Where have I been?

Where haven’t I been?

Well, by now you should all know the story of the New Car, the final chapter in my wacky car dilemma. I’m only sorry I don’t have any pictures for you.

Thanksgiving was a good time, turkey, noodles, cranberry sauce and the like. Both Stacey and Nick came up. Of course, Nick is always poking Stacey and generally annoying her so she was scolding him half the time and then he would go get something to eat. He ate the last piece of our Sweet Potato Bourbon Bundt Cake. Yeah, mom and I made a cake with sweet potato and bourbon in it. It was on Martha Stewart and somehow I’ve found myself sucked in since mom watches it every day. But it’s not so bad – now when she gets people like Andy Dick on her show and they make total asses out of themselves and make Martha wonder why she invited them on in the first place. Hey, Hugh Jackman was on (mmmmm…) and Jeremy Irons was on the other day, and he was really cute.

Speaking of my things for English guys, I just have to say that two nights ago I had a weird dream where I was out in the desert with my family and we were trying to get somewhere, but had to avoid a sandstorm. Somehow I got separated from them and this one army guy (actually the actor Jason Scott Lee – yeah, no idea how he got in there) offered to take me to a base and was obviously hitting on me, and yet I declined. I declined a hot army guy in a freaking dream. How ridiculous am I? Except I didn’t think he was all that hot. On the other side of things, I watched a weird movie last night called Mirrormask and there was an English guy in it (actually I think they were all English, but moving on), and the entire movie he had this weird mask on – you couldn’t even see his eyes – but after the movie I started thinking, “You know, I’d choose the English guy because of his voice and personality over the buff American army dude. I’m so screwed up.” And then of course I laughed myself silly (as quietly as possible as it was almost 3am) and then finally went to sleep. I still think it’s pretty damn funny (and I’m sure the rest of you just think I’m nuts).

To get back on track, after Thanksgiving I started freaking out. Why? Well, I’d sort of given up on the job prospect thing. I bumped into a friend of mine, Christine, in the library (my newfound love), and we started chatting about life in general and how even she agreed the job market here sucks donkey. Good to know I’m not hallucinating. And poor Christine doesn’t even have a degree and has a child to support. Long story, but anyway, yeah. Champaign blows. Not a big surprise she too is trying to escape its evil clutches.

Anyway, I started freaking out because of grad school. I hadn’t done a thing on it and deadlines were looming ever closer. I needed to re-write a story and then create something entirely new. Something that isn’t my normal style because my normal style isn’t what the creative writing professors of big universities like to see. They like character oriented stuff. Basically, the stuff none of you would ever truly enjoy reading. But hey, whatever, you gotta do what you gotta do, right? I got out my notebook and started a piece. Ditched it. Started another. Ditched it. It was frustrating. I just couldn’t come up with anything I thought they would take in. Not good Mav. Not good.

Just as November was ending, it hit me and I started writing. It wasn’t the greatest of inspirations, and it didn’t get me going writing page after page in true excitement like I can get sometimes, but I took what I could get. I managed to get 14 pages (double-spaced) out of it. The ending still worries me a little, but there’s not much I can do about it. I put some subtle stuff in there and hopefully that’s what they’re looking for. Like I’ve said before – I don’t usually write this stuff. Not my bag of chips. Then I started on reworking an older story that if I didn’t send in, dad would have a cow because he thinks it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. Well, I don’t know about that, but I figured it was better than nothing (which was basically the only other option I had – nothing) so I dug in on an 5-year-old, 4 page story and gave it a face lift, tummy tuck, porcelain veneers, the works.

That was why I sort of found jury duty to be a blessing. Yep, Nicole had jury duty. In the middle of all my freakings out, December 4th – 8th was my call to duty. I was somewhat annoyed, and somewhat intrigued. Aside from my car crash issue, I’d never been in a courtroom while court was in session, much less on a jury. My only problem was that I had to wake up early every morning (depending on which days and what time they called my number). Early enough that I realized the last time I was up that early was when I was in high school. Ew. I never was a morning person. I can go all night but wake me up at 6am and I might kill you. Then again I might be to sluggish and out of it to do much of anything.

9:15 am on December 4th, we’re there for an hour and then get to leave, but have to come back by 1. Joy. I decide to go home because like an idiot, I didn’t bring anything to read, and besides, I’m getting hungry. Normally I can skip breakfast, but that early I have to eat something, but even then it won’t sustain me past lunch. Normally if I do eat breakfast instead of skipping it, I can go ahead and skip lunch. Either way, at most I only eat two meals a day. So I mosey on home, eat something, get my huge book to read about The Vampire Lestat (did the Interview with the Vampire already) and then scooted back out to the courthouse and sat around for an hour. Or two. Finally they called nearly every juror in the room and we all went down to a courtroom where some schmuck was going to be tried for intent to sell crack-cocaine. Good times.

Or at least, it might have been good times because that lawyer woman for the state had about 20 questions for each juror and they were all the same 99% of the time. Why couldn’t she just ask four people at a time in a group like the judge did with all his general questions and then let the person elaborate if need be? Ugh. It was really annoying after a while. Some guy and I started whispering to each other and in general, being kind of dumb. We were there until at least 4:30, then they finally had their full jury (I didn’t even get called up, so I sat there fidgeting – I must have looked like I had ADD), and we got to go home. Next day I had to be there even earlier – 8:30am. Oh joy. And did I mention this was the week that was super-dee-duper cold outside? Brr. But oh well.

That’s the day I brought my notebook and the story and dove on in. That’s also the day I got picked to possibly be on a jury again, and guess what? Boo-yah. I made it. It was interesting. I think I was the youngest there aside from the U of I chemistry graduate student. So 14 of us were in a little room half the time, after a while we started talking and making dumb jokes and naturally every 7 minutes we all flatlined and got quiet. Haha. I did more work on my story until finally we were called into the courtroom and they started. It was almost like the same case; trying to prove this guy was intending to sell crack-cocaine. They also sounded like there were going to be charges of domestic battery or something, but that must have been dropped because the chick never showed up. The funny thing is, all this stuff went down in Rantoul. Probably across the town where I don’t go cuz there’s nothing there. *shrug* Anyway, they called in a bunch of cops (dude, I never knew Rantoul cops were that BIG. I mean, good lord. One guy, Lt. Stuckmeyer – that guy was huge. One smack to the face and you’d be on the floor. Yikes) and they did their little question answer testifying thing, and eventually the defendant got up there, yadda yadda. Basically the state was trying to prove he was planning on selling the stash the cops found in his pocket. His appointed lawyer was saying sure, he was a user, but he wasn’t going to sell it.

Well, after they all did their little courtroom circus thing, we went to the back to deliberate. Heh, I kept thinking of 12 Angry Men. There were three options we could pick: Not Guilty, Guilty of Possession, and Guilty of Possession and Intent to Distribute. The first vote was 6 and 6. Sure, he had a fair amount of stuff on him, but they just didn’t have enough evidence (by far, trust me) to prove this dude was going to start doling out crack. Sure, I’m gonna be like “fuck” if I ever were to find out he really was selling it, but I really don’t think he was going to. So we chatted about it some more, evidence, reasonable doubt, etc. and then took another vote. This time it was unanimous – Guilty of Possession. End of story. Besides, you get some kind of time just for having crack, right? Better than nothing anyway. Ok. Guilty. End of trial. Adjourned.

The next day I had to come back yet again, but after an hour or so they let us go, picking another group and then not needing us. Same happened on Thursday as well. I bumped into the chemistry grad and he said now that he’d made it four days, he figured he might as well go for all five and get the full amount of money out of it. I agreed. Then, after several hours and my flourish of a finish on my story, the lady came in to tell us that our trial went bye-bye and we could go home. Of course, then Friday rolled around and they didn’t need our number half. Go figure. Jury duty adjourned.

Now, during all this grad school, jury duty nonsense, my review website,, is hosting a huge sweepstakes. Normally, each month they host a contest where if you write the first Very Helpful review on a product, you can enter it into the drawing and win whatever one of the prizes happen to be. Since the very end of September, I started re-reading all my Fear Street books by R.L. Stine, and it’s because of him (as no one save maybe 3 people) that I’ve had so many first reviews. I won 1st place in September and then 3rd place in October. I’d like to win November too, ($100 Target or Best Buy card) but I don’t want to get greedy. Especially after Friday. You see, Epinions suddenly had buku bucks to give out. $1000 on Monday. 5 prizes of $100 on Tuesday-Thursday. And Friday was 10 prizes of $100, 1 prize of $500, and 1 prize of $1000. Can you guess which prize I won? $100? Noooo… The $500? Noooo….!

That’s right. Nicole just won $1000. Boo-yah! I knew these Fear Street books would come in handy someday. Ok, I didn’t, but when I’m done reading them they’re going to Ebay. But I can win yet again either this week or next week too. So I’m still reading. It’s fun to see other people I interact with on the site win too. So it’s a Christmas giveaway bonanza on there. It’s just too bad they aren’t doing the bonus thing this year – I’ll be bummed for some people who didn’t win anything and deserve a little something extra. Oh well. Not much I can do about that.

So that money is going toward grad school stuff, car stuff, loan stuff. And now maybe I can slip a few presents under the tree. And now we’re finally all caught up. I need to send out the last few items to grad schools, pay my recent loan bill, car insurance bill, eventual credit card bill (which only has maybe $28 worth of gas on it), and hopefully if that girl is able to get Ebay to stop being a bitch, I’ll sell the rest of my MK stuff and send that out too. Then I’ll be free and clear of worry for a while so when we go to Arkansas to visit our grandma and grandpa for Christmas I can kick back.

That’s my story. Hope all of you are having good times, that those of you who want snow are getting some, those of you that think snow sucks are getting what we’re getting here (a lot of nuthin’ and a lot of rain), and may all your Christmases be bright.

Till next time peoples! =D

Merry Christmas!
2 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    XBOX!!!! NICOLE CAN AFFORD TO BUY STACEY AN XBOX 360 BECAUSE STACEY KICKS ASS LIKE THAT! (and I always got you good presents, didn't I?)

    *cries* I so broke. I'm sooo bringing slimfast to Arkansas, otherwise grandma is going to make me a diabetic.

  2. Megan Says:

    Hey Nicole :) Hope your holidays were bright and merry and all that stuff! I wish we could get together some time... but hey, now that you've got the car (YAY!) maybe we can rendezvous in Normal one of these weekends. That'd be cool :>)