ARCHIVES:  October 24-31, 2004

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October 31, 2004 - Sunday

Happy Halloween!

I love this holiday. My cat, Muddy, has developed a new fondness for it. Check his story for 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.



October 30, 2004 - Saturday

Pulse Veeper Talking Cards

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.


Cat Talks



October 29, 2004 - Friday

Donating Blood

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 ::


October 28, 2004 - Thursday

Court Dress Code

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!

This is the photo record that I made of the experience.


Done with Jury Duty

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 enthusiastic group.


October 27, 2004 - Wednesday

Long Day at the Courthouse

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.



October 26, 2004 - Tuesday

Funny Scene in the Jurors' Waiting Room

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 nodded.

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, we thought.

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.


Jury Duty Experiences

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.


October 25, 2004 - Monday

Jury Duty

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 Court."


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 For nicer photos uploaded later each evening, see


October 24, 2004 - Sunday

3-D Photos

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.