Monday, June 16, 2008

Quickie - Journalism? Really?

Dear Ms Huffington,

While I may not understand how you get so many famous (and not-so-famous) people to post material on your blog, I do enjoy many of the postings that populate it. That said, was there so much nothing going on today that this somehow becomes material that is even remotely relevant to anyone outside of Katherine Heigel's bikini cleaner?

Apparently, a number of the internet's e-groundlings populating the comments on that article share my opinion. Ah, intellectual debate about Heigel's "dog-faced husband"...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Caught!

After 15 years of being on the move from address to address and state to state - the powers that be have finally caught up to me and slapped me with the wet haddock of civic responsibility. Yes, I've been summoned to Jury Duty.

For years now I've been of the impression that jury duty was something that happened to "other people" much in the same way that "other people" get hit by hurricanes, win the lottery, or watch American Idol. Sure, I can understand the logic of how people find themselves in that situation, and given how common those events are it stands to reason eventually everyone is that "other person". But dammit, Jury Duty? Why couldn't I be the "other person" who wins the lottery?

From talking to my friends, it seems that I'm one of the last people of my generation to get jury duty. Everyone seems so surprised that I've never had it before, despite my having been a registered voter since I was 18. I think it's because I moved around so often in my younger days* that I was never in one place long enough to be on their rolls long enough for hte list to finally get to me. But when I realized that my current condo is the second-longest home I've ever had in my entire life**. So I suppose it's only reasonable to expect that the man woudl hunt me down sooner or later...

Besides, Cook county is apparently so used to people deferring their service that they let you do it over the phone...to an automated call computer. Three months of freedom!

Of course, now I'll have to save at least one of the books from my latest trip to Barnes & Noble for the day of boredom to come in September. Oh well, I think Wuthering Heights will wait - it's already been waiting 160 years for me to get around to reading it, I think it can handle another couple months.

* Bouncing between Minnesota, Illinois, and Ohio at various points
** One more year, in fact and I'll have lived here longer than any other house in my entire life - 6 years

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Are you still reading?

I took a couple weeks off (obviously) to recharge and accommodate a bunch of work-related schedule business. I had a trade show last Sunday (more on that later), a bunch of prep work for a presentation I'm giving on Tuesday, a car-chase moment last-Friday, and on top of everything I've managed to catch a cold which I've spent most of the weekend trying to beat. I'll try to catch you up...

Last Sunday I had a trade show which, for the most part, was not terribly notable. Relative to the other trade shows I attend, this one is more networking and talking with contacts. I won't bore you with the details, except for one. As it turned out, I ended up meeting with representatives from a company I don't typically do business with. It was two guys, one old and one in his early- to mid-40's. As we're talking about what they do, I suspect nothing out of the ordinary. Then, right when the old guy is talking, the younger guy leans over to his left side and spits a wad of tobacco juice. Maybe there was a bucket there, maybe there wasn't (I couldn't see and I sure wasn't going to look). Either way, I pretty much forgot everything else about that meeting. Granted, the company was from the deep south, but still...sheesh.

Secondly, on my way into work on Friday morning, I had just pulled out onto the main road I take out to work. As I made my way a few blocks into the trip, I noticed a blue sedan accelerating towards the rear of a pickup truck heading in the other direction. For a second it looked like it was going to hit but then it shot over into the left lane (it was a two-lane road in both directions). It turns out it was trying to get past another car that was already in the left lane - effectively speeding up in order to cut it off. Obviously, at this point I'm pretty sure this guy is crazy, and I'm also pretty sure that he's gonna get what's coming to him.

That's because even at that point, it was clear that he had accelerated too much in order to cut off the other car, and as he veered back to straighten out , the inertia of the car cause the rear end to swing out to the right - exactly as he passed me. I could see smoke billowing from the rear wheels as he fishtailed to nearly perpendicular to his path of travel. Of course, that's about the time that his rear end smashed into a parked car and shattered into a thousand pieces. Thankfully, by that time I was well past everything and completely safe. I do have a really clear recollection though of seeing the expression on the driver's face as he skidded past me - it as almost as if he was thinking "Oh crap, *this* isn't going like I planned". In a way, it was almost funny. He didn't look scared at all, more just irritated that his girlfriend was probably going to have to post bail and she was *not* going to be happy about it.

Serves him right.