Friday, October 27, 2006

a dream

Yesterday I was reading a brief in which the lawyer said that crack is generally sold in open-air markets. This way of putting it struck me as rather funny. Then last night I dreamed a dream. I was standing in the middle of a street lined with booths, and there were street vendors loudly hawking their wares: "Eight balls! Eight balls of crack for $180!" "Freshly cooked crack! Get your freshly cooked crack here!" "Marijuana bricks! We've got marijuana bricks!" I looked around and said to myself, "Boy, I guess I shouldn't have laughed at that phrase. Here I am, right in the middle of an open-air drug market, and there's nothing weird about it."

Now that phrase makes me laugh even more.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I was told that this job would be very educational, and that's turned out to be very true. For instance, do you know what the wholesale price of crack cocaine is? Do you know the retail price? Do you know what the difference between crack and cocaine powder is? Do you know what drug dealers mean by "key," "bird," or "cookie"? Did you know that real people actually use the term "baby mamma" (as in "he spent a lot of time talking on the phone to his baby mammas and females")? I've learned all of that, and even more.

I've also learned some things not to do, if I ever decide to embark on a life of crime. For instance, don't keep a detailed journal describing everything you do to further your mail fraud scheme. And if you do keep such a journal, don't throw it away in the trash can when you discover that you're under investigation. Shredders were invented for a reason. Don't talk to other people in jail about all the illegal things you did. Fellow inmates are not your friends, and they will be quite happy to testify against you in exchange for leniency in their own cases.

Dave hates the criminal cases, but I think they're really quite interesting. And educational as well.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Very good, sir.

Although most of the books I've read recently have been remarkably mediocre, I read a few books that were quite good. The best was The Mating Season, a book by P.G. Wodehouse. I'd been feeling a little gloomy, to match the weather, but this book lifted me right out of my slump. (Unfortunately, it also distracted me from my surroundings enough that I didn't pay attention to the uneven pavement while boarding the bus. And I turned my ankle and fell onto the stairs of the bus, resulting in some rather nasty cuts and bruises on both legs. But what care I for bruises when there is such a book.) For those who've watched the series, this book is the one where Bertie goes up to Deverill Hall as Gussie and Gussie ends up impersonating Bertie, and hilarity ensues.

Wodehouse books are full of wise observations on life. For instance, take this quote from Mike at Wrkykyn (a book which, incidentally, is nearly incomprehensible to anyone who isn't familiar with cricket):

Man's inability to get out of bed in the morning is a curious thing. One may reason with oneself clearly and forcibly without the slightest effect. One know that delay means inconvenience. Perhaps it may spoil one's whole day. And one also knows that a single resolute heave will do the trick. But logic is of no use. One simply lies there.

Or this:

There are situations in life which are beyond one. The sensible man realizes this, and slides out of such situations, admitting himself beaten. Others try to grapple with them, but it never does any good. When affairs get into a real tangle, it is best to sit still and let them straighten themselves out. Or, if one does not do that, simply to think no more about them. This is Philosophy. The true philosopher is the man who says "All right," and goes to sleep in his arm-chair.

And finally, there's this astute observation from The Mating Season:

Except for knowing that when you've heard one, you've heard them all, I'm not really an authority on violin solos, so cannot state definitely whether La Pulbrook's was or was not a credit to the accomplices who had taught her the use of the instrument. It was loud in spots and less loud in other spots, and it had that quality which I have noticed in all violin solos, of seeming to last much longer than it actually did.

mountains of books! cascades of books!

On Columbus Day I had the day off, so I ventured over to the city library for the first time since arriving here. I'd held off from going there as long as I could, knowing what would surely happen the minute I walked inside the doors. And it did. Between that Monday and the next Monday, I read 11 books.

I remember arguing with my one of my roommates, several years ago, about "the happiest place on earth." She insisted that this was Disneyland, but I said that you couldn't believe everything Disney told you. In my opinion, the happiest place on earth is the library. I love the library.

The Salt Lake City library is wicked awesome. Dave had told me that it was, and I now heartily concur with him. I never met a library I didn't like, but this one is particularly impressive. If you're ever in Salt Lake, you should pay it a visit.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Quote of the day

From a fireside Elder Ballard gave yesterday:

"Some of us in the Quorum of the Twelve are getting pretty old, but we're still quite cool."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

between the devil and the deep blue sea

Tonight after institute I was walking home from the TRAX station. As I crossed the street, I saw a scruffy, homeless-looking man walking very slowly in front of me. As a precautionary measure, I decided that I would try to put some distance between us as quickly as possible. As I was just about to pass him, however, an enormous dog -- probably a direct descendant of the hound of the Baskervilles -- came bounding out of the bushes nearby and started running in our direction. I quickly closed the remaining gap between the homeless man and myself, and then stayed right at his elbow until I reached my driveway. Luckily, the dog by that point had run off a little further away, but I still was afraid to leave the side of the homeless guy.

I decided that this was a very interesting test on which of my fears would predominate. Apparently I am much more afraid of dogs than I am of homeless men.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Denver trip

I got back from Denver on Friday. It was a fun trip. The only travel problem I had is that my luggage didn't make the cut for the flight home. But it came in on the next flight, and they drove it to my apartment, so all's well that ends well.

My hotel was very nice. I think they decided that I was their least important visitor, however, since they put in the hotel room at the end of the universe. It was like a five-minute walk from my room to the elevator. (It was a horseshoe-shaped layout, with the elevator at one end and my hotel room at the other end.) It was also one of the smallest hotel rooms ever made, with the bed just barely fitting into the room. And it was on the floor that was currently being renovated, so I had to walk past painters and around construction equipment to get there. But compared to the flea-bag hotel I stayed at in Vegas last year, this was fabulous. And they not only had complimentary breakfast in the mornings, but also complimentary cookies at night. I very much appreciated that.

There were some law clerk social events in Denver, but when I realized that all of these events would involve the drinking of copious amounts of alcohol, I decided that I'd rather watch Law and Order in my hotel room. I was glad I did when Dave told me how fun the party on Wednesday night was. We heard a case at 2:00 Thursday afternoon, and Dave was really hung-over then. He was getting mad at things like the elevator recording loudly telling us what floor we were on, and he told me that he'd thrown up 5 times since the party. Sounds like a blast.

Both Dave and I ditched the Tuesday night poker party. I ditched because I don't play poker any more and because I don't find it very fun to play cards with people who are drinking. Dave ditched for a different reason. He would have gone if the point were to drink and mingle, but it sounded to him like it was just going to be a bunch of "chess club losers" sitting around and playing cards, and that didn't sound appealing.

Our relationship is progressing very well, though. In Philly we reached the inevitable point where he got annoyed with me for being indecisive and not giving him input as to my opinions. Last week he tried to coach me on being more assertive. In Denver he realized how incredibly slowly I eat (so after waiting for a while, he gave up and told me that he was going to go smoke and that he'd meet me back at the courthouse when I finished). And a few days ago we had a nice long conversation about wedding rings.

One more sign that this is the perfect clerkship for me: the judge told me on Friday that he has a tradition of treating his law clerks to ice cream in the airport on the way home from trips. Any tradition involving the eating of ice cream is my kind of tradition. I realized after getting my ice cream, though, that it's rather hard to look professional and grown up while licking an ice cream cone. I felt like I was about 8 years old. I really don't see how anyone can take me seriously. I certainly don't.