September 14th, 2009

SMOF Zone

SMOFs Over Austin

If you're planning to go to SMOFCon 27 in Austin this December and live somewhere served by Alaska Airlines, you may be able to take advantage of a one-day airfare sale Alaska is running today only (Monday, September 14). The discount code is EC8752 and it's good for a 30% discount to/from Austin during the time period that includes this year's SMOFCon. I booked my ticket from San Jose to Austin this morning and it cost only $70 each way before taxes and fees. Mind you, that's the "nerd bird" flight -- there's only one flight per day on that particular route, and the timing is not good for people who need to be at the con on Sunday afternoon but also need to be back in the Bay Area that night, as the departure from Austin is at 3 PM.

(They're also running a 30% off one-day sale between Oakland and Kona or Maui (same discount code as above) Unfortunately, I can't take advantage of fares as low as $165 each way before taxes as I have no time nor hotel money for it.)
Business Meeting

Escape from Jury Duty

This morning I drove to Union City (they still have free parking in the east-side city-owned lots) and took BART up to Oakland and arrived at the Alameda County Courthouse in plenty of time for the 8:30 jury call, which actually didn't really get going until closer to 9 AM.

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When the court reconvened, the judge began reading off the names of people who he was letting go. Unlike the earlier roll calls, this was in random order, based on the stack of request papers in front of him, so everyone was on the edge of their hard wooden seats waiting to see if their excuses were sufficient. Just as I feared he was about to run out of papers, he turned a page and said, "Kevin Standlee?"

I stood and said, "Here."

He said, "Thank you, Mr. Standlee; you are excused."

And that was that. I turned in my juror badge and left. I'm now clear for at least one year.

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Getting back to Union City, and after stopping to have lunch and pick up a couple of small groceries from the Safeway near the BART station, I went back to my van and was first relieved to find that I had indeed remembered to turn off the headlights and horrified to discover that I'd left the van unlocked. No harm done, however, and I headed home.

I'm not adverse to doing my civic duty, and indeed, aside from the long time commitment, I had no reason not to want to be on the jury. But that time commitment would have been formidable, and not only would have cost me an airline ticket, but would certainly have done no good for my goodwill account at work, no matter what the laws on jury duty are.

I also tell myself that it is unlikely I would have survived the voir dire process, as I expected at least one of the counsels to toss me on a peremptory challenge.