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)