Friday, February 26, 2010

14 February 2010 journal page

Jury Duty Woes

I reported for Jury Duty or "Service" as they call it on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. I was there early (to make sure I had a parking space, got through security, etc...). I reported to the Courthouse on Hill St in Downtown L.A. (a different courthouse then the one hubby had to report to a couple of years ago). I took the elevator from the parking garage to the first floor. You have to get off of the elevator, go outside, get in the line that has NO ONE in it (there are two entrances-one is for jury duty, etc...), flash your jury paperwork and walk in through a metal detector. After that, you take a different elevator (in the same vicinity) to the 8th floor. Off of the elevator, you follow the signs to a rather large room. Walk into the room and pick up a piece of paper that asks three questions-
How you got there
Preferred method of transportation

You sit and you wait.

A little after 9, a Judge came out and gave a big long speech about how jury duty is Jury Service, a privilege, a part of the Constitution (really? I don't remember seeing it in there or the Bill of Rights), a right, a this, a that...Then we watched a video tape of happy jurors all thrilled to serve the call. (Can we insert rolled eyes here.) Then a woman came out and told us we had to fill out our paperwork (the rest of the info on the juror summons that came in the mail). All the while she explained that it was a part of the Constitution. It was this. It was that. If we had a financial hardship that we could come up to the window. (Now here's my rant. I'm self employed. I live pay check to pay check, like most of the working poor, and like most working class slobs in this country, If I don't work, I don't get paid. What about folks like me and folks whose employers do not pay for jury duty??? Guess what? They don't care. They don't give a rat's ass if you are working your ass off to pay the bills. They just want YOU. They want a body there. They don't care if you're pissed and not happy about being there.)

Tip #1: If you have a "financial hardship" don't bother to try to get off. Don't waste your time. Don't fill out the paperwork. They do not care.

So, the woman continued with her "lecture" (really, between her and the Judge, I felt like I was 12 and back in Middle School). She then gave a 10 minute spiel on just where to eat in the area.
She also told us that at that court house the average trial is 5 to 7 days. If you have a vacation coming up, you could see them (which would more than likely just end up in a postponement of your services). We were also told that if we were done with one trial that we could NOT leave (if it is the first day). That we had to come back up to the 8th floor and sign in again and that we could possibly be placed on additional trials throughout the day all the way up until 5 p.m. (WTF??)

In a nutshell, we arrived at the court house before the time they wanted us there (8:30 a.m.). We sat and waited. And WAITED. AND WAITED. until 11:30 a.m. At 11:30 a.m., they told us we could go to lunch but to be back at 1:30. WTF? If they didn't need us there (NO ONE was called until after lunch), why did we have to show up so damn early?? Which leads us to tip #2-

Tip #2: Bring a book. Bring a crossword puzzle. Bring something to do. Don't bring your knitting or scissors or anything like that because they will confiscate them (I spoke with a woman whose tiny manicure scissors were taken). There is free wireless in the room while you wait. There are also five computers, but I have heard that they don't always work. I saw several people using their laptops and the plugs in the room.

Lunch: There's tons of places to eat downtown, but really. I didn't want to have to go too far or have to go through security again. I went downstairs to the little snack shop (why don't they have a cafeteria in this building?) and picked up a sandwich that was decent (sandwich, cranberry juice, chips and snickers bar=a little under eight bucks). I ate my lunch. I walked around. I went on the computer for 20 minutes. I used the bathroom. I explored the "Lounge" in the woman's bathroom (not sure what it used to be, but now it's a storage area). I read a Noam Chomsky book. I did some journaling. I talked with some other jurors. I waited.

Oh, there is a TV, but since I don't have TV it made me crazy. Plus, the signal kept going in and out. It was all regular morning shows: news, crap, more crap, soaps and more crap.

At about 1:40, they started to call out names. There were about 35 names called, one of which was yours truly. "Shit." I said to the woman next to me. I would have been happier if I had just sat there until 5. Her name wasn't called and she was elated. (I should say had yet to be called. She could still be there as far as I know.)

The rather large group of us went down to the 6th floor. We stood outside of court room where we waited to be told what to do. A woman came out and did roll call and explained that we would come in and take a seat. We sat down and listened to the Judge explain what was going to happen. She was very elaborate in her explanations. She was thorough, but a bit theatrical (after all, it is a show, right)? The judge gave us a short explanation of what the case was. They asked if we knew her, the lawyers, the accused, the officers, etc... Then it started.

They picked 18 of us to go sit "in the box". I was the 15th person they called. They do not call you buy name, but by the last four numbers of your Juror ID.

Tip #3: If you're going to be called, you want to be called EARLY and not have to sit in the pool and wait. Trust me on this. Cross your fingers.

I went up, picked up the Questionnaire that was on my seat and sat down. The questionairre pertained to the case (which was a DUI).

They also ask you (the 18 jurors in the box) the following questions-
Residence (not street address, but city)
Former Occupation
Spouse's Occupation
Occupation of any other adults in the home
Child's Occupation
Have you ever been on a jury before, what kind and what happened?

Tip #4: Be honest. Answer everything as truthfully and as honestly as you can. You took an oath. Be honest. Be honest. Be honest.

Tip #5: Listen. Be aware of what the hell is going on. If you don't want to be there, now's the time to think hard about what you can say.

I answered all of the questions honestly. It was a DUI case (which I guess is the #1 thing in that Courthouse). They asked about 19 questions. I kept raising my hand. I raised it at least six times. I swear I made the Judge nuts. Here's the kicker. They will ask you if you can put aside your bias and be fair and impartial. Honestly, everyone has a bias. I happen to think that the laws are biased. I don't agree with all of them, but that's just me. So the words you want to memorize are:

Tip #6 (and it's the BIG tip): I can not be fair and impartial.

If you feel that way, say it and say it loud. Don't be soft and quiet. Be strong. They don't want idiots sitting in the box, but they also don't want people who are too smart. The lawyers want people whom they can easily persuade to their side of the case.

More here on this blog.

Tip #7: Try to read the questions and figure out if you can honestly answer any of them in a way that will NOT get you picked. For me that was easy. My Dad was in Law Enforcement. I had a bad experience with an LAPD officer (my ex neighbor was LAPD and he kicked my door in one time many years ago). Alcohol and DUI don't mix well with me so I spoke up honestly. I was a member of MADD (Mothers against drunk driving). I don't drink. I never have and there's a reason for it. To name a few things... So, be honest and answer truthfully.

Another tip,

Tip #8: Jury Nullification. Learn those two words. Memorize them. Lawyers hate those two words. What the hell is it? Well, the analogy that explains is best is would you have convicted a runaway slave back in the 1800's when slavery was a law and legal? If the answer is no, because you don't agree with the law, then that's one example of jury nullification.

More here and here.

I personally don't agree with the way things are set up, so I had jury nullification as a back up.
Call me a pinko Commie Socialist, but it's how I feel. Too many innocent people are put behind bars, or even worse-executed. I couldn't convict.

So, they went back and forth with the questions. At about 3 ish, we took a twenty minute break. The Judge tells us not to talk to each other about the case. She also explained that the lawyers, the accused, etc... were not allowed to even say "hi" to us, and that we shouldn't take it personally. What happened outside? I swear at least a 1/4 of the jurors started saying he looked guilty, etc... Oy.

We went back in at 3:20, after the bailiff did roll call. The questioning continued until we were dismissed at 4 p.m. and told to come back the next day at 10:30 a.m. The Judge told us we did not have to go up to the 8th floor, that we were to return to her court room on time tomorrow morning.

Day Two

I left the house around 9:15. I didn't want to be late and I was concerned about parking (a thing you always have to be concerned with in Los Angeles). Luckily, I had no reason to worry as there were plenty of parking spaces.

Tip #9: Don't lose your juror ID. For many reasons. One reason is that it grants you access to the parking lot below the courthouse and it's free. There are two entrances to the courthouse. One on Hill and one on Olive. Follow the signs for Juror Parking. Smile and flash your ID.

I repeated the whole process yesterday. I took the elevator to the 6th floor and sat on a cold bench in the cold halls and spoke with one of my fellow jurors. Another juror whom I had became friendly with showed up and we all started chatting. It turns out one of the jurors lives two streets down from me. How weird is that? Small world!

I was told by a good friend of mine what would happen. Well, she was right on everything (except for the part about people who weren't paid for jury duty being dismissed!) At 10:35, the lady came out and did roll call. One person wasn't there. Damnit! So, we had to wait. Every five minutes after that, the bailiff came out and asked if the person was there. At 10:50, the person showed up and was greeted with angry stares by their fellow jurors.

Tip #10: Be on time. Hell, be early if you can. Not only does this piss off the Judge, the lawyers, the Accused and the Bailiff, but it pisses off your fellow jurors. Remember, if you've phoned in and registered saying that you recieved the jury summons and then you don't show up, they WILL come knocking. So be on time!

We walked into the room. Now right off the bat, I knew something was up because they didn't have us sit in the jury box as we did before. They had us all sit together. The Judge said, I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is I broke my promise to you and kept you waiting. The good news is, the case has been settled (my guess is the guy plead something or other)." The Lady next to me asked me what that meant. I said it means we're FREE! We can go home. She stood up and hugged me and kissed my cheek.

The Judge told us to go upstairs to the 8th floor. You turn in your badge and the badge holder and you wait for about five, ten minutes. They call your name and give you a piece of paper saying the dates that you served.

You skip happily from the Courthouse knowing that they can't call your name now for another year.

You wait for your $15 check and $.30 something cents per mile check to show up in the mail.

(A friend told me that what happens is when you show up for the second day, the lawyers then ask you questions and dismiss people whom they don't want to serve on the jury. They then pick from the jurors who aren't sitting in the jury box, until they have twelve to serve and two alternates. After that, I have no idea what happens other then you're sitting on a jury! I hope never to know!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 13, 2010 journal page

Well, I messed up yesterday and forgot to set my blog post to today's date, so you saw two posts yesterday. :) Ce la vie!


Have to go to downtown L.A. today for Jury Duty and I'm not very happy about it. PISSED OFF are the two words that come to mind.


Line Juhl Hansen's studio blogged on Decor 8.


David sent me a link to "That Guy". You know the guy. He appears in tons of films. He's well known but nobody ever remembers what the hell his name is. Well, look no further.


Has anyone noticed that the quality of clothing just keeps getting shabbier and shabbier? I've never had clothes fall apart like they have in the last couple of years. Two cases that stand out-

Old Navy clothes.

I have an old navy shirt that I bought at least 6 years ago that I can drag out every winter and wear (I love, love, love this shirt). It washes well. It wears well. I love it.
Fast forward to this past December. I needed some new winter shirts, so I hit Old Navy. I bought four new shirts. Of the four, two I haven't worn and still have price tags on them (they need to go back this week). The reason why I haven't worn them is that the other two shirts are so stretched out and are already falling apart. One of them is a scoop neck that I am afraid to wear in public any more (this is only after having worn it twice) because I'm afraid of what will happen if I bend over . I usually wear my shirts more than once before I wash them (unless it's summer and it's hotter then hell. lol). I also wash them with cold water and I never put them in the dryer, they're always hung up to dry.


I've been wearing JCPenney clothes since I was little. My Mom, the Ultimate Bargain Shopper (I worship at her feet. She can find amazingly expensive clothes for a couple of bucks. She's good at shopping and she loves finding bargains. I have inherited that gene but with books and art supplies. Clothes. I have no patience or desire to shop for clothes.) Any ways, we both have JCPenney cards and whenver she's here or I'm there (Boston or L.A.) we usually go clothes shopping.

David needed new pants in December. We went out and bought him two new pairs of Dockers. Dockers-a good name, right? Well, we bought Dockers Flat Front True Chino Relaxed Fit Pants and Dockers Pleated True Chino Relaxed Fit Pants. As of this writing, his Dockers Pleated True Chino Relaxed Fit Pants look fine with nothing wrong with them. The first pair, the Dockers Flat Front True Chino Relaxed Fit Pants started to get a little fuzzy ball in the knee area after a couple of days of wearing them. I didn't think anything of it, but David was concerned that something would happen and that they were already falling apart. Guess what? They did. They split at the knee. These are pants that are barely three months old. They weren't worn every day. They were probably worn maybe twenty or thirty times. (My husband has "inside" pants and "outside" pants and he rotates them all the time.) I brought the pants back to JCPenney and told them what happened. The sales clerk said he wouldn't take them back. I asked if he could speak to the manager. He returned without the manager and said no, she wouldn't take them back. I asked if I could speak to the manager. She came over and I very nicely explained that I have never seen clothes fall apart so fast. We went back and forth a couple of times and she said she'd make an exception this time in exchanging the pants for new ones.

I've read several articles that suggest buying high end clothes on sale racks and having them tailored to fit. I've read several articles on buying thrift store clothes and having them altered to fit. I'm not a seamstress (I sew books and paper, people!). I can't live in my pjs (well inside the apartment I can) but I'm sick of buying clothes that turn to rags in a short period of time. What's a girl to do?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Feb 10, 2010 journal page

People have asked how I attach the transparencies. Yes, I use tape a LOT for that 'hinge door effect' (also sometimes just for a layered effect). I also use diamond glaze. Just a tiny bit glued in around the edges and I stick that puppy down (sans tape).

New book love: 6 Billion Others. Good pictures and good words=great combo!

Taylor told me about this book. She was right. I needed it. Handmade Graphics.

I love Martha Brown. Who doesn't love Martha? Check out her blog here
. Zombie girl love!!!

Yes, that is another Zinn quote on the above page.

Monday, February 15, 2010

February 10 journal page

Sorting. So, I decided the other day that I needed to sort my stickers as I had them in at least three different places (You know those bins-the ones labeled "now", "Save For Later", "Whatever"). Now I have a 9 x 12" rectangular black case FILLED with stickers. Hundreds, if not, thousands of stickers in one place and at my finger tips.
You would think after sorting stickers like this that I would never ever have to buy another sticker again. Not. Saturday night at Target I bought two sheets of these. Nor would you think that I would be going crazy trying to find THESE stickers from My Little Yellow Bicycle's 2008 Love Letters Line (discontinued). (Found 'em. Thanks Caity!) Have I mentioned that I still have my sticker albums from the 80's? Last but not least, have I told you that in Japan some people call tape stickers? Yeah. That about explains it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

February 10th journal page

What I am reading: Marx in Soho by Howard Zinn
What I'm watching: The Wire -we're on season 4
What I'm listening to: The Pogues and Hardline: Leaving the End Open
What I'm drinking: Unsweetened black tazo iced tea, made at home, in my favorite mug (always unsweetened. I do not like sugar in my tea. Preferably always black tea.)
What I'm wearing: my red heart pjs, black slippers and pink bathrobe as much as possible
Random blog love picked from the 400 blogs that are in my google reader: Scissor Variations
oh and this one isn't random but I loved the pictures: Loveology.
What I'm doing: Catching up on my class work (both online and in person).
What I'm seeing when I turn my head left: a mess of a table that needs to be cleared off so that I can have room to make a new video for my A Life Made By Hand class.
What I see when I look up: various rubber stamps and my Kidrobot toys: Gamma Mutant Space Friends and Dunny Fatale Series 2010.

Happy Heart Day! Happy Hallmark Holiday! Happy V Day! La Saint-Valentin heureuse! Lycklig Valentines Dag! ¡Día de los enamorados feliz! San Valentino felice! عيد حب سعيد ! Happy Valentine's Day however you say it!

Here's how to say I Love You in 82 different languages.
and another one here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Acrylic Mediums

I hope this helps clear up the confusion on acrylics, gel mediums, etc...I wrote this several years ago (and have posted it a few times over the years) on various acrylics and acrylic mediums. If you have more questions, drop me a note.

The companies I buy from are Nova Color in L.A., Golden Paints, Lascaux and Winsor Newton. Invest in a few tubes (5 or 6 colors at most) of acrylics. You do NOT need every color. I teach a class called the Wonderful World of Color Theory where we make every color of the rainbow using about 6 colors: Quinacridone Magenta, Phthalo Blue, Azo Yellow Medium (Golden calls it Hansa Yellow Medium), Titanium White, Burnt Sienna and Black. My personal palette adds Paynes Grey & Titan Buff (Nova calls it Raw Titan Matte) to those colors...

The best way to apply acrylics when you are working in a book, is thin and in layers. If you want it thick, make sure you can leave your book open and let it dry properly. Acrylics dry fast if applied thinly. Remember: waxed paper between the pages. The way I paint is to apply the paint in layers and wipe each layer w/ rags or paper towels. I actually scrub and swipe the page!!! Then place waxed paper between each page.

The only difference in the paints-tube vs. jar is the consistency. If the tube paints or jar paints are too thick, put some gloss medium into them. Gloss medium will also "extend" the amount of paint you have (DO NOT buy extender though that will extend the drying time). 50/50 with the acrylics is a good ratio. You won't lose pigment if you buy a good quality acrylic.


Fluid Medium-available in matte (matte has a substance in it to dull the gloss. If you apply it in layers it has the tendency to look 'cloudy'), gloss (if you get a high quality product like Golden or Nova Color, you have to add several layers for it to look high intense gloss), polymer medium, fluid matte medium, fluid medium-you can use these for collage but I have found them to be too 'wet' of a glue. What I like to do is to add any of these (my fave is either gloss medium or polymer medium) to my acrylics to 'extend the amount of paint' that I have (but do not buy what they label as extender as that extends the drying time-eek!).

Glazing liquid-available in satin, matte or gloss. I have a hard time
telling the difference between the satin and gloss (by finished work alone). Use these with any kind of acrylic to create transparent, colored glazes.

Acrylic Gesso: An acrylic ground that is flexible and is used for prepping or priming surfaces. Available in several colors including white, black, beige, brown, etc...

Acrylic Gel medium: Used to thicken or thin paints. Used as a texture gel. Also used as a collage adhesive. Available in a variety of 'thicknesses' most students seem to prefer soft gel gloss or regular.
Remember you can buy just one kind and if you want to thicken it, leave it on your palette for an hour or so. If you want to thin it, add polymer/gloss or matte medium to it. The best way to apply it is THIN and to the back of your image. I place the image then on the surface I am gluing onto & rub w/ a paper towel or rag. If working in a book, i do not place glue over the top of the image. This will help to prevent pages from sticking. Also, you only need ONE kind of gel medium.

Acrylic varnish: available in 3 finishes: gloss, matte and satin. Seals the surface to protect it. I never seal or coat the inside of my book pages. If I'm working on canvas or a surface that does need to be protected, I'll seal it using the Gloss medium and Varnish combination.

There are other mediums out there used for various reasons and purposes. Some of my favorite additional texture mediums are-

Clear Tar Gel-to drizzle, fling, flick, write, draw, etc... with. I love using this stuff. Paint with it. Put it in a bottle. Write in it. Embed things in it. Draw or write with it. Make marks and doodles with it. Let it dry raised. Comb into it. Splatter with it. Pretend your Jackson Pollock with it. etc... I've used it alone. I've mixed it with paint. I've painted over it. I've painted under it. Texture love in a bottle.

Micaceous Iron Oxide- Yum that you can't eat. Shiny, mica filled surfaces. Paint with it. Mix it with your paint. Paint over it. Paint under it. Use your caran d'ache neo art watersoluble wax pastels with it. Write into it. Draw into it. Make marks into it. Stencil with it. Gritty, but FUN!

Don't leave out stamping, stenciling, painting, prepping, writing with/into, drawing with/into any of the above mediums like gel medium, gesso, or the fluid mediums. With a handful of favorite products, you have a whole rainbow of colors, textures and applications at your fingertips!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010