Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Week testifying in trial, or at least it felt like it.

Last week was definitely one crazy week. As some of you are probably aware, I was back in LA this last week, partly for personal business, which included the trial for my kidnapping ordeal. For those who don’t know, I was kidnapped at gunpoint, in my own vehicle, nearly two years ago on March 31st, 2009. And almost two years later, we finally have a trial.

So on Tuesday I was transported to the Burbank courthouse by a detective for anticipation of my testimony. Somehow, jury selection took longer than expected and I didn’t even get to testify that afternoon. The deputy district attorney told me I needed to return the following morning and I would “likely” start first thing in the morning since jury selection was complete. Afterwards, I met up with a friend for a meal at Portos.

I return on Wednesday in preparation for my testimony, only to discover that that there was a problem with one of the jury members. That delayed the start and I waited and waited until noon without any answers. I’ve come to realize that when attorneys say “likely,” it actually means “low probability” of happening. So finally get to testify at 2:30 in afternoon. It was actually quite excruciating on the witness stand. Good thing no one I knew was present because it was not pretty. Felt like I was reliving the entire event all over again. I couldn't even look the defendant in the eye. 

Unfortunately, my testimony runs through the closing time for court that afternoon, so I have to return the following morning. They cancel my flight again and rebook for the following morning. On St. Patrick’s Day morning, I’m transported back to the courthouse. Thought I would start right away but there was another delay, which I never found out why. I ended up getting rushed to finish up my portion on the witness stand. Time was of the essence, as I finished just in time for my personal ride to the airport. I make a quick stop home on the way to the airport, and then barely made it on time to board my flight. So I at least got a free flight out of all that.

On my flight back I met a 1st year law student from UM, whose family actually owns a castle in Spain. Sounds like their family is quite wealthy haha. The guy actually invited me to party with him that evening for St. Patrick’s Day. Too bad I had to work the next morning, and boy did I work. On Friday, I worked almost 12 hours, then on Saturday returned for more rounds. Was on call Sunday night, though still round with the cardiologist on Monday post-call, which is unheard of.

Was good catching up with some friends this past week, even though it was a hectic vacation, if you can even call it that. Those I didn’t get to meet up with, catch you next time perhaps.

For those of you who think Miami gas prices are expensive, think again. This is in LA. 

Ultra Music Festival in less than 2 days. I'm so excited and I just can't hide it. And I know I know I know...


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another interesting trip back to LA, trial, DMV, passports, other shenanigans

So guess my trial is really about to happen tomorrow, or rather, later on today. Wonder if I'll be able to look my perpetrator directly in the eye in court. For anyone interested, I'll be at the Burbank Courthouse, part of the LA Superior Court. Address is 300 East Olive Avenue, Burbank, CA 91502. Really can't wait for this whole thing to be over with. Hope it doesn't drag on into Wednesday for my testimony. More updates to come later. For those who don't know, March 31st will be the two year anniversary of my kidnapping/robbery/carjacking. 

I flew back to Miami this last Wednesday from Fort Lauderdale(FLL) Airport, and I never knew real birds were allowed inside the terminal. After that sight, somehow I knew it was going to be another interesting flight. While going through airport security, I'm stopped for a bag check and I thought to myself, "What now?" Turns out they thought my Magic gaming cards were suspicious. Out of like 10 times so far, that was a first. Amazing. So I departed via Virgin America (which is awesome by the way) without any other hiccups, but even VA couldn't do much about the abdominal pain I was having shortly after takeoff. Maybe it was hunger, or maybe it was ulcers, but either way, pain lastly entire flight, which was horrible. Or perhaps I was already dreading my pending trial subconsciously. 

After landing and gate arrival, while getting ready to exit the plane, I recalled this girl had to have her luggage placed in an overhead compartment a little further back of the plane. It crossed my mind to let some people pass and then get the luggage for her since she was waiting diligently several rows in front of the plane for everyone else to leave. Then I thought better of it because I was in a hurry, and in quite a bit of pain. Plus, I didn't want her to think I was actually trying to steal her roller bag or something, especially since it looked like mine. So I walked by her and showed some sympathy that she's waiting for everyone to leave. In hindsight, I should have just gotten it for her. So what if I'll be holding up traffic for everyone else trying to exit the plane? Still feel guilty. Anyhow, shortly after, this little old lady who spoke only Spanish was asking for a wheelchair so ended up translating for a second. Elderly people over age of 70 should not be traveling alone within the US, especially if you don't speak any English. A few minutes later, while I was waiting for my brother to drive by the arrival gate, this Chinese couple next to a pay phone flag me down and asked me if I spoke Chinese. I reluctantly said yes, only because I was wary what they wanted. Turns out they couldn't read English (the guy was holding a business card upside down) and didn't know how the pay phone worked. So ended up busting out some Spanish and Chinese that night to help not one, but three people. Guess I could've helped a 4th person. 

The following day, I had an appointment with the DMV to renew my driver's license, celebrated my brother's birthday. Day after that, had to touch base with the Deputy District Attorney and take care of some drama back in Miami, even while I'm in LA (sometimes I feel like the chief resident). Went out with some friends later that evening. Saturday, I had to take care of my passport, run to the bank, set up an IRA, then meet up with friends in evening. On Sunday, did some laundry, got a haircut, called up some more friends, watched the movie Rango(which wasn't bad), ate out with friends. So yea, I've been quite busy, to say the least. Some vacation I'm having. Well, at least Ultra Music Festival is in 10 days. Can't wait for that. And I finally ate In-N-Out for first time in a year. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wizard World Comic Con, FOMA convention, Kidney Walk

Wow, so where did the month of February go? Days are just going by so quickly. NBA All-Star weekend was the 18th through the 20th, and I ended up on working entire Sunday (back-to-back shifts), thanks to a certain intern who quit a couple weeks prior, leaving me with the responsibility. Anyway, the dunk contest was awesome, the best in years. Congrats to Blake Griffin and Kobe Bryant, on the dunk contest title and All-Star game MVP, respectively.

Ultra Music Festival is about two weeks away, and I need to go back to LA to pick up my ticket, since it arrived today! On President’s Day, I bought a Camelbak in preparation for UMF. It should be good investment for me, since I’ll be saving so much money on water there. Can't believe the 3-day GA tickets are going for over $700. Should have known that was coming, and purchased multiple tickets.

FOMA convention was from February 24th through the weekend in Weston, though I only went for Thursday and Friday, since I had plans that weekend already for the Wizard World Comic Con. Did a little networking, met some people, and got some free stuff at FOMA convention. During the convention, I started coughing, with an irritated throat. Wasn’t really sore, but couldn’t stop coughing. By Saturday after, I started having rhinorrhea, congestion, sneezing. That really sucked because it was during Comic Con, although I didn’t really attend the convention portion on Saturday because I was on the gaming room side, playing Magic, trying to win a couple grand in cash prize. Unfortunately for me, I got a dose of reality after getting royally pwned by elite players. Next time, I need to drop while I’m already down and out, or basically eliminated from winning any prize money haha. Me and my stubborn self trying to improve my DCI rating.

On Sunday, I volunteered for the Wizard World Comic Con, which was quite awesome, despite being sick. Got to meet several celebrities, including Ray Park, Cerina Vincent, Adam West, Burt Ward, Ernie Hudson, Gina Lee Nolan, and WWE divas Angela Fong, Torrie Wilson. I also met a few new friends. At the end of the day, made out with some free swag, including free autographed prints from Ray Park, Torrie Wilson, and Gina Lee Nolan.

Kidney Walk was this past Sunday, and it was pretty cool, though I expected it to be a longer event, especially after being at a couple prior Relay For Life events in the past. It only lasted a couple hours, and I not only walked the entire 3 laps (3 miles/5k), but walked 4 laps. The funny thing was some people barely finished one lap. After that, I realized most people are not in shape, and I can probably walk faster than 99.9% of the population haha. Wish there was a speed-walking contest haha.

So flying out to LA tomorrow, and I got many tasks to finish. I'll leave you with these two articles.

I'm never using a shopping cart again: http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/03/07/study-fecal-bacteria-found-on-most-supermarket-shopping-carts/

Your cell phone has 18 times more bacteria than toilet handle: http://www.businessinsider.com/your-cell-phone-has-18x-more-bacteria-than-the-flush-handle-of-a-urinal-2010-10