"Should've Been A Cowboy"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My First Time In Court

monday was the first time i've ever been to court. i was scheduled to be in court at 9am. i showed up 20 minutes early, but to my surprise there was a line outside of the courtroom. i was the 11th person in line and shortly after i arrived the line grew another 8 to 10 behind me. around 9am an officer opened a door to the court room and proceeded to announce the rules for entering the courtroom. after he announced the rules i had to step out of line and go back to my car. my key chain swiss army tool comes in handy quite often, but at times it can be an inconvenience, as it was that day.

upon re-entering the building the folks that were behind me in line were kind enough to let me reclaim my place in line. one at a time we placed our belongings into a basket and proceeded through the metal detector. i put my wallet, keys, memory stick, and belt buckle in the basket. still i set off the metal detector. i took off my belt, patted my pockets, and walked through it again. once more i set of the alarm. the officer wasn't having any of this so he made me spread my legs and arms and waved his wand around me a couple of times. then in a puzzled tone he told me that he didn't know why the machine didn't like me and gave me my belongings and an orange sheet of paper that had been laminated. i walked into the courtroom, checked in with the clerk, and sat down in a chair on the front row of chairs that the audience of a trial would sit in.

after 10 minutes or so the bailiff told us to rise and announced the entrance of the judge. the judge proceeded to tell us to silence all electrical devices, and informed us that if he heard one go off in the courtroom he would find the owner of the device in contempt of court and fine them $100. next he dictated our options in regards to our traffic tickets. the first option was to plead no contest, pay $103 for court cost, and take defensive driving. after the completion of the course the violation would be removed from our record. option two was deferred adjudication. this meant we could plead no contest, pay the full amount of our fine, and if we made it 180 days without another traffic violation our current violation would be removed from our record. the third and final option was to choose to plead not guilty and either have a trial by judge or jury at a later date.

after our options were given to us, we were called one at a time to either speak with the prosecutor and then the judge, or only the judge. if the judge felt that the case was simple and could be handled quickly he would call the defendant straight to the bench, but if he felt a need for the defendant to speak with the prosecutor prior to speaking with him the prosecutor would call the defendants name to her desk. after twenty minutes or so i was called to the prosecutor’s desk. she stated some facts about the case and i confirmed them. then she told me how she interpreted the evidence in her file and gave me the option of to pay my initial fine of $268 and go through deferred adjudication. i didn't like this option. i wanted to take the defensive driving option, but because my ticket had turned into a warrant i didn't qualify for this. i disputed her evidence with evidence of my own, and after a short disagreement she told me that i could speak with the judge. i walked back to me seat and waited only a couple of minutes before the judge called me to the bench.

upon approaching the bench the judge asked me what i wanted to do. i told him that i want to take the defensive driving option. he restated the facts that the prosecutor presented to me and then i presented my case. my case was that i never received my ticket in the mail or the letter letting me know that i missed my initial court date because my address on the ticket was wrong. it was a composition of my new and old address. while presenting my case the prosecutor walked up to the bench and stated that i had changed my address after the ticket was issued and i quickly, but politely, corrected her by showing proof that i had changed my address prior to the accident and the state had issued an new ID for me twelve days before my ticket was issued. the judge looked at my evidence and he was as confused as i as to how my address was only halfway incorrect on my ticket. with my address being updated prior to the accident the officer should have been given the correct address by dispatch even if the ID i presented wasn't my the new one with the updated address. after a few moments the judge told me that i could take the defensive driving course and pay $103 to the court, and in two weeks my $343 bond would be sent back to me in the mail. this was a good thing for me because $103 court cost + $12 copy of my driving record + $30 defensive driving course comes to a total of $145, and that is $198 less than my ticket + late fees and $123 less than the ticket alone.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tossing Out Apple Cores

it bugs me when people throw trash out their car window. i want to stop, pick it up, catch back up to them, and dump it in their lap. with that said, i throw the core of my eaten apples out my car window and into the grass.

am i a hypocrite? it is 100% natural and extremely biodegradable. i refuse to throw man made materials out my car window, but i don't have a problem with throwing fruit out my window. as long as i'm throwing it into the grass. i'd rather throw my apple core into the grass or behind a bush than throw it into a garbage bag with a final stop of the landfill. if the apple core makes it's way to the landfill it cannot benefit nature. under a bush or in the grass it becomes food for insects and/or fertilizer for the nearby plants.

am i a hypocrite? maybe i am, but i have my standards and a method to my madness.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Warrant For My Arrest

yesterday, sunday, i received a phone call in which i was informed that a warrant had been issued for my arrest for an unpaid traffic ticket issued on june 20th, the day of my traffic accident. i told the polite man on the other end of the phone that i had never been given a ticket. all he could tell me was that i would have to talk to the court about my warrant.

this morning i woke up and instead of working out i got ready to visit the municipal court. on a side note, that has nothing to do with my warrant, it was raining very hard this morning. so hard that it was difficult for me to find the court house. after making it into the court house and only slightly dampened by the rain, thanks to my oversized golf umbrella, i walked down a hallway until i found the clerk of court's office. i was third in line and only had to wait a few minute before it was my turn to speak with the clerk.

after the person in front of me left the clerks window the clerk waived at me to let me know that she was ready to handle my business for the day. i sat down in the chair across from the clerk and leaned over so that she could better hear what i had to say. you see, we were separated by a thick piece of glass that stretched from the ceiling to the top of the counter and there was only a small opening at the bottom of the glass to allow for the passing of paper any conversation that may need to be had. i told the clerk that i had come to talk about my warrant. she asked for my license and proceeded to look up my information. she confirmed that there indeed was a warrant out for my arrest for an unpaid ticket. i told her that i was never given a ticket. she then told me that a letter was sent to me on july 9th. i responded by telling her that i never received the letter. i'm sure she had heard this story before. more often a lie than the truth. without dismissing herself she got up and walked away. a few minutes later she came back with a folder that contained information pertaining to my ticket. inside the folder was a letter that had been returned to the court with a sticker stating that it was undeliverable.

i had changed my address a few weeks before my accident. it was even issued on june 8th. twelve days before my accident. at the scene of my accident i had given the officer my current address. somehow it was mixed up in the shuffling of paperwork because the letter had my new address, but my old apartment number. the clerk proceeded to tell me that i owed $265 dollars, but then quickly corrected herself and told me the amount was $343, and then asked me if i wanted to pay my ticket or post bond and scheduled a court appearance. both of which cost $343.

i might have made a moving violation when i made an unsafe left turn on a solid green light, which caused my accident, but it is not my fault i was never given a ticket by the officer or that i never received a letter about my unpaid ticket. i wasn't rushed away from the accident in an ambulance. so the officer had a chance to give me a ticket. i even stood around with the officer and a group of firemen while i waited for another officer to come and take me home because the one on scene was riding a motorcycle. then for the court to send a reminder to the wrong address after i provided the correct one to the police officer. of course i scheduled a court appearance to dispute my fine, and at the very least the $78 in late fees that have been added to it.

despite being milked for $343 this morning i'm still in a pleasant mood. now i need for my brother and my friend john to pay me back the money they owe me so that i can feel a little less broke.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Loaning Money To A Man In Ecuador

a few times of the past year, and a couple of time recently on TV, i've heard about kiva.org. here is a description of kiva from its very own website.

Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you've sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.

today i decided to join kiva and loan $25 to a man in ecuador. his name is edmundo cantos. edmundo is 41. he has two children who attend school. his house is of mixed construction styles, and his family life is stable. his goal is to advance his business to ensure that his children get a good education. edmundo and his wife run a shoemaking business, and currently they manufacture only sandals. they have had this business for two years, and they have dedicated a part of their home to the business. edmundo needed $650 to to buy raw materials so as to increase the amount of goods he can merchandise. also, he plans to use part of the loan to fix up his workshop that is in need of repairs. after reading edmundo's profile and seeing his photo, i was sold. i click a few buttons and $25 was on its way to edmundo. it felt like a bonus to know that my $25 was the final $25 edmundo needed to reach his loan goal of $650. on top of that he plans on repaying the loan within a six month period. which means my $25 will be ready to be lent to another person in less than a year.

kiva loans have a 99.7% repayment rate (much higher than my former roomates). so i'm quite confident the money will make its way back into my kiva account. i plan on adding more money to my kiva account later this month so that i can give other families a loan that will help them achieve their business goals and better their quality of life. this really is an awesome concept and invite you to join me in this crusade to better this world we live in.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Potentially Stranded

this past weekend i decided to take advantage of the three day weekend and make the two hour drive to visit my family, as well as meet with a couple of potential clients. little did i know this would be a weekend in which i would become potentially stranded.

part 1: my briefcase

about 20 minutes after leaving my apartment i realized i left my briefcase at home. the thought of going back home to get it wasn't very appetizing since it would be nearly 45 minutes before i would get back to the point i had just reached. i new i could print the necessary forms from the web so i decided to keep driving.

part 2: my wallet

i arrive in burkburnett and call my friend daniel to see what he is doing. he tells me he is playing poker at his aunt's house with some family members that where visiting from out of town and invited me over to join them. i headed over there and watch them finish out their poker game. with the prospect of another game i checked my pockets for my wallet, but it wasn't there. i figured i left it in my car and would get it later. while taking a break daniel asked me if i saw his motorcycle in the driveway. after responding with a yes he asked me if i wanted to ride it. i told him i would love to, but i've never ridden a motorcycle before. he told me that was okay because he would be happy to teach me. i thought to myself, "sweet! i get to ride a motorcycle." his aunt lives in a cul-de-sac which kept me from dealing with traffic. never-the-less i was a bit timid. i'd never ridden a 500 lb bike without pedals before. i didn't get to adventurous with the bike. all i did was ride in circles in first gear. i wasn't ready to take a risk with someone else's ride. after riding daniel's bike we went inside to see if anyone wanted to play another game of poker. most everyone didn't want to play so we all simply sat around and talked while dinner cooked in the oven. it just so happened to be hailey's birthday party that day, hailey is daniel's niece and the daughter of my good friend traci. they invited me to stay and celebrate it with them and i was more than happy to stay because on of my favorite foods ever, lasagna, was on the menu.

after eating dinner with daniel and his family i went to pick up my dad to go play pool at a local bar. on the way to the bar i noticed that my wallet wasn't in my car or in my suitcase. i gave my brother a call back at my apartment and asked him to go into my bedroom and look in the front pocket of my briefcase, which i chose not to go back for, for my wallet. he confirmed it was there. my dad was happy to pay for our pool table and drinks, but i was a bit frustrated with the fact that i didn't have my wallet and the banks would be closed monday for the holiday. after leaving the bar i realized that i wouldn't have enough gas to make it back to my apartment because i didn't fill up my car before leaving town. after pointing this out to my dad he told me he would fill up my car for me on the way home.

part 3: my keys

on sunday morning, after breakfast, i walked out to my car to do a little organizing of stuff in the trunk of my car. i folded a couple of towels that i keep in my trunk for the days that i leave my softball games all dirty and sweaty. i moved my tool box back to the back of the trunk, after it apparently had shifted out of place while driving, i grabbed a couple of really cool duck tape bandages that i wanted to show my dad, and took some trash to throw away. right after shutting my trunk i stood their for a moment staring at it with one hand holding two styrofoam cups and a plastic rapper, and the other holding three duck tape bandages. notice i didn't mention my keys. at this point i was in denial.

as started walking back towards the house all the while telling myself, "you did not just lock your keys in your trunk." my dad was washing dishes and watching me the entire time i was out playing in my trunk. after i threw away my trash he asked me if i had found a new way to do laundry because i was folding towels in my trunk. i told him no, and with a smirk on my face i asked him the question, "guess what i did?" his answer, "you didn't." for he knew what i was talking about. i indeed locked my keys in my trunk. at this point i wasn't sure if my car doors where unlocked, but i couldn't remember unlocking them to get into my trunk. i walked outside with my dad close behind me and attempted to open my driver's side door, and then my rear passenger door. both were locked. all i could do was laugh. it was a holiday weekend, i didn't have my wallet or any money, and i'd locked my keys in the trunk of my car. in a sense i was stranded. if it wasn't for my dad i would have been.

my dad called a guy that he knew that owned a wrecker service and 5 hours later he came to unlock my car, and once again my dad was gracious enough to help me and paid the man for his services. the next day daniel called me and asked if i wanted to meet him for lunch at chili's. i told him yes and proceeded to do something for the first time in my life. i walked over to my grandpa sitting in his chair and asked him if i could have $10. all my life my grand parents have given me money every now and again knowing that i could use a little extra help. mostly during those years i was in school, but i'd never asked them for it. now at an age in which i really don't need there assistance i had to asked them for money. this really didn't bother me too much. heck, it was only $10, but i did fine the situation a bit ironic.

now i'm back home and i've already put a check in the mail payable to my dad for all the help he gave me over the weekend. he didn't ask me to send him any money. i know he was happy to be able to be there for me in my time of need and i'm grateful he was, but i feel obligated to pay him back because i'm a grown man and he taught me how to take care of myself. i feel it would be disrespectful for me not to pay him back.