I have now completed my service of jury duty and, not to make myself sound even stranger than I already am (!), I actually enjoyed it. I realize that our court system is far, far from perfect and that there are many flaws in the process, but at least a trial is always given. In order to produce a fair verdict for that trial, impartial (knowing nothing about the case) jurors are needed. Without them, the entire process falls apart. I'm not going to go into the details of the case I listened to, but suffice it to say that the charges leveled at the accused would have been enough to produce prison time. Our verdict was not-guilty, and I feel good with my decision. Most people complain about jury duty and look to get out of it whenever possible, but I found the experience very educational and interesting.
Well, I thought it would be interesting to write about an experience I am going through this week: jury duty.
In our system of justice, when a person is charged with a crime, he/she is guaranteed a trial by people that know nothing about the case, or the jury.
The jury sits and hears both sides of the case, and then must reach a verdict. In some cases all jurors must vote the same way (unanimous verdict), while in others only a majority is needed. As a juror, I am not allowed to talk about any details of the case I am hearing. I'm not even supposed to hear any news about the case, read about it, or put anything on social media about it. Basically, the judge has to make sure that the person being accused of a crime has the fairest trial possible.
Oftentimes, jury duty is looked at as somewhat of a prison sentence...
While I can see how some people would view it as such (messes with work schedules, payments, etc.), I am actually kind of excited (and a bit nervous) to serve on my jury. I have an awful lot of responsibility in my hands, and I intend on taking it seriously. The accused party is counting on me to be as fair as possible.
Plus, on the funnier side of things, it allows me to live out some of my favorite courtroom film dramas...
I doubt that my case will be quite as exciting as those, but I guess you never know.
Last night, I headed over to the Wynnsong theater in Mounds View to see the movie "Her". It is nominated for best picture at the upcoming Academy Awards, and it looked interesting to me, so I thought I would give it a try... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QRvTv_tpw0 It is a crazy concept, to be sure ("man falls in love with smartphone operating system"), but it really makes you think about relationships and the entire concept of humanity. Despite also starring Amy Adams, it is the polar opposite it its Academy Award contemporary "American Hustle", which is all about the "pomp and circumstance", so to speak. "Her", however, is more of a "thinking person's" type of movie. There isn't a lot of action, so if you are looking for explosions or things of that nature, you will be severely disappointed. If you like the feeling of being challenged or having concepts rattle around in your brain long after the movie is over, than "Her" might just be the movie for you. It isn't playing at every theater and sometimes the showtimes are a bit odd, but if you are interested and can find a showing that fits your schedule, it is worth it.
Well, fellow Minnesotans, we've already a tough winter weather-wise. A decent amount of snow, combined with absolutely frigid temperatures that seem to never break. However, this is the time of year coming up (pretty much the entire month of February, to be honest) that I hate the most, because the weather here always seems to fall into a specific pattern.
Here is the pattern: First, the sub-zero temperatures kick in...
After a week of temps in the single digits, you start longing for the day when it will be over 20 degrees. Then the 20 degree day finally comes...only to produce a snow front that dumps some more white stuff onto roads, driveways, and other inconveniences...
Just as soon as that 20 degree day comes, it leaves with you waking up the next morning to the "minus" on your car's temperature dash reading. I really hope that the entire rest of winter here doesn't fall into this pattern, but I'm using the old motto of "hope for the best...prepare for the worst".
Just today here in the Media Center, we received another batch of movies available for checkout. They are... -Diary of A Wimpy Kid -Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules -Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Day -The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian -The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader -Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (this one is on Blu-Ray too!) -Charlotte's Web -The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones -Friday Night Lights All these movies are based on books we have in our collection.
If you are a football fan, you have probably seen/heard this about a thousand times by now:
My two cents on this interview... Cent #1: What you don't see is that, after swatting away the final pass of the game that sent the Seahawks to the Super Bowl and the 49ers home to their couch, Sherman goes over to 49ers WR Michael Crabtree and extends his hand like he wants to shake. Now, I don't know about you, but even though Sherman can claim "good sportsmanship", I don't think that is the time or place to show it. Put yourself in Crabtree's shoes: you just missed a pass that ended your team's entire season. The LAST thing you want to see is your chief rival extending his hand ON THE FIELD OF PLAY! I don't quite understand (besides the fact that Sherman loves to talk) why Sherman couldn't have just celebrated with his teammates and left the "sportsmanship" for after the game. Cent #2: I don't buy the excuse that he can give Sherman a pass just because he was "fired up" on the football field. I know that football is an incredibly passionate endeavor, but I tend to believe that we should be able to control ourselves in all situations, not just "when we want to". I don't recall ever seeing true professionals like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, or Adrian Peterson ever lashing out like this, and you can't tell me they don't compete any harder than Sherman. The good news in all of this? Sherman may be eating a bit of humble pie come February 2:
Remember that bone-chilling cold of early December?
How about those two extra days off from school in early January due to wind chills in the deep negative numbers?
Well, prepare for a return to those days in the coming week. The forecast for the next few days in the Twin Cities area (courtesy of WCCO.com):
7-day forecast for Minneapolis
Sunny & Cold
Chance of Snow
16 / -15
-1 / -5
3 / -15
3 / 0
19 / 10
21 / 15
20 / 10
When I went outside at 6:30 a.m. today to head to work, I think it was the coldest I've ever felt it since I started working at St. Anthony Public Schools.
The silver lining? The Minnesota Twins report to Spring Training in sunny Ft. Myers, FL, on February 16. It may not physically warm us up at all, but it would be nice to see the bright sunshine again even if just through the television...
Right now, this is what the Metrodome looks like...
To me, this is one of the most surreal pictures I've ever seen. It is just mind-bogglingly strange to see the inside of the Dome not swathed in those blue seats. Whether maligned or praised, our sporting stadiums are places where we gather to experience a wide range of emotions. Even though the Dome was pretty much a crap stadium right from the get-go, the people of Minnesota experienced many great times under the Teflon roof. Employees Say Goodbye
For me personally, while I never saw a Vikings game at the Dome, I saw a ton of Twins baseball games with various family members. It is strange to me that some day I'll tell my children (like my Dad tells me about Metropolitan Stadium) I saw baseball played under a white roof, with a "Hefty Bag" out in right field, and chomped on Dome Dogs while watching the ball bounce like a super ball on the bright green turf. Barring high winds, the Dome is set to be deflated one final time tomorrow (Jan. 18).
If I happen to not be doing anything at that time, and if the process is televised/streamed, I may just give it a glance and remember all the great times/people I shared inside its walls. I don't really want to remember the Metrodome...but I'll never forget it, either.
Okay, I get it. I was a student once too. As of right now, probably the only reason you care about Monday, January 20, is because you don't have to be here that day...
However, believe it or not, there is actually a REASON why that day is set aside for remembrance.
If you come down to the Media Center, you can find a display of books about the life and times of Martin Luther King. We also have a DVD of his famous "I Have A Dream" speech (in its entirety) that is available for checkout.
So, as your enjoy your Monday off next week, maybe give a moment of thought to Dr. King. He was worth it.
Though the process isn't quite complete yet, we here in the Media Center hope to bring you some new eBook options within the next few days. I will be posting much, much more about this new development (including how to access it) once it is finalized, but if all goes well we should have 17 eBooks that you can check out on the library catalog web page. You would then be able to read the book on any electronic device you own! Once I see that our order is completed and everything is up and running fine, I will post much more detailed instructions. It should be a fun new way to utilize the Media Center!
In the span of the next month or so, there are a number of films coming out based on books/literature. They include: Hercules
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Down here in the Media Center, we will have some books on Greek/Roman Mythology (like Hercules), some Jack Ryan novels (from Tom Clancy), and the Vampire Academy books featured. Come on down and check them out before they hit the big screen!