I love this holiday. My cat, Muddy, has
developed a new fondness for it. Check his storyfor details.
I like being spooky, watching old-fashioned Vincent Price horror movies,
listening to Mannheim Steamroller's Halloween music, giving out candy,
going to parties, pumpkin, spider and bat decor -- and the general
craziness of it all.
A friend once told me that Halloween was his favorite holoday because
there is no hypocrisy in it - just pure fun. Pictured below are my
sister's jack-o-lanterns from a past Halloween.
Oh gosh, this is great! You can upload any
picture of a face be it human, animal or whatever and make it talk and
move at Pulse Veeper Talking Cards.
It's incredible and so easy. They have funny predone text or you can even
upload your own. Then they keep the card online for 30 days. I died
laughing when I made a cat talk. Here is one I made of my daugther's cats.
My daughter donated blood recently and got
this t-shirt. There's a new design every few months. This is the funniest
blood donation shirt I've seen yet.
Due to the warmer fall we are having, mosquitoes have been a bigger problem. During summer, I had been wearing a
bug repellant, then the weather turned nice and cold so I put it away. Now the
weather got pretty warm. I figured the bugs were gone for the year.
I was wrong. I've been eaten alive.
Finally admitting this fact after much scratching, I dug
out my bug spray and am using it again. Of course all of this
happens as soon as I recover from poison ivy. :: sigh ::
I wanted to wear blue jeans and I was able to
-- nice ones. The day became much more comfortable after that - so did my
stair-climbing endeavors. Being so close to the day, I wanted
to wear my Halloween pins and shirts, but I stopped short. We might be
trying murder cases and it didn't seem like a good idea to come to the
jury with a skeleton pin on. I even took off my regular black spider pin
after I thought about it. A court clerk made us a delicious
Halloween-decorated brownie cake, though. Yum!
Jury cases are done for the week. We were
sent home after today. Next week, a new group of summoned jurors will come
and it will start all over again for them, my sister being one of them
(alhough she was summoned to a federal jury while I did a circuit court). Our clerk brought us a plate of
brownies and said we were the nicest group she ever worked with.
I can understand why. First, many people
answered the summons (well, everyone is supposed to report in one way or
another but often several people will not show up) and it was the end of
the month when things slow down a bit, they told us. The court was able to
let a lot of people go home. Therefore, anyone with an excuse could go -
any good excuse such as having children, a job that would suffer, needing
to drive a parent or someone to the doctor, even. One summoned person
brought her two small children with her - I am glad she was able to go.
Maybe we all would have been babysitting up in the waiting room otherwise.
The remaining people were those who could
afford to be there -- housewives, retirees, professional people that could
miss work, unemployed, etc. Of the group remaining, a LOT were housewives
with husbands in professional jobs -- and we had a GREAT time! I fell
privileged to meet the judges and for the new friends I made. Overall, it
was a great experience. But again, with that much weeding out, the people
left behind were the ones who really wanted to stay, leaving an
We showed up at 9 a.m. and stayed until 6
p.m. All but the last hour was spent waiting - mostly in the jurors' room.
A group of us visited Judge Bell's family court where he was handling
divorces at the moment. He had spoken to us on the first day and gave us
an open invitation to visit. Judge Bell was glad
to see us and spoke to us afterwards. He was good at what he did and fair
to everyone, it seemed. We liked him very much. (Jury duty members are allowed to visit other
courts inside the building as long as they let the clerk know where they are located
-- incase a jury is
needed at the last minute.)
Most of the time was spent in the
jurors' room, waiting, waiting, waiting. It made waiting in a
doctor's office seem like nothing. By the late afternoon, we all
wanted to go home. I climbed up and down the stairs during a break. I
parked on the top level of the garage and used the stairs since I didn't
have time for my usual 2 hours' walk every morning.
Different groups of us gathered around
tables. One group found a dice game. Another group formed around a
jigsaw puzzle. Our group chatted, read and admired that other
person's cross-stitching -- when we weren't off watching Judge Bell's
cases. A few folks fell asleep in their chairs, or watched TV (still on
FOX from the day before).
One gentleman took a magazine
from the rack in the corner of the room, started to read it and said, "Hey!
This magazine is pretty old. They need to get some new ones."
"How old is it?"
someone asked. "The date on
it is 1984," he replied. That person didn't believe him and said it must
have been a reprint. When she went up to examine it more closely, sure
enough, it was a home decorating magazine dated 1984. I joked that it
might be a collector's item by now.
So we had 20-year
old magazines to read. That's one way of keeping us away from the current
news (which we are told not to watch). I was glad I had brought a book but I was falling
asleep in my seat by late afternoon when that room gets pretty warm.
About the time we thought we would be dismissed to go home, a judge calls for a jury. Amidst
friendly groans, off we go to get questioned by the
lawyers again. They are not done with us yet. We are coming back first thing
tomorrow morning to see which 12 or 13 of us out of 30 will be selected
for the trial. The rest will go back to the waiting room.
Apparently every legal case
in this court gets a pool of 30
jurors to select from. Therefore, a minimum of 30 people have to be on
hand. Jurors were selected at random to go home, leaving 30 to finish out
the week. I am one of those who are staying. There's another group of us
in a trial that started on Monday and had not finished yet so they've been
busy all along. Another group got sent home the first day because there
were too many of us, but they have to be on call to come back next week.
Then, half of the remaining ones after all that, got sent home at lunch
today. We are now down to the last 30 and we have to stay as long as a
trial is a possibility for the rest of the week.
Again, we are there for psychological value
almost as much or more as actually serving on a jury. Seeing a jury getting selected will scare
some people into settling out of court before the trial starts. Others are motivated to settle
just knowing we are there waiting in the building. H-m-m-m-m, maybe I should dress up as a
juror for Halloween. It seems to scare people very well.
There we were in the waiting room, watching
TV and very bored. All of a sudden, a naked woman comes on the TV. Shock! People
laugh and scream. The TV was on one of those premium cable channels or a
porn channel. I was chuckling over the
reaction (even as I wondered what such a channel was doing in a public
courthouse, not to mention that these channels usually cost extra and so
we taxpayers were covering the cost). I whipped out my Sony Clie, brought up the universal remote,
pointed it to the TV high over our heads
and changed the channel. "How about CNN?" I asked everyone. A few heads
When CNN came on, there was Clinton. "Oh no!
Not Clinton!" several people exclaimed (this county always votes
Republican in presidential races). Someone said seeing Clinton was worse
than the nudity channel. So I said, "How about FOX?" Most everyone agreed
with that and I pointed my Clie at the TV and changed it. Ta-da! It was
People's Court! Ah yes, that was an appropriate channel for a jury group,
By the time this was over, I was laughing so
hard I thought I would fall out of my chair. Another group member said, "At least it is
not boring in here anymore!"
P.S. The photoblog has a pictures of my day
in court. Go to: Jury Duty Photos and
follow the story by clicking on <-- Newer Photo several times. I
hope to add a few more photos tonight.
There were a large bunch of us - about 75
people, giving them a big pool of jurors to pull from. Most of us did not get
picked for a jury so we sat around in an overly hot room on the 6th floor
of the courthouse, talking, reading, sleeping or cross-stitching (that
person said that she could not keep her fingers still no matter what).
I was almost picked. I went with a
large group of people to
talk to the lawyers. As it turned out, I once had a telephone conversation
with an individual that the
defense was going to call as a witness - a city official. The
official gave me information that later turned out to be wrong and I told
the lawyer. We were answering these questions in front of the other
prospective jurors. I was
struck from the jury. The plaintiffs were thrilled because I had cast a
black mark on one of the defendant's witnesses -- all in front of the other jurors.
It was interesting to see who was not picked.
Those who had taken a law class ever were struck, too. (They did not want
people who had studied law -- very interesting.) We had an FBI agent
in our group. He worked in National Security. He was struck (maybe they
did not want overly intelligent people?). Everyone in our group had to stand, give our occupations and our
spouses' occupations and who we and they worked for. When I said "web design" for
one of the things I do, the judge and the plaintiff's lawyer looked at
each other significantly.
With all of these glances and looks -- we
could figure out some of what was important to the lawyers in this civil
case. Oh well, tomorrow I go back and wait around again. They say that
there are two murder cases coming up. I imagine those trials could go on
a long time if they don't see us and decide to settle.
The nice thing is they told us that they
almost never sequester because they just can't afford it with all the
budget cuts going on. They even asked us if we would like to donate our
pay back to them. They truly were in desperate need for the money. I felt
sorry for the expense cuts they've had to endure and the creative ways
they've come up to deal with them.
I begin my jury duty work today.
Court Clerk Jane Smith sent a letter saying:
"We have a local court order
regarding the dress code of all court participants, including
jurors. You are required to dress appropriately so as to maintain
the dignity, decorum, seriousness and professional atmosphere of the
Okay, but what do they consider as
"maintaining dignity?" I prefer to wear blue jeans
but I suspect those are out. Darn it, blue jeans are my main
wardrobe. I can be
pretty dignified in blue jeans.
Now I wish I had lawyer clothes. If I can't
be comfortable, I might as well dress to look like a lawyer and carry a
briefcase - ha! Oh well, I think I can dig up a dress or some non blue
jeans pants somewhere.
As for blogging, I will have my cell cam to do whatever I can, even
if it is just the outside of the courthouse (for on the spot,
as-it-happens photos, see
cell.bamablog.com. For nicer photos uploaded later each
evening, see BamaPhotos.com.)
This is fun! I am making 3-D photos (for
free) with a digital camera. The trick is to take two pictures, moving the
camera just the distance of the space between your eyes, then using a free
program to convert them to the necessary red and blue tints and combine.
They can be printed or viewed onscreen.
It's fairly easy.
The hard part is finding 3-D glasses without
buying a movie! I have
looked all over town including the local movie rental place whose
employees sent me to Party
City. No luck there so I tried Target and Wal-Mart. Nothing there, either.
Oh well, at least there is the Internet and I ordered some from the
company suggested in the article's link above. As soon as my 3-D glasses
arrive, I will create photos to share. Meanwhile, you can follow the
links in the article to find other photos.