$750 Per Gram

I've been thinking about traveling to New Zealand. One cool fact that came up was that cocaine is $750 per gram in New Zealand. This compares to $150 per gram in the United States, and only $2 per gram in Columbia. Wow, Columbia is one happening country! Another interesting fact I found out was that the average cocaine users will use 0.1 to 0.2 grams in a night (this equates to 2-4 lines).

Just thought I'd share the knowledge so you don't look stupid when you're trying to sound cool with your friends. Remember if you're trying to brag about the biggest hit you've ever done don't go much over a gram or your friends will know you're lying cause you'd be dead.



I grew up with two dogs and two cats. My favorite pet was my chocolate lab, Heathy. We were total buddies and did a lot of running around and playing in the woods. His favorite job was tiring out my arm by retrieving anything I could throw (tennis balls, sticks, logs, Frisbees, my sister ...).

I know I don’t have time for a dog in my life right now, but I have thought about getting a cat a few times. I never have gotten one though because I know even a cat will take up a lot of my time. Anyways I’ve been thinking about getting a cat again. I’ve told myself I won’t get one before the end of August since I don’t want to jump into something like this. If I still want a cat then I’ll be more confident that I will remain happy with a cat in the long term.

While I really feel for the cats/kittens in shelters, I am hesitant to go with a pet that I don’t know what its personality will be like. I’m looking for a very active and playful type cat that has a lot of dog like traits. Currently one of my favorite breeds is the Devon Rex. Check out this link for a description of the Devon Rex breed and some pictures of this strange looking cat.

If anyone has any other good ideas of cats I might like let me know.

District Championships

I took off work this past Friday and spent the day at the Pilgrim Blades rink in Hingham, MA. It was the ISI ice skating district championships. To get the suspense out of the way. No, there wasn't any other males competing at the Delta level, and yes I did get the gold medal when skating against the book. That makes three competitions and three gold medals. Next time I skate in a competition will be in fall. I will be skating at a higher level so it should be more of a challenge for me to get a gold medal even if there is nobody to skate against, but hopefully I'll get some real competition at a higher level.

I didn't skate until 8:00 pm, so I spent the rest of the day watching my friends skate and volunteering at the music and announcing booth. I did two shifts of volunteering and each lasted around an hour. The most memorable moment of this these two sessions happened about half way through the second hour. I was working the music at the time and a skater had a "wardrobe" malfunction. This skater was wearing a dress that had a band of fabric that went around her neck the held the front of her dress up, and well this clip holding band around her neck unclipped in the middle of her routine and the front of her dress fell down. It happened right in front of me and the face the girl made was priceless. It wasn't too terrible since nothing too private was visible and after that initial shock she handled it well and skated over to her coach who fixed the dress. I was sitting behind the judges and heard them talking about how things should proceed. The final decision was that she would continue from the point where she had the malfunction. Since I was running the music at the time it was my job to rewind the music and hit play (aren't I amazing!).

Overall it was a great day. I'm already looking forward to next year.


My Little Brother

In previous blog posts I’ve talked about my experience volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Then I went into what the interview process was like, and the last post I made was about my first meeting with my little. Now I’ll give you a quick summary on how things have gone during the past month.

I took him to a movie, went swimming, played video games, played soccer, and saw a Worcester Tornadoes baseball game. In short we’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve also found that BBBS gets free tickets to a lot of great events of which I gladly take advantage. I had to think about it and I’m pretty sure he has gotten more out of our relationship than I have, but I've certainly benefited a lot from it myself. The benefits to him are pretty obvious so I’m not going to even mention those here, but I’ll go over a few of the benefits to me.

The most obvious benefit to me has been that a lot of the things we’ve done together have been just as fun for me as they have been for him, and you should never discount the importance of having fun. A less obvious benefit is that I’ve relearned a lot about how children’s minds think. It’s scary how much he’s been influenced by advertising for McDonalds and the like. His mind is very pliable towards most things. I can easily convince him that the math he’s learning is school is useful in the real world; however, when I use similar logic describing why McDonald’s food is bad he simply doesn’t accept it. I suppose hearing the message “McDonalds is good” thousands of times a year is going to ingrain that into the subconscious. It’s sad, but I don’t know how to remove that programming from a child’s brain. The best hope I have is to try and make sure the child keeps an open mind and then maybe they’ll choose to question these things as they get older and develop higher levels of thinking.

I would whole heartedly recommend volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters. I believed when I started the program that there would be benefits for both sides, but I didn’t fully appreciate who big the benefits would be for me. It’s just a few hours a week and the amount of benefit to both the child and the adult are immense. It has taken my open mindedness and shown it entirely new directions to explore. Seriously you should call BBBS and volunteer today.


Salchow or is it a Sow Cow?

I did my first Salchow today. It was pretty sloppy, but I'm sure I'll get it polished in the next few weeks. It is my first full rotation jump without using a toe pick to help vault me into the air. The jump's takeoff is from a back inside edge and the landing is on the back outside edge of the opposite foot.

When I started learning to skate there were two jumps I really wanted to learn the axel and the Salchow. I like the axel because it looks pretty, but I've still got some work before I am ready to try that jump. I liked the Salchow jump because it has a cool name. Up until a few minutes ago when I looked up the spelling for Salchow, I had thought the jump was called a "Sow Cow". It must have sounded close enough since nobody ever corrected me. I wish it was a sow cow because that's way cooler than just some dude's name.


Jury Duty

I spent four days last week at jury duty. This was the second time I've been called to serve as a juror and the first time I made it to a court room.

It all started on Tuesday when they called nearly 75 people waiting to be jurors down to a court room. They read off the three alleged crimes against the defendant, Thomas Wales. The charges were two accounts of sexual assault and one charge of rape all against his own 13 year old daughter.

When the accusations were read there was an audible gasp from many of the jurors. The next step involved finding 14 jurors that felt they could fairly decide whether this man was innocent or guilty of the charges. Finding the jurors turned out to be quite difficult. The first step was some general questions the judge posed to all jurors, and then the judge talked to each juror at sidebar. I answered the questions honestly and was found to have no biases so I was put on the jury. After the first day ended we only had 12 jurors and had exhausted the pool of 75 potential jurors. The second day we went through another 20 jurors. The last seat was extremely difficult to fill since the lawyers from both sides kept asking the last juror to be dismissed. Eventually we had the full jury.

The defendant's opening statements started with his lawyer admitting the defendant was guilty of the lesser charges of assault because he had inappropriately touched his daughter, but that there was no rape because there was no penetration which is how the law defines rape.

The first witness was the victim. She claimed that there was penetration. There was also a statement that the defendant had given to police the day after the alleged incident where he admitted to the inappropriate touching. There were also hits in that testimony towards penetration, but the police officers who were conducting the interview never asked the question of penetration.

The medical personnel never found any evidence of rape, but their definition of rape is different which made things difficult. The medical definition of rape is penetration of the vagina, but the legal definition of rape includes penetration of the folds of skin outside the vagina. Also since the rape was allegedly done with a finger it was not surprising that no evidence was found by the doctors.

There were witnesses that claimed the defendant had sexually assaulted them, but they had never pressed charged for various reasons. This was not evidence that the defendant had done anything wrong in this case, but it did tend to make the defendant even less likable (if that was possible at this point).

As we entered deliberation, every juror believe the defendant was a sick bastard who deserved a harsh sentence. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) it isn't a juror's job to sentence criminals. It is our job to decide if a defendant is innocent or guilty of the accusations. We had no trouble agreeing the defendant was guilty of sexual assault against a minor; however, I didn't believe beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty of rape. One of the toughest things I've ever had to do was go about convincing the other jurors that there was reasonable doubt about whether the penetration had actually happened. We spent many hours analyzing testimony and other forms of evidence.

In the end we found him not guilty of rape. Part of my soul is saddened by this decision because he was probably guilty. However, probably guilty is very different than guilty beyond reasonable doubt like the law requires. If this man was guilty it is not the juror's fault for finding him innocent, but rather the fault of the Oxford Police department who, in my opinion, made numerous blunders during this case.

I have no regrets about my decision. The job of a juror is to look at the evidence and determine if the defendant is innocent or guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case there was not enough evidence for guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on the charge of rape so we presumed innocence just as the law requires.

This case was certainly a difficult one to sit though. The things done to this thirteen year old girl that made my heart weep. That said I have absolutely no regrets and would serve as a juror if I'm ever called again. However, I am glad that it will be at least three years before Massachusetts calls me to server as a juror again. I need time to rest after this case.