Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Full Day Back:

(it went a little something like this:)

830am: I am leaving my driveway...university-bound. Hello morning traffic, how are you?

910am: I have successfully parked at the university. Now it took some time because my "hangtag strip" is still not "activated"....this means I am unable to enter the "priority parking lot" in which I have purchased a space until someone manually releases the "arm" blocking my way.

930am: I have marched all to my first building and found my classroom. Brit Lit to 1750. Woo! Problem? There are NO left-handed desks in sight. This is a required English class, aren't most "English" majors in their "right" brains aka left-handed? I make due by sitting on the far left of the classroom and turning to my right.

940am: Holy crap, this class is FULL! I wonder how many will show up on a regular basis. We read a poem in class and commented collectively. I have to read the first 835 lines of Beowulf by Thursday!

1105am: I shoot out of building #1 like a speeding bullet. I have to find the quickest way to my next building halfway across campus!

1116am: I've made it! I've found my classroom, but it's locked. I look the other students over and realize I might be the oldest one in the class...time for FEATURE WRITING!

1120am: The professor has arrived and we've found our desks/computers--we start going around the room and introducing ourselves. I'm in love with him already ("real, live" Washington Post editor(s)/writer(s)/reporter(s) have this effect on me)!

1220pm: Class is coming to a close (save for a required autobiographical writing assignment)...and I've already made an impression on my professor! I slowly raise my hand when he asked if any of "us" considered ourselves to be "Noticers" (able to notice little details, because that's what makes a good feature writer)...

He calls me "his first victim" and asks if I watched Michelle Obama's speech on Monday night. "YES"...and then he asks me about...what she was wearing! I think I saw his socks literally fly right off his feet as I went into details...

1248pm: Feeling like a champion, I rushed out of the building and took a chance on a "short cut" on the way back to where I started...for my next class...which had been changed to another classroom! FICTION WRITING!

100pm: We're sitting with our desks in a circle, starring at one another when our instructor walks in. We give mini-introductions (name/major/standing). Then we start going over the requirements for the class. At least 10 of us have NEVER been in a workshop class before.

We squirm at the idea of writing & presenting THREE fictional short stories to the class...required length? UP TO 11 PAGES! WHAT? Seriously? I try not to cry. I try to remember my previous "rockstar" moments earlier in the day.

Oh yeah! We have to be "workshopped" as well. This is when you present a copy of your story to everyone in the class. They get to take it home over the course of a week: read, edit, comment, and write about YOUR story! Then we spent about 30 minutes of class time DISCUSSING the story. The author gets to listen...that's about it.

225pm: I am on my way back to my car. I'm trying NOT to hyperventilate from fear of the "short" stories...

315pm: I finally make it home. Way to go TRAFFIC! I guess it wasn't a bad commute.
400pm: Guess who has eaten, changed, and made it to work?

905pm: I'm clocking out. I've survived a very emotional day...and realize I have to do it all over again on Thursday!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Things I Learned Serving as a Juror:

1) someone is always watching you; especially when you don't want them to be (ack!)

2) it's really hard to "just" sit there and LISTEN (but I take decent notes)


4) you become suspicious of every one when you're either guarded by armed deputies or locked in a room 24 hours a day (really)

5) I have the ability to listen to the facts and evidence in a case without judgement (innocent until proven guilty)

6) I can work, talk, and listen to/with 11 OTHER people (aka strangers) while being LOCKED IN A ROOM to come to an important decision

7) I essentially cry about everything, whether I am sad or mad--I cry--that is my emotional release


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Trial Results:

(in case you were wondering)

We found out from the Judge (after we read our verdict and were released from the actual court room) that the Defendant wanted to plead guilty to 2nd Degree Murder, but the State wouldn't accept his plea.

The State believed they had a "slam dunk case" of 1st Degree Murder and would not back down from the indictment. So the defendant pleaded NOT GUILTY to 1st degree murder (by reason of self-defense).

Oddly enough, we came back with the verdict of 2nd Degree Murder.

T.P.I. -- CRIM. 7.05(a)
SECOND DEGREE MURDER (Knowing Killing of Another)
Any person who commits second degree murder is guilty of a crime.For you to find the defendant guilty of this offense, the state must have proven beyond a reasonable doubt the existence of the following essential elements:

(1) that the defendant unlawfully killed the alleged victim; and
(2) that the defendant acted knowingly."Knowingly" means that a person acts with an awareness that [his] conduct is reasonably certain to cause the death of the alleged victim.

[The requirement of "knowingly" is also established if it is shown that the defendant acted intentionally.]
We also asked the Judge what she personally thought about our Verdict. She said we made a good decision and she assumed it could go either way (1st or 2nd degree).

She said that the defendant did not have an extensive criminal background and only had a previous misdemeanor charge (we don't know what that was).

Through her experience, she thought the Defendant was a seemingly nice young man who accepted responsibility for his crime (which are my thoughts as well, since I essentially had eye contact with him most of the trial).

She thought the incident was senseless and sad. We asked the Judge about typical sentences for 2nd Degree Murder. She said that it can range anywhere from 13.5 years to 25 years without parole and service time has to be at least 85%.

The Defendant has already served 2.5 years. He is now 25 years old. The Judge assumes he will probably service an addition 15 years.

Sentencing occurs next month, it is completely separate from us.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

When packing...

for an extended (unknown) stay in which I'll be completely shut off from the outside world and have no access to newspapers, television, friends & family, a cell phone or the Internet, I BRING:

1) my best friend's iPod (but once it runs out of juice, I'll probably cry)

2) Travel Scrabble (may there be another Scrabbler amongst the Jury)

3) Sharpie Pens (but OF COURSE!)

4) Steno Pad (personal writing and note taking because a "writer" is always taking notes)

5) comfortable clothes (can't be capris, only "long" pants)

6) I'm going to run out for some "mini" shampoos (etc.)

7) Bare Escentuals (ha ha ha!)

8) Rolling Stone & Cooking Light (I heard books were hard to focus on)

9) Chocolate & Advil (for deliberations)


Monday, August 18, 2008


(starting tomorrow)

After spending half of the day as a "juror-in-waiting" something unexpected happened around 3 this afternoon in downtown Memphis. I was chosen as a Juror on a Murder Trial!

About 45 of us were ushered into a court room at 201 Poplar. We were informed of the seriousness of the situation before 18 were called up to sit in the potential jury box. My breathing kept becoming less labored...until I heard my name called.

We were each questioned by the judge as well as lawyers representing the state and the defense. Four of us were dismissed and then the two alternates were chosen. How close was I to becoming an alternate? Technically I was Juror #11. Yes, that close.

I am somewhat interested in this whole process, but the thought of being 1/12th responsible for the outcome of a criminal case is quite nerve-racking...prayer-worthy...upsetting...scary.

Thankfully, it is not a Death Penalty case.

I am EXHAUSTED and have to have my bags packed and be ready to go by morning light for the rest of the week (at least). Who knows when I'll be back from this adventure.

This is quite an interesting way to spend my last week before CLASSES START!


Friday, August 15, 2008

Female "Buddy" Movies:

(idea stolen from Chris Vernon circa June 2008)

So I got a phone call a couple months ago from my dear friend. She was driving home from work and listening to the Chris Vernon show on ESPN radio. (Yes, we love sports) The topic they were discussing was FEMALE BUDDY MOVIES (in the wake of Sex and The City being released).

She immediately thought to call me (saying I had seen every movie EVER made--which is a bit of a stretch, but flattering nevertheless). I was able to come up with this list, and so I humbly submit it for you as well:

Sex and the City (2008)
Beaches (1988)
The Craft (1996)
Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood (2002)
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
Little Women (1994)
Romy And Michele's High School Reunion (1997)
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Boys on the Side (1995)
The First Wives Club (1996)

I could only come up with 12. Do you have any to add?


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Go World!

(otherwise known as one of my favorite Olympic commercials, and I really REALLY love Olympic commercials)


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Favorite Beijing Olympic Moment #2

© FIG Photo
So there they were with Bronze Medals around their necks, but the smiles on their faces were more worthy of a Gold Medal.

But this was their Gold Medal, after all.

A team of first-time Olympians without their two leaders (the Hamm brothers had to withdraw due to injury) & two alternates who didn't think they'd be performing on the world's stage.

Super happy just to be anywhere near the awards podium, let alone near the top of it!

Bust out the WAAAAAAAAA-HOOOOOOOS they are infectious!


Monday, August 11, 2008

Favorite Beijing Olympic Moment #1

Is there anything that CAN be said that hasn't already BEEN said?

I don't know what's better: screaming, "GO GO GO GO GO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" at the top of your lungs followed closely by, "suck it!"

(directed to the French relay team, who decided to break the Olympic Spirit of friendly competition by proclaiming a "smashing" was their goal)


Getting a phone call exactly 2.5 seconds (which could be another world record) after Jason Lezak hit the wall, from your old roommate--who can do nothing on the other end of the line but scream and yell...(which is all you can do, by the way).



Saturday, August 2, 2008

Write Out Loud!


I love you. No, really I do. Here is my story:

So I read somewhere recently that the "art of writing" is dead. I mean the ACTUAL art of HANDwriting. I feel the irony, yes, being that I am BLOGGING about the death of HANDwriting...but stay with me on this one.

I like love to WRITE. I've practice my handwriting skills along with my signature (which naturally leads to practicing my autograph so I can hand-sign books effectively one day). I've looked at the samples of "famous" and "infamous" writers. I've tried to analysis my own hand even.

Part of the problem of writing though, is not that I'm left-handed (therefore, right-brained)...although it can be a challenge especially when there is ONE possible desk in a classroom to sit at...EVEN in college--I have issues.

(maybe it is a problem, but you can't help me there)

Part of the problem of writing though (and this is where You come into play, Sharpie), is the actual writing instrument. Working in the medical field, I am usually surrounded by “free” pens until they grow legs and walk out of the building, at least. Some of these pens are wonderful, some are not so great.

Then there is the SHARPIE. I simply adore the classic fine point permanent marker. I've tried to even use it to take notes or write in my journal. However, you know as well as I do that it bleeds through paper…WAIT! There is now a Sharpie pen and it is:

*designed not bleed through paper (depending on the paper)
*smear resistant when dry
*permanent on paper
*quick drying
*water resistant

Watch as I throw confetti into the air and do a little dance!

I was so excited that this afternoon I purchased way too many Sharpie pens (but it is a tax-free weekend)! I also bought a few packages of the classic fine point permanent marker in enough colors to paint the world fantastic. An addiction, I know.

The moral of this little tale-turned-Sharpie commercial? (which may not be not half as exciting as the time Shane Battier asked me about my Sharpie metallic silver fine point pen as he was autographing my Grizzlies basketball)

I can NOT wait to take notes using your pens! I love you, Sharpie!




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