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10 juin 2006 @ 08:04 jury duty update
I was lucky enough to get out of jury duty, but not without some fear and waiting. They collected about 200 of us in a medium-sized room. We were divided into four groups, each assigned to a specific case. My group had to wait a very long time.

When we first arrived an announcer informed us that we may have been able to get out of jury duty before if we were students, or of the medical profession, and that this was no longer the case. He told us that one special person in particular was especially influential in this decision and that she was right then in the room with us prepared to serve herself. He then announced her by name and looked in her general vicinity and told her to wave. The whole room was looking for her, trying to figure out who we all needed to jump in a dark alley, but she did not wave. Methinks the announcer didn't much care for her either.

After that I enter into a conversation with a woman who was planning a trip to China. I tell her about my experiences there. Then she asks why I went. So I tell her that I went to meet my boyfriend's family and she says "oh, he's Chinese." I reply in the affirmative and she proceeds to inform me that chinese men are not faithful. I assure her that she is mistaken, my boyfriend is perfectly faithful and all of my male chinese friends (most of whom are married or with someone) are all faithful. She looks at me as if I am the one who is ignorant and informs me that they're not going to be obvious about their infidelities. I ask her how she seems to know so much about my friends who she has never met and she tells me that she knows because one of her friends has a roommate who is a chinese male who is very open about such things. At this point I am fuming and I ask if she ever might have thought that this behavior could be unique to this one individual. She claims that he said that all chinese men are like this. At this point I am ready to slap her senseless, but instead tell her to just stop making such sweeping generalizations without proper evidence or that our conversation would be terminated. Then she looks at me as if I am the one who is rude and strikes up a conversation with another woman.

I wonder if they put people like her in there to test us.

Shortly thereafter my group was informed that the parties in the case we were assigned to came to a settlement and so we weren't needed. I received a piece of paper stating that I was excused and would be removed from the jury pool for six years. So now I intend to remain a NY state resident after all rather than switch over, at least for another six years.

Overall it was a rather irritating experience, during which I felt violent in ways that I rarely feel otherwise. I'm glad for self control.

Now my vacation is over and I am back in St. Louis working. But it is laid back and I'm enjoying all my free time.
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28 mai 2006 @ 10:53 Monty is full of huainess
Yesterday my black and white kitty Monty embarrassed me pretty good. Yulin was on his way out last night and when he opened the door Monty ran out into the hall. I just got a new neighbor across the hall and he had left his door open because he was in the process of moving his stuff in.

Monty is a nosy little bugger, so he goes over there and steps over the threshold into my neighbors apartment. I want to go over there and grab him but I know that if I go over there he will just run further into the apartment. So I grab one of my soccer shoes and dangle the long shoelaces enticingly. No Effect, but Monty does go back into the hall to sniff at the new guy's TV and other miscellaneous furniture next to the door.

Then I start hearing someone walking up the stairs. I say "Monty, get over here" to no effect. The new guy makes it to the top of the stairs and he looks at Monty like what are you doing?. When Monty sees him he gets a really guilty look on his face and starts running very low to the ground towards my apartment. On the way over his paws slip and he falls on his side, then quickly gets back up and slinks into my apartment.

I tell the new guy that "I'm sorry. He's really nosy." And, the new guy says that it is okay. But, I just hope that Monty isn't getting more bold. It would have been really bad if he would have gone all the way into the guy's apartment. I would not want to have to explain my way in there.
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24 mai 2006 @ 08:24 to fulfill my civic duty or not
NY state called me to show up for jury duty June 6.

I'm going to try to get out of it but I'm not sure I have any more right to back out than anyone else... but I did get out of it before through my own personal bias (it was a dwi and I said that I would probably be overly harsh because I think drinking while being intoxicated is stupid and we need to lock these people up because they obviously don't care about the risk they put on the lives of others).

Anyone got any stories or ideas about getting out of jury duty? I'm worried it might seriously set me back getting my PhD.
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23 mai 2006 @ 07:27 Monticello and Bootsie
My kitties are so sweet. They really like each other and are always sleeping together or bathing each other, or committing some crime together. Here are some pictures of the little darlings.

Monty is the black and white kitty (Monty is short for Monticello (he's quite archy sometimes)). Bootsie is the calico manx (Bootsie is the name of an artist kitty in the book "Why Cats Paint").

Monty likes to defend Bootsie when they sleep. He will often have a paw on her (this is probably his way of dominating her, actually).

This was taken right before a fight. Often they bathe each other first. Don't want to get dirty while fighting I suppose.

Monty wearing a cute Bootsie scarf.
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20 mai 2006 @ 09:22 Don't order flowers from FTD.com
I am so upset right now.

Last weekend I ordered flowers online from FTD.com to be delivered to my mother on Mother's Day. Soon after I placed the order my credit card was charged the $60 for the flowers, but, they were never delivered. I didn't find out until yesterday that my mom never got the flowers. So, I called up FTD.com and asked what happened. They said that the flower shop was closed on Mother's Day and so they never got the order. This is even though I was charged for it and I received a confirmation email telling me that the flowers would be delivered on Mother's Day.

So, basically, they were planning to just keep my $60 and not send the flowers. Sound illegal? I agree. When I told them this they said that several customers placed orders for Mother's Day that were never delivered and they just called FTD to cancel (she did refund me), but if we never call then they just keep the $60. As a customer I was never told about this. And, since I wasn't even having the flowers delivered to myself I may never have found out that they were not delivered.

The lady said that they have no control over internet orders, I said that was apparent, perhaps they shouldn't have an online ordering system that could take a customer's money without placing an order. I don't understand why the florist wouldn't just get the order late even, rather than never. Apparently the order just gets lost when the florist is closed. But that doesn't stop them from charging you anyways.

So, all in all, this has been upsetting, I told them to just send the flowers for free and I would forget about their crime but they didn't want to do that, of course, because their idea was to screw me out of my money, not lose theirs. It doesn't look so good the other way around, now does it FTD?
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18 mai 2006 @ 08:51 My boyfriend meets pyramid scam
Yulin has been in the US for 5 years now and yesterday, for the first time he learned what a pyramid scam is. Over the weekend we spent some time in Borders where he met a guy who was extremely friendly (I was not there, I was in the sci-fi/fantasy section and he was in math). The guy started telling him about this small business he had (a franchise, as he put it), telling him that he was making $3-$4k a month off of this part-time job. Yulin, is graduating this summer and is currently looking for work so this appealed to him and he agreed to meet with the guy again so he could tell him more about it.

Enter yesterday. We again go to Borders. I hung out in the comics section and almost completely finished the most recent Y the Last Man issue "girl on girl" (not a porn, the title makes sense if you have been following it even a little) during the time it took him to learn about this "business". The guy compared it to owning a McDonald's, which I think is funny because McDonald's doesn't have a pyramid structure, and has quasi-unique products that you can't necessarily find elsewhere for less, and has an actual physical store.

After they talked I asked Yulin how his "interview" went and he told me. I realized, after not very long what this was and that the guy was trying to scam him. Fortunately, Yulin didn't sign up for anything and didn't believe the guy was making so much after the process was explained to him.

I find it disturbing that this guy would prey on Yulin because he is a foreigner but I can certainly see why he did. Some of the things Americans just know about from living here make us poor targets. But the foreigners in their innocence get taken advantage of. It's just not right.
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15 mai 2006 @ 08:34 How to spend time..
This weekend I decided to try out some new things with my free time.

1) Yoga. It was alright, I bought a Rodney Yee dvd. I decided to give it a try because it is somewhat similar to gymnastics. But, it's a little slow-paced. Still, relaxing so I'll continue for a while.

2) started reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini. I am really enjoying this book.

3) Cleaning. Not fun but I feel better when this place is clean.

But, none of these are social activities. I think I need to get out more and meet people. I haven't been able to find jeet kune do in the area. I was thinking about trying D&D again but group drama kept us from ever getting started, then the DM left town, permanently.

I'm tempted to spend a lot of time online. Really I should just find some activities and go to them. Fun, free, activities.
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11 mai 2006 @ 08:31 School's out FOREVER
It really doesn't seem possible... but I am now in a position where I should never HAVE to take another class again.

Actually, classes have been over for almost a week but it took a while to get over finals. Now I am pretty much working a 9 to 5 and it feels great. Oh, how I love all the free time :)
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13 nov 2005 @ 07:27 Chivalry, and the corresponding thing for women, is dying..
How long does one have to sit by the side of the road trying to remove a flat tire and put on the spare, before a stranger will stop and help?

Last night was really windy, but fortunately not cold. I got the flat after driving over some cobblestones and pulled over to the side of the road. My boyfriend was prepared for the event though and I got the tire iron and spare out of the back of his car (he was shopping at the time with some friends). I started to try to get the bolts loosened. None of them would budge. Even after standing on the bar and jumping on it none of them would budge. Some cars slowed down as they passed me and I thought that I might get some help. No, they were just slowing down to watch.

Eventually a largish pedestrian passed me and I called him back. "Please," I asked, "would you just step on this for me?" He did so and the bolt immediately loosed. "Thanks," I said and he left. But there were still 3 left. My boyfriend and his friends drove by and stopped the car. None of them are familiar with how to change a tire but were willing to help. My boyfriend and I both standing on the tire iron were not able to get any of the bolts loose but one of his friends alone was able to get the other 3.

Then they went grocery shopping. I told them I would be able to take care of it now, but this was actually so. I got the jack in place and started jacking up the car. That was successful until the front wheels lifted off the ground. Did you know that when you have the car in gear it is only holding the front tires for you and not the back? And so, the car rolled back and the jack fell over (yah, the parking brake on this car is dead). The tire came part way off, this is because I had stupidly taken the bolts out already.

The guy who helped me get the first bolt loose stopped by on his way back from getting food. He suggested that I try a different spot. He found a spot for me and I started jacking the car up. While I was doing this I heard crunching sounds. It was very rusty under there and the jack was punching through the rust. He said it was okay because the car was still going up, but eventually I decided that it wasn't because it wouldn't stop making the noise, there couldn't be that much rust. So I let it down. Sure enough, I had punched through a little. I don't think there is a hole in the car but now there is a really thin area.

So the guy said that I should try the first spot again but put something behind the rear tires. I got some big sticks and put them there, got the car jacked up and got the tire off, then the car rolled back over the sticks, the jack fell over, and the car landed on the axel and the front disk brake system on the left wheel, hard. I started feeling really depressed and worrying that I may have permanently damaged something. The guy said that he would go back to his place and find something suitable to put behind the tire. I told him not to worry and to go eat his food and that I would call AAA. He thought this a good idea and did so.

AAA took their time and I thought that they may have forgotten about me so I decided to try again. I took the flat tire and stuffed it behind one of the rear tires, then jacked up the car again. The car rolled back a little until it was on the rim of the flat tire and then stopped. I was able to get the car lifted up and put on the spare. I had to shift the disk around to get the holes aligned which took some time to figure out and then I was able to get the bolts in. I lowered the car and the AAA guy showed up. I told him he can go home.

Then I drove the car to the nearest service station/gas station. The whole way there the steering wheel was shaking back and forth and I could hear this aweful scraping sound. I think this may be because I didn't get the spare all the way on (one of the bolts didn't seem to want to go in all the way...), but my bigger fear is that I may have permanently screwed something up by letting the car fall on the axel.

These last few weeks have been really hard for me and last night my depression peaked again as I sat outside the service station holding a roll of paper towels waiting to be picked up. The paper towels are for my cat, who doesn't like to pee in her box very much any more. I'm tired of the stress, the threats, the overly demanding classes and advisor, all of the depressingly uncaring people, and the bad luck. What is all of this worth?
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25 sep 2005 @ 09:02 Foster parenting
After the hurricane Katrina hit I wanted to do something to help. Financially, I can do very little, but I found out that the humane society of missouri went down to rescue animals from flooded areas. They had a form online where you could sign up to foster an animal rescued from the hurricane flooding and I did this. Last thursday they flew about 100 cats and dogs from an overfull shelter in Hattiesburg, MS. to St. Louis and invited the volunteers to be screened and to receive an animal. I received a cat. I named her Bootsie.

Bootsie is a very cute, very hyper kitty. She's a calico and they estimated that she is about a year old. She walks a bit staggered so it seems like her nervous system may have taken a little damage. Other than that she is fine. She can still run and jump, although she doesn't jump very high. She's a manx so her tail looks like the tail of a rabbit. In addition she runs like a rabbit moving her back legs together (I know all cats do this to some degree but her gait is really a bit more rabbitty looking). At first I was calling her bunnycat.

She follows me around all the time when I am walking around. It's difficult because she wants to walk in front but then she wants to follow me so she stops and I have to step over her. When I sit down she'll either lay down near me or play with something in the room. She is litter box trained (thank God) but she doesn't understand the scratching post. Her favorite place to scratch is on the bike rug which is fine with me, but also she likes to scratch on the couch, actually, she likes to climb it. She bolts across the room like a mad thing then jumps with all four paws extended to land all her claws securely into the couch. She then proceeds to scritch and jump across the back of the couch horizontally to the other side. Another one of her favorite pastimes is pawing at the fish in the aquarium. I'm just glad it locks.

I need to train her to understand what she is allowed to bite and scratch (eg. her scratch post, her catnip mouse on a string) and what she isn't (eg. the couch, my leg/foot/hand). She's also sweet though and rubs against me and wants me to hold her and pet her.

There's a possibility that she is pregnant. They said that they don't know if she is spayed and think that probably she is not. So, that means one of two things will eventually happen. 1) She'll go into heat and start "calling". 2) She'll have kittens. Soon I should probably take her to a vet so I can find out for sure. Her visits are fully covered so I might as well take advantage of it.

She sleeps with me at night. This is taking some getting used to and I disturb her a bit when I switch positions. She doesn't seem to mind too much though.
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