Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Gillette Metro Basketball League 2005 Vector Cup

My basketball-loving company has joined the Gillette Metro Basektball League (MBL) which is an extension to the Ateneo Basketball League (ABL). We are in the corporate division (Ortigas Bracket); but it's not as if top management has sent us on a crusade to win the championship for the glory of the company. We're actually doing this for kicks (maybe a bit of an oversimplification), and we had to tell them because we're using the name (and also trying to solicit for new basketball uniforms). I hope the talent is enough to go far into the tournament. It'd be cool if we won it all.

Anyway, first game is tomorrow, versus 7-Eleven. Here's our eliminations schedule:

 DateTimeVenueJersey Opponent
Game 1Wednesday, August 317:00 PMClub 650Dark7-Eleven
Game 2Saturday, September 35:30 PMClub 650WhiteEmerson
Game 3Wednesday, September 79:00 PMClub 650DarkNU3 Foods
Game 4Saturday, September 175:30 to 8:30 PMAcropolis --
Game 5Saturday, September 245:30 to 8:30 PMAcropolis--
SemisThursday, September 298:30 PMMeralco--
SemisSaturday, October 15:30 PMAcropolis--
FinalsSaturday, October 85:30 PMAcropolis--

Games 4 and 5 are matches against the other bracket (Makati offices), which are also determined by the rankings.

Unfortunately for me, I am far from 100%. Yesterday, I got kneed in the thigh. hopefully, it'll have been completely healed by next week. A few months ago, I'm not sure, but I may have broken my right heel bone. I better have it X-rayed for sure.

My Personal Basketball History

I started playing basketball in grade 3, when the courts first became available to my grade level (grade 2 students only had that big soccer field that wasn't really a soccer field. It was more of grass and dirt field). We also had this board and ring nailed in front of the house over the garage. The floor was inclined so I don't know what that did to my skills. When there were no cars at home, I'd shoot from as far as possible with a small ball (maybe six inches in diameter). I guess that how I took a liking to shooting long-distance. Of course at the time, the official ball was too heavy for me to shoot in the official height and distance. Anyway, I was one of those kids who was there just to complete the team, a fifth option, if at all an option. Looking back, I was better at blocking shots considering my height. I had good timing especially when opponents use two hands to shoot (which usually means, they shoot from the chest or on top of their heads, and not jumping at all).

(to be continued...)

Jack TV

For weeks now Jack TV (every night on Solar USA channel) has brought us various comedy shows that deliver. From The Jiminy Glick Show, to South Park, to the Dave Chappelle Show, its lineup easily beats out the other "new kid", ETC.

Oh well, easy come, easy go.

This morning the ticker news on Solar USA says that starting September 1, Jack TV will be shown on a separate channel. Most probably, it will be offered to SkyCable subscribers only, while we Home Cable subscribers will only get the scrambled version. It was fun while it lasted.

I guess that's fine. Just don't touch Solar Sports, especially when basketball season comes along.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Steve Carell

The Onion's The A.V. Club has a lengthy interview with rising comedic star Steve Carell. You may remember him from such films as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and Bruce Almighty, as well as TV shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He's currently starring in the certified box-office hit The 40 Year Old Virgin, which isn't showing yet locally.

You know what, I have this strange feeling that they're going to change the title (won't somebody think of the children!), which would be a bummer. I don't know if there are "sensitive" scenes" in this movie but I hope it gets here in one piece, so to speak. Anyway, at the very least, I hope they don't do an awful job chopping it like they did to Sin City.

It's too early to tell but he may yet have a great movie career. The 40 year old Virgin is a good start judging from the warm reception from critics and moviegoers alike.


Happy Birthday to old high school buddy Ramon!

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Went to Rockestra last Friday night at the Tanghalang Francisco Balagtas (Folk Arts Theater). It's not really a well-ventilated venue, that got even worse on a humid night. The show started promptly at 8PM.

Rockestra is simply the Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) playing alongside famous rock bands of today: Cambio, Silent Sanctuary, Twisted Halo, Imago, Sugarfree, and Sandwich.

Here's one of my ultra-pathetic phone-pictures from the show:

Hey, I didn't go there to take pictures!

I went there to rock! But apparently, other people didn't such as these two in front of us, who couldn't have been any bored, didn't think the same thing. Like most people on the special section, they're either sponsors or parents of the orchestra members.

What was this guy on the left thinking? Whatever it was, it included faking head-bopping.

When they called it Rockestra, expect the "Rock" part to be at the fore-front. Otherwise, they could have called it Orchestrock.

It didn't really get a full as I thought it would get. I guess people aren't really spending too much for entertainment these days. Empty seats galore in the theater.

For some reason, the concert played more like a TV documentary with interlude video clips a la "the making of" after each band. Of course, this is obviously to buy the bands some time as they set up their instruments. Still, it could have helped if the show was continuous.

The show was great, if not for the bored-out parents/sponsors, and even if only some of the music got a little better with the orchestra. The consensus best collaboration was with Sugarfree whose music was sure to emphasize that they were actually playing with the Manila Symphony Orchestra. And then, as usual, Sandwich always gives a rockin' party.

The bands played three songs each with the MSO. It would be nice if they release an album of the concert, or at least have it aired on TV soon.

Looking forward to the next Rockestra.

'LOST' Notebook

Next Thursday, they will be showing the Season 1 Finale of LOST on AXN-ASIA.

As tribute to the show, the people who have too much free time created this slick looking website to track the facts, statistics and did-you-notice elements of all things in the first season. No theories here, just facts. Very nicely done site. You can even submit some facts to the site (as if the hardcore fans haven't beaten you to it).

Can't wait for next season when the show comes crashing down (pardon the pun) to hell because the writers can't write themselves out of the corner. That may also be why this show is listed in MSN's Shows That Lived Past Their Expiration Date, in an article a few weeks back.

I sincerely hope I'm wrong. This is so far a very interesting show.

Four SkyCable weekends for Home Cable subscribers

For 4 weekends starting today, Home cable subscribers can view the unscrambled signals of channels 36-40 which are: Cinemax, Hallmark, Disney, Discovery and Animal Planet.

Wow, I never thought I had a chance to watch Battlestar Galactica , which is on today (Sunday) at 9:00PM. This oughta be good! Listings are in this page.

Ah, Hallmark Channel, how I miss your Star Trek: Voyager re-runs every night. Well, that was months ago. Honestly, I'm still pretty sick of it (maybe except for a few choice episodes). Now I'm wondering why no channel (other than Solar USA, which I don't even know the schedule of) is running the oh-so-brilliant Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I think that people should see it, especially the last three seasons which I actually have on DVD (yep, all-original). Anyway, this channel has lots of family-oriented movies and series to keep the old folks occupied for hours.

Can you see that Hidden Mickey? The single most annoying "feature" on that channel is back for more. The kids will love this channel, though (at least for a while). I'm waiting for the feature films but I don't know when they're scheduled. Hey, it's got Mr. Bean on right now!

It's been a while since I last watched Discovery channel that I think National Geographic is a good replacement to it. I used to watch late-night runs of Great Books, narrated by Donald Sutherland. I don't even remember the other shows anymore.

Honestly, I don't even care for Animal Planet.

Four out of five isn't bad.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

ESPN.com: Page 2 : Shirley in the house

Former Phoenix Sun and NBA blogger Paul Shirley on "the funniest thing [he's] ever heard a fan say to an NBA player".

Paul Shirley maintained a blog about their team's road travels which makes for a quite interesting read, considering this comes from an actual NBA player.

I liked one of his quips on observations versus the Miami Heat, about Dwyane Wade:

"1. Dwyane (it kills me to have to write down a blatant typographical error on purpose)"

Hey, these guys are human after all.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

10 Dumb Moments in Sci-Fi Cinema

MSN brings us 10 Dumb Moments in Sci-Fi Cinema and why we don't care.

The list includes the scenes of The Empire Strikes Back Imperial Walkers, The Matrix, and Contact.

My personal pick in all it's campy goodness is the item on Superman: The Movie, the turning back time bit (of course you know it). 80s local gag show TODAS made a spoof of this starring Jimmy Santos (as Superman!). He kept spinning the Earth clockwise and then he realized after he landed, that he's being greeted by cavemen. Hah!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Battle for Manila reduced 'Pearl of the Orient' to rubble

So while there are all sorts of memorials, remembering the events of World War Two that ended sixty years ago, we must also remember that we were all in the middle of it.

The movie "The Great Raid" ends with a victory and an acknowledgement of respect to the Filipino resistance fighters. I learned from History class that there were a lot of cities liberated by Filipino guerillas before the US reinforcements came to the scene. But the battle turned ugly when it got to Manila.

Here's the Inquirer article on the Battle for Manila, or "The Battle formerly known as The Liberation".

It tells of the horrors on the days the allied forces recaptured Manila, and how the Japanese troops, just didn't want to let go. So the US forces decided to level the entire region with artillery fire. As a result, a devastated city. Witnesses describe a flat landscape of rubble.

Of course sometimes, you just have to see for yourself so head on over to the Internet Movie Archive and look for links like this. Use the keyword "Manila", and you'll see a lot of war propaganda clips and newsreels.

This thing happened under our very feet. It's real.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Great Raid

Pretty harmless spoilers in this post.

We saw "The Great Raid" tonight, generally a war movie about the rescue mission for the POWs in Nueva Ecija a few months before the recapture of the entire archipelago by the Allied Forces. Of course the local buzz highlights the Filipino actors involved in the movie (mainly Cesar Montano as a guerilla captain), which is fine because it's at least something we can be proud of.

It got respectable reviews including 3 stars from Roger Ebert.

Now here's my problem: I have seen the 10-part HBO miniseries Band of Brothers (BofB). It was brilliant and phenomenal. I loved it so much that I went out and reserved my copy of the DVD set (in a tin can box, might I add) weeks before it was released. Original copy, of course. It has everything one can want from a war epic.

Is it getting clearer now? Ok, i'll spell it out: It's hard to top that. In order to do so, it should be groundbreaking. The Great Raid wasn't really, but it was a better-than-average war movie, and as a Pinoy, I should be able to appreciate it more.

The raid itself doesn't compare to the drama in the BofB episode Bastogne, the riveting action in The Breaking Point, and certainly doesn't draw out as much emotion as the episode Why We Fight, which also about POWs (Holocaust survivors this time). But then again, you can only squeeze so much from a feature-length film.

Anyway, it's a nice film to watch, it's not a waste of your money. Hear Connie Nielsen speak a few Tagalog lines. See Dale Dye (the general) in yet another military acting role (since he's really a ranking officer in real life).


The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has Avril Lavigne on. Good thing she got rid of the straight hair look. She looks much better with the curly locks. Although I don't know what the deal was with the devil horns.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Woohoo! TV Time!

I got my TV back, and it did cost me around P1500.00. I also tipped the dude that carried it to the car. Good thing it wasn't raining so hard.

In contrast, my dad's cheap Japanese TV from the port area (wink, wink) is slowly becoming a cheap Japanese TV for blind people. Picture tube's all but given up. It's almost ironic that the show he usually watches is the one in RJTV which has RJ Jacinto sitting in a booth and DJing for his radio show.

Ah well, easy come, easy go.

Oooh, Lost is on. Kate episode. Switching to Daily Show...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Why I quit gov’t and asked my boss to resign as well by Dinky Soliman

I have tried my very best to steer away from talking politics for a time. But this is a very enlightening essay by former Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman, on how dirty you can get in government and the tough choices that you have to make.

Extremely worth the read. Read up on Dinky's Why I quit gov’t and asked my boss to resign as well.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

TV gets some love

I finally brought my TV to the repair shop. The problem was the master switch which kept springing back to the off position. So I didn't have TV in my room for weeks now. I miss my morning shows, especially, The Simpsons reruns.

After getting it off the wall-mount in my room, and a few dusty hands later, we were on our way to the repair shop in Shaw Boulevard, right in front of Cherry Foodarama.

Gettin' some Love Posted by Picasa

This TV was the first big thing I bought with my salary at around 19 thousand at the time (2001). It's around 4 years give or take a week or two. I had to replace the remote with a universal one because the buttons aren't as responsive anymore.

No TV and no beer make Homer go crazy Posted by Picasa

So we bring the TV in, and this old guy comes and takes it apart testing signals with his PKE meter (or whatever his thing-a-ma-jig is called).

In surgery Posted by Picasa

After consulting his parts manual, he says that the entire component needs to be replaced. P1500.00. Good enough. Beats having to buy a new TV. I'll get it tomorrow after work then I'll resume being a bed potato.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

We've got movie sign!

We went to Shangri-La to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Really a heartwarming story with the weirdness and eccentricity of Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka portrayal.

We noticed that there were a lot of kids watching with us but no one was really annoying, and they all laughed at the appropriate comedic scenes. Kudos to the kids.

The trailers had some Harry Potter IV, Dukes of Hazzard and a Chinese movie involving Terra Cotta warriors as well as various TV commercials ('Ham nga!').

The movie itself is very entertaining. Good effects and visuals. Tim Burton stuff plastered everywhere. Likable characters, despicable characters, they have it.

After every movie I watch, I make it a habit to check the review to see if I have missed something (I may have mentioned it before, and I like repeating myself). Roger Ebert's review kept steering to the impression that Johnny Depp was imitating Michael Jackson. I have heard this theory before, but did not keep it into mind while I was watching. Never in the entire film did I ever think that it was a Michael Jackson performance. Joey thought it was more of a Dr. Evil-type delivery, and I agreed.

Watch this movie. It's a lot of fun!


I also learned where the band with the fleeting career called Veruca Salt got their name from.


We saw Patty Laurel in the mall. She's prettier than she is on TV. Maybe she's not a morning person. Anyway, not a lot of people know her except those who watch Breakfast (Supersize, groan) and those who used to watch MTV.

True enough, Joey and I had this short exchange:
Me: Hey, it's Patty Laurel.
Jo: Who?
'Nuff said.


We also saw this guy with an amusing t-shirt that said:
I'm a Virgin
(This is a very old shirt)
I'm over it now. Which means I stopped laughing a few hours ago. Snicker.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Hiroshima: the 'White Man's Bomb' revisited

I'm a self-confessed history buff but I had very poor history, social studies, civics and culture grades when I was a kid. In retrospect, it was probably because I was confused with the history of our great country, if it's even great at all. Like my friend Lester says, it's a loser history. Sigh.

History is written by the winners. But every once in a while, there are those who seek out the real story. 60 years after the bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, the Japanese are peacefully living out their rich-ass lives backed by the world's largest economy, and the White Man who dropped the worst weapon ever conceived in history, the United States. Hitler was the real enemy of World War II. But why was the Atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima, and a few days later, Nagasaki, and not in Germany? Why drop it at all, when the defeat of the Axis powers were almost certain?

Mick Hume writes this article, looking back at the event, and the story behind the White Man's Bomb. A long read.

Don't get me wrong, the Japanese who invaded our country were ruthless SOBs. Maybe in one sense, we were both on the same side because we were of the same race and region.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

IF my memory serves me correctly...

Hey, Iron Chef's back on TV, this time on local channel, RPN 9. I think it's around 7PM, Wednesdays, though I'm not sure how often. Old ETC had this on Fridays, but not anymore, I guess.

Boy, those Japanese really could live and breathe campiness. I mean, look at this backstory:
The story behind Iron Chef was that an eccentric gourmet authority (Chairman Kaga) had specially constructed a cooking arena called "Kitchen Stadium" in his castle where visiting chefs would compete against his Gourmet Academy, led by his three (later four) Iron Chefs.
Hah! Hillarious!

Last night was the Lamb battle. I didn't watch it (TV's still broken), but I caught a glimpse of it while my dad was channel surfing.

For me the most entertaining challenger was that old lady that was supposed to be a sort of Martha Stewart of Japan, who challenged the Iron Chef Chinese, with the ingredient of the day, Potatoes (Pow-tay-toes). Normally, within one hour, competitors finish around three to four dishes. She cranked out seven unique potato dishes! She did all that while running around looking for the proper china or cookware.


Futurama did a parody of this show ("30% Iron Chef"), and the loser had to clean the dishes. Oh by the way, the ingredient was Soylent.

Bender competes in Iron Cook

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Pill Acoustic

I'm currently listening to Alanis's new "old" album containing acoustic versions of songs from here wildly successful album Jagged Little Pill. A ten year tribute to her old album, and the fans who love it.

It's just like listening to your favorite songs all over again. It feels refreshing.

Quite a handful of artists had revitalized, even reinvented their careers taking a detour into the "Unplugged" route, a term made famous of course, by MTV's Unplugged series. Eric Clapton comes to mind. Stone Temple Pilots had some new ideas doing their songs unplugged (like the jazzy-cool version of Sex Type Thing). Live (the band), of course, always sounds good in acoustic version. Hole's ever-angsty performance. The Eagles' Hell Freezes Over. Pearl Jam's session was so-so, meaning it was still them, except they used acoustic or non-heavily distorted sounding instruments. And of course, the band that took their music to a different level, Nirvana. People discovered that there were emotions behind words behind music. There's a hint of sincerity, that unplugged performances are personal.

Now, this new album by Alanis... If you liked the original album (and chances are you did, like the 30,000,000 people that bought her album), this is a great album to buy and listen to. Let's just say, it doesn't sound like a marketing gimmick so much because it really delivers.

Don't forget the 5-minute wait after the last listed track.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Creative 2.1 XBE222 Speaker System

Bought a new speaker system for my computer last Saturday at CyberZone in Megamall. It's the cheap kind called Creative XFree XE222 2.1 (to those who don't know, this number actually means something: 2 speakers and a subwoofer. 5.1 is 5-speaker one subwoofer, and so on.)

I got it for P1000.00. Afterwards, I checked how much they were listed at the Villman website, it's P945.00. D'oh!

My old stock 2-speaker that came with the computer already gave up on me. At least it lasted about seven years. Unfortunately, this speaker system I bought doesn't have a plug for headphones (double D'oh!). Doesn't really matter.

Head/earphones were so helpful in case I don't want to be disturbed by the neighbors (and vice-versa) while I'm rockin' out.


Speaking of rockin' out. The song Breathless by Better Than Ezra is definitely THE song of the moment.