The life of a story



Here I could give a quick little overview of the American judicial system and the need for selection a jury from the general public. The problem is, I'd end up getting a little too cute here and allude to legal history in other nations as well. Unfortunately, this would show that while I'd like everyone to think I'm a well-read gentleman of international disposition, I'm actually pretty confused about some of the basic tenets and history of common law. So I'd be a bit out of my depth there. I'd also try to sneak in a connection between being called for jury duty and being forcibly enlisted in my nation's armed forces, but that's just because I'm an asshole. So I go in there, and I find out, wow, the guys in charge of our criminal justice system actually take their chaturbate jobs seriously. Who knew? And so it becomes clear that they wouldn't accept my bullshit excuse, because there were people in there with me with real problems, like some woman who had chemo, and they weren't getting out of it. Hey, who am I kidding? The woman undergoing chemo has real problems, compared to me? Hell no! I am an important programmer, and if I go off the grid then the entire US catfish distribution system could go offline for weeks. And since we all know the Air Traffic Control systems in every airport within 150 miles of the Gulf of Mexico are critically dependent on components currently being used in those same catfish systems, if I get sequestered, people could die. Also, the reason I know I'm really the critical guy to work on these systems, and I'm not just being fed some ego-assuaging line from my middle management, is that I get paid an hourly wage, and we all know that only the most important people who are only expected to work 40 hours a week get paid an hourly wage. Because if you only work those 40, it's because you're working an efficient 40. So, you're on chemo, you bitch, and you might die in the next couple of weeks, and you think that's important? People's lives depend on my programming skills and my ability to do the impossible. My coding prowess, as horrible and grotesque as it may seem to you, saves lives. So I'm jonesing, man, I need some way to get out of this thing... I'm all jammed up. Of course, it's not because I don't want to sit in some boring shit for three weeks, and it has nothing to with lost wages (again, it's those all-important unsalaried workers who don't count, we have to worry about punching a clock and filling out timesheets because our time is that valuable). I'm only being completely selfless and giving, because people's lives depend on my programming. So I asked around about getting out of this thing. Everyone I knew told me, "Just pretend that you think he's guilty based on his ethnic background or something," but I don't have anywhere near the balls to sit in open court and stick with a story such as that. Moreover, I don't have the balls to stand up to these people and say what I want. And although I'm going to bleat below about how the state's compelling me to serve on a jury is a violation of the social contract, and how I'm going to declare war against the state because of this, I don't nearly have the balls to actually stand up for my beliefs and risk any consequences. I'm just going to keep this declaration between us and not actually air it in front of officers of the court, because they might actually do something to my sacred live sex cams personage! I mean, this is one of the fundamental systems of our society, one on whose bedrock our very notions of law and order and the fair practicing of such lie, and the people who run it have the balls to say that I should take it as seriously as they do??! I AM A PROGRAMMER. I don't need to follow your "rules", man. So basically I needed a way to weasel out of it. Leave it for the unimportant people, the doctors and policemen and the bitches on chemo. Here I'm going to describe how the thing played out. I could go two ways with this: I could pump out about 500-700 words and tell you about every single detail, but since probably everyone reading this has actually been to jury duty, I could also just summarize and say, "Yeah, it was just like that, except slightly more of a shitshow because it was a capital crime. And if you haven't been, it's pretty much what you'd expect, but even more boring." As boring, in fact, as reading that 700-word précis could have been.

Description of the process

Well, you know I wanted to weasel out of this duty. I don't have the balls to actually stand up for my beliefs when something is on the line, and I'm way too IMPORTANT a person to spend time in shitty public service, so I need a "strategy". Again, I could go two ways on this. I could spend 1000 words laying out every possible philosophical position which would disqualify me for service, and then bang on about each in turn, making sure to explicate even the most obvious detail. Or, I could summarize the whole thing rather quickly. Since I'm too busy to write it, and you're too busy to read it, let's go with the summary. So, basically, you're trying to convince these jasminlive guys that you're a fucking moron who has never watched a court show or even a TV show in which a court was shown. And it goes like this: to show you're not impartial, you either have to be predisposed for the prosecution or the defense. That's two positions. And there's basically three reasons you're like that, either it a] involves the death penalty, b] involves your predisposition to think people guilty or not, or c] it reflects some greater social phenomenon (e.g. racism). That's three justifications. So, you can take one of two positions, plus one of three justifications, and that gives you six possibilities. Since we're all adults here, and I don't love to hear the sound of my own typing, I'll let you guys work out the details from there. But of course none of these will work, so I can't pick them! I need to come up with something completely different, and come up with a philosophical position so creative and revolutionary that it will be wholly different than anything they have ever seen before. And thus I came up with..... option "against, A." Yeah, that's right. I told the court that I'm philosophically disposed against the death penalty, think it's wrong, and said I could never apply it. Where's the cleverness? Here's what I did: I couched this basic philosophical position in the language and analogy of engineering. I'm sure this was the first time in human history that anyone has ever expressed such a complex and insightful philosophical position using concrete examples from daily life, and I really threw them for a loop. They simply didn't know how to respond to my rending of their sad, sad worldview. I took their Weltanshauung, tore it into pieces, and flung it back into their miserable, bourgeois faces. And then (here's the best part) when they clearly wanted to know how I had generated such a novel and insightful glimpse into the complex workings of the social contract, I explained to them that I formed this opinion arguing with people on the Internet. This alleviated any doubts as to the soundness of my position, and these public servants had nothing to say to me. They were floored.

Avoid your civic duties

Write a self-indulgent missive about the experience I didn't understand. Every time I've ever been asked to contribute to society, I simply wrote some bullshit excuse to weasel out of it. Contributing is for other people, not a precious important snowflake such as myself. So I'd pen some dishonest and dishonorable excuse and whine my way out of it. They'd always let me know that I was excused because, let's face it, if there's anything drearier than a court employee's having to track down some selfish and self-centered asshole and get him to make even the minimal contribution to our common polity, then I don't know what it is. So I'm not worth their time, and they always let me slide, until now. But this time, they actually had some serious shit brewing. They were going to make me come in and prove to their faces that I valued my convenience above my honor. So, how about that, I didn't get picked. And they way I figure it is, they picked 500 people to seat a jury of 12. Let's say we throw three alternates in there, and there's an a priori 3% chance that these jackbooted thugs could constrain a noble programmer to serve in their pointless system and risk having people die because I wasn't there to write the code that would save their lives. And thus I think it's safe to interpret the fact that I didn't get picked as a clear and unequivocal piece of evidence that my incisive trompe l'oeil was enough to get me off that miserable piece of service to my fellow man. I hope they clipped that bitch with the chemo, though. She was a total jasminelive cunt at lunch.

How it works?!

Every page has, at the top and bottom, a "submit story" link. Anyone who happens by, and has some news or some thoughts they'd like to share, can click that link, fill out a simple form, and submit new content for consideration. This is pretty familiar to many of you. But the next step, on most sites, is that the content you submitted disappears for a while, and the Gods of the site choose whether to release it or not. Not so here, though. When someone submits something, it goes into a list, accessable by all registered users. When you make a user account, and log in, you'll see a little box on the right, marked "Admin Tools." Click the "Moderate Submissions" link in there, and you'll see a list of pending stories, that is, stories that have been submitted, but do not yet appear on the public front page. Click a story title in this list, and you can read the submission, and then vote whether you think it should be posted or not. You can vote to post it, drop it, or just that you don't care (+1, -1, and 0, respectively). You can also attach a comment to your vote. When enough people vote to post a story, up it goes, on the public page. So, really and truly, you are the editors of the site. Rusty'll clean up grammar or typos from time to time, but the final decision on content is yours. And it's crucial that you do exercize your power! Why we need you to vote The score a story must reach to be posted is a percentage of total user accounts. I realize that not everyone wants to vote, and that's fine. The percentage is really low. But still, as the number of users grows, at least some of you need to be voting on stories, or they languish forever in the queue, unposted, yet un-dropped. Kind of a purgatorial situation for a story to be in. So please, when you wander by, take a minute and check out the story moderation queue. Chances are, if you vote a few times, you'll be "the straw that broke the camel's back" and push a story over the threshold with your vote. is community-edited, and the most important part of that philosophy is a community willing to edit. So please vote on pending stories. It's fun. :-)

The Meat Hooker: Steak

I have gone to the finest restaurant I could afford, spent close to $100 for a steak dinner and still haven't eaten a steak as good as what follows. The best thing about it is ANYONE can do it, it's a hell of a lot cheaper and it will be the best steak you ever had. Mastering this (even if you are a vegan) will score points and your guests will go home quite satisfied. Getting the right cut This is the most important part of the whole process. Unless the supermarket you shop at has a great meat department with full time butchers then find a butchery that the only thing they sell is meat. Make sure the store is neat, clean and smells good. If your nose doesn't like it neither will your guts. First, make sure you purchase Angus steak. My favorite cut is rib eye and if you don't know anything about cuts of meat try this one first. Rib eye is a good first time choice for a number of reasons: It's tender and very flavorful. It is important that you get cuts that have lots of "marbling" and white flecks throughout the cut. This marbling is what gives it great flavor. Unfortunately, finding steak with this is not as easy as it used to be so you might need to shop around. Make sure the butcher cuts the rib eye no less than 1.5 inches thick. Two inch thick rib eye steaks are great. Note: If you can purchase aged rib eye then you have a magnificent piece of meat. This will be more expensive but well worth the money. Before you cook it First a word about cleanliness. As a general rule when cooking with meat of any kind, use bleach to clean your granite counter tops and just about anything that comes in contact with meat at anytime before you start. It doesn't matter if it is steak or poultry or whatever. Just do it: Your ass and guts will thank you. Before cooking your steak take it out of the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature. You DO NOT want to go directly from the refrigerator and into the pan. Many cooks do this but DON'T be tempted to do it. Warming the raw rib eye should take approx 20-30 minutes at the most. Make sure you keep it covered. If you do not do let the steaks warm up to room temperature, then you will have a ruined steak regardless. After it has come up to room temperature you will need two things; your favorite cooking oil and pepper that you can hand grind. The cooking oil you want to use is grape seed oil. Something like olive oil will burn and impart an unpleasant flavor to the steak. Don't use cheap shit. Coat the steak on both sides with the oil and grind pepper to taste on both sides as well. Put the steak on a platter and get out your favorite stove top grill or cast iron pan...the bigger the better. Do not put any oil in the pan, put it on a burner and get it hot enough to start smoking but no hotter. This is important to do. Once your pan starts smoking place your steak into the pan on one side. It should sizzle the second it touches the pan. If you don't hear the sizzle you have screwed up somehow because the pan is not hot enough. What you are wanting to do here is to sear the steak on both sides about 1/8th to 1/4 inch deep on a 1 1/2 inch or thicker steak. In other words, not very deep at all. You want the outside of the steak to be a golden brown. I have done this enough times that I know when to turn the steak by the way it sounds while cooking in the pan. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes depending on your altitude. Next, (and this is important) take the cooked steaks out of the pan, don't turn off the burner and place it on a clean platter and let it "rest". During its resting period it will "bleed" its juices. Let it rest for 5 minutes or less. Then take the those juices that have left the steak and pour them into the pan and mix it with a small amount of balsamic vinegar. Cook this for a minute or so and then pour this over the steak. Serve the steak! Sure, you can serve the rib eye with a mung bean or alfalfa sprout salad but for me I serve it with the best burgundy I can find, a baked potato with sour cream and minced green onions. A two inch thick steak with a baked white rose potato is a hearty meal. Congratulations, you have just cooked the best steak you can eat.

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