this morning i took part in the judicial system by going to jury duty at the cambridge court house, and then in the afternoon i participated in the electoral process by voting for members of the executive and legislative bodies. within a single day i took a tour of the 3 different branches of government.

i was at the cambridge court house before 8am this morning. i went to the 5th floor and handed the officer my survey form; he gave me a card with my panel (13) and seat (6) number then i sat in the waiting room with about 150 other people serving out their jury duty. 30 minutes later we were called into the assembly room and given a brief talk by the officer as to what would happen today, followed by a short video explaining how the court system works. the video seemed like it was made in the 70's (it has that weird PBS educational quality about it) and touched upon things anyone who's ever seen an episode of law and order would already know. we filled out another card which asked us about our ethnicity, then we were given a small break. i went outside to check that i didn't park the motorcycle on a street scheduled for cleaning (it wasn't). i went back inside and sat in the waiting room. 10am the officer called out a bunch of panel numbers (about half of the people) and these people were lead away for jury selection, while the rest of us waited. and waited. and waited. jury duty is all about waiting. i also thought jury duty was about being paid, but turns out by law your employer is supposed to pay your wages for 3 days, and after that the state pays you $50/day. so i wouldn't make any money at all! at least the view was nice from the 5th floor of the court house, a side of cambridge i never get to see. 11am we were all called back into the assembly room. the officer told us there were 5 cases pending today, 3 superior court cases (those usually last a few days) and 2 civil/criminal cases. one of the cases had already picked the jury, another one was postponed until tomorrow, and the other 3 were settled out of court. "that means you're all free to go," said the officer, followed by applause and soft cheering from the crowd. there was a rapid exodus to the elevators and the stairs.

i stopped off at kendall's house of pizza to pick up a small steak tips sub for lunch. after i finished eating, i walked down to the end of the street to go vote at the neaby elementary school.

i heard horror stories of long lines, but there wasn't a crowd at 2pm in the middle of the afternoon. i went into my booth and scored the ballot with black ovals. trying to capture the moment for posterity, i took out my camera from my bag and took a photo of the ballot. something's wrong. i could zoom out but i couldn't zoom in, there was something wrong with the zoom button. i fed my form into the ballot machine and walked home, concerned about my camera.

sensing that it's some kind of mechanical error (versus electronic, which i probably couldn't fix), i rode out to target to buy a set of small screwdrivers ($3) so i could crack open the camera casing for the nikon coolpix 4500. on a desk under a bright table lamp, i disassembled my camera for the very first time, a total of 6 screws removed. i pried off the zoom button and saw right away that the little plastic tab that gets pressed down had broken off. luckily i was able to find the missing part, a sliver of plastic falling onto the table. i walked to brooke's to buy a stick of superglue ($2) then came back and glued the piece back onto the camera. the procedure reminded me of curt schilling's stitches in his ankle. i put the camera back together and it works fine now.

did i mention how depressing it is now with the end of daylight saving time? there's only a few hours of daylight before it gets dark. that, combined with the fact that the temperature gets colder everyday, makes for a very somber season. with the day seemingly over, i took a nap on the sleeping couch and woke up around 6pm.

i walked down to julie's, where people were still lining up to vote at the somerville VFW hall. we drove out to arlington so we could get some barbecue at the blue ribbon, and got back to my place just in time for the first few projections at 8pm. though confident at first, as the evening wore on, i sensed that things were starting to not go well for kerry. approaching midnight, julie went home, watching the outcome from the confines of her apartment.

i'm off to bed and there's still not yet a final decision, but bush appears to be the "projected" winner. democracy is flawed if the worst candidate can win the election and lead the country for 4 more years. the american stock is not only devalued around the world, but at home as well, within its own people. if george bush is what america is all about, i don't want any part of it. i hate this country and i hate all the people who voted to put that son of a bitch in office.

kerry's chance to take the presidency hinges on whether or not he can win ohio, and as of right now it doesn't look good. i'm pretty disgusted. if more than half of america wants a repeat performance of that repulsive republican president, so be it. say hello to more terrorism, say hello to increased international hatred for the united states, say hello to more pollution, say hello to more corporate control over government, say hello to further intolerance, say hello to more american deaths in iraq. if this country is going to shits, so be it. burn america burn.