1. One time, at one of our check-on-each-other routine, Mugg told me a funny line from a movie: "You can lose money chasing after women, but you'll never lose women chasing after money." He then looked at me and laughed, "But you are different. You are a bum, so this might not work." I resented him outwardly, but secretly was content.

2. Random incidents from the office:

- Steve: What the hell are you guys looking for?
- Boss Asian Charm and I (intently looking out of the window with binoculars in our hands): The moon, Steve, the moon! (few minutes later...) Well, no moon, but that guy in the opposite building sure ate a lot!
(Note: Boss Asian Charm has a pair of kick-ass hiking binoculars that we often used to spy on the moon, random meteors, and people from other buildings).

- Esther: Did you hear? They SETTLED!
- Me, Craig and Asian Charm: What, awwww man!
(Note: My first and our favorite case settled for a tiny amount - a proof of our diligent work. The team however was bitter since we didn't get to work on it anymore :-(

- Asian Charm: I wanna get married, man.
- Esther: I need a marriage counselor, man.
- Craig and I: (contemplative silence)

- Thummin: Do you happen to know if doperman is a dog or a cat?
- Me: Huh?
- Thummin: Oh I'm working on a pet food case. Do you know they feed them salmon and lobster? Make me hungry!

- Boss Yum: The DOJ has very odd sense of justice.

- Me: (showing Yi the chart of law school acceptees) Well, acceptance probability is directly proportional with LSAT score and GPA. Except for this person right here (pointing at a low outlier) - how did he get accepted?
- Yi: (with casual sarcasm) He probably has only one leg.

NERA is a very lovely place to call home :-)

3. I somehow got along very well with New York cab drivers. Most of the time we struck up lively conversations, and many time I was given phone numbers for "in case you need a ride." I did even give my phone number (which I never, never do) to one guy - John - who gave me his green-leather-bound Bible and invited me to his church. "I will call to quiz you on the Book of Wisdom" - he said solemnly.

One time, I rode with an Indian guy who grew up in Guyana. He looked no more than 25; though during the 15 mins from 1166 Avenue of the Americas to StuvyTown, he was comfortable enough to confess he is actually 37. "How do you look so young?" - I was amazed. "Let me tell you the secret" - he smiled brightly - "No meat, no drink, no smoke." Hmmm - I thought seriously about those temptations, and had to confess I might never be able to quit meat.

Tonight, as I opened the door to climb in, the cab driver peered at me with his spectacle, "Remember me? I took you once back really late, around 1 or 2am. We talked about life in New York. I waited for you to get in your building safely before I drove away." He turns out to be from Togo, and we chatted heartily in French. I suddenly felt warm - like the City was a little less indifferent.

4. Sunday night, the Grand Boss strode in the office to catch me swinging around on my chair along the hallway. "Wish I could be swinging" - he shrugged.

"Go home, I can handle this." - Asian Charm urged sympathetically as my eyes turned blood red from analysis-saturation.

"Where are you?" - Mugg asked
"I'm at work, and the DOJ has odd sense of justice."
"Ah." - I can imagine his eyes squinting tight at the other end of the screen - "Such is life, young grasshopper."