As I sat at a red light this morning on my way to work, I glanced down at my odometer and saw that it read 99,999. Before the light turned green I quickly pulled my phone out of my pocket to snap a picture. And so during my drive to work my car passed 100k miles.
One hundred thousand miles. Has it been that many already?
I’ve already done a post about how much I love my car, complete with a bunch of gratuitous pictures, so I won’t bore you with another one. So all I have left to say is that I’m thankful for all the fun times that this car has made possible.
Here’s to (hopefully) another hundred thousand miles of adventures and good times.
The last week and a half has been a bit of a change of pace for me. Instead of spending my weekdays sitting in front of a computer I’ve been spending my weekdays sitting in a courtroom.
In a lot of Asian cultures the number 8 is a number associated with good luck. In my case it wasn’t all that lucky. I was seated in seat number 8. Towards the end of the first day of jury duty, there’s a peremptory challenge stage, where the lawyers can choose to reject jurors based on their answers to questions that the judge asked earlier. I thought I would be rejected by the defense lawyer, since I had replied earlier that my uncle had owned a liquor store that had been robbed a number of times, and the case was an armed robbery of a liquor store. But nope, I didn’t get rejected. Apparently seats 7 and 9 were the lucky seats, for some reason the jurors in those seats were rejected multiple times.
In truth, I guess I couldn’t really consider it unlucky though. It actually was kind of interesting, and it was kind of nice to have a change of pace from work. I learned a lot about our judicial system and about police investigations. Here’s some random stuff I learned:
- Our judicial system is slow. The robberies had occurred more than five years ago, and apparently a lot has changed since then. Two of the witnesses who were employees of the liquor stores at the time of the robberies no longer worked at those liquor stores. It seemed they were shaken up enough that they moved out of state. Another main witness, the one who had been shot during one of the robbery attempts, had passed away several years earlier.
- Racial stereotypes tend to be true. (Well at least for this case.) The defendant in this case was a young African american male. Many of the liquor store owners and employees were Middle Eastern or Indian, several of them actually used a Punjabi translator.
- Cops really do like doughnuts. According to the police testimony, after they had caught the suspect, all the cops that were involved in the case convened at a doughnut shop. (The jury all laughed when they heard this, me included.)
- Law enforcement has access to some cool technology. Apparently there’s this thing called an ETS tracker, which can be hidden in a wad of dollar bills. When the tracker is removed from the cash register, it activates a sort of homing signal that the police can use to track a suspect.
- Video surveillance is pretty low tech, but is still somewhat useful. It’s not at all like you see on t.v. There’s no crazy image enhancement or facial recognition software. That being said, ultimately it was the surveillance footage that led to the conviction. Most of our time in the jury deliberation room was spent watching the surveillance videos over and over to determine that the same suspect committed four different robberies.
- The law is incredibly vague, to the detriment of jury deliberation. Most of the robberies occurred in Sacramento county and only one happened in Yolo county (in West Sacramento), so at first it didn’t make sense to me that we were hearing this case in Yolo county. I didn’t realize until later that the robbery in Yolo county was more severe because a gun was discharged and the store owner was shot. So the district attorney was seeking more severe charges (she called it an enhancement) for causing “great bodily injury.” The problem for us jurors was that “great bodily injury” is not very well defined. The definition of it that was provided to us was: “a significant or substantial injury, greater than a moderate injury.” Not a very helpful definition. During the robbery the store owner was shot in the arm. From the surveillance footage you can see him clutching his bloody arm. Yet some of the jurors wouldn’t call it “great bodily injury” because it didn’t appear that his life was in danger. So in the end our deliberation ended without being able to deliver a verdict on the “great bodily injury” enhancement.
So anyways, I learned a lot during my week and a half of jury duty. It was actually interesting. And it was nice that there was free coffee, which made it easier to stay awake during all the testimony. And I learned a lot. And I guess what I learned most of all is that jury duty is not all that bad.
There’s a first time for everything.
Today I wrote a poem for the first time ever. In my defense, though, it was to try and win a cool piece of outdoor gear.
It’s a Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus ultralight backpack, worth over $200. It doesn’t look all that cool, but it’s a case of function over form. This backpack has much larger capacity than any of my backpacks, but it’s much lighter at the same time.
So anyways, I figured it’s worth a couple of minutes of my time to write a haiku. The contest required a haiku with the word butterfly or butterflies in it. I learned today that a haiku is a poem with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the syllables in the second line, and 5 syllables in the third line.
So without further ado, here’s my haiku:
Butterflies fly ’round
As I wait for the sunset
Such wonderful times
You can see my entry, along with all the others here.
According to my WordPress (the blog platform I use) dashboard, this is my 200th post. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been that many already. I never really expected this blog to last this long, and I didn’t actually expect anyone would actually read this crappy blog of mine– To be honest, I’m actually surprised how many people actually read this blog on a regular basis, and I still get a kick out of getting random emails or gchats about something I’ve written.
I originally started this blog for myself, so that I could go back and reminisce about the past. That way when I’m an old man (hopefully this blog will still exist) I could look back and think, “Man I used to be a cool guy…” and if I have grandkids I can tell them about the crazy adventures I had when I was younger.
Everyone has bad times and sad times along with the glad times– but I think it’s best when thinking about the past to try and focus on the glad times. So to that end I make a concerted effort to try and write things in a positive light, and tend to not write about downer topics. And for most posts nowadays I try to write a few things that I’m thankful for, which I guess is another concerted effort to try and think about how blessed I am. It’s very easy to forget how blessed we really are, so I like to remind myself of that fact whenever possible.
So anyways, since this is my 200th post, I took some time today to look back and read over some old posts. Here are some of my favorites in no particular order.
- This isn’t my first blog. I used to have a blog on Xanga. (Xanga used to be cool– everyone in college had one… I don’t think anyone uses it nowadays???) One day I was looking over old Xanga posts and found one I wrote that made me laugh, so I brought it over to this blog. It’s actually kind of more relevant now, since my parents are really getting on my case about getting married…
- It’s no secret that I like to bike. A little over a year ago I embarked on my craziest bike adventure so far– I biked the 2011 Seattle to Portland Classic (200 miles), then decided to bike the rest of the 800 miles back home to Davis. Here’s my recollection of the first day of that ride home. It was a crazy introduction to the world of unsupported long distance bike touring.
- When I was growing up my family used to go on a lot of road trips. I still enjoy them as an adult. When you’re an adult you can do cool things like rent an RV for a road trip… I’ve been on a good number of epic road trips, but this one is still my favorite, not just because it was an in RV.
- Speaking of road trips, I got to drive across the United States twice with my friend Sam. On our first cross country trip Sam thought it would be cool to do a time lapse video of the journey. So we hooked up a camera between the seats and rigged it to fire off every ten seconds. It wasn’t until a year later that I finally processed the videos and uploaded them to Youtube.
- I try to ride a few century rides per year, and in general I’ll at least write something about them. Honestly though, I think this post about the 2010 Tour of Napa is the only really good writing I’ve done about a century ride.
- A few days ago I was in a somewhat heated discussion about community and ministry. It reminded me that I used to be more idealistic about church community, but nowadays I’m kind of a cynical realist. The discussion reminded me about this old post– which despite being a stupidly long semi-rant is one of the most commented posts on here…
- Sometimes you see something that makes you think. And then you quickly forget. So it’s good to get it down on paper (or in WordPress in this case) so that if you randomly look back on old posts you can remember the lesson you learned. I totally forgot about this post until today– it’s a good reminder of how blessed I am with the job I have…