April 2008

Sometimes you get crap in life, but you may also be surprised by the bright yellow dandelions that grow out of crap. Excuse me if this post doesn’t make as much sense, I had bourbon for lunch today (with cherries and sugar muddled together, plus vermouth) because I DESERVE it after the day I had yesterday, goshdarn.

Yesterday we were “dark,” meaning my judge took the day off (to take care of some family issues), so his staff was available to float. At 8:30 a.m. yesterday in my regular courthouse, my supervisor said, “Sorry. They need you in Torrance. General Civil department.” That’s 3 freeways and over 30 miles away.

Crap Chunk: I walked into a criminal courtroom in the middle of morning calendar call, and NOT a civil courtroom. I didn’t bring any of my criminal law materials with me. Calendar was also hard because criminal attorneys have a tendency to assume you know who they are so they don’t check in with you. You have to guess or flag them down after the hearing to know who they are.
Dandelion: The court reporter was wonderful. Things that I had missed, she read back the proceedings. (The clerk who was temporarily subbing in there when I walked in didn’t take notes on the morning calendar hearings.) Also, a supervisor walked in with two giant manuals so that I at least had some of the codes necessary to work the program.

Crap Chunk: Since the courtroom handled a lot of cases in the morning and is in trial, I knew I would have to work through lunch. I didn’t have breakfast, and would now not have lunch. I can’t leave during lunch anyway because I didn’t have keys to return into the building.
Dandelion: The bailiff walked in during lunch carrying a large Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust pizza, saying “Anyone want pizza?” He told me to help myself, and then left to do some work. I had two slices, they were my saving graces.

Crap Chunk: The regular clerk screwed up her verdict forms for the jury so bad that it caused major confusion when the jurors THOUGHT they had reached verdicts and turned out they didn’t. The judge wanted the verdict forms corrected. I don’t have access to her computer profile/login so I can’t touch her old verdict forms, so I had to retype 3 verdict forms (a full page long each, single-spaced on MS Word) from scratch. After 4pm. Regular courtrooms would’ve already adjourned for the day at 4pm. But this judge wanted me to retype the verdicts and give them to the jurors pronto. I got them done around 4:20pm cuz I’m a fast typist. The judge sent the jurors back into the jury room with the new forms, and everyone including 5-6 backup deputies (since this is a gang-related murder trial with defendant’s peeps in the audience) waited until 5:05p, when the jurors finally reached their verdict correctly. I read the many looong verdicts (all guilty), and the jurors were finally discharged at 5:30p. The judge did some last minute things and got off the bench at 5:45p. (A normal courtroom would’ve recessed 1 hour 45 minutes prior.)
Dandelion: The judge came back in after 6p and said, “I like your work ethic. Let me know if you ever need a job.” Another clerk working late in the building said that for THIS judge to say that, he really really really means it and she’s never known him to have ever said anything like that to any relief clerk, it’s an extreme compliment. Yay.

*Guys (males), avert your eyes and skip this one*
Crap Chunk: I went to the bathroom for the first time since I’d left the house that day at 6pm, and found that surprise! My period had come early.
Dandelion: There just happened to be a tampon sitting outside the dispenser in the restroom, so I “stole” it. Plus, getting my period early means that hopefully, it’ll come early the month of the wedding, too, so I won’t be PMSing and bloated during. Otherwise I’m estimated to get it right around the wedding day.

Crap Chunk: I’d been dying of thirst but the jury room drinking fountain had an “out of order” sign on it, and the drinking fountain in the back hallway squirted water back against its spigot so that I can’t get to it.
Dandelion: I thought I’d try my luck and open the little fridge in the jury room. Sealed bottles of water!!! I “stole” one. First bit of liquid I’ve had all day, after 6pm.

Crap Chunk: The looooong trial minutes took forever to type (over an hour to be exact) and the overtimer bailiff could only stay until 6:30p to let me out of the building. But I still had to close up the trial file, inventory 100 trial exhibits, photocopy the verdicts and question while blotting out the jury signatures (to protect their anonymity) and seal any original documents with juror signatures in a confidential envelope, paginate and file the jury instructions, blah blah blah. I wasn’t gonna be done for a long time.
Dandelion: The overtimer bailiff (not the same one who bought the pizza) inventoried ALL 100 exhibits for me, put them in order, locked them in the judge’s chambers for me which is where the judge said I could keep them for his clerk. And another clerk who was working late in the building had a “bate stamp” which paginated all the jury instruction pages for me. And she stuck around for AN HOUR until 8:30p to direct me on where to turn in the various things I had to turn in after work, and to let me out of the locked building. And she drove me to my car cuz it was dark and I didn’t park in the nearby employee lot.

Crap Chunk: There was a 6pm Homeowner’s Association meeting that I told everyone I would be available for, that I had to miss cuz I was stuck in Torrance Court. It was a presentation put on by a termite company we’re considering hiring to treat our homes. The president had called me 3 times while I was in the courtroom, but I didn’t know cuz my phone was on “meeting” mode.
Dandelion: There was a 6pm Homeowner’s Association termite treatment presentation that I missed.

Crap Chunk: It was now almost 9pm, I hadn’t had dinner, and I was over 40 miles from home.
Dandelion: Christi (Flip Flop Girl) had flown in on business just 5pm that evening, and had called to tell me her whereabouts, asking if I was free for dinner. She was about 4.5 miles away. We met up and she treated me to an authentic Japanese dinner, saying I deserved a treat after the hellish day I had. We had a nice dinner, nice chat, and planned to meet up again tonite after bartending class for frozen yogurt.

Crap Chunk: I spent 11.5 hours in Torrance Court.
Dandelion: My supervisor approved 5 hours of overtime pay (giving me my lunch back in money) plus mileage. Cha-ching!

But just barely. (Figuratively speaking, of course.) I’m not ready or able yet to write about the crapola that happened to me yesterday, so I just thought I’d drop a hello to my readers and say that yes, I’m still here, and yes, I’ll be blogging at some point in the future.

The air’s been either super-dry or over-irritant-enriched lately, cuz my eyes have been irritated. I didn’t even put in contacts this morning, and my eyes are STILL dry. I keep yawning to stimulate the ol’ tear ducts, but they’re apparently all dried up. AND, I look rude and bored to the jury.

Tonight Mr. W and I are going with his ex bro-in-law best bud and best bud’s wife (same couple we went to see Formula D with last weekend) to see a play called “I Do I Do” or something like that. His best bud got us tickets. It’s a 2-person play that follows a couple from the point of engagement or marriage through 60 years of marriage, through their joys and tribulations, trial separations and reunions. I hope the friends don’t think I’m rude and bored when I yawn through the whole evening. Maybe I should bring eye drops.

I hope that when I’m married and even after we’re married for a loooong time, we’d still be happy to see each other, happy to cook together, happy to sit and watch TV alone, happy to hold hands, and not end up like this:

A man with a gun went into a bank and demanded their money. Once he was given the money, he turned to a customer and asked, “Did you see me rob this bank?”
The man replied, “Yes sir, I did.”
The robber then shot him in the temple, killing him instantly.
He then turned to a couple standing next to him and asked the man, “Did you see me rob this bank?”
The man replied, “No sir, I didn’t, but my wife did.”

~ joke forwarded to me via email by a friend

There are still gnats flying around the courtroom, so the Venus Flytraps I brought in the other day weren’t doing much on my desk. My courtroom assistant complained yesterday that the bugs were at her desk a lot, so I loaned her the container of flytraps. She jammed the entire plastic cylinder into the wide bowl planter of dirt that her large ficus tree is in, next to her desk.

After everyone left for the day, I walked over to her planter and looked. There are visible gnats walking around the dirt of her planter, so now I know the source. (Gym Trainee said if the courtroom assistant would quit dumping tea, coffee, anything she could think of into the planter, maybe there wouldn’t be a living compost pile in the courtroom.) Peering into the clear cylinder surrounding the flytraps, I saw that a gnat was already in there. Excited, I looked around for something to cover the top with so the gnat couldn’t escape. I ran to my desk, grabbed a few half-page sized Request for Time Off forms, and clapped them over the top of the clear plastic cylinder, and I watched from the side.

I watched the gnat flit around, and land inside the open pink mouth of one of the flytraps. I watched the gnat walk around in there for awhile. I watched the gnat get bored and fly off again. The flytrap didn’t even move! Perhaps the gnats are too small to trigger the traps. My plant was gonna starve to death.

Today at lunchtime, I took a brisk walk with Gym Trainee so we can enjoy the sunny 80-degree weather. I spotted a dead bee on the sidewalk, took 5-6 steps past it, and then decided to go back and pick it up. Gym Trainee gave me a receipt and I folded it into a makeshift compact-dead-bee-transportation-device. Back in the courtroom, I used two pencils like chopsticks, picked up the bee, and dropped it onto the open mouth of a flytrap. The weight made the trap vibrate a little. I stared at the open trap. Good gawd, did this plant have a suicide anorexic death wish? I poked around the trap with the tip of the pencil, and finally it sprung closed.

I can’t believe I bought a dependent PET instead of a clever and helpful resolution to our insect problem.

Looking back at the entire day yesterday when we picked a jury for our auto accident trial, had to virtually immediately excuse one juror because he disclosed privately that he saw the plaintiff running out of the elevator but upon seeing the jurors, slow to a walk and start a limp, and heard the first expert witness on spinal disk hernia and surgery, the MOST interesting thing that happened all day was this:

[My judge and I in the back hallway waiting for the employee elevator at lunch recess. Elevator dings and doors open. The elevator is packed with judges already.]
My judge: [stepping in around the other judges]Holy cow!
Another judge: Who’re you calling a cow?!
Me: But he said “holy”, your honor.
Other judges: Haha!

What a sad day for entertainment.

I got some life updates about several people recently. They’re not where you’d expect them to be, not even where they themselves expected to be, and yet everyone’s working out and happy. But maybe we all fought it at one point just cuz it’s not what we’d imagined our futures to be like, or to be with.

I think sometimes when you try to force round pegs into square holes, you waste precious time overly focused/obsessed with this impossible task when really, the square pegs are RIGHT THERE if you’d just drop the round peg-leg gimp and look around.

Last nite’s class was fun. We did a lot of pouring at the bar, making tons of drinks on demand. My first drink set, the instructor told me to ice up 4 chimney glasses, and then he rattled off drinks which I made quickly with no problem. After I was done, however, I wondered aloud what garnishes to put in the drinks. I was gonna leave garnishes out until intructed otherwise, but Cop Groupie chick (standing across from me at the other side of the bar) said to put a lime in the first and a cherry in the middle 2 and a lemon twist in the last one. I don’t know WHAT I was thinking but I did as she said. The instructor came by and asked, “What are these garnishes? Did you just decide to put these cherries in?” I said, not wanting to be a rat, “Sort of.” He said, “No, you don’t do this unless the customer orders it that way. The middle two get limes.” And then he took out the cherries and twist and moved my lime over, added a 2nd lime. The lesson learned: NEVER listen to idiots over my own instincts. My bad. The rest of the drinks went extremely smoothly. I daresay I’m the fastest and most accurate drink maker in the class; the giggly guy (boyfriend of the girl who turned 21 the day before class started) rushes through everything trying to go for speed, but makes tons of mistakes. He puts the wrong liquors in, the wrong juices (like how did his Screwdriver end up red?), shorts the shots even with use of a jigger, knocks things over. A lot. But he’s a nice fun guy and knows a lot of drinks cuz he apparently frequents bars with his girlfriend, he just has to put some finesse into his work. I’m so glad I got the extra practice in over the weekend, that helped A LOT. I was the only one who knew offhand what went into Long Island and Long Beach Iced Teas.

Toward the end of class, the instructor gave me a Boston shaker (tin tumbler + tall glass), strainer, wooden muddler, upright supply tray for straws, swords, etc., and a full-sized compartmented garnishment tray. And the Flair Techniques DVD. All for editing what turned out to be just 21 pages of his Course Manual (the last 3/4 of the manual turned out to be copyrighted ServSafe material for classroom instruction on laws regarding beverage service, so that was already fine). Everyone was very jealous. He also did a big giveaway, and tossed out glass shotglasses (got one), plastic shotglasses on necklace strings (went to the giggle couple), little felt pouches for jiggers and shotglasses (got 2), and gave out his trusty Swiss army-style barknife/corkscrew/bottle opener, which he handed directly to me and said, “Why don’t you hang on to that for me?” I almost bought one over the weekend, too. I’m glad I didn’t. Cop Groupie chick nicely offered to help me carry my stuff to my car after class, but I took a paper grocery bag instead and it was fine.

There was a visitor in class — a long-haired lady who graduated from his course a few years ago. She’s apparently having trouble getting hired. She said she went to places she wanted to work at, nothing happened, then she applied at places she didn’t want to work at just to get SOMETHING, that was also fruitless, and now she doesn’t know what to do. The instructor talked to us about the economy these days saying new employment may be a tad slow, and then he reviewed her resume and said it looked fine. Then he thought maybe she wasn’t interviewing right, but she said she only got 1 interview out of all her efforts. Okay, now that’s scary; I’d always assumed I’d just zip right in and get the job I wanted. =P

One of the female radio personalities on the talk radio station I listen to every morning is getting married, so the topic was on bachelorette/bachelor parties. “When I see a group of women together and one of them is wearing a white veil and all of them are sucking on straws shaped like penises, I think that’s DISGUSTING.” Haha. Agreed. Her male cohost and special guest Tom Arnold thought it’d be brilliant to scare her and tell her what REALLY goes on in the bachelor’s parties.

1) Bachelor’s parties out, like in a club, strip club, or Vegas, include strippers and hence multiple lap dances. Since it’s the bachelor’s friends who *really* want the party cuz they want to break free from their mundane married lives for a night, they’re going to INSIST on strippers, pay for lap dances, and heckle the bachelor and shun him forever if he is not amenable to the debauchery. (To this I roll my eyes and think, “Great friends. Who’s the night really about, anyway?” Good thing Mr. W’s best man is his 18 yr old son who’s not old enough to get into a strip joint even if the boy WERE crazy enough to want to see nekkid women gyrating on his DAD. Ew.) Occasionally the guys find a place seedy enough for a higher level of cheating to occur in the back room given enough money exchanging hands, but this is less common than…

2) Bachelor parties in. Strippers hired to come to the house and do their thing in a private residence are WAY worse than in a club where there are laws and regulations that most strip clubs follow. It is apparently not uncommon for strippers to start off in the living room and end up in the bedroom. Tom Arnold said the bachelor usually ends up naked duct-taped to a chair with whipped cream all over him. Sexy…not.

3) The level of stripper. Apparently there are different “rankings” or levels of strippers. Like prostitutes, you have the upscale $10K “escort” managed by a madame who’ll travel with you and cost you your government office *nudge*, and you have the call-girls for $200 that you phone an agency to arrange to arrive at your house for an hour, and you have the street walker who stands at a corner and will give you a quickie in your car for $15. In strippers, the pretty ones are the ones with standards about what they’re willing to do and typically don’t do anything overly risque, and the ugly ones you see at the strip club — the ones you look at and think, “WTF is SHE doing here?!” — are the ones who secretly make bank for their complete and total availability and willingness to do whatever you want. Cuz they have to compete with the pretty high-demand ones somehow. Tom Arnold goes on to say, “The stripper’s got head issues anyway, and you take an unattractive one who all she has is this job, and you’re about to embark on a beautiful lifelong journey with someone…if the groom’s remotely good-looking, she’s gonna be all over him doing whatever it takes.” Women and their competitive catty naked egos. *sigh*

I’m glad I’m marrying Mr. W. None of this garbage is going to be an issue. At least, that was something he’d used to woo me, saying I need to be with a man like him who’s not interested in doing all that immature guy stuff like bachelor parties and strippers and club/bar-hopping. *crossing fingers*

I received a book recommendation via email this morning. Law Clerk buddy Adam thought that I ought to read mystery novel “Mandarin Plaid” by S.J. Rozan, saying that the heroine detective is “a short cute modern ethnically burdened tae kwan do throwing brilliant clueless hot tempered Cantonese chick who thinks she looks like a peasant. It didn’t make me think of you, I swear.” I wrote back asking for his literary opinion on the book and author, and in his response he wrote “It’s entertaining sometimes to watch a cute young hot-tempered fast-talking overanalyzing Asian female fly off the handle.”

Talk about mastering back-handed compliments. But I’m sure he was just referring to the heroine character of the book. =P

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