3-D Star Wars

Star Wars in 3-D?

No thanks.

Sources tell the Hollywood Reporter that plans to bring Luke Sykwalker, Darth Vader, and R2D2 into the 3-D world have been in the works for years, though Lucas held off until enough 3-D screens were available in movie theaters to make it a major event.

Industrial Light & Magic is reportedly overseeing the 3-D conversion, and, according to a statement by visual effects supervisor John Knoll obtained by Deadline.com, “We will take our time, applying everything we know both aesthetically and technically to bring audiences a fantastic new Star Wars experience.”

The first of the movies, “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace,” is set for release in 2012, according to the Hollywood Reporter, with the remaining films rolling out in order at the same time in consecutive years.

(Yeah — I’ll probably go…)

Weight Week Twenty Nine: My Newest Lowest Weight

I didn’t do quite as much walking this weekend as I could have … which is not to say that I didn’t walk. Au contraire, I walked quite a bit! Saturday I walked to the National Mall to work the Borders’ tent at the National Book Festival: that was a three and a half to four mile walk. At the end of the day though, sunburned and tired from ten hours on my feet, I hoofed to Judiciary Square and red-lined home, and was sound asleep very, very early.

Sunday morning I was awake equally early, the sun had not yet come up. And as I usually do when I wake up bright and early on a weekend morning and my fridge is in need of loving, I decided to make a trek out to the Giant up the road. A bit over a mile up the road for that matter, and that’s what I did: walked, bought my groceries, walked home. Grocery shopping at 6am might seem kind of lame, but no other customers in the store? Freshly stocked shelves? Oh, it’s a delight.

With my fridge full, I then walked to work: that was two more miles right there. It was misting a bit, but nothing serious, although I did briefly consider taking the bus. Heading home, though, I gave into weakness (and hunger) and caught a ride with a coworker: walked out of the store at 6:15, and even stopping into the corner market for bread (which is a reminder of why I really do need to make a list of stuff I need at the grocery store so I don’t forget it), I walked in my apartment at 6:30. Amazing!

This morning I jumped on the scale before hitting my shower: 234, it read. That’s a drop of three pounds since last week (heck, since last Wednesday, since I was all late and stuff), when I was 237. I’m going to attribute this loss to the miles walked, and the absolute heat of the Festival.

234 is also, if you’re interested, the lowest I’ve been. (234.5 was the previous lowest I’d been). So I’m pretty happy with that.

So, my goal set two weeks ago was to reach 229 by October 5th, which is next Monday. Is that an attainable goal? Honestly, five pounds in a week isn’t going to be easy to hit, but this weekend is supposed to be beautiful, and I think I’m going to plan on a nice, long, twelve mile walk for Saturday morning.

Being Staff at the National Book Festival

One of the perks of working at the Bookstore (which is a Borders, which I know I sometime don’t mention, but have in the past, because sometimes what I write about the identity of the Bookstore can’t be hidden so I might as well just come out with it), is getting to staff events like the National Book Festival.

This is the third September the Festival has been held that I’ve been living in DC for it, yet this is the first time I’ve been able to attend, even as a staff member. We had a big sixteen thousand square foot tent, roughly divided into three sections: the book tables, the register and the lines, and a small, draped off section that we used as a combination break room/author signing room (authors stopped in to sign back stock).

Last year was apparently a bit of a mess: it was raining all day, there were only 16 registers, and at numerous times, entrance to the tent had to be stopped because it was too crowded. One in, one out. We had a total of 22 registers, and more Borders staff members than I’ve ever seen in my life, with stores from all over the district (and perhaps from other districts) sending us people.

Staff were assigned to four areas: Floor, Line, Registers, Book signing. I was tasked with Line, and it was our job to keep the line to the registers flowing smoothly. I don’t know that we did a great job, but while the line was unbelievably huge at a little before 11, it was practically gone by 1pm and never got back to that length.

As the day went on, I found myself actually standing at the exit (which was clearly marked with a huge red sign that read EXIT ONLY above it) directing people to the entrance. Some people were jerks and insisted on walking in this way: yeah, I said it, self-entitled jerks with a severe entitlement issue who couldn’t be bothered to walk an extra fifty feet. Cry me a fucking river, jerks.

Anyway, I found it was easier to actually stand outside the tent directing people to the entrance. Except, problem, I for some reason didn’t put on sunscreen, and my head was feeling kind of warm. I went back to the break room area and found an extra staff shirt which I wrapped around my head as a bandanna. I was told it upped my badass quotient by 500%.

(I don’t think the badass quotient is quite justified by the photo).

Things I enjoyed:

Jerks who didn’t know why they couldn’t enter the tent through the door with the EXIT ONLY sign out front. Folks, it says EXIT. Just go around to the right hand side and enter there, and stop with this “Oh, but I’m so hot.” It’s hotter in the tent than out. True story.

The ladies who got mad that they had to go to the entrance to enter — they were wearing sandals. The entrance was on the gravel pathway. People, have you seriously NEVER been to the National Mall before?

The dude — the apparently fit dude, holding a water bottle — who yelled at me for letting a dude in a wheelchair enter the register area from the end of the line and go directly to a register. Hi, sir, it’s called human decency and kindness, and you? Failed.

My favorite — my absolute favorite — part of the event was getting to go to lunch. Borders had arranged for us to eat in Pavilion A, which was set up for catering for guests and certain staff (I guess lo-schmoe staff had to go eat somewhere else). The tent itself was air conditioned, and the food? AMAZINGLY AWESOME. And who was sitting at next table? Ken Follett.

Oh, other things I like: people who yelled at us because Follett’s new book, Fall of Giants, wasn’t in stock. Yeah, that’s because it doesn’t get released until Tuesday. Take it up with the publisher, not the bookstore staff. Jackass.

Weight Week Twenty Eight: I’m Just a Tad Late Here

This post did not get written yesterday, because yesterday I opened my eyes, turned my head to the right, saw my alarm clock, and realized that, had I woken up on time, I would have been at work for forty-one minutes already. Suffice to say, in my mad dash to shower and dress, I neglected to jump on the scale to check my weight.

I did this morning, however.

237.

This is a pound up from last week, and very disappointing since my goal remains 229 by October 5th. Basically, I need to lose eight pounds in two weeks.

I’ve been watching what I eat. I’ve been exercising. But the fact is, I haven’t been watching what I eat as much as I should’ve been. And I’ve missed opportunities to walk or go to the gym, opportunities I should’ve taken.

In good news, I just got back from the first real physical I’ve had in probably close to – or exceeding – a decade. Got my blood pressure taken, my knees tapped, and a Tetanus shot. The Doc proclaimed me in excellent health, and encouraged me to continue losing weight. I am, sadly, retaining a bit of moisture in my ankles and need to keep an eye on my sodium content. But, live without salt? How is that even possible?

Dear Autumn,

Dear Autumn,

I’ve missed you more than I can say.

Sure, Spring was lovely, especially after that bitchy Winter we had, but Summer? Just a heaving bag of hot air from which there was no escape: except you. And here you are today, gone all too soon you will be. I love you, Fall.

-Me

My August Reads

I know, I know – August was over three weeks ago, so why am I waiting until now to write this? Honestly, while I love reading, I’ve been feeling burned out on it lately. My September track record in books is atrocious, although I did find a delicious account of the hunt for the Bismarck during WWII, but you’ll have to wait until sometime in October to hear anymore about it. In any case, my reading has slowed (dramatically), and I haven’t much wanted to think about reading for a bit. In any case, as with anything a person loves, sometimes they just need to get away from it for a bit (hard to do, since my apartment is crammed with books).

Well, enough with that, here we go:

With The Old Breed by E.B. Sledge

Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds

Tried by War by James McPherson

Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener

I first head of E.B. Sledge during Ken Burn’s The War, a moving account of how World War II affected the people of four towns and cities across the country. Sledge’s account of the war, With The Old Breed, was also one of the books chosen to serve as a basis for HBO’s The Pacific (the other was Robert Leckie’s My Helmet For My Pillow). In any case, I read this book with Josh Lucas’s voice in my head (he narrated Sledge in The War).

Related to Sledge’s book in the sense that they’re both about the Pacific War, but not in the sense that this is fiction, is Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific, which I later learned was the basis for the musical The South Pacific (now on my Netflix queue). When I first started reading, I thought the book was one story. Then I realized it was multiple short stories. Then I realized it was one story told over multiple short stories, told by various Navy officers in the run up to a fictional invasion of a Japanese held-island. This was the first Michener I’ve read, but on the strength of this, I’d like to read more.

Alastair Reynolds is one of my favorite sci-fi authors. Ever since my friend Baker (and creator of the sadly defunct and all-too-obsessed with bodily function blog Fanfare of the Common Wombat) introduced me to his work (three and a half years ago?), I’ve devoured every single one of his books. And while most have been great, he’s had a few clunkers — but even those I’ve been able to make my way through. Sadly, I couldn’t even do that much with Terminal World, which just got to the point where I had to put it down. And I’ve gotta be honest: I’m in no mood, at all, to pick it back up again.

Finally, there’s the non-fiction Tried by War by James McPherson which details Abraham Lincoln’s struggle as commander-in-chief of a Union army that seemed content to march and parade but not actually defeat (or for that matter attack) the Confederate forces. It’s hard to read any book about that period of time and come away with an other-than-positive opinion about General George McClellan, but this book riled me to the point I considered* writing a letter asking for his statue at Connecticut & Columbia be taken down. Seriously, what a waste of a statue.

As always, links here refer to my Amazon Associates web page. I will earn referral fees from anything purchased on Amazon via these links, and I thank you kindly in advance.

Manhattan Market: I love you

There have been very few occasions that have made me rethink my decision to move into Washington, DC. Actually, there may have only been one: trying to figure out dual-state* taxes that first April. Oh, and okay, the tourists, but that just makes me wish I’d looked a bit harder for an apartment. (Speaking of: anyone got a recommendation for a place? Studio, balcony, dishwasher, relatively inexpensive but without a side of “You’ll want to carry a weapon to do laundry”?)

Interestingly, one of the things I thought would be hardest about city living has turned out to be the easiest: grocery shopping. Before I really learned the neighborhood I was going to be moving into, I thought I might just grab a cab to the nearest Giant (which I thought was the one on Wisconsin Avenue), and then cab back with my groceries. My dad even suggested Giant’s Peapod as an option.

But then a friend said, “Hey, there’s a Giant up on Van Ness.” And that, in addition to the Target out in Columbia Heights, is where I do the bulk of my grocery shopping. But every now and then I need some small item, and I don’t feel like walking one to two and a half miles for it, so I just stop past the little corner market closest to my apartment: Manhattan Market.

Okay, okay, and that “small item” I need is, yes, usually milk.

Here’s the thing: I drink a lot of milk. I love milk. It’s my favorite non-alcoholic beverage. It’s better than soda, lemonade, and even water (although I also drink a copious amount of aitch-two-oh). I can take being snowed into my apartment for a week — provided I’ve got several jugs of milk in the fridge. Even with no food? Well, truth be told, that’s how I spent the snowstorm of March 2003.

Last Thursday was a long day. It was the day I and my fellow jurors had all shown up at the courthouse at 9:30, and we’d hotly deliberated the merits of the case for several hours before the infamous Juror No. 7 admitted to having had a prejudicial run-in with one of the police officers. We’d sat around the jury room for two or three hours before the judge was able to dismiss that juror, call in the alternate, and advise us to continue deliberations on Friday. I’d gone to my part-time job, got there late, and had to shovel dinner into my mouth as our General Manager kept asking why I wasn’t on the clock. So when I stumbled off the L2, aware that I had virtually no milk at home, I had my fingers crossed that the night manager of Manhattan Market would let me in … even if they had already closed.

See, a month or two ago, I tried to stop into Manhattan Market on my way home from work on a Friday night. I didn’t actually need milk, but I knew I was running low, and it would be one less thing I’d have to buy the next morning (I usually do my grocery shopping Saturday morning — and as early as possible, since very few people are actually grocery shopping at 6:30am). I pulled on the doors, but they were locked. I saw mops out, and I walked away.

Well, I stopped in the next morning, and bought the milk, and this guy — first, this is a family run business, I assume everyone who works there is a relation to one another, and second, this guy in particular is great: older guy, maybe mid to late 50s, very friendly, knows everyone by face if not name (I don’t know his, he doesn’t know mine), he’s usually there Saturday mornings and weekday evenings, I only don’t see him there Sundays) — said, “I was going to let you in last night, but you’d already left.” I told him that my need wasn’t great, and I didn’t want him to have to go out of his way. He told me that, for regulars, he was happy to do what he could.

So Thursday night, as I exited the L2 and walked north the half block or so to the market, I had my fingers crossed he’d let me in. When I got there, a few minutes after ten, the store was dark. There were no customers, and the two young men who are usually in the evening were gone. The night manager was behind the registers counting some money. I knocked, and he secured what he was working on, and opened the door. After I explained what I needed, he let me in, but almost immediately clarified that I wouldn’t be able to pay tonight, I’d have to come back the next day.

At this point, I was like, “Woah there, back up! Not an emergency, I’ll come back tomorrow!”

But he would hear none of it, saying something about how he could get in trouble with the other businesses if they saw customers coming out of the shop after he was supposed to be closed. I don’t quite know what that meant, but maybe he just doesn’t want it advertised that he occasionally allows regulars into the shop after hours (um, maybe I should rethink this post?). In any case, I got my milk, and he showed me out a side door which led to a store room, which in turn led to stairs to the alley behind the shop. I thanked him for the umpteenth time and headed home with my milk.

And of course I went back Friday afternoon, after my jury service was complete, to pay him what I owed.

And I realized another reason why I love living here so much.

(I also realized – just now – that I could’ve just written, “Because I’m a regular customer, Manhattan Market let me in last week after they closed and trusted me to pay them back the next day and I love them!”, but why say in twenty-nine words what you can say in one thousand and five, am I right? Word count five!)

*You know what I mean.

Weight Week Twenty Seven

Last week, I had jury duty. While I thought I understood (from pop culture, if nothing else) what to expect, I never realized how absolutely stressful serving on a jury can be. As this was a criminal trial (you can read about it here), the decision we twelve made had the potential to send an innocent man to jail, or set a guilty one free.

Four days later, I’m still not sure we made the right decision.

Jury duty: very, very stressful. If I had hair, I’m sure some of it would be gray. But if there’s one way I react to stress, it’s this: I eat. Stress eating.

Don’t get me wrong — I wasn’t shoving pizzas down my throat extra-large by extra-large. But I treated myself to onion rings and beers and cheeseburgers and ice cream Friday night, and I ate vendor-stand hot dogs for lunch each day of the trial. I also wound up leaving my part time job as early as possible each night, often choosing the L2 to get home over my own two feet.

And, while things aren’t great, they’re not horrible: I weighed in this morning at 236 pounds, which is a loss of one pound since last week. I walked home Sunday night and last night. And keeping in mind the words of a commenter last week:

You can DO this. If you would commit to giving up those things that you KNOW are adding on the pounds, you would shed that weight like it was nothing. You don’t have to miss out on any of the fun of the parties and get togethers, you just have to realize that your NOT missing out on anything when you choose to not eat fatty food. What you “miss” in taste is nothing compared to the reward of being trim and fit. Eat before you go out where you know you’ll be tempted. Keep that weight goal in mind at all times. You’ll be so happy with yourself when you look in the mirror and realize that not only did you lose the weight, but you proved that you can be dedicated to your goals and it will have seemed easy after it’s over.

I can do this. I CAN. And, to give myself a short term goal:

I have been, for far too long, stuck in the 230s. May 24th was when I first broke through the 240s and hit 237.5. And since then, I’ve been able to get down to 234.5, and haven’t been able to get below that. Well, you know what? My goal is to be 229 or less by October 5th.

Wish me luck!

Was the police shooting of a dog in Adams Morgan justified?

Adams Morgan Day is a festival held in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC which is best known for lots of bars, lots of drunks, and vomit and trash all over the place. Shockingly, though, if you ever walk through on a weekend morning, it’s quite lovely. However, it is one of those neighborhoods I do my best to avoid (especially on certain weeknights and weekends) because of the high volume of people, and of drunk people, and of loud drunk people. In any case, as I had to work, I skipped Adams Morgan Day. 18th Street was closed for several blocks, and a little after 1pm, MPD officers shot a dog.

Exciting!

Exactly what happened isn’t known. There are lot of different accounts. You should read them:

The Washington Post: Police fatally shoot dog at Adams Morgan festival.
DCist: Police Shooting at Adams Morgan Day, Dog Killed
DCist: Spokesperson – “Policeman Knocked” Owner Off Dog Before Detaining, Shooting It
TBD.com: Cop shoots, kills dog during Adams Morgan festival
City Paper: Why Did Police Shoot A Dog in Adams Morgan?

All of them seem to share this:

-Aaron Block, either the dog’s owner or his caretaker, was walking Parrot, either a pit bull or a mixed-breed Shar-Pei.
-Parrot bit a poodle. (Or a poodle bit Parrot).
-Depending on what happened, the bitten dog — rightly — bit back.
-Block and the poodle’s owner struggled to separate the dogs.
-Having been separated, Block either did or did not have Parrot under control.
-MPD Officer Scott Fike got on top of Parrot to restrain the dog.
-Fike threw the dog into the staircase, and at some point shortly thereafter, shot it.

In addition to the quotes from witnesses on the scene in the papers, other people in the comment section of those areas have provided more feedback on what happened. While realizing that no source is impartial, and that ten people can watch the same thing happen and see ten different things, this struck me as authentic:

Almost Retired: The pit bull’s face was badly injured. Three people were holding it down. Several police came by. One officer in particular subdued the dog, although he was nervious about it. He asked other police officers to get people further back because he was having trouble controlling the dog. He was holding the dog’s face against the concrete and choking it. Another officer had his hand on his gun, and I knew what they were planning. At that point, my attention transferred to the dog’s care taker to see if he needed assistance as his hand was badly bitten – I don’t know from which dog. I then heard the shot (about 5 feet away from me). The care taker was shacking. I put my hand on his back and asked if the dog was his and if he needed assistance. He help protesting that he wasn’t the owner – that it was a “foster dog.” I felt that part of the reason the dog was shot was because no one would claim ownership.

Basically, what this boils down to is: did the police have reason to fear for the safety of the crowd?

Dogs can’t be reasoned with. They can’t be handcuffed. There are very few methods, that I am aware of, to subdue a dangerous animal other than lethal force.

Here’s how I look at it: what is more likely? Is it more likely that a trigger-happy cop (who happens to work with a K-9 unit) decided he wanted to shoot something, and Parrot provided him an excuse?

Or that an officer felt the owner couldn’t control the dog, and that, fearing for the safety of himself and others, he used lethal force before the dog could bite someone?

I have been bitten by dogs a couple of times. One instance in particular stands out in my mind. This was probably seven or eight years ago. I had parked at the Howard County library in Columbia to pick up some tax forms on my way to my parents’ house for dinner, and a black gentleman was walking a big black dog. I reached down to scratch its head, and it bit me. The dog didn’t break the skin, and the owner was extremely apologetic, but what I remember still is what he said: “This dog has never, ever, bitten anyone before!” (And, yes, I was at fault: I failed to ask if it was okay to pet the animal, and I may have startled it).

But I just keep going back to the statement by a spokesperson (either for Block, or Lucky Dog Animal Rescue): “He has never bitten another dog”. Yeah, until Sunday.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

On August 24th, 2007, I wrote a post that ended with: “and I’m free from jury duty for three years.”

How little did I know.

I reported for jury duty at Superior Court in DC on Tuesday, September 7th at 10:30am. I had spoken to one of the regulars at the Bookstore the previous week, and she’d been called for jury duty every two years on the dot. “The later you’re told to report, the less chance you have of being picked for a jury,” she said.

Yeah, well, hello summer over and a holiday weekend: judges are back from vacation and there are lots of trials needing juries. Long story short, by 2pm, I was one of fourteen jurors picked for a trial that was expected to last three days (including deliberations). The defendant was charged with possession of an unregistered, non permitted handgun by a convicted felon. The trial began immediately, and we sat through opening statements, and the testimony of the first witness, one of the two arresting officers. This was the thrust of the prosecution’s case:

The trial continued on Wednesday, a day which was a treat — due to hearings the judge had to listen to, we didn’t report until 11. And then we all waited for an extra twenty minutes because one of the fourteen jurors was late arriving. But the trial continued with two further prosecution witnesses, the first a fingerprint expert, and the second a member of MPD’s firearm registration unit. The defense rested, and the prosecution put on two witnesses — the first was the second of the two police officers who’d made the stop, the second was a woman who was in the apartment.

More on the apartment in a moment.

The defense rested after their second witness, and we the members of the jury had to sit through what seemed to be hours and hours of instructions from the judge. When that was over, the two alternates were excused (two seats had been designated as alternates prior to the jury being selected), and the rest of us went into the jury room (directly behind the courtroom) to begin deliberations. Sadly, due to budget constraints, all businesses has to be concluded by 4:45, so we only had about half an hour before breaking for the day. It gave us roughly enough time to pick a foreman (a brain surgeon, if you’re curious) and to begin discussing the case.

Here are the elements of the case: two police officers were southbound in a police cruiser in Northeast when they observed a group of men. One of them, in a black hat with a white knit cap, was holding what appeared to be a bottle of alcohol. The police officers stopped the car, and the man with the bottle ran. Officer #1, in the passenger seat, exited the vehicle and gave chase. The men had been standing in front of one apartment building, fronted by a brick wall, and the suspect ran from that building to the adjoining one. As the running man entered the second building, Officer #1 observed him throw something which he identified as a semi-automatic handgun into a grassy area to the right of the door. The runner fled up a flight of stairs, and entered an apartment to the right of the stairs. The door was locked by the time Officer #1 reached it, so he kicked it in, encountered three individuals: the suspect was in the foyer area, there was a woman in the kitchen, and another in one of the bedrooms. Officer #2, who had been driving the police car, had not observed where the suspect or Officer #1 had run. He ran around the building before going into the apartment. Leaving the apartment, having seen that the suspect was in custody and Officer #2 was safe, Officer #1 exited the building, where he saw the weapon and safeguarded it until the arrival of crime scene officers.

When we came back Thursday morning, I honestly thought I’d be back to my office job Friday morning. Hahahahaha. Yeah, so that didn’t happen. It didn’t help that deliberations were kind of contentious: half of the jury didn’t believe the suspect arrested was the same one who’d run. The other half thought it probably was, but of those, some of us weren’t sure the gun was his.

There were some discrepancies involving the color of the suspect’s clothes, his height and weight, and the distances involved. Much of this didn’t sway me much: Officer #2, when he called in the “lookout”, described the subject as wearing black pants and a gray hat. The suspect they arrested was actually wearing blue jeans and a white hat. However, given the fact that it was night out, I was willing to overlook some of the discrepancies given that street lighting, in my own humble opinion, doesn’t adequately reveal color. Given the speed of what occurred, I also didn’t put as much weight in the differences between the police officers’ calls on height and weight and the defendant’s actual height and weight as some people did — again, given the lighting, and the fact that Officer #1 only lost visual contact with the defendant for a few seconds at the outset (as he exited the vehicle), I was certain he’d arrested the guy who’d run.

And then there was the gun. Officer #1 testified that he saw the suspect clutch his waistband, which is, for police, an indicator that a person is carrying a weapon. However, no one was able to account for where the actual bottle was located. Now, admitted into evidence, were several photos of the scene where the gun was found. Many of the photos showed a black plastic bag near the gun, and one of the photos showed the bag opened, with a bottle of Svedka. One of the jurors, who’d brought lunch in a bag, retrieved it from the trash, wrapped it around a bottle, and said, “If I’m holding a bottle, and I grab it by the neck, while it’s in a bag, wouldn’t it look like a gun?”

Written out, you’re probably wondering why we couldn’t come to a unanimous judgement on Thursday. As I said, things got kind of contentious on Thursday. This stemmed from a comment the foreman made early that morning, where he said he didn’t believe some people were coming onto the jury with an open mind. He directed this at Juror #7 (more on him in a moment), but another juror, an older woman, took offense and reamed him out. Apologies made, we continued.

Juror #7, on Wednesday, when we began deliberations, had said: “I want to make these two points, and then I’ll be quiet for probably the rest of it.” This is what the foreman had referenced, but halfway through Thursday, #7, possibly trying to get us to come to a verdict, said, “I don’t know if this would make anyone’s decision easier, but I had an encounter with Officer #2 several months ago and I thought he was a real arrogant bastard.”

At this point, all of us were staring at him with expressions ranging from “Are you fucking kidding me?” to “I wanna rip your heart out and throw it off the building.” At this point, the foreman wrote a note for the judge explaining that one juror had stated he’d had an unrevealed encounter with one of the witnesses that was coloring his judgement. You wouldn’t think this would be a big deal — but the court was busy, the judge was picking another jury.

Picking a jury is not quick. It takes two to two and a half hours. And they’d just started. So we wound up waiting until nearly 3:30 before we were able to go back in the courtroom. Once we did, Juror #7 was dismissed (“With thanks of the court”, SERIOUSLY?), and we were all called to the bench one by one to answer if we thought we could remain impartial. We all said yes. One of the alternates was called, but by the time he arrived, it was about quitting time.

So much for Bagel Friday at work. Delicious bagel.

As much as we were all angry with Juror #7, when we reconvened Friday, things seemed a lot nicer. We went through the points one by one, and by 11 we’d reached a verdict: we informed the court, were called in, and the foreman answered “Not Guilty” to four charges pertaining to carrying an illegal handgun. The members of the jury were polled individually, and we were dismissed.

The prosecutor wanted to meet with us, as a group, and we answered some questions about our decision making process. Following that, we went upstairs to turn in our juror badges. We bumped into the defense attorney on our way out of the building: he told us this was the third trial for these charges, the previous two ending in mistrials.

We joked among ourselves that we’d all find ourselves reunited in two years on a jury, then half of us went over to a nearby sports bar for beers. Do juries usually go out for beers afterward? It was nice. And while I thought I knew what to expect from jury duty, I was surprised by how stressed out the whole thing made me. Hooray, stress eating. (No, not hooray).

And there’s still a nagging doubt in my mind: what if we made the wrong decision? And how will I feel if I see the defendant’s name in the news and he’s hurt someone?

On the bright side: at least this wasn’t a murder trial. I hope I never have to sit on the jury for one of those.

Weight Week Twenty-Six

Hot dogs. Beer.

Damn my weight loss efforts over holiday weekends. Okay, there was also the Coke and Skittles I snuck into The American on Saturday.

But I exercised: I walked home from Southwest from a cookout Sunday evening, Sunday I walked downtown a bit. And then, I did it again because I wanted to snag a copy of The Children’s Book to read for jury duty today. Yeah: jury duty. Can’t wait.

Anyway, I weighed in this morning at 237, which is up two and a half pounds from last week’s 234.5.

(Today marks the six month anniversary of my weight loss efforts).

Happy Blogiversary, To Me!

Wow, six years, huh?

Time doesn’t fly, though — it feels much, much longer.

I sometimes wonder, as I’m thinking on blogging, how it would be if I could read future entries. If twenty-six year old me, writing my first, horrible post way back on September 1st, 2004, would devour my posts from the last few years trying to decipher what city I was living in, where I worked, and most importantly, how much I made. I know that thirty-two year old me would happily devour blog posts leading up to my twelfth blogiversary (heaven help us all) for clues about how my life turns out.

In any case: six years! I’m not going quite as strong as I used to be, and the passion for multiple posts a day just isn’t here anymore, but I can’t say I’ll be giving up blogging any time soon.

Now, can I ask everyone to join together in a chorus of “Happy Blogiversary?” Thanks!