"Does this mean I don't get the check?" --Paulo Langi of Van Nuys after he was handcuffed and cited by state investigators who, posing as homeowners, set up a sting aimed at cracking down on unlicensed contractors.
"I don't think any of us realized the magnitude of it all." --James Le Witt, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, after touring the earthquake-ravaged San Fernando Valley.
"A mother and daughter die, and now we'll get a stoplight." --A woman who lives near the Pacoima intersection where a mother and daughter were killed by a hit-and-run driver in May.
"It's been hell. My life will never, ever be the same again. I lost my youngest child to a violent, violent death, and it's just not fair." --ori Parker, following the conviction of Hooman Ashkan Panah for the murder of Parker's 8-year-old daughter, Nicole.
"I cared enough to eat a worm." --Shirley Di Rado, a North Hollywood school principal, after eating a live meal worm because her students read hundreds of books.
"My wife's birthday is in two days and I didn't want to miss it." --Charles Wesley, manger of a Calabasas restaurant, who foiled a would-be armed robber by hitting him with a bottle of Snapple.
"I thought, you know, maybe the bus was late, so I dozed off for awhile." --Emory Morris, who waited for a bus on Victory Boulevard in Van Nuys for nearly two hours before learning bus drivers had gone on strike.
"Steve, your face looks a lot fuller without a wall on it." --Los Angeles City Firefighter Lee Lewis to Steve Langdon after firefighters rescued him from Northridge Meadows after the earthquake.
"You can go to hell." --Victim of rapist Scott Daniel Artamenko, who said he wanted to "take it all back" before a judge sentenced him to 128 years in prison.
"Insanity is fun." --Christopher Golly 17, of Northridge to a friend a few hours before he fatally shot his father, Los Angeles Police Officer Christy Hamilton and himself.
"Mom, you lived and died a hero." --Christy Hamilton's daughter, Kelly Steven, in a funeral eulogy to her mother.
"Call it a mid-life crisis." --Defense attorney Josh Groshan appealing to a jury not to recommend the death penalty for Mary Ellen Samuels, convicted of masterminding the murders of both her husband and the hit man who killed him.
"I'm not a total sucker." --Adam Sharon, Woodland Hills real estate agent, who says he was bilked out of almost $200,000 in a fraudulent art scheme.
"We put everything into it and we got everything out of it." --Daniel Berdichevsky, Taft High School senior, whose team won the National Academic Decathlon.
"Wow. When the Mormon with eight children and the Lesbian get together to plan something, that is true bipartisan work." --Newly elected Democratic Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl to Republican Assemblyman Bruce Thompson, who enlisted her help in planning a get-together for new lawmakers.
"Their intent is to make Lancaster a homosexual community. They're trying to make Lancaster another West Hollywood or San Francisco." --Quartz Hill resident John Fletcher on plans for a gay pride festival in the Antelope Valley.
"If they deport me I'll be back. In their hearts someday they're going to pay for what they are doing." --Teresa Lopez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, on California voters' passage of Proposition 187.
Researched by MAGGIE BARNETT / Los Angeles Times