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School of Hard Knocks

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Jury Duty Jun. 3rd, 2008 @ 04:52 pm
It's one's Civic Duty.

I reported last week for my annual exposure to the justice system. As I don't keep up with local news (no TV) one can imagine how thrilled I was to learn that there were four death penalty cases underway at the time. Odds again were in my favor as my jury pool was selected for pretrial screening for one of them. My joyfulness meter simply bubbled over when the judge informed us that the trial was expected to last eight weeks. To be fair, someones life is on the line and every consideration should be taken. However, eight weeks is a very long time to be making $15/day + one way mileage reimbursement.

After being denied a financial hardship excuse - single, self-employed, with no one else to financially support just doesn't really cut it - the remaining members of my pool were given a 27 page questionnaire probing our respective views on the legal system and our positions on the Death Penalty. This is definitely one of those times when holding moderate views doesn't help. We were told to report yesterday morning for more detailed screening.

For those who have an acute understanding of the Law, you'd no doubt conclude that I wasn't impaneled. I wouldn't be able to talk about the case at all if I was. Skipping past the philosophical discussion, the case is People vs. Lynn Dean Johnson.

I have to say, the entire process, while excruciatingly slow (we never once started on time after any recess), was very educational. It's been years since I've had to consider my views on the Death Penalty and Life w/o possibility of parole. Just being forced to weigh in on this subject matter made me think about where I stand, how my life's experiences shapes this view and how I reconcile my various thoughts with my personal morale values.

I'll write more about my thoughts on the case and further reflect on my experience over the next couple of days. I'm definitely going to follow the outcome of this case and may even decide to sit in on a session if my schedule permits it.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

Old Man's War Sep. 1st, 2007 @ 07:56 pm
Did something I haven't done in ages - picked up a book and read it from cover to cover.

Old Man's War by John Scalzi.

Well written scifi.
Current Mood: satisfiedsatisfied

A touch of yuppiness Apr. 29th, 2007 @ 09:40 pm
Finally broke out the combo blender/food processor (similar model) I had purchased today. Tested it out with a basic banana-apple smoothie:

1 banana
1 peeled & cored apple
1/3 cup milk
3 ice cubes
Honey to taste

Not bad overall. I'll need to hit the supermarket and pick up more ingredients in order to test out the various recipes in "The Blender Bible" that came with the machine.

Haven't had much free time to sit around think over the past couple of months. Since my fun little drug allergy incident, I've been perpetually behind with just about everything. Had friends in from out of town these past two weekends and I would have liked to have spent more time with them. However, in order to preserve a bit of personal space and sanity, I elected to make the bare minimum in terms of social calls.

A friend's house was being fumigated so I had a lot of company on Friday night. I've stayed over at their place countless of times so I offered my little hole in the wall as place of refuge. It was nice to have them over and I was happy to do what was possible to make their temporary displacement tolerable. I do have to admit though that the sudden transition from solitary existence to tight quarters was a serious mental shock. Yet another reason why I had to take time out and recharge.

Aside from work, I did manage to watch a few movies on DVD and toy around with various kitchen gizmos.

The movies were included Children of Men, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Chicken Run, and a couple of the Wallace & Gromit shorts. It's been a few years since I saw the claymation flicks. Though the early Wallace & Gromit shorts (A Grand Day Out) were a bit dated, the writing still amuses. Children of Men was decent and had a number of really powerful sequences. Eternal Sunshine took some getting into; it too was well crafted.

One of my neighbors swung by Saturday night to hang out and chat. We spent a couple hours exchanging histories and thoughts on various topics. It was good conversation. When given half a chance, people have such interesting stories to tell.
Current Mood: sleepysleepy

Gosh I feel like a moron Mar. 5th, 2007 @ 06:07 am
Two months work went poof this weekend.

I wanted to take some work home with me on Saturday to complete. Plugged in my pen drive. Got a call on the cell phone. Chatted for awhile and then went to copy the files onto my drive. Oops.

I managed to copy *from* my pen drive *onto* the hard drive instead of the other way around.

"A folder by the same name exists, do you wish to continue?"

Why, certainly!

Oh, and I discover that I had turned off my Norton Ghost disk imager too last week. Moron. There goes all the backups. As I had been in and out of the office fighting one bug or another, I had lapsed on my offsite backups as well.

sigh. Just wrapping up a 48 hour marathon day. Going to get reamed by our auditor today for missing so many things.
Current Mood: tiredtired

Fun with allergies Feb. 13th, 2007 @ 10:44 am
"Do you have any drug allergies?" Asks the pharmacists.
"Not that I know of," I reply.

The itchy and scratchy show!Collapse )
Current Mood: irritatedIchy
Other entries
» Moving into the 1990s
A few more pieces to the apartment arrived today. A new microwave oven and a vacuum cleaner were just delivered to my office via UPS. And to top it all off, the refrigerator is schedule to be delivered on Friday. Once that goes online the kitchen will become fully functional and I will be able to cook more than 1 meal at a time. I can't tell you how much I miss being able to have a glass of milk or orange juice or for that matter, cheese.

I mentioned this to my friend gaminol and his response was, "laugh welcome to 1990 pal."

Well, once the frig is settled, I'll then turn my attention to moving in furniture for the home office, a couch or two (with associated coffee and end tables), a dresser for the bedroom, and maybe a more comprehensive set of dish ware.

It's not as if the place isn't livable "as is." I've been doing fine for the past 3 weeks now, but every time something comes up, I'm quickly reminded of just how spartan the conditions really are. If I want to brew tea I have to set a saucepan of water on the electric range. Reheating food involves dumping the carton of chinese into a large skillet and stir frying it on medium high until the morsels are completely heated through. Laugh, while I have a land line setup, I still haven't bothered to plug in a phone yet.

Aside from the computer w/ 4mbps ethernet connection, the water purifier, the electric toothbrush, a pair of cell phones, the bowflex, and the washer/dryer unit, it could be 1930 and not much would be different. I've got a good portion of my high tech hiking and climbing gear stowed away, but with a roof already over my head, there's not much use for them.

You can see where my priorities in life are.
» Life's little ironies
So I need to pick up a few more things for my apartment. I look around for a clean sheet of paper on which I can draw up a list.

For the life of me, I can't find a blank sheet anywhere. Oh, there are plenty of items with print on one side, but when I flip them over, they happen to be receipts, blueprints, or other printed items that I don't want to compromise with my chicken scratch.

You can bet that new legal pads and reams of 20# printer paper will be on the buy list.
» It's amazing how much spare time you have...
... when you don't have a television or an internet connection to waste away on during the evenings.

More Moving FunCollapse )
» A mixed week
The past couple of weeks have been mixed.

+Moving into a new place. I'm not completely in yet. Heck, I'm not even 1/10 of the way in yet, but it feels good.
-Discovering all the various issues with it as I spend more and more time there. In many ways I'm a perfectionist and having to deal with numerous 70-80% conditions can be a bit annoying. Worse, the piping in the place isn't very well insulated and when the woman who lives above me draws a bath for herself or her kids, the resonance is pretty darn loud. This coming from a guy who operates an industrial shop so yes, it's really loud. I'm tempted to pick up a decibel meter to measure just how loud it really is. CA has workplace noise abatement regulations. If the volume comes even close, I may have grounds to break the lease and find another place. Hopefully we can find some sort of solution as I like the area.

+Completed a few urgent production orders. I'm getting a better handle of some of the more advanced manufacturing techniques used in my industry. Granted, I'm still small fry so the the tech level is still relatively low compared to state of the art machinery.
-Still far far behind schedule. Most of our production cycles are 4-6 weeks. The impact of the two weeks at the end of last year when I mentally shut down and got nothing done is now coming to the front. We'll just have to deal with it the best we can and move forward.

+My cousin's wife gave birth to their second child. This actually may be two week old news - all the weeks of January have sort of become mashed together in my memory. I'll have to send some flowers.
-I learned that the young man who was stabbed to death in a Massachusetts high school is the son of a former co-worker. When I heard of the news via the network of company alumni, I was stunned. I still remember the pitter patter of small feet as he'd dash around the office on Saturdays whenever his father would bring him in. We'd play a variety of computer games, but he'd mostly help us run through the various campaign scenarios we had under development. And on a few occasions, he'd school me on the Sega Dreamcast - I never was a very good Soul Caliber player.

Absolutely senseless.

James Alenson. Far too soon.
» Brrrrrrrrr!
Laugh. Still not sure if it was a fever induced hallucination, but when I got up for work this morning, I had to scrape off what appeared to be frost from my windshield. I haven't had to do that in over 5 years when I was still living in Boston. 30F was the overnight low.

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