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Thursday, March 21, 2002

The scariest thing I got in the mail today was not my PG&E bill, although that was the first thing I opened. It turns out I'm using the same amount of electricity as last year, even with TiVo searching full time for programs I might like (and doing a dismal job lately, but maybe it's just me).

The good news is that I'm using less gas, by about 15%. Overall, my utilities for February cost me about $75, compared to about $110 in January. It wasn't that much warmer, and the rates didn't come down, so I must have adapted. Either that, or they made a mistake reading my meter. It wouldn't be the first time.

If that wasn't the scariest thing in today's mail, then what was? I got a notice from my high school graduating class. They found me, so I guess I can expect them to start tripping me in the cafeteria and telling lies about me on the bathroom walls again. If they think I'm going to pay $45 to go to the thirty-five year reunion, they must think I'm still the servile lackey, begging for a crumb of approval, that I was 35 years ago. Nice of them to invite me, though.

The flyer from my high school also included a list of names. These are members of my class that they've lost track of (lucky people) . The names brought back a flood of memories, plus a few flashes of puzzled recognition. There were one or two people I actually hung out with (at times, as much as I ever hung out with anyone). I can see them — the way they were at eighteen — as if they were here in the room with me.

But the names that caught my attention were people I have patchy impressions of, more than actual memories. Like, wasn't that the big goofy guy who haunted the upstairs bathroom? And, she had the biggest braces I ever saw. One kid (kid! He's 52 just like I am!) was in my third grade class at Lincoln School, but I can't remember him from high school at all.

I don't think I'd turn any of these people in if I did know where they were.

David called me this afternoon, giving me a brief reprieve from the back-breaking work of spreadsheet building. He'd just got home from school and was watching the dog mauling trial, where the verdict was about to be delivered. He's been following the trial closely, and some of his interest is because he's a future law enforcement professional. He's currently the superstar student in his Administration of Justice classes at the junior college.

We both thought that the most likely outcome was guilty on manslaughter and owning a mischievous animal that kills, but not guilty on the murder charge. So we were as shocked as the defendant when the guilty verdict was read. No dog owner has ever before been convicted of murder in California for the actions of a pet. (And I'm not sure how you can be guilty of murder and involuntary manslaughter for the same offense, but I'm no lawyer.)

This is a San Francisco case that was tried in Los Angeles because of the mountain of publicity it got here, and that continued throughout the trial. Today it was an all-day news event on all the local channels and almost the only story on the news shows. (So if anything else happened in the world, I'm unaware of it.)

Since the judge didn't allow live coverage of the testimony, I'm not sure how the prosecutors proved that it was murder. It was clearly willful disregard of the warnings many people had given these two dog owners. Their attitude was one of defiant lack of remorse, and no sense that they'd done anything irresponsible. Somehow the prosecutors got this across to the jury, but it seems that a competent defense could have ruled out a murder conviction.

The two dogs who mauled Diane Whipple in her own apartment building have both been destroyed. The victim was a popular lacrosse coach at a local college. The only witness saw part of what happened through the peephole of her own apartment door. Can a TV movie be far behind? (Well, yes, we probably should wait for sentencing and appeal before deciding what roles Sally Field and Kathy Bates will play.)

lotsa green stuff

Looking through the garden back toward the house.

How did I do? I only made brief mention of work in this entry, and I didn't complain about the weather or my health. However, I'll admit I'm deliriously glad to have made it to Friday, even if it is supposed to rain most of the weekend.

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Dana saved my life today. She made me laugh with this entry, not once or twice, but THREE TIMES!!! But I'm not going to tell you exactly what I laughed at, because that would be giving away what a dork I am. Besides, if it's not obvious when you read the entry, then maybe I'm not the one who's a dork. I'm just saying.

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One year ago: Losing the Edge
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She said, "I can't take the way he sings, but I love to hear him talk."