💬

Jae Crowder battle Joe Ingles for the loose ball (Copyright: Spencer Heaps)

Jazz and Spurs @ trade deadline | I’m still trying to wrap my head around the trades (and the non-trades) that my favorite NBA teams — the Utah Jazz and the San Antonio Spurs — just triggered (or not) just before the trade deadline. The Salt Lake City franchise, in a 3-team trade involving the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Sacramento Kings, gave away Rodney Hood and veteran Joe Johnson in exchange for Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose (who is expected to be waived anyway). Of course, there are Jazz faithfuls who have come to love Hood and the trusty vet Joe and openly expressed their honest opinion on the matter through their social media accounts. Regardless, I am sure it won’t take very long before Crowder can endear himself to his new team’s followers. Noted for his defense, toughness, and his ability to comfortably play power forward, shooting forward, and even shooting guard, the Jazz can be more versatile at small ball when needs arise. As for San Antonio, sometimes the best move that you can make is, well, not to make any moves at all. The Spurs is somehow known for keeping their roster intact for the entire season, a thought that long-time veterans Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili echo. Question is, with injuries affecting San Antonio’s rotation throughout the season, can the team remain competitive enough to challenge the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets, and other Western wannabe contenders? Let’s see. #NBA #Basketball #UtahJazz #SanAntonioSpurs #Trades #TradeDeadline

💬

#6 Michelle Monique Cobb | Screengrab from Sports and Action TV

De La Salle Women’s Volleyball | Lazy Saturday for me and The Wifey, we just stayed at home to catch some much needed sleep. The past week has been somewhat hectic for us work-wise (more for her though) and decided to just relax for the rest of the day. That means just lolling in bed, mostly glued to the TV. Good timing too as UAAP Women’s Volleyball kicked off today and we just watched the action in the comforts of home. The Wifey roots for De La Salle (her alma mater) and the school’s women’s volleyball team is gunning for a three-peat this season and she’s hoping for a good start against a tough University of Santo Tomas squad — which paraded new recruit Italian 6’1" Milena Alessandrini. We were not disappointed as the DLSU Lady Spikers held their ground in a five-setter. Interesting to see Michelle Cobb move to a full-time setter role after serving as backup to Kim Fajardo last season. We’ll see if this works out for the defending champions. #UAAP #Volleyball #Women #DeLaSalleUniversity #MichelleCobb #MichelleMoniqueCobb

💬

Mulder and Scully (c) Fox

The X-Files — Season 11 | I don’t remember much of the small details concerning the alien invasion arc but so much has happened over the 10 seasons with a couple of official movies to boot all in the last 24 years! Seeing Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) — and their long-time nemesis Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) — somehow still in the middle of all this plotting and scheming involving extra-terrestrial life can make casual watchers ask when all of this is going to end anyway. But there’s still a certain fascination in me with these characters and the universe they move in I’d just take whatever the creators are scheduled to dish out for Season 11. (LOL!) The huge spoiler near the end of the new season opener is somehow, uhm, how should I put it, shocking but still somehow expected perhaps? Let’s see. #TheXFiles #FoxMulder #DanaScully

💬

Losses

Goodbye, 2017! | It’s been a bad year. Personal tragedies and losses which led to the unmasking of true natures of certain people within my immediate circle(s). All these developments simply reinforced my lifelong held views not to be fooled by (1) pious facades, (2) intelligent demeanors, and (3) supposedly elite educational backgrounds. In the end, your fellow human beings will judge you for your earning power, how much stash you have in your bank account, how big your house/condo is, how fancy the car you’re driving or even if you have one to begin with, and most importantly, how much you worship money. (And these are the catolico cerrado ones!) If you don’t bend over to the moolah lords, you’re simply branded as someone with no ambition, someone unworthy of any love and attention. (Goodness, universe! How did I end up being with a moneyed yet elitist, judgmental bunch?) Hey, don’t get me wrong. Money is good. It’s a great tool! Contrary to what people say, it can buy happiness, although temporarily. But I’m not a slave to it. Sorry. Never been. (Never will? I don’t know.) But for some reason, people are irked with me for holding that viewpoint.

But it’s also a good year, in a sense. True friends with broad minds and deep understanding came forward and listened. Shared their thoughts and counseled me to stay strong. Also, I fortunately got accepted for a new formal sector employment as well, an important glue that is currently managing my rationality intact, keeping my mind focused on what needs to be done to aspects of my life still worth holding on to. This coming new year is certain to bring tougher challenges on how to stay afloat on a volatile raft down this violent waters we call life. #Goodbye2017 #GoodYear #BadYear #EverythingElseInBetween

💬

Nuel Raynes (c) Nuel Raynes

You Deserve Someone Better, Girl | I don’t know this young woman personally. Just saw this on my social media timeline because it was shared by a friend. I normally wouldn’t comment on issues like this unless someone close to me is involved. But I’m going to give my ten cents anyway. Couples fight out of minor disagreements to major squabbles. But I draw the line at physical violence. Unfortunately, I know a few who assault their partners. There’s this someone who often beats his wife but gets away with bloody murder every single time because nobody around him have the guts to confront him about his brutality. (Scared about the heat he packs, I was told.) It wasn’t pleasant to be around this vicious alpha male. Being the macho Neanderthal that he is, he constantly criticizes people for the smallest of things — mocking his fellow males (especially stay-at-home husbands) for doing housework (which according to him is reserved for women); insulting poor individuals who do not make as much money as he does; beats his family’s dogs at his slightest annoyance — among other despicable things. Yet he professes to be a godly Catholic (Wow!) who goes to mass every Sunday (Awesome!) and brags about his Christian deeds (Amen!) every single chance he gets. Oh, so holy! So ladies, know your partners well. Avoid those who’ll inflict violence on you at the slightest provocation. You all deserve someone better. #DomesticAbuse #DomesticViolence #MaritalViolence #WifeBeater #Hypocrisy #Criminal

Emma Stone as Billie Jean King (c) Fox Searchlight Pictures

“Battle of the Sexes” | You just have to admire the physical and artistic work that Emma Stone had to put in in “Battle of the Sexes” (2017) [Official Site] to play an in-her-prime Billie Jean King. (Caught the movie last night, after The Wifey put it on a spin.) Granting that doubles were used in shooting the highlight tennis match that the movie is all about, one can’t just wing it when it comes to showing those realistic tennis moves — you really have to train exhaustively to be a competitive tennis player (or at least, move like one) in order to play a competitive tennis player on-screen, a multiple champion and a Hall of Famer at that. Respect! You have it from me, Emma. #BattleOfTheSexes #EmmaStone #BillieJeanKing

💬

Facebook

Facebook and Universal Music Group Licensing Deal | I’m not big on producing video content (although I am not totally discounting the possibility that I’ll work with such material on my personal sites and blogs someday) but I am somehow elated with this little news that Facebook has signed a deal with Universal Music Group basically allowing Facebook, Instagram, and Oculus users to apply music (from a certain UMG catalog) to user-produced material without fear of their content being taken down for copyright infringement violations. Personally, I laud this move by the social media giant. You know how frustrating it is to have your uploaded video material taken down by the channel you published it into just because you embedded a snippet of music that you are not licensed to use. Well, we can say goodbye to that fear as long we stick to the content legally provided to us by the record labels under the UMG umbrella. Flexibility! End-user wins! (You have all our data anyway, Facebook. A small price to give back to the little people.) #Facebook #UniversalMusicGroup

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” | Just caught up with the DVD of this visually extravagant futuristic fiction film called “Valerian” (Facebook Page) and I was totally into this despite the rather initially sluggish pace (for me) of the first few sequences. I was skeptical at first with the choice of actors for the two major characters, Major Valerian and Sargeant Laureline but Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne slowly but surely grew on me every minute the film progressed, they carried the film all too well. Also, Rihanna had a part and her character was such a scene-stealer around the last quarter you would have to forgive the preponderance of digital effects that make you sometimes forget that you’re, well, supposedly watching Rihanna. I hope they come up with a sequel for this one despite the movie’s relatively paltry box office take. It was a fun ride! #Valerian #ValerianAndTheCityOfAThousandPlanets #DaneDeHaan #CaraDelevingne

💬

Daisy Ridley as Rey (c) Star Wars

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” | Isn’t it funny how “The Last Jedi” was astonishingly loved by critics yet surprisingly hated by fans? (We really can’t all get along, can we? Tee-hee!) Still, I find it amazing that the film raked in $USD 220 Million in its opening weekend! The old-timers (like me) can’t get enough of our “Star Wars” fix while new fans are joining the bandwagon still projected to live on under the auspices of Disney. (Judging from that initial box office take, expect the studio to keep on churning sequels — and perhaps, more stand-alone prequels — of the franchise year-in and year-out.) I caught the film on cinema on opening weekend as well and I’m surprised that I seem to like it better than the last one. I actually enjoyed it up until the surprising developments in the middle and the end. (No, I’m not going to spew out spoilers here. This is not really a review, and I am not going to nitpick for now.) It’s a continuously evolving franchise so I wasn’t really expecting this installment to satisfy the expectations of the older fans. Bring on the next one! #StarWars #TheLastJedi #EpisodeVIII

💬

The Alley By Vikings

The Alley by Vikings | After completing our usual Saturday errands, The Wifey and I decided to check out the spanking new dining place near our area called The Alley by Vikings (Facebook Page). We noticed the soft opening a few days back — apparently catering only to VIPs and other selected guests at that time — and now we were curious to find out how its offerings differ from the main Vikings restaurants. The concept is similar to the so-called food park/food hall themed places mushrooming everywhere in the metropolis where several concessionaires are placed alongside a common dining area. However, instead of paying each food providers separately for every order you make, you get billed a fixed price and pay only once after you’re done with your meal regardless of how much you order from the different food establishments within The Alley. (If you’re old enough to remember the place called StreetLife in the old Glorietta in Makati City, then you’ll get what I’m talking about.)

The Alley By Vikings

Wasn’t able to consume as much as I wanted on our first The Alley experience, but I truly enjoyed what we had. There were steaks (albeit limited in types), Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and other cuisines as well. Drinks were aplenty -- from sodas to fruit juices to several types of coffee and tea. And a myriad selection of desserts as well, all part and parcel of the fixed bill. Neat concept, if you ask me. (One big downside to this setup is that when one of the third-party concessionaires starts scrimping on food quality and quantity, it’s going to fall on the Vikings brand.) The restaurant interiors look pretty and appear really clean, including the restrooms. My only complaint with the lavatories? The faucets used were clearly meant for Hot and Cold but there was no hot water in the men’s room. The Wifey gave the same observation on the ladies’ room. I hope Vikings won’t neglect to look into this. Sometimes, it’s the small details that can bring a service establishment down. Regardless, I’ll try to visit this place again soon to see if there’ll be more offerings and also to see if food and service quality improve over time. #TheAlley #Vikings #TheAlleyByVikings #AllYouCanEat #Buffet #Smorgasboard #Manila #Philippines

💬

Syringe (c) HTC

Good Question! | Rigoberto Tiglao gives a more detailed timeline (and sound arguments!) of Noynoy Aquino’s fervor in giving the orders to purchase the now controversial Dengvaxia in his piece “Was Aquino’s P3.5B purchase of the dengue vaccine the worst case of corruption ever?” It is just disappointing how the Philippine mainstream media — owned and controlled by the oligarchs who favor the Aquino-Cojuangco political machinery that remains the heart and soul of the Liberal Party and its Yellow cabal — merely parrots Sanofi Pasteur and is treating the former president with kid gloves. Since the true powers-that-be of this country will not throw Noynoy under the bus, the next best thing the oligarchy can do in this case is make his former Health Secretary Janet Garin the sacrificial lamb in all this to appease global observers. But we know better. #DaangMatuwid #NoynoyAquino #AquinoCojuangco #Corruption #Hypocrisy #Dengvaxia

💬

Ben Mbala (c) ABS-CBN Sports

Another round, Ben Mbala? | Who knew? Well, I didn’t. I thought Ben Mbala’s stint with the De La Salle Green Archers is over and done with. Apparently, he is still eligible to play for the University for one more season. He knows it. Head coach Aldin Ayo (who is now rumored to be jumping ship over to the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers) knows it. If Mbala can reach an agreement with his school over the matter, then expect the Green Archers to once again be a strong contender for the crown in next year’s UAAP wars. #BenMbala #DeLaSalleGreenArchers #Basketball #UAAP

Sanofi Pasteur

What’s with the rush, Noynoy? | Looks like we now know. Based on a recount of events that led to the Aquino government’s deal with Sanofi Pasteur, one can’t help but notice the lack of due diligence on the part of the then self-styled Daang Matuwid government in purchasing Dengvaxia despite (1) the dengue vaccine’s lack of “clearance from reputable medical bodies”; and (2) the adverse advice of certain officials under the Department of Health then headed by Secretary Janet Garin. There was an obvious undue haste in Aquino’s order to complete the deal with the makers of Dengvaxia. He even met with Sanofi top brass at least twice in a relatively short time frame wherein the USD$3.5BB deal (around PhP70MM in Philippine Pesos) was quickly consummated, a transaction that easily falls under the category “midnight deals”. One wonders, how much was taken home by whom at the expense of close to a million children whose health could be in peril? #NoynoyAquino #SanofiPasteur #Dengvaxia #Corruption #MidnightDeal #HealthIssue #Philippines