Sunday, December 31, 2006
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Count your blessings

(Instead of Sheep)

When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds
If you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings

I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds
If you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings

Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 29, 2006
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Poignant Holiday Memories

Have you ever been so tired that you can't even sleep? That's exactly what I'm feeling now. So I might as well blog.

I was reading a friend's (and kindred spirit's) blog (that I have not seen in quite a while), where she recalled her most poignant Christmas memory of spending the eve in a lonely hospital corridor where her Mom was confined in intensive care.

Very touching story. Got me thinking about my poignant holiday memories.

Sure, there was that holiday season where Christmas and my birthday were stormed out, canceling all parties. But that was a childhood memory and my aunt save those by giving me a Popeye Game and Watch as my birthday gift.

But there are two events (well, technically three) that come to mind:

1. Yuletide 1993

Ever spent Christmas eve and family reunion in a funeral chapel? That's the last place you'll ever want to be near during these times.

In 1993, we did. I had a dear uncle who was vacationing from the States who somehow managed to have his fatal heart attack on the 22nd of December while attending a party with my Dad. May he rest in peace.

How my family sorted out all the permits and licenses to ship him out when government offices were winding down was beyond me. They gave me the day off from staying at the wake on my birthday, though.

2. & 3. Yuletide 2003

Ten years later, ironically, the Christmas and New Year's Eve of 2003 topped even that poorly timed death in the family.

Let me just quote verbatim from my petition for legal custody on how these events went down. I'm sure these will silence all those who may assume there's still "some good" from that "no-good" girl. I think the two paragraphs you will see below capture the events perfectly, as I wrote them near the time of the incidents.

During the Christmas Eve of 2003, respondent (that's my wife) surreptitiously asked her mother, father and youngest brother to stay (at the marital house). It was merely a ruse for her to go out on a Christmas drinking spree since she already had her mother to take care of her daughter and infant son.

New Year’s Eve of 2003 was even worse. Since her mother already knew that she would be asked to take care of her daughter and infant son again to attend another drinking spree, her mother already declined respondent’s offer to stay in the house that day. Undaunted, she still left the house to attend the drinking spree, leaving petitioner (that's me) alone with their daughter and infant son to fend for themselves.

Well, look at the time! Finally, I'm tired enough to attempt to sleep. Perhaps, I'll blog some more later.

Thursday, December 28, 2006
This day in history from:

Yeah, I have some time

For a quick blog entry, that is.

Managed to squeeze in a break between yesterday afternoon (to attend a niece's birthday party in our subdivision's clubhouse) and this morning before heading out to work again.

Things a relatively quiet around the house. My children are too distracted with all the gifts they got to create a fuss in the house. It's a good time to get some saxophone practice...

Sometime after work, I'll be meeting a high school classmate for a consultation. I talked to him on the phone yesterday and for someone as jolly as he was (and as I was) back then, it seems like he's also been through a lot (also like me). I'll know for sure later.

Did you hear about this tragedy caused by a boy hurling a firecracker into another pile of firecrackers, burning the place down and killing 24? Man, that boy's gonna have a huge load on his head...

Anyway, one pleasantly surprising gift I received this Christmas was a "One Voice" T-shirt I got from a choir member. Now where will I wear it? Any suggestions?

A pleasant day to you all.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006
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36 and on the verge...

Some 36 years ago, my mom (and my birth certificate) say I was born.

Darn! It's been 36 years. Been alive that long.

Also been through a lot, as you would know if you have been reading my blog enough.

To "celebrate" we all went to Greenhills this morning to do some shopping. Tonight, we will all have dinner at some steakhouse near my office.

Hopefully I will be on the verge... of making it career-wise on this, my 37th year.

So here's to a good run for the next year!

Monday, December 25, 2006
This day in history from:

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Even to those who don't believe in Christmas...

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

Sunday, December 24, 2006
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Failure of Technology

I was supposed to play at this morning's final midnight mass but technology failed me.

I guess my new celphone's alarm clock was not loud enough or it's not yet familiar enough to cue me out of unconsciousness.

Or maybe it was because I slept at around 2:00 a.m. and had to wake up at 4:00 a.m?

It's so ironic that with all my recently acquired gadgets, not one of them could even wake me up...

Have some last minute shopping to do... I promised my sister a new memory card and I'm planning to buy my dad a guitar tuner (which I can also use to tune my flute... I love those dual purpose presents, heheheheheh!)

I'm doing my Christmas greetings later in the day.

Saturday, December 23, 2006
This day in history from:

A Regular Working Saturday...

It's been a long time since I worked during a Saturday.

But it was a full workday today for me. And so near Christmas at that.

Anyway, I attempted to go into a mall after work but for the life of me, I could not find a parking spot. I'll probably try again tomorrow, as I have some last minute things to buy.

I though that the Apple Camera Connector was my last gadget buy for this year.

I was wrong.

Yesterday, I got a Jabra Bluetooth wireless headphone that can double as a phone headset. It's fantastic. All that sound quality without the wires. And a little after that, I found this cheap, second-hand Game Boy Advance we (my children and I) can use to pass the time...

And I haven't had the time recently to play my saxophone...

So many gadgets, so little time...

I'll do my holiday greetings tomorrow. In the meantime, there's choir...


Thursday, December 21, 2006
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No rest for the Punzster

Just came back from a grueling meeting with my most active (and most lucrative client). And before that, another 4 hours of prep work.

There was so much work that I missed my government consultancy's Christmas party.

There will still be no rest tomorrow. I just took my leave in the morning to attend to some personal errands (read: shopping for my children's gifts, Nico's milk and some stuff for Christmas dinner) because I would not have any other time for them. Then it's off again to another grueling meeting. Saturday's going to be more of the same.

Anyway, I hope we reap the rewards of the hard work we have been (and will be) putting in... next year.

I would not be surprised if I can't find time to blog these next few days...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006
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And finally...

Was in the area a little while ago so I stopped by Ynzal to catch their final sale day just to buy a new, longer USB cable for my 500Gb hard disk.

And lo and behold... an iPod Camera Connector for sale at half price. The impulse buyer in me grabbed it immediately. I tested it with my cameras and it works. So I won't be needing more memory cards in the immediate future as I have about 9Gb left in my newly refreshed and restored iPod and around 350 Gb in my hard drive... and I don't have to lug around a laptop for pure travels.

That's probably my final gadget purchase for the year, barring perhaps some stuff for the kids...

iPod Restoration

If you recall, I lost all my files on Lindsay, including my iTunes library. So I could not refresh my iPod because I would likewise lose its contents.

I came across this small program called Senuti that's supposed to copy the contents of my iPod back to the computer and restore my iTunes library and playlist. But I did not choose to do that because I felt Lindsay was performing better without carrying that extra 20Gb of music.

But with my new 500Gb external hard disk, I already had the luxury of extra space so I gave Senuti a try.

And it sure worked well. And it's so easy to use. Only problem is it only works on Mac OS X. I think there's an equivalent program for the PC, though, called iPodrip.

Anyway, with the extra space, I could even maintain an 80Gb iPod... but that's another matter...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006
This day in history from:

My first video call

Thanks to Skype, I experienced by first video call. I know Yahoo! always had a PC-to-PC video call. But it does not allow cross-platform calls.

It was only recently that I knew Skype allowed cross-platform video calls.

So when the chance came today, I had a video conference with an officemate who's now studying in the land where marijuana is legalized. I finally saw if she was taking advantage of that. Heheheheheh!

It was also the first time I tested my built-in iSight and it worked pretty well. The only problem was the wifi signal here in the office is not so stable. Could not do it from home because of the 12-hour power interruption there.

Anyway, it's still a busy day that's just half-finished. There's still more work to do.

Monday, December 18, 2006
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Decision Making for the Indecisive

What is a good way to decide on two or more equally attractive options?
Do you remember this post, where I was undecided on what give myself for this year?

I'll run by the choices again and tell you what happened:

1. Upgrading Scarlett: Thanks to that Ynzal Annual Inventory Sale that I went to this morning, I upgraded her memory to 1Gb RAM at 63% discount. They even gave us these delicious fudge brownies as a Christmas gift.

2. A new phone: Got a Nokia N80 Internet Edition last Friday.

3. A saxophone: Got one for 20% off.

4. A piccolo: This one was also 20% off but because it's way more expensive than the saxophone, I junked this option... for now.

5. A portable gaming machine: Did not even bother to look because of all the stuff I already bought.

So what's good advice for the indecisive? Go for more than one option. Or all if you can afford it, get them all!

And still more work...

Even though the holidays are fast approaching, there's still work to be done.

There will be no rest for this week. My two busiest clients still have their requirements that needs our attention.

There are only two differences. First, the work is relatively rewarding, for a change. Second, there will be parties along with work.

Here's to a good week for all of us.

Saturday, December 16, 2006
This day in history from:

Band Practice

Our "chamber" group converted into a brass band today. Our maestro and Ariel Ureta brought their respective trumpets, another member brought his clarinet and I brought my flute and saxophone into the mix.

There were no set pieces, just a familiarization run. That will soon follow.

I was glad to discover even with only a few days into playing, I was able to hold my own. That strengthened my resolve to play the heck out of this new found love of mine even more.

But the session left me winded and a little dizzy. I have to rest up for choir later.

And there's still a lot of work to do despite the imminence of the yuletide season.

'Til later.

Friday, December 15, 2006
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It's just a matter of accounting but I think, we will be in the black this year.

Of course, there's still the matter of my previous years continually in the red... But I hope that I can also recover from that by next year, if things go well.

Anyway, I was greeted my daily power outages in the north. Hence, my forced blog hiatus.

As usual, I spent a few days to attend a hearing that lasted less than 5 minutes. That's no problem for us lawyers, as we are still paid for it. And that's usually our professional lives. It's like waiting a long time cuing before an ATM for your transaction that will last less than a minute.

But I digress. That short hearing nevertheless gave my friends and I a chance to get together over a long lunch where we discussed "things." We had a lot of catching up to do as we rarely see each other anymore. We scheduled a reunion of sorts for the new year, with a small "jamming" session in between...

I actually did not get any rest yesterday as soon as I arrived. I had to report for my consultancy and fetch Bea from school.

Today's no different. My trip to the north means I have to report there two days in a row.

Then, midnight masses will start tomorrow... meaning, choir duties...

Sigh... No rest for the superdad...

Thursday, December 14, 2006
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Just came back

I'll tell you all about it later. Arrived here at around 5:00 a.m. and immediately took Bea to school, as if I never left.

I still have some errands to do like get Scarlett from the office and report to my consultancy. But after some shuteye.

Monday, December 11, 2006
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By your leave...

Again, I will be somewhere in the north this week to attend my last hearing for the year.

Again, I will be blogging only when I have an internet connection there, of if it's a decent one at that.

It's a pity I will not be here when the con-ass, con-con "fun" begins. But I will monitor the developments closely. For sure, I'll put in my two-cents there.

Anyway, I started learning to play the saxophone in earnest the past two days and I think I'm in love... with the instrument. It's such a sexy instrument. It's like kissing and embracing someone... (... or something, heheheheheh!) I can actually play something because it has similar fingerings with the flute. But it leaves me out of breath because it's way bigger.

So here's to a good week ahead. And I mean that in every sense.

Sunday, December 10, 2006
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Legal Basis

After the "chamber session" yesterday, our group's discussion turned to politics.

Somebody suggested that with the travesty of recent events (the attempt of the House of Representatives to change the constitution on its own) will give the military an opportunity to intervene.

But let me go beyond that. I say they may have the legal basis (or even further, the duty) to intervene in this situation.

The basis it the military's sworn duty is Section 5, Article 16 of the 1987 Constitution that states:

All members of the armed forces shall take an oath or affirmation to uphold and defend this Constitution.

When this Constitution is under attack (by illegal means), the military is therefore duty-bound to defend it.

Something to think about over the week....

Saturday, December 09, 2006
This day in history from:

Partitioning is the key

Solved that dang 4Gb limit problem on my FAT32 hard drive by partitioning and creating multiple virtual drives of 4Gb each. So now, my virtual Windows XP installation is stable on the new drive.

Anyway, I already have that loaner saxophone and I think I'm in love. It's relatively easy to play and it's such a sexy instrument...

It took my breath away though, literally. I felt so dizzy after my first practice session that I slept through the Windows XP installation.

But now, I'm on a rush because we have choir practice now and I haven't even taken a bath yet. Anyway, I'll try to blog some more later.

Bonus Run

As I have stated in a previous post, I was thinking of upgrading Scarlett's hard drive to 120Gb. When I checked with my dealer, however, her warranty will be voided if I did that. Bummer.

So I'm just thinking of upgrading her RAM, instead, although prices are quite high right now. I'll probably postpone that decision unless I have to.

Anyway, I just resorted to the external solution for my storage woes. Fortunately, I found this huge 500Gb branded external hard drive for a song.

That's the reason for the lack of entry yesterday. I was busy transferring (backing up) my files from Scarlett, Lindsay and Mandy. Plus, I got to transfer my files from Jessica back into this hard drive.

Unfortunately, I had to retain the FAT 32 file system for the drive since I still run a mixed network. That's when I discovered this dang 4Gb limit per file. I never thought I will have to go over this limit, until I tried to transfer my Parallels XP virtual hard disk to this new drive (it ran into 5.38Gb).

Anyway, I'll solve that problem and I even managed to reload Ubuntu Linux into this drive (the virtual drive ran into about 2.3Gb).

And how much space does this all occupy in my new hard drive? Only about 65Gb. I still have 400Gigs to go. And that's probably not filling up anytime sooner.

Well, with my bonus run today, it appears Bea, Nico and I will have a merry Christmas after all...

I tried a piccolo at some music store the other day. It was expensive and I need to really work at it to decently play it. There was also a sale on the soprano saxophone and I almost bought it. I only restrained the impulse because I could not try it out (since it was sealed).

Got to get some sleep. I asked one of the "chamber" members to bring his clarinet and saxophone at out Saturday session so I can try them out before deciding to buy one...

Thursday, December 07, 2006
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My so-called seduction style

Got this one from Carlo. Why the heck did I take it?

Why not take the same test yourself?

Perfect Timing

Don't you think the timing of the constituent assembly move of congress is a little too perfect?

Think about it. This move had military precision. Just in time when an anti-charter change chief justice retired and a pro-charter change new chief justice is sworn in.

But in the end, all these people need is time to get the job done. And this exactly what they have.

Now, it's 7-7 (anti-charter change Justices Carpio, Ynares-Santiago, Austria-Martinez, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr. and Azcuna; pro-charter change Justices [now Chief Justice] Puno, Quisumbing, Corona, Tinga, Chico-Nazario, Garcia and Velasco, Jr.).

This is very significant. There would be a deadlock whether to issue a temporary restraining order on the charter change train. And the oppositors would therefore probably fail to get one. This crucial lack of injunction is probably all the time these people need to propose and approve the amendment(s) and get it out to the people on a plebicite.

I know the rules state:

SEC. 7. Procedure if opinion is equally divided.—Where the court en banc is equally divided in opinion, or the necessary majority cannot be had, the case shall again be deliberated on, and if after such deliberation no decision is reached, the original action commenced in the court shall be dismissed; in appealed cases, the judgment or order appealed from shall stand affirmed; and on all incidental matters, the petition or motion shall be denied. (Section 7, Rule 56, 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure)

But by then, the principle of Salus Populi est Supreme Lex would have set in, assuming the people vote in favor of charter change, of course.

So it's really up to the people to decide whether they would let this travesty pass... Pardon me but at this point, given the electoral system, it may really pass.

Then a future appointment of a certified pro-charter change new justice would seal the deal...

They knew what they were doing. They were geniuses in a twisted way.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006
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Bonus Round

Happy 2nd Blogsary to Punzi's Corner Blog!

Make no mistake: there's still a lot of things to do until the holiday break.

I still have to go to the north again next week for what will probably be my last hearing of the year.

This time, however, the rewards are already trickling in. So just as last year when I was deciding what iPod to get, I torn between some options for a gift for myself (because I know no one will). Scarlett is not such gift because she's for work also.

So I thought you can help me decide. I'm choosing between:

  1. Upgrade Scarlett-- Here, there are still choices of a) A hard drive upgrade to 120 Gb (Php. 8,500.00) b) RAM upgrade (1MB: Php. 10,500.00; 2Mb: Php. 21,000.00) or c) Both
  2. A new phone-- I'm torn between getting a a) Nokia N80, internet edition (Php. 26,500) b) Nokia N70 Music Edition (Php. 18,000.00+) or c) one of those PDA phones (range Php. 35,000 up) since my PDA is about to bid farewell...
  3. A saxophone-- Because ever since, I want to learn how to play this instrument. Besides, it has almost the same fingering as the flute (Php. 20,000.00+)
  4. A piccolo-- Again because I want to learn a new instrument, but it's not really new to me. (Php. 30,000.00)
  5. A portable gaming machine like a PSP or some Nintendo variant
  6. Or some combination of any choice above

Can you guys help me out on this?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006
This day in history from:

Cleaning your flute

Here's another Jennifer Cluff video on how to clean the flute using either the flute flag (which I don't have) or the conventional cloth swab WITHOUT TOUCHING THE KEYS:

Monday, December 04, 2006
This day in history from:

How to assemble a flute correctly

I actually learned a lot from this because I was so careless in assembling/disassembling my flute.

So why is there a correct way? A modern flute is a precise, sensitive instrument and not as hardy as it looks. Any bending through improper handling (even by millimeters) can lead to leaks and malfunction.

Anyway, this is from Jennifer Cluff an accomplished Canadian flautist (or fluter... or whatever...)

A Big Week Ahead

For sure, this will be one of the busiest weeks in the final push towards the Christmas holidays.

I'm not anticipating the same schedule as I had during the past month, but it will be busier than usual. For one, I have to step up collection efforts to have a semblance of a happy holiday this year.

When the work wanes down, my church duties will pick up because I usually play the keyboard for the midnight masses here. It will be held at 5:00 a.m. for a change instead of the usual 4:00 a.m. so it will not be as hard to get up in the morning for that. I usually wake up at 5:00 a.m. anyway to take Bea to school. Just have to cut down on those "midnight downloads" though.

Anyway, here's to a successful week for all of us. And I hope you already received your bonus. I haven't... yet.

Saturday, December 02, 2006
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Getting drowned in a torrent of Torrents...

But while waiting for my downloads, I was able to squeeze in our "chamber session," a trip to the grocery store at the nearby mall, choir and a late night meeting with a client-friend, where I just arrived.

Anyway, I think I'll feature another installment of my friend's guitar virtuosity:

(Jim Brickman)

If there were no words
No way to speak
I would still hear you

If there were no tears
No way to feel inside
I'd still feel for you

And even if the sun refuse to shine
Even if romance ran out of rhyme
You would still have my heart
Until the end of time
You're all i need
My love, my valentine

All of my life
I have been waiting for
All you give to me
You've opened my eyes
And showed me how to love unselfishly

I've dreamed of this a thousand times before
In my dreams i couldnt love you more
I will give you my heart
Until the end of time
You're all i need
My love, my valentine

La da da
Da da da da

And even if the sun refuse to shine
Even if romance ran out of rhyme
You would still have my heart
Until the end of time
Cuz all i need
Is you, my valentine

You're all i need
My love, my valentine

Happy Weekend!

Friday, December 01, 2006
This day in history from:

Thank goodness...

... the storm weakened and/or did not hit here.

With that, we went to Gateway. That served a double purpose as I met a client there for a short meeting. I also got some luggage locks because for some reason, I lost the one I had in my laptop backpack. I also scored some storage solutions (read: DVD-Rs) for the tons of downloads I have been making recently.

Then, Bea and I spent the rest of the day in front of computers. But I rested somewhat.

Was supposed to go out tonight with some friends but that plan fizzled out. So I'll just wait for my downloads, maybe practice on my flute and watch a little TV for the rest of this evening.

Hope your day also went well.

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Side Prayers

Lord Jesus,
Teach me to be generous,
Teach me to serve You as You deserve
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest,
To labor and not to ask for reward,
except that of knowing
That I do Your Holy Will. Amen

May every word I speak be from Your Truth...
I ask come from Your Wisdom...
May every case I handle receive Your Guidance...
May every heart, every life I touch, feel Your Love.

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
"Oh, that You would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that Your Hand be with me,
that You would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain."

So God granted him what he requested.

Side Oath

The Lawyer's Oath
I do solemnly swear that
I will maintain allegiance to
the Republic of the Philippines,
I will support its Constitution
and obey the laws as well as
the legal orders of the
duly constituted authorities therein;
I will do no falsehood,
nor consent to the doing of any in court;
I will not wittingly or willingly
promote or sue any groundless,
false or unlawful suit,
nor give aid nor consent to the same;
I will delay no man for money or malice,
and will conduct myself as a lawyer
according to the best of my knowledge
and discretion with all good fidelity
as well to the courts as to my clients;
and I impose upon myself this voluntary obligation
without any mental reservation
or purpose of evasion.
So help me God.

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