Skip to content

Date archive for: January 2011

Who Loves Jury Duty?

I know the drill. I know how I’m supposed to act.

The moment the Jury Summons arrives in the mail, I’m supposed to exclaim, “No! NO!!” and begin moaning about how I haven’t time for such things. Convinced there are better people for the task (and by “better” I mean “less good”), I’m required to bitch and sigh as I cancel appointments, reschedule meetings, and call in favors: “Would you believe I’ve got jury duty?” I’m supposed to spit those last two words like they’re profane. Like they’re “rectal exam” or “Sarah Palin.”

But I was called to jury duty last week and, having been empaneled on a criminal case and tasked with sussing out the whole nuthin’-but-the-truth truth, I should probably be honest here: I flipping love jury duty.

With the exception of having to remove my belt and shuffle prisoner-like through a security scanner (sadly, no one touched my junk), I loved everything about the experience. I loved it so much, I can’t even remember why I’m supposed to hate it.

In fact, I’m starting to suspect that all those so-called “friends” who advised me to wear my underpants outside of my trousers or tell the judge “I hate white people” so that I’d be dismissed as a lunatic, were really only trying to keep spots on the jury open for themselves. Because they know how much fun it really is.

Continue reading Who Loves Jury Duty?

Correcting Others' Children

Thump. Thud, thud. Whack! Whack! Whack!

You’re halfway through your entrée when the child in the next booth goes all Keith Moon on your backrest.

First you ignore it. When the pounding continues, you glance over at the parents — the universal signal for, “Your child needs guidance, or restraints, and I don’t care which.”

His final blow sends petite sirah sloshing down your dry-clean-only date-night blouse, and you launch over the booth, locking eyes with Thumper.

“Sweetie,” you say between clenched teeth, “there’s a person sitting here. It’s time to stop.” Considering what you were really thinking, the comment is friendly, sensitive, and generous. It doesn’t matter, though; you could say, “Thank you, sir. May I have another?” and it would still cause the drummer boy’s parents to regard you as though you’d just stabbed their musical angel with your salad fork.

My mom friends say they feel “hateful” and even “violent” when someone else — particularly a stranger — reprimands their kids. And I honestly don’t get it.

Continue reading Correcting Others' Children

Aura You Single?

What do you wear to a meeting with a psychic? This is the mystic puzzle that plagued my soul the morning I met Pamala Oslie, a Mission Canyon resident who reads people’s auras the way fortune-tellers read palms. Auras are said to be halo-like energy fields that surround us, revealing our personalities through their various colors. Most people can’t see them; Oslie can.

“I do psychic work, clairvoyant work, mediumship,” she said. “Auras are my tool.”

She recently teamed with Santa Barbara artist and social activist Rod Lathim to create an Internet dating site that matches people based on the colors of their aura. launched in September and already has thousands of members hailing from San Francisco to Sioux City to Washington, D.C., and from Ireland to Australia. A hefty chunk of the sign-ups are from Southern California.

The concept: Our aura colors correspond to personality traits. Reds are physical and sexual; Blues are loving and nurturing; Yellows are fun-loving and childlike; etc. And by whittling down the dating pool based on compatible colors/personalities, we’re more likely to find suitable companions.

I wore solid gray to meet with Oslie so as not to pollute any vivid vibes radiating from my pasty-hued winter flesh — but then, what do I know? Despite the cosmic sensibility that my name implies, I’m skeptical of woo-woo: tarot, astrology, voodoo (is voodoo woo-woo?).

Continue reading Aura You Single?

Chasing the Empty 'A'

Take out a pencil. This is a test.

Which of the following best describes parents who pick up their children from school and ask,

“Hey, how’d you do on that math test?”

  • Attentive
  • Supportive
  • Involved
  • Contributing to a high-pressure academic culture that’s hurting our kids’ health without actually helping their intellect.

Yeah, take your time on this one. It’s tricky.

I thought I knew the answer. I thought I understood how to squeeze my kids through the narrow, competitive tube of American academics. But a challenging new documentary called my assumptions into question.

Created by a frustrated mother of three, Race to Nowhere aims its cameras at our pressure-cooker of a school system, where college hopefuls scramble to build dazzling transcripts only to graduate high school burned out and, ironically, unprepared.

With a sold-out screening at the Arlington Theatre on January 9, the film is getting nationwide attention. Filmmaker Vicki Abeles, a former corporate attorney on Wall Street, made the film after her seventh grade daughter was diagnosed with school-induced stress.

Continue reading Chasing the Empty 'A'