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Weird. The two prosecuting lawyers from the trial called me yesterday for a post-game review. They wanted to know if I had any questions and how I thought they handled the case. Does that usually happen? It was nice that they thought to contact me. I really was dying to know about little things that the defense Crazy let slip. Yes, he had a prior conviction. The lawyer he'd fired called the owner of the gun to tell him where it was hidden: the house was already sold and people with kids were moving in. They didn't take the gun itself for evidence because they were sure Teh Crazy would appeal and the friend would never see the gun again: it was a gift from a brother or something. That was kind of them, though the majority really had to work hard to prove to the hold-outs that just because there's not a gun physically in evidence doesn't mean it didn't exist.

I teased the one guy about our weird eye-contact game. He laughed and said that I was a pretty good indicator of how things were going. Apparently my face is about as good as closed-captioning.

When I told them about reviewing self-defense strategies in my head in case I had to take the Teh Crazy down. They laughed really hard. Apparently they didn't think the deputy was standing close enough, either. After the jury left, Teh Crazy approached them for hand-shakes or something and scared them half to death. I guess I wasn't the only one who didn't want him out running around free. They are going to push for the maximum sentence: 12 years.

Gosh. For such an unpleasant circumstance, I really liked most of the people involved and I miss them. I know we could have all worked together in an office or something and been good friends. It sort of seemed inappropriate for me to invite them out for a congratulatory drink, though. Oh well: all things that rise must converge, right? Maybe I'll see them around town.


It's over.  I didn't think we'd ever get through all the witnesses waiting out in the hall every day and the giant pile of evidence.  The state's prosecutors were young but pretty professional-seeming compared to the defense, who was representing himself.  It came out in the trial that his original lawyer said, "it's not a matter of if you're going to jail, but how long."  Apparently he felt like he was so obviously a victim of a vast conspiracy of county sheriffs, farmers,and stupid bitches that there was no way his good-natured attempts to get back with his wife would look bad.  Except there were all the non-stop phone calls and him spending long times alone with her family members after she got the no-contact order.  And him being found on or near her dad's farm where she was staying, too afraid to go back to her house even though she had sole rights to it.  And the strange car that turned up not too far from the property containing a bunch of her stuff including her wedding dress and high school memorabilia and binoculars.  And the GPS tracker hidden in her car.  And his friend's missing gun, pieces of which turned up in the defense's truck, the truck he'd driven through the dad's neighbor's field toward the back of the house and gotten it stuck in the mud in the middle of the night.  Then the gun itself turning up loaded in a heater grate back in the friend's house.   All that stuff adds up pretty big in the guilty column. 

The evidence-presenting part took five days and then we were in for five hours deliberating.  All the jury members were good and careful: we took good notes during the trial, we read through all the photos, statements, and phone records, and we deliberated carefully.  The majority were of the opinion that he was guilty but nobody was an asshole to the people who didn't think there was enough hard evidence.  In fact, there were plenty of thoughtful arguments on both sides.  I was impressed and decided that as much as Iowa annoys me, Iowans are good people, by and large.   In the end, we found him guilty on all three counts, Stalking, 3rd Degree Burglary of a Vehicle (to place the tracker), and Going Armed with Intent.  It was a difficult experience all together, and more than once, I was a little concerned that things were going to get ugly.

As bad as I felt sending a young guy to jail, I would have felt worse knowing he was out running around to wreak vengeance on his wife and her family.  When our foreman read our conclusion, the guy asked for an individual poll of the jury's decision.  The judge had to ask us each to say whether we agreed by first and last name.  I was actually concerned for my safety enough to think through what I would do if he launched himself at us (me and the little Indian dude were closest) before the cop could get to him.  I was running through self-defense scenarios, my heart thudding in my ears, sparks firing in my peripheral vision, but all the while thinking, "okay.  If I'm afraid of the guy on such a basic animal level, I must have made the right decision."  Then on the way home, I was about out of gas so I had to stop at the nearest station, hoping all the while not to hear the sirens of the jail go off down the road, or to have a strange car follow me home.  I had nightmares all night long.  I can't imagine how relieved his wife will be when she hears the news. 

Okay, so while I was writing this, one of the jurors just called me.  Apparently she got some information from the newspaper reporter this morning that the reason why they found the missing gun in the heater grate was because the defense's fired lawyer told police where it was.  That makes me feel even better.

So all the time I've been sitting in court, my life has fallen apart.  Digging out of the stack of homework, housework, holiday plans, and the two pounds I've put on eating out every day and not exercising, is going to su-uck.  I may as well brew another pot of coffee, get dressed, and get to it.  Sitting around here thinking about the trial will drive me crazy. 

Nov. 22nd, 2008

Okay, this jury duty horseshit is getting on my nerves.  I was in 4 days last week and it looks like we're in for Monday and maybe Tuesday next week if things go smoothly.  I'm starting to lose my patience in a big way.  I'll probably take a whole grade-point hit in both classes even if I'm prepared for the finals because I've missed so much lecture time.  Worse, though, is the entropy starting to set in at my house: the Kipple is starting multiply exponentially and the kids are reverting to their feral ways. 

Jury Duty.

I'm one of the twelve angry.  I didn't try too hard to weasel out after all.  Most of the other people who did sounded like such cry-asses that it would have been embarrassing to even try.  Looks like the trial will go for the rest of the week but I hope it doesn't go over.  I like fellow my jurors--we all got along like peas and carrots--but I don't really want to include them in my holiday plans.  Too bad I'm not supposed to talk about the trial because it's kind of fascinating to armchair psychologist me. 

In other news:  my KORG DS-10 arrived!  I was surprised at how detailed the controls were.  You can do some crazy stuff with each individual tone of the drum track, plus two keyboard/synth tracks.  I should probably sit down and read the rest of the big booklet that came with so I can do whole songs that develop and evolve along the way.  Once I get the hang of it, I'll post some video.  Oh, I also learned that it's multiplayer downloadable so you can hook up a bunch of DS's together!  Here's a clip of a guy with 4 DS's linked together!  How awesome is this? It's the best mixture of gaming and music since DDR, I tell you.  

Still other news:  you can take the girl out of the goth clothes but...
Okay so I read all those really horrible teen vampire novels.  Yes, I know.   They were bad like Cool Ranch Doritos are bad.  You know they'll repeat on you for the next 24 hours, and you know there's no brushing that taste out of your mouth.  But they're there and you think: they can't be that bad.  SO you eat one.  And now if you quit eating them, you'll have to live with that taste in your mouth anyway so you might as well 
enjoy it.  Yeah.  The books were awful but I couldn't put them down.  I must need a new imaginary boyfriend or something.  So the movie opens this weekend.  My buddies, several of whom were at the Halloween party, and I are going to make a party of it and go together, dinner before, hotel after, much booze in between.  Am very excited!  I'm not sure what to wear, though.  I've been listening to The Cure all week to gear up.  I'm tempted to get the new album but I have mixed feelings about the way Bob has been laying down his vocal tracks.  I don't know what he did to himself, took voice lessons or what, but I miss the old frail throaty voice buried deep in the mix.  It was more personable somehow.

Do not want.

Jury Duty.  Tomorrow 8:45 am, Story County Courthouse, Nevada (pronounced ne-VAY-da here in Ioway).

What to wear that says "unfit juror"? 

Recovery and enlightenment

Running a low-grade fever for 48 hours was kind of interesting.  It was just bad enough to make me sit still and let the world pass me by.  With the alternating shivers and sweats, joint pain and headache, plus mild hallucinations and things generally not making sense, it felt a lot like I'd taken a quarter tab of acid.  My sweetie brought me the usual illness provisions: ginger ale, soup, and saltines with the added bonus of movies and fashion magazines.  The idea of him standing there in front of the magazine rack guessing which ones might appeal to me makes my heart swell up and fall in love with him all over again.  He chose well: Glamour and O!.  My mom used to be a regular subscriber to Glamour when I was a kid and though I don't read many magazines it's good to go home sometimes.  And it's always nice to catch up with Oprah: she and I go way back, too.  He also brought back a couple of movies: Sex in the City and The Happening (the new M. Night Shyamalan stinker), appealing both to my secret inner chick and not-so-secret inner sci-fi nerd.  As if he hadn't already won the Best Husband Evar award for the day, he also packed up the children and took them to the early L. family Thanksgiving weekend get-together up in Rochester, MN all by himself.   After I finished watching those two movies, I finally got around to watching What the Bleep do We Know?! that I'd checked out from the library last week (I'm pretty sure it's overdue now). 

I gotta tell you, the three of those movies back-to-back on top of a low-grade fever were kind of a mind-fuck.  I spent the whole time watching Sex in the City thinking: "god I'm fat", "my wardrobe sucks", and eventually "why am I judging myself by the standards of this empty, bubble-headed bullshit?"  I mean, really.  The value set of that movie has nothing to do with my life whatsoever except maybe acknowledging Corey is my Mr. Big.  So then I watched The Happening: in which People Commit Grisly Suicides for a Mysterious Reason About Which Much Conjecture is Unconvincingly Made.  There were some vague notion about people becoming a threat to the environment, ridiculous references being made to the unknown in the natural world while the main charcters worked out relationship issues. In short: the mixture of mysticism and nervous scanning-the-sky Chicken-Little-ism representing humanity as having less free will as you'd think.   Then came What the Bleep do We Know?!   which philosophically and quantum physically kicked my spiritual ass.

Yes, I know it reeks of faddish new age twaddle but it kicked my ass anyway.  It's basically a continuation of Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson with more complicated science and a gentler approach.  All along I've suspected that people are more powerful than they realize.  Seems like people get what they expect to get out of life, only seeing what confirms their suspicion about themselves. Context is everything.  I know this in my head but it's awfully hard to keep this in my heart and use it to shape my world.  When I tell myself I'm fat, all of a sudden I have this ridiculous relationship to food: good/bad, reward/punishment, medicine/opiate.  If I tell myself I'm exactly how I should be, food goes back to being itself. When I tell myself my house is a mess, all I see is work: spots on the carpet, clutter everywhere, dings in the paint, cobwebs on the ceiling.  It's exhausting just to look at.  When I tell myself that my house is a sanctuary, full of love and life, then the clutter turns to artifacts of wonderful, intelligent, happy peple and I'm perfectly happy wandering around my house, taking care of it.  I know I create my own reality.  I am annoyed with myself that I often choose to create a poor one. 

Another aspect of the movie agrees with my major beefs with religion: we all have it within us to imagine a God better than ourselves, not just more powerful, but so many people don't.  They're still on this narrow little scale like playing sex police trying to dictate (yes, I said it) what consenting adults may or may not do in private, and practice reproductive rights discrimination.  How is it a moral issue that rich bitches can have however many babies they want, when they want, but poor bitches have to have babies whenever they happen to get pregnant?  This drives me nuts!  It seems so clear that the ham-fisted behaviorist model of afterlife reward or punishment isn't the level of thought that human spirit human spirit should be but we keep going back to church.  It's an obsolete machine and to subscribe to that mentality, people have to fool themselves beyond reason, to cross their eyes and fingers to keep the insular logic of their faith intact.  That's insane.  There is no way I can get on board with all of that.  I guess what the movie made me think about the most besides the jars-of-water experiment* was that I think I'm on the right track, searching for the next level of thought beyond Gimme That Old Time Religion.

*sounds like psuedoscience to me too, but just in case: "I love you, body.  You are awesome and beautiful and strong and generous.  You deserve a nice hot bath with the expensive bath products, followed by a snack and a nap."


It finally caught up to me, the disease that's incapacitated half my household for the past two weeks.   I'm weak and dizzy and I'm pretty sure my guts have decided to secede from the union.  I've made my peace with the knowledge that whatever presentation my educational psychology partner and I can come up with will be lame and humiliating so school can fuck off for all I care.  I'm going back to bed.

Working, Playing

I think I've finally got my topic for that American Government paper nailed down: "The War on Terror: the Frothy Shitpile of Propaganda, Jingoism, and Warmongering or Why the Rest of the World Hates Us".  I've been digging through the online school library for citable research materials and coming up with very little so I decided to wing it doing my research on Google out in the wild, wild web.  Is that a scholarly no-no even if I stick with reputable sources like New York Times and CNN?  I hate the search engine they've got on EBSCOhost and my Google-fu is pretty deadly.  I should prolly ask Mohammed, my cantankerous Pakistani prof.  before I get in too deep, huh?

The fam and I went to see City of Ember at the dollar movies.  It was actually quite charming.  I don't know why it flew under the radar.  Oh, right.  Between Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda, we were all sick to the teeth of rated-G films, which is too bad, really.  Bill Murray and Tim Robbins were excellent and the premise  tied into CDL's whole Fallout 3 gaming obsession-of-the-season quite nicely: post apocalypse, people taking shelter deep underground in a carefully laid-out shining city planned by the 50's era's best and brightest.  The builders schedule everyone to stay in the bunker 200 yearst.  Unfortunately, the box containing the key and instructions for a way out is lost to the ages and it's up to some plucky, amazingly not-annoying kids find the box and figure everything out.  I liked how the movie let us draw our own conclusions and didn't bludgeon us over the head with the obvious.  It never insulted kids' intelligence yet had enough pith to keep the adults thinking.  I highly recommend it.  Littlies beware, It has one little scary bit involving a star-nosed mole the size of a draft horse, but its short-lived and if you see a pic beforehand of what they look like (or better yet get the PBS documentary about the weird little critters) it's not that bad.  

Lastly, I just ordered the new KORG DS 10, which  is an amazing bit of tech.  It's music-creation software for the Nintendo DS that combines the superior interface of the Nintendo DS and the design concept of the famous MS-10 synthesizer.  In fact, it looks easier to manipulate than a full-fledged Korg synthesizer.  Doesn't it look like fun?  It'll be lightswitch raves galore around here in 5-7 working days. 

Here's a demo video. 

I'll report back if it's as raw ninja rock power as it looks.

Reality sucks.

Three days later and I'm still recovering.  It's mostly mental hangover, though.  Cleaning everything up and getting back to reality has been way too difficult.  In fact, when I arrived at school this morning, it felt like this was the first time I'd ever been on campus.   I'd better get my act together soon, though.  Two papers and a 20 minute presentation due by the end of the month, plus finals are starting to look a little daunting.  It's a good thing I have so many good memories to fuel me through the long dark winter.  This picture alone ought to float me clear to Thanksgiving. 

And Corey wearing Barb's Triana wig will keep me giggling at least until winter break.

Halloween Party 2008

Oh darlings, what a fabulous evening.  In fact, perhaps too fabulous, for I spent most of the next day paralyzed in hangover agony. 

Corey and I went as The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend, a couple of villains from The Venture Bros.  It's a on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup.  For those of you unfamiliar, it's a twisted send-up of 70's cartoons like Johnny Quest.  I highly recommend it if you like South Park/Family Guy-type humor.  

I made the costumes myself.  Pretty good likeness, no?

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