View Full Version : Monthly Scumble August 2013

Shirl Parker
07-31-2013, 10:17 PM
Hi everyone! Welcome to the Scumble, our monthly chat thread where we share the happenings of our everyday lives! I hope you will all chime in and look forward to hearing about them.


08-01-2013, 06:25 AM
Purr, hi Shirl! Thanks for hosting again. I was going to comment on the Spotlight photos as a couple of them are very tempting to me, but the thread's closed I guess since it's not quite Thursday yet. First thing I checked in August.

Happily, I live in San Francisco and the Dog Days aren't happening here, not in terms of heat anyway. It's just nice. There's been a few hot days but nothing miserable like Chicago or worse, New Orleans.

But on the dogs theme, I now live in the building in the city where Ari is very happy because this is where almost all the dogs are smaller than he is. Ari likes chihuahuas and dachshunds, including longhairs.

The city has a cool program where they pay homeless people and seniors, ex-panhandlers, $50 a week to train a shelter dog if they agree to stop panhandling. They know they need the money and the other reason people do it is that they get isolated otherwise. They don't get out without a reason to get out.

Dogs are sociable and get people out of the house. It's worked out well, especially for seniors who don't have the kind of mobility trouble I do. Me, I'd better stick to cats because dogs are morning critters and I would get very run down if I went out daily.

This might happen if my trial goes on long.

For the first time in my odd rambling life, I actually got selected for jury service. Me, the weirdo writer-artist guy. It's just random luck but even if I spent years in the same city, a decade in the case of Chicago or New Orleans, I just never got called. Here, I finally got called.

So on Tuesday at ouch in the morning I've got to go down to the Hall of Justice to find out what trial I'm getting. I hope it's an interesting one. I kept hearing people complain about jury duty and try to dodge it, but I've looked forward to this all my life. Like most people I think my opinions are the best and my judgment fantastic, so this is my chance to exercise it.

Very curious about it though, what it'll be about and whether I'll actually get one or get sent home. I heard that sometimes if a juror gets taken out by a lawyer, they are considered to have done it and get to go home then. So it could all just be a petty thing - or it could turn into something like a five day a week endurance run leaving me brain-dead and practically immobile if it goes on for months.

It's worth that risk. I'm not dodging. I don't think the months-long trials are that common anyway.

08-04-2013, 10:24 PM
I have not posted here in forever, but do read to keep up. I just had to comment on your next adventure.

You are now in California, where 'escaping jury duty' is so common, judges threaten mass bench warrants to punish people who just will not answer the summons. At least in Santa Clara County. Within a year of my being eligible I will get summoned. It happens over and over. I did serve last year, so have a period of quiet.

Yes, if you go through having to show up for jury selection, even if you do not actually go through the process, you are marked as having served, and will not get called for a while. I forget whether you get one or two years. Generally I have been deselected by one side or the other on an 'elective' challenge. I will not speculate on why.

Last year, they used up all those challenges before they got to me, so I sat as one of two alternates. One of the alternates had to move up to the jury, but not me.

I have to say it was an uplifting experience. I spent lots of hours in the jury waiting area talking about everything but the case. I ended up feeling that I really would be content knowing that people like that would judge my case if I were on trial. I was also highly impressed by the judge and both advocates.

I hope you make it at least that far into the process, just to witness all that.

Be well,


Shirl Parker
08-05-2013, 11:00 AM
I was selected several times in Maryland, but never these 9 years in Texas. The last time I served, I made it to the jury box and then was rejected on an attempted murder case where the scientist guy had poured mercury in his ex-girlfriends window well. The day they pronounced him guilty, he took a cyanide capsule right in the courtroom. Yikes!

08-05-2013, 01:42 PM
I've been stuck on a Jury five time, and you can keep it. I learned how to fianlly play the game to avoid it when we lived in Ventura County. The summons had an option to select which day you were willing to appear in lieu calling in each day to see if the pool you were on was being called in. I'd check that option and then select Friday of that week betting no jurys would be seated that day. It worked out for me the three times I used it (yes I've been nailed that many times).

08-06-2013, 05:57 AM
Jury duty is long and incredibly boring. In the states of Kentucky, South Dakota, South Carolina and Florida I was never called for jury duty, but in Massachusetts I was called (and dismissed because I have a hearing impairment) and then, a year later, just before I was to move out of Taxachusetts I got a letter saying that I needed to do jury duty. Guess my last dismissal wasn't 'enough', but thankfully moving out of state got me out of it.

08-06-2013, 11:27 AM
Being on a jury is interesting. I served on one trial that lasted about 3 days. Listening to all the courtroom talk was a lesson in lawyers trying to sway the jury this and that way. In the jury room where we deliberated, it was a lesson in pushy people, people with no opinions just voting to get it over with, and more. Enlightening experience.

I have been called a number of times, had trials canceled. Sat in the box a few years ago but was dismissed.

My 20 year old son just received his very first jury summons and he is looking forward to it.

08-06-2013, 02:03 PM
Hello Everyone!

I'm in Cassis, Provence, which is in the south of France, where my husband likes to have his brief semester holiday. We've been fortunate to be here at the same time as two quite large exhibitions of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings nearby. The most impressive one was in Marseille and featured lots of artists like Monet, Cezanne Van Gogh, Renoir, Signac, Cross, Marquet, Matisse, Picasso... and many more I can't even remember. There was also a quite groovy exhibition of Picasso's ceramics.

It's hot, sunny, and our garden is frequented by about half a dozen different cats who obviously view it as their own. There's no internet, so this post is being written from a tiny internet cafe in town. Driving anywhere is stressful because most people seem to treat it as a free-for-all. But there's a nice harbour with a lovely breeze and many nearby restaurants in the middle of town, and I'm hoping for a creme brle later.


08-06-2013, 06:46 PM
Oh Elise, that sounds so wonderful! Enjoy your feline-assisted holiday. I can think of little that would be so paradisical as a garden in Provence with French cats hanging about. Cool that they have Internet cafes too and it rocks that you have those exhibitions while you're there. Purring at you happily and wishing you creme brulee, a great time and no traffic accidents.

Everyone else, purring loudly at you and thanks for the advice!

I went. I did get my name called for the jury selection process but didn't get chosen for the jury. I regretted that a little because it was an interesting case and I'd have liked to hear it after hearing both lawyers' jury elimination questions. It sounded fascinating.

I tried to sketch the judge and defense lawyer but was getting nowhere on that. The sketches came out looking like people but I didn't get the likeness. I need practice at people again to get portraits true to life, it wasn't the court reporting I intended it to be.

However, I did two good life sketches and an imaginary landscape. I got bored with trying to draw people and not succeeding so I made up something rather than do the not particularly fancy courtroom. It wasn't like the beautiful architecture of City Hall, the Hall of Justice is more modern and a bit blocky, though the chairs are nice and padded with arms up in the juror seats. Also in the Jury Assembly Room, if I get called again I won't be afraid to use the walker instead of power chair.

Everyone was very helpful and gracious. People opened doors for me throughout the building, even though I've got a pretty decent method for opening doors without getting out of my power chair. It involves reaching over the handlebars, then hitting reverse with my left hand very lightly to pull back with the engine doing the work. No one expected me to be able to do it and it would've been rude to refuse when they nipped ahead to open the door for me. I thought they were gracious about it.

The jurors impressed me. Once again, I love my city. Everyone that they chose was someone I'd have trusted to be on my jury. It was like that. I wasn't that weird for looking forward to it. There was an old man with a long white beard and long white hair who felt about the way I did and had served on several juries before.

Here's a link to a post with all three of my sketches: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=19740082&postcount=924 - at least, the ones I was willing to post. I've got two more that I'm not posting because they're not up to my standards. I didn't get the likeness and am seriously annoyed. But at least now I know what goes into the courtroom art thing. I would need to practice for a few weeks if I were going to do that for real.

Now if the judge, the lawyers, the defendant and plaintiff and jury were all cats, I could have done it easily. I've just spent so many years doing cats that I've lost the knack of quickly getting the human likeness accurate. lol

Ari was very happy I got out at noon instead of staying till five PM and celebrated by romping around the room, then chasing his tail on the bed to make me laugh. He is hilarious when he does that. Big hairy cat acting like a bouncy baby kitten.

I could have gotten out of it easily. In fact I could have deliberately gotten out of that case if I got called for it just by answering "yes" to some opinion questions like "would you be able to uphold the law even if you disagree with it?" or if I had an emotional reaction to the case sort of thing. But if I was willing to go to the doctor for an excuse slip instead of the courtroom to try out for it, I could have got out of doing it.

No way did I want to. Looking at the facilities and assistance, the year I get lucky and actually get onto a jury is going to be great. I love my city. People here... they acted like San Franciscans, everyone.

I went in wearing an orange t-shirt, jeans and khaki art vest. Instead of being the scruffy Tenderloin bum in the middle of a group of men in suits, I was pretty normal for jeans and casual. My vest of many pockets didn't draw any odd glances. Only the lawyers were wearing suits. Judge had robes of course. She was female and looked younger than she sounded. She had a good commanding presence and sensible, clear communications. I was impressed with her and both lawyers were much better behaved than the ones in television and movie dramas.

Or for that matter, in the news.

It's my city. It's San Francisco. I loved the video explaining what jury duty was and what we were supposed to do. It was so very, very San Francisco.

I can see why people who are financially struggling might find it a hardship to lose work days. Other than that, I don't get the dodging thing. To me that's empowerment, it's my chance to make a difference. I trusted myself to do it right and will when it's my turn.

My service is done and they won't call me for another year. I am supposed to save the summons for a year in case I do get called by accident, to show it and prove I've already done it. So this may become an annual event now that I've gone and gotten into the system. I'm happy about it and had a good time. Bringing sketch stuff is going to be a habit for it - and maybe some year I'll actually manage a life portrait of someone way, way across the room. Might want to bring opera glasses or something, eyesight interfered with that life sketch thing.

08-06-2013, 07:10 PM
Oh, also, the security people really liked me and were great. I got into the line that was set up with these poles to keep it snaking back and forth. It wasn't quite wide enough for my chair so I was trying to slalom around poles. Security bloke took one look at me, took my lunch bag and art bag to run through the scanner and asked if I had scissors or anything like that in it. No, of course not, knew I was going through security.

Waved me through without even having to hobble through the scanner or get out of the chair. Very, very considerate.

Every step of the way, I was pleasantly surprised by how helpful everyone was, without being condescending or patronizing. I felt respected, like I belonged there.

Of course I was getting ready to get called and read off my name, marital status, children's ages, occupation and neighborhood. Just waiting to say "Tenderloin" as my neighborhood with pride. I love my neighborhood as much as my city. The longer I live here, the more special it is.

08-06-2013, 10:50 PM
Robert, you make me almost want to move to SF, almost :)
Glad you enjoyed your time with the court system!
We have had a beautiful summer here and I am loving painting in my new studio!
Have had a bear hanging around lately, I smell him in the early mornings every once in a while. They stink like old fish this time of year, yuck!
I have recently purchased Eric Wilson's DVD sets on pastel painting and feel like I am getting lessons for the first time! It is wonderful and I have learned so much from them. I would highly recommend them to anyone who is interested in painting animals. It has been really fun!

08-10-2013, 06:05 PM
Hi there Guys,

Carolynn here from Pert, Western Australia, the Soft Pastel Forum was where I began when I joined WC, for now I am hanging out in the Watercolour Forum.

Popped in to say hiand was surprised to stillsee people I know. I have also made many great friends over there as well.

Will go and have a nosey around and look at some of your paintings.

Love Carolynn.

08-13-2013, 07:58 AM
Okay, my post from this thread disappeared to the gremlin. Oh well.

I started sending out stories yesterday and will be sending one out today too. I'll also be putting some of my short stories up on Amazon in a few weeks once I get the hang of doing ebook prep. This is going to set off a spate of new small artworks too since I have to design covers for every single story or novel I publish indie.

When I go to doing short stories, that'll be a lot more of them than designing novel covers. Fortunately pastel lends itself to doing strong images that show up well in thumbnail. I can't get lost in fussy details doing the artwork in pastels and then typesetting in Gimp.

So that is my big news after resting up from jury service. It was an exhilarating but exhausting experience. I wound up just goofing off with Diablo III for days afterward and sleeping a lot.

In other news, I finally won past the "Normal" level in Diablo III. I did it with the barbarian fighter character first and then with the monk, finally yesterday got the wizard through to the win screen. These games take a long time to finish because I have to learn them all through their different acts and strategies for different character types. They're a good bargain for price by hours of entertainment because it takes so long to win.

This one also logs the hours you played a given character. That was interesting considering some types I won faster than others. Anyway, it's fu and that's some of what I've been doing when not being productive and creative. I also love the art in it, the backgrounds are fantastic landscapes and the characters are rendered well.

They also look like serious fantasy illustration and not like cartoon children, which is a look I dislike in most games. My childhood was a nightmare, I don't get into gaming to relive it. When I really was a child I fantasized about being grown and huge and muscled, not small, big headed and cute. The "Cute" style of games never appealed to me.

Diablo has dark illustrations but also realistic, representational art. The artists, numerous artists, are more into it like the CGI artists of good movies. Trying to make the unreal look real and plausible. Some of the monsters are ludicrous or outlandish and they still make them look plausible, more points in favor of it.

Oh and the angels look cool too, gothic armored beings of light that aren't always nice people. It's like a dark well written novel as much as a game, another thing I like about it. Stands up to serious replaying. There are four levels of difficulty and I never made it far in Nightmare in the previous game, we'll see how far I get in this one.

08-24-2013, 08:40 PM
Back online at last, yay! Site gremlin seems fixed. Yay! Feeling lots better with those two things.

In the past offline week, I wound up going nuts looking for something and sorted through literally ALL of my art supplies and magazines and books looking for one tool under $2 that I could not replace without having to spend $4 to get to Blick for it or $8 to get Blick to ship it. Really silly motive but I got Organized in a big way and found 20 other things I'd lost or missed and didn't know I had here till I found them looking for the tool.

Also finally finished assembling my good chair that a friend bought me. Had to get a maintenance bloke from the hotel to put the casters into the base, that was what held it up. The rest of the assembly went fine, albeit was some serious exercise for me. It was satisfying exercise. I accomplished something and the chair is wonderful.


Ten minutes in it did wonders for my back once it was assembled. I was surprised at how much good lumbar support changed how well I function. I've been doing without good seating since I lost the red armchair and it contributed to most of a year of hardly doing anything. Just blotto with pain from bad chair, pain caused exhaustion, never enough energy to do anything. Little logistics sometimes add up to huge results.

I put the red blanket on it to protect it from Ari's claws. So when I got up this morning, this is what I found:

Nicely padded seat meets with my cat's approval too. I just laughed out loud and had to get a picture. He looked so comfortable. Moments later I picked him up, sat down and put him in my lap. He didn't even move, just blinked at me and purred. He likes what the new chair does to the shape of my lap too and spent a good long lap snuggle with me afterward.

08-25-2013, 07:38 AM
Are the gremlins gone?

I haven't posted for a few weeks first because I was in France, and then because I haven't painted anything since I got back :(

It's exciting that you're writing, Robert. I sometimes miss my philosophical writing, but I certainly don't miss the academy. I would like to write outside the university, but I don't know where to start or if anyone would take me seriously or read my work.

I got called for jury duty a few years back, but asked to be excused because of uni studies and fatigue. I heard that between the prosecution and the defence they tend to weed out anyone who looks even slightly not-mainstream, and that includes students. So I probably wouldn't have been chosen.

We're moving house soon from a very crowded tiny flat made for one. I haven't got out my pastels because they take up space and make mess and I just don't feel motivated to get to work in this tiny living room where I do everything - eat, write, browse internet, knit, edit, and play video games. Also, I haven't had many successes recently - I did lots of paintings, but didn't like many of them.

A nice but very opinionated allergy doctor told us that getting a cat is like playing with fire, and there's a 50/50 chance husband will become allergic even though he isn't right now. I don't believe him. And I need fluffy babies in my life but don't think we can take right proper care of a dog.

08-25-2013, 12:52 PM
Cats are a lot easier to take care of than dogs. If your husband's not allergic now, don't buy trouble. I wouldn't believe that either. Cats are great company and a lot easier to keep in a small place. To them an apartment or room is a very large place, especially if there's lots of vertical furniture to run up on. I'd love to get Ari one of those cat trees to give him several levels of places to relax.

Yeah, that happens here too, that the lawyers tend to weed out anyone who's at all not-mainstream. Both sides are trying to get predictable jurors that'll lean in their direction. I would think they'd want liberals for some situations though, it probably depends on what it's about. Because it was domestic abuse by a man the defense was trying to toss anyone who might be sympathetic to the victim, including most of the women and one bloke who revealed that his wife worked at a women's shelter.

His case sounded awfully suspicious too - his defense rested on "he actually is a jerk but he's innocent of the crime. You can be obnoxious and not a criminal." So it sounded like the bloke was pretty much a creep and he was up against a very hard case, considering it was abuse and well, abusers do tend to be jerks! Predictable types of jerks. He was tossing anyone who knew anything about abuse patterns too. He was doing a good job with a lost cause in my view.

I didn't actually get called so I think I can talk about what the lawyers were doing, it wasn't confidential yet. The defense lawyer was not going to put his client on the stand for anything.

The one thing it's good for is story ideas though. I think back to it and that's interesting in itself. Put someone in a story who's that unsympathetic but actually innocent and it could be interesting - some detective piece or something.

08-26-2013, 04:47 AM
Well, one side might want someone liberal, but the other side won't. Between them they chop off the extremities (that's me, I'm an extremity:)).

That's a great idea - using real life for inspiration. Yes, an innocent but suspicious jerk would give a story more interest than all-bad villains and all-good heroes.

I've seen lots of cool ideas for cat furniture and cat trees made from other furniture - for example people were 'hacking' ikea bookshelves to make into cat trees. We've got to furnish a new, bigger apartment so I'm looking at what other people have done (on pinterest) to 'upcycle' and repurpose old furniture to save money and get awesome vintage-ness.

Shirl Parker
09-01-2013, 12:06 AM
Time for a new chat thread. Click here http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1327817