up with two older siblings all up in his business from dawn to dusk, and he’s clearly developed more quickly in terms of being shifty, crafty, knowing how to hide, how to climb shit and escape from just about any little baby jail you try to lock him up in. He’s strong as hell, mostly because he survives on protein bars and protein shakes (at least when he’s at my house — see more on that a few paragraphs down).

I literally wrapped my car around a telephone pole. That sucked. Technically it wasn’t me, it was a friend who did it when I’d loaned him the car. No one was injured, except for the car, which went directly to car heaven and did not pass “Go” or collect $200 on its way there. Here’s a lesson, folks: Full coverage on your automobile is a very, very good thing.

I spoke at Harvard. Not like in front of the university president or host of foreign dignitaries or any crazy shit like that, but I was indeed invited to speak to the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business — and honestly, to this day, I’m still not sure exactly why they chose me — but they did, and I went and did my thing there and enjoyed it very much.

When you're getting served, a sense of humor helps.

When you're getting served, a sense of humor helps.

I started a nonprofit for battered women called VoiceAgainstViolence.org. In my absence, I got an up-close look at the problems domestic violence can cause through a friend who was having a pretty rough time with an abusive spouse. Long story short, he jacked up her phone so she lost access to all the contacts in her phone. While I was helping her restore it, I thought, “Wow, this would be SO much easier if you were using Google Voice before this happened.” And pretty much at that very second, the idea for Voice Against Violence was born. The charity has one purpose, and that’s to get abused women (all women really, but especially those in abusive situations) to sign up for Google Voice. Doing so takes five minutes, it’s free, and it can make a HUGE difference in getting a woman out of a bad situation. Check out the link above if you want to learn more.

It's open to interpretation.

It's open to interpretation.

I got divorced. Or, I’m getting divorced I should say. As you may have heard, these things take time to work through the legal system, even when there’s no acrimony or conflict involved, which I’m happy to say in my case, there’s not. My ex and I actually live about 4 blocks away from each other so our kids can freely float back and forth and are never too far away from the other parent. My kids are doing extremely well with the whole situation; sometimes I think they’re way more grown up than their mom and dad.

For all you inquiring minds…we didn’t split up over any particular traumatic event. We just weren’t getting along like a husband and wife ought to, and it had been that way for some time. We function very well as friends nowadays and still support each other’s endeavors. She’s going back to school for a couple years, and in the meantime runs a fan site for Veronica Mars. I’d bump the link here, but the site isn’t quite ready from prime time yet. I’ll give you a link later when it’s ready to go.

This one hurt.

This one hurt.

I got a little more tatted up. I’m not the first guy to run out and get a bunch more tattoos after becoming single for the first time since Clinton was in office, so I guess this makes me a stereotype of some sort. Eh, whatever…I embrace it. The first was my “COME PLAY” across my knuckles, and yes, that one hurt, but not nearly as much as you’re thinking. Everyone asks how bad it hurt thinking it would be excruciating, but it was no worse than any of my others (I have eight). Now…the sugar skulls on my hands. Yikes. I’ve got tattoos all over and nothing even comes close to the pain of that area. Both of the skulls you see here were done in one six-hour session. The first two hours were not bad at all. The middle two started to get uncomfortable, and the last two, yeah — I was pretty much ready to be out of the chair at that point.

But I like them. Second piece of advice for this post: If you’re just starting out in your career, no, I don’t recommend knuckle or top-of-the-hand tattoos. Yeah, some places will still hire you of course, but there are a lot of employers out there for whom it’s just a little too thuggish. I did mine because I’ve been in business for 12 years and am pretty well-established in my field of Google Adwords management, and I have way more people asking to become our company’s clients than vice versa. Long story short — I can tat my hands up because I don’t need anyone’s approval or respect anymore, but you might not be in that spot yet, so proceed with caution. I wish you the fastest possible journey, however, over to this “I ain’t gotta impress none of you” side of the line. It’s much cooler this way. :)

This one hurt worse.

This one hurt worse.

I quit smoking. You probably never knew I smoked in the first place, because I don’t share it publicly very much since I’ve probably lied to a dozen insurance companies about it here and there over the years. But yeah, I quit doing that. It’s a good thing to do, quitting. Seems impossible the first couple weeks in, but it’s doable. Personally, I used a combination of the e-cigarette and nicotine gum. I’m not like all those former smokers who are like, “WOW, I feel so much better and I breathe so much easier and blah blah blah.” I’d put my benefits this way: a) I don’t go to the store and buy a $6.50 pack of smokes every day, so I’m saving a couple hundred bucks a month; b) I get an hour of my workday back that I previously spent outside smoking, 6 minutes at a time; c) My fingers don’t stink anymore.

So there you have it. I was shitty about updating Outlaw Student, that’s for sure, but I wasn’t exactly putting my feet up and eating bon-bons, as you can tell (Do they even sell bon-bons anymore?). So I ask your forgiveness and I hope you’ll come back often like you did before. If you’re already out of school and have a job and thus don’t need my advice anymore, hand me down to a friend like you would an old pair of sexy going-out jeans that you just don’t fit into anymore because you’ve got a little money in your pocket and you’re eating lunch out too much with your work colleagues.

Expect more of the same unvarnished advice that you always got before; if the last two years have had any effect on me whatsoever, it’s that I give even less of a shit about being presentable and professional and I only have time and patience for telling it like it is (all of my hypersensitive friends can attest to this).

Anyway, so there it all is. I’m back. Ta-da! Hope to see you around. Keep submitting all your questions and shit through the nav links. I’ll get to them die-rectly. I’ve even got an assistant this time around, so maybe I’ll be even faster!

Your pal,
Judge Josh

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Caitlin & the State-School Blues

June 9, 2011

Caitlin’s feeling a little down in the dumps about the college aspirations she once had for herself and the reality that’s seeming to be a little different these days. I’m guessing there’s a few dozen of you out there feeling the same way. Hello! I’m a recently graduated senior and salutatorian from a high school […]

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Should a Man Go To Cosmetology School?

March 31, 2011

Jordan wants to go to cosmetology school, but is it too — you know, womanly? I have read many of your article and posts and I have come to a conclusion that you are quite a knowledgeable person, which is what I really need right now. Well, thank you very much. Glad to be held […]

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Supporting a Family While Going to School

March 23, 2011

Franklin’s a passionate guy with many interests. He also has many responsibilities, namely supporting his family. He wants to go to college. How can he pull that off? Hey Josh, how’s it going? I’m sleep-deprived but overcaffeinated, so it should balance out long enough for me to give you a decent answer here. Hopefully you […]

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First Family High School Graduate. Wait For College?

March 18, 2011

Lashawn thinks she’s got it worse than I think she really does. Almost to the point where she’s considering skipping college for a bit, but I think that’s a bad idea considering her setup. I’ll be the first one of my family to graduate from high school, let alone go to college, so there is […]

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Summer School vs. Working For Extra Cash

March 15, 2011

Adam’s situation is much better than a stick in the eye. He’s been accepted to his dream school, but they want him to pack up and leave pronto. If he waits, he might make more cash at a summer job, and who knows, maybe even get a fat scholarship — at a less competitive school. […]

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Engineering vs. James Bond

February 14, 2011

Lots of students who write me have a career-choice dilemma on their hands, but none quite like that of RDX. Which is the writer’s name, btw. I like it. I think if I was going to have a three-letter moniker, I’d definitely have the last letter be X. JDX. How’s that sound? Anyway, here’s RDX’s […]

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Should the Valedictorian Drop Out?

February 3, 2011

Stella’s got problems. She was the valedictorian in high school, headed for great things, and now things are off the rails. Hi, Judge Josh! First of all, I love your blog. I like you already. I’m in a bit of a tight situation. My college is more or less running me bankrupt. I graduated valedictorian […]

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Sneak Off To Another College?

January 25, 2011

Aly is a daring lass with a plan that might actually make a great screenplay, as long as there were a lot of screwball antics and coming-of-age challenges to overcome triumphantly. Dear Josh, My parents have decided that instead of allowing me to go off to college next year, they want me to attend a […]

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From Canada to Harvard Law School?

January 17, 2011

Rebecca’s a Canadian student who’s transferring in the States to marry her CanadiAmerican fiance. Many congrats in advance to the happy couple. But she has big dreams of Ivy League law school and wants to know if her current plans will translate into admission there. Hey Judge Josh, Thanks for all the great advice you […]

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Is Tattooing Worthy Of My Art Degree?

January 4, 2011

Jacob’s a tortured artist — and he hasn’t really even started being an artist yet! I imagine his situation and mindset are not uncommon, though, for art students about to jump into the professional world. Hi Judge Josh, I am at a crucial moment in my educational life. I will graduate next semester with a […]

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I Was Raped. Should I Tell The Committee?

December 28, 2010

Sarah was finishing up a stellar undergrad career at a very selective university, and then she was raped. That changed things, but it didn’t derail her, and she needs some advice on how to continue righting the ship. Hi Judge Josh, Hi! I’m a longtime reader and fan of your Q&A section, just never thought […]

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Should I Mention My Criminal History?

December 17, 2010

Shiro’s like a rapper. Or, at least like a lot of rappers pretend to be. He’s made something of himself, but his past is a little sketchy. Had to do a little hustlin’ to get by back in the day. Hi Judge Josh, I am applying for a scholarship program and I have difficulties deciding […]

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I Want Baylor. Parents Want Ivy League.

December 15, 2010

Danielle wants to a be a neo-natal nurse, and she wants to go to Baylor, which is an expensive private school. Mom & Dad don’t approve…but not for the reasons you might expect. Hello there. Hi. I’m a Senior in high school in Oklahoma City. I’ve known all of my life that I’ve wanted to […]

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Bad College Advice, Volume I

December 13, 2010

Man, Rebecca’s been getting some terrible college advice. I want to thank her in advance for allowing me to smash some of it here in a public forum. My question has two parts. I will be graduating with my A.A.S in Accounting this December with a 3.6GPA after taking classes for four years. Congrats! It […]

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When It’s OK to Lie

December 8, 2010

Sheri’s trying to get me in trouble today. Hey Josh, Hey! I’ve got a pretty great thing going on. I’m currently a debt-free sophomore in college with a 3.86 cumulative GPA, my family is supportive of me, and I’ve never had any trouble with people bullying me about my race, religion, or other attributes. To […]

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Multiple Degrees, Same School: Bad?

December 7, 2010

Jennifer’s heard the chatter about getting your degrees from different schools, if you’re getting more than one. Is it worth listening to? I usually have a lot of input, but figured I would poll the troops. I am finally graduating with my Associates in Business from American Military University with honors – WOOHOO. It looks […]

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I’m a Lesbian. Should I Hide That?

December 6, 2010

Victoria’s a lesbian, and her experience of being a lesbian actually makes a pretty sweet answer to one of her essay questions that could win her some money. But she’s not sure if it’s a great idea. Hi Josh, I’m in my final year of University and though I know what I want to do […]

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Weighted GPA vs. Non-Weighted GPA

December 3, 2010

Brittany has an interesting question today. If a scholarship committee asks for your GPA but doesn’t specify weighted or unweighted, which one should you give ‘em? At my high school we are currently on an honors grading scale for majority of our classes. We are given a GPA that is considered to be weighted; when […]

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I’m Average. Should I Drop Out?

December 1, 2010

Jatna’s having a rough time with college. It’s been harder for her than high school was, and she has that gnawing feeling that she wasn’t meant for it. That she should quit. First of all let me say that I absolutely love this blog, it has helped me get through some pretty tough times while […]

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Jewelry Design: Good Career Choice?

November 30, 2010

Forget world travel. Lydia wants to stay put here in the U.S. and design jewelry for a living. But does that make sense? Will you be able to support yourself and possibly a family with that job in the coming decades? Hey Josh, Your blog is wonderful, I think it’s so great for someone to […]

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Parental Horseshit

November 23, 2010

Elayne wants to be a horse trainer. But you know how it is with horse training — like its sister occupations, exotic dancing and prostitution, parents will stop at nothing to keep their children out of this sinister line of work. Or so it appears. I know you’ve answered this type of question a lot […]

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UAH Shootings: How Do I Leave Respectably?

November 22, 2010

I’m back, people! And if you missed me as much as I missed writing here, well…you can consider this paragraph the interactive equivalent of a soulful embrace from your creepy uncle that lasts *just* a little bit too long for anyone in the room to be comfortable with. Now, let’s get back to business. April […]

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Are Students Over-Exerting Themselves? (Counselor Buddy Advice!)

November 10, 2010

Today Counselor Buddy tells us there is such a thing as too many student activities. What do you guys think? How many activities are you involved with and do you ever get burned-out? Read Counselor Buddy’s guest article and leave a comment below. The increasing demands on students to market themselves to their colleges of […]

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The Priority Deadline: Guest Post by Anjilee Dodge

November 3, 2010

Today we have a helpful guest post from Anjilee, a financial aid advisor from Seattle. As an advisor, Anjilee insists you meet the deadline for filling out your FAFSA. She also has some answers for the feeble excuses students give when they can’t seem to allocate 20 minutes every year for their financial well being. […]

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Questionable Letters of Reference (Bonus…we need guest posts!)

November 1, 2010

Before I get to Kristina’s question today, let me first announce that WE NEED GUEST POSTS! For the next two weeks, anyway. I’ll be on the road constantly for the ad agency over the next two weeks (Santa Fe, N.M. and Vienna, Austria), so if any of you razor-sharp co-eds out there feel like pounding […]

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Unique & Obscure Degrees: Worth it?

October 29, 2010

María has a question about college life outside the U.S., but that’s cool, because, in the immortal words of Lil’ Wayne, “We worldwide, hustlas!” I have a question regarding college majors. My situation is unique for this site because I don’t live in the US. But I read the advice you give and you’re always […]

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Double Degree: What’s The Point?

October 27, 2010

Tamorie is a woman of few words. But every word counts. Love your work! Aw, shucks… I have a quick question. What’s the benefit of a second bachelor’s degree? Is there one? Great question. I’ll assume that what’s given rise to this question is you being in some proximity to students pursuing or discussing double-degree […]

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Work Promotion While In College?

October 25, 2010

Maggie’s been offered a promotion! But it’s the one time in life where she’s not actually sure if she wants one — while she’s a full-time college student. Dear Judge Josh, I’m a junior in college, but I plan on being in school for a couple more years at least. No rush on graduation! Good […]

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Study Abroad in Australia?

October 22, 2010

Allyson’s debating whether to leave the friendly confines of Boston University for Sydney, Australia. On the surface, it seems like an embarrassment of riches; BU is pretty swank in its own right (at least it was 18 years ago when I was a freshman there), and Sydney is — well, it’s in Australia, where all […]

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