April 26, 2005

The Majestic

This was the latest on my queue from Netflix. I really liked it. It was sappy and sentimental, but I still really enjoyed it. Jim Carrey plays Peter Appleton, a Hollywood writer in the 50's, who's about to be blacklisted. Upset over events, he gets drunk and decides to drive up the California coast. He gets in an accident and loses his memory. He is found by a man who takes him back to the nearest town. A small California coastal town called Lawson. Peter bears a striking resemblance to a young man named Luke, who was MIA in WWII. So much that Luke's father thinks his son has returned home. Peter, of course, doesn't remember any of this and chalks it up to his amnesia. Luke's father, Harry Trimble, used to run a theater called the Majestic, in the town of Lawson. But, it has fallen into disrepair. "Luke's" sudden appearance has not only boosted Harry's spirits, but the whole town. The town of Lawson had the distinction of losing the most young men to WWII for a town it's size. Restoring the Majestic seems to give the town a much needed emotional boost. Of course, Luke also left behind a girl, Adele Stanton. She's not too sure if this stranger is really Luke, but find herself falling for him. There's much more to the movie, but I don't want to give it all away here. This is one I wouldn't mind having in my collection.

Posted by Valkyre at 12:27 AM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2005

Throw the Book at Her

As far as I'm concerned, this woman deserves everything they want to throw at her:

Article Here

Mother is charged in her 3-year-old son's death

Wilmington woman had been cited for not properly restraining her children before fatal car accident in Carson, which also injured other youngsters.

By Larry Altman
Daily Breeze

A Wilmington mother repeatedly cited for failing to secure her young children in car safety seats has been charged with murder following a crash in Carson that killed her 3-year-old son.

Motorists, police officers and firefighters found screaming children -- including two babies -- thrown about Angela Marie Cerpa's 1997 Honda Civic after the April 5 crash. They scooped up injured children flung into back seats and the dashboard and watched as paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the battered boy, Carson sheriff's Sgt. Russell Shapley said.

"I was glad I wasn't one of the first people out there," Shapley said. "One of the deputies who's been here as long as I have -- roughly 18 years -- said he'd just as soon never see that again."

No one is certain why, but Cerpa, 23, veered off Figueroa Street as she drove south near Lomita Boulevard shortly before noon. Her car plowed head-on into a tree at 40 to 45 mph.

Investigators, who are awaiting the results of blood tests to determine whether Cerpa was under the influence, found no skid marks to show she braked, Shapley said.

Witnesses rushed over immediately to help, finding her hysterical children tossed about the car.

"The eyewitness observed none of the children had seat belts on," Shapley said.

Cerpa's 3-year-old son, Jeremy, seated in the front passenger seat, went into cardiac arrest at the scene. He also had a broken leg.

Jeremy died about six hours later at County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. An autopsy ruled the cause of death as multiple blunt force injuries -- "auto-passenger vs. fixed object," said Chief Coroner Investigator Craig Harvey.

Behind the driver, 6-month-old Leah Ruiz was flung about the car in a car seat that had not been secured. Jacob Ruiz, 18 months, was seated in the middle of the rear seat and also was tossed about, Shapley said.

At the right rear, 4-year-old Jesus broke his right leg, Shapley said.

State law requires that children are secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint, either a safety seat or booster seat, until they are at least 6 years old or weigh at least 60 pounds.

All should have been in properly secured child safety seats or booster seats, Shapley said.

Department of Motor Vehicles records show that Cerpa had repeated driver's license suspensions and convictions for failing to properly secure her children. Her license was suspended at the time of the crash.

Cerpa's license was suspended twice since 2003 for being a "negligent operator," records showed.

Her license was finally suspended on March 20 for failing to turn in an insurance certificate.

She was convicted twice after receiving tickets on Nov. 25, 2002, and May 28, 2003, for failure to utilize a child passenger restraint system, the records show.

The first ticket also carried a conviction for driving without lights during darkness, and the second ticket included a conviction of driving at an unsafe speed for prevailing conditions.

In September 2003, she also was convicted of a hit-and-run crash with property damage, the records show.

Cerpa, who broke her leg in the April 5 crash, told investigators in an interview that she knew the importance of wearing seat belts, Shapley said.

"It just shows a certain amount of arrogance or disregard for her passengers," Shapley said.

Asked why the 4-year-old was not belted, Cerpa told deputies, "He doesn't like to wear it," Shapley said.

Cerpa's demeanor following the death of her own child surprised deputies, Shapley said.

The woman appeared upset that she had a broken leg and had to go to the station, but did not seem remorseful.

"We all kind of talked about it," Shapley said. "She didn't appear to be in shock. She appeared to be inconvenienced -- 'Let's-get-this-going' kind of a thing."

Cerpa's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Aparna Voleti, said sheriff's deputies got the wrong impression of her client's feelings.

"She is clearly suffering," Voleti said. "It's a tragedy for everyone that's been involved. It may have been from shock. She went through quite a bit."

Traffic investigators took their reports to the Compton branch of the District Attorney's Office last week, seeking to obtain charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

Prosecutors on April 15 filed the manslaughter charge, but -- in a rare move -- added a stronger murder count because of Cerpa's record, said Jane Robison, a D.A.'s office spokeswoman.

"She had been cited twice for not having proper child car seats," Robison said.

A manslaughter conviction could bring a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. A second-degree murder conviction can bring up to 15 years.

Four counts of child abuse also were filed against Cerpa, who is held on $1.45 million bail.

She pleaded not guilty Wednesday. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for May 25 in Compton Superior Court.

Voleti said prosecutors overcharged the case.

"We can only hope that justice will be served in this case," Voleti said. "There was clearly no intent to injure any of her children."

Charges against a parent in a child restraint seat case are rare, said Stephanie Tombrello, executive director of SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A, an Altadena-based organization.

Lesia Smith-Pappas of Santa Clarita was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in 1996 following a crash that killed her 3-month-old son. Although the boy was in a car seat, it was improperly buckled and he suffocated when the seat became wedged against the van door.

"I would hope this would be a cautionary tale," Tombrello said. "We are there to try to prevent these things. It grieves us greatly."

Cerpa's other children were placed with grandparents. Their father is an inmate at the California Institution for Men in Chino, police said.

Staff writer Stephanie Walton contributed to this article.

Posted by Valkyre at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2005

You Make Due With What You've Got

I thought Teresa was getting out an hour early today. It was marked that way on a sheet that the school sent home at the very beginning of the year. As soon as I pulled up, though, I didn't see any other parents waiting for their kids. Obviously, there had been some sort of mistake. My options were, to go back to work and squeeze in another half hour, and then go back. Or, just wait there in the parking lot for an hour. I didn't have anything to read though. Hmmmm.... What to do. I was a little tired, so I thought I would take a nap. I opened both windows, and reclined the driver's seat all the way back. The headrest adjusts up, so it made a nice supporting pillow. Right where my head was, was on of the six stereo speakers that my car came with. So, I turned the stereo on low. It was actually quite comfortable. I could stretch out my six foot frame. I wasn't cramped at all. There was a nice breeze coming in through the windows to keep me cool. I actually dozed off for quite awhile. It was real nice.

Posted by Valkyre at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2005

I Think I Will Call Her "Miracle"

Walked into the "puppy nursery" today and noticed that one of the red dachshunds had given birth. She was nursing four newborns, and a fifth one was still in it's embryonic sac (I know there is a more correct name for this....). She had pushed it aside. I looked at her nursing pups and figured this was probably the first born. And, she must have felt that something was wrong with it. She didn't bother chewing off the sac. I walked down to tell the owner what I found. "Did you tear off the sac?" No, I didn't bother. I figured that the pup had suffocated. "Why don't you give it a try?" I walked back up and tore the sac off. No movement. So, I picked it up and gently did this manuever that helps clear the mucus from the nostrils of the newborns, if need be. Nothing. I grabbed a towel and dried it off. Then, I started to massage it. Nothing. It's tongue was hanging out. There was a white tinge around it's head. I held it up to my ear. No heartbeat. The pup was dead. I pulled out a piece of newspaper, and wrapped it up. I placed it gently into the trash can. Then, I went back to work. About an hour and a half later, the owner calls me back to the kennel. "I think there was a puppy born in one of the runs, I keep hearing it crying." It was extremely hard to hear over the barking of the dogs. But, I caught the faint sound. We started looking at the first few runs. Nothing. Then, I heard the sound again. It was behind us. I turned around. I heard it again. It was coming from the trash can! I walked over there and looked down. The paper was moving! I grabbed it, unwrapped the once "dead" puppy, only to see that it was alive! It had a good strong cry. It's color was back. It was a little cold, but other than that, it seemed fine. I still don't know what the hell happened. By all rights, that puppy should have been dead. The owners took her down to the house and brought her body temperature back up to where it should be. Yes, it was a girl pup. She was placed back with her mother. I checked on her later, and she was doing fine. I know this sounds kind of corny, but I want to name her "Miracle".

Posted by Valkyre at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2005

Beware the Ides of April

"Beware the Ides of March", my ass. Beware the Ides of April. I'm glad this week is over. Usually, I will have a "bad" day. This whole week has been bad. Mike told me it's because Friday the 13th fell on Wednesday. Whatever it is, this whole week blew, as far as I'm concerned. I'm glad it's over. Here's hoping that next week goes better.

Posted by Valkyre at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)