Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Definition of 'Geek Heaven'

for me at least:

The programming for C-Span's BookTV this weekend is from the National Book Festival held yesterday on the Mall in D.C.

Yesterday was broadcast live (I DVR'd some of it while the Carolina game was on-saving that for after the Braves game) and now I'm watching what they taped yesterday, beginning with a discussion of the new (and last) Halberstam book about the Korean War that includes a panel of Korean Vets.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

They Really are Accurate

The last line of my horoscope yesterday read:

Make plans with family, children, or the people you love.

Yep, that'd be about right.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I Think I Talked to This Fellow Today

5PM Or, As I Affectionately Call Him, "G Love"

Employee on phone: G as in 'Jesus.'

8604 Cliff Cameron Drive
Charlotte, North Carolina

via Overheard in the Office, Sep 28, 2007

Still Here

y'all, and still wicked busy. And will be through November. I have three, yes count them, three, programmatic monitoring visits during three subsequent weeks in November. Federal monitors are coming the first week of November for our reading grant program; state monitors for the big pot of federal formula money we get the second week of November and an Office of Civil Rights review for our English as Second Language students the third week of November.

Plus two grant proposals due by mid-November; parent letters for free afterschool tutoring services to be mailed out by October 10th (about 550 letters total-with a letter that runs to four pages due to all the required information); interviews for a new school nurse and oh did I mention I'm second-in-command for our annual three-day statewide conference the fourth week of October? At least it's at the Myrtle, so maybe I can get in a few walks on the beach.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Soo Tired

The last two weeks at work have been wild, to say the least. Today I was able to catch my breath and get caught up on some things, which was nice.

I'm still right bone-tired from last week; drove back and forth to downtown Columbia Wednesday and Thursday for jury duty, then back to another part of Columbia for another meeting Friday. Spent Saturday night in Greenville with some of my crazy widda friends; that's a three hour or so drive one way. Left Greenville at about 5:15 yesterday morning and was home before 8:00; spent pretty much the rest of the day right here on my sofa, except for switching out laundry.

I have one meeting this week, and my manicure Wednesday and other than that, my butt's gonna be at home every night & in bed by nine or so. Not going anywhere next weekend. In fact, I think I'm sticking close to home for the weekends until my conference at the beach in late October.

And: Braves win! Braves win! They won Saturday & Sunday, and the Phillies obligingly lost. There are six games left & the Braves are 5 1/2 back; if the Mets & Phillies go on a losing streak, the division could be ours!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The American Justice System at Work-Round Two

We returned yesterday for the trial.

The prosecution put their case on in the morning and we broke for lunch around noon. There was no defense presented; the defendant didn't testify. I wish he had.

There were closing arguements. The prosecutor restated the facts plainly and simply; the defense attorney was left to attempt to poke holes in the prosecution case-at one point I found myself thinking 'Okay, Matlock we get it. Enough with the theatrics.'

We returned to the jury room and the clerk brought in the evidence. Without going into much detail, we found him guilty. But only after one of the jurors decided that apparently he was in a remake of 'Twelve Angry Men' and began picking apart all kinds of ancillary things that weren't germain to what we were to decide. Like why didn't the sheriff's deputy at the scene charge the young man that night with the federal gun charge. I explained he didn't because a county sheriff's deputy doesn't have the power to do that; federal charges are handed down by grand juries. He nitpicked a number of other things and I've come to the conclusion that he was doing it because our purpose there had suddenly become real to him. We were deciding the future of a 25 year-old young man.

We ultimately found him guilty and I'm confident we made the right decision. The prosecution's case was sound; the judge's instructions were clear.

I'm trying not to let the fact that I've just read in the paper that this 25 year-old will likely get Life without parole due to federal sentencing guidelines eat away at me. The paper described us as 'a federal jury'. Like we were important, smart, wise. I can't say as that's how I think of myself right now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The American Justice System at Work

I went forthe first of my three days of jury duty this morning. One must first run the security gauntlet, which consists of showing your ID & letting your purse (with a couple of 'girly things' cause it's that, ahem, time in it) then we're sent over to sit on a bench and wait for a marshal to come get us.

I slip into the ladies room before our escort comes and of course on the way up in the elevator, she proceeds to explain we aren't to use the public restrooms because the public could be in there talking about the case. Been here five minutes and I'm already in trouble.

So we hang out in the jury room, making small talk for about ten minutes, when the US Marshal who will be in charge of us comes into the room and immediately shows us the high sign to give him when we have to use the bathroom because "the Judge has a steel bladder and I like to take care of my juries." A man who understands that sometimes you just have to go pee--I'm in love.

Another twenty-thirty minutes go by and the Judge, a teeny, 50-something Hispanic lady who comes across as totally cool but also tough and kind of scary and someone I don't want to be on the wrong side of comes in to explain there's been a problem and the case has been continued until tomorrow. We're given instructions to call the 800 # after 5:30 today to see if we are to return tomorrow. If we are to return, the case is on. If not, it will be continued to the next term and we're excused.

I just called and we're on for tomorrow. Updates as they are warranted.

I have to add that they make it clear not to bring your cell phone. At jury selection about a week and a half ago, I went to lunch with several ladies I was sitting with and one said, "I just hated locking my phone in my car. What if my car is stolen?"

I'm thinking if your car is stolen w/ your cell phone in it, the missing cell phone is still gonna be the least of your worries. You'll likely be able to find a phone.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Pay Attention!

If Men Got Their Periods

Dude: Can you help me? I'm bleeding.
Chick: What's the matter?
Dude: I'm fucking bleeding!

--Baruch College, 25th St

Overheard by: Adam Nathan

via Overheard in New York, Sep 17, 2007

Reading List

I haven't read any Stephen King in ages, and I'm the poorer for it. I'd forgotten just how rich and true his characters are; how he's able to weave the mundane, everyday world and whatever fantastic place he's taking us to together and make it all seem...real, touchable.
'Lisey's Story' is about a widow, and about so much more.
First the 'widow' part. I kept finding myself double- and triple-checking the publication date (2006), because frankly, it was hard not to think the man has been living in my head for the past 20 months or so. Lisey is as alternately focused and scatterbrained and tough and fragile as I or any of my widow friends are. Then there's the portrait of the marriage he gives us. Because the fact is, no matter how deeply and thoroughly we know our spouse, there are always places we don't know.
Second, the fantastic world he weaves. Not a false note anywhere; you find yourself believing the world exists, in all its breathtaking, frightening glory. I'm not going to write too much about it because I don't want to ruin it for anyone & I couldn't do it justice anyway.
If you're a widow, there are things in here you know, that you've felt and thought. If you were ever a scared little kid, well, there's stuff in here you know that you've felt and thought as well.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Dinner

Butter beans, leftover roasted pork loin 'repurposed' as chopped BBQ and apple cobbler.

Spent the morning in the back yard finishing 'Lisey's Story' by Stephen King. More on that later.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm Here

folks, just trying to catch my breath after the second week from hell in a row at work. Hopefully the ole, tired brain will regenerate before the weekend's out & I'll have a little somthin' somethin' for you.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I've Seen

Britney Spears described as 'out of shape' in various Internet articles based on her appearance at the VMA's Sunday night. If this is 'out of shape', there is something seriously wrong with our perception and standard of what 'in shape' is.
Now that's not to say she's not a train wreck, y'all.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Conversation

with a friend yesterday:

She: "I'll be home tomorrow night, watching Georgia beat Carolina*."

Me: "Huh. I'm watching the game tomorrow night too. Except the game I'm watching is the one where Carolina beats Georgia."

Her: "Yeah, right."

Final Score
USC: 16
Georgia: 12

To my friend: neener, neener, neener, ha ha ha.

*This is a huuge rivalry. Georgia hates Spurrier and we hate Georgia.

The Week, in Review

Federal Jury Duty Selection? Yep, I was picked. Always am. The trial is September 19-21st.

We held a public meeting Wednesday evening concerning a 'major project'* the district is hoping to undertake. Mostly folks for it came; all the against folks, of course, couldn't be bothered to come get the facts and chose to make up their own and disseminate them in all the town hotspots. For example, the local greasy spoon, the afternoon coffee hangout and the filling station where all the old farts hang out. On the one hand, their monstrous ignorance is laughable. On the other hand, their monstrous ignorance is...scary and distressing.

The Braves decided to start winning again on Wednesday, and did it in a hell of a way. Yes, I've already written about this. Deal. If they stay in the playoff hunt, it won't be the last you'll hear.

Yesterday evening I was too tired to stay up and too tired/achey to relax and get to sleep. Finally dozed off around midnight after two arthritis-strength Tylenol and two Tylenol PM.

Felt marginally better this morning. Overall general feeling good improved after a 1) pedicure, 2) excellent Cobb salad at one of my favorite local places (Fatz--if you have one near you, aren't you lucky?) and 3) an hour-long nap on my sofa after returning home from my morning errands.

Right now? USC is beating Georgia at the half and Atlanta is two up on the Nationals. Shaping up to be a good day.

Shout out to Jen, whose WV Mountaineers took out Marshall. But Marshall made them earn it.

*Can't say much more about this, due to ethics issues, etc.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Shades of '91

The Braves won today in spectacular fashion, 9 to 8, with two outs in the 9th.

My mood has improved tremendously.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day

and I'm laborin' a bit. Been to the office for a few hours & now I'm at home finishing up a mini-grant that's due via email tomorrow.

Later on, I'm going to put some pork backbone ribs in the oven and simmer some butterbeans on the stove, while finishing up 'Under the Banner of Heaven'.

Later this week? Federal jury duty selection. Woo hoo!