Archive for September, 2004

h1

I Hath Travelled Back in Time… This past Sund…

28 September 2004

I Hath Travelled Back in Time…

This past Sunday, I went to the Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo, NY. I’m a big fan of all things medieval-y and mythology related. (I even considered majoring in the classics at one point). It was a lot of fun. We only stayed for a couple of hours but I enjoyed myself. Folks dressed up in medieval-y gear (both authentic and otherwise). Next time I go, I’m definitely dressing up!

Pictures from Rennaissance Faire 2004 (Tuxedo, NY)

The backdrop…

Medieval form of punishment…

Always a player.

We ate gigantic turkey drumsticks for lunch (we had one each).

Bad kids don’t go unpunished.

Some folks in costume.

Me and the hubs (okay, I don’t take pictures well)…

Who is the next King Arthur?

Just me.

A play within a play.

Axe-throwing! I got to throw some stars too!

And shoot arrows ala Legolas!

All in all, it was a very interesting day.

h1

New Axe to Grind (or Buyer’s Remorse) I bought …

22 September 2004

New Axe to Grind (or Buyer’s Remorse)

I bought a new electric guitar over the weekend. It’s a Schecter Diamond Series guitar — Gryphon model. It wasn’t an impulse buy; I had been planning to buy a new guitar and this was the one I liked the most. The guitar has Duncan humbucker pick-ups (which converts to a single-coil sound at the touch of a button); a rosewood fretboard, maple neck, and a mahogany body. The sound is excellent so far –clean, rich, great with or without effects, and crunchy when you want it. It was well within my budget. But I’m experiencing buyer’s remorse.

I’ve always been a Fender girl. My parents bought me my first guitar for my 16th birthday. It was a black and white Fender American Stratocaster complete with whammy bar. (Unfortunately, I gave it to my cousin in the Philippines because I stopped playing it for a while. When I asked him about it, it turns out, he had sold it. Bastard! Grrr..) The guitar I have now is a Fender Squire Stagemaster. It’s a good beginner guitar with lots of capabilities considering it was less than $150. I bought the new guitar because I wanted something better. I was hoping for a Gibson but I have to face the fact that Gibson necks are just way too wide and thick for my small hands. I was going to go for another Fender, but I thought I should try something new. Hence, the Schecter. I went into Guitar Center hardly knowing much about this company. All I knew was that Robert Smith of the Cure he uses them and that he designed his own style of Schecter Guitar (the Robert Smith Signature Series) . I figured if Robert Smith used it, it can’t be that bad. So I tried a Schecter. Like I said, to me, the sound was excellent. And after spending almost 2 hours in the store trying it out and grilling the sales guy, I ended up buying one.

Here’s 2 pics (the pics don’t do the color any justice):



I went home with the guitar; I have 30 days to return it if I don’t like it. The guitar came with a warranty. But I’m still not convinced. My 2 major gripes are 1) the color & style and 2) the brand. So the guitar is a deep, wine red. I’m usually a black/grey girl. The color of the guitar is very vivid and you can still see the wood grain underneath the color. As for the style –well don’t you think it looks a little too “metal-head-ish”? I think it sort of screams “Anthrax” or “Skid Row” or [insert heavy-metal/glam rock/80’s hair band in here]. Lastly, the whole “brand-name” thing is gnawing at the back of my mind. It’s not a Fender. It’s not a Gibson. Should I care? I mean if the quality is good, why should I be hung up on the fact that it’s not an ultra-popular brand, right? I’ve read reviews on Schecter and they are pretty good. However, I have doubts because it’s not a well-known guitar company.

Did I make the right choice? Maybe I should just return it and start all over again? Perhaps I should just shell out for a kick-ass Fender?! Argh. Why am I so indecisive? Your opinions please?

Before I leave off, I just wanted to give a shout-out to a special guest who came to visit me this past Sunday: TINY!



Isn’t she cute? She’s my friend Girlie’s dog. Tiny is bigger than her.

h1

I Hate the Government! Ever been so pissed tha…

21 September 2004

I Hate the Government!

Ever been so pissed that you can almost cry tears of rage? Well that was me this morning. I took the day off so I can go to INS to get a new green card. I was sent a letter telling me that my application (to remove the conditional part of my green card) was approved and to go to my local office to get a stamp on my passport and a new card. The letter said to bring my old card, my passport, and pics –nothing more, nothing less. So I researched a bit just in case I would need other supporting documentation. I got all my papers ready.

I got to the Newark office today at 7:45 a.m. Went to the floor specified in the letter: Floor 14. Was told by an indifferent worker that “Oh, they moved that office to the third floor.” So I go to the 3rd floor. When I got there, there was a trio of workers. They asked “what are you here for?” So I showed them the letter. One stated immediately “oh they don’t do that today without an appointment.” Further converstation:

Me: Well the letter doesn’t indicate anything about making an appointment. They just said to come.

Them: Walk-ins are only on Wednesdays. Otherwise, you have to make an appointment.

Me: Well they should’ve put that on the letter. I took the day off from work.

Them: Yeah, we’ve had issues with those letters they sent out.

Me: Well what about people who have cancelled their appointment for today? Is there a stand-by list or something?

Them: What? No. If they miss it, they miss it.

Me: I know. So for that open time slot, is there a way to sign up for that?

Them: You have to make an appointment on-line. You know, on the internet.

Me: So that’s it? I can’t do anything?

Them: No.

As a last resort, I thought I could make an appointment on-line and maybe they would give me that same day. So I walked over to Kinko’s to use their computer. It’s 30 cents a minute but I figured I could still save the day if I got an appointment. So I log-on, make an appointment and found out they specify the date for you. You have no choice but to take the date offered (or you would just keep making appointment after appointment to get a day you want). So I had no choice but to take Oct. 5th as my day to come back; it was the earliest day offered. So much for trying to score a date for today. Incidentally, I paid $2.52 for the computer time I used, which includes a print-out of the appointment date.

So that was my trip to the INS. An absolute waste of time. I totally wasted a personal day to come. I swear, there was nothing about making an appointment on the website or anything. Plus, there is no info desk in the building or anything. And of course, the workers were sooo darn helpful. What a fucking waste of time. I thought about going to work, but I was in jeans and would have to go drive back home (30 mins), then drive back to work (45 mins). Plus, I was just too pissed to deal with anything. So I walked around Newark, got a coffee, got something to eat, stewed in my own anger for a bit, then read a paper. Then I felt better.

But I still hate INS. Or USCIS or freaking Homeland Security or whatever the fuck they want to call themselves. SHITE.

h1

You Certainly Are What You Eat I’ve never been …

17 September 2004

You Certainly Are What You Eat

I’ve never been one with stellar eating habits. I have a sweet tooth and have always chowed down on chocolate, cookies, cakes, ice cream, and other desserts. On top of that, I also am a big fan of fatty foods –ribs, fried chicken, steak, lechon, etc. You name it and I eat it. This past week, my eating habits have just been horrendous. I think it’s due to stress from my job and thinking about home improvements. On a given day, I think I consume about 2,500-3,000. This is a lot considering I’m only 5’2. Okay, I’m really 5’1. It’s not that I don’t try to eat healthier, because I do. In fact, I do have days where I eat breakfast, a salad for lunch, and a small dinner. But days like that are numbered. This week alone, I’ve had cupcakes for breakfast, filipino food for lunch (and I’m talking 2 cups of rice, 2 ulams, and dessert –this is why I practically fall asleep in court), and chinese take-out for dinner. Completely unhealthy. Talk about a smorgasboard of unhealthiness –fat, sodium, cholesterol, oh my!

It takes willpower to change your diet to a healthier one. That, and you can’t live on “eating healthy” alone. You must also get regular exercise. The most exercise I’ve been getting lately is climbing the stairs to get to my floor at work (6 flights); this I do everyday. If I know all this, then why don’t I follow it? Pure and simple: I’m lazy. It’s easier to order chinese food rather than make your own healthy meal. It’s easier to blow off the gym than to make the effort to actually drive there. My laziness outweighs my vanity at times. It’s no secret that I’ve gained weight. I see it. It’s not that I’m fat. I know I’m far from being obese, but I do know my body fat percentage is getting up there. I am certainly heavier than I was 8 months ago. I know that my pants are tighter; I can’t wear my favorite pencil skirt because I’d have to give up breathing; I have to forego one suit altogether because the skirt is too tight and rides up all the time; I get winded pretty easily (oh those stairs!); and I just feel less energetic. The heaviest I’ve ever weighed was 125 lbs. That is fairly hefty for a chick my height. I gained that weight because of the “freshman 15” in college, plus I had surgery the year after that and recuperated by lying around a lot and doing nothing but eat. I lost 25 pounds gradually and normalized my weight. I have no clue how I did it, but heck, I figure if I did it once, I’d do it again! So this will be the start of a new “Kat” (I say this to my husband almost every weekend after chowing down enormous amounts of food). I just want to be healthier and not end up with heart disease at the age of 35. So these are my health goals:

Go to the gym at least 3x a week.

Limit beef and pork to only once a week.

Eat at least 2 kinds of vegetables a day (I actually like veggies more than fruits).

Avoid sweets/desserts after lunch.

Lose 8 pounds.

Gain more muscle and tone body.

Avoid processed foods.

Limit carb/sugar intake in general.

Cook at least 3x a week (I actually like to cook, but rarely do out of laziness).

That should put me on the right track.

h1

Take Me Out! – Weekend in Pictures Saw Franz Fe…

14 September 2004

Take Me Out! – Weekend in Pictures


  • Saw Franz Ferdinand this past Thursday – they rock! I smuggled in my camera only to have it die on me as soon as I tried to take a picture inside the Roseland Ballroom. Hence, this one surviving photo. I love going to shows; the scene is just so vibrant and energetic (mixed, diverse crowd, the most eclectic fashion scene; and of course, the great music). I’m watching The Killers on Oct. 4th…the show should be kick-ass as well!

  • NJ Prosecutor’s Convention, Atlantic City, NJ 2004 – Oh yeah! Lawyers can certainly party. Each county usually rents out a ‘hospitality suite’ so guests can wander in and out and chill. Even the Attorney General of NJ came to party with in our suite (no pics of that though), as did my boss. No one got severely bombed (that I saw first-hand…hearsay is another story). I’m not the world’s biggest drinker anymore (I’m buzzed after 4 drinks; 3 if they are strong and haven’t eaten; drunk at 5 or 6), so I usually retire earlier than the others. The hubs even came out to join me! Turns out, he graduated from high school with one of our ex-prosecutors.

My co-worker Priya (we are dubbed “Kapriya” since we started together and are joined at the hip) with Jhanice, the only other Filipino prosecutor I know of in the State of NJ at the moment. Jhanice is from Somerset County.

Primping before a mandatory dress-up Awards Banquet.

Party Pics

Me with the hubs (or is it?!)

  • I gambled a bit. Black Jack is my game. I was up $60, but lost it. At the end though, I came out completely even with $50 in my pocket. I’m such a conservative gambler though; the highest I bet is $15 (on a $10 minimum bet table). I’ll be back in AC next weekend for a family gathering and this time, I’ll be a bit riskier! (Or so I say, it’s hard parting with cash!)

Atlantic City by day:

  • Monday: back to the daily grind. Went to work then band practice. I don’t think I can squeeze in morning workouts anymore because our new judge wants us in court at 9 am on the dot. I don’t sleep early enough to wake up early enough. But must squeeze in gym time –gotta lose weight! I promised myself I wouldn’t buy any NEW clothes until I lost 8 pounds. I’m an effing heifer! Do you see the size of my arms?! Naku!

h1

Random Blurbs and a Look at the PastI walked acros…

8 September 2004

Random Blurbs and a Look at the Past

  • I walked across the George Washington Bridge this past weekend as part of my training for the upcoming Avon Walk-a-Thon. I think it’s about 1.5 miles across (but I’m bad at mileage). It was a bit scary because I stopped and looked down. You can also feel the vibrations from the vehicles that go through. I took some pics (even though it’s illegal to take pictures) but the day was overcast so they didn’t come out too well. Otherwise though, the view is amazing. You see Manhattan in all it’s glory, as well as views of the Palisades, and the NJ side of the Hudson River.

  • I saw the movie Hero. The cinematography was amazing, the story was interesting (told in a slightly unconventional way), but the overall movie was a bit too long. Also, I prefer my fight scenes to have cool, fast-paced background music –it wasn’t the case here. Altogether, I would give it a 2 thumbs up, but a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

  • The hubs posted some more pics of our trip to Portugal and Spain in our website. Click here to view the pics.

  • The new judge I’m in front of prefers to go through his entire calendar with no breaks. So today, I was in court from 9:30-2 pm straight. By 1 pm, I thought I would pass out from hunger. I was literally light-headed. I don’t care if I’m in court all day (in fact, I prefer it to being at my desk), but food is another issue. I get cranky and unmotivated once I get really ravenous. Note to self: stash some granola bars somewhere in your files. I’m going to have to get used to this new routine. I still don’t know what the heck I’m doing. I already got snapped at a few times from the judge, and I miss my old team. Oh well. Gotta deal with it.

  • I took my car to the dealership to get an estimate for my side view mirror (it got knocked out when I got into an accident). Guess how much the estimate was? It’s a whopping $1,178 for the damage! Que horror! So I called the guy who hit my car and he was of course appalled at the price and asked why so much. I told him what the mechanic told me: When the mirror got hit, it damaged the motor inside the mirror. You see my car has a button that retracts the side view mirrors (handy for parking in the city and parking in my spot at work b/c the entrance is very narrow). So BMW has to order a new motor, replace it, replace the entire mirror case, fix the wiring, paint the new mirror case, and then install the whole thing. The guy is going to pay me on a bi-weekly basis. I don’t mind, as long as he keeps his word. I know he will though, because he saw my badge during the accident. Muhahahah! *evil laughter*

  • I was cleaning out my documents and came across my resume. It hasn’t been updated, but it’s the resume that got me my job at the moment. Reading through it though, I can’t help but think how conventional (not to mention, boring) my experience has been. Nothing spectacular is in it, unlike my cousin’s whose resume is a veritable music A-list (e.g., Janet Jackson, Sting, Usher). I should’ve put the fact that I studied in London for a summer but I didn’t because I received no credit (turns out the class did not fulfill the requirements of my university). In short, it’s a straight-laced resume, but I shouldn’t complain because I’m happy where I’m at. Each job experience is unique not only because of where I worked, but because of the social situation I was in at the time. Here’s a cut-n-paste version:

Update: The hubs advised me to take off my resume since people up to no good may use it for their own purposes. I’m only leaving the Education and Skills part.

EDUCATION:

  • New York Law School

    Juris Doctor, June 2002; Member, NJ Bar, December 2002; Member, NY Bar, July 2003

    Activities: Recipient, Joseph Solomon Public Interest Fellowship 2000

    Co-President, The Public Interest Coalition

    Executive Vice President, Asian American Law Students Association
  • Barnard College of Columbia University

    Bachelor of Arts, May 1999; Major: Sociology; Minor: Psychology

    Concentrations: Social and Poverty Theories; Asian American Studies; Comparative Lit.

    Activities: Executive Board Member, Liga Filipina

    Copy Editor, The Asian Journal

SKILLS:

  • Languages: Fluent in Tagalog; Proficient and conversant in Spanish
  • Other: Highly proficient in both PCs and Macs; Microsoft Office Suite; trained in LEXIS and WESTLAW; attended the Gotham Writer’s Workshop for Fiction Writing.
h1

America’s Youth It’s only my 5th day here in th…

3 September 2004

America’s Youth

It’s only my 5th day here in the Juvenile Unit and I’ve already witnessed some unnerving things. Like yesterday, we prosecuted this 15-year old who was arrested with 166 vials of crack cocaine in his possession. 15 years old! That’s just sad. And this morning, we handled a case where the kid was arrested with a .45 caliber gun –he was 14 years old. What’s even more distressing is the clear lack of guidance that these kids get. When juveniles are processed and given a court date, their parents/legal guardian are of notified and required to appear in court along with the juvenile. This whole week thus far, I’ve noticed that:

  • some parents just don’t show up (as with this kid I have who’s charged with robbery and has 2 open complaints for attempted burglary; he’s 14)
  • someone else shows up –i.e., the grandma, a sister, or someone else because the kid just doesn’t live with the mom or dad or hasn’t seen the mom and dad in years
  • the mom or dad who does show up looks only a few years older than the kid him/herself
  • the parent who does show up looks disinterested
  • the juvenile him/herself looks disinterested
  • all are dressed as if they are either going to a club, going to the gym, going to loiter around a park, living in the 70’s/80’s; or just look unkempt in general. Nice to set an example for your kid by wearing a black, mesh tank-top, shorts, and flip-flops to court.

It’s not surprising that these kids are in trouble. Of course, I’m just making a superficial (and judgmental) observation, but you can learn a lot just by watching. You can tell that these kids are loved; you can tell when a kid seems afraid; but you can also tell when the parents could hardly give a flying f*ck that their kid is charged with 2nd degree robbery.

Today, there was this kid who was charged with a violation of probation (he was placed on probation under conditions that he would attend a program).

Judge: Why didn’t you go to the program last Saturday?

Kid: Huh? What you say?

Judge: Why didn’t you go to the program last Saturday?

Kid: Oh…uhm, I didn’t wake up early enough.

Judge: You didn’t wake up early enough? That’s your excuse?

Kid: Yeah, Uhm. A bunch of kids got in trouble at the youth house last night on Friday and we got home late and I woke up late.

Judge: Waking up late is not going to help you complete the program or stop your from getting re-arrested.

Kid: Yeah I know. Imma get mahself an alarm clock.

Judge: You better.

**other stuff happens, etc…**

Judge: So at this point, are you satisfied with the legal assistance of Ms. B (the attorney assigned to the kid)

Kid: Who? What you say?

Judge: Are you satisfied with the advice that Ms. B has given you so far?

Kid: Who her? *points to attorney*

Judge: Yes.

Kid: Oh her? Oh, yeah. Sure. I didn’t know her name.

Then the mom said something confirming that yes, the kid woke up late and missed the program that morning. Not that I’m into enabling kids or anything, but as the mom, you could’ve woken up the kid yourself and make his ass go to the program, don’t you think?

I came into Juvenile hoping to help out. Yes, to this day, I still have idealistic notions that I’m be making a difference in someone’s life (I’m a bleeding-heart liberal with conservative tendencies). However, reality doesn’t work that way and you’ll often find yourself getting exasperated with your victims, the defendants, and the families involved. Everyone is just out for their own self. Not all victims are victims and no one really knows what the truth is. I think what these kids needs is a good bitch-slapping or ass-kicking to knock some sense into them. They have no respect for themselves, their parents, or the judge. I was trying to place myself in their shoes and I know for a fact that I would’ve been scared of the judge (the Juvi judge is a formidable man, big in stature with a booming voice) and would’ve said things like “Your honor”, “Yes sir”, “Excuse me sir” or something to that effect instead of strolling into court with a walkman on, saying shit like “Huh? What you say?” or saying “My bad.”

In Other News

  • I went to the gym yesterday! Yahoo! I may even go today! (2 days in a row?! *gasp*)
  • I got my green card approved yesterday! (I had a conditional one before, but now this is a green card with no conditions attached. This means I can actually apply for citizenship! You’d think after being in the country since 1988, I’d be a citizen by now…but no, America does not make is easy for a contributing member of the society to become legalized right away.)
  • I’m going to lose 10 pounds. That is my goal and I’m sticking to it, dammit!
  • I’m buying a dining table set, hopefully this weekend.

Okay, that’s actually only 2 new things about me (and 2 goals). But just thought I’d share. Have a great Labor Day weekend!