Unconscious Mutterings Week 296


I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Hearing :: Seeing

  2. Aggression :: Testosterone

  3. Charged :: Fully

  4. Traveler :: World

  5. Hydrate :: Water

  6. Detox :: Clean up

  7. Qualify :: Make the cut

  8. Prison :: Garb

  9. Frontal :: Full (lol)

  10. Pep talk :: Pep rally

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Glutton for Punishment . . .

So, Juror #17 is not happy. He is not happy at all. Juror #17 is the one who requested to be excused from the Brian Nichols trial just before it was set to begin. He's the one the Judge made a shadow juror, ordered to sit in the audience gallery every day until the end of the trial.

Today, Juror #17 was upset that he hadn't been receiving is court-paid drink during breaks in the trial. I mean, really? He's also upset that his photo has been shown in the media. Evidently, his friends are making fun of him. Wah. So, for now, no more photos as the Judge ordered photographers to avoid taking his picture. There was some additional back and forth between the Judge and Juror #17 which you can read about over at the AJC.

The defense lost in their attempt to question one of the rape prosecutors (Nichols was on trial for rape when he committed these murders) about her drug use while working at the D.A.'s office. Their theory is that because the D.A. is aware of the drug use that she is beholden to him, thus would be willing to testify more favorably for the prosecution. The Judge denied their motion to strike her testimony, and also refused to allow the defense to question her on the drug use.

The jury has already heard testimony dealing with Nichols' attempts to bring items into the jail during the rape trial. I remember hearing about him having shanks in his shoes. However, one of the former deputies who used to guard him said she was constantly preventing him to bring ink pens into the jail. Evidently, he'd stick them into his Bible during the trial and attempt to take them into the jail. They're contraband because they're considered weapons. Inmates are only given rubber pens to use.

Both the former prosecutor and deputy have testified about Nichols demeanor during the rape trial and have said they thought him lucid and completely cold and calculating. The rape case was a retrial, and supposedly the prosecution was presenting a much stronger case the second time around. The theory is that Nichols realized he was probably going to be convicted and sentenced. The former deputy also testified that she believed Nichols tried to create a mistrial by attempted to place himself within the view of a juror when he was shackled. The U.S. Supreme Court case of Deck v. Missouri prevents the use of physical restraints on a defendant unless that use is justified by an essential state interest, such as courtroom security specific to the defendant. Nichols' former defense attorney brought up the possibility during the rape trial, but the juror denied seeing him.

Here's what bothers me. I have a hard time believing Nichols didn't know exactly what he was doing. During the second rape trial he told the prosecutor she was doing a much better job during the second trial. He repeatedly tried to sneak contraband into the jail. He supposedly attempted to obtain a mistrial by having a juror see him in shackles. The way he executed the murders and his escape from downtown seemed extremely well thought out, and certainly not an instantaneous and lucky occurrence.

We know he committed the crimes, and I believe most people in Atlanta do not think there is an actual issue regarding his mental capacity when this happened. I could be wrong, it's happened before. That's why I do look forward to hearing the defense's case.

Back to Basics . . .

When I first started this blog it was intended to basically chronicle two things: bootcamp (which I'm so sad I'm not able to do my old bootcamp anymore) and legal happenings. With that in mind, I'm hoping to pick these two topics back up.

First, I've pretty much decided I'm going to do the ING Georgia Half-Marathon in 2009. All I need to do is sign up and start training. Motivation, please? I really, really enjoyed participating in the race in 2007, and this year as a volunteer just made me sad. So, I plan to just sign up and go, and hope you all will listen to me moan about the sore muscles and feet. Okay? Thanks!

Second, I'm planning to post once or twice a week my thoughts on the Brian Nichols murder trial as it progresses. This is a story that has been going on in Atlanta for three and a half years. If you're unfamiliar at all with this case you can read more on the AJC's website. They have a whole Brian Nichols section which pretty much covers the last month or so.

I can remember sitting in The Flying Biscuit with some law school classmates when this happened. Our morning class was canceled and we decided to go eat breakfast. A classmate of ours called to see where we were and to let us know they were blocking off all the streets downtown. At that point, we just knew there had been a shooting. As the day progressed, we learned a judge, court reporter, sheriff's officer, and federal agent were all dead, another sheriff's officer was critically injured, and the authorities had no idea where Brian Nichols was. In the five years that I've lived in Atlanta, that Friday (and Saturday up until Nichols was arrested) has been the only night I was scared to stay alone in my apartment.

Anyway, today was the first day of the Nichols trial. It's stretched through tons of delays and hundreds of potential jurors. Nichols pled not guilty by reason of insanity and I'm interested to see how the defense is going to argue this to the jury. The big news from today? Prosecutors played the courtroom tape of the shooting during their opening arguments. I imagine that was extremely intense for everyone. The most interesting thing? A male juror requested he be dismissed from the jury for emotional, mental and dental reasons. What did Judge Bodiford do? He removed him from the jury, but ordered him to sit in the courtroom every day during the trial, but he will be unable to participate in deliberations at all. He's pretty much a shadow juror, or as the AJC put it, he's been put in "adult detention."

Honestly, I really was relieved that I didn't get called for jury duty for this case. I doubt that I would've been chosen to serve if I had received a summons, but I would've done it if I had. I would love to sit on a jury, although I would prefer it wasn't one that was expected to last three to four months. But to have told the attorneys and the judge that you were willing to serve and then request to be relieved on the morning of trial? It's unfair to everyone involved, especially the jurors who are sitting on this case.

I suppose this case hits close to home for me because I practice in the courthouse where this took place, as do many of my friends. I have followed an attorney and his client through a metal detector in another Metro Atlanta courthouse, only to have the client be arrested for having a loaded gun in the bag he sent through the x-ray machine. What's worse? I later sat by his attorney at counsel table in my assigned courtroom. Once I was excused from the courtroom by the Judge, I promptly went to the bathroom and vomited. Seriously. My Mom had one of her client's go berserk after a bond hearing. He poured poison down his throat and tasered numerous officers and attorneys as they tried to get him under control. This is something I think about nearly every time I walk into a courthouse for a case and it's scary. Unfortunately, it's something that attorneys have to worry about constantly, and not only with regard to the courtroom.

So, I'll be following the case here as things happen. Not up to the minute by any means, but as my thoughts on the case prompt me.

Unconscious Mutterings Week 295


I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Heist :: Gene Hackman

  2. Hack :: Compter

  3. Dane :: Great

  4. Stings :: Burns

  5. Monkey :: See, Monkey Do

  6. Junkie :: XL

  7. Pumped :: Excited

  8. Brass :: Monkey

  9. Fight! :: Club

  10. Vouch :: Guarantee

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366 Pictures: #246 Swing


I originally took this picture for the "lonely" them. There was a nice breeze this afternoon and the swings were just barely moving back and forth. I thought they looked quite lonely without kids playing on them. Once I got home and checked my theme list, I changed my mind.

Date: September 20, 2008.

366 Pictures: #220 Bridge


This is the Vickery Creek covered bridge. It's very close to the ruins of the Roswell Mill which has some interesting history. The mill was where the "Roswell Gray" confederate uniforms were made. During the Atlanta campaign the mill was burned by General Sherman.

I didn't walk up to the ruins since it was just me wandering around today. Hopefully soon.

Date: September 20, 2008.

366 Pictures: #40 Bench


I wandered upon the Founders Cemetery in Roswell today. It was used as the city's burial grounds from 1841 until 1860. This bench overlooks the more decorative headstones. I loved the large shade tree standing over the bench, as well as the crookedness of the bench itself.

Date: September 20, 2008.

366 Pictures: #249 Knife


Preparing dinner, slicing up a bell pepper for some stirfry.

Date: September 17, 2008.

Unconscious Mutterings Week 294


I'm really late on this week's UM, but better late than never!

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Cut the crap :: Stop it!

  2. Scent :: Perfume

  3. Vanishing :: Disappearing

  4. Wetness :: Sweat

  5. Cheap :: Bargain

  6. Badges :: Of honor

  7. Puppy :: Adorable

  8. Problem solver :: This is not me

  9. Gambling :: Slots

  10. Sophia :: Loren

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Unconscious Mutterings Week 293


I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. House :: Clean

  2. Think :: Too tired

  3. Clot :: Blood

  4. Believe me :: Trust me

  5. Fumigation :: Pests

  6. Bore :: Accounting

  7. Luck :: Lottery

  8. Patient :: Doctor

  9. Tremors :: Earthquake

  10. Pickles :: Fried Dill

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The 100 Things Meme

So, I was directed to this website today to determine how many of the "100 Things You Should Eat Before You Die" I had tried. I'm almost halfway there, which isn't too bad, right? Although, there are some things on the list I doubt I'll ever try. Roadkill, anyone?

Foods I've tried are underlined. If I've counted right, there are 47.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O shot
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Single malt whisky
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
100. Snake

366 Pictures: #342 Summer


To me, beaches and summer go hand in hand. This is a partially black sand beach we drove past while exploring the island. I can't remember it's exact location, but it's somewhere between San Juan and Arecibo.

Date: August 24, 2008.

366 Pictures: #69 Tangled


I love the way this picture turned out. I have no idea why, but I do. It's of a tree within the El Yunque rain forest. I think these branches and berries look like they are all one tangled mass.

Date: August 29, 2008.

366 Pictures: #94 Post Box


This is the post office and U.S. Courthouse in San Juan.

Date: August 28, 2008.

366 Pictures: #292 Distance


This is the view from the Yohaku Tower in the El Yunque rain forest.

Date: August 29, 2008.

366 Pictures: #365 Forest


Taken in the El Yunque rain forest.

Date: August 29, 2008.

366 Pictures: #314 Queue


A line of cars on Caleta de San Juan.

Date: September 25, 2008.

366 Pictures: #11 Knot


The closure mechanism on my new necklace -- a knot.


This is the charm on the necklace. If you look close you can see a palm tree stamp.

Date: September 1, 2008.

366 Pictures: #180 Forbidden


This one should be self-explanatory.

Date: September 1, 2008.

366 Pictures: #96 Reminder


This is the loot I brought home from Puerto Rico. Constant reminders of my trip, from the top left we have: butterfly artwork, capiz shell windchimes, biobay t-shirt, mi madre hot sauce, a little ceramic bird whistle, almond cream, a pair of glass blown earrings, a necklace, a handmade vejigante mask, a copper bookmark, homemade chimichurri sauce, and koqi hot sauce.

Date: September 1, 2008.

366 Pictures: #177 Fireworks


This is a play on fireworks. I bought this Mi Madre hot sauce in Puerto Rico. It's super yummy!

Date: September 1, 2008.

Unconscious Mutterings Week 292


I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Groceries :: Fully stocked

  2. Deodorant :: Dove

  3. Psychic :: Bowling (I just read an essay by Chuck Klosterman about these two things!)

  4. Cherries :: On top

  5. Spooky :: Ghosts

  6. Yogurt :: Parfait

  7. Kitchen :: Table

  8. Nothing personal :: Just buisness

  9. Be nice :: Rewind (Oh, wait! That's "Be Kind, Rewind!")

  10. Delivery :: Chinese

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366 Pictures: #354 Beach


This is one of many beautiful photos I managed to get while watching a stunning sunset in Rincon. It was the only sunset we actually had a chance to see since our condo was on the Northeast side of island. We had the sunrise instead of the sunset. I did manage to wake up early enough to watch part of the sunrise from our balcony one morning, but I wasn't functioning enough to manage pictures. :)

Date: August 27, 2008.

366 Pictures: #173 Wild


There are lizards all over Puerto Rico. We saw them everywhere, but especially in the rain forest. I spotted this guy hanging around between two walls and he stuck his head out just enough for me to get a good picture of him.


I spotted this little guy hopping around in the grass and lower limbs in the rain forest. It's a baby lizard! I couldn't get too close without scaring him off. Unfortunately, this means that his body, rather than his face, is more in focus. But, he's still cute.

Date: August 29, 2008.

366 Pictures: #255 Jagged


This is a totem pole which is the center portion of the Plaza del Quinto Centenario in San Juan. It's made entirely of wood and has a nice, jaggedness to it.

August 25, 2008.