Smacked down Pierce County today on a 12(b)(6) motion with my smoove oral argument skills and my sexy moves. Boo-yah!
July 31, 2009
July 25, 2009
Sweat dripping from underneath my nipples. Do I have to lose weight? Yes. Should I move from Olympia, now that it’s decided to import good ol’ Southern weather, complete with thunderstorms, the odor of barbeque, and old fashioned ball greasing heat? Perhaps. I thought when I moved here, I wouldn’t be subjected to the relentless sun. I thought I’d be protected by a layer of clouds thicker than [insert "that's what she said" joke here]. But no. Instead I’m forced to resort to watering D’s garden. Watering! And considering the expense and ugliness of air conditioning. Hell, I’m even pondering blended drinks because the beer isn’t cold enough. Jebus, help me, it’s hot.
July 21, 2009
I have quite a bit more sympathy for jurors than I used to, after having yesterday endured my first–and hopefully only–day of jury duty.
The day started at 7:30. Well, we were told to be there at 7:30 AM, only to find that nothing actually began until well after eight. Because we were waiting for stragglers. Even though more than the usual number showed up, and we had a bloated panel of 55. For a controlled substance delivery case.
The video was blessedly short. But the waiting at the initial holding room shortly transformed to waiting in another courtroom (which was, by the by, exceeding capacity with the full panel plus the bailiff). It was almost ten by the time we saw the judge for the first time. Lovely, no? Realized part of the delay was caused by the fact of multiple defendants, and part of the delay was caused by the co-defendants’ not being full-on English speakers. Recognized none of the attorneys, but did recognize both interpreters. The judge asked the usual questions, then went into excruciatingly unnecessary detail. Let the attorneys inquire much, your honor? At just shy of eleven, we took a break. In the hallway.
When we returned, each of the attorneys took fifteen minutes for voir dire. None were particularly impressive, but all adequate. Note to one of the defense counsel, though: neither “Hispanic” nor “Latino” are a race or a nationality. Try “ethnicity” if you’re going for PC. Then break for lunch, to resume at 1:30.
Upon resuming, I left my book behind in the car. [I was late, in part because I've become an irresponsibly late individual, and partly because the parking situation at the courthouse is nothing short of abominable. Perhaps if the judges had the use the same parking as the civilians?] Mistake. Although voir dire resumed and concluded rather quickly–another twenty minutes per attorney, with little in-between time–the panel was dumped into another disused courtroom while a handful of individual jurors were inquired of in a slightly more private setting. The specific disused courtroom in which we were dumped, though, turned out to be a big mistake.
At around 2:30, after each of the “I have an embarrassing, but relevant, story to tell” folks were disposed of, the court started calling in others individually. Confusing. A few minutes later, we were moved upstairs to yet another courtroom.
Before we were moved upstairs, however, several individuals unconnected with the case entered the courtroom to set up for a three-o-clock calendar. One of them set up the live video feed to the jail.
After we were moved upstairs, we were called out in groups of five. Having a relatively high number, I was witness to several individuals coming back upstairs. None would talk about what they’d been subjected to. Numerous references to horror cliches abounded. Eventually, I was called in. The judge asked me if I remembered being in the downstairs disused courtroom. Yes. Did I see either of the defendants there? No. Did I hear either of the defendants there? No. Thank you.
Later, after the peremptory and for-cause challenges were complete, twelve jurors and two alternates were chosen. The way they were chosen was to cross off the challenged, and take the remaining fourteen, starting with the front of the panel. At 48, I was convinced I’d be no where near the jury. As it turned out, number 40 was the last alternate. Not super close, but still unnerving.
Can you guess what happened? Given that there should have only been nine peremptories, and maybe five or six for causes based upon answers during voir dire, the top spot should have gone to someone in the upper 20s. How did 40 get involved? I would speculate the live video feed, combined with the likely ICE hold, provides the answer.
July 17, 2009
After almost a week of several aborted attempts, I’m only minutes away from finally paying the floor guy the balance of what I owe him and getting my keys back. Shouldn’t a small businessman make it easier to part with money?
July 12, 2009
July 7, 2009
Reading David Foster Wallace’s essay “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction.” Reading excerpt Scott Rosenburg’s Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It’s Becoming, and Why It Matters. Struck by how much has changed over the past fifteen or so years. Wallace starts from a position that culture is common, distributed through television, and consumed many hours each day. Rosenburg implicitly seems to recognize that television is so over.
What has changed is cost. Flickering images and sounds really are more attractive to the masses than the alternatives. Television is popular for a reason. But as video becomes cheaper to produce, the selector of the networks is, well, increasingly irrelevant. Most of what is produced has only a small audience. But (1) some things go viral, and (2) the pace with which individual ideas get incorporated into the mainstream speeds up, because some people in the small audiences themselves have a wider reach.
Which is why I find Wallace’s essay so disturbingly dated. It isn’t that he’s wrong for that time and place. It’s just that I cannot think of a modern equivalent to the inside-”The Mary Tyler Moore Show”-joke embedded within the Betty White cameo in an episode of “St. Elsewhere.” What would be common enough a viewing experience? Even television is too fragmented these days, and the total viewing audience is less comprehensive.
What’s the alternative? Luckily, in the age of the search engine, we can accomplish a similar feat, but without presuming the shared experience. How many people looked up and read (or at least put into their queue) The Third Policeman after seeing “Man of Science, Man of Faith“? Or observed an unusual sex act name-dropped in I Love You, Beth Cooper, then encouraged by the character to Google it? I mean, at the end of the day, how much of a barrier to reference-heavy writing is the increasing fragmentation of culture really? And without that worry, isn’t that the last barrier to go?
No worries, television. It’s been a good run. But it’s time to retire. You’re so over.
After only two and a half years at The Evergreen Law Group, I’m now a co-owner. So within the past few weeks, I’ve acquired a house, a half marathon medal, and part of a company. What’s next? Perhaps a coca field in Cuba.
July 4, 2009
At first, I thought the orange peel that coats the interior of my house was merely ugly and unnecessary. Now I’m angry at it for making me bleed. Someone had the bright idea to create a mud of some sort using sand as a prime ingredient. And that mud was then sprayed on the walls. Which has the practical effect of (1) making painting something of a bitch, and (2) tearing the skin off my knuckles whenever the get too close. Very painful. And given that it is patently unnecessary, I’d like to punch the individual who decided to bastardize the orange peel texture effect with sand in the eye.
July 3, 2009
The new house has dull gray contractor-grade carpet in all three bedrooms, the living room, and the den. The carpet was apparently installed in 2005, and is in pretty good shape (only slightly worn and stained by the previous occupant’s large dog). So at least in the short term, I think we’d be perfectly content to leave the floor covering in place.
Then we checked under the carpet and discovered the original oak wood floors are present in the living room. Seeing how refinishing floors is (1) a pain in the ass, and (2) even more so with furniture on top, we pondered tearing up the carpet and going to town. Despite the fact that we’re stretched pretty thin right now–what with the lender’s unethically-last-minute announcement of additional bank fees and requirements–I think we’re going forward with it.
Now, after having refinished a coffee table this spring, and having discussed the matter with others, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no fucking way I’m qualified to refinish the floors properly. If I did it myself, it would almost certainly result in all sorts delays in moving in, unexpected costs, a substandard finished product, and an assortment of tears (rhymes with peers and bares). I’m even more convinced this would be the case after today’s start. Why? To save a little on the funds, I decided to tear up the carpet myself.
Tearing up the carpet is actually the easy part. It’s held in place with little tacks that with a good pull come free. What makes for a pain in the ass is that under the carpet is a carpet pad that, for some reason, is stapled to the floor directly. Perhaps this is standard operating procedure, but it means an awful lot of pulling. More frustrating? The carpet tacks are attached to thin strips of wood that are nailed into the floor around the edge of the room. These strips are a pain the ass to get up. Took me an hour to finish about a third of the living room.
Even more troubling? The glorious oak floors in the front of the living room do not fill the room. The back part of the “L”-shaped room is fir. And that fir isn’t in the greatest condition. And it includes a couple of square feet of plywood. And some of the oak floor boards around the edges are looser than you’d usually like to see in a floorboard. And so? I’m calling one of the fellows who gave me a quote to see if he can come in next week.