How I Was Stalked By My Pastor

There are two things you need to know before I tell you about present-day events.

1. I watch too much “24” and other highly dramatized serial shows. I’m not apologizing for it. I love it! However, I am admitting that perhaps it has made me a bit paranoid in real life.

2. The subsequently described events have happened before, but for real. I described the event in a prior blog post, complete with also admitting to point #1 above. The point is, today was Grades Due day…so the fact that the following occurred put me on edge that maybe someone didn’t like the grade they got.

Read on…

So I’m pulling off Kanis into my neighborhood and a grey trunk proceeds to turn right behind me. I don’t know why (all I can do is refer you to point #1), but I immediately decided to roll through the stop sign and try to get up and around the corner. I turned off the loop into my part of the neighborhood, so did the follower. I turned right, again not stopping at the stop sign. So did he. At that point, I chose not to turn on my street and kept going around. The chances of being stalked would be 100% if the driver took all the same turns at that point. I turn left on to Timber Ridge and book it back to Atkins Dr. I then decide to go back toward Kanis Rd. Looking back in my mirror, the follower finally turned the opposite way, toward Markham Rd. I cleverly thought in my mind that the person knew at that point I was on to them following me.

Two seconds later, I get a phone call from Leslie, my worship pastor. “Hello?” I say. He replies, “You didn’t stop at any of those stop signs.” Wide-eyed and shocked, I yelled, “That was YOU?!?” I proceeded to tell him how I thought I was being followed and why (points #2). He said he figured that out at the point I turned back out of my neighborhood. We laughed and I returned home. The end.

How I Was Stalked By My Pastor

The Burden of Proof

My first week on jury duty and we were called in. Wouldn’t you know it. At orientation last month, the bailiff said he only saw two of the three groups a few times each. The pool is selected by drivers license now, not voter registration, and serve for four months. So every Wednesday beginning this week, I have to call to see if we report on Thursday. And week 1 we did.

Can I just say, wow! some people are IDIOTS! Let me share a few stories.

I half-way knew what to expect, having served as a witness when I worked for the crime lab. So I brought a book expecting to wait. A woman sits down beside me and starts complaining immediately about the inconvenience this is. Oh, sorry that your democratic duty “inconvenienced” you today. Get over it. She is wearing a “National Day of Prayer” shirt and tells those around her that she hopes it will get her out of being selected. Then she starts to rail about how Obama’s administration is trying to do away with this recognized day. I had enough at the point and closed my book, looked at her, and informed her that in fact, a district judge made that decision and President Obama was the chief signor of the appeal.

A young man on the other side of me, who apparently served in our distinguished military began offering up information–unsolicited–about his tragic past, including his injuries sustained while serving and his stillborn daughter.

We finally get called in and go through the motions of what the defendant is charged with, we meet all the court officials and witnesses. Then we go right back out in the hall for unknown reasons. 30 minutes later we are called back in, only to be recessed a short time later because an interpreter is needed. During these sessions, the judge asks the group such questions like “has a crime like this happened to you”, “do you have any immediate family in law enforcement”, and “do you know any of the people in the court”. Actually, I did! A friend of a friend, who I used to watch Lost with, was the co-prosecutor. I wasn’t sure if that was enough, but we made eye contact and she nodded slightly, so I stood.

Finally we get started with the vetting. A box apparently containing all our names is produced and the defense attorney is allowed to stir it. The court official calls out 12 names, then the prosecutor and defense both get to ask questions. This is where the day really drug on forever. Some people talk too much. Like the toothless redneck guy who said he didn’t think the system was fair. Or the 6-7 people who had other things to do should the trial go into the next day. Or the veteran who said people who aren’t citizens should not be protected by the law. Or the people that didn’t understand what “the burden of proof is on the prosecutor” meant.

Two hypothetical scenarios were presented, one from each side. After asking if everyone could be impartial, no matter what, the prosecutor presented a situation where an elderly woman with cancer who could only find relief from the pain by smoking marijuana would be found guilty. The law says marijuana is illegal; there is no medical proviso in Arkansas law. Suddenly, several of the jurors changed their mind. The defense asked the jurors if the prosecutor did not present their case beyond reasonable doubt and the defense called no witnesses, would they have a problem issuing a not-guilty verdict. Oh boy…this one took a while. I wanted to be called on just so I could answer it. I wanted to scream it! People…the definition is that the burden of proof is on the PROSECUTOR. If he didn’t make his case, the defense doesn’t NEED to call witnesses. They have nothing to prove. Innocent until proven guilty! A not-guilty verdict MUST be rendered. But no….these people kept hanging on to their notion that they wanted more facts; more information. They didn’t get the scenario that there were no more facts; the evidence was presented. It wasn’t enough. The end. Not guilty. Go home.

Well it was an interesting day to say the least. Suddenly I’m nervous about who exactly this jury of my “peers” are if they are mostly of this similar niche of society. Not that I ever plan on standing trial. And I don’t mean that to sound ugly, but dang, it’s scary!

The Burden of Proof

iPad vs. Kindle: Is It Fair to Compare?

I’m very indecisive when it comes to new technology. It took me a long time, for instance, to finally start purchasing my music solely as a digital format simply because I couldn’t do without the CD cover. I think the same can be said of books. Can’t do without that tactile sensation of lounging back with a book? I’ve accepted that, given time, I’ll get over that and enjoy an ebook reader.

The problem is, the market is so young for e-readers, it is difficult to decide what to buy. The forerunners are the Amazon Kindle and Apple’s iPad. But both are so completely different, it almost feels unfair to compare them.

In this corner, we have the Kindle. A device whose sole purpose is to read books. Its display is made of a new technology called e-ink. The screen does not require back-lighting like computer monitors. It reads like paper. It is only currently available in grayscale. This leads many people to think it is antiquated technology, but if you really look into it, it is quite a remarkable screen. The refresh rate is a little sluggish and the contrast is arguably difficult on those with poorer eyesight. The screen is about the size of a paperback book; the bigger version is about the size of a hardback book’s page. The Kindle itself is very light. Books are available through only Amazon’s store, and in the tumultuous new market, e-book prices are on the rise slightly. Books can be downloaded in seconds at no data cost; an embedded dictionary lets you look up words as you read.

In the other corner is the iPad. A multifunctioning, revolutionary portable device. Its limits are in the hands of developers. It has a backlit screen, just like a computer monitor. Some say this leads to eyestrain. I say staring at ANYTHING too long leads to eyestrain. Brightness and color can be adjusted in the ebook apps available. And that’s another “pro”: you can shop around…Amazon Kindle app, Barnes and Noble Nook app, and Apple’s iBookstore. You get color covers and images. The Kindle app doesn’t have the dictionary. It would be difficult to read in sunlight, and the device is heavier than a Kindle, albeit still lighter than most hardback books (which is what I prefer to read). Around 8% of people buying an iPad said they bought it primarily to be an e-reader. That’s really not many and makes me wonder why. Seems like the reading aficionados go for the dedicated e-reader.

I guess there is room for them both. The Kindle for heavy reading; the iPad for everything else. But I don’t want to carry around two devices. I remember how silly it was to cart my iPod and iPhone until I got enough memory in the latter to sync all my music.

Another side note, a recent article said that reading on an iPad in bed can cause insomnia. Melatonin is a hormone in the brain that influences our biological clock. Its release is induced by light. The light of the iPad’s screen could cause melatonin’s continued release and thus throw off your sleep cycle. (That also goes to show why it is not good to watch TV right before bed, and why many parents choose to not let their kids do so.)

I go back and forth between the two, but all I know is I do want an e-reader. I’ve been patiently waiting for the market to resolve into some semblance of order, just like I did back in the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD war days. I know I would want the bigger Kindle, which weighs in at $489….$10 shy of an iPad. And that’s why I’m like “why don’t I just get an iPad and get multiple functions”? Then I think “will I like reading on a backlit screen?” I don’t suppose I’d get that much extra use out of an iPad having an iPhone. I don’t watch TV/movies on computers; my phone can check email just fine.

I wait for Amazon to release a new hardware version of the Kindle or at least drop the price…but no word is coming about that any time soon. At some point, one just has to buy into a technology, realize there will be upgrades, and commit to not buying again for a certain period of time. I get that. But the indecision in my mind about the two devices–again it seems unfair to compare them–keep me holding on. I’ve just about saved enough for either one. I may buy the smaller Kindle to see if I like it, then if I do, either keep it or possibly return it and upgrade to the bigger one. If not, return it and go iPad. They give a 30-day return guarantee.

Anyone have an opinion?

iPad vs. Kindle: Is It Fair to Compare?