datalaughing FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Always Right

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from Abilene, TX

  • Activity

    • Jury duty Day 2/4

      8 years ago

      datalaughing Always Right

      So I came back the next day thinking, from what they'd told me the day before, that I'd been picked for the jury. Seemed like a lot simpler process that what I'd heard about, but what did I know, never done this before.

      The paper said be there at 8:30. I get there at 8:30, same room, and wait with almost 60 other people. At 9:30 someone finally shows up to tell us what's going on, and they take us up to the court room. It's not huge, after they bring in 11 extra chairs there's exactly enough seats in the gallery for the 60 of us. Now the process of voir dire begins, when the two attorneys ask the prospective jurors questions to decide who they want on the jury.

      So meet the attorneys time. The prosecutor is a big older guy. Hair is really thin on top, but he's trying like hell to hide it with a boldly attempted combover. He comes across as a little bit long-winded and absent-minded from the get go, and every now and then he slips into a southern accent. He was basically your stereotypical older southern lawyer who brings to mind Foghorn Leghorn or Futurama's hyperchicken.

      The defense team, by contrast, is composed of two very young lawyers. The main one was a guy who reminded me, for all the world, of Jeremy Piven, not like in personality or anything, but in looks and sort of this impression I got from him. I don't know how to describe it exactly. It's kind of like, when you see Jeremy Piven, you don't feel like he's a guy you can trust implicitly, maybe it's the parts he's played or just some quality he has. I got sort of the same thing from this lawyer. Maybe it was just that he was a lawyer. The other lawyer on the defense was just sort of acting as an assistant in this case. She only spoke up in court once. Mostly she just whispered stuff back and forth with him. She was a smoking hot blonde and also, as it turns out, his wife.

      So those were the lawyers. When I have to refer back to them I will probably use "prosecutor" and "hyperchicken" or "defense attorney" and "jeremy piven" interchangeably. Partially because I don't actually remember their names, but mostly because it's more fun that way.

      As for the other players;

      The judge seemed like a good guy, but throughout the trial, especially during voir dire, he seemed to just sort of lean on his hand and fall asleep. I never really realized how boring a judges job is a lot of the time. Basically, he is only there is there is a dispute between the lawyers about some point of the law, and then he decides who is right. Other than that and giving orders to the bailiff to bring a witness in or send them out or whatever, he just kind of sits there. There were a couple of times during the trial when one of the lawyers would object, and he'd sort of start up, and it was obvious he hadn't really been paying close attention.

      The defendant, well, you're not supposed to let impressions interfere with making a decision based only on the evidence. So I tried hard not to let the way this guy struck me bias my thinking, but he looked shady from the moment I saw him, and when they told us about what he was charged with he had such a smug look on his face that I wanted to fucking slap him. In fact, that smug, unconcerned look recurred a lot during the trial, and whether he was guilty or not, I found myself disliking the guy intensely.

      Lastly, there was the bailiff. He was the main person who we interacted with during the trial. Actually, the judge told us we weren't allowed to interact with anyone else involved with the case, except for routine greetings. So we could like say hi to one of the lawyers, but nothing more than that. Bailiff was a really nice older guy, made everyone coffee every morning and stuff. A retired cop of something of the kind, I think he said. Bit of a gut, and he seemed really comfortable with his job. He told us when we first went into the jury room that we had to stay awake during the trial, but he did not. So if he started snoring, juror 12, who was sitting right next to him was to give him a little poke.

      So that's all the players until the jury is selected. At the end of this journal, I'll give you a scorecard of the jurors, but we're not there yet.

      So back to the room. 60 of us crammed into these chairs. I am the first person in the second row. So like #16 or 60. The first thing is the hyperchicken introduces all the lawyers and the defendant and asks if anyone knows any of them. It's quiet for a long moment, and then one woman breaks the ice by raising her hand and saying that she knows the female defense attorney, who represented her in a child custody case. Prosecutor asks if that will affect her ability to be impartial as a juror in the case, and she says no (this is the form most of the opening questions take. "Do you know so-and-so, if so will it hurt your impartiality, will it make you give their testimony more or less weight than someone else's, etc.?") They ask again, does anyone else know anyone up here? Another long pause, and someone just hollers out, "I know the judge!" There's a laugh, and the prosecutor is like, "And I congratulate you on that, sir."

      There was a lot of questions, and I won't go into them all. I'll just give you an overview of what the questions were trying to establish. Hyperchicken told us what the charge against the defendant was. The exact wording was, "Indecency with a child by exposure." Then he gave us the definition. Basically, it involves intentionally exposing your genitals or anus to or in the presence of a child with the intention to gratify the sexual desire of any person. So it's pulling down your pants when you know there's a child in the room because you get off on it or because you think somehow the child will get off on it or a third person will. That's what he was accused of. If convicted, he would have to register as a sex offender and get up to 20 years in prison.

      Continued in comments

    • Jury duty Day 1/4

      8 years ago

      datalaughing Always Right

      Gonna do this one day at a time. Partially because I've been too busy to just sit down and write it all out even though I keep meaning to. Also because, over all I imagine this is gonna be a long story. So here's day 1. It's Monday and the shortest and simplest day:

      So I've never been on jury duty before. I'd only ever gotten one summons, and that was while I was in college and too busy to even show up. I just checked the student box and sent it back in. So I was totally interested when I got my summons. A new experience, and who knew what it might be about? Also, they pay me at work while I do jury duty. So I would get my normal pay plus whatever the county pays jurors (which turned out to be $40 a day) for just sitting around and (in my mind as I anticipated it at least) watching a live courtroom drama unfold. So I was all about it.

      So they want me there at 8:30. I go into work for a couple of hours (I usually start around 6), and head over to the courthouse place a bit early, just to make sure I can find it and show up on time. I got there about 20 minutes early, and the thing started like 15 minutes late. Fortunately I brought my Kindle to keep me entertained. Ended up in a big room with about 150-200 people.

      The judge came in, he was really friendly, and he started going over the various reasons that we could be excused for. As he said each reason people would go up and have a whispered conversation with him and for the most part he'd motion that they could just go afterward. Though there were a few times he'd shake his head and smile and the person would walk dejected back to their seats. Those people usually got up more than once to try different reasons. When he got to the being sick excuse he was like, "If you have the flu, for instance, I don't even want you in the same building as me. Don't come up and talk to me, just go. Please." Surprisingly, no one tried to fake that.

      It's amazing how many people just either refuse to listen or really suck at it. People would walk up to make their excuses when he was on a totally different subject. He had to repeat over and over again to wait until he got to your reason before coming up, but, you know, if someone is that poor a listener or that incredibly dense, that they didn't get it after like 3 repetitions, you probably don't want them on the jury anyway.

      So after they'd pruned the group down some he told us that there were two trials they needed people for, one starting that day and going for 4 days, one starting the next day and going for 3. I was sort of surprised that they could pinpoint it that accurately, but whatever. He also told us both of them would probably be pretty interesting. Maybe he says that every time. I dunno. Then he left and a woman came in and said that she'd be back in a few minutes with the names of the people who'd been chosen for the cases.

      After a bit she came back and started calling out the names of people who'd been chosen for the trial starting the next day and said if our name was called we should make preparations to come back the next 3 days. Mine was one of the first few names called, and I was like, wow, that was easier than I'd been led to believe. I took the paper she handed me and went back to work.

      They gave me a paper to give to my employer to prove that I'd been there so I could get paid. I showed it to my supervisor, who I'd informed beforehand, and told him I'd been there for an hour. I'd been gone from work for almost two hours, but the actual process there, not including travel time and me leaving early, was about an hour, and I didn't want to claim any time from the company that I didn't deserve. In retrospect that was a little overgenerous of me, considering how things went.

      I told him I'd be gone for the next 3 days because I'd been picked for the jury but that I'd come in at the normal time each morning and work for a couple of hours since I didn't have to be at the courthouse till 8:30. Technically, if you're on jury duty for 8 hours, then the company is supposed to pay you for 8 hours of work as well. I didn't need to come in, though he didn't bother to mention that. I learned that talking to a different supervisor. In actuality though, I wanted to come in because I'd applied for a much better job with the company and was expecting to get an email about an interview that week, and I didn't want to miss it because I was gone for 3 days. Then, of course, I got the email later that day and set up the interview for that same day, since any other time they were doing interviews, I'd be in jury duty (I did ok in the interview, but found out yesterday that I didn't get the job). So I'd already promised to get up early and work 2 hours on top of the time I was in jury duty for absolutely no reason. Go me.

      Also, I worked a little extra at the end of this day because I wasn't sure I'd get there exactly on time for the rest of the week and wanted a few minutes of cushion so I didn't end up with less than 40 hours (they've started measuring it down to the minute now. they used to just round to the nearest quarter hour). So I ended up working like 7.25 hours plus the hour of jury duty. Apparently, though, my supervisor decided instead of putting an hour for jury duty he'd just go into the time system and make my hours 8 total for the day. So I ended up with only 45 minutes credit for jury duty the first day and no cushion for the rest of the week. I'll admit that irked me a bit since I'd intentionally rounded down when I told him an hour and then also stayed late.

      So that's day 1. I promise the other days get more entertaining. Just trying to give things order. Tune in next time for a surprisingly popular witness and to meet the rest of the cast.

    • Crazy

      8 years ago

      datalaughing Always Right

      Just got done with jury duty on a 4-day trial. Now that I'm free to talk about it all I want I may make a journal tomorrow or something detailing the thing if anyone is interested. I've never been on jury duty before. So I found it pretty interesting. The case was about a guy who was accused of exposing himself to a six year old. Deliberations took for fucking ever. We went into the jury room like 2:30, and we left it at like 10:30. It got very 12 Angry Men for a while there.

      So let me know if you want to hear the thrilling tale. As a precursor here are some quotes:

      "One of them was called, 'Butthole Bunnies.'" - Mother of the child in question

      "Unless like his pants just accidentally fell off and he decided to go with it." - Me

      "Did he just say, 'the military position'?" - Council for the defense

    • So....

      8 years ago

      datalaughing Always Right

      The electrician and other people who came to assess and start fixing the damage done by the fire said to get rid of the microwave. It looks sort of ok, but it was like 8 inches from the fire and, according to them, had probably sustained severe damage from the smoke and heat and would be dangerous to use.

      My mother, on the other hand, has decided, "Fuck that. I'm using my damn microwave." Also, we have no fire extinguishers left. So if I die a horrible flamey death in the near future, that is probably why. Just FYI.

    • Yuck

      8 years ago

      datalaughing Always Right

      There is a layer of black soot on top of every surface in the house. This is going to be a pain in the ass. Can't touch anything without getting your hands all black. Big picture, though, I suppose it's better than everything in the house being reduced to ash. Still, I anticipate an unpleasant week.

    • Depressing little moment

      8 years ago

      datalaughing Always Right

      So the kitchen caught on fire tonight. My brother and I are upstairs watching Pawn Stars when the smoke alarm goes off. We weren't too worried. It's sensitive. In the past we've has smoke alarms set off by steam from the kitchen, or maybe someone left cookies in the oven a little too long. Then I notice black smoke billowing up the stairwell, and suddenly maybe this is a little bit more serious. My brother runs downstairs and I follow. I hear him yelling, a little desperately for our mother who is not responding. This little jet of fear like nothing you've ever felt shoots through me.

      I get downstairs, and the stove is red hot. I see fire on the wall. My brother says it's on the ceiling too, but I, quite honestly, don't see the need to delve into it much deeper. I pull out my cell phone to call 911. He's trying to splash water from the sink onto it, but the sink doesn't go very fast, and I'm like, "Dude, if it's a grease fire, don't use water." I don't know what it is, but the smoke is starting to get thicker. Mom comes out, grabs a fire extinguisher we hadn't seen sitting on the counter. She starts freaking out. "How do you use this?!" Pushing it toward me over the island, but it's a model I've never seen, and I'm like, "I don't know. You pull the thing and point it at the fire and shoot!" She gets the pin out and disappears behind a wall of black smoke. I throw the door open to try to get some of the smoke moving outside, and I say, "I'm calling 911!" and from behind the smoke she yells, "No, don't call." She empties the extinguisher on it, and then I hear her (I'm staying at the front door where things are not burning and I can avoid inhaling quite so much smoke. Cowardice? Possibly, but she's got the extinguisher, don't know what good I would be standing nearby) yelling, "Is it out? I can't see anything!" And then, "I can't see anything!" repeated a couple of times. So I'm like, "I'm calling!" And I dial 911 and tell them what's happening.

      Fortunately, she knew where the second fire extinguisher was, even through the smoke, and she empties #2. My brother has gotten out too at some point, and after some cajoling from me she gets out as well. Firemen show up, and it turns out that between two extinguishers full she managed to get the fire put out. Though the smoke is all hanging out upstairs, which looks bad from outside, but it's ok. Kitchen is messed up, apparently. I didn't even bother looking.

      Now for the depressing moment I mentioned. While we're sitting outside waiting for the firemen to tell us that it's ok to go back in, my mom is on the phone with her husband, and my brother is on the phone with his girlfriend. I pull out my phone and make a tweet. I suddenly thought, if the three of us had burned to death, there would be mourners, but not for me. No one would be left who gave a shit. That was my depressing little moment. I'm usually pretty good about being satisfied with my life, but every now and then ...

      Oh well, I'm sure things will look brighter in the morning. That's when the sun comes out after all. Though I do go to work before the sun is up. *le sigh*

    • Best politics evar!

      8 years ago

      datalaughing Always Right

      Allow me to introduce, to those of you who may not be acquainted with him, the man who could be, nay, should be, the next governor of New York state. If you live in New York, I demand you vote for this man. Why? Because the rent is too damn high! Preach it, Jimmy! May your epic facial hair see you safely to the governor's mansion.

      Observe, as Jimmy out-debates Cuomo.

      See Jimmy put the press in their place.

    • Simple math, but not simple enough

      8 years ago

      datalaughing Always Right

      You'd think business people would have a basic concept of numbers, if not in general, at least a concept of the numbers they have to use on a daily basis. Here's a couple examples of a specific deficiency of understanding that I've encountered.

      The other day I was at the bank opening a savings account. The lady at the bank was very nice, very helpful. As we're getting everything set up she tells me that the interest rate on the account is .05. She even writes that down on a piece of paper for me (for some reason), just like that, ".05." I'm like, ok, sounds fine. The interest is not my main reason for opening the account, but it's good to know. So we continue talking and at some point, as if a thought just occurred to her she goes back and adds the percentage sign to what she's written. So now it reads, ".05%."

      So I'm like, hold on a second. Is it .05 or .05%? She tells me they're the same thing, and I'm like, I hate to argue, but they're not. An interest rate of .05 would be 5%, not .05%. She didn't understand what I was saying. So to illustrate it more clearly, I was like, "If the annual interest rate is .05, that means that the interest will add five dollars for every hundred dollars that I have in the account. If it's .05%, it will add five dollars for every ten thousand dollars I have in the account. That's kind of a big distinction, don't you think?" She still didn't understand. The two numbers were identical to her. I never did figure out which one it was.

      A similar situation happened when I was working at the lollipop factory. Lollipops were sold in boxes of 1000, making the actual price, per lollipop (unit) like 2 cents. So one day I hear my boss on the phone, and she is explaining to a customer that our price per unit is .02 cents. Because on the price sheet it just says ".02" After she was done, I was like, isn't the unit price 2 cents? And she's like, that's what I said. I had to explain that, no, she'd said .02 cents. 2 cents would be .02 dollars. She'd just agreed to sell that man candy for 100 times less than our actual price. She didn't see the difference and assured me that she knew what she was doing, and told me to get back to work.

      These seem like such simple mathematical concepts to me. Are they really that tough to comprehend? For people who are working with these numbers on a daily basis? Or am I just being too picky? Is there like a general understanding among the public that, ".02 cents" actually means "2 cents" and ".05%" actually means "5%" and no one told me? Did I miss a memo?

    • Boardwalk Empire

      in Forums > Boardwalk Empire | Follow this topic

      datalaughing Always Right

      Anybody else watching this new show on HBO? Here's a trailer:

      I just finished watching the first two episodes, and damn does this show look like it's gonna be good. It's about time Steve Buscemi got a vehicle to himself that will let him really show what he can do. First episode was directed by exec producer Martin Scorsese, and I think it comes through. Buscemi's character is based on a real guy who basically ran Atlantic City for years (particularly during prohibition), and when I read the Wiki article about him, I was like, this is the perfect guy to base a TV show around.

      Loved the first two episodes, and I can't wait for more.

      34 replies

    • XBL gamertag

      8 years ago

      datalaughing Always Right

      Finally broke down and got my own Xbox Live gamertag. I've been sharing with my brother for years.

      I'm Datalaughing2 (someone stole my name, damnit!) So add me if you like.

  • Comments (1829)

    • Commodore69

      14 years ago

      Thanks for your feed back to my comment on episode 47 (page 88). Had to scan through the pages to remember what I said and my god! I didn't realize how much drivel there was posted! Only three thousand coments for Episode 47 and most of them total codswallop. When did so many monkeys learn to use a keyboard?

      Posted 1 month ago (1/20/05 2:45PM) + 1 Cool [ Mod ]
      Dear Rooster Teeth Productions,
      I'm a big halo fan. Been playing H2 non stop since I got broadband and XBL a month or so ago. Just recently came across RvB and laughed my spots off! Am now happily chewing through my precious bandwidth to catch up on previous episodes, while my controller lay dormant where I dropped it.
      Truly superlative entertainment.
      Please don't stop what you are doing.

    • BasketOfFish

      14 years ago

      I never use my mod points so I'lll give you 2 in return, I'll leave 'em in your journal.

    • SarahJr

      14 years ago

      Hey, I bet it was my journal that triggered that entry! Sweet!

    • SarahJr

      14 years ago

      Hi, I just wanted to say that I like your screenname. :-)

    • kmodlin

      14 years ago

      No his avatar frickin rocks. A highpoint in texas history

    • PvtOMalley

      14 years ago

      i am me also

    • PvtOMalley

      14 years ago

      u r one of the fw ppl who accually accept my friend requests

      mod points 4 u

      duff beer for me, duff beer for you, you have some duff, ill have some too

    • spartan13

      14 years ago

      Thought you might enjoy this:

      So you've decided to be Evil

    • BigWillieLL6

      14 years ago

      Thanks for the comment. And by the way, your avatar is just disturbing.

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