Negativity and hope, locked in an eternal struggle featuring titty twisters.

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I did jury duty a few weeks ago. It was a rape case, and there were five charges in total. We were able to only deliver one verdict, guilty on the charge of traumatic injury to an intimate partner. The case was complicated by having only a single witness, the victim, who also was rather unreliable. She admitted freely that she did not remember many of the events of that day, and what she did remember, she wasn't sure of their order. Both people involved had been smoking meth, which was used as a way to further cast doubt upon her testimony, despite clear instructions during jury selection that we should not let that bias us. Three of the four charges which we were hung were overwhelmingly tilted towards guilty, where one juror held out because she felt that the witness was not reliable at all, again despite instructions regarding the single witness rule. The one charge where we were definitely not close to any consensus was the actual rape charge.

It's difficult not to come away from a trial like that feeling that the system is tilted away from justice for the more vulnerable population, or feeling that, by thinking that she could have gotten a more just verdict if she had been a more reliable witness, it's not that far from saying that the victim didn't do enough, which is certainly not compassionate. There was no question that the defendant was a manipulative creep, in addition to his prior history, including a misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence.

After the trial, the judge asked the jury if we would stay behind to speak with both lawyers in order to talk about the case and ask any questions or give any feedback. Half of us did it, and I'm glad that I did so. During deliberations, the court recorder came in to read testimony back for us, and she commented that it was a dream trial in the sense that both lawyers were not only on their best behavior but actually worked well with each other. I noticed how remarkably civil and helpful they were, a far cry from the scripted undercutting and backbiting you see on television. I asked the public defender how well-funded his department was, and he said that he would only consider working for Santa Clara County, San Francisco, or New York.

3/21 '20 2 Comments
Ugh that is a wrenching situation. Thank you for doing the work.
Thomas Boutell 3/22 '20
My one and only stint of jury duty was aggravated sexual assault, which I think wasn't rape only by dint of the fact that the aggressor didn't get beyond removing some clothing items from the victim. There were actually two charges, through which I discovered that "a credible threat of death" is a serious offence in Ireland.

The parties knew each other. The defence made much of this, more than I was comfortable with, given the solid statistics on a rapist being someone that the victim knows. Neither of the parties were sympathetic, either - not quite to the extent you've described above, but certainly there was a sense that this was just another disaster in the lives of two people who had plenty of other disasters in their lives. There was some stagey antagonism between the lawyers (barristers? solicitors? there's some nuance here that I don't know offhand about who gets to be in court and who just wears a suit in an office and takes your money in return for some quantity of legal advice), and I got the sense that it was grandstanding for the jury and the minimal public gallery, and that after the case the two would be off down the pub for a cosy chat.

The thing that struck me most was the whole concept of "beyond a reasonable doubt", which is the standard required for the assault charge; the judge explained to us that if there was any other /possible/ interpretation of the evidence, no matter how implausible, we should make a finding of "not guilty". I get the reasoning behind this, but it's an extraordinarily high burden of proof for a situation which frequently has no real chance of reaching that level of confidence, not least because there may only have been a single witness who also happens to be the victim and the accuser. I think, when it came down to it, there was a certain amount of fuzziness in how the jury interpreted this, because I may have been mistaken but it looked like the judge raised her eyebrows a little when the guilty verdict was delivered. I'm comfortable with my own vote on this, in no small part because of the audio from the emergency services call which we had access to. I don't much care what happened beforehand and who might have given what mixed signals to whom, the person on that call was terrified, and no amount of mitigating circumstances or alternative reads of the evidence could alter that.

Not, I would say, an experience I enjoyed. But an experience, nonetheless.
Waider 3/22 '20

My FXTec Pro1 finally arrived!  Except it won't work on Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile.  Hope i get my $700 back.

2/7 '20 9 Comments
Fack. Who DOES it work on?
It's a mystery.
rone 2/9 '20
It should work, according to specs, on Verizon.
Kevin Schnitzius 2/7 '20edited
Agreed. Forums were ambivalent on Verizon but insisted it was a gimme on AT&T. It is possible that i got a lemon.
rone 2/9 '20
oh man! That is an interesting gadget. I read this review, which is definitely unflattering, but the reviewer does say that it worked for him fine on AT&t and T-Mobile. Maybe you got a straight-up lemon. Maybe that's a relief, judging from the rest of the review.
"The physical act of forcing the top half to open is maddening. Rather than simply pop open with a little pressure, you have to press the top half forcefully to convince the hinge to budge." 100% agreed. If it had worked, though, i was ready to live with it. Now we each have a Pixel 4 that already go dead at the end of the day with mild-to-moderate use. Fuck phones.
rone 2/9 '20
LOL. My Moto X4 is two years old and has better battery life than that.

My unsolicited Internet theory is that in any purchase, it's always better to own something on the high end of midrange than something "top of the line." Like... a Camry, not a [insert car here, I don't know enough about luxury cars].

Not enough people actually get the top of the line thing, the rough edges don't get ironed out, there's pressure to do bleeding edge things and it winds up flaky and poorly supported.
I'm not immune to the shiny though. I always wish for a better camera. And an optical zoom.
Late to the party here, and very sad to hear this review. Dammit, I had such high hopes! I was really pulling for you, and it.

Looks like I'll keep using my KeyOne. (Gotta say, it's been a total champ.)

I dreamed last night that i saw Faith No More in concert (whom i've not yet seen) for the second time (at a venue i didn't recognize).  This morning, i got a Songkick alert for an upcoming FNM concert.

I can't process this.

1/28 '20 1 Comment
"Alexa, stop listening to my dreams..."
Brian Rapp 1/29 '20

In alphabetical order, 2019 releases:

  • Battles, Juice B Crypts— The band's down to two members now.  Bleepier.  Vocal collaborations like Gloss Drop.
  • Andrew Bird, My Finest Work Yet— He's not kidding.  He keeps getting better.
  • Ioanna Gika, Thalassa— She had a guest appearance on Stumptown, where she played an amazing cover of "One Thing Leads to Another", so i looked her up and yeah, sold.
  • The Joy Formidable, Y Falŵn Drom— The band reissued their debut mini-album A Balloon Called Moaning for its 10th anniversary, but also recorded new versions of the songs with Welsh lyrics.
  • Juan Luis Guerra 4.40, Literal— He remains a force, so very good at what he does, and barely looks like he's aged since he came across my cultural radar 30 years ago.
  • Mdou Moctar, Ilana: The Creator— Tuareg Nigerien rock.  Recommendation from a friend, another instant buy.
  • The New Pornographers, In the Morse Code of Brake Lights— Another TNP album without Dan Bejar, which is fine by me.  Doesn't feel as good as its predecessor.
  • Rodrigo y Gabriela, Mettavolution— Fabulous.  They stretch by adding more multi-track work, electric guitar, and vocals.  Their arrangement of Pink Floyd's "Echoes" is epic.
  • Takénobu, Conclusion— Nick Ogawa is joined now on violin by his fiancée Kathryn Koch; here, they re-record some older tracks and add new ones.  They're great together.
  • Tool, Fear Inoculum— It's good but... the tracks lack separation.  The overall feel is too similar.  And their ultra-deluxe CD packaging ($45, if you can find it) feels like a cash grab from their legion of slavering fans (i bought the MP3 album).

There was also Sleater-Kinney's The Center Won't Hold, but it was super disappointing and, alas, prophetic.

12/24 '19 3 Comments
I didn't buy any specific music this year -- I have Amazon's Unlimited deal. But thanks for your list, it's still quite difficult to find new, good music.
How do you discover new music? Is it mostly recommendations from friends, or any music blogs/critics you like?

I wanna grab the new Andrew Bird but haven't yet. I keep meaning to-- I love him. Very happy to hear it's wonderful!
I used to discover it via Pandora (e.g., Takénobu is a Pandora discovery), but it hasn't been too good at that for the last couple of years. It's possible it might still work if i flush out my up/down thumbs.
rone 12/25 '19

Did you ever eagerly await an album by a favorite musician that was such a disappointment that not only did it sour you on subsequent releases, but also caused you to more skeptically analyze their previous work, as you wonder if you ever really liked it as much as you thought you did?

11/28 '19 9 Comments
Oh yes. Who's the culprit this time?
Thomas Boutell 11/28 '19
In chronological order, from most recent, Sleater-Kinney, Toadies, Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire. In general, they survive, but it's still a shock.
rone 11/29 '19
The Center Won’t Hold is so bad it made Janet quit. :super sad face:
Wow. I had not read that. Just wow.
yeah, that is some bullshit. one of the 3 or 4 greatest living rock drummers and they run her out of the group. idiots.
CM Adams 12/12 '19
Weezer? The Pixies?
Never liked Weezer, Pixies have been uneven forever.
rone 11/29 '19
the most recent Vampire Weekend album did this for me.
CM Adams 12/12 '19

Two dogs are better.

We picked Mila up in December and she's a goofball with a short attention span.  We love our very cute and talented Staffords.

10/3 '19 6 Comments
Those look like some Very. Good. Dogs. :)
Anne Mollo 10/3 '19
ARGH they are so CUTE. Good doggie dogs.
I love bull breed dogs. And these two are super cute. Bonus!
Ray Conrad 10/5 '19
This is a lovely development.
Thomas Boutell 10/6 '19
Helllloooooooo derrrrrrgs!

One does not simply listen to music.  Sure, you can listen to a whole album at a time, old-school, or just throw everything into the shuffle blender, but the vicissitudes of statistics lead to things getting neglected.  In addition, one wants to listen to new stuff, and listen to it more often in order to become familiar with it. How to balance listening to neglected stuff with the need to listen to new stuff more often?

After various attempts that were eventually unsatisfying, i developed a Fibonacci-based approach; songs are added to a list according to how many times they've been played, and each list has a backoff value where a song isn't allowed to show up until it has been Fn days since it was last played. These lists are aggregated into a master list. Another list is created for songs above a minimum number of plays that have not been played for a number of days that is larger than the largest value from the previous lists. The value varies in an attempt to balance the amount of tracks in the latter list with those of the former aggregated list.

As it stands now, I have lists for tracks played up to 11 times, aggregated in the ‘lessthan12’ playlist, which itself is bound to the ’Not Recently Played’ playlist in ‘listen’. I recently ran through the entire playlist, so I am back to playing my entire catalog on shuffle, in order to allow the lists to repopulate.

9/13 '19 4 Comments
Thomas Boutell 9/13 '19
MY BRANE HURTS this is a beautiful concept.
Except I'm just sorting iTunes by number of plays, and also by Date Last Played. Why haven't I listened to this song since 2015?? Or 2016? Even though I apparently like it?? Listened to two new albums today after listening to a bunch of old things the past few days. Entertainment is HARD.
Elena Gaillard 11/26 '19
Yeah, that was my first iteration.

Right now i'm limiting "listen" to when "lessthan12" is at least 5% of my total checked tracks. In the meantime, i've set up "ld50" which is about 50% of my tracks by "not played in the last x days", where x is currently 55.
rone 11/26 '19

I was going to take my old Huffy mountain bike to the local shop to get a tune-up, as i hadn't ridden it in 4 years and i've been itching to get back on the horse since GBS.  As we walked past our neighbor's house, he mentioned that he had a road bike he wanted to sell.  I'd wanted to move on from the Huffy, because it's heavy and i'm just not as strong as i used to be, so i ended up buying his bike pretty much on the spot, putting the Huffy back in the Garage of Doom, and taking the new bike to the shop instead.

I picked it up today and rode it for the first time.  It'll take a little while to get used to the new handlebars, but the main obstacle is keeping my head raised, which causes my neck muscles to quickly get very sore. This will no doubt be the primary topic when i next see my physical therapist (whom i started to see recently for fine-tuning my remaining minor issues, mainly my shoulders).

7/28 '19 3 Comments
Have you read Ilana’s posts over on Dreamwidth about her new electric bike?

Yay for physical therapy! Paul has had problems biking for similar strain/discomfort reasons. He’s been seeing a PT whose combination of tissue manipulation, dry needling, and strengthening exercises has transformed Paul’s neck.
Anne Mollo 7/28 '19
I've not, although i have been thinking about getting one. If i were to have a commute again, i'd consider it strongly.
rone 7/28 '19
New Bike Feeling is such a good feeling.

Hey, Brexit's not going all right
Hey, Brexit's not going all right
What's that floating in the Thames fog?
It's that bellend, Jacob Rees-Mogg

I believe in Mr. Grieve
Bercow's yelling out, "ORDER!"
Northern Ireland's got no border

I believe in Mr. Grieve
Do we have another division? Yup
Do we have another division?

Lalalala, lalalala
Lalalala, lalalala
Got Gove, got Corbyn
Got even ol' Boris Johnson

I believe in Mr. Grieve
Do we have another division? Yup
Do we have another division?
Do we have another division?

May can cry, May can mope
But can she swing for a third vote?
Oh, I believe
In Mr. Grieve
Hey, Brexit's not going all right
Hey, Brexit's not going all right

4/4 '19 1 Comment
Nice. I can hear Frank singing this version.