|Cousin's Party, Bike Ride, Jury Duty
||[Dec. 21st, 2004|10:20 pm]
I want to ride my bicycle! I want to ride my bike!
I want to ride my bicycle! i want to ride it where I like...
Had a nice weekend, and an interesting (albeit hectic) start of this week.
Saturday: Cousin's Christmas Party in Orange CountyGot a late start Saturday, especially considering I wanted to do a bit of last-minute shopping (the Saturday before Christmas, and I'm going to the mall? WTF was I thinking?) Amazingly enough, knowledge of the back roads came in very very handy, and was able to do a surgical strike on the store in question (Geppetto's in
Facist Fashion Valley Mall).
The drive up to Orange County was mostly uneventful; two sticky spots, but otherwise smooth sailing. Missed my exit off the 605, made it to the get-together with minimal rerouting. This was the annual "Cousins, Inlaws, and Outlaws" party; for whatever reasons, a fair number of my paternal grandmother's family ended up in Orange County (although some subsequently retired to Las Vegas). Every year, they have a big family get-together, and I made it to last year's and this year's. It's great to meet a bunch of relatives that I knew barely (if at all) until I moved out to Southern California.
There's a new generation of the cousins to meet, too: I spent a fair chunk of the afternoon trying to play "Apples to Apples Junior" with some 7-8yos. Went over OK, but since there is such a strong dependency on vocabulary in that game, I suspect it would work better with a larger group of same-age kids, as opposed to a broader distribution of ages. *shrug* (The adults loved the standard version of the game when I brought it up last year, so they've since bought at least one set of their own!)
Spending that much time with the little ones did earn me some comments about how I'm "good with kids". Which I hope I am (deliriumdreams's squigs haven't killed me yet) but it's also a defense mechanism -- it's easier to play with the kids than to listen to the same old stories from the adults again, or to talk about my complete and utter lack of plans for the future, or to try to keep up with the suburban drama that most of them are living. Which maybe sounds more negative that I intended -- but I'm weird, I know I'm weird, and I'm comfortable with that ... but a part of my weirdness is that I'm just simply not interested in many things that seem to occupy much of suburbanite's life. *shrug*
From there, I scooted down to my Aunt Vera and Uncle Stan's to stay the night. I chatted with them a bit, then they went to sleep ... and I stayed up until 3a, doing a few more xmas cards.
Sunday: Bike RideGot up a bit later than expected Sunday, and somewhat rushed a huge breakfast (especially for someone who doesn't normally eat breakfast at all!). Managed to make it up to Pasadena just about exactly on time (which shocked Dave, I'm sure). A few minutes of futzing with the bikes, and Dave's friend Rosie showed up. We biked to downtown Pasadena to pick up Brad, then we were on our way. (It amuses me that, with the acquisition of MusicMatch by Yahoo!, I'm now coworkers with Rosie and Brad -- the more so, because this was a trial run by Rosie to see about biking to where the new Yahoo/Overture building is going to be. :)
The route over was pretty easy, including one downhill that would have been a huge amount of fun ... except for the traffic light at the bottom. *sulk*. I kept up better than I'd expected, as I haven't been on the bike since the Rosarito-Ensenada ride this last September. It helps that it was a very easy ride (only about 16mi each way), and only one bad hill (that "good downhill" on the way back up was a very nasty climb.) The actual route is not the most bicycle-friendly one I've been on, but it's by no means the worst -- and one of the longest stretches just got repaved, so is very nice to ride on! Also amused when a car (small SUV) pulled up next to me on that long stretch, matched speeds, and then asked me for directions to the mall. :) I explained that I was just a visitor, but since we'd biked past the Glendale Galleria just a few minutes before, I could direct them back.
There wasn't much building at the new site -- some parking structure had been laid out, but mostly it was some raw rebar and big slabs and struts holding up walls. Looks like an area that is getting "business park gentrification" applied, from the Burbank airport east. I was disappointed, as I was looking forward to starting a "Yahoo Facilities Visited" photo set. (Yes, I'm a huge dork.)
A quick bite at a random taco place, and we headed back. Other than the evil uphill, the rest of the ride went really well. My only issue was that, being off the bike for four months, I was a bit "tender" by the time we were done. Ow.
Dave's girlfriend Kim joined us for dinner at Pataya, a nice little Thai place within walking distance. They had some yummy dishes, while I made the mistake of ordering "Spicy Fried Rice". Don't get me wrong: it was very tasty. They just weren't messing around when it comes to the "spicy" portion of the title. It's probably the hottest meal I've had in months if not years -- I can remember a handful of hotter meals in Las Cruces, and one in Boulder, but other than that ... wow. Was really good, and I finished it, but I was sweating, red-faced, and numb-tongued by the end of it.
A quick stop by the "99 cent store" on the way back, and more geeking and chatting with Kim, Dave, and his charming housemate Beth. I had brought a mixed sixpack of Christmas beers (Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale, and Anchor Brewing's 2004 Christmas Ale), so we talked beer and computers and taunted the house kitty with a laser pointer. When I realized how late it'd gotten, I took off for home. Without much sleep the previous two nights, the drive home was a bit of a nightmare -- I ended up stopping at the rest area for about half an hour, and that helped. When I got in, I saw my juror's summons, which reminded me to call ... so, at 2a, I found out that they wanted me at the courthouse at 7:45a that morning.
Monday: Jury DutyThe local federal (United States District) court has an interesting way of doing jury selection. They send out summons with questionnaires a few months in advance, but they tell you that you are basically "on call" for the entire month -- for me, that was from December 5th through the 30th... but you have to call each Sunday after 6p to see if you're supposed to report the next day. Uhg. So I'd barely remembered to call the first two times, and it was only seeing the summons itself on my table that reminded me to call this Sunday.
And they wanted me there. At 7:45a. Uhg. Those of you who know me in person are already laughing at the time -- the fact that I'd been running on energy drinks for most of the day, and 4-5 hours of sleep for a few days before that, and now I'm finding this out at 2a... *groan*
Did manage to make it there on time, amazingly enough. While waiting (and trying desperately to stay awake), I managed to do another dozen christmas cards. At about 10, they called for a jury panel, and I was on the list.
There was only one trial set for that day, but they still took some 50 people (which was most of the 60-ish potential juror pool that was there that day). I freaked out a bit, as when we got to the courtroom, I was read off as "Juror #1"... As it turned out, though, they did the voir dire on most of us. (And to their credit, nearly everyone involved in the system that read out my last name did it remarkably well!)
That took almost two hours; when they couldn't pick an actual jury quickly, they sent us off to lunch for an hour and change. I used up my time having a tasty and remarkably inexpensive sandwich at Simon's Gourmet Sandwiches, then walked to the Post Office to buy some holiday stamps for the second wave of cards. Nice long walk, and I ended up taking the stairs in the courthouse a fair bit -- the elevators were slow and crowded, and the extra excercise never hurts.
Back in the courtroom, I found out that I hadn't been selected onto the jury. I was mostly relieved, although I would like to serve at some point. It seems likely that I was rejected because I hesitated a bit while answering the question [effectively] about jury nullification. (And maybe because I complained about how I was treated when I tried to drive back from Mexico into the USA -- I'm a citizen, thank you; don't treat me like I'm lying, and if you're going to make your citizens wait for your stupid questions and searches, you should damn well put up some porta-potties or something.)
Took the bus back home (complete with transfer to another bus, as the first one had one of its mirrors decide it wanted to be elsewhere.) Went to my favorite local pub, finished off the holiday cards (42 of them this year! Yikes, that took a long time...), drank a lot of really great strong beer, came home and promptly stayed up late again. Sigh.
Today was just a short day at work; I dropped my bike off at REI for a warranty tuneup, talked with my coworkers about a going-away party for one of them.
Tomorrow evening will likely have to be laundry, then packing on Thursday night. Yay holidays and visits, but boo hiss for having to plan and stuff.
p.s. For those joining me due to link off my christmas newsletter -- hi!