There it was, a jury summons. I get the mail, flip through the normal bills, flyers, stuff that instantly gets shredded, and then whisper, “Shit.” I looked just like the guy in the “Welcome to Jury Duty” video, or whatever they called it, who opens his mail and sees his jury notice, only I didn’t see him whisper, “Shit.”
And so began my odyssey to achieve, as the “Handbook for Illinois Jurors” says, a “higher opinion of the privilege enjoyed by the free citizens of our country to participate in the administration of justice.” My journey began almost like the stages of grief. There was the denial, the bargaining, the depression, the anger, and then finally the acceptance.
First came the denial.
Continue reading Helping Settle a Court Case
If you’re on Facebook long enough and have enough friends, eventually, if it hasn’t happened to you already, one of them will pass away. I remember the first time it happened to me – the odd post on someone’s wall that hints something is wrong. It could be a simple “I’m going to miss you and the times we shared” post, or the “I’m glad you are at peace now” post, or a post by a family member who is able to log into their account mentioning their dying. The first time I found it a bit unsettling, that here I am, on Facebook, finding out about someone I know dying, from their own timeline nonetheless. I also remember one time I was looking for a person I used to know, found their page, and found out they were dead. Damn. what a bummer. I wondered what happened to the good, old days, when you would find out with a phone call, but then part of me realizes that it’s probably easier to use Facebook so that you don’t have to deal with dozens of “explaining” what happened conversations, the “Let me know the funeral plans” and thereby being burdened with the responsibility of remembering to tell them said plans, or the uncomfortable, rehashing over and over, the person’s dying. Facebook: It’s how we notify, and avoid people.
Okay, back to dead people on Facebook…
Continue reading The Dead on Facebook
Ah, the middle of February. By now most of us have given up on our New Year’s resolutions, lost the excitement of changing our future, and it’s back to our normal, mundane lives where come December we’ll be like, “Where did the year go, and why didn’t I learn guitar like I said I would?”
But why? Why do we stop? Why can’t we keep the focus throughout the year?
I’m blaming it on the death of the paper calendar.
Continue reading The Promotional Calendar Isn’t Dead?
In my never-ending quest to better myself one of the thoughts that enters my head is the development of habits, both good and bad, and how I can build the better ones while eliminating the things in my daily life that are a little more detrimental. Now, as a Catholic at that almost time of Lent, there is the challenge to come up with something I should “give up” for the Lenten season. Yup, 40 days of eliminating something and in doing so remembering the suffering of Jesus prior to holy week, even though it’s really more than 40 days, and you may or may not be able to use Sunday as a cheat day depending on if you want to justify in your head that “it’s okay to have this chocolate bar because it’s Sunday,” instead of just sticking it out for the entire Lenten season. Many people use the time to try to eliminate a bad habit, some people to just “calm down” some badness, and others twist it the other way of adding something good during the season. It’s a timeframe that seems workable, gives a nice start and end date, and a belief that if it’s possible to change during Lent it will be easy to continue that change for the rest of your life. And, oh yea, don’t forget the Jesus suffering stuff.
My greatest success in Lenten abstinence was the year I decided to eliminate adding artificial sweeteners to my beverages, namely to my iced tea and coffee, which I’m happy to say was a successful habit removal development as I didn’t resume the practice after Lent was over. I also stopped drinking diet pop during that time, though that habit did kick back in for a few years until recently when all of the stories about the badness of artificial sweeteners finally got to me, and unless desperate for a carbonated beverage to sooth my upset tummy, the desire for my daily Diet Pepsi is now gone.
Continue reading Then It’s a Habit
I signed up for peach.cool last night. I’m told it’s the latest thing, like Facebook was the latest thing, like Twitter, like Snapchat, like Vine, like MySpace (Do the kids even know what MySpace is, or Prodigy, or AOL?), and because I want to be hip I had to be a part of it. Yup, you can find me with my username, @aplabis, which is also where you can find me on Twitter. You can also find me on MySpace at, hmm, what was I on MySpace? Oh, yea, The Dude on the Right. But don’t look for me on Snapchat, you’re better off looking for my mom-in-law, GrandmaEleanor, she’s a hoot.
Anywho, I signed up for Peach, made a quick post, found a cute GIF of puppies, and posted my weather, but as I write this I still have no friends. I could probably have friends, most likely searching for people I follow on Twitter by using their Twitter handle, or using some phone number search thing they have on Peach, but then I’m just now following the same people on Peach that I now follow on Twitter, which are also some of the same people I have as friends on Facebook, and a few of the people I know who use SnapChat.
Continue reading Maybe I’m Finally Old
I was fairly content in my lack of planning to see the new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” but then came the Facebook taunts. Thank God, as I wrote on my Facebook post, for “Best. Wife. Ever.”
Like many a Star Wars fan, as the publicity machine began, every new trailer brought the hope of the return of the franchise to the greatness it once was, the “Please don’t give away too much of the story” moments, and built the excitement in me to see the movie. Pre-sales for tickets were announced, but I was too big and slow, like the dinosaurs, in getting initial tickets for the Thursday night screenings, let alone the opening weekend. A little bummed I figured I would see it eventually, and then some jealousy would hit me when my nephew mentioned he was going to the Star Wars marathon.
Continue reading A Star Wars Quest
With Christmas season upon us, the decorations sprouting on houses that will annoy one and all when they aren’t taken down in a timely manner, and shopping in full force, there is one question that will be the toughest to answer, and that question is not what you should get your loved one so they won’t be disappointed, again, this year with your “thoughtful” gift that you picked up on Christmas Eve? No, the question will simply be, as you go to hang your Christmas wreath, should the bow go on the top or the bottom?
Continue reading The Wreath Bow Conundrum
Only I could somehow tie together a visit by the spirit of my Mom with farts that smell like brownies. It’s what I do, and here’s how I do it.
It was an evening like any other evening in our house. Milo was protecting us by barking at any little stirring outside, while my wife and I were preparing for a fun-filled evening on the couch. Suddenly the smell of brownies filled the air near our living room, drifted around the kitchen, down the hall, and I even smelled them a bit in my office. It seemed weird because we weren’t making brownies, we didn’t have any brownies, and the closest thing we had to the wonderful chocolatey goodness was this stuff called brownie brittle in the pantry. The problem? When my wife opened the pantry door there was no smell of brownies in the pantry.
Bummer, I was hoping for a surprise of homemade brownies.
Continue reading Brownie Farts Equal Awesome
I can’t believe I screwed this up.
After seven years of having the love of my life offer to iron my clothing, and my letting her, on a recent morning, on the oddness of my having to wear a suit, and with said suit a dress shirt, I started one of our morning conversations with “I think I’m going to…” She knew I had a meeting, she knew I needed a dress shirt, she cut me off and said, “Iron your shirt?” “The shirt’s fine,” I said, “and besides, I’ll be wearing a suit coat over it.” She insisted on inspecting my shirt, she decided it needed to be ironed (I still insist it was fine), and she ever so calmly nudged me to give ironing a try.
And here’s where I screwed up.
Continue reading Just Buy Wrinkle-Free Clothes
There was a story in Variety
the other day about the pay-TV sector losing customer to cord-cutters, like me. It was an interesting read, and between that article and the Republican Debate, to me it’s like the TV people don’t get it, kind of like the record companies were late to the party in the shifting of how people would get their music. They like their business model, like the pay-TV money rolling in, but seem to be going too slow to adopt the change in content delivery, and soon they’ll be playing catch-up and blaming people who steal their content for their losing money.
Continue reading Pay to Watch a Presidential Debate? I Wanted To.