Monday, April 12, 2010

Jury Duty Ventura

Jury Duty in Ventura is really a relaxing day.

In the dozen years I've lived here, I've been called for Jury Duty four times.

The first time I was called in with the first group and ended up the foreman of the first jury of the day. The lawyer and prosecutor were both very young, and after the trial they asked if some of the jury could stick around to talk to them about things they were trying to do, which I did. It took two days, and it was fun.

The second time, my group was never called, so I never came in at all.

The third time, I realized that I could call in and choose which day of the week I'd like to come in. That was awesome! I picked a Friday, knowing that cases don't generally start on Friday. The whole time I was in, no jury was ever called, and we got to go home at about a quarter to four.

This time, I picked a Monday because it is a busy week for me, and it was the only day that I could easily miss work without having to get a bunch of stuff organized.

Many people complain about jury duty, but like they taught us in Government Class in high school, a democracy doesn't work without people willing to do their civic duty. I suppose I'd have a different view if I weren't able to collect my normal pay while here, but since I do, it is interesting to see our justice system at work. What we prospective jurors were told was that many people ask for a jury, hoping that there won't be one. By us sitting there, many of those on trial will just go for a settlement or plea bargain instead of going to a jury. You never can tell how a jury will see things, and if your guilty, you'll most likely get a better sentence if you go for the plea bargain.

Since I've been here, I think I've seen every kind of electronic gadget available to keep people entertained. Laptops, cel phones, Kindles, and even the just released iPad are all here, as well old fashioned things like newspapers and paperback novels. There seems to be a greater cross-section of the public here too, perhaps a reflection of the economy and rising unemployment.

In Ventura, you don't have to stay in the jury room, though it's a pretty spacious spot. There is a TV room and a small business center with space for your laptop. Better still, however, is the cafe. The food is pretty good, and there is also a gourmet coffee shop.

I had my own mug, so I was drinking pretty good coffee for a buck (as opposed to the $1.89 that was charged if you didn't have a cup). Wi-Fi is available, the chairs comfy, the tables clean and plenty of outlets were situated throughout.

The other spot that I've spent time at in the past is the fountain in the courtyard.

Again, Wi-fi works and there are outlets on the pillars. Today, it was a bit chilly, so though I did spend some time looking at a mural based on Bless me, Ultima, it was too cold to stay outside very long. On a good day, though, there are several benches in both the sun and shade, making a nice place to read and people watch.

With a 90 minute lunch break, I was able to walk to nearby Chipotle and relax for lunch. There are several other places nearby to eat as well, including Jersey Mike's, Presto Pasta, I Love Sushi, and a few more, all in reasonable walking distance.

I'm posting at about 2:15 pm, and they haven't called a jury yet.

8:30 PM

I did get called with a group of 50 of my cohorts at about 2:30, but I had to ask to be excused. The judge said it was going to be a three week trial, and I couldn't do that. I was bummed.

But by the time we walked back to the main jury room, our day was over. We were all dismissed at 3:40.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Music on the Web

Some of the more clever people out there discovered this long ago, but I'm new to the digital download party. There's tons of music out there! I do miss buying lp's, and later cd's, but now it's hard to get to the cd shop, and I have no storage space anymore. Plus, some of the stuff I really want never made the conversion to the digital age, or did so so briefly I missed it. I don't usually download music that I'm willing to buy, but I have no qualms downloading stuff that I can't get on eMusic, Amazon or iTunes. I figure if it isn't on one of those, it's not anywhere. Good luck on your internet music searches.

It all started about 2 years ago, when I decided that I wanted to find "Potatoes," a comp that was on the Ralph Records label. There w
ere a few songs that haunted me for years, and I couldn't find a digital copy.
But a google search led me to the WFMU blog. I highly recommend it. Lots of music, but lots of other stuff, too. That blog led me to Kogar's Jungle Juice.

Kogar the Swinging Ape is here in the blog world. His collections of Lux and Ivy's favorites are amazing compilations of obscure rock and roll sure to appeal to any Cramps fan.

So then I went about finding the Psychotic Pineapple's classic "I Wanna Wanna Wanna Wanna Wanna Wanna Wanna Get Rid of You," a single that I remember having back in high school. I'd play it whenever it was time to break up with someone. It was a simple song with a cheesy keyboard that I thought was great. I uncovered that when on the blog The Tuna Melt, which also had Gary Myrick's "She Talks in Stereo."

Other searches have led me to "Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg," Mick Jones's original mix of "Combat Rock," which is interesting, and "Chaos in New York," which seems to be a soundboard recording of one of their nights at Bonds in 1981 which is excellent. I found that on the blog, Iz Prve Ruke (Rick's note: April 29, 2013, Iz Prve Ruke is down).

One of the more interesting music blogs I came across is The Crime Lounge, which has most of the James Bond soundtracks, as well as many other soundtracks that fall into the secret agent/lounge music style.

The Crime Lounge
At the moment, I've got the 9 minute version of Buffalo Springfield's "Bluebird" playing that I just found by entering "Buffalo Springfield 9 minute Bluebird" on google. It led me to the blog Record Fiend. It sounds as awesome as I remember it
when I first heard it 30 years ago.