October 26, 2006

Fall shack

Fall, what better time to go to a cemetery.  We had a house guest in town this weekend.  In addition to eating and eating and eating, with a little napping thrown in, we wandered through our local Oakland Cemetery, the final resting place for confederate soldiers and famous Atlantians of yore.  I’ve put together an Oakland Cemetary album.  Happy fall.


It felt like I had spent the day in a poorly conceived self-help group, somewhere between punishment and a quest for deeper understanding. At the end of the day I was deemed both unworthy and rewarded with no further sentencing. That was jury duty.

The night before my summons, I packed my bag like I was about to leave on an airplane trip, making sure there were no “weapons” tucked inside and plenty of snacks. I could barely sleep that night because of excitement about this unknown adventure to a real Georgia court house.

In the crowded jury room, I was selected as one of 50 people to be part of a case involving the suicide of a heart surgeon who was in a mental institute at the time of his death. The widow was suing the hospital and specific doctors for negligence. We were given a paper survey to complete about our experiences with mental illness, suicide and divorce.

The morning passed in a small courtroom being asked group questions, “How many people here have…” and “Do any of you feel that…”. There were at least ten lawyers in the room, taking furious notes. Big money was at stake.

After lunch, one hour on our own, I had sushi at a nearby place, the individual questions began. We were all forced to sit and listen as one at a time each of the fifty people stood up and were questioned by three lawyers. They wanted to know about families, children and of course the personal questions on the written survey.

We heard all about aunts, uncles, sisters and mothers, committing suicide, having bad medical experiences or being treated for a mental illness. They would give us breaks, so the lawyers could question certain people in private or they could discuss which people they were going to pick.

Every break we all milled in the hallway outside the room. As the hours went by I learned more and more about the other people. It was odd, but surprisingly not embarrassing to know such personal details about these strangers. The judge had told us to expect a two week minimum trial, which worried some and made others happy about the break from work.

I was somewhere in the middle, knowing that missing two weeks of work right now would be very bad, since I’m on my first big project at a relatively new job, but also that the case sounded interesting and it really had the feel of an adventure.

At 5:30 with ten jurors still to be questioned, we started to wonder if we would all be back the next day. They questioned five more, sent the other five home and then made their selections. In the end I was happy not to be picked. I’d had enough of lawyers and doctors and sitting and waiting. I do wonder what the outcome of the case was, what the real story was and how it all played out. Maybe next time I’ll be picked.


Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, please choose an excuse from the list.

In an effort to get back to blogging I signed-up for the National Blog Posting Month. This means I plan to post everyday in November. I also plan to get the book review system working on this site. I’ve been busy reading good stuff and not writing about much of anything.

October 11, 2006

History in photos

I’ve been busy posting photos over at my flickr account but not commenting on them over here. Not only do they show what I’ve been seeing but they provide a nice run down of the last couple months, “Life after Alaska”.

EAV Strut

Summer 2006 – It hardly felt like summer this year between the heat and the lack of sailing. The photo above is from our neighborhood party, the “Strut”. They had a parade, much like Willie St. in Madison. It was another step towards feeling like home.


Wisconsin Sept. 06 – Yes, the above photo is in Chicago, on the fateful day of our engagement. However, most of this trip was spent in Wisconsin, thus the title of the album. We traveled north for SB’s older brother’s wedding. It was fall perfection in Wisconsin and a great trip home.


Humanities & Vilas – UW Madison campus is changing quickly. Boom, boom, boom the buildings are coming down. Before the bastions to brutalism fell, I wanted to capture the beauty and delapidation of these monstrosities.


Fall 2006 – An album in progress, it currently contains only photos of my gardens. Above is the view out my front door. I just bought and planted these lovely baskets. I’m calling this fall “Pansy Explosion” because I way over purchased on the pansies and ended up filling every planter and pot I could find. I love having pansies all winter, how extravagant.

Directly to jail

I’m afraid of southern jail. Obviously I don’t want to go to jail at all, but there’s something particularly ominous about jail down here. I feel like I could accidentally be imprisoned and then completely forgotten in the system. Not that I’m doing anything jail worthy, but still.

Last night the thought of a Georgia prison cell kept me from trespassing when the temptation was huge. We had taken a long walk after work to a new housing development in the next neighborhood to the west.

These are fancy homes and townhouses. Many are only partly done, with doors wide open and inviting. How we wanted to go in and check out the floor plans in person, to wander through these homes that we will never be able to afford. But we resisted. No southern jail time for us.

Instead, next week I will be going to the courthouse to pass judgement on those much closer to jail life. I’ve been summoned for jury duty on Tuesday.

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