Monday, June 27, 2005

Ultimate Tournament in Anchorage

Above was an excellent layout. Last weekend I played for the yellow team in an ultimate frisbee tournament in Anchorage. I played alright, had much fun, and got the back of my legs really sunburned. Must write more later.

Today, went to court twice. Everything went fine. I'm starting to get more work from more people, and that seems right. Tonight I gotta help clean up the former couchspace (not that it's dirty, but), feed and walk the dogs, eat some salmon caught yesterday in the Copper River, and I think that's all.

(added July 7): More about the court stuff: I went for a pre-trial conference, but we couldn't get anything done since the DA had not sent us the discovery aka "disco," which is documents including the police report and the plea offer. If we don't have the police report, we don't know if it's a good or bad case for the client. If we don't have the DA's offer, we can't know if the client would rather take that than go to trial. My supervising atty. that day then handed me a few files I hadn't really seen before, whispered a few words of instruction, and hey! time to think on my feet, but it went alright.

Then I watched another atty. do a bail hearing, one of the third party kind. Which is, in AK, where you can get out on bail if you can get someone to say "I'll keep the defendant within my sight and sound for as long as the court says, or until he's gotta be back here, and if the defendant gets away from me, I won't chase him. Instead, I'll call the cops on him, and if I don't, then I face a charge that could put me in jail."

But of course it takes longer than that, and there's lots of questions involved, and ok. It's odd but it gets done a lot. An alternative is electronic monitoring, which is a machine locked on your ankle, which may include an alcohol monitor, which measures through your skin the alcohol in your body.

After work I went and walked Charlie but not Sugar or Stevie Ray (see above). Then I had a lot of good salmon (under rainbow, see above).

Friday, June 24, 2005


Went hiking last night. First, though, I finally got my belt fixed (was playing ultimate in work pants with belt, laid out for disc, made buckle come loose from leather) and the glass vacuumed out of my van (as mentioned, locked self out of car, broke window with big stick to get into car). So yesterday was great.

Didn't get onto the trail though until after nine. It was just about straight up a hill above Hatcher's Pass. They don't seem to care about making switchbacks up here. Most trails go right the hell straight up whatever elevation. Once close to the top, could see a rainbow in the valley south of us.

I don't get around computers much when I'm not at the office, so, right. I'm playing in an ultimate tournament in Anchorage this weekend. Should be much fun. Then I gotta be in court 10:30 Monday morning to tell the judge we need more time, since the DA hasn't sent us an offer or anything.

So I'll try and get some pictures up. Happy weekend, all.

near Hatcher's Pass

That's what I'm talking about, above.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


I was in court to argue a couple of plea agreements. The first was for a client who was in custody. The police brought him to court with three others, each handcuffed, and handcuffed to each other in a line. They sat in the jury box, and I sat there too, next to the client. He was charged with domestic violence, and the woman he'd hurt was there, and she'd changed her mind, no longer wanting the no-contact order. She giggled about the judge being concerned that this man had hurt her in front of their kid, which led the judge to give them some what for. But then the judge went and got all nice to the client by allowing him out of jail, so he wouldn't have to finish his sentence until late summer.

The second client pled to a second DUI, violating probation conditions of his first DUI, driving without valid driver's license, and had a ticket for not having insurance on his car. I did more negotiating on this one than I've done so far. The client wanted twice the usual year allowed to repay fines, and hoped his ticket might be dismissed (there was nothing to be done regarding the time he was sentenced to jail, nor the amount of the fine). I had to ask the judge for a moment since I hadn't been able to corner the district attorney beforehand. The DA wouldn't give another year on the fine, but then relented on the ticket. So that was good, since the client will have no trouble getting more time to pay the fine; I'm told extensions are routinely granted for that sort of thing.

That second client's driving, road-side alcohol test, and arrest were all videotaped. AK cops and courts seem to record everything as a matter of course. Some of those tapes we see/hear at the PD ("public defender"), and if you imagine television's "Cops," uncut, you maybe get the idea. But, then, there was this audio tape of an interrogation, during which the cop takes a break from questioning, goes to the bathroom... and the mic he's wearing captures the event, everything. You can't do that on television!!!!!!!!!!

What else... next to "my office" is the big boss' office. He just finished a murder trial that was front page in the Anchorage paper. Defended a man who'd killed his mother. Defendant told cops he'd done it, and his mom's dying declaration was that he'd done it. Defendant gets offer but decides to go to trial, now arguing someone else did it, and when the someone else started killing his mother, Defendant was so frightened that he ran from where he sat (next to her, on the couch, watching "Law & Order") to hide in the bathroom. Jury said he was guilty, though.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Back on Monday, I played ultimate. I'm on a team in Anchorage's summer league, and this was our third game of the season. We had too many subs and a few playing-time-hogs, and there were too many interruptions of the game to discuss- I mean, argue- about the rules. I left when we were tied at thirteens.

Compared to the others in this league, our team has more people at the ends of the age/experience spectrum. Several older/experiences players, several younger/inexperienced players, and then me, in the middle. Which oversimplifies things, but not so very much. Anyway, the younger ones (guys, mostly) have wheels but no sense of the game (or the rules, which they'll argue anyway), and no idea that they should take a sub if they get burned or scored on (not to end a sentence with a preposition). That we had so many people show up on Monday made things worse. While we couldn't get our heads together, we played a team who had just enough of its people to play, and they were playing better than we were. We should have been able to exhaust them, but we would not.

Anyway, when I got back up to my couchspace in Palmer, I tried to get a fire going. After working at it for a bit, as I turned again to the woodpile for kindling, well, there was a moose just about twenty feet away. That's too close for a moose to be to me. He wasn't moving much, but he saw me, or maybe he'd been watching, I don't know. I grabbed some gravel and landed one on his backside, and there was a light popping noise. Made him jump a little and move a few feet to the side, and he looked at me like what was my problem?

I threw again, too far, and when it landed behind him he came at me, so I got one in front of him Real Quick, and he changed course, once again away from me. Long story short: he moved a little deeper into the woods between couchspace and the road, and I heard him munching around out there until I went inside for sleep.

So, I thought then all the moose would have got the message, and keep well away from the dangerous biped with the Lethally Accurate Gravel Delivery Apparatus ("LAGDA").

Tuesday, yesterday, was a bigger deal for being solstice than anywhere I've been. Summer's a big deal up here, and that the days will just get shorter from here on out is a crying shame, or too bad. But it's great for now. Sunset at 11:45, sunrise at 4:12, without getting very dark in between.

Yesterday after work, I went and got taught how to walk and feed the four dogs I'll take care of at the next couchspace. All nice dogs, they get fed twice a day, and walked daily for about a half hour, but I might miss a day of the walking here and there. That couch-owner will be around like half the time, there's back-up dog-sitting, and the house is nice.

Then I went with the other two interns to the current couch-owner's new residence. Other intern #1 is from AK and was a commercial fisherman for years up here, so he finished cutting the fish, and he took care of the cooking. Suffice to say that that fish Was. Real. Good.

However: before going to cook the salmon, I arrived at the current couchspace to find another damn moose. This one was a little further off, and I didn't hit her (no horns, so I guess that's how you tell) with anything with the LAGDA (now improved by a new centrally-located pile of dedicated moose-deterrent). Near misses, or something, maybe senility, got her to move off a little. She went behind the couchspace and didn't appear on the other side. So I threw some gravel over the house, but no reaction, except she made some sort of moose's yawn or cough.

Eventually I went inside, crept around close to the back window, and saw moose butt, really big, really close. From that angle, seemed like she was sleeping. Spent some time on the phone, waiting on interns to arrive so I could show them how to get to the couch-owner's new spot. Once interns got there (accompanied by #1's approx. 12 yr. old daughter), I showed them to the back window. Moose had not changed position. Then we got everything together and everyone ready for a quick getaway. I crept around the side of the house to where I could see one of her eyes, reached around with my camera, pushed the button, and got away clean. So, that was fun and Need Not Be Repeated.

Behind the moose

Being very, very quiet

Monday, June 20, 2005

Kenai ferry

The fish avoid the highway side of the river, so, you gotsa take the ferry. It's a fun ride.

Fish with eye magnet

Sunday was a good day. That's a red salmon.

Kenai River fishing

This is what they call "combat fishing." I watched for about an hour, then got really lucky when about 20 contiguous feet opened up, so I had like five minutes to get the hang of casting before I had neighbors right next to me. An hour later, I was getting the hang of it: repeated casts 10-15 feet out and about 5 feet upstream, pulling it out, I mean, In, about 5 feet downstream.


This was at the Crooked Creek campground. Plenty of cars and people around, and the road is between me and this moose. She had two little ones with her. Seemed not to care when a car drove by, then backed up right next to her (not me, not my car).

Crooked Creek fishing

Here I first fished for salmon. I caught none, but then I was using trout bait. But there were a bunch of guys around me with fancy-pants fly rods and waders etc., and they got skunked too. So, ha!

fastest way down the mountain

Rendevous is a ski resort- or at least has lifts for downhill skiing- and snow remains on this run, at least. Enough for a couple hundred yards of sliding. This sliding was fun.

follow the finger on Rendevous Mountain

note the mosquitos

residential Alaska

There are some good places in Alaska for houses. I went to a party at this one.

Meirs Lake

Taken from the American Legion side, which has a dock. Public access is on the other side, and there is no dock.

From the Glenn Highway


This one tried to take my camera away.

Current couchspace

An attorney moved out of this house about a week ago, so, since then I've had it to myself. Check out that tuff minivan. Also in front of the house is a bunch of unseasoned wood, a little firepit, and an 800cc snowmobile, allegedly the fastest mass-produced. Tonight I'm going to learn how to do snowmobile wheelies, endoes, jumps, and high-speed headstands.

Inside, now that the lawyer's all moved out, are: refridgerator, table, sink, garbage can, washer, dryer, bathroom sink, shower, and- most important- couch. I think I'll be there for the rest of the week.

But tonight I learn how to feed and exercise dogs at another house, owned by another attorney, who has raced the Iditarod three times. She's traveling a lot this summer, so she can use me to take care of the dogs. And then I get to stay at her place, and she'll be gone about half the time. It's good not to pay rent up here, since I gotta keep paying for my Knoxville apartment.

PD office

And this is the appearance of the front of the Palmer PD office. In the background is Matanuska Peak. In the foreground is a silver car belonging to I know not whom, but I'm pretty sure it's not a client's vehicle.

KIA rental car

Drove this white KIA for the first couple of days I was here. Much better than getting a bus from Anchorage to Palmer and then being on foot. And I can say it was a fun car to drive. Six cylinders in such a little car.

In the background is the rear of the Public Defender's office in Palmer. Employees' and interns' favored entry it is.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I spoke in court,

today, as an intern, but similar to a lawyer. I've never done that before. I had my turn, the prosecutor had his, and we got a plea changed. Was exciting (for a law student.) So, did that once today. Tomorrow, will do it four times. I am on my way.

Also, got my grades yesterday. When I saw I'd passed everything, I sang and danced. It was seriously good news.

More later

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More More More

June 1: turned in rental KIA in Anchorage, got ride back to Palmer with an investigator for the office. She had to run some errands in Anchorage anyway. After work, I bought a minivan from her. That's what I'm driving now: 1993 Dodge Caravan. It is the tuff-est looking minivan you ever seen, for real. But it seems to work real good. And it scoots! better than my camry. But of course this minivan has 100,000 less than the 270,000 miles on my camry. Soon as I bought the van, I drove back to Anchorage to play some pick-up ultimate, and it was good.

June 2: Got minivan title changed to my name at DMV, and it didn't even take an hour, and only cost 15$. After work, I went up to Independence Mine, and there's a picture from that trip at Flickr. I got more pictures to put up here, but may not get to that today, since I'd really like to get out of this coffee shop.

June 3: Thunderstorm, and so power went out at the office at about 4 PM. Being a Friday and all, was good to have to leave early. But Thunderstorms don't really happen up here, or maybe they're starting to happen up here. Everyone seems to think that the weather is changing, more than they seem to think anywhere else I've been.

There's more to this day, but I gotta get out of this coffee shop in this shopping plaza. Seems like I need to run or something.

More Catching Up

Ok, work is good. Now, apart from work... I'll start at the beginning, mebbe just because I like outlines.

May 29: parents wake me up a bit after five. So, I got a couple of hours of sleep after a long night. The long night that followed my brother's wedding. Was lucky to get on plane, since arrived like ten minutes before take-off. Also delayed at security, since had two lighters in my bag. And there was a box-cutter in my bag. Which was brilliant of me. Anyway, slept most of the flight, which was the plan all along, or close to it. Got to Anchorage and got my rental car, a KIA, which was nicer than I'd have guessed. Big motor in that little car. Poked around Anchorage, but was unimpressed, so pressed on to Palmer. Drive up to Palmer was more impressive, because of the big mountains all over the place. Palmer- less impressive- but OK. Found the "Valley Hotel," got a room facing some big mountains. Layed on bed watching TV while being weirded out by how late it was while being so bright.

May 30: Good breakfast at like 7 AM. But I've already posted about this day I think.

May 31: wrote about this one too already I think.

ok I'll post this and see if it sticks.

Catching up

Coffee shop in Palmer started charging for access to internets, so I drove to the next place I could find, which is too many miles away, which I know now that I'm here, but, anyway.

Things here:
This Public Defender office is very very good and nice. People very friendly, enough of them, anyway, and those that I have the most to do with are really generous with their help and time.

Today marks a full week at work at the "PD." I've been to court a couple of times: once to talk, and once to watch. The time I went to talk, I found out that the client had found a lot more trouble, felonies now, which would require another attorney, so, I didn't talk in court that day.

But I'm supposed to be there in court to talk tomorrow at 8:30 in the morning. Which is early for me. I think I'm ready. But I'll probably get nervous. It's for a "COP," I mean, Change of Plea, just one of the many acronyms I'm learning, and it's just the name for the proceeding where the defense attorney (for whom I'll speak) and the prosecutor and the defendant tell the judge that they've struck a deal, and the defendant will plead "no contest," and the defendant will have to do what's been agreed to, such as pay a part of the fine, serve a part of the time, etc.


I'm sitting in this coffee shop playing rotten recent moderate rock, but at least the car alarm in front of the place just stopped honking off. The coffee shop is in a shopping plaza, so, feels not so much like anyplace anywhere with a shopping plaza. This part of the state, they tell me, has grown a lot, a whole lot, in the past ten years. Driving around here, this part of the state (the Matanuska-Susitna Valley) is a lot like driving around most places with sprawling development. However, Palmer is kind-of at the edges (that spread up from Anchorage), so, it's easier to get out of the sprawl than in most places, and also there are the mountains that set it apart. I've never been anywhere that beats here for mountains.

So now to post this and see if it sticks.

Monday, June 06, 2005


Went to Talkeetna on Saturday. Nice there that can camp a few steps away from the restaurants and the river, with the view of Denali beyond the river. Would like to post pictures, but technical difficulties temporarily prevent.

Note to Mr. Justicia- it's about time you posted something new.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

More about Palmer

Last night, ran into a lawyer for the Public Defender ("PD"), who told me that moose are what's to worry about, not bears. Ends up I'm staying at his place this evening. He showed me how to shoot the gun that hangs in the furnace room, which is enclosed just behind the front door. "Welcome to Alaska," he says. The gun takes one little-finger-sized bullet at a time. Last night, he was hanging out with Reese, who is mayor. Nice guys, both, far as I can tell.

After work, follow the PD lawyer from work to the spot, then go with him to the "dog-yard," which is where about a dozen dogs stay fenced in, and where he feeds them twice a day. All but one of the dogs are sled dogs, and the one that isn't is named Maple, and is the sweetest dog, ever. All the rest were nice, except one, that was too skittish.

Could go on and on, but stopped in here at this coffee shop that has wireless internets access since couldn't find where the ultimate game was. Had to check on-line. Turns out I was in the right place, but had the wrong time. If it's going on, it's going on now, so, I gotta go Do That.

But may add that now looks like this could be my summer of couch surfing.