Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Old Lady Dumped Me

Yes, you read that right.

The old lady dumped me.

No, not Natalie.  (I can't stand it when husbands call their wife "an old lady". In fact, I hate it).

It was Lady Justice.  

Yup. Dumped.  

As you may recall, I was selected for potential jury duty.  Yesterday was the day.  Sadly, I was not selected but I can tell you it was an experience.

First, based on the process of selecting the jury, they give you some insight as to the nature of the case.  Attempted murder.  Boy, I can tell you that would have been somethin'.  Doctors testimonies.  Firearms experts.  Tons of witnesses.  I would have been digging that all the way.  That is so up my alley.  

I also got a pretty impressive look at how the jury thing is really done.  The next time someone tells me the jury selection process is crooked and unfair, I can tell them this: one woman was excused during the questioning when it was discovered that she barely understood English. If you want a fair trial, do you want someone like that determining your future?  Yeah, I didn't think so.

It was scheduled to last 2-3 days plus deliberations.  That may have jammed up my plans a bit, but I was prepared to do it for the greater good.  

In any case, I am off the hook for a full year.  Even though I was not seated, I was a part of the process and therefore did my civil duty.  

Maybe next time.  


Wednesday, March 11, 2015


This device is amazing. 

It's called a flash drive or thumb drive. Not much bigger than your thumb (hence the name), they function as a portable storage device for computers.  Gone are the days of floppy disks and CDs. These things are awesome.

Note - they are only awesome when you know where they are.  

Somewhere in southeast Michigan, in a yet-to-be determined location, is my flash drive. Oh no, not just any flash drive.  MY flash drive........

....containing my mid-term exam.  Yup. Gone.

The professor was nice enough to allow us a take-home mid-term exam.  Due Friday at midnight, I have been working slowly but steadily on all the dimensions of this test.  Natalie and I both agree that take-homes are a bit more challenging.  Knowing this, I have been chipping away at it instead of one prolonged writing session.

With the device now AWOL, I get to start over.

Oh wait. I know what you're saying.  "Paul, you're smart. Surely, you have it backed-up on your computer at home....'

Yeah, well. If you'll excuse me, I have some writing to do.....

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Call from Lady Justice

So to save a few bucks a few months back, Natalie and I ditched most of our cable stations.   We figured we were basically paying for a bunch of TV stations that we rarely watched.  With school bills and such, we figured every bit helps, right? 

That said, we still have cable.  It's just the bare-bones package.   One station (I currently don't recall the name...) seems to play endless loops of Law and Order and its various spin-offs (of which there are millions).   It's always on! 

Of course, any legal show will have story-lines involving a jury, right?

Ahh, the jury. The coolest component of our legal system.  A trial to be judged by your peers.  How neat.  

Well, it may finally be my turn. No, not to be judged, but to be the jury. A few days ago, I received a jury summons.  This is only my third one. Ever.  

The first time I was excused as I was snowed in up north and could not get to the court house. 

The second time I made it as far as the court room. As I recall, the plantiff had moved in with his girlfriend and over a period of months, put about $50,000 worth of labor and materials into her home.  When they broke up, he felt he was entitled to some of that money back.  I was eventually dismissed. It was decided that my dashing handsomeness and suave behavior would be a distraction to all parties involved.  They had secured the complete jury before they even asked me any questions.  I never even saw opening arguments.

So what happens now? Well, we'll see. 

Let me be clear -  I want to do this! I really do.  Will it be a Kwame-style, month-long, duel of legal maneuvering?  I'll have to wait and see.  Maybe I'll get to see Geoffrey Fieger in action.

I do know this - if I'm selected, you won't hear a peep from me.  I've seen enough Law and Order to know how that works!

Cue the music!  Duh-dunn.  Da-da-da dah Daaaaah.  Duh.dunn.  Da-da-da tah-dah-duh daaaaa Duh dunn......

Saturday, February 21, 2015

On Guard in Detroit

Rich colors.  Bold geometric shapes. Lavish ornamentation (to the point of nausea).  Add some mechanical-esque features and go all glitzy with a building from the 1920's to, say, the 1940's, and you have Art Deco.

I won't lie to you.  Art Deco is not my thing. I mean, I get it, but I am more in tune with older architectural styles from the latter part of the 19th century.  Maybe Queen Anne, Gothic or Second Empire.  I have always liked them even thought I did not know what they were called. Boy, those scream "cool" to me.

That said, I have to give credit where credit is due.  

Take the Guardian Building in Detroit, for example. For my architecture class, I needed to write a short report on a building of my choice.  No, it was not a report in the traditional sense. It was more just a report on what I thought (or didn't think) about a particular building.  It was based on a walk-through and general impressions. 

What do you think?  

Yeah, not exactly what you thought, now was it? I say "Detroit" and you think "ruin porn."  I say "Detroit", you think "convicted felon".  I say "Detroit", you think any number of negative thoughts regarding a once great city (that is making quite a comeback, by the way, but that is another story for another time...)

Designed by Wirt Rowland, this gem was completed in 1929.   By all accounts, he was quite anal-retentive (which should be be hyphenated, by the way). Overseeing every step of all details, he went to the extreme of having the exterior bricks fired to be a specific shade of orange.  He was that particular with his design.

Now think about all that for minute. Every detail. He looked at all of them. Looking at the above picture, when you seen  an blue tile, it was a blue tile because he decided it should be.  Those arches aren't random.  They are as they are because he said so.  Each little nuance.  Every little this and tiny that was decided by Rowland. What an incredible mind he must have had.

Just look at the elevator vestibule below....

How long would it take you to design something like that?

Or what about this monel gate? That clock at the top is an original Tiffany Clock, by the way.

Here is something else to think about. Even if you don't like this building, the National Park Service does.  In 1989, it was selected to be listed as a National Historic Landmark as well as the National Register of Historic Places.  

On a somewhat related note, as I continue my explorations in historic preservation, I have now realized that I have a new label for this blog.  As you may have noticed, they all start with the letter "B".  Yup, "building" works, too. I would have never thought this B-thing would have gone so far.....

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Deja Vu

Metro Detroit got hammered Sunday night. Probably not as hammered as Boston after the Seahawks gaff in the Super Bowl.  I'm talking snow here, not alcohol.  Depending on the city, snow totals in the region more or less ranged from 12" to 16". That, folks, is a lot of snow!

As you might imagine, schools across the region closed.  A long story short, I was off for the day.  Natalie's work was closed. What to do...what to do....

Natalie has managed to do some cross-county skiing this season already.  She was clearly fired up to do it again given the fresh snowfall.  With my past history as an Olympic level skier, I was certainly interested, as well.  I still have my solid and reliable gear from high school. 

Despite the snow totals, roads were amazingly clear.  We opted to head to Oakwoods Metropark.  

Skiing on fresh snow in your local park with you wife is really quite a bit of fun.  Its good for you, too.  Everybody knows how good cross-country skiing is your health.  

What is not fun is notion that your shoe could simply strip right off of the sole when you are plowing your way through deeper snow. It turns out my trusty high school skies were not so trusty.

If you are a regular reader of this blog (if you are, I'm really sorry), you might be thinking to yourself "Didn't this already happen to him?"  No. Well, yes.  Well, sort of.  

You may recall the sad day in June of 2013.  Natalie and I were hiking in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.  My hiking trusty hiking books...suffered a serious malfunction. The sole sheared right off.  The boots had already been repaired but it did not take.  In the tradition of Viking burials, I filled my boots with rocks and heaved them into Lake Superior as I could not deal with the thought of angering their spirit with more repairs.  (Keep in mind, Im atheist - I'm just having literary fun here....)

So, what shall I do with the ski boots?  Well, I'll certainly see what I can do to get them repaired.  Everything about them is fine, except for the fact they broke. Sure it is alot like saying a boat is just fine except for the giant hole in the hull, but I think you get my point.  

I'll take this whole thing one step at a time...