Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chlorinated Brain goes to Court

You know that feeling, when you're watching a horror film, and the sexy actress is about to open "the door" and you know for sure that she is not supposed to do that if she still wants to live. In your mind, you shout at her to run as fast as she can to the other direction. "MOVE AWAY FROM THAT DOOR, DARN IT!!!"

Your heart is beating like crazy and it seemed like your heart is in your throat constricting it so that you could not breathe. So you hold the air in your lungs... waiting for the plunge!!!


Beside my laptop, while I am typing this article, is an unfinished book of Sabin Willet, entitled "The Deal". I had to stop reading just to write about how it feels to be leafing through the pages.

You might have guessed from my previous blogs that I devour books. Reading them is one of the few simple pleasures in life. I remember one time, when I came in at CBTL in Greenbelt 3 (my Central Perk) at 6pm and got too engrossed in a book only to be interrupted by the barista hours later because they're already closing. AT 2AM!!! Boy was that a major muscle sore from sitting for 8 hours straight. That's how deeply I can be immersed in a book.

What interested me to pick this book in the first place is the Chicago Tribune's description of the book that reads; "A worthy rival of Scott Turow and John Grisham." Now, I've read the books of the last two authors (I even blogged about one of them.. read it here) and it never failed to be a page-turner.

Courtroom drama has been one of the genres that I enjoy most in books. This book has everything in it.

The excitement starts at the picking of the jury. Oh, I know,some people would say that it actually starts with the crime itself, or to the legal wrangling of the defense to the prosecutor to provide the former with the latter's discovery, but I say it really starts on the picking of the jury.

This book would even explain the differences between different states with regards to jury selection. It relates that in California, the litigants would send a king's ransom to select a jury (kind of like what happened in The Runaway Jury by John Grisham) while in Texas, you can buy a juror's vote.

Once the jury is selected, then comes the prosecution's case. It tells the story of the crime. It would start with the general detail of the case, then going down further to the details. It will walk you through every second of the crime, before, during and after. Making sure that the trail of evidence is properly explained, to discount the possibility of tampering.

Everything is calculated. Nothing is missed. Did the victim eat? At what time? Where at? What did he eat? How many utensils did he use? How many bites?

It even comes with the forensics (are you thinking S.O.C.O?) wherein even the smallest fiber, a lint in the carpet, pebbles stuck in the car tires, fingerprints on the soap, etc., will be soberly, yet expertly tied up to the crime by experts/consultants hired at exorbitant fees.

When the government rests, the other party puts up it's defense, structurally knocking down every single evidence that the prosecutors have presented to try and put a reasonable doubt on the jury's mind.

Reasonable doubt! The defense only needs one juror to be given a reasonable doubt of the prosecution's charges against the defendant to set the man free.

It will parade it's own barrage of experts to refute and damage the credibility of the the other side. It will give alibis and will offer its own set of evidence to get their clients a Not Guilty verdict.

Within the hearing, you will experience a sudden surge of adrenalin while you accompany the lawyer of the defense shoot up in his legs and shout out it's objection to the callous way that the Assistant District Attorney (ADA) has maligned the defendant in the eyes of the jury. The prosecutors will try to test the boundaries in his line of questioning and put out insinuations that the defendant is guilty outside the permissible court standards, meaning without the backing of a solid evidence.

You will feel elation when the judge roars "Sustained" admonishing the litigator, or a slight disappointment when the judge decides the objection is "Overruled." You will wait with abated breath as the judge considers the merits of the objection and mentally consults the Rules of Court prior to ruling for or against either party.

So far, being nearly done with the book, I can say that the Chicago Tribune is correct in its description. My heart is pounding like a drumbeat. The steady and fast beat of the heart of someone anticipating the end of a story's climax.

It is now the moment of truth... The defense rests!!!

Next would come the closing arguments of both parties, the defense panel going first.

As the author writes the defense' closing arguments, I read it out loud. Picturing myself to be in the middle of the packed courtroom. The focus of every eye and ear. The courtroom is my stage and the people in it my adoring audience as I eloquently deliver the words that I hope would save my client (as I have long sided with the defense, duh!).

I am about to pick the book now and get back to where I stopped earlier prior to starting this article and I'm still feeling queasy. In a while, I will continue reading in a careful but steady rush towards the verdict.

I wait...

Together with the defendant...

For a guilty verdict, which would confine the accused to life imprisonment...

...or for an absolution!!!

Whatever it would be, another book would come to a close.


Follow the author on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AshamanLester

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Credit Card Debt-Free; And I'm lovin' it.

Yesterday, one MAJOR, MAJOR thing happened to me!!!

I am FINALLY free of credit card debt.

Yup... you read that right!!! I budgeted my 13th month pay and finally paid off the remaining balance of my credit cards.

And to temper the never-ending urge to swipe those plastic cards again, I took a big scissor and in front of my workmate, Hazel German, cut that dastardly piece of junk into pieces.

How about that for a statement, huh???

I know, I know. It's so much drama just to announce that I am credit-card debt free, but if you just knew how hard it was for me to do that, you'd be cheering me on right now!!! Hehehe.

I just think that this calls for a pat on the back for me (--grins--).

Wait, can someone pat me in the back?? Please??? (hehe)

Follow the author on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AshamanLester

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Starbucks 2011 Planner: THE FINALE!!!

Remember my blog last November, about the "Starbucks 2011 Planner"?

Well, great news (for me that is!!!) I just claimed my planner early this morning, after shift. Wooohooo!!!

It's so NEW!!

It's so FRESH!!

IT'S MINE!!!! Bwahahaha!!!

Anyway, enough gloating. I'm just excited that I have another notebook to write down my daily to-do list at work, because without it... I'm at a loss as to what tasks to deliver.

Follow the author on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AshamanLester

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December: Oh the merry month.

December already started and just as I have predicted, it is going to be a month of parties and weekend activities. Busy, busy month it would be.

It all started yesterday when I got kicked out of my room because my cousin, Panget, wanted to use it to host a DVD marathon party for her friends. My room needed a good scrubbing to I went along with the ban. According to her, I should not be at home between 7am of Friday until Saturday afternoon.

What does a guy like me have to do to pass the time?

Well, I went to the gym first then caught a movie with my ex, (if you are planning to watch Skyline, better watch another movie).

Afterwards, I went to Ricky's house and hung out with the unruly group of residents at Citihomes Apartment (Jay, Urville, Ken and Linjun).

I finally had the time to sit back and watch "Notes of a Scandal" (I still have not figured out if the character of Judi Dench was gay) and "Book of Levi" and both had better storyline than "Skyline."

I have always enjoyed my visit to this apartment because it always ensues a good time of bonding with friends.

Saturday, early morning, Gab, Melvin and I headed to Kirby's (the ChupaChups Gang) house for our planned pig-out day. And boy, was it a feast!!!

We were at their backyard "kubo" overlooking Laguna De Bay, with the bay breeze streaming in our faces and the noonday sun in its most potent state grazing the scenery while we enjoyed a very hearty lunch.

I mean an unlimited choice of grilled tilapia, sinigang na baboy, grilled pork chop, bottomless iced tea, white rice and for desert, we had fruit salad.

With luncheon done, Kirby, being a good host that he is cooked some popcorn and popped in the CD "After Life" starring Cristina Ricci, Liam Neeson and Justin Long.

I was already drowsy from the big lunch and Kirby's bed was so inviting and lulling me to dreamland but the movie kept on jerking me awake.

Before the day ended, Gab tweeted that if this is how a day would look like when we are rooming with each other in an apartment, then she's all for it. Frankly, seeing how fun it was hanging out at Citihomes Apartment, I wouldn't mind having room mates either.

My weekend is actually not done until 10pm tonight and I still have our company's Christmas Party to attend to at SMX near Mall of Asia, but that is a blog on it's own so I'll give you guys an update by tomorrow how that went.

Follow the author on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AshamanLester

Friday, December 3, 2010

I "CAN" make a difference. (A story of a Convergys employee.)

I remember hearing a story once and it went like this:
"A man was walking down the beach one day and, off in the distance, he could see someone dancing, running from the waves up onto the sand and back again. He had never seen anything more beautiful.
As he got closer, he saw that it was a young boy and he wasn't dancing at all. He was picking up something and throwing it into the ocean over and over again.
He asked the boy what he was doing and the boy said he was saving the starfish. They had washed up on the beach and would die if he didn't throw them back in the water.
The man looked up and down the shoreline and saw thousands of starfish stranded in the sand. He told the boy that there was no way he could save all those starfish and the few he did save would make little difference.
The boy looked back at him and, holding up the starfish in his hands, said, "It will make all the difference to this one."
I was remembering that story in my mind as I was holding on to Reynan while he was enjoying the program that we prepared.

Reynan's parents are both imprisoned for petty crimes, and could not get out due to lack of financial resources to go through our legal system. Reynan was suddenly left with no guardians and was picked up by Virlanie Foundation at one of DSWD's Action Centers where Reynan was brought by the police after scooping him up in the dangerous streets of Quiapo commercial district.

It was planned by our account to celebrate Thanksgiving Day by "paying it forward" to our less fortunate peers. We pooled some money together to buy things needed by Marco Polo House, one of the houses maintained by Virlanie Foundation, in its effort to reintegrate street children into the society by giving them a safe house to sleep in, allowing them to take part in our public education system and trying to help them get out of the uncertain life of being on the streets at an early age.

I kept on thinking that my workmates and I at Convergys, are making a difference in the individual lives of the 31 street children currently kept safe from the horrors of the streets by Virlanie Foundation.

Reynan's story is just one of the many tear-jerker stories that can be heard within the house. I thought of myself as a brave person before but after our visit, I can only say that an 8-year old kid has me beaten in that area. He is definitely braver than me.

Fortunately for these kids, they found Virlanie. When Reynan was asked what he would like to be when he grows up, he puffed his chest proudly and without hesitation, answered "I will be a soldier."

Deep inside, I cried my heart out for him, but all of sudden, I realized that I was taught a lesson by this kid. This time, he might be facing an insurmountable mountain in front of him, but nothing can prevent him from squaring his shoulders and barrel through that mountain to come out on the other side, stronger than ever in the future.

And when that time comes, I hope I can still see Reynan again and  when I do, I will give him my proudest salute, not only for the uniform that he will be wearing then but for something more...

... for the bravery that he has shown today!!!

Photo: Virlanie kids with Convergys employees and Jollibee and Hetty during our Thanksgiving Party at Marco Polo House last Nov. 21, 2010
To my workmates at Convergys, you've shown me that we CAN make a difference. I am so proud to be working with such generous people in a company that enshrines Corporate Social Responsibility in its employees through Convergys' Community Action Network.

To you who's reading this, go and pick up that starfish now and throw it back into the water. You may not be able to save them all, but at least, you saved one. That makes all the difference for that one person.

Will you let me know if you've found your Reynan? I will be delighted to hear your stories.

Photo: Our program head, Bad Dino, with her Reynan, Len-Len.
Photo: TL Carlo Gutierrez, dancing it out with the kids.
Photo: TL Chris Lim (gray shirt) supervising the distribution
of toys to the kids.
Photo: TL Jasper Cantimbuhan with Reynan.
From left: G-UNIT members Isa, Char and Makoy, Mariel A., program host Marose, Bogart and TL Chris.
From left: Claire, G-UNIT member Makoy, Mariel A., G-UNIT members Char & Gab, Connie with her kids, Kirby, program hosts Pam and Marose, Greg, Angel.
From left: Mariel Z, Melvin, Maricar and TL Chris.
From left: Claire, Amiel and Johann.
Visit Virlanie's website to know more about their work (http://www.virlanie.org)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dobby: "In Memoriam" (HP7 Spoiler Alert)

It's amazing that two weeks have passed before I can sit down and update my blog. My visits to the world-wide-web have been limited to Twitter and Zuckerberg's Facebook. (Shameless self promotion: Click on the links and feel free to follow me on the former, or add me up as a friend for the latter.)

It just seemed like the muse Calliope was too tired to give me inspiration. But I tell you, NOW she is back with a vengeance!!!


Anyhow, the day after my last post, I went clubbing with my friend Ricky Tio and met a new acquaintance, Marvic Quilet.

When the newest song of Katy Perry "Fireworks" was played by the DJ, my feet just "owned the night" "like the 4th of July." (Ngak.. parang cheesy yung line. Hehehe.)

I really don't know how to dance well but I figured, I wasn't planning on hooking up with anyone anyway so there was no need to impress. :-)


Ever since I saw the movie trailer of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I have been impatiently waiting for the opening of the film here in the Philippines.

I'm done reading book 1-6 after the movie installment #2 was released "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Book 7 was not yet released during that time, and ever since then, I could not truly appreciate the movies (movie installment 3-6) as much as I did the first two because I already knew what the story was.

Dobby: "In memoriam"
DEATHLY HALLOWS: The Wand, The Stone and the Invisibility Cloak
My favorite HP character: Bellatrix Lestrange
Above photos from: www.harrypotter.com

So when book 7 finally came out, I purposefully shunned reading it. I also veered away from friends' conversations that would spoil the last chapter for me.

Moving on, last week, I got tagged in a Facebook status update from Ricky,

Granted, I was the second pick, I didn't really care. I'm such a sucker for free stuff that I immediately said YES.

So yesterday, we finally saw the movie and I can tell you... IT WAS AWESOME!!!

When Voldemort raised that "Elder Wand" that signaled the end of the movie, I felt cheated. It just seemed like waiting for 1 more year just for me to finish the saga is cruel.

But what can I do? As much as I wish to get an advanced screening of Part II, I'm sure that copies of that film would be guarded by the most sophisticated levels of security that central banks would envy.
Cartoon: Security bank (medium) by kap tagged money,bank,financial,euros,busines,bank,bänker,chef,boss,tresor,finanzen,geld,finanzierung,geschäft,organisiertesverbrechen,verbrechen,kriminalität,sparschwein,einzahlung,geldgier,gier,sicherheit,schutz
Poor porky.
Now, just to quench my cravings for fantasy-packed adventure, I still have Book 13 of the Wheel of Time Series "Towers of Midnight".

There is nothing better than a few moments spent in fantasy land to take your mind of the bites of reality.

Watch the movie and let me know about how you found it. :-)

Follow the author on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AshamanLester

Friday, November 5, 2010

Malaysia anyone???

Malaysia... truly Asia.

So, is there anyone who is interested to go with me to Malaysia next year? Air Asia has a ZeroFare promo (terms and conditions apply) for travel between June to October 2011.

Tentative Date: Sometime in August, 2011.

Photo from: www.AirAsia.com
Just let me know if you are interested.

Follow the author on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AshamanLester

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Starbucks 2011 Planner

First off, I would just like to say that I am not riding on the Starbucks bandwagon. I can say that because I really their like the taste of their coffee (also the caffeine drinks of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf).

Anyone from my office would attest that I would not have a complete day without my usual fix every night.

More than than, I have been collecting the planners that the coffee shop gives out to their customers every Christmas season.

Photo from: Starbucks Philippines FB Page

I started doing it since 2006 and I've had good use of their planner at work (I usually write down my daily tasks that I cross out as I go along the day.) This way, I can organize my day and not forget important "deliverables".

So, last week, when I heard that Starbucks will start giving out stickers for their 2011 Planner on November 3, I already knew that I will treat myself with a cup of coffee on that day. The reason for this is that they usually give out a free sticker for the first 200 customers (according to Starbucks-People Support Makati barista).

Just to give you a gist of how to get a 2011 Starbucks planner, all you need to do is.

1. Buy a cup of coffee or any Starbucks beverage* (frappucino, hot or iced) in exchange of 1 sticker.
(*Except for bottled beverages, bottled water and fruit juice)

2. Complete 9 stickers for the holiday featured beverages and 8 Starbucks core beverages

3. Once 17 stickers are complete, you can exchange it for a Starbucks Planner. That EASY!!!

Be aware though that the stickers may only be obtained between November 3, 2010 to January 5, 2011 and the redemption of the planners is only between November 3, 2010 until March 6, 2011 only.

I'm sure you will read about the time when I have gotten my planner in my future blogs but in the meantime, just post a comment below once you get your own planner. It will motivate me to save up faster to get my copy. Hehehe.

Follow the author on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AshamanLester

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Guess what my favorite scene is

I saw this music video from Katy Perry and there was this one scene where I wish I had a mirror in front of me so I could have seen what my face looked like.

"You don't have to feel like a waste of space"

I love it..

This video is not mine. No intended copyright infringement
Video from: YouTube

Can you guess what scene it was???

Follow the author on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AshamanLester

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Wedding Singer: The Musical

When Kurt told me that he was able to score 2 tickets to the musical, "The Wedding Singer", and that he needed someone to go with, I did not hesitate to accept the invite on the spot.

Photo from: 9 Works Theatrical
The ticket is for tomorrow, Friday at 8PM in Meralco Theather. (I will make sure to give you all a recap of my musical night.

I already missed Xanadu in RCBC last September, I did not plan on missing this one.

Party Pilipinas mainstay singer Gian Magdangal plays the lead male role while Iya Villania partners him to play the role of Julia Sullivan, the role of Drew Barrymore of the movie version.

Photo from: The Wedding Singer Musical - Manila
Photo from: The Wedding Singer Musical - Manila
You can check out the cast of characters on this link: CAST

I'm sure I will be singing along when Gian Magdangal starts singing "Grow Old With You."

Well then.. Until tomorrow peeps...

Follow the author on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AshamanLester

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Runway Tagay... or should I say Roadtrip Tagay??

It was another adventure of me and my car, Randy, last weekend.

My friend, Akihiro, invited me last two weeks ago to tag along with him and his friends on their planned trip to the beach. Of course, I was a willing participant once they mentioned roadtrip and beach together in a sentence.

We planned on meeting in Makati @4am Saturday morning. I was prepared to spend Friday night resting and preparing for the trip but to no avail.

My other friend, Ricky, texted and asked me if I want to go to a bar in Ortigas. He knows someone from the inside that included us in the guest list. That's why I found myself, Ricky and his housemate, Ken, drinking and dancing Friday night in a crowded "O Bar" in Ortigas. It was only a little bit later that I found out that the Liquor Ban would start on Sunday, that's why the gay guys in the metro were so intent in gorging themselves with alcohol. Hehehe.

O Bar Ortigas
2/F Ortigas Home Depot
Julia Vargas, Ortigas, Pasig City
Anyway, after a couple of vodka tonic, I looked at my watch and it was already Saturday morning @ 5am. Akihiro was definitely pissed when his cab pulled in front of the bar. I texted him that I would just hang out at the bar until our meeting time earlier that night. I did not know that the inside of the club did not have any cellphone signal and that he has been calling me since 4am.

Well, I just used my charm to make him forget my transgression and fortunately, with a little bit of smile and profuse apologies, it was all water under the bridge. We picked up 3 more of his friends to carpool with us in Cubao and we were on our way.

By almost 9:30am, we arrived at the beach and boy!!!! It was RELAXING!!!

I still don't have my own camera so I just browsed the internet to give you a glimpse of what I saw. You can check this link for the pictures... PUNDAQUIT BEACH.

Photo from: Lawstude's Journeys
It was already Sunday afternoon that we decided to head back to Manila, but not before we pass by my personal favorite Taco Shop in Olonggapo City (Near Subic Freeport).


Hard-Shell Taco
Soft-Shell Taco
All in all, it was a great weekend. I wonder where our (me and my car) next adventure would be. Who would I be with?

Wanna come with?

Follow the author on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AshamanLester

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Career Day

Our company just had our "Career Day" last night and I must say, I was very surprised with the turnout because almost all (except for 1 or 2) participated in the event. I actually had fun preparing for it.

Just to give you some of the highlights of the event, here are some of the pictures that were taken.

The last two pictures were of the management team, who also dressed up for the event. This morning, Facebook was littered with picture uploads and comments regarding the event.

Now, everyone is waiting to know who the winning team is.

The team who wins gets P1,500 cash prize and P3,000 worth of team dinner.

UPDATE: As of Wednesday, 10/20/2010, Team Viper was announced as the winner with Team Babylonians at a close second placer. Team Insomniacs grabbed the 3rd place and Team Gutzy and Team Unlimited settled for 4th and 5th place, respectively.

Follow the author on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AshamanLester

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Star-studded Monday

So! After pigging out last Saturday and gorging myself with alcohol on Sunday, it just meant that my weekend house chores were left undone. It was a good thing that I was on PTO (vacation leave) that Sunday because that is supposed to be the start of my workweek. I have the entire morning of Monday to catch up.

Laundry being done before noon, I headed to the gym and got a good workout. I was working the weights when in comes....

Photo from: www.gmaseven.blogspot.com
Now, the gym being a "celebrity gym," they frown upon regular customers encroaching on the privacy of their more famous customers, and considering my uber shyness, I was content with getting glimpses of him while working out (see my other blog about the gym)

After the beef-show, I went to the gym's 3rd floor for my cardio and ....

Photo from: www.ongchuaphotography.com
There was Hilary Isaac, getting ready to start her boxing session. I'm sure I've mentioned Hilary before in my other post. If you like to follow her on Twitter, you can do so @hilaryisaac.

So all in all, it was a pretty star-studded Monday. (Darn it! I sure wish I can come up with funny witticisms like Ms. Chuniverse coz I'm sure that it would make my blog more interesting to read. But sad to say, I can only recount what happened without the added puns so you'll just have to make do.)

Follow the author on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AshamanLester

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chunky Boy's with the Boss

After the curry overload last Saturday, my Boss texted me on Sunday because Convergy's Sportsfest is about to end and our program grabbed the 3rd spot of the Volleyball Tournament. To show my support, I went to "The Zone" but just a tad late because the awarding ceremony already ended when I arrived.

And in celebration to that great feat by our volleyball team, our Boss treated us to a watering hole called Chunky Boy's.

Photo from: Facebook
If you had a hard days work and you and your friends/workmates would like to unwind a bit until the rush hour traffic has come and gone, you might wanna try this place out.

Chunky Boy is located at Ground Level, Units M and N, Lotus Tower Oriental Gardens, Pasong Tamo cor. Export Bank Ave. Makati City. You can call them up at 728-5588 or you can add them on Facebook: click this link

Follow the author on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AshamanLester

Kirby's Curry-Birthday

It was my friend's birthday last weekend so last Saturday we decided to visit Tagaytay to celebrate. It took us about 2 hours of driving from Makati but it was an easy drive because it's a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of the urban life.

Kirby and Gab found this wonderful Indian restaurant called "Andanita Taj in Tagaytay" and that really got me craving for some curry-overloaded delicacies during the days leading to Saturday.

I can assure you, you'll definitely love the mild sting of curry in the delicious, good-for-two-servings of their bestsellers.

Here are some pictures of ours:

Indian food to tickle your buds
From left: Me, Kirby, Gab and Melvin

Sated: The gang after finishing plates of Indian food.
After that sumptuous meal, we had to stopover at Starbucks Tagaytay (in front of Magallanes Square) to digest the humongous amount of food that we just gobbled.

For the last time: HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIRBY!!! Thanks for a wonderful time...

@Starbucks Tagaytay
For more information about the restaurant, you can "Like" them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Laurel-Philippines/ANDANITA-TAJ-OF-TAGAYTAY-Bed-Breakfast/54963268184

Or you can visit their site at: www.tajoftagaytay.yolasite.com

Follow the author in Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AshamanLester