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Poetic Justice: Fighting Bureaucracy with Bureaucracy

While munching on my post-lunch cup of ice in the Hub today, I saw a set of posters I have seen many times before. The posters look similar to the following:

Along with the images go catch phrases like “Too Fast and Furious — Need Legal Help.” The posters are advertisements for “Student Legal Services,” one of many underutilized (I am sure) services paid for by Washington State Taxpayers and UW students. Normally I don’t pay much attention to these posters, but now I am in legal trouble, so this time I did.

It turns out the the office is not far from where the posters are, so I paid them a visit. I filled out a green sheet with the information about my legal troubles, and I now have an appointment to meet with Devin and Ivy, two student lawyers (I believe) tomorrow.

I plan to ask them about:

  1. Advice on challenging the ticket
  2. Whether the police officer issuing the ticket acted appropriately in “kind of” demanding my license (his intent was clear, even if he was trying to dance around the question legally)
  3. What, in general, the law requires of police and myself during this kind of stop and other kinds of common police-civilian interactions. For example, can IDs be demanded? What if I refuse to give identification?

It will be interesting to see how it goes.

Oh, by the way, Washington State taxpayers: this and many other departments like it all around the UW and throughout the state government would be a great place to get back a good chunk of the 5.7 billion dollar deficit.

More Fun with Cops

Today while riding to class (a little late), I was stopped by a University of Washington Police Officer on a bicycle for, as he claims, “blowing through a stop sign.” He went through the regular cop intimidation attempts, but I have learned that I have gotten much better at not letting these tactics affect me. Throughout the ordeal, I never admitted any knowledge of guilt (and I still do not), and I even refused to sign the ticket , so where my signature might otherwise be, the cop wrote what looks like “Given to D”.

I have several thoughts after contemplating the incident and my response:

  1. I have seen this particular bike cop around before, and I know that I could probably ride considerably faster than him (unless he has been hiding his prowess very well). So, perhaps I could have “gotten away” — he is probably just lucky that I did stop behind the car in front of me soon after my alleged infraction. I stopped because I consider it rude to pass cars close on the right under most circumstances.
  2. The cop asked me if I had a drivers license on me, which I did and I told him so. I didn’t give it to him until he asked me for it (and even then he never actually asked me for it, he just implied that he wanted it). I’m curious as to what would have happened if I didn’t have the license on me, or if I had told him I didn’t. I certainly don’t need to have my drivers license with me most of the time, so perhaps I should stop carrying it around most of the time. I already have a “everyday” set of keys and a “driving” set of keys; perhaps I should do the same with my wallet.
  3. The cop told me that the fine was $124.00. But then the ticket says the fine is $103.00. Or $103.60, depending on where on the ticket you look. What is up with cops and lying?
  4. I will almost certainly contest the ticket. This will cost the system more than they can possibly gain from giving it to me. We should probably all contest every ticket ever, to ensure that it is not financially viable to continue giving tickets out.

For the curious, I was cited under RCW 46.61.050 with the accompanying text “FAIL TO OBEY TRAFFIC ? CONTROL NUICE Bicycle $103.60”. Feeling generous today, I will interpret “NUICE” to be “DEVICE”, which would make the citation make sense.

A Full Week

– Monday I had a Economics Midterm. I think I did very well. In security we learned to pick locks, a skill I had to put to use several months ago to “break” into a room in my house. That afternoon, I TA’d a robotics lab session, and then went on a run with Bobby, Spencer, and Theo.

– Tuesday I worked a long time on Robotics, trying to finish up the lab before the students (this effort was mostly successful)

– Wednesday we started on Dynamic Games in game theory.

– Thursday was my long day, but I was able to go to the later section, so I was done with school in 12 hours instead of the normal 13.

– Friday I finished up my Security homework, shot some pistols, and watched Benjamin Button.

– Saturday I blogged.

First Friday Fast

Well, the first Friday Fast I was planning was a complete disaster! It didn’t happen at all. I’m thinking that maybe it is hard to fast when you attend two birthday parties in one night. I’ll try again this Friday.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Friday Fasts

I’ve decided to try fasting on Fridays. As in water only; no food or juice (but gum okay). Since I don’t have classes I fugure it’ll be a reasonable time to try it out. The experience should be interesting.

2009 Resolutions

I wrote down most of these while traveling with my family down to Eugene, but I felt I had to get the 2008 Redux out of the way first. So here are my 2009 resolutions:

  • Complete a marathon
  • Complete an Olympic-length Triathlon
  • Get a better time on a Sprint Triathlon
  • Complete Seattle To Portland bike ride in One Day
  • Visit Australia and Peru
  • Work out (1+ hour) at least once a week
  • Get my Motorcycle certification endorsement
  • Complete my Masters degree with a grade at least as high as my Bachelors degrees
  • Eat slower, smaller portions
  • Eat only until I’m full
  • Curb over-snacking tendencies

2008 Resolutions Redux

Its lime to look back at and evaluate my level of success on my 2008 resolutions:

  • Be more honest with myself and others — partial success. I still too often tell people white lies or what they want to hear rather than just being honest with them. I did have some successes though, especially when I was thinking about this resolution.

  • Graduate Cum Laude — success! I finished with a 3.71 GPA, high enough to be in the top 10% of the college of engineering, and warrant Cum Laude status.
  • Be accepted into the UW CSE 5th-year masters program — Success! I was accepted and in turn accepted the opportunity.
  • Fully heal right knee — partial success. I feel totally confident in the knee — I can land jumps on my right leg, run down hills, lift my full body weight from a squat, and so forth. However, my right leg remains weaker than my left leg, and I have considerable work to do to regain or surpass my former jumping or sprinting prowess, both important aspects of becoming an above-average ultimate player once again. During the fall draft/hat league I participating in, I was pretty disappointed with my performance.
  • Participate in a triathlon — Success! I completed the Seafair Triathlon in June.
  • Get a six pack — abject failure. Maneesh and I both lost this wager, and we each now owe a charity $250. Better luck next time!