Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Road Runner's family

What would I do without them? They are so sweet to read my blog. I told Road Runner that I feel like I know her family before even meeting them. (I check up on them too, via Road Runner's blog) When I do meet them, we'll be able to go out for drinks like we're old friends!
(I have a sneaky suspicion, however, that they may be reading it out of a secret hope of getting the "E! True Hollywood Story" of what Road Runner is like at work and play when not around family. In that respect, I'm afraid I must be a disappointment. She does well in isolating herself from the shady dealings of our co-workers.)
Not only does Road Runner's family constitute my entire audience, they are so helpful. Shore Turtle, thank you for your advice on submitting my site to search engines. Brilliant. I am also so impressed with all y'all's use of photos on your blog. Man, you guys rock! I will be copying you on your presentation ideas from time to time as I continue to get up to speed on this whole blogging thing.
Oh, and speaking of ideas - Road Runner suggested salt after a run. I had the best pickle of my life after you left.

Monday, August 29, 2005

tv show update

I have to follow up on this because I'm so excited that Kiki and I are "Filthy Rich: Cattle drive" buddies. I also feel compelled to clarify something. There are good shows out there. "MONK" is good show. Actually, it's a great show. I hear that there are others out there like "24," "Gilmore Girls" and "Alias" but since I didn't catch those on the ground floor, I feel like I missed them altogether. "Joan of Arcadia" is also surprisingly good, and while you may think it's like "7th Heaven" - it is not. There is a religious theme (usually not my cup of tea) - but it's done very smartly - more like universal morality, and in light of the possibility (presented in the show) that it may be true that she sees and talks to God or it may be that Joan has a mental illness, the show's layers are complex without getting too soap opera-y. So, don't get me wrong. I love tv.
And, having cleared all that up, another one to watch - purely for entertainment - is "Dog the Bounty Hunter." This is about a bounty hunter and his family who live in Hawaii, pray before going out to pick up fugitives, pray with the fugitive before handing him or her in to the police, Dog has done time for murder, and his wife is just in her own league. She's got this crazy big hair and (I have to say) crazy big rack - that unless it's on display when they go out (on a date, not a round-up - he does have standards), he won't take her out! Again, pure entertainment.
I can't watch the tattoo shows because, like Kiki, will want another one. I used to think I was safe because I only had one and didn't have an idea for others. Now I do know what I'd get.....but I told Cowboy I wouldn't - at least for the time being.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

disturbing co-worker behavior

I was at work today when a co-worker told me to be careful going home because a couple of weeks ago, on a corner near work, an incoming law student was badly beaten by a group of kids. She warned me about it because she didn't know if more groups of ruffians were making their way into town. Okay, wait. Was this a horrible tragedy, and should those kids be dealt with? ABSOLUTELY. Yet, I couldn't help thinking - do groups of delinquent kids move through in waves like rats? Her ominous warning sounded like we were in a pre-statehood territory and she done heard tell of a possible band of "injuns" coming this way. I guess her heart was in the right place. I shouldn't be so negative. But if you've ready anything of mine - you already know that I am rarely serious – dark and/or wry as my humor may be.

What I also found out about my crazy co-workers, however, warrants a negative comment. Something this same co-worker (as above) did and said made me wonder if she ever thought (or more than thought) about going through people's offices. I mostly dismissed that idea as a result of my general paranoia over getting fired. (trust me, every one in our office has some level of it). Well, the other day I found out that a different co-worker was "caught" going through someone else's office on a weekend. I say "caught" because it is not clear to me what that person was doing there. It IS clear that by all accounts; there was no reason for that person to be in the office while the office was unoccupied. How much more creepy can you get? I'm thinking about transferring offices. It's a little too (needlessly) intense here. I just turned in a first draft of a brief to my new supervisor after being warned repeatedly (granted only by one crazy co-worker) that I shouldn't giver this supervisor anything but perfection or she will forever label me as incompetent. Is incompetent better or worse than stupid? What about idiot? I'm just wondering which one to shoot for...

One last thing - am I the only one who doesn't see a psychiatrist? A few people (huh, also at work - imagine that.) have casually mentioned their "shrinks." I'm all for seeking help - this is one of the few times I'm not kidding - I just didn't realize the need was so prevalent. I thought mental health was taboo. I'm starting to feel left out...(okay that time I was kidding). Oh, and – the comment about “crazy co-workers” and the part about “shrinks” are complete non-sequiturs. Yikes. I’m diggin’ myself in deep.

Technological incompetence

I really wanted to add something so my last post is not the first you see if you should blunder into my site. I had a dream that I owned the scale used in the contest. On one hand it was a piece of history and a constant reminder of all the injustice in the world yet to be corrected. Mostly, though, I was disturbed by it.
So, I thought I'd write about my inability to master the basic technological skills required to maintain this site. As you can see, I reformatted. I thought I liked it until my formatting got screwed up somehow. Why are my sidebars not staying put??? I have all these cool links that I now have to scroll down to get to. This can't be right. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
My reformatting was all in response to wanting to spice up my blog. Road Runner and everyone she links to have all these great add-ons and tidbits. If I can't even get my standard sidebar in place, I'm never adding that other stuff.
A few posts ago I talked about expanding my site and getting my blog "out there" so that I would actually pop up when you google "buccaneer betty." As you can see from the above comments, I'm trying....I did a search this morning and found my name on Shore Turtle's blog. I've been looking at his blog for a while - very nice running site. But - that was it. I also did a search on "Golden Hind blog." Let's just say I know how to find a fish 'n chips place in London, but not how to access my blog. This is getting ridiculous. I'm thinking of changing the name. What do you think?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

"Niggers by the pound"

I've been meaning to blog about something that has been bothering me for the past few days. One of my clients sent me an internet news article about institutionalized racism in Cook County, IL. Here's the article.

The article talks about how there was a contest to see who would be the first to convict defendants who weighed a total of 4,000 pounds. Because most of the codefendants were African-American, this contest was referred to behind closed doors as "niggers by the pound." Formally, it was called the "two-ton contest." According to a study by the Chicago Tribune, since 12/31/77 there have been 326 state court convictions (207 of them in Cook County) reversed because of prosecutorial misconduct. One of the former prosecutors who was interviewed for the story has had six convictions reversed because of his misconduct - according to the article - no prosecutor in Cook County has had more reversals in the last 20 years. His comment? "I didn't do anything wrong."

I see dead people...or at least I want to

I heard that you can attend an autopsy at the county medical examiner's office, but I can't figure out how. Although I'm always disturbed by the autopsy or crime scene photos that run across me desk, something is pulling at me to do this. I have a habit of doing things just because they will be hard. Compulsion might be a better word for it. I'll let you know if I'm successful in my quest.

On a lighter note, Yay! Road runner has a forerunner too! She, of course, is already miles ahead of me (get it?) in terms of figuring it out. She also has a different model - she has one with a heart rate monitor. That seems a little advanced for me. Goodness, the one I have is currently too advanced for me.
The upshot is that Road Runner seems to like her "Garmina" and that makes me happy (even though I had nothing to do with it). I'm bummed that I couldn't go for a run with her and Garmina today. Lousy PLA...there is a kick-ass jury instruction issue though. I may just get this granted. Wouldn't it be funny to have my first oral argument on this complicated issue?

my new favorite show

every once in a while, tv surprises me. Not because there is some fantastic show that comes out that is brilliant. If that happens, the show inevitably sours. (Think X-Files, Law and Order, even West Wing is too preachy for me) Usually, what I am surprised by is the taste of the american population - as reflected in the tv shows. My new favorite show is "Filthy Rich, Cattle Drive." I actually just discovered it about 10 min ago. What can I say about a show that, within 10 minutes, has once rich girl (I don't know who she is yet) tell everyone that she has not ever looked so "uncute" before in her life - then "pull" a calf from a pregnant cow. I say "pull" because this really meant that she held onto the pulley while some hunky ranch hand pulled it from behind. Afterwards, she actually said that since she "let her guard down, she's really grown as a person." She then named the calf "Fred Segal" because it's her favorite store and she misses it. Right now they are bitching because they actually have to clean up. Before the birthing incident, the cattle boss had to tell them that if they want a clean cup to drink from, they have to wash out the cup they used before. One guy said he'd pay extra for more cups. This turned into an argument. Too funny. Can't wait for next week - the ranch crew take away cell phones and the "filthy rich" rebel! Gasp!
New show now - I think it's Jenny McCarthy interviewing strippers. That Jenny McCarthy, she's fun.
This is what never ceases to get me. How can one nation want to watch cops, filthy rich, american idol, fear factor, the list goes on and on. All this in addition to the non-reality programs. And I only have basic cable!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

GPS training

I got a Garmin Forerunner 201 for my birthday but it has been too hot for a delicate flower like me to use. I used it today and it's so awesome! I just did a basic 3.5 run - which took me a little longer than I wanted. I'm trying to get back into running after a spotty training period. It made me feel good to know that Road Runner and I have been running the distance we thought we were running. The Forerunner kept track of my distance, time, pace - everything. I came home and uploaded my stats in an effort to track my "progress." I also found out there's so much more I can do with it! I can set goal/distance/time goals and have it alert me when I finish a lap or am going too fast (not a problem) or too slow. I can also set a virtual partner who I can race. So far, I'm not too excited about chasing a little figure on the screen on my wrist. After all, that's what Road Runner is for.

mi practica en espanol

Necessito mucha practica en mi espanol. Por eso, voy a tratar a leer unos blogs en espanol. Esto es uno que is un poquito estrano. Creo que es un hombre que es enamorado con una mujer que esta casada. Si la is verdad, es muy triste. Ojala que no es correcto. Mi espanol es muy mal, y tal vez no entiendo.

Esto es un otro de un estudiante de las ciencias - especialmente de vinos y como hacer los. No entiendo muchas palabras pero voy a apprender.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Mins and the Maxs

No, this is not a mathematically oriented post (although I am a fan of math). I went to a maximum security prison yesterday. Here are some highlights of the tour. (note: get a snack - this is long)
Let me say right off the bat that I think most out of the 20 people from the office who went on the tour were depressed after taking the tour. I was not one of them. I was often right behind the guard in an effort to be the first one to see everything, unabashedly stared at the inmates, looked for guns and blind spots everywhere and listened to everything. Mind you, I was not giddy with delight at the conditions, but my heart does not bleed for them. Here we go:
Apparently, back in the day, the prisoners used to have full reign of the entire compound. They would be rounded up at night, counted in the morning, then let out. I can't imagine why this EVER sounded like a good idea - and it will come as no surprise when I tell you that people were raped, beaten, killed, and the staff members were all afraid to go to work. Here's a tidbit about a famous videotape that was "released" with Richard Speck (killed 8 nurses) sitting there with a mountain of cocaine, men dressed as women and wads of money on a table. Speck made the brilliant observation that he was living better in prison than most people were outside "the wall."
Now, the prisoners are generally in their cell 23 hours a day. They get an hour to go to lunch which starts at 9:30 a.m. They generally get gym 1x a week and yard 1x a week. No showers after yard, but showers after gym. Otherwise - one shower a week. Unless you work - then you can shower every day. They have a soap factory and a furniture making facility, where you can earn money according to your productivity. These jobs are really high in demand, and the soap factory just hired 5 guys who were on the waiting list since 1999. We talked to one guy at the soap factory who was in for 80 years, looked 15, and yet acted like he was ex-military. He must've been late 20's at least, though b/c he'd already done 15 years. We visited the commissary where you can buy shoes, sweats, and personal items like soda, ramen, soap, cigarettes. Things are generally at a discount, but not by too much.
We saw the lunch rooms (3 of them) where everyone eats in shifts. Meals are prepared by the inmates. (Side note: I have a client doing this and now wants to be transferred to a prison with a culinary arts program). The lunch rooms are in a "Round house" with a guard center at the top looking down into each. If things get out of hand, there is one warning shot, and everyone knows that if they don't stop fighting - the next one is on them. This happens about every two weeks despite the rule that you cannot pick your seat and can only get up to get water.
We saw the gym (HOT! no air conditioning in most places), the yard, the law library, the school, the hospital, and segregation.
Most people were scared by segregation. To be sure - it was intimidating. The guards warned us that whenever tours come through "they act a fool." Sure enough. We stepped inside and hear one giant yell "tour." EVERYONE started yelling. There's a little walkway, then you enter the Round House. Imagine the Senate scenes in the new Star Wars - they surround you, and yet they are faceless. I think there are 6 levels, and all in a circle. You walk into this pit, and I felt like I was the Christian about to be eaten by a lion. I was amazed at the intensity. Everyone was whistling, pounding on their cell doors, yelling their cell number so you'd be able to pick them out of the roaring chaos. Lots of lewd comments to the women on the tour and lots of yelling about how the guards are poisoning them. It was SO LOUD. Despite the content of the comments, I wasn't freaked out by this room. It was a fascinating to me - especially because everyone was acting like angry gorilla's, pounding and yelling, and then I look over and see this guy wiping down his cell. I know you have to do something major to get put in seg, so to see someone who (presumably) had a disregard for the rules at one point so concerned with the cleanliness of his cell.
The part that did freak me out was the hospital - particularly the mental health section. Everyone was locked up, and plenty of them were naked (after being deemed a risk to themselves or others) and although a few of them were loud, what freaked me out was the look in their eyes. There was no doubt something was wrong with them. There's no way I can describe this to you. I will tell you, though, that a few of them put on a show - complete with maniacal laughing. Whether intentional to freak us out - I don't know. It worked in my case.
Other tidbits of the tour - everyone gave you their unsolicited opinion. We asked how many people were on anti-psychotic meds. One nurse (not the one we were talking to) answered "too many." A few years ago, apparently there were only 73, now there are over 300. I'm not a doctor - I don't even play one on tv - but I disagreed with her "too many." I see clients all the time who need some type of mental health treatment (perhaps not anti-psychotic meds) and don't get it. I think we need to do more for mental health before it gets to the prison level.....(soap-box coming on...must not get side-tracked).
The guards seemed straight with us. They told us that the majority (almost all) of the contraband that prisoners get, come from staff members on the take. It usually starts with something simple like mailing an envelope for $500. Even I was tempted to offer my services for that. Then, you smuggle in drugs or weapons. Eventually, the guy turns you in and you are done for. According to the guards, some female guards, after being pursued by staff members, cross the lines to go with the inmates. One guard said "they have great game." That's how they get women to write them, talk to them, visit them. (The warden told us that men somehow always stay supported in prison no matter what crime they've committed, but women offenders are left alone once in prison.) It's not uncommon for males to get numbers and contacts out of tour visitors. People get married too - no conjugal visits though. According to one guard, the wife will come and visit, get the inmate all worked up, then the inmate will go back and have sex with his cellie (cellmate) and she'll go back and have sex with whomever she's with. Nice.
Sex between inmates is a given. Everyone is someone's "girlfriend." The guards try not to put a "predator" with a "vulnerable" if they know about it. They will put two predators together and "let them go at it." They will generally not put a guy new to the system with a guy that's been in the system a while - for the same reason. I guess you want to slowly introduce the new guy to involuntary homosexual activities. Showers are 15 guys locked in, the guards leave, whatever happens, happens. If it's clear someone has been violated, they can at least narrow it down to 14 suspects. The soap factory guy (remember him?) was a pretty boy - one that I'm sure had a hard time at first. In fact - his boss (a female) seemed to be looking him over too.
No one seemed particularly concerned about safety. The guards frequently had their backs to unshackled prisoners, prisoners were within arms length of us at many points, again, they were unshackled.
There are a couple of codes - inmates don't like child molesters, rapists, or those who disrespect female staff. Hmm...good to have standards.
I'll leave you with the highlights - as we were leaving seg, one inmate yelled, "all you bitches are ugly, except for the one in the brown shirt and long skirt." I was not wearing the brown shirt and the long skirt.
Also, my favorite part of the tour was "Billy" the pet groundhog they had trained like a dog. I especially liked it when they complained that they even had Billy locked up and pled for his release. I couldn't help but wonder if they had tried to train Billy to burrow a big enough hole under the fence.