Friday, January 25, 2008

Ready for weekend

It's been a week. A really busy four day week.

Jury duty continued (I never got picked for a jury, dammit) plus I went to work every day. Before jury duty. After jury duty. During the waiting around time at jury duty. At lunch while on jury duty. There was work to be done. So I worked.

I think I hear a martini shaking ...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Films from 2007

These are the films released in 2007 that I saw last year.

Charlie Wilson’s War
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
The Golden Compass
Hairspray: The Movie
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I Am Legend
Into the Wild
Michael Clayton
A Mighty Heart
The Namesake
No Country for Old Men
Oceans 13
Peaceful Warrior
Pirates of the Caribbean 3:
Sweeney Todd
What Would Jesus Buy

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Jury Duty: Day 3

I was part of another voir dire panel today. This time 60 of us were questioned for more than two hours.

For a murder trial.

Again, the questions were personal -- "Has anyone in your family ever been a victim of a violent crime?" "Do you own guns? What do you use them for?" "Have you ever gotten into an argument with a stranger?" "Did you drive downtown for jury duty today? Do you ever feel nervous driving downtown?" and "Do you have any bumper stickers on your car?" (WTF?)

They didn't ask if we ever watched "Law and Order."

The process was fascinating. My fellow jurors were in a talkative mood and spilled their guts (and prejudices) to the court. Sometimes I was shocked at what they said. Several men bragged about the fistfights they'd been in. The gun owners were downright cocky. One man said "You don't have no right to ask about guns" but the judge politely explained that they certainly did have that right.

If we wanted to give our answers privately we were asked to "approach the bench" but we quickly learned that doing that would prolong the process so most people didn't.

I noticed that the prosecutor tried to be charming and funny while the defense team was deadly serious and professional. I'm sure that was a calculated tactic by both sides.

No, I wasn't picked. But, for the record, I'm not afraid of driving downtown and I have three stickers on my car: Yarmuth for Congress, a Human Rights Campaign "equal" sign and a rainbow squiggle.

Voir Dire

Finally they called my juror number and I was allowed to leave the "big room" where all 400+ jury poolers must hang out until we're told to do something.

Yesterday afternoon about 40 of us were sent upstairs to a courtroom for "voir dire," which is pretty much a set of questions they ask to determine whether I'd be one of 13 lucky folks who would be chosen to sit on a real live jury. This was a criminal case. Robbery.

The attorneys for both the prosecution and the defense were there (two on each side). A police detective was there. The judge and the judge's staff were there. And the accused person was there.

The judge read the indictment and gave us some basic instructions then the attorneys took turns questioning us as a group. "Do you know anyone involved in this case?" "Have you ever been robbed yourself?" "If members of the police force testify in this case, would you be more or less likely to believe what they say over the testimony of other witnesses?"

Wow. Did that question get some interesting responses. Everything from "I hate cops" to "Police officers would know more than anyone else what really happened."

The attorneys watched us like hawks. They made notes about our answers and our facial expressions along with our genders, ages and ethnicity.

After about 90 minutes were were given a 45 minute break while they selected the jury for the case.

No, I was not picked.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I'm in the jury pool

I reported for jury duty yesterday. If and when I am selected for a trial, I'm not supposed to tell anybody anything. But I haven't been, so I'll tell you what NOT being selected is like.

We showed up at 10:30 as instructed and had to scan the barcode (!) on our summons to check in. We were a well behaved crowd. We sat where we were told to sit. We watched a video. Someone in a Sheriff's uniform was pretending to be a comedian. Either that, or he was conducting an orientation. I'm not sure which.

Sometimes we just sat there doing nothing. Since I had been warned of this, I took a good book and my iPod.

Then the real business of jury duty started. The woman in charge said, "If I call your juror number, please leave this room, have some lunch and be back here at 1:30." Then she called out about 4 million numbers, none of them mine. When she was done she said, "The rest of you are excused for today. Call the number on your pamphlet after 5 p.m. to find out your check in time for tomorrow."

I went back to work.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Not exactly what I expected

I had IntraLASIK surgery last Thursday. The procedure was painless and my doctor and his facility were top-notch. Today, two days after the surgery I have the best distance vision I've ever had in my life. The trees really do have individual leaves!

But (and this is a big but), I opted NOT to have the "monovision" version of the procedure where one eye is corrected for distance vision and the other for presbyopia or close up vision.

Now I wish I'd gone for monovision. Reading glasses will be required for most activities within my arm's length. And while my vision (both near and far) will improve somewhat during the next several months I can now "see" the value in going for the monovision ... maybe. Presbyopia occurs for most people as they age and even if I had corrected it now I would have needed reading glasses at some point anyway.