Monday, November 30, 2009

older folks + technology = ERROR

The last few days have really reminded me about what amusing creatures the older folks of the the world are....

last weekend I went to visit my great Aunt and Uncle whom I haven't visited for a couple years and my dad wanted to show them videos of my niece Bailey, since they haven't seen her yet. When my dad pulled out the chords to hook his video camera up to their TV, my great uncle got a somewhat annoyed look on his face and warned my father " you better not go messing with those wires 'cause it took my son hours to hook everything up, and I don't know how to reconnect it if you mess it up... and tomorrow there are some football games that i am NOT going to miss ." My dad took Uncle Bill's lack of confidence in him in stride and assured my (great) Uncle that he was going to be very careful and it shouldn't be too hard to just plug his camera in... 15 minutes later the camera was plugged in and my dad asked Uncle Bill to put the TV on channel 3... so my uncle changed the cable channel to 3. My dad tried to play the video ... it didn't show up on the TV... so my dad asked my uncle if he had a separate remote that controlled only the TV and not the satellite. Uncle Bill showed my dad where the remote for the TV was and my dad tried to change the channel. It didn't work... Uncle Bill was QUITE VISIBLY annoyed and concerned at this point "THAT REMOTE WORKED BEFORE YOU GOT HERE" He began.. " Oh maybe the batteries are dead, I'll try putting in some new batteries I brought" my dad interjected "WELL THE BATTERIES WORKED FINE BEFORE YOU GOT HERE ! IF I HAVE TO CALL A GUY TO COME OUT HERE YOU'RE PAYING THE BILL - I AM NOT MISSING MY FOOTBALL GAMES TOMORROW" my uncle pouted... By now my mom, great aunt and I had given up on trying to make pleasant conversation in the background while the boys messed with the TV and were all now intently watching my dad to see if he was going to pull this off or if my parents and I were going to find ourselves suddenly and forever banished from the house. My greatest worry was that we were going to have to cut our visit short and I wasn't going to get to eat any of the delicious smelling Chile Rellenos that my (great) aunt had made...

After my dads brand new batteries did not work, my uncle abandoned any sliver of confidence he might have had in my father, " YOU CALL MY SON AND TELL HIM WHAT YOU DID SO HE CAN TELL YOU HOW TO FIX IT" Uncle Bill demanded. After a failed attempt to explain that he hadn't even removed or touched any of the wires that were already plugged in, my father resigned himself to the fact that there was no other way to get my uncle to settle down than to call his cousin and tell him that he had somehow broken the remote" Ok, I think I have his number in the car, I'll go get it" my dad finally said " NO I'VE GOT IT RIGHT HERE ! " Uncle Bill insisted... clearly he was as worried that my dad was going to just drive off leaving us to fix the situation...

So my dad called up my cousin and started to explain the problem... I can only imagine the laugh my uncle Rick was having on the other end of the phone, when my uncle suddenly decided that my dad was explaining the problem wrong "HERE JOHN LET ME TELL HIM WHAT YOU DID" Uncle bill said, ripping the phone away from my father and consequently robbing him of any chance of redemption that he might have had " HE BROKE THE REMOTE, IT WONT TURN THE TV ON ANYMORE" Uncle Bill explained to his son... "Oh ok I'll try that" Uncle Bill said as he pressed the "TV" button on his universal remote... and Presto- The TV magically turned on... It was pretty amusing to see the whole thing play out... I knew from the second that my Uncle told my dad not to touch the TV that my dad was totally screwed, and I had a feeling the "try the TV button" tip had probably been given to Uncle Bill a few times before... later when we were driving home my dad told my mom and I the only thing that my uncle was able to say to him before the phone was yanked away was "Boy I'm glad this is you and not me"... The Chile Rellenos alone would have made the 3 hour drive to Grass Valley worth the trip, but that TV fiasco definitely made it even more memorable

A few weeks ago I mailed an invoice for $ 1,405.00 to an Elderly customer- after reaching a frustrating impasse when trying to get her to read me her credit card # over the phone (Her son had originally put the charges for the move on his card, but our driver had only taken down 15 of the 16 digits of the card number then when I had called to get the missing digit he decided it would be easier if I just contacted his mother directly for payment... When I called her, she did a great job telling me the numbers on the front of the card, but somehow that darn security code on the back was just too complicated for her 'cause she kept reading me either the first 4 or the last 4 digits off of the front of the card when i asked her to read the last 3 digits on the back of the card).

I always worry a little bit when a customer has an outstanding bill... so I was relieved yesterday to see an envelope with her name on the return address... but when I looked at the amount on the check, I was baffled to see that she had made it out for $ 119.00. ... I figured I must have made an error on the bill I had sent her... somehow I must have mailed another customers bill, but I checked the 2nd copy of the bill that I had kept with her paperwork and I could not find anywhere she could have come up with such a random amount... and then I looked at the address... room 119.... could it be? was she so senile she mailed me a check made out for the amount of her room number... I can only assume she did, and I gotta say it's a pity she did not live in room 9999 'cause that would have more than covered her move... as it is, I have mailed her a copy of her check and a new bill... hopefully we'll get to $1,405.00 some day...

Today while driving home from work my dad called me. (Tony had just set up a new lap top for him while he and my mom were visiting for Thanksgiving...) my dad asked " I got the lap top out of the box... now how do you plug it in ? " what ? I thought to myself has my dad suddenly caught the disease? - This old-people-are-bat-shit-crazy disease that seems to be going around lately... What's going on here my dad is not a tech geek, but I know he's seen a plug before . "well did you find the part with the 2 prongs?" I asked, only half jokingly... my dad said that he had and ended up figuring out on his own that he had to plug the wall plug into the powers upply and the power supply into the lap top... so I guess that is understandable... Most of his other questions he called with throughout the night were understandable too... and dad if you're reading I'm not making fun of you it was just so funny to hear you say (after the last few days that I've had) "how do you plug it in" ?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Just Ignore this one... its for my benefit only

Hello self, I’m writing to you because I think it is somehow less creepy and more socially acceptable for us to communicate this way rather than communicating verbally . Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that we're REALLY crazy… but there are those who would if they heard us chattering about at work and such. I know we just get lonely sitting in an office all day by ourselves, but some people, even you and I at times, think that it’s crazy to talk to ourselves… so lets try to do this instead from now on.

Writing to each other is actually totally acceptable and even encouraged by lots of people. It’s weird ‘cause it seems to be the exact same thing as talking to ourselves, but when we write it out, we’re just keeping a dieary or a journal and we're being reflective and creative and the same people that would say we are crazy for TALKING to ourselves would SUGGEST TO US that we should try keeping a dieary instead... they want us to keep a written record of what we would have said if we had been speaking instead of typing… maybe they just want to read it to each other and laugh at us...

Ok that’s getting a little creepy now… I guess it’s not really what you say it’s how you say it. When I talk to myself as if I’m two people, I guess that’s the crazy part… not just the talking to myself outloud… actually come to think of it, all the time in movies and stuff the characters talk to themselves... there's a lot of talking themselves through things in movies and we (and by we, I mean you and I dear reader(s)) don’t think they’re crazy… even when they say things like “damn it Jane ! think ! Think about what you’re doing !”. I know in movies they have to do that so that we can know what the character is thinking, but it's not really that realistic... how many people really speak to themseleves with such wit and articulation when they are disarming a bomb or in a hostage situation... I wish the voices in my head were as witty as they are in movies... it would make my work day so much more entertaining.

The guy that walks by my window at work everyday screams obscenities at no one… and I think that guy is super crazy… he is usually saying kind of violent things like that he would fuck that bitch up and stuff and I guess I’m just worried that if he saw me he might mistake me for that bitch that he wants to fuck up, so I usually stay really still when h e walks by… I think crazy people are like T-Rexs and can only see movement, so I’m pretty sure by sitting still and holding my breath and stuff I’m saving my life… That tid bit of information about T-rexs is coming directly from something Jeff Goldblum said in Jurrassic park so I dont know if thats really how it works with T-rex's or not... Jeff Goldblum is not actually a scientist... he just played one on tv... actually it was in a movie... actually it was in several movies, the fly, jurassic park, independence day... hmm maybe he IS a scientist... he seems to get cast as one a lot...

Anyway, so here I am writing on my blog… this is one of those disorganized random entries… to try to get me back on the horse again… I sense that I will have a little more free time to think at work since the holidays are coming up, so I’m hoping to use whatever extra time I have to write on my blog… I wasn’t sure what I’d write about today, so I’m just kinda letting it flow… I had thought about perhaps writing about the bagles I just made, which are not perfect, but are more bagel like than any other bagels I’ve ever made… but then I started to think about that movie I never saw called “Julie and Julia” about some chick who wrote a blog about cooking all of Julia child’s recipe’s… and then I started to think about the blog where I got the bagel recipe I used… which is some guys blog about baking, and then I started to think… eww I don’t want to be some poser who joins the” I’m going blog about cooking ‘cause maybe someone will make a movie out of it” crowd. I need my own thing for someone to make a hit movie out of staring A-list celebrities… Wow, that makes me sound like I’m some attention starved spotlight monger . I’m not… I don’t think I would like to be a celebrity, but I would like the cut of profits from a successful movie… god it would be so awesome to have money.

I find I my middle age I am getting more and more resentful of people who have money… I feel that I work just as hard as most people (although not as hard as some…. Most of whom have far less money than I), yet I have much less than a lot of people that work less than me… WTF ? stupid capitalism… its just not a good system… geeze… It’s a good thing I wasn’t alive during the cold war. I’d get my ass beat up for all of my pinko commy thinking… It’s totally un-American to want the world to be fair I guess… wow, I really am bitter… anyway, I’m tired of writing now. I apologize Carly, and anyone else who may have read this for the random all-over-the place-ness o f this blog entry… and I assure you I am not really crazy or uber haterful of the rich… I’m just lonely at work and wish that I got paid more for what I do… or wish I did something that paid more… or wish the world was nothing but fairness and happiness and perfect bagels… anyway, this blog sucked and I’m sure I will be ashamed that I posted it upon re-reading it, but hey, gotta get my head back in the game and all that… Blah… oh wait I used to do voquations at the end… ok so final thought: Jill+ other Jill = bat shit crazy !

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Do not eat me

About 1.5 hours ago I decided to eat 1.5 yVes soy dogs despite the slimy whitish film that seemed to have formed over them... I was hungry and I saw the slime and kind of though "eww... maybe I shouldn't eat that..." but then I said to myself "how could I waste such a perfect vegan low calorie high protein snack ?...Y Vyes I think I will have a couple slimy hot dogs"... so guess how I feel right now! bleeah...

I think that I have learned a valuable lesson today about eating slimy foods that are not supposed to be slimy... Their package said that they were best by 10/7/09, so I figured I still had a solid 2 weeks, but maybe I should trust the appearance of the food over the date on the packaging... the solid nasty smelling glob of cream that I threw away yesterday said that it was good until tomorrow... but it didn't fool me... somehow the slime on the hot dogs was more ambiguous though... I couldn't remember if there was always slime on them or not... they did seem grosser than normal... but to be perfectly honest soy dogs are pretty far down on my preferred proteins list... and the package didn't say anything about how quickly the dogs were to be consumed once the package was opened... so I figured if there was some urgent rush to eat these soy dogs after the initial breaking of the seal, then they would clearly state it somewhere on the label... My stomach tells me that I assumed wrong however... and the answer to the quirie about how long is too long for the open package of soy dogs to be hanging out in the fridge would be some number less than 10 days ...

... but I was just this young naive kid 1.5 hours ago... I didn't know the horrible feeling my tummy would have if I ate slimey soy dogs... back then I had even foolishly thought it was a good idea to compensate for the sliminess of the hot dogs (and the lack of ketchup or mustard at my office) by putting mayonnaise on them... "MAYONAISE ? on a hot dog ? !" you might say...and you'd be exactly right... mayonaise does not belong on hot dogs. I know that now... and I fully regret my decision at this point. It seems that covering 1 white slimy substance with another white slimy substance does not actually cancel out the effects of the first white slimy substance... I think in fact the addition of the second white slime may have amplified the nasty feeling in my stomach right now... 'cause now the slimy bacteria that were living on the hot dog can happily wallow in the nice pillowy comfort of the mayonnaise and reproduce like crazy... My tummy feels like a Holiday Inn for diseasey bacteria right now. YAY!

Anyway, I thought I should put the word out about not eating slimy hot dogs just in case there was someone else out there that might go ahead and eat them anyway... and also if I suddenly keel over tonight and die there will be a clue as to what might have caused that. I don't Blame Yves.... they probably should say how long you have to eat their soy things once you open them... but they probably figure there is no one stupid or gross enough to eat a slimy hot dog... guess they didn't figure on me... although I do deserve a small pat on the head for a tiny bit of brain power 'cause I initially microwaved 3 slimey hot dogs but I only ate 1.5 of them, so I guess maybe I'm not completely stupid... just half dumb... 'cause it did eventually dawn on me that the nasty taste and texture was worse than the usual experience that accompanies inadequately sauced soy products.

hmm they have a 1-800 # on the Yves package... I am half tempted to call and ask if I'm going to die... but that would entail making a non work related call ... and if you've read all of my blog entries you probably know how I feel about that...

So to sum up soy dog + slime = DO NOT EAT ME !

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dr. Abigail

" you are beginning to develop a cavity in one of your wisdom teeth, but the tooth is still partially covered by your gums, so we can either remove your wisdom teeth or cut off part of your gums and fill the cavity" Dr. Abigail told me after my dental check up a couple weeks ago.

Neither of those options sounded particularly appealing. I had been hanging onto my wisdom teeth for quite a while despite the fact that Dr. Abigail had informed me on my first visit with her three years earlier that she was putting my wisdom teeth "on watch".

I never really knew what "on watch" was supposed to mean until now... Dr. Abigail is a sweet lady, she's always really nice and gentle, but clearly she was racist against wisdom teeth or something. She had been scrutinizing those teeth every time I cam in just waiting for an excuse to refer me to someone to yank those suckers out... and now APPARENTLY she finally had one... although I don't know... to me it seems like if I am "beginning to develop" a cavity rather than actually "having a cavity" it's not too late to do something else... but I guess she was probably just being her usual kind gentle self by breaking the news to me that way.

She's mainly a children's dentist- a fact which was suddenly brought to my attention when I arrived for my first visit. I had found her on the Blue Cross Website listed as Dr. Abigail Lingad, whose office was less than a mile from my apartment at the time, so that was good enough for me... but when I arrived and the big sign out front said "GIGGLES AND GRINS" and the waiting area of her office was a little too well stocked with Highlights magazine I began to feel a little out of place. But they never said anything to me so I just pretended like I didn't notice.

Anyway, the fact that she works with children a lot has endowed her with the uncanny ability to make dental procedures that would normally sound daunting and painful sound like slight inconveniences. "little pinch" she'll say before she sticks you with a 6" needle full of Novocaine. "breath through your nose there's gonna be lots of water" she'll chirp as Niagara falls suddenly seems to spurt out of her little water sprayer and down your throat... and the amazing thing is when she says its just a "little pinch" or braces you for the water that's coming, it really isn't so bad.

And she's so encouraging. She tells me I do a good job of brushing and I have strong teeth and when I had to go in to get a filling replaced the other day she kept saying that I was "so brave" for not flinching or anything when she gave me the Novocaine injection... and I know it could sound like she was talking down to me... but really I WAS BRAVE and it was very nice of her to notice and say so. Too many people take it for granted what a brave soldier I am, but not doctor Abigail.

So when measured against her usual sugar coated diagnosis, her statement about cutting away gums to fill the cavity on my wisdom tooth sounded like an uncharacteristically scary or painful thing for Dr. Abigail to suggest, but she clearly cannot hide her disdain of wisdom teeth... we've all got our things that bug us and I can see how my wisdom teeth make her job harder. She's got to practicly jam her whole hand in my mouth to clean those teeth, so I can see how it certainly would make her time with me easier if those pesky wisdome teeth were out... and I think Dr. Abigail deserves to have it easy... so I had a decision to make...

I tried to be fair about my choice. "my gums haven't done anything to me. Its the teeth with the problem so why should I punish them?" I thought to myself, but on the other hand, its my gums job to protect my teeth and obviously my gums had failed in that case, so maybe I should just get rid of the gums and save the poor neglected tooth... It is after all the coolest named tooth in my mouth... K-9, incisor, molar... what the fuck kind of boring tooth names are those, sounds like I could ditch those guys any day and never notice, but "wisdom tooth" hey that sounds like something I'd like to hold onto... I should bear those puppies like a badge of honor... after all they didn't show up until I was old enough to be "wise" right ? Isn't that how they got their name... so if I rip them out my next dentist may think that I'm just too stupid to have wisdom teeth... it's such a dilemma... but at the end of the day I could tell that Dr. Abigail was trying to steer me towards removal... because who would ever choose "cut out part of your gums". Holy Crap that sounds scary... and if Dr. Abigail made something sound scary. It must be awful.

So now I am going to have to go see an oral surgeon who won't have to warn me about " the little pinch" I'm going to feel or the water that's coming 'cause he'll just knock me out and rip a few teeth out of my head. NICE ! I can't wait ! I hope its really super expensive too !

Sunday, July 26, 2009

vicious cycle

Spending money always seems to make me want to spend more money. For example: a couple weeks ago we had a really hot weekend and Fans were on sale at Home Depot, so Tony and I thought it would be a good idea to buy a fan for the guest room before my parents came to visit... in case it was still really hot when they were home... and while we were at Home Depot we thought, why not just buy a fan for the office too... THEY'RE ON SALE ! ... so we bought two fans... and the wires and what not to hook them up... and a trash can... the office NEEDED a trash can.... never mind the fact that we had gotten along without a trashcan in the office since we got our house... at the time when we were at Home Depot and I was standing in front of the pretty new plastic rubish bins, the five feet between the office and the trash can in the guest bathroom at our house just seemed to be a riddiculous distance to have to walk with a torn envelope that needed to be discarded... so I decided to buy a trash can with some of the money we were SAVING buy buying the on sale ceiling fans . The ceiling fans that we bought, by the way promised us EVEN MORE SAVINGS because they were going to save us money on our energy bill... I didn't really understand how putting a fan where there was no fan before was going to save us money in the long run... but the box said it was true, so I figured it must be. Boxes are usually pretty honest people.

Anyway, even though we bought the fans on sale and saved a bunch of money it still seemed to my bank account that we had spent about $250.00... but they are nice fans and anything nice that is attached to our house will make the house sell better whenever we sell our house, so it was ok.... A funny thing happened though... a few hours after the fans were up in the office and the guest room Tony figured out a way to put a fan in OUR bedroom. I had never even considered putting a fan in OUR room before 'cause there was no ceiling light, we just used the bedside lights to illuminate our room... but Tony is quite the electrical wizard and he could tell just by looking at our wall and our ceiling that he could somehow fish an electircal line up the wall and slap some kind of brace up in the middle of the room and Viouala we would have ourselves a ceiling outlet to which we could attach a fan.

At first I thought we should stop spending so much money, but then I thought... "you know that was really nice of us to make sure our guests stay cool when they spend the night at our house... but we dont even have guests that much and WE LIVE HERE ALL THE TIME... DON'T WE DESERVE TO STAY COOL TOO? After all we are a couple of nice considerate folks"... so within a week Tony was back at Home Depot buying all the fixins to put a fan in our room... It wasn't on sale... but it was still a good deal... and I must say, IT IS A GLORIOUS FAN !

So that is the story of how we spent a couple hundred bucks a couple weeks ago... and then spent a couple hundred more last week... this week we decided to take on a plumbing repair project... and then had to call Roto Rooter... so that is where this weeks couple of hundred dollars went. I think once I see how easy it is to just shell out a bit of cash and get a bright shiny new whatever it makes me want to get more whatevers. Plus people will often give you a coupon to get a discount on your next purchase when you buy something and coupons seem like a horrible thing to waste, so why not go online and see what else the store sells that you never knew you needed.
Yeah capitalism has woven a pretty sticky web around me. If I go long enough without buying things (other than food and stuff that I really do need to stay alive and whatnot) I find that the desire to spend kind of goes away or at least gets smaller... but it can never last too long 'cause there is always a birthday or holiday just around the corner which means I will have to buy gifts. It's all such a vicious cycle.

I used to be pretty good a saving money in spite of all of the holidays and coupons and everything, but since Tony and I bought our house it seems so easy to justify spending. Anything that goes towards the house becomes an investment and so its not really like SPENDING at all... its INVESTING... so it will come back to me X10 right? Hopefully... but there are so many INVESTMENTS that I want to make on the house that I don't see myself really being able to save any money for 5 or 6 years... and in 5 or 6 years I plan to be moving out of this place going to Arizona and starting a bakery... and maybe having kids sometime before all that... so I am always worrying about how I can cut out costs from day to day expenses and what I can do to earn a little extra money and I find that I am SPENDING way too much of my TIME thinking about SPENDING MONEY and not spending money.

I used to think about more creative interesting things, but lately I feel like just another cog in the great economic world that we all live in... oh and by the way the economy is failing and so if I am chained to that wheel I really should be worried... and I am a little, ahhh... I just want an extra day or two of not work per week so I can get around to thinking about and doing the things that I would rather be thinking about than money... stupid money. I'd much rather make everything that I buy, but I don't have time... I have hardly any time to MAKE anything because I'm too busy THINKING about how to MAKE money... VICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLE. I really don't like capitalism... I think there should just be good person points that you earn for being a good person and then you can trade those or not with people for things... I don't have the finner details of the good person points economic system worked out just yet, but that is the kind of currency we would have in my Utopia.

Blah... anyway enough rambling about the vicious cycle... I've still got a little weekend left so I think I'll go live a little.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

a party at our crib... and other randomness

Wow... it has been A WHILE since I've cranked out a blog entry... I hope I still know how. I used to always write these things while I was at work, but since they let go of my one and only co worker in the office just as we were starting to come into our busiest season of the year I have had more work than I can get done in 9 hours... which means I've had zero blogging time : ( I've worked an average of about 48 or 50 hours a week since they let Theresa go, so that has been kind of stressful... and being stressed out makes me feel less jovial... and it wouldn't be fitting of me to write an un-jolly "Jolly Jilly" entry... although looking back on the earlier entries there was a lot of Blah Jilly getting put out there. WHAT WAS I THINKING WITH THAT?

Anyway, It is a beautiful Sunday morning and I'm sitting in my gorgeous back yard amongst all of my tasty fragrant herbs and corn and other wonderful plants and I just feel happy and inspired so I thought I'd take a moment to record... the moment... ... ok, so that's done...that was nice. Hmm I don't have anything in particular to say other than that, so I suppose I shall ramble...

Last night Tony and I finally had a "house warming party" I don't know if it still counts as a house warming since we've lived here for almost a year, but we referred to it on the email we sent out as a "be lated house warming / poker game" and everyone who came brought us a gift (which was un expected and very appreciated) ... and also it was very hot yesterday and we don't have AC at our home so in a literal sense we did have a "warm house" which was made warmer by the additional body heat of our guests , so I guess it counts as a house warming.

Somehow Tony and I managed to entice 11 friends (including 3 kids) to show up at our house ! I couldn't believe it! We got more guests to come to a party at our house than Anushka did... (WOW... EVERY THING IS a competition with me huh...? )... it was a very good feeling.

Lately I've been feeling like a lame ass... only 2 people came to my birthday party that Tony organized a few weeks ago and I had texted Anushka's friend Marlin hoping that we could hang out and be friends and she didn't write back nor did she answer the last 2 emails I sent her so I guess I probably won't be friends with her, which is very disheartening... and Theresa isn't at work anymore so I spend most of my time alone in a quite office, so it gave me a very welcome bit of an ego boost that this many people were willing to pay a bridge toll to come and see us last night.

I am very grateful to feel like I finally am fitting into a group of friends here like I had in high school... and I have really missed having a "group" since high school ... Last night I felt like maybe I'm not as weird and lame as I had thought... Although I gotta say I am really awful at giving tours of our house... I just like open the door to each room and am like" this is the master bedroom" and this is the " guest room" etc etc. I'm pretty sure that's not how a tour is supposed to go... although I have no idea how it IS supposed to go, so maybe I was doing ok... I was trying to remember what they say on Cribs that makes the tours of houses seem so interesting... but I couldn't remember a damn bit of commentary from those shows... it's mostly about the sweet ass expensive houses and cars and amenities that all of the rappers and actors and whomever have... Actually no wait... what they do is they show a room and then they have the rapper or whatever say "this is my man cave this is where me and my boys hang out and watch our Blue Ray Videos on my giant movie sized screen..." So I guess they talk about something they do in the room... I should've been like "Yo' this is our guest room... this is where I go to watch episodes of Daria on my old Desk top computer from college. Back in the day I illegally downloaded every episode of that hysterically witty cartoon"... and this is the office this is where I take a trip to the past and watch VHS tapes and play scrabble on the computer and sometimes read... I like to think of it as my zen gallery"... damn where was this stuff last night when I needed it... I guess I'll have to bust out that shit next time I give a tour of our house to someone... oh oh and then they do that thing when the go from one room to another (on Cribs) and they like cock their head to one side and motion for you to follow and their like "Let's go check out my back yard with my infinity pool and view of the ocean"... the head cocking and come hither arm waive are essential. I've gotta work those into my tour... hmm who's the next person that will be here for the first time. I guess Michael... I think he would appreciate a cribs tour of our house...

Ok, well I can't think of a nice final thought to tie everything together from this entry, so I'll just say Jill + last night + this morning = Jolly.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Does Free Stuff Ever Get Old?

To answer the very poignant question I posed to myself in the title of this blog I would like to say very definitively: NO... FREE shit will never get old... at least not for me. In fact I love getting things for free so much, that even the thought of free things makes me all excited to the point where I can no longer do the work I am supposed to be doing. To exemplify this point I would like to take you back to about 3 minutes ago when I was taking a break from doing boring payroll stuff and reading an article Michael Ian Black wrote about Bonaroo... I got to the sentence " I definitely went apeshit on the free Butterfingers." ( - a very quick bonaroo update)... and my first thoughts were: obviously who wouldnt go apeshit Butterfingers are a very fine candy? ... a butterfingers sounds soo good right now... I think Butterfinger is one of those candies that I have kind of almost forgotten about, but I suddenly remember how great they are... so salty and crunchy and sweet and chocolaty... I think butterfinger has just become my favorite candybar... a butterfinger would be perfect right now, but once I got over my initial reacation to the aforementioned candy I was like... "WAIT DID HE SAY THEY WERE GIVING OUT FREE CANDY AT BONAROO ? ! ? ! I love free stuff... the only thing that can improve on the taste of choc late is Freeing it... yeah Free chocolate is the best !

Anyway, the point is, I was working on things for my actual job about 10 minutes or so ago and the thought of free food got me into such a frenzy that not only did I not go back to work, but I also stopped doing the non work activity that I had been doing (reading a blog) because I had an uncontrollable urge to express my love of Free things (food especially) to someone and right now I am the only one at my office...

After I read about the free butterfingers I was like huh, that's strange that Michael Ian Black would seem to be excited about FREE Butterfingers... He's an actor so I assume he has enough money to buy as many butterfingers as he wants, but his comment did seem to indicate that the fact that they were FREE led him to eat more butterfingers than he might normally, so I started to wonder if I was rich would I still get excited about FREE things? 'cause if not i feel like I would be robbing myself of a lot of joy in my life... but after a moment's pause I decided that if Michael Ian Black can still be thrilled by FREENESS, then I'm sure that I will always be thrilled by it too... although I don't exactly anticipate acquiring a fortune anytime soon so it's probably a moot point... but as I was thinking about whether or not FREE things in the future would thrill me I suddenly had a flashback of some of the free things I've gotten in the past... so here is a list of some of my favorites:

FREE scrubby loofah things from a spa in Palm Springs, FREE samples of cookies from Mrs. fields, FREE strawberry flavored lip gloss from a purchase on Black Friday at Victoria's secret, A second box of Rice cripsies with the purchase of 1 box of rice crispies, A FREE com gift card for filling out a survey about my Zune (which took about 1.5 hours... longest survey ever... but so worth it !!!!!), all the FREE giveaways that Tonys parents pass on to us from casinos in Vegas, Free breakfast at Ikea... That's all the recent stuff I can think of for now, but damn I feel like I've gotten a good haul lately. AWESOME. YAAaaaay FREEEEeeee !

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jill + Kitchen Gadgets = Maaania

I woke up this morning with an uncontrollable urge to bake... so I started to get the stuff together to make pretzels and while I was reaching in the cabinet to get a big pot to boil water in I caught a glimpse of the rack I bought at IKEA last weekend that I now have all of my pot's lids neatly displayed in and I was immediately filled with adoration and excitement... that's right.... I LOVE MY POT LID RACK ! and I want the whole world to know it! I never knew what to do with all the damn lids I have for my pots and pans 'cause they've all got little handles on top and don't stack neatly like the pots do, but then I remembered that my mom had a little rack that she put her lids in and I was like, "oh I'll just go and buy one of those" but I went to like 5 or 6 stores and couldn't find the device I as looking for, but then I went to IKEA and they have EVERYTHING YOU COULD EVER WANT FOR YOUR KITCHEN THERE! so obviously they had a pot lid rack and an attractive one at that so now I have so much more space in my pots and pans cabinet that I could buy like 4 more pots and still have room due to the fact that I organized my stupid lid jumble and put it neatly in a rack. POT LID RACK YOU ARE AWESOME!

I also love the 2 new knives I got at IKEA...(IKEA is not paying me for this blog by the way... although I would totally be down with corporate sponsorship, so if anyone reads this and you know some big wig at IKEA send them my way... I've got some nice things to say about their dressers and desks too, but I'm not gonna throw that out for free right now) Anyway, one of my new knifes is designed for the specific purpose of cutting vegetables and though I have been eating vegetables for as far back as I can remember I have never had such a knife before in all of my life... I've used it every day since i bought it and every day it has exceeded the hype I have built up in my mind about how great it is... it just slices through onions, mushrooms carrots and every other veggie I have pitted it against like it's sliding through a heaven, so yeah, I've just been slicing my way to heaven for 7 days straight...

I don't even need the cooking utensils to be in my home for them to excite me. I just like to be around them in stores or in other peoples houses... or even seeing cool kitchen things on TV gives me a little buzz... 'cause I see those things and I'm like "someday... someday you may be mine shiny wheat grinding kitchen aid stand mixer attachment for the kitchen aid stand mixer that I do not yet have"... wow... that will be awesome when I have my pimped out kitchen aid... and I'm not a brand whore... it doesn't have to be Kitchenaid... but I really do wanna grind my wheat to make fresh ass flour... I grew about 1 bundle of wheat this year... I think that would make almost 1/4 cup of flour... and I think I could use that to make a tiny cupcake... so that'd be pretty awesome...

Anyway, as I was standing there in the kitchen awe struck by my new cooking devises I started to think that maybe I was being a little weird... my knives don't literally turn me on (omg I just remembered that one flash back episode of Friends where Monica was trying to seduce Chandler with a sexy kitchen knife and then accidentally cut his toe off... that was a good episode !) Anyway, unlike Monica on Friends, I don't want to actually bump and grind with my lid stand or my veggie knife, but seeing them in my kitchen does genuinely put a cherry on top of my day. I've even had days that have been completely turned around by cooking gadgets... today for example... I woke up and it's kinda foggy and gray and blah outside and I was thinking about how its Sunday so I have to go to work tomorrow and was generally not feelin' super chipper, but I knew I was gonna get to make pretzels so that cheered me a little bit, but then when I saw my lid holder BAM I WAS IN HAPPY LAND... and an hour later I am still sittin' here ridin' the happyland express ! So thank you lid holder for elevating my mood from asi-asi to QUE BUENO!,

At this moment obviously I don't feel ashamed or weird about my love of culinary gadgetry, but I did have that brief moment where I was like... wow I must be some kind of freak 'cause of the way kitchen stuff gets my motor running... not many people (that I know) talk excitedly about their new cooking tools, so I was like hmm... maybe this is a weird freakish obsession... but then it occurred to me... archaeologists find remnants of dishes and bowls and cooking tools that were totally decked out with elaborate pictures and designs and made of expensive metals and obviously cherished by their ancient owners... and cookware and dishes are something that pretty much every society around the world had. They didn't all have shoes or written language, but food service, that shit was obviously important to like every society ever, so I guess I am not a freak at all, I'm just being human by loving food and food related utensils... and anyone who denies the excitement that a new kitchen gadget can bring is obviously the one who is some inhuman freakazoid.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The "I can't believe you just called me fat" game

I try not to be one of those girls who behaves as girls are expected to all the time. I think I might have an actual phobia of falling into a stereotype because at times I have an almost obsessive need to feel like I'm special and being stereotypical just does not work for me... and yet I tend to get annoyed at people who I feel are TRYING TOO HARD to be special and unique (I guess me and the evil villain, Sylar, from Heroes have that in common... that can't be a good sign).

That being said... there is one terribly girly trait that I do allow myself to indulge in fairly frequently: I love to overreact when guys say something to me that could somehow be construed as an insinuation that I am fat. For example if someone said to me " wow you really look great in that dress" I could say to them "Gee THANKS ! I guess normally I look like a cow huh? maybe I better just wear this dress all the time so I don't OFFEND YOU with my OBESITY". Or if they say " I'm full do you want the last piece of pizza ? " I could retort "Oh of coarse I do... YEAH just give it to Jill she'll eat it! She's obviously put away a few pieces of pizza before! "

It's not something I do all the time, but for some reason I think it's funny sometimes... i guess it's 'cause most guys get really really apologetic right away and then I feel like I did a good job of tricking them and I guess it's just like a tiny lame little prank... If I thought someone was seriously calling me fat though I would not think it was so fun at all... in fact I might punch them... or cry about it... or at the very least feel hurt.

An example of that would be the other day when I was at work: there was a substitute driver for the guy who normally delivers the uniforms for our crew's at work and he asked "did you just have a baby" and I took offense to that 'cause that seemed like a random question that could mean nothing other than "hey you look like you're holding onto some extra weight like a woman who just had a baby would be." so my response to him was just "NO" followed by a death stare... and his response to that was a long explanation of how he had apparently filled in for our normal uniform delivery person several months earlier as well and one of the ladies at an office where he delivered uniforms had told him that she was 8 months pregnant and he thought it was my office or I looked like the woman or something and he didn't mean to imply that I looked like I had just had a baby if I hadn't, but yeah, that guy was actually pretty tactless. I did still enjoy the way he was squirming after he realized I was not the baby momma he thought I was... so I guess that ended up being ok.

Why do I enjoy the squirming... that's so cruel... oh well I blame TV... It's way less mean than anything they've ever done on PUNKD which is a show that I ocassionally enjoy, so my desire to toy with men in this way must somehow be MTVs fault.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

blink away stale ideas

Yesterday when I was riding home from work I kept having really amusing thoughts that I think would have been great blog entries... but I was RIDING MY BIKE in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE... so obviously I couldn't write the ideas down... I mean I suppose I could have pulled over to the side of the road and sat down and started writing my thoughts down... but writing by hand feels so slow now that I've been spoiled by having a key board pretty much chained to me for 10-12 hours out of every day, plus I'd look like a total weirdo / might also put myself in a less than safe position if I was just chillin' on the side of the road hunched over and writing...

Besides the inconvenience and uncoolness of taking writing breaks while I ride my bike, I also think its the blood and adrenaline that gets flowing through me when I'm riding or exercising or what have you that inspires all of the interesting thoughts that I'm having, so when I stop with the activity I think I tend to be a little less interesting and witty so by the time I do finally get to where I'm going my thoughts tend to be stale and less sharp.

Yesterday, for example, when I got home I did write my thoughts down but I had been trying to remember what I was thinking about that I thought was worth writing so I ended up spending first half of my ride home thinking all these interesting things to myself and wishing I could be blogging about them right then and there and then I spent the second half of my ride repeating a few reminder words over and over in my head so I wouldn't forget the general gist of what I had been thinking... so for half my ride there was no new brain activity going on and all of my adrenaline was being wasted.

To solve this dilemma, though, where I get my good ideas when I'm out and about 've decided I should buy one of those machines they use for people who are paralyzed and stuff where you can somehow hook something up to your eye lids and then dictate to your thoughts by blinking. That way I can keep the adrenaline and blood flowing to my brain whilst blogging. It would be awesome... too bad all the paralyzed folks are hoarding their technology ? Why aren't those blinking machines at Target next to the Ipods ? who wouldn't want to use of those things... I mean they must be a great way to write 'cause Stephen Hawking and a whole bunch of other paralyzed folks wrote entire best selling novels with them. I can't be the only one that wants to be able to impare my vision by typing things while I get around... drivers could use them too... it'd be the next great blue tooth device to put in your car... I mean sure I suppose all of this could be done via speaking into a headset or something like that also, but people always end up looking like they're crazy and talking to themselves with those blue tooth headsets... If you are riding around blinking a lot people would probably just assume you were having a stroke or a seizure and to me that seems like a more socially acceptable way to go.

So yeah, tech. companies need to start mass producing more of those blinking dictation things so folks like me can multitask better. GET ON THAT SMARTIES !

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jill + glasses...

I have always been a huge fan of glasses ! Those spiffy little accents so nicely fill up the awkward extra space on your face and draw attention to your eyes. (and I happen to think my eyes are probably one of my best features) It's almost as if glasses draw a circle around your eyes and magnify them and say HEY CHECK OUT THESE SWEET ASS PEEPERS I'VE GOT RIGHT HERE ... HERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS FABULOUS FRAME... THAT'S RIGHT MY EYES ARE FRAAAAMED... JUST LIKE THEY SHOULD BE 'CAUSE THEY'RE FREAKIN' WORKS OF ART !

I think most of the crushes I had on guys in high school were at least 85 % based on the fact that I thought such and such a guy had sexy glasses. A few examples of that phenomina would be Tavis (from Reel Big Fish), The guy with the glasses that had math class next to me ... and of coarse my Jr. Prom date, Nick Brown... I even worked my adoration of his glasses into the pick up line I used to ask him out...I ambled right up to him one day when I passed him alone in the hall and I blurted "Hey Uhm... uhhh... I just wanted to tell you that ... ThoseGlassesAreReallyBecomingOnYouButIfIWasOnYouI'dBeCummingToo.
DoYouWannaGoToPromWithMe? " So he totally bought that line and went to prom with me even though it later surfaced that he had not understood my pick up line, and he seemed to only have gone to prom with me cause he didn't want to be mean or he wanted to seem cool or something like that, but the point is not that Nick Brown is lame and kind of used me to go to prom and then said he liked someone else, the point is that his glasses were so powerfully cool that I forced myself to overcome my shyness for a moment in order to spend an evening much closer to those very cool glasses.

Anyway, since glasses are basically the most nerdilicous accessory a person could ever have, I felt cursed for most of my life by my fuckin 20/20 vision.... Why couldn't I be one of those smart sophisticated 4-eyed people I so admired? Some of my friends suggested that I could just wear frames... but come on... that would make me a poser... and that's just not cool. NO! I didn't just want the glasses I wanted the fucked up vision to go with them... I wanted the whole glasses experience !

My bespeckled friends would try to console my by telling me that glasses were actually a pain in the ass and they wished that they didn't have to wear them... and some even wore contacts in lieu of glasses, but I figured they were just lying or mistaken and though I appreciated their efforts to make me feel better... it didn't bring me any closer to the crappy vision I so craved.

When I still didn't need glasses after I graduated college I figured that was it. I would never need glasses... there would be no more bad florescent lighting and staring at white boards that were too far away. No more chlorine in my eyes every day at swimming and waterpolo practice and to add insult to injury I really like carrots. I have cut back recently but there was a time where I would go through a big bag of those baby carrots that look like little midget fingers in a week... So I figured I would probably just be cursed with good vision forever...

Then I moved to San Francisco and took a job at Shamrock Moving and Storage. Nine hours a day of splitting my time between staring at a computer monitor and staring at a tiny schedule gridded out on a white board across the room in an office lit with the worlds worst flickering dim yellow florescent lights finally did the trick. After about a year of working in my company's San Francisco office (or the cave as I like to think of it) I began to notice that it was hard to make out the writing on the white board across the room... at first my vision problems seemed to be isolated to work, but then that burning fuzzy vision began to find its way into my life at other places too: Road signs, fast food menus, and then one day my fuzzy vision found itself at the eye doctor where it was proclaimed to my delight that I needed a 0.1 % correction to bring my vision up to 20/20. HALLELUJAH !

SWEET ! IT HAD FINALLY HAPPENED... I WAS FINALLY GOING TO GET GLASSES. I had decided to go to Costco to get the eye exam and purchase my glasses because I am after all a cheap bastard... even though I've wanted glasses my whole life I didn't feel the need to get all crazy and go somewhere where they might have a larger variety of frames to choose from for fear that I would have to pay more... so obviously I was kinda disappointed when I found that the selection of glasses they offered was faily limited. None of the frames were really as thick as I wanted, but I found a pair with a good shape that kind of reminded me of Tina Fey's glasses and I went with it... and two weeks later I had them. My very own LOOK AT MY EYES glasses ! ... and they were kind of annoying... they gave me a headache... which apparently is to be expected and they left little dents on my nose that turned into large zits later on and they hurt my ears and I kind of didn't like the way they looked with my hair... and I clearly looked nothing like Tina Fey with them on so that is how I became a sometimes glasses wearer... and gained an even greater admiration for everyone else who wears glasses and manages to look super hot in them. Jill + glasses on face < anyone else in the world + glasses on face

Friday, May 8, 2009

I started writing about being a dog and then somehow was reminded of Natalie Portman

People act like its the best thing in the world to be a human... WHAaa ? Really ? I think I'd much rather be a dog... I think that would allow me to be myself without having to worry about social stigma... I love being around people (just like dogs do... or maybe not all dogs... I guess I'm thinking of like a lab or a retriever or something). I also love to be petted and have other people brush my hair for me... It makes me feel tingly and relaxed at the same time when people do that for me... so yeah pretty much one of the all time best sensations in the world.

...If I was a dog it would not make me weird or insecure or lame that I want everyone to like me it would just make me a fantastic freakin' dog. I always admire people that don't care what people think about them... but that definately isn't me... I care way too much for my own good about what people think about me... but so do dogs. All they/ I wanna do is please you and make you happy, but when they do it's sweet and when I do it it's pathetic... what the hell is up with that. I can still be my own person and obsess about what others think about me... that's who I am yo !

Also I like working. Give me a sled and I would pull that shit (did I mention I like snow)... oh and also I like to play catch and wriggle around for no reason... I find most days at work I take a little extra me time in the bathroom once I've washed my hands and just make faces at myself in the mirror and shake my booty around... It feels good to let loose just 'cause I can... its annoying to have to be all tame and contained in the office all day: just sitting here in my chair with a blank expression typing away and filing things and being all normal. I've gotta let the crazy out behind closed doors 'cause I'm sure if I did my booty shakin or face makin' in the middle of the office Theresa would be really scared... as would I be if she did...but if I was a dog she'd think it was riddiculosly adorable... and she'd be right I can be pretty adorable when I flail !

Dogs, like me can be amused by the silliest little things... like when I see geses on my way to work... there is definately an impulse that grabs me to drop my bike and run at them... and if I ever caught them I would wanna hold them and cuddle them and pet them... if I were a dog I imagine I might wanna eat them, but if I was a dog that wanted to cuddle with gosslings that would just make me the cutest dog ever... so that's the dog I would be. The kind that cuddles with baby animals not the kind that bites their head off and shakes them around... speaking of dogs and baby geese (which remind me of baby chickens) I saw the funniest videos yesterday that made me really hope that Natalie Portman and Rashida Jones are BFFs in real life... if you watch these in order you will probably feel the same way...


So Basically after watching that and that rap that she did for SNL I've decided that Natalie Portman is pretty much the badest assed most likeable lady in the world.

there doesn't even need to be a voquation... Natlalie Portman = Awesomeness !!! Natalie Portman + a bee sting (still) = awesomeness !
Although I still think being a dog > being Natalie Portman

Anyway, I think this kinda sucked 'cause I kept having to answer phones at work and lost my momentum and train of though several times while I was writing this blog entry, none the less, I haven't posted anything for a while so I figure I oughtta just jump back on that posting to my blog pony and ride it... so that is what I have just done

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Last weekend was good until I turned into some other asshole

Last weekend started off really great. I woke up thinking it was Friday and then had the unexpected pleasure, just as I was about to get into the shower, of realizing that it was in fact Saturday. I WAS STOKED! I love Saturday. It's the best day of the whole week. You get to sleep a little bit more and don't have to work (except if you do... and sometimes I do, but its usually easier work) and then you have the next day to recover from whatever you do on Saturday night. It's just an all around super time of the week.

Having overly excited myself by realizing what day it was I decided I could not go back to sleep... and that wasn't even a problem 'cause I knew I could take a nap later. Since I was up I decided I should take the opportunity to do some grocery shopping. I had noticed that strawberries or something random like that was on sale at Safeway so I decided to go there instead of going to Trader Joes like I normally do... and I COULD NOT BE HAPPIER WITH THAT DECISION. Not only were strawberries on sale, but also ARTICHOKES, MUSHROOMS, RICE CRISPIES, FROZEN FRENCH FRIES, FROZEN PIZZA and probably some other stuff I am forgetting were all on basically a PLETHORA of my favorite foods were well stocked and on sale... it was sooo damned exciting ! ! ! According to my receipt I saved like $36.00 on groceries... I could not be more proud or pleased about that if I had gotten food for free. AWESOME. Getting good deals on groceries just really does it for me...

So anyway, I went home put the groceries away did some cleaning and took a nap... when I woke up from the nap it was like a whole new day... It wasn't like I was in a bad mood, but my excitement had been reset to whatever my normal level of excitement is. I was looking forward to going to dinner with my coworkers, but I was not nearly as excited about that as I was about the artichokes (the were $1.00 each they are normally like $3.50 - $5.00 each... and they weren't even shitty artichokes... it definitely was a sale worthy of the excitement it brought me), but I wasn't particularly in the mood to ride my bike 'cause it was windy outside (Me + Bike + Wind = Me - having a good time + annoyed) ( why do I love making word equations? I am such a dork...)

Whether I wanted to or not (and I DID NOT) I had to ride my bike to my office though to meet Theresa 'cause she was giving me a ride to the city where we were meeting the San Francisco Shamrock office ladies for dinner. Tony would have given me a ride at least to my office I'm sure, but he was indoor sky diving with his friend, so that wasn't an option.

The wind was totally horrible on Saturday. I was pedaling as hard as I could but felt like I wasn't even moving. and that is something that really jerks my chicken... I just hate working really hard at things and ending up with nothing to show for it, so after about an hour and forty minutes of struggling against the wind I arrived at my office pretty cranky and exhausted, but I felt better after I got a chance to change into my nicer clothes and do my hair and put eye liner on... and I was starting to get a bit more excited about seeing the girls from the other office, so I'd say by the time Theresa and I headed out I was at a baseline level of confidence and excitement.

When Theresa and I got to the city and met Emily in front of the restaurant though, my excitement level went up a little and my confidence plummeted. which resulted in me pretty much immediately acting like some stupid ass hole. Emily asked me how jury duty was and I was like "oh it would have been good except some punk kids threw rocks at me" (ok, that's true it happened so I have no problem with that comment) but then I was like "but it WAS fun to watch the prospective jurors and mock them in my head" (WHAAAAT ? Why would I say that ? It was slightly true, but it was an arrogant thing to say... why would I want to sound arrogant what the hell? I gave an example of the kid that had not yet graduated high school who told the judge that he had lived in Hayward for 4 years and San Leandro for 16 years, but was only 18 years old... yeah he made an inaccurate statement, but I'm sure its scary to be sitting there in the jury box in front of a bunch of ass holes like me telling your life story to a judge and some lawyers) So I made that comment which I wish I hadn't, but in my head at the time I was just trying to sound more bad-ass than I actually am... I don't know why I cant just let myself be an amusing dork when I'm around people... Why not just throw out some word equations and talk about how I love food... everyone loves food... and who doesn't love a good word equation... I wish that my brain would just work out its issues with my mouth and let me be me all the time, but I haven't seemed to master that art yet.

The problem I was having on Saturday night was that I think that Emily is quite possibly the coolest chick in the world and I want her to like me, but I haven't seen her for a couple months so I was trying to cram 2 months worth of coolness into 1 night and acting like I used to act in high school when I wanted people to think I was cool... namely I was acting like a callous idiot. This continued the whole night. I kept trying to force myself to say something funny or interesting and I kept saying arrogant things that were somewhat true, but were not kind things to say about people (and which I won't repeat here). I wish I didn't get like that. I wish I could just be myself. I wish I had been spouting off shit about the artichokes I bought or baby geese or things that make me happy instead of the crap I was saying to sound "cool", but when I try to force myself to talk in a group that I am not fully comfortable with I just only seem to be able to spout out caddy bitchy things or random observations like when Emily was texting a lot and I said "hey you're acting like you have an Iphone but you don't have an I phone" ... Yeah good one Jill way to start a conversation what is she going to say to that... Anyway I was lame all night and probably left a really poor impression on everyone and then I went on to leave an even poorer impression on myself, but to sum up this post in a vague and awkward way... I need to stop trying to be someone else and accept that sometimes being myself means just sitting there and being quite. I think quite lameness is a lot easier to forgive than arrogant stupidity.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jury Duty with a fist full of rocks on top

I was not immediately thrilled when I received my jury summons, but the way Alameda County rolls is that they have all potential prospective jurors (those who've received a jury duty notice in the mail) call the night before the date of their summons to find out if their randomly assigned number had been drawn to receive the grand prize of a stay at the luxurious jury assembly room in the Hayward superior court house. Tony got his summons in the mail the same day I did and he was dismissed without ever having to report to the court house, so when I called the night before my report date I was very hopeful that the same fate would befall me as well... but It didn't.

My initial reaction to the automated woman who informed me that my prescience would in fact be required at the Hayward Superior court for jury duty earlier this week was "Youuu BITCH... I hate you for casting this burden on me !"... and then I moved onto "Life is soooo not fair, why did III get jury duty but Tony didn't, he has a car and it would have been soooo much more convenient for him to go, but no III have to ride my BIKE through ghetto-ass-Hayward to the court house and I will probably get shot and die on the way. this is Awwwwfullll!" but eventually I calmed down and realized that cursing the automated phone woman and Tony's good luck was not going to make jury duty go away, so I began to look for the silver lining. and it did not take me too long to find one.

The time for me to report to court was 8:30 AM and as it happens we live just 5 miles away from the court house which meant I would get to sleep in about 45 minutes longer than usual... and upon researching my route it seemed that I would have a pretty safe flat ride to jury duty, so I decided a day away from my office: reading a book and not having to deal with the constant nagging of phones or paperwork might be a nice change of pace, .

Upon arriving to the jury assembly room I settled into a not so comfy chair in the corner of the room next to a table (so that I would only have to sit next to 1 person ). Then I was pleased to hear that there was a secret upstairs prospective juror waiting room that had couches... I was saddened, however, by the news that, due to budgetary cuts, there were no cups available to get water from the arrowhead water cooler. I am used to keeping my body thoroughly hydrated and I had assumed their would be drinking fountains, so I was not prepared for this cupless watercooler situation. At least I had a nice couch to relax on for the day, I consoled myself. The "no cup" wound was quickly re-opened though, as I bitterly watched the court employee who had just made the announcement about cups flagrantly filling his Nalgene bottle shortly after he had broken the news to us.

I did not have too long to stew in my bitterness though, they started to call names of prospective jurors pretty quickly. When my name hadn't been called by 10:30 I assumed that I would be let go for the day... but instead the Nalgene bottle toting employee made an anouncement that all prospective jurors whose name had not yet been called would be assigned to a court room, but the room would not be ready until 1:00 pm, so we were to leave and come back to the juror assembly room in 2.5 hours. That Nalgene bottle guy was really starting to piss me off !

I returned at 1:00 pm after 2 1/2 hours of aimlessly wandering around Hayward and sitting on random benches for short periods of time to read Saving Fish From Drowning an Amy Tan book that my mom gave me around Christmas time which I was just now getting around to reading. (It's a pretty good book so far, but I don't expect to finish it unless I somehow get jury duty again or some other task forces me to sit still and not sleep, watch TV or be on the Internet for several hours at a time... and such occurrences seem to be rare in my life these days).

It was hard being away from the Internet for so many hours at a time. I was desperate to know what Michael Ian Black had tweeted about that day or what fun, exciting or pointless status updates had gone up on facebook recently (although I was fairly certain that Michael would have posted something about drinking a glass of water), but I guess did managed to fulfill my social networking needs the old timey way... with my good old cell phone. It was nice to get a chance to catch up with Michael and Megan who seem to be too busy to chat during hours that I'm not working.

After I felt I had had enough of socializing on the phone and being outside I obediently returned to the juror holding pen at 12:45. There weren't many people in the room when I got there, but I did notice there was a stack of cups by the water cooler... just as I was making that observation Nalgene bottle guy announced " We restocked the cups at the water coolers feel free to help yourself". You'd think it would have won him some points with me that he scored some cups, but it just made me like him even less since I am pretty sure he'd been lying earlier about there being no cups due to budget cut backs... I wouldn't be surprised if it was just some twisted game he likes to play with the prospective jurors for his own amusement... Nalgene bottle guy can suck it !!! I don't like him! (I made my own cup by saving the container from my apple sauce, so I just used that to get water... I'm resourceful... I don't need to be part of Nalgeen bottle guys sick cup game... )

It was not until a little after 1:30 that I received my assignment, so after 5 hours of suspence the remaining 59 prospective jurors and I shuffled into court room 209 to fill the jury for a criminal DUI hearing.

I held my breath as the court clerk called the first 12 randomly selected jurors and sighed with relief when my name was not called. It was a long process just going through the introductions of each of the 12 originally selected random jurors. Each prospective juror that had been called into the "box" was to state where they had lived for the last 5 years, the jobs they'd had for the last 5 years, if they were married or lived with someone and if they were (or did) what did their spouse/ roommate do and did they have kids, what high school they attended, had they ever served in the military and what was their education level... for most jurors there were follow up questions and random bits of unnecessary details, so it was a very slow processes... especially since some of the jurors had to be replaced as they identified reasons why they were unable to serve on that particularly jury as they went through their introduction.

For example, it took several hours to get to juror number 9 whoe we learned happened to still be an 18 year old senior in high school (even though he had lived in Hayward for the last 4 years and lived in San Leandro for the first 16 years of his life (he really needed to be in school)... Apparently students are excused from jury duty until they have a break from school.

We had only just finished going through the introductions of the 12 jurors at 3:45 when the judge dismissed everyone for the day. He wanted to give anyone who had suddenly had something come up (such as a family emergency or conflict of interest) that would prevent them from serving on the jury talk with him in private before the end of the day... so I was called to come back the next day to see if I would be required to fill in for any of the original jurors.

The next day the lawyers began their process of weeding out the jurors that would be biased against their client. I had never seen lawyers in action other than on TV and it struck me that lawyers (at least during the jury selection process) are not much more than charming teachers that have to somehow explain laws as if the jury is full of preschoolers while the actual mix of jurors ranges from high school drop outs to PHDs. Despite all of the big words and legal jargon that they had learned to pass the bar, those lawyers had to break things down to a pretty elementary level if they wanted to have everyone in the jury understand and eventually side with them.

Mrs. True (Tru?) the defendant's lawyer, whose name I swear I am not making up, was the coolest chick I have ever seen. I so want to be BFFs with her... although I'm sure she's way out of my BFF league. She was just all chill with the prospective jurors asking them about how their family's restaurant that they mentioned was and apologizing for her mispronunciation of peoples names in such a cute sincere way and throwing in witty little observations about things the prospective jurors had said... I can't recall any exact examples of why, but she just left you with the impression that she was the easiest person in the world to get along with. She must have aced her schmoozing test in Law school 'cause that chick new how to work a court... I think if I had been pulled up as a prospective juror my excuse to get out of serving would have been that Ms. True's obvious super coolness had rendered me unable to side on any other side than hers... I'm sure the judge would have loved that... Lame Mr. prosecutor would have had to dismiss me... he was not nearly so cool as Ms. True... he didn't even have a memorable and fitting law name like she did... he had mastered the talking down to the jury without sounding like he was talking down to them thing. First he asked the jurors to imagine that they were at a dinner party and had had a few drinks... and then he asked how they would tell if someone had had too much and couldn't drive... I totally wanted to raise my hand. It was just like a brain storming session in 3rd grade or something. I didn't realize how much audience participation there was in jury duty... but his next "imagine that..." scenario which involved working on a broken car never got to come to fruition 'cause the judge cut him off for wasting everyone's time... the judge did not seem to care for the prosecuting attourney... I didn't really care for him either although I don't know why exactly I think it might have had something to do with the fact that he really was just not as cool as Ms. True...

The lawyers and the judge questioned all of the prospective jurors in the box for several hours dismissing jurors for various reasons... a couple of the jurors seemed to be throwing their answers so that they would be let off...One guy was clearly desperate to get out of the trial so he said he had been charged with a DUI while he was working on a military base. Nobody seemed to want to dismiss him for that so he added that he suffered from panic attacks when he was alone, and after the judge assured him that he would always be with at least 13 people through the duration of the trial the guy suddenly claimed not to speak English very well and with an annoyed look the judge dismissed him.

Some of the questions that they asked each of the prospective jurors seemed like a trap... there were things that you knew would get you out of jury duty, but would probably also get you beat up in the parking lot outside: "Is there anything about the fact that the defendant is a Latino that would make you inclined to vote one way or another on this trial" was one question that I was sure that no one would bite on... yet much to my surprise on the second day of jury selection... after about 20 minutes of questioning just befoer swearing in the 2 alternate jurors and dismissing us for the day alternate juror number 2 had a burning confession he had to make...

alternate juror number 2 was a hearty looking Chinese man who worked for his brother's construction company and who felt unique in that the "majority of his friends [were] Latinos because of the industry he worked in so [he] would probably side with the defendant"... WHAT? We live in California who doesn't have a dozen or so Latino friends ? Come on... really? You really can't see the distinction in your mind between our defendant "Mr. Perez" and your friends from work? To me that seems almost as racist as if he had said that he would have to convict Mr. Perez because he just didn't trust Mexicans... do they all look the same to you man ? Total crap! Oh well. The prosecutor obviously had to pull that guy off of his alternate jury seat, so another random name, which was not mine (SCORE! ) was called, and a very sweet soft spoken Asian girl who didn't drink because it was considered a sin at her church, but didn't judge people who did drink, took the final alternate juror position. The alternate jurors were signed in at about 3:00 pm on the 2nd day of selection and the 7 or 8 unselected prospective jurors (including myself) were set free minutes later (after the judge assured us that us unslectees were really missing out on an experience... I guess I can go ahead and look forward to my next jury duty session then).

I was so excited to be out in the sunshine and fresh air and on my way home at 3:00 in the afternoon. I was already dreaming of walking through my garden at home and admiring my little baby corn and pea plants when I approached my bike and noticed that my front tire was flat. It was the second flat I'd gotten in 3 days so I was a little annoyed, especially since 3 days ago I had ordered a new bike tube online, but had not yet received it, and when I went to the bike shop to get a new tube for my first flat I hadn't the fore site to buy an extra tube to take care of my next flat.

I remembered that there was a gas station about 3 blocks from the court house though so I figured that I could put some air in it and see if i could ride it at least most of the way home... I was still in pretty good spirits and was optimistic that I could find a way to ride my bike home, but as I walked my bike past a group of teenagers they decided I had somehow offended them and the two boys started to throw rocks at me... fortunately for me they seemed to be completely blind and managed to miss me (and my bike) with each of the 14 or 15 rocks they threw... I was glad to find that not all the youths of Hayward are ass holes though 'cause the 2 girls that were with those boys convinced them to stop throwing things at me cause they, like me, had noticed that the boys were "being stupid". Looking back on it, it doesn't seem like such a big deal, but at the time it made me want to cry. I guess it was just so unnecessarily mean and inconsiderate that it made me feel kind of helpless and definitely angry. Cruelty bothers me...

I got to the gas station a few minutes later and found that the valve stem of my bike's tire had actually been completely ripped off. I am not sure if it was something that I had inadvertently done when I was locking up my bike or if it was an intentional act of random vandalism, but feeling the way I did at that moment I was certain it was intentional and I once again felt like the victim of injustice. I decided I would turn it in to a positive thing though 'cause I knew there was a K-Mart not too far away and I needed practice changing bike tires, so I thought this would be a good opportunity. I could just buy a new tube and a cheap air pump and get my independent womanness on. I did make it to Kmart after about 45 minutes of walking my bike across town (turned out that Kmart was a little farther than I had originally imagined) and I did successfully changed my tire, but much to my shagrin when I went to pump up the new tube and couldnt seem to get air into it, I suddenly remembered that the wheels on this particular bike required a special type of valve that was longer than those on regular bike tubes... so I was stuck once more with a heavy useless bike to walk home and now I also had a 10 lb bike pump to carry with me. AWESOME HAD JUST GOTTEN AWESOMEER!

At that point there was no saving my mood. I was hot and tired and angry at the injustice of it all, but fortunately I called Tony and he came to rescue me and I still got home exactly at 5pm which is earlier than usual. I find it somewhat striking though that I went to jury duty which is supposed to teach you about justice and I seemed to learn a lot more about the prevalence of injustice in America. Not just because some punk kids threw rocks at me, or because I had to go to jury duty and Tony didn't, but the whole system, the way prospective jurors will say things to get let off the jury and the way lawyers will try to charm you to say something rather than leaving it to be truly decided by the evidence seems kind of whack although I definitely can't think of any solution to our legal system that would be better... but I hope that if I ever am on a jury I can put a little justice in the justice system... but I guess I can't totally hate on my 1st bay area Jury experience If nothing else I got some extra sleep, read part of an actual grown up book and I rediscovered PB and J so I guess that alone is enough to make it a positive experience.