Saturday, June 30, 2007
This day in history from:

A boy in the HappySlip world...

I just want to be one of the first to embed the new HappySlip video in my blog:



Now for my comments (Disclaimer: this is just my unqualified and non-expert opinion. I don't want to get hate comments or trolls for this):

1. She's really getting better in production. Editing was clean and very precise, even. It's getting slicker and more professional. Considering she's using rudimentary equipment (she's essentially just making a home video), I marvel how she does it. If this is her work with her current tools, just imagine what she could do with a Mac Pro and Final Cut (Pro or even just Express).

2. Her acting was superb. Her comic timing is her signature. No more character inconsistencies, unlike her first few videos. No more cross-character mistakes. Very good.

3. But of course, not all is fine in the HappySlip world. As I said in my Twitter tweets, I like the parts better than the whole. Honestly, I really did not get the point of the whole skit, unless this is a prelude to another series of videos on this subject. Or perhaps I can wait for her thoughts on this video on her blog.

4. Don't really know Kevjumba and I haven't seen his videos, so I can't comment on that at this time. I can't even comment on how he looks (or how cute he is) because I'm a guy.


But all things considered, I say this is a good video as only HappySlip can deliver.

Cheers and congratulations, Christine Gam... (oh c'mon, a little googling will lead you to her complete name anyway...)

Friday, June 29, 2007
This day in history from:

Off to another Superdad adventure

The saga never ends.

Had to be on standby here at the house for a while because Nico has a bit of a fever but still insisted to go to school. No, I didn't stay in the school because I still had to work but I had his nanny stay there in case of an emergency.

I'm reviewing and revising an old presentation I made a year ago because I will conduct it again a little later. And yes, I found some errors and irrelevant items already.

No need to rehearse, though. I had it down pat then, I'll also nail it today. I just need a hard copy of the rules I will discuss.

But I have to wait it out here until 2:00 p.m. until I get Nico back from school. Then, I have to fly to the venue (near my Pasig office) that will start at 3:00 p.m. Hope there's not much traffic going there.

Since there's a major meeting immediately after, I'll be staying there well into the night. I can't leave earlier because they pay me after everything's over.

When I go home, we're still going to a wake in the Quezon City funeral parlor district of Araneta Avenue.

And tomorrow, a godchild's birthday party in the afternoon. But that depends on Nico's condition tomorrow.

And I haven't even mentioned Bea and her needs that demands equal attention.

I really hope there's a way to split my body so I can attend to my two children and my career all the same time. That's the superpower I like to ask for,

Thursday, June 28, 2007
This day in history from:

Punzi: Mouse Surgeon

One of the reasons why I don't use Lindsay as much as I used to is her problematic Mighty Mouse.
I have known the reason why for a long time: accumulated dirt in the scroll button mechanism. This is a common problem (even on old mechanical mice, already solved with the advent of optical and laser mice).

Solving the funk in the case of the mechanical mice was pretty straightforward because the mechanism is easily accessible. It was just a matter of taking out the mouse ball and cleaning the rollers. I've been doing that so much I don't use q-tips anymore. I just take the gunk out with my nails.

But the Mighty Mouse was another story. For one, it's so darn expensive so I really didn't want to mess with it.

So I tried to look for solutions online. I tried the most promising solution: running the scroll wheel upside down on a clean piece of paper like a ballpen. It was promising because I was really getting a lot of gunk out that way.

Unfortunately, I must have done that too much because it became stuck at permanently depressed, thereby rendering it useless. So I had no choice but to operate.

Cracking it open was simple enough and there are a lot of well-meaning people out there who put detailed instructions on how to do it.

When I got to the offending assembly, I could not believe how much gunk was stuck in there. It could not be cleaned any other way. Took a while to clean it all up. And the parts being so small did not speed up the process.

And yes, I fixed the "permanently depressed" problem while I was at it using a pair of tweezers.

Now, everything is ok. But a final word to those who will attempt this. When putting it back together, use a weak glue (not the super glue) to bond the inner and outer ring assemblies. That way, you can always get back to the scroll wheel assembly when it becomes dirty again.

Yes oh yes, it will get dirty again.

In my case, I used contact cement (you know, the one some people use to get high). Yes, I thought about it, but chose not to.

If you're not mechanically inclined, I'll gladly clean your Mighty Mouse for you. But no guarantees, ok?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007
This day in history from:

Roid Rage

Pardon me but it's the first time I heard about it.

It's a condition where abuse of anabolic steroids causes severe bouts of aggression, violence and depression. The term is a play on that other dangerous condition called "road rage."

This is particularly finding its way in the news overseas because of the Chris Benoit tragedy. Said this report:

Investigators found anabolic steroids in the house.

Steroids can cause paranoia, depression and explosive outbursts known as "roid rage."

A wrestler who toured with Benoit for years said he's seen the harm steroids can cause. "One little thing goes wrong and you're going to see an outburst, a rage," said Jacques Rougeau.

WWE issued a news release Tuesday decrying the speculation about steroid use being behind the tragedy.

WWE noted that investigators believed the drugs found were legally prescribed and that Benoit's actions indicate he killed in deliberation, not rage. Toxicology tests haven't been completed yet.

"WWE strongly suggests that it is entirely wrong for speculators to suggest that steroids had anything to do with these senseless acts."

Other professional wrestlers' deaths have been linked to long-term steroid use. However, none of those individuals were suspected of killing anyone.

Of course, the WWE will wash its hands off the whole fiasco. While encouraging its performers to have body-builder physiques, they would officially deny the use of artificial body-enhancing drugs, as if it was illegal in its field. So instead of attempting to find a glimmer of hope in one of its performers that had it revenue, it was quick to destroy his reputation and immediately brand him a murderer, just to save the industry. Too callous, if you ask me.

But even if the WWE official denies any link between the tragedy and steroids, it should already come out with an anti-doping policy to ensure its future, I think.

Well, that's my opinion, for all its worth.

Oh, read WWE's timeline of events here. It's a good read.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007
This day in history from:

Chris Benoit (1967-2007)


FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. (AP) -- Pro wrestler Chris Benoit canceled a pay-per-view appearance at the "Vengeance" event in Houston because of "personal reasons" a day before he, his wife and their 7-year-old son were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide.

Details of the deaths "are going to prove a little bizarre" when released to the public, Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Autopsies were scheduled Tuesday by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in DeKalb County.

Authorities were investigating the deaths at a secluded Fayette County home as a murder-suicide and were not seeking any suspects.

Investigators believe Benoit, (pronounced ben-WAH) killed his wife and son over the weekend and then himself sometime Monday. The bodies were found Monday afternoon in three different rooms of the house on Green Meadow Lane, in a subdivision off a gravel road about two miles from the Whitewater Country Club.

Ballard told The Associated Press a gun was not used in any of the deaths. But he declined to say how the three died.

"We're pretty sure we know, but we want to confirm it with the crime lab," Ballard said early Tuesday. (from this Associated Press report)

xxx

On June 23, 2007, Benoit left the house show loop in Texas due to a family emergency. He missed the Vengeance pay-per-view, where he was scheduled to win the ECW World Title, unexpectedly. The next day, he was found dead in his Atlanta home with his wife Nancy and son Daniel. That night's Monday Night Raw was dedicated to his memory. (from this site)


Most of you know I'm a professional wrestling fan. No, I know all of these things are staged (the term "sports entertainment" was a dead giveaway, pardon the pun). But even then, I admire these people for literally killing themselves to entertain us (again, pardon the pun).

Seriously, we still don't know what exactly happened that fateful day when he begged off becoming the new ECW Champion and end up pursuing a real-life storyline that has stopped the "dead McMahon" storyline (I know that one's fake, too. I wasn't born yesterday).

Looks like Benoit is still keeping us fans glued to our seats even in his death.


Whatever your reasons are, we just want to know. We will not judge him as only his Maker can judge him.

We just want to know what happened.

For whatever it's worth, may you, and your family, rest in peace, Chris.

Blog Lecture No. 76: Ostentatious Display of Wealth

Just a quick lecture. There's no recitation involved even.

Like you, I'm getting sickened by the great wealth divide in our dear country, which seems to get wider by the day. There are people who enjoy decadent lifestyles in the face of increasing poverty. Only a few people live in lavish mansions in the face of people being forcibly evicted and herded off like animals.

We see on the television lavish weddings and parties of celebrities in the face of growing hunger.

And we see some of these gatherings involving our very dear government officials.

So let's do a survey on the "austerity laws" here in the Philippines.

One of the first things a law student learns is this provision in the Civil Code of the Philippines:

Article 25. Thoughtless extravagance in expenses for pleasure or display during a period of acute public want or emergency may be stopped by order of the courts at the instance of any government or private charitable institution.


But as the law states, such extravagance can be stopped by a court order initiated by a case filed by a government or private charitable institution. I personally think a taxpayer should be able to file one of these cases but with the increased filing fees, I don't think it will be feasible.

For our dear government officials, we have this Constitutional provision (Article XI):

Section 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must, at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency; act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.



This principle is likewise echoed in Section 4 (h) of Republic Act No. 6713:

Section 4. Norms of Conduct of Public Officials and Employees. - (A) Every public official and employee shall observe the following as standards of personal conduct in the discharge and execution of official duties:

xxx

(h) Simple living. - Public officials and employees and their families shall lead modest lives appropriate to their positions and income. They shall not indulge in extravagant or ostentatious display of wealth in any form.


The operative phrase there is "lead modest lives." But we see a lot of them in mortally sinful gaz-guzzling cars going to lavish parties and living decadent lifestyles.

Some pubic officials (especially the elective ones) may argue that they were already rich to begin with and as such, they are simply living the lifestyle appropriate to their positions and income. But these public officials should lead by example by living austere lives.

Of course there are remedies to this like initiating a lifestyle check. The Ombudsman now allows for online filing of complaints (or requests for assistance). But of course, there must be some follow-through.

And that, my friends, depends on you.

Monday, June 25, 2007
This day in history from:

On a roll

Finally had the momentum to finish my paperwork backlog. Only one more thing to do (a simple board resolution, at that) and I'm through.

Since I'm on a roll with this Blogger in Draft, I might as well show you a few early videos of my children, so I'll get misty-eyed again...

Here's my first video of Bea taken with my first digicam, in a fairy costume:


video

She still has that pillow stuck in her legs and still cannot sleep without it, no matter how it stinks!

Next is another video of cute Nico at three months:

video

This was still taken at my old house, a few days before we moved out of it.

By the way, you can also see these videos in my Myspace account. I had that account for years but I just gotten around updating it... with videos.

All together now.... AWWWWWWWW!

Sunday, June 24, 2007
This day in history from:

Cheer me up, please!

Though I had my fill today at my granddaughter's baptismal reception (by way of a niece through a first cousin), I'm feeling low because of this dismal week. I really hope things look up next week. It better. Because if it doesn't, we're done for.

Choir today was better than yesterday, I'm the only one that showed up out of the other instrumentalists. But of course, our professional organist was there. And there were only three choir members that sang. Turning up the volume on the public address system did the trick. Not to mention the priest was very good.

"Parents' greatest treasures are their children, just as the children's greatest treasures are their parents." Powerful words.

I'm experimenting with Blogger draft where a video upload is included in the client. So I'm going to use some videos to cheer me up.

Here goes:


video

Oh... they grow up so fast... as you can here:


But that thought makes me more sentimental than cheerful. So I'll just post another HappySlip video ("Peelings") for good measure...



because I can totally relate to that "Biks" bit... heheheheheheh!

There. I'm cheered up already...

A great week to us all!


Saturday, June 23, 2007
This day in history from:

Producing Sound on a Flute

I think there is no better person to teach a beginner how to make a flute sound than Sir James Galway:



Just trying to cheer myself up from this unsuccessful day...

I will try to refocus my efforts on the flute a little because I seem to be loosing my touch... if I even had it in the first place.

Friday, June 22, 2007
This day in history from:

Counting Blessings

It's times like these when I'm feeling a little low because I'm low on funds that I need videos like this to refocus:



Have a good weekend, everyone!

Thursday, June 21, 2007
This day in history from:

Drinking History

Taking this post from a long-lost friend (who is still lost/disconnected himself from the blogging world for a few years now) into account, I like to talk about my history in alcohol.

Hi, my name is Punzi and I have been sober since 18 February 2004.

(Hi, Punzi!)

I was your regular Catholic schoolboy from my elementary years to law school. Let's just say that the first time I was remotely drunk was in the summer of 1987 (16 years old, oops, that's an illegal age, but anyway, we're all anonymous here, right?), at our high school graduation farewell beach outing extravaganza. I did not achieve drunk status, as I can recall. Just a little tipsy/inebriated.

But I've seen the effects of alcohol on me and my classmates and I swore not to be like that (or like my friends who actually got drunk that night) anymore. Imagine, a classmate who got so drunk he started swimming in the beach... actually on the beach and he did not ever reach the water. Imagine a classmates who could not stop laughing at anything anyone said... another who was cursing Saint Michael the Archangel for giving us Ginebra San Miguel... and someone recorded what transpired that night. Okay, it was just an audio tape, but that guy was likewise so drunk he acted like a reporter interviewing every drunk classmate present.

From that time until the middle of 2002, I only engaged in what we call "social drinking." A few bottles here and there just as a favor to friends (and eventually, clients and coleagues at work) who invite me to parties and other activities. I did not want to loose control and pay for its consequences the next morning. Not even the pressures of law school while maintaining a tumultuous relationship ever drove me to drink.

To be perfectly candid, I started drinking because of my marital problems and all it encompassed. I like to be as brief as that because I don't want to go into any more details (even though I'm dying to tell you details) as I'm saving all of this for court. (Take me out for some drinks and I'll tell you all about it... oops!)

It started with a few beers a day. Then added more and more bottles each time... then to a stronger equine beer brand... then to ginpine (gin and artificial pineapple juice)... then to these cheap local brandy with a Spanish sounding name (there are many of them, take your pick, they're all the same)... and then to straight gin because I was running out of money but I still wanted to drink.

And yes, I have driven drunk. A lot of times. During these times, I don't even know how I got home. During another time, I did not even get to park the car at our garage because it was so narrow that I would surely damage the car given my condition.

And yes, I have lost control some of these times. And yes, Bea has seen me in this condition during those troubled years.

Fortunately, the urge to drink myself silly evaporated on that fateful day of February. That's the day we left my wife for good. No more reason to drink. Fortunately, I did not achieve alcoholic status. Nipped in the bud in the nick of time.

Now, I do drink occasionaly. But I know my limits now and I don't loose control. And I don't drink at home (although I was tempted a while ago to take a swig at the liquor my clients have given me that are all unopened up to now, but not anymore).

So what do I want you to get from this post?

1. You know you have a problem when you get drunk alone. A shot/bottle or two after a hard day's work is still fine.

2. Except in parties (or that shot or two), don't drink at home and /or let your children see you drinking or drunk. If you do take that occasional swig, be sure to explain what you're doing to your children so they don't get any ideas.

3. Don't drink because of problems. Those problems will not go away through your drinking.

4. Know your limits and don't drink past it. Don't loose control.

5. If you do get inebriated, the "I'm sick" excuse only works with your boss a few times. If you do have to drink, be sure to report for work the next day.

So that's that. Thank you.

(Clap clap clap clap....)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007
This day in history from:

Motorcycle Attack

Just had it up to here with motorcycle riders who behave as if they're still pedestrians.

Then, when you honk at them, they even cast menacing glances to you.

Just running across EDSA both ways today, I encountered about 4 near mishaps with these maniacs.

Just because they can put up a month's salary for the downpayment on their puny bikes does not mean they own the road.

They should not their place in the road. And it should be their own lookout if they encounter a mishap... They should be taught a lesson in proper road manners... They should be given practical exams when they apply for their licenses. Wait a minute! They probably are but how many reasons did they give to pass?

Don't forget, four-wheeled drivers can still do this to you if you get them mad enough:



Just thinking aloud....

But then again, the Vatican issued these Ten Commandments of Driving:

1. You shall not kill.

2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.

5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

7. Support the families of accident victims.

8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.

9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.

10. Feel responsible toward others.

So I take it all back.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007
This day in history from:

Same reaction

This is the exact same thing I did when I "experienced" a Mac Pro... from the breaking into song to the kissing the CPU bit...

Just imagine if I get to own one... what more if it's the 8-core one...




Oh, and a 24" iMac will do the same to me (and probably to you too)...

(Ooops. The Revver movie was too large for my blog so I'm switching to the YouTube version instead...)

Personally, I think someone has to start a fund to buy HappySlip one. But then again, the raw quality of her videos (as opposed to videos she could do with a Mac Pro and FinalCut Pro) is what endeared her to us in the first place... So perhaps a MacBook Pro (or even just a MacBook) would do. I'd even give her Scarlett if I didn't use her for work, you know... But that's just me thinking out aloud...

Monday, June 18, 2007
This day in history from:

A close one...

Whew!

For a minute there, I thought Scarlett was a goner...

A program hung on me and I could not shut her down normally. So I had to pull the plug on her (by pressing the power button for a longer time).

When I attempted a restart, she would not go further than the login screen...

I started to panic. I used the startup disk already but I did not want to reinstall the OS just yet. I could not believe that Lindsay was more reliable than Scarlett just yet (though I find myself using the forced shutdown more in Scarlett than in Lindsay, but still overall far less time than in Mandy).

I just started with a disk repair using Disk Utility in the installer disk. Everything seemed to be OK. I was running out of options. I was even looking for solutions in the web (using Scarlett downstairs).

Then, I just told myself to trust Scarlett and give her some time to boot up. And I used that time to look for solutions downstairs with Lindsay.

When I got back to Scarlett after a bit... she's already booted up! Ran a few more tests and Maintenance 3.5 (I could not run 3.6 because somehow, that version did not work for either Scarlett or Lindsay). She's doing fine now. I using her to write this entry.

Turns out Scarlett just took a longer than usual time to log in. And now, she's booting up normally, in its usual times...

I just have to learn to trust my Macs more. They have pulled through so far... which is a far cry from my PCs...

Sunday, June 17, 2007
This day in history from:

HappySlip's Stalker

This is one video I like as much as (or more than) HappySlip's...

Another "deesasterrrr!"


Marvel vs. DC...

Deeesasterrrr!



Recovering Father

Sounds too much like a recovering addict... but I digress...

I could not post an entry yesterday for obvious reasons. But a full day's rest seemed to work. Hey, I'm back posting, so I guess I'm feeling better. Tried to finish HappySlip's live chat session yesterday morning but my body quit on me... So I just elected to download all her videos on iTunes to view them later. Maybe I can catch the next session instead...

Watching some of them last Friday was the only thing that kept me from getting worse... aside from Marvin's cognac and beef kebab...

I hope we could do something for Father's Day. My kids already gave me their cards. Yes, Nico made one of his own from school. I'll probably post them later but I'm too lazy to scan them since the scanner is connected to the PC and not to any of my Macs.

I greeted my dad and he said his "Same to you..." bit...

We'll probably have something delivered a little later.

So I'll just get some more rest today to even hope to play at this afternoon's mass.

Enjoy the rest of your week. And to all the fathers (and single mothers), Happy Father's Day!

(To the fathers, I'll add, "May you have many more mothers to come...")

Friday, June 15, 2007
This day in history from:

Coming Down

Influenza.

It's been years since I had one, fortunately. But today seems to be an unlucky day, aside from being one of my busiest (both in personal and professional respects).

Took that Lakbayan test that has been going around the bloggers and fared mildly better than my blog friends, a C+. But I'm a lawyer, for goodness' sake, my job takes me everywhere. although my foreign travels are few and far between.

Anyway, here's my map:


My Lakbayan grade is C+!



It's nice to see a map of where you have been, in any case.

A restful week to all of us...

Thursday, June 14, 2007
This day in history from:

A Long Short Day

Or is it a short long day?...

The day started with some work over by Manila City Hall, as I accompanied a client for a filing. That ended early, at around 10:00 a.m. So it was time for brunch (since I did not have breakfast to make it there on time).

Then, I arrived at the venue of my second meeting at around lunchtime, but the meeting was set for 4:00 p.m. So I just killed time on the net, using somebody else's computer. I could not accompany Nico to school today.

Will all the time to kill, I discovered HappySlip on YouTube. No need to elaborate, as I may be the last person on earth to discover her... Man! What a looker! And then she sings and plays the piano too... an irresistible combination for me...

Then, I discovered the meeting was called off because the person I was supposed to meet simply forgot about it... so that meeting will be reset to tomorrow afternoon, which will be another long day (I have multiple things in my PDA tomorrow.) But I ended up staying until around 7:00 p.m.

So when I got home, I did not catch Nico anymore, as he was already asleep. Bea was waiting for me because she needed some help with her homework. That took until around 8:30...

Then it was back to surfing again... on Scarlett... until I remembered to post an entry for today...

Anyway, tomorrow is another full day (I think I mentioned this already). And there's choir tomorrow, instead of Saturday...

Hope next week is better than this one...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007
This day in history from:

Nico's First Day

It was Nico's first day at school today. Felt like Marlin taking Nemo to school, without the East Australian Current adventure part, of course.

We were prepared for a morning class (8:30 to 11:00 a.m.) for the nursery class, but fortunately for him, he was bumped up to junior kindergarten (11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.) due to his age. But for this week, they will have one-hour sessions only, to orientate (yes, this is an English word) them on the school routines, etc.

My father joked how well he performed in school because he got promoted even before he attended a single class. That's the good news.

The bad news is his class schedule will make it impossible for me to take him to and from school, if I still want to earn a living. Fortunately, his school is technically walking distance from the house (it's in the same subdivision).

Nico was not one for separation anxieties. He did not cry when I left. But then again, the nanny stayed with him today (and only for this week). Bea cried a lot during her first day.

Since this was pre-school, I think they will have light sessions for the first two months and then the teacher will attempt to teach them gradually.

So now, I have all my kids in school. It's very scary, if you ask me, given the cost of education these days, but hopefully, I can pull all of them through until they finish.

My, how time flies!

One moment, I was just cradling my children in my arms, the next moment, they're all in school. Pretty soon, they'll be old enough... and so will I. I hope I will have time to attend to both my kids. But wait a minute! I have to make time...

Again, the travails of a single parent...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007
This day in history from:

Random Thoughts on Jobs' WWDC 2007 Keynote

You can watch Steve's keynote here, so you can relate. (You'll need Quicktime for this).

Anyway, let's start:

John Hodgeman is simply hilarious in the opening video.

First, let's delve into Leopard...

1. Stacks is cool. But no real added value to the new OS. Like the new desktop, these are mostly cosmetic.

2. The new finder with coverflow has more use. And with Leopard, all your Finder windows will look like the iTunes UI.

3. I just hope the new features (like Quicklook, Time Machine, Spaces, etc.) will not tax our old Macs too much. But then again, Apple is not Microsoft, and I'm using relatively new Macs so I'm not that worried. Plus, Leopard is 64-bit native, so that's where the power for these features will come from...

4. Did he say 300+ new features and he's just showing 10?

5. Saying that the Leopard Basic, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate versions will all cost $129 was a nice touch, with a jab at Vista at the same time...

Now for the most mind-boggling announcement, Safari on Windows (XP and Vista).

I never thought I'd see this day. And I downloaded the Safari 3 public beta for Windows XP and gave it a test run. (Of course, I used Scarlett for that on Parallels Desktop).

Anyway, the windows version has all the things I like about Safari. It's fast and for the life of me, web pages just seem to look better in Safari than in the other browsers. There's some kind of magic in the rendering, I like to think.

But this Safari also has the same reason why it's not my primary browser: it's lack of support for some Yahoo and Google web apps. I do hope that the final version will address this.

It would not hurt you to give Safari a whirl, right? So why not give it a try?

Anyway, I was sufficiently riveted when I watched the keynote. And Leopard's price is reasonable enough that I will grab a copy.

Good luck to Apple on this one.

Monday, June 11, 2007
This day in history from:

Just relaxing before work

Just when I was feeling good about finally finishing my pleadings, my dad asked if we wanted to go to TriNoma today.

Of course, my kids could not refuse. So off we went this morning and we came back home a few hours ago. As usual, the kids had fun.

That's what I like about kids. They'll go anywhere you take them. And you know your kids are all grown up when they don't want to go with you anymore.

So I suggest to all those parents to take your children out as much as you can. Pretty soon, they don't even want to share the same space with you. But of course, that final statement depends on how the kids grow up.

So let me leave you with the 3rd and last movement (Rondo: Allegro) of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major (K.622). This time, it's David Shifrin on the basset clarinet, I could not find one from Sharon Kam.



Got to rest now. I have a full day tomorrow.

Sunday, June 10, 2007
This day in history from:

Expert, part 2

Sharon Kam again performs Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major (K.622), Second Movement, Adagio.

Enjoy!


Saturday, June 09, 2007
This day in history from:

Expert

You don't want to see me play the clarinet. At least, not yet.

Instead, watch an expert do it. She's Sharon Kam, playing a basset clarinet (an A clarinet, bigger than a Bb clarinet, which I'm learning to play).

Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major (K.622), First Movement, Allegro



A good weekend to us all!

Friday, June 08, 2007
This day in history from:

Crumplers and Sharks

As I walked around TriNoma today with some friends, I noticed the Crumpler Store there was already open.

I walked in and was greeted by friendly staff. They allowed me to browse their merchandise more intently that what I am used to. They were also very convincing. They almost convinced me to buy a laptop bag worth about two month's minimum wage.

They better be friendly and convincing, I figured, because I think I could pay for all their salaries and the store overhead for the day if I purchased even their least expensive bag.

Well, almost. I figured, I really did not need the bag and/or I need the money I would have spent on it for more important things. And I do have a more than adequate bag (actually, I have two: the Targus neoprene bag that came with Scarlett and a medium-sized Samsonite Sahora backpack).

Someday, probably, when I have money to burn.

xxx

Just finished watching the second episode of Shark. I actually dozed off when I got back home today (I was dead tired when I got back, because I walked off my anguish about the Crumpler bag). Fortunately, I set my wonderful new TV to turn itself on at the appointed time and I remembered to park the TV at the correct channel before it turned itself off.

I was particularly struck by the final scene between Stark and his daughter.

"I am your father," Stark said.

"Yeah, but I don't trust you."

Woah! That's hard to swallow but true. Even if Stark has been with his daughter for a longer time. Or has taken care of her since birth. We still have to earn our children's trust.

I'm beginning to wonder if I will have a similar conversation with Bea in the future...

Anyway, have a pleasant long weekend. Holiday economics at work, again. As if it works.

Thursday, June 07, 2007
This day in history from:

Over 20 Years of the Bukas Palad Music Ministry

On June 7, 2007, the Bukas Palad Music Ministry shall be 21 years old.

Founded by Fr. Manoling Francisco SJ, Jandi Arboleda, and Norman Agatep, Bukas Palad (BP) was originally composed of 9 singers who were also members of the Ateneo Student Catholic Action and Ateneo Christian Life Community. The group's first public performance was at a wedding in San Beda Church on June 7, 1986. SInce then, BP has produced over a hundred liturgical and inspirational songs, performed in over a hundred solo concerts in the Philippines, Hongkong, Japan, and the US, and recorded 12 albums with the Jesuit Music Ministry. (from Norman Agatep's Multiply Site).

My first memory of the Bukas Palad Music Ministry was before they were even formed as such.

I remember I was in grade school at that time, about to enter the Ateneo High School.

My sister was practicing a song on the piano which was supposed to be a poignant church song called "Hindi Kita Malilimutan" (I will never forget you), based on Isaiah 49:15 that says:

Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.

It was a fantastic song. Too bad it's mostly being sung on funerals nowadays.

The first song I ever completed playing on the piano was another Bukas Palad song called "Panalangin ng Pagiging Bukas Palad" (Prayer for Generosity).

Bukas Palad inspired be in my passion for music. I hated my piano lessons since elementary but the inspiration songs sung by Bukas Palad ignited my love for the piano during high school.

I was inspired, through Bukas Palad, to take up the flute in earnest during high school and gave me a simple aspiration to play for a choir. Actually, Bukas Palad was one of my inspirations in this regards. The second was Days with the Lord.

When I did join a choir in law school, most of the songs we did were Bukas Palad songs. The rest were Days with the Lord songs, not directly connected with Bukas Palad.

It was in law school (about 1992) when I attended my first Bukas Palad album launching at Xavier School. It was my first encounter with Fr. Mano Francisco, S.J. Several companions joined me that evening, including another luminary Fr. Silvino Borres, Jr.

I was friends with Philip Gan (a former Jesuit novice) who collaborated, rather, penned the lyrics of pillar songs such as Tanging Yaman (My Only Treasure) and Sa 'Yo Lamang (Only Yours) during law school. He's now a lawyer/businessman, married to another lawyer, also a friend, but I have not seen them lately.

From law school until today, I have found solace and piece in my choir participation. It has centered me and continues to center me. And has kept me sane. And Bukas Palad has planted that seed in me to serve the Lord in music. And I attempt to learn new instruments always with the goal of finally playing it for the Lord.

It was through the Bukas Palad Messageboards that I met new friends (when I needed to meet new people the most, as I was just recovering from my failed marriage then) and my other choir, the BPOCC (or the Bukas Palad Online Community Choir), which still serves the 7:00 p.m. mass every second Friday every other month at the EDSA Shrine (which my father helped build as project manager).

And its songs continue to inspire me to this day. It still produces gems.

I will always be grateful to this music ministry. And I can never run out of good things to say about it, and the people that comprise it.

May it continue to fulfill its mission for a long time.

(You may want to read its history through the eyes of one of its founders, Mr. Norman Agatep here.)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007
This day in history from:

Intelligence Gathering

Asked why the Pope was interested in her relationship with Congress, Ms. Arroyo said: "I can't say why. He knows a lot about what's happening in the Philippines." (from this link)


She can't say why. But I know why.

The Vatican has the one of the best intelligence services in world. Formally, it has diplomatic missions all over the world, with the papal nuncio usually as the head of any given country's diplomatic corps.

Then, it has its informal agents. And with these agents, I think the Vatican knows more than our own government about what is happening in our country.

And we see these agents often and really don't think of them as such. So work with me on this one, folks.

You know these informal agents as the Roman Catholic Clergy. The footsoldiers of the Vatican, priests are more spread out in our country than our own government agents. Our priests can be found in the most isolated places, making the Roman Catholics' finger closer to the Philippines' pulse than Ms. Arroyo's. And that goes for the rest of the world, with the rest of the Clergy around the world.

The priests are more immersed in day-to-day life of the people and less conspicuous than uniformed services. We see them a lot, at least once a week. They are there when we celebrate our births. They are there when we mourn our dead. Heck, we even trust them enough with our secrets when they even hear our confessions in between these times...

Of course, that's why the Pope knows a lot about the Philippines. And I bet, he knows more that we do.

And do you know what other country can match this network? You guessed it, the Americans.

Put in a CIA agent in a third-world country and that white dude will stick out like a sore thumb. So to avoid this, they put Mormon missionaries as they are less conspicuous and hence, more effective (but this is just a wild theory, don't accept this one as gospel truth, pardon the pun).

Tuesday, June 05, 2007
This day in history from:

Stuff done

Don't you hate it when the new kids ask you what kind of "stuffs" do you have? It's like I'm tending "sheeps" or feeding the "fishes."

Anyway:

1. School bus duties resumed today for me. Woke up (again) at 5:00 a.m. to take Bea to school at around 6:00 a.m. Starting next week, I will really be a bus driver as I will also take Nico to his pre-school at 8:00 a.m.

2. Reported to my consultancy and found out our outing/planning session will not push through. There goes the only chance I had for a vacation this year.

3. Toured TriNoma (again). Still not 100% open but I had a fantastic meal at Brothers Burger. Now that's what I call a hamburger and fries! Ooohhh, man-size!

4. Met a friend for some company.

5. Hung around my lawyer-friend's office to see if there's some election work left to be done...

6. Went to the bookstore to buy some last minute school supplies for Bea. Those lines are long! And those water color pencils are so darn expensive!

7. Went to UP Shopping Center for some photocopying needs. With cheap xerox rates and a post office nearby, it's the ideal place where I prepare and mail my pleadings.

8. Got home and tended to my children. They're apparently resting now.

9. Trying to cap the day with blogging, watching TV and practicing Clarry (my clarinet).

I imagine my day tomorrow will be more of the same since they blew my last chance at a vacation....

Monday, June 04, 2007
This day in history from:

Not buying it

I was sure I blogged about this earlier, but I googled it and I apparently haven't. But even if I had, I'm posting this one.

I'm not buying the concept that a lower foreign exchange rate will kill the exporters or hurt overseas-based workers. Call me a simpleton in economics, but I have this simple notion that a lower exchange rate will benefit everyone, just as a higher one hurts all of us.

It's like the law that says two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. One truth should yield to another (unless you believe in the second rule in the Cutthroat Manifesto, "Truth is relative, pick the one that works.").

When exporters say that a lower exchange rate hurts their profitability because the value of their goods decreases, they conveniently forget to mention that the cost of their production likewise decreases, as a benefit of the same exchange rate. So my theory is, everything balances out for these "suffering" exporters.

When overseas-based workers say a lower exchange rate hurts them because they get less pesos for their foreign currency, they also conveniently forget to mention the increased purchasing power of the peso they exchange their currency for. So my theory is, again, everything balances out for these "suffering" workers.

To me, it's as simple as that. Unless an economics person can explain it to me differently. Anyone?

Something to think about for the day.... hmmmmmm.

Sunday, June 03, 2007
This day in history from:

Movie Watching

Some random circumstance took us to Gateway mall and I decided to take Nico to his first movie (in a cinema). Of course, Bea was with us.

We were supposed to watch Shrek 3 but Mr. Bean's Holiday fit our schedule best. But we had an hour before the movie began so we spent it in Timezone. And instead of just lurking around, we actually bought a game card and tried out the games. My kids really had fun. So much fun that we were almost late for the movie.

Surprisingly, Nico was well behaved in the theater. He was a bit loud sometimes but I think the spectacle of watching Mr. Bean in a huge screen mesmerized him enough to behave. He did not seem to be afraid of the dark.

All in all, I guess the kids enjoyed this day. I even had time to get a haircut and play in the afternoon mass when I got home.

And this is a great treat for me for a very busy week ahead.

Cheers!

Saturday, June 02, 2007
This day in history from:

Cutthroat Manifesto

Found a new hero in the name of Deputy District Attorney Sebastian Stark, as I watched the premiere episode of "Shark." I like James Woods playing a lawyer. The first one I him as one saw was "True Believer" with Robert Downey, Jr. where he played a burned-out ex-civil rights lawyer (turned drug dealer lawyer) with one more big case left to fight. He was great there. And he was great here as an ex-defense counsel who switched sides after a bungled case.

He has a mock-courtroom in his house...

Watching this show made me dream again of becoming a lawyer. Wait a minute.... I am a lawyer!

For those who do not know, I grew up on LA Law dreaming of becoming a Michael Kuzak with Grace Van Owen as a girlfriend. But I ended up being an Arnold Becker, without the sleeping with the clients part. Good thing I did not grow up on Ally McBeal.

But going back to the Shark, the fact that Jeri Lynn Ryan (Seven of Nine in Star Trek:Voyager, one of my "oogle girls") was there as District Attorney Jessica Devlin more than persuaded me to watch it to the end. Now I found out that the pilot was directed by Spike Lee, so I intend to make an appointment to watch this show regularly.

Sebastian Stark had these three rules he lives by, his so-called "Cutthroat Manifesto."

1. "Trial is War. Second place is death."

2. "Truth is relative. Pick one that works."

3. "In a jury trial, there are only twelve opinions that matter and yours [speaking to his team] is not one of them."


Applicable here, except for number 3 where you substitute the number of judges (or justices) deciding upon your case.

Borrowing some concepts, I think we should consider electing our prosecutors instead of them just being appointed by the powers that be. In that way, they have a sense of accountability by being under public scrutiny most of the time. Taking them out of the civil service and hence, away from the protection of security of tenure may lead them to take their jobs seriously.

Also, since they're already influenced by politics anyway, we may just as well make them directly accountable to voters.

But that's just me.

Enjoy your weekend. Still have some work over the weekend. And then I have to prepare my kids for school (and another early out-of-town hearing on Monday...)

Friday, June 01, 2007
This day in history from:

More awesome...

You thought the previous video featuring a flute and clarinet playing the Super Mario Brothers Theme was cool, huh?

Check this video out. And I thought no one can do any other thing while playing the flute. Blake Lewis, eat your heart out!

This guys is just simply awesome...




Catch you later! Have a lot of paperwork to dive into...

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Side Prayers

PRAYER FOR GENEROSITY
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

THE LAWYER'S PRAYER
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.

THE JABEZ PRAYER
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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