Intro to Grand Jury Duty

A grand jury summons looks almost identical to a petit jury (the type of jury you would see on TV) summons. The experience, however, is just a little different. I imagine the details will differ from place to place, so assume that everything I write about my jury duty experience is prefaced with “in my county” or “in my experience.”

I can’t discuss the particulars of any case I heard, so don’t expect any saucy details.

When you show up, you’ll eventually be shepherded into a courtroom, where seven jurors and two alternates will be selected at random. Those people will then furiously try to convince the judge that the burden of serving is too great for them: “I am the sole caretaker for my deathly ill mother,” “I am the lynchpin preventing the complete destruction of a small business,” etc., etc. The judge will excuse people who have convincing reasons, and otherwise take into account any specific days that you know you will be unavailable. (So long as an alternate will be available on those days, all is well.)

HOLY CRAP will a lot of people have excuses. I was the three-thousandth* person called to replace an excused juror. [*underestimation] When your name is called and you stand up to walk to the jury box, those who remain will shy away from you as if you’ve spontaneously developed a contagious disease.

Aside from being a convicted felon, I don’t know that there’s much else you can do to not be put on the grand jury. There is no qualification test, or any questioning about how you feel about the police, the law, or what-have-you.

Once a jury is selected, two names are drawn at random from the seven jurors: the first will be the foreperson, and the second is the alternate foreperson. (One other juror is later selected to be the official recorder, but that’s determined among the jurors themselves.) The judge then swears you in, and that is the last time you will step foot in a courtroom. The grand jury actually meets in the District Attorney’s office, which in my case is the third floor of the county courthouse. My term of service was two months, meeting every Tuesday and Friday.

It was a long two months.

Another Goodbye

My parents had to put their dog to sleep yesterday morning. My parents had to put my dog to sleep yesterday morning.

Yoshi was diagnosed with lymphoma on December 23rd, which kinda put a damper on Christmas. Treating with Prednisone, he was supposed to have six-ish reasonable months. Even with that (apparently optimistic) timeline, this last month has felt like a deathwatch; the lumps on his chest that first indicated something was wrong grew horrifically large in the first week, and other signs just kept cropping up to indicate that the end was going to be sooner rather than later.

At least my folks fed him well for his last month. Like all dogs, Yoshi loved food.

Yoshi was a bright, gentle, socially awkward boy. He loved my folks, and my sister and me to a lesser extent (we moved out three years after my folks adopted him), but was never terribly comfortable around most other people. He wanted to play with other dogs, but never really seemed to know how (the result of his backyard-breeder early years?); he liked to chase bikes—at least until he actually caught one, the way my dad tells it.

He fit my family extraordinarily well.


Yoshi’s distinguishing feature was that underbite. His eyes were brown, and did not glow like a vampire. I’ll miss him.

Oregon’s Racist History: I’ve lived here my entire life, and I never learned anything about this—but it explains so much about our demographics. (To be clear, I’ve experienced damn little racism in my life; hopefully things have changed for the better…)

Good news! This thing still works!

True story

My sister and I had some Chinese food late last week. After eating, she informed me of a rule one of her former coworkers had: you should not pick your own fortune cookie–instead, you must let someone else pick it for you.

The next night I ate leftover Chinese food. After eating, I thought of Marin’s story–and then figured “ef it, I determine my own fortune!”

The fortune cookie I selected was empty.

One more day

Under penalty of perjury, do you swear that the testimony you shall give on the issue now pending before this grand jury is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Death of a PS3

Brian has, in a fashion, been around to see the entire life of my 60GB “fat” PS3. He joined me on Launch Day when I picked it up from an EB Games in Salem, witnessed me opening it up and (per Andy) “letting all the ducats out,” and then joined me in frustration at how insanely the Ridge Racer 7 cars handled. (Once we got the hang of it, that game became a whole heck of a lot more fun.)

A week ago Tuesday, we were playing Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker online together, when my console suddenly decided to turn off and beep three times. Attempts to reboot it resulted in a power light that went quickly from green to yellow to blinking red, again accompanied by three beeps.

This, apparently, is the YLOD, or “yellow light of death.” Whoever came up with that name (obviously a play on the 360’s RROD/red ring of death) should be ashamed of themselves.

All launch PS3s appear to be doomed to this fate. It’s a damn shame, and just as bullshit (albeit not as immediate) as the 360’s overheating issues. My (…mentally counting…) twenty-seven-year-old NES still works just fine, which makes the lack of reliability of these recent consoles that much more galling to me.

Apple Watch

I didn’t care for the first iPod. If memory serves, my primary beef was that it cost too much for what it did (5GB for $400?). I did buy the second generation model, though, which was still in the same class (10GB for $400), and it did make my time sorting papers at work much more bearable.

The iPhone was obviously a game-changer; I don’t think anyone who saw that launch would disagree. (That said, I’ve never owned an iPhone; the associated cell contract is just too expensive for how little I use a cell phone.)

I was excited for the iPad, and knew that it would sell well… though I had no idea what the heck I would use it for. That’s still mostly true to this day: I use my iPad for reading PDFs of books and comics (tasks where it easily beats the pants off of any other device), but I feel like it’s a product that barely fits into my life.

And this Apple Watch? It does nothing for me. I stopped wearing a watch when I graduated from college—keep in mind that there was no iPhone/iPod touch back then, otherwise I might not have even worn one during college—and this gives me absolutely no reason to start up again. (And this is overlooking the fact that it needs an iPhone to work.)

I’m definitely not very good at predicting marketplace success, and I am admittedly not a typical person, but it’s rather strange to me that the most important technological things in my life are a five-and-a-half-year-old Mac Pro and a two-year-old iPod touch. (Both are getting closer to the end of their useful lives, but neither are there yet.)

Perhaps I’m taking the first (next?) steps down the road to being an old curmudgeon, but it seems like Apple’s gotten worse at answering the question “why?”… and the actual utility of their products, to me, has suffered accordingly.

The Best Juror

So I’m a grand juror.

I am among the most elite of the elite, having both had my number randomly selected for the jury pool and then randomly selected again to join the actual jury. My term is two months, meeting twice a week.

This has been hell on everything. Since jury duty began, I haven’t been working terribly reliably; I’ve failed to standardize my sleep cycle to a morning routine, so two times a week I wake up early and the rest of the time I wake up late (and I perpetually wonder why I’m exhausted); I haven’t seriously looked at my to-do list even once.

On the other hand, the experience has been very educational (sometimes in ways that I wish it were not). There is, however, the threat of perjury if I say too much, so I’ll hold off on general observations until after my term has concluded.

(Unsurprisingly, I am the pedant of the jury.)

CommercialCuts: Some of these are just dumb, but the Subaru, Cheerios, and Vodafone ads had me sniggering. Yes, I am twelve.

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