Saturday, December 12, 2015

Dear Future CEO

Dear Future CEO,
Today is not the day. But it will be, very soon, perhaps sooner than you may think. You're a Manager-getting-a-harrasment-case away from handling your own team at 24. A Director-messing-up-so-badly away from taking his spot at 27. A move to Chicago away from becoming SVP at 30. And yeah, a few successful executive level projects away from becoming the top honcho of the company (or owning one) and rubbing elbows with the likes of Bill Gates and getting invited as a judge in Shark Tank. Yes, that's you.

For now you go do what you do. Go make a silly Vine video or tweet something snarky. Go add up to the already broken tradition of saying grace before meals by taking a pic of your food instead, posting it online for the world to know just how delightful your plate of carbonara really is. Limit your conversations to probably a few words with your family by never letting go of your smart phone. God knows how important that is compared to family "chit-chat". Yes, just text, don't talk, we know you need your space. And we certainly don't want you feeling awkward because we dialed and actually used the very reason why mobile phones were invented in the first place -- for talking. Let's go focus on your gadgets because they are the new keys to success and secure your right to let the world know specifically what, when, where, why and how your life is. TMI knows no boundaries from hereon and getting deprived of your online world would probably equate to a vampire getting slowly exposed to sunlight, just extreme torture.

You are what we call the "Social Media" generation and you are sweeping us by storm. People who are in their 30s probably got sucked up pretty badly, those in their 40s in the middle and probably a handful in their 50s and up. What can the baby boomers do but jump into the bandwagon if they want a fighting chance to catch your attention, right? It is not unusual anymore if Grandma posts her well-kempt sofa on her Facebook wall (yes Grandma has FB) and caption it "Wishing somebody would sit on it again besides me!" to badly solicit companionship which never was something you need to ask for back in the day. But because everyone seems to be busy socializing online, well there you go. Can we stop it? I'm afraid not. In fact it's probably gonna get worse. And when you take control of one of the Top 500 Companies Future CEO, you are only going to enhance it. This is your world, and I'm sure you don't find anything wrong with it. And I will probably end up in the middle of my ideals thinking if I should embrace it or hold on to my old-school upbringing. Maybe I won't be there any longer to witness it, which can be better but I know once I see Grandma using hashtags already, then we surely just hit a bottom low. Might look funny at first but really bottom low.

Yes, on that day when you are sitting in that lux and comfy Chairman seat of yours, with your corner office atop the New York skyline, figuring out how to finally abolish the rolodex and fax machine, you would have no recollection that there used to be a world where social stood alone without media constantly tagging. Where you eat dinner with family and talk, or circle around a bonfire or table enjoying actual voices without a single soul looking into a small hand device and see them giggling on his/her own. You will lead a company full of ideas, designing apps to make life a lot easier through online shopping and auto-shipping but truthfully making it a lot lazier for a person to go out and essentially avoid human interaction for that day. Siri will soon have a face, maybe even a hologram and you will revolutionize the word companionship. Nobody would be alone because they would have a robot drone as a friend, every household. Friendship would have a price, about $2,500. You will find this as an accomplishment. This is who you will become. You will succeed because your market is huge and is constantly growing. You would be Julius Caesar sans the sword but with a tablet and Google glasses.

Your generation have developed a new form of phobia -- the fear of being left out -- without you even knowing. And like a marketing mogul you are you will feed off every human's desire to know now and will be exploiting it. Creating demand by creating awareness that it is important to know almost everything without wasting a single second and that being left out for even the dumbest thing is not cool. You are gonna make money out of this because you are Mr. Online and you would be viral just like the meme you are posting right now. I can already see the dollar signs in your eyes like I see the parasites that your generation would become towards information. Forget about lowering the values and standards of morality, let's build the next biggest technology. Cause "if you build it, they will come", and yes I quoted Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams but you're probably saying who? what?

It is truly the end of an era, like Favre to football, Jeter to baseball, Kobe to basketball. I probably will get tired holding on to my more traditional (primitive to you) means of life and succumb to your future if I live long enough to be part of it. Or I may simply keep everything to myself and enjoy my understanding of socializing with a handful of my contemporaries inside a mess hall in our humble and "off-line" Senior Living apartment. I will fail to be what you will be because a part of me may not be able to fully accept what your generation will find acceptable. I wouldn't probably stand a chance against you anyway if we go head-to-head applying for the job this very moment. They'll probably pay you half of what I'll be asking and that would be my doom. Sucker. Perhaps we'll never even get a chance to showcase our portfolios because you'd be earning millions already by 20 while I'm just getting the hang of my salt-and-pepper hair. Nevertheless, good luck to you, the next Zuckerberg!!! And when you get there, please remember that we had this conversation. Send me a note as well saying that you have succeeded. Handwritten preferably, if you still do such a thing.

Will Never Be CEO

Monday, December 15, 2014

ASMR 12.15.14

I can't believe the day would come that I actually would love a Taylor Swift song. Not that Taylor Swift is bad or anything, but I am really not a big fan. She is too trendy and youthful and though my taste in music is very very wide, it too has its limits. Well, apparently not. And one Sunday after cruisin' with my boys, I realized there is seriously something disturbing with the three of us liking and singing Swift's single. I barely survived Carly Rae Jepsen but thank goodness I didn't call her...

Pick of the Week:
Blank Space by Taylor Swift (released 10.27.14)

Might Interest You Pick:
When I Find Love Again by James Blunt (released 12.15.14)

Retro Picks:
Baby I Lied by Deborah Allen (released 1983)
You And I by Kenny Rogers (released 1983)
I Will Always Be Your Friend by George Duke (released 1982)

Seasonal Picks:
Something About December by Christina Perri (08.01.12)
Underneath The Tree by Kelly Clarkson (10.29.13)

I put the window down of my car, crank the volume up and sing with much bravado when my favorite artists randomly hit my playlist. We're talking about The Killers, Eminem, Matchbox Twenty, Robin Thicke to name a few. But to do the same to a Taylor Swift song, geez, anything is possible I guess! But how can you blame me? The song Blank Space is catchy and the youth totally relates to it. I mean the single Shake It Off was another pop hit and was #1 in the charts until Blank Space booted it off. Taylor outdid Taylor, swiftly. And even if you have a personal bias against the pop queen, give the song a few runs and the next thing you know, it'd be stuck in your head like crazy. Trust me...

Remember James Blunt, the guy who sang You're Beautiful?? Well, he is back and his new single When I Find Love Again shows not the typical mellow Blunt we've known. This single is a little to the pop side and though it is not a certified hit, it can get some good airing time. Some will find it very different and Blunt's new approach may surely make or break him. That means he can very well be another one of those one-hit wonders. Check his single under his new album Smoke Signals which was just released as I am writing this article.

A Filipino movie back in the 80s redefined my childhood. While a lot of my contemporaries remember the more upbeat pop songs in the movie i.e. Borderline by Madonna, Just Got Lucky by Jo Boxers, Kiss On My List by Hall & Oates (just to name a few), the very penetrating dramatic scenes were pegged by equally dramatic songs, hence my retro picks. Baby I Lied was playing in the background in a scene where the teen realized he has the hots for his mother's sorority sister who happens to be a neighbor and at that very moment was coming out of the pool all wet and sultry. That iconic scene, which played in the minds of most Filipino boys back then, made having the gaga for older women seem attainable. The song by Deborah Allen was just perfect. And on another scene, another teenager, who was "made a man" by yet another older woman had to leave the boy teary-eyed and heartbroken, after a brief unwritten relationship, when she had to migrate to the U.S. to be with her husband. That slut LoL! The poor boy was standing in the street, camera focused on him and the plane in the horizon, sunset and all, while Kenny Rogers' You And I playing to complete the sad setting. Lastly, the band of teenage brothers (which is what the film was all about) was having a gloomy season and decided to hang out in one of the boy's pad. Dark room with only a lamp and some blink lights to provide gleam, appropriately I Will Always Be Your Friend by George Duke was suited in the scene and gave the boys their only mellow bonding song. All three songs were great picks, sentimental I know but the scenes just called for it and there could never had been better choices...

It is the time when the cold climate comes in and the turtle necks come out. And every year you would probably hear the same Christmas song you've been hearing for ages. But I have my own ones that I put on repeat when Yuletide season is around. One mellow by Christina Perri and one upbeat by Kelly Clarkson. Perri's Something About December calms you down when everything seems hustling and bustling. I love it because it reminds me that although Christmas is a happy season, it also calls for solemnity every now and then. However, to equate that with jolliness, Clarkson's Underneath The Tree provides the kick you need to feel so Christmasy! It almost has the same tune as Mariah Carey's rendition of All I Want For Christmas Is You. But I like Kelly's better because Carey's is overplayed all the time. Not that there's no room for both merry songs so yeah, all is good during Christmas time! Oh and if in case you want to hear the saddest Christmas song ever, then listen to Sam Smith's delivery of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas! Chestnuts and eggnog anyone??

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Kobe Bryant Legacy

It shouldn't be a big deal. Not yet at least. Not while he is still playing and might take a shot at Karl Malone's 2nd place spot in the All Time NBA Scoring List. As I write this, the Lakers are going up against the Spurs tonight, and the Spurs would like nothing more but for Kobe to just jack up shot after shot and break any sort of team rhythm the Lakers have. Spurs win, Kobe gets to surpass MJ, win-win! But no! I am a Lakers fan first, Kobe fan second and to me, it is not a win-win! I don't have high expectations for the Lakers this season, not with an aging seemingly-lost Carlos Boozer as power-forward. But I did expect them to be better than their current standing and not be grinding it out down the cellar (or best case scenario an 8th seeding in the Western Conference! okay I maybe dreaming but hey!). Media is making a big fuss about this whole race-to-third because it's good ratings, and why not, it is after all still a history making event. But surely a divided emotion to the true Purple-&-Gold contingent who wishes the achievement is also riding a better season. The franchise is playing so poorly and I think the Hollywood approach is to just focus on Kobe's pursuit of surpassing MJ. In fact now, that is what I believe in (thanks to my Javita for keeping my mind focus! Visit for more info! Shameless plug I know LoL). There's gotta be something newsworthy to keep the buzz alive right? And why not throw in the MJ vs Kobe-Who-Is-Better argument in there. Sure fire blockbuster in the social media world.

Aaah! Who is it really? Is there really an end to the much thought-provoking, hate-driving, opinion-generating question in all of basketball? I wish there is but trust me I don't see that ending anytime soon. We'll probably have Skynet taking over the world already and they won't even think of destroying basketball archives to keep the debate alive. It's that itching. And like anything else I am blogging about, whether in politics, Claire Danes or sports, I am suppose to be putting in my perspective, my own tad-short Stephen A. Smith vocabulary-breaking and emotion-filled opinion. And so I will... Look people, those who were at their prime and watching 80s and 90s basketball would say that the Magic-Bird era is the best era of basketball ever! These same people have witnessed the rise and domination of a certain Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Basketball was never the same. As a kid during that time, watching the Bad Boys of Detroit, Dikembe's wagging finger, Lakers vs Celtics, the Rain Man Shawn Kemp taunting opponents and the really long wrist bands that Ewing wore, transformed my appreciation of the game. I never really liked Michael because he was just too darn good and I felt that the success he was having was too much for one individual. But you gotta give it to him. Nothing you can do but respect greatness. He is truly the best, hands down!!!

Now growing up a little older and they say wiser (I wish), I also witnessed the birth of the Kobe Bryant era, which may not actually be his era to begin with. Tim Duncan probably has a better grip to the "era" title because of his equally celebrated accomplishments (and the beat goes on...) But let's not drag timid Timmy into the mix. The reason why the Kobe-MJ comparison is obsessing is because Kobe is the closest thing to a Michael Jordan, and I mean it in the most flattering of ways. I mean the way he plays the game, the intensity, the moves. But I don't think Kobe has influenced or elevated the game of basketball as a sport over-all bigger than MJ. However, it certainly doesn't make him a lot less great. Kobe's achievements are amazing in itself, 62 pts in 3 quarters vs the Mavs, multiple All-Star appearances, second highest score in a single game (81) against the Raps, 5 NBA titles and now the 3rd spot in NBA scoring history at helm. But Kobe never started a fad like MJ did when he made bringing out one's tongue when making a hang time move in the air pretty cool. Nor did Kobe break any uniform decorum by having his basketball shorts two inches longer than the standard measurement like Michael did then, which by the way paved the way to the complete annihilation of the shorty-shorts (kudos to John Stockton who rocked it last and did it, I should say, with much gusto). So over-all, six championships or not, Kobe is only second to MJ, however in certain aspects equals him and even surpasses him (oh yeah).

Now now, before you Kobe die-hards explode in protest, listen. It is a question in itself why we keep comparing who the better basketball player is in the first place. We shouldn't because we would have to drag Lebron in and I'm never in the mood to do that, warranted or not. Comparing the two superstars is just a great argument and because that is what sports is all about. It is about breaking records and comparing stats or players which makes it actually relevant and worthwhile to be honest. It's competition and it would be such a boring field if both analysts and fans don't argue. Kobe did not want to be in the next set of superstars following MJ. It is in totality a such tough act to follow. But Kobe, by choice or not, took it. So inevitably the criticism and the perennial comparison is something Kobe is carrying, and that my friends is already a feat on it's own. I don't have a problem if the Kobe fanatics find their idol better than MJ. It's just like asking a Celtics fan if Magic is better than Larry and vice versa to a Lakers fan. There's never gonna be a right answer and no one will ever be better than the other. It is in the same concept why I don't hold a grudge on Clippers fans who think they own Los Angeles now. Yes, it is their time and they should cherish it but as long as the 16 NBA championship banners are hanging in the rafters, then this is a Lakers town, period (you didn't really expect me to just give my Purple & Gold a pass did you?) So Kobe fans, don't fret. We understand if you WILL always think that he is better than MJ. What is being a fan all about if you're not gonna stick to your guy or team anyway? Still there are those who views the game of basketball entirely different and would be able to provide an even plain field, opinion-wise. And if for just one minute you remove your Kobe hat (which I don't really see happening) and see it on a neutral perspective, then you'll probably find MJ's shadow side-by-side with Kobe's.

As a last argument on why Kobe took a huge amount of money (or why the Lakers paid for such) for two-years, well, here is my take. What a lot of analysts keep on forgetting is that Kobe is a marketing magnet. You invest on Kobe to fill in the seats, to take the heat of the Buss family on a constant basis and to have a daily story line to be significant if your expectations for the season and the next is not up there. Let's be real. It is not just the contribution that Kobe has given the Lakers that he is getting paid for, it is still the business he is gonna bring in as well. Could you imagine not having a franchise player on your roster and expecting to sell jacked-up ticket prices and fill the Staples Center? StubHub would have a feast. And the only reason why some Laker games still gets televised nationally even with a despicable record is because of Kobe. Okay maybe because the Lakers is the most popular team in the NBA but who they really watching... Kobe! They are not gonna air these games on TNT or ESPN if Kobe is gone and they have.. well.. Chris Bosh? Rajon Rondo? Besides, who best to demand dedication and passion from players to the Purple & Gold but him? And Kobe knows it. He is not gonna accept less than a cent if he knows the Lakers are gonna exploit his popularity and his drive to succeed, his no excuses attitude every single way possible. Remember, the NBA is a business first, sad but true and the Lakers need to stay afloat even on a bad season. And Kobe is their cash cow... and perhaps for one more year after this. So yeah, don't think Kobe is greedy for not wanting to get a pay cut to attract other quality players. What are the chances you agree to a pay cut from your job so they can bring in an overachieving Account Executive in the team? Probably not. That's Mitch Kupchack's problem, not Kobe's.

So this is Kobe's legacy. He is like Channing Tatum dirty dancing ala Magic Mike after Matthew McConaughey's performance. He is like the douche bag boyfriend who broke up a great love affair with Shaq and later on proving he was right all along (don't read into that too much now LoL). He is the the over-priced but seasoned IT Director who doubles as Marketing VP for the company just by being himself. He is no doubt decorated, arrogant to an extent yet very accomplished and inevitably the 3rd Highest Scoring Player in NBA history. Live with it or live with Jack Nicholson's voice haunting you at night telling you that you cannot truly handle the truth...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Slice Of Truth Pie

She was one of those office snubs that you know you wouldn't get along with. She has this demeanor that says "I'm all business so please don't mess with me" emanating all over her, as if to say, if you got nothing smart to say, don't even bother. Unfortunately when I met her more than a decade ago, she works in the same group as I am, and back then, I wasn't just as pesky as the Tasmanian Devil, I was the Tasmanian Devil. Maybe arrogant to a certain extent but definitely playful and immature. Surely it was just a matter of time before I started picking on her. I was messing around with her all the time but she actually held her own and surprisingly stung me with counter punches one after the other. Wit after wit she held ground and soon enough we knew it would be good enough to waste time on and see who can outsmart the other one first. She abruptly left the company but we kept in tabs and lived our whimsical friendship, for the most part via chats (shows you how much this friendship was worth LOL)

Every time I feel a little down I would reach out to her and just throw on a sarcastic rant only to find myself being equally ranted on in the process. My friend is as sharp as can be and I normally would hit a mental climax for a 15-20 minute chat with her. Nothing really sexual (ok maybe hints) but mental orgasm is really what it's all about. I've always admired a woman who is intellectually capable of expressing and explaining herself without much effort. Moreso someone who can push me to mental orgasmic heights and even better, allowing me to reach my pinnacle. There is just something that turns me on from a smart feminine head (don't get any ideas now). And this is what she does. She is the ultimate tease. You can't pick her brain all the time because she has, after all, a normal life and got better things to do than to satisfy my intellectual needs. She would berate you and make you feel like an imbecile if you can't keep up with the "smartness". She puts on a great conversation with you but then drops off the planet the moment Mommy duties arise or if it's too late in the night already (she's sleepy at 9). You would think that after all these years of conversing and chatting with her, I would truly know her already, right? Well, you never really know what buttons trigger somebody's dark side until you actually hit them.

We never really knew each other that deeply, I mean it's not like we are BFFs that go to lunch and shop together. We CHAT for crying out loud. But we know enough about each other's personal lives (though maybe not enough) to discuss or delve into it without the fear of judgment. So certain topics put our brains to certain boundaries and nothing really hits a person intensely if you serve them a slice of truth pie. I told you she left the company abruptly, maybe not feeling where she stands (and where she's headed) career-wise in the ladder. She is very smart so if better opportunities come her way, I'm not surprised why she wouldn't grab it. And while I don't have a steady track record myself for staying with companies that long (7 companies in 17 career years), it does not compare how often she moves from one occupation to another. To me, she is the ultimate job grasshopper. In the beginning it was the way to go. I mean if you can push your pay scale a thousand higher every darn chance you get, then why not?? But then in the middle of the journey, is what you're doing really worth the monetary increase?? Are you in a happy place now? Or starting to get disgruntled because it was the pay you really went for and not the job? We were young back then and when you're young, you can get a little impulsive and daring. But when life starts to catch up on you and the going gets tough, security is the way to go.

The economy isn't as friendly a few decades ago when education and experience really counted. Nowadays even if you're inexperienced, as long as you're cheaper than the person you're replacing, the company would hire you. It's all about stretching the buck and companies, thru technology, is slowly but surely making manpower, well, "manpowerless!" Seems like a pretty straightforward and reasonable argument right? Tell that to my mental bitch (or am I hers?). What I thought was a strong point was kapoot! She did not take it well, and threw the disappointing chatter to me as if I was her real life unsupportive partner. What the heck? I was merely implying that job hopping is not the best deal for her and that one day she wouldn't be as lucky. Not to mention that anybody above the 40 line is not necessarily a good item on your resumè. She tells me she is unhappy with her current work and I ask why did you leave the previous one anyway when it was peaceful there? Money. Aaaah that explains it! I was a persistent dick myself, lecturing her on why the short-tenured jobs. Where's the patience? What happened to growing corporately wise? She writes on the chat screen -- FU Robel, then logs out.

A few months ago I chatted with her a few erratic times, nothing mentally stimulating at all as if I was chatting with a high school student. The conversations were bland. I was in disbelief. Is this the same woman who normally puts me to the brink of an aneurysm? Or just a barbie? Alas, the conversations went dead. We lost communication in social media and emails was never our thing. I heard from the unreliable grapevine that she reconciled with her ex and decided to migrate here in CA with the entire fam.  I'm happy for her and hope things work out well. Still I miss the wit, the clever punch lines and the skin-deep sarcasm. I felt abandoned and betrayed all because I served her a slice of truth pie. My goodness! Imagine if that came with some "whip" cream LOL

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

ASMR 07.30.14

The best music reviews come at the least opportune time. Just a spurt of randomness triggers your inner music demon and so after a long hiatus, ASMR is back once again.

Pick of the Week:
Love Someone by Jason Mraz (released 07.11.14)

Might Interest You Pick(s):
Hardliners by Holcombe Waller (released 05.24.11)
Closer by Mike Stud (released 07.07.14)

Retro Pick:
More, More, More by Andrea True Connection (released 1976)

Special Mention:
Mandatory Fun (Album) by Weird Al Yankovic (released 07.15.14)

Jason Mraz the crooner, the balladeer, the always composed musician shares his polarizing voice once again with his recently launched album YES! The carrier single Love Someone is truly inspirational and would put a lot of lovebirds back into a frenzy. The distinct acoustic guitar melody, as always present, reminds us how mellow and sincere his tracks are. His rendition of Boyz II Men's It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday just took me back to why I love that song and Best Friend can easily be a genre favorite. The entire album is a composition of tracks that is suited more for couples that are already in love rather than those discovering it. This is truly worth the buy and is a perfect listening piece for any "chill-axing" moment.

There is something familiar about the sound of Holcombe Waller that reminds me of Foster The People and their hit single Pumped Up Kicks. I guess its the young vibrant sound that I always look for in an alternative pick. I always hear the song Hardliners on my playlist and has always been amazed by it. However, I never really paid much attention to the title or the artist until one boring night at a nearby Starbucks which finally put my innocence to rest.  I really am surprised that the song did not create that much noise considering it is really a great tune. Check it out!

Rapping is impressive, but rapping and singing soul is off the charts! And Mike Stud truly made an impression with his single Closer, where he showcased his rap skills but also bolted out some R&B flavor into his song. This is a different take singing and rapping by one artist when usually it is a collaboration between two artists, say Robin Thicke and Kendrick Lamar or John Legend and Rick Ross. If you're impressed by versatility, then this song is for you.

I always have the thing for the retro and More, More, More is just one of the truly relaxing hits back in the 70s where music was at its purest. I feel like lying down and reminisce every time I hear this song (which I rarely do) so the moment it played in the iPod dock you know I had to crank it up. Andrea Marie Truden, the front woman for one-hit wonder Andrea True Connection (or at least I was not old enough then to know they had more hits), was not only an artist of music but she actually went into pornography, which makes her a truly free bird of the 70s.

Lastly, I had to do a special mention to Weird Al Yankovic's newest album Mandatory Fun. The guy is time-tested and has always delivered on his songs albeit parodies yet still very amusing. Lorde's Royals did not escape Yank's choices in Foil, Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines in Word Crimes and the now famous Tacky from Pharrell Williams' Happy. Yank had always made me laugh with his work and now it takes me back to the time when I cracked up so hard listening to You Don't Love Me Anymore.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Compressed Mind Battling Procrastination

How long has it been since the last post? Two months right? Today I find my fingers punching on the letters of my laptop again while I munch on Famous Amos cookies. Nothing really compelling to write about, but just trying to kick the habit of not writing. It's not that my mind just froze and suddenly I have no opinion about anything Earth. I do, as always, but procrastination always get the upper hand in what usually is a lopsided battle. But today, I am victorious, I am free. Today, I lend my voice again to the blogging world. My slight dilemma though is I have scattered opinions about a lot of things, perhaps due to the decreasing blogging sensations. So to capture all of them, I went to old-reliable subtitles. Yes, I'm going a little OCD with my opinions.


Let's face it. The San Antonio Spurs just showed the world how basketball should really be played, and I can't be any happier. It's about damn time. It was beautiful to watch, Spurs fan or not. As I pointed out in random conversations I had of the NBA Finals, in this time when individualism is becoming the mentality of a lot of uprising athletes, San Antonio reminded us that a better team trumps better talent. Could you imagine if all those mid-level teams can enforce a similar system like that of the Spurs, where ball movement is the key? How competitive would the league be? Instead, a lot of teams try to isolate there superstars in crucial moments and hope that they can bail them out of a loss. Not saying it haven't worked before but with better ball movement, you will have a higher percentage of getting the best possible shot all the time. Besides, if you do implement the Spurs system, you don't need to put your superstar in a position where he needs to win it for the team. I am sure by the time the clock hits zero, the team would already be winning by a decent margin. Kudos to the Spurs and to Tim Duncan for winning his 5th ring. Kudos as well for Lebron James for an amazing performance in the series. I think he showed up and brought his game but not the same could be said about his team. Miami got exposed. The once trouncing defense the Heat has willed on to the rest of the NBA teams was no match to the 5+ passes per possession the Spurs applied, tiring out the Heat enough for them to find the easiest of baskets. The better team prevailed and it is not in anyway a reflection of Lebron not being able to deliver when it mattered most. In fact in Game 4, Lebron scored 19pts during the third yet the Spurs were still plus 5 at the end of that quarter. I never liked Lebron. I'm one of those who wished he didn't win a ring. But the man deserves credit, no doubt. I still don't get why a lot of the basketball self-proclaimed "know it all" still bash Lebron when he has accomplished so much already and will probably accomplish a lot more for the rest of his career. I guess as they say, haters would be haters :) Which leads me to the future of the Big Three in Miami. My bold prediction is if they can acquire another superstar (say Melo which I doubt will happen), then James, Wade and Bosh stays. If not, Lebron is coming back to Cleveland, Bosh would look for a lucrative contract somewhere and Wade retires in Miami in the next few years. Now for Melo, I just hope he stays with the Knicks and give the Zen Master a chance to turn the franchise around with him as their cornerstone. But if Anthony decides to leave NYC, then his best destination hands down is Chicago. We all know the Bulls' struggle is on the offensive end which Anthony would surely fill in. With a really effective defensive system already in place and Joakim Noah manning the paint, Melo's flaw in defense can surely be compensated. The only caveat is IF Derrick Rose can sustain his health and be the 2011 MVP that he once was. For the rest of the league, Kevin Love signs with my Lakers. Durant and Westbrook takes another crack at the championship this 2015 season and if they fail once more, Durant goes to Houston to reunite with his pal Harden and Westbrook would team up with Love and bring the UCLA connection to the purple and gold, just in time before Phil swipes Kobe out of LA to become a Knickerbocker. Haha! Kobe in blue and orange? Not happening.

I know this is like a month late but that hologram performance by the King of Pop at the Billboard Music Awards was both creepy and awesome, right? I can't believe I'm saying this but I miss Michael Jackson.. or at least his voice. The once polarizing music icon who was plagued with so much controversies passed away about 5 years ago due to alleged overdose. And though I didn't pay much attention to Michael's music after he became "white", I sincerely missed his distinct voice, his art of music actually, that propelled him to stardom. I've always hoped he'd come up with a song that would remind me of his glory days when he donned that multi-zippered red jacket in Thriller and stole the hearts of millions. But that came to an abrupt halt that day he left the real world. From thereon, I was at peace just cherishing Rock With You and Off The Wall as my old time favorite MJ hits. Until I saw the Jeep commercial not so recently and heard a catchy tune. I can already tell by the first line that it was Michael resurrected. And the song itself was not just a song he sang. To me it was reminiscent of the 'fro haired Michael back in the 80s. The soul distinct classic voice of the King was back and Love Never Felt So Good truly felt so good. Even in post mortem, you delivered. Thanks Michael for letting me appreciate you once again in song.

I feel like I can end up being a motivational speaker some day. Well, sorta and so far I have motivated a bunch of kids to win the first 3 of their games convincingly. I started my coaching career for youth basketball a few years ago but not really to coach but just to team up with another coach so that both our sons can be on the same team and up our chances of winning. Since then I managed to stand on my own and have been sharing my best Gregg Popovich mantra to the Cypress Youth Basketball League. It's funny how I seem to amaze myself because I always scramble finding the right things to say when I am in front of my 12-14 year old bunch, only to end up sounding convincingly. I don't plan a speech ahead of time and normally I just wing it depending on the situation. So whether in practice or in a huddle, I come up with something I find very Stephen Covey-esque. By the end of the delivery I feel like I may have even made men out of them. Ok maybe not that far but I truly feel inspirational, or at least I think I do. I have come a long way in coaching youth basketball. Now I stand up and actually yell into my players as supposed to me being too timid before and just letting my players be when they are in the court. I used to never need water while coaching because my throat does not run dry of talking. But now I feel like I need Strepsils after every game. I'm proud a little bit of my evolution. Most particularly in our second game where I only had 5 players out of my usual roster of 10. No substitutions, long court, a very strong opponent (well at least by perception). So in practice and coming into the game, we were not very confident that we'll make it a close game, let alone a victory. But long and behold, as the final buzzer struck, not only did my team win the game, we beat our opponent by 14 points.  It was amazing how my team executed the defense and the way they were sharing the ball would for sure make the Spurs proud. The validation came after the game when one of the parents from the opposing team shook my hand and told me that I coached my team pretty well. He was impressed and was sincerely happy for my team for doing a great job despite the adversity. I almost blushed. Good thing my older kid was staring at me so I had to play it cool haha! So far I have my players believing in themselves and my goal is to ensure that their feet is still firmly planted on the ground. Hard to keep a bunch of puberty kids in check, especially if they are in a winning streak. There lies my next challenge. But to this point, I can give myself a nice pat on the back. Grade: A-

I got my Bachelor's Degree in San Beda College in the busy Metro Manila of the Philippines. I had a great run while I was there. A lot of ego tripping, fancy clothes, heavy drinking.. er.. studying I mean, and a lot of memorable faces to remember. I was very active in extra curriculars so I have met a handful of soon-to-be really famous Bedans. But none of those really compare to one symbolic face so synonymous to the academe himself, it would be a shame to call yourself a Bedan without truly knowing him. His name is Mang Roger. He is not a paid employee of the school, nor is he an alumnus, athlete or student. He is simply a vendor of what Filipinos call an aphrodisiac (among other things) and a truly ethnic delicacy -- the famous "balut" (premature duck egg). Honestly, I am not a big fan of the food but I have downed a lot of the "chicharon" that Mang Roger also sells. But what he sells is just a front of the man he truly was. He was always joyful, has a readily joke to share and has his way of marketing his goods that I have not seen in any other street vendors. His loyalty to the school is unparalleled as he exclusively (at least that's what I know) sells his merchandise in San Beda alone. He watches the NCAA games with the Bedan army and can be seen in almost if not all the social events in campus. It is almost impossible to have a Bedan event without seeing Mang Roger around. Students, faculty and even passersby would flock around him just to get a piece of balut (I swear he puts some sort of potion into those eggs that make it so irresistible to everyone). He was also, at one point, the only vendor allowed to sell his goods inside the campus. I guess due to sanitary reasons (too many eggshells around his corner and the smell of vinegar eventually getting pungent), he was booted out to sell with the rest of the street peddler symphony. He was a popular figure, a man recognized not only for his balut but for the personality and his pride of being a part of the Bedan culture. And to every Bedan who has witnessed Mang Roger in their tenure, he is part of the institution, no doubt. He is a honorary Bedan and the Red Army is so sad to see you go. I think I speak for every Bedan out there whom you and your famous balut have touched, that we will miss you and we are thankful for all that is you Mang Roger. RIP June 2014.


The good thing is I have my mind's motor running again and my hands on my tool (and by tool I mean on my laptop). I always find satisfaction in translating my thoughts into sentences and exposing it to the netizens of this world. It is just the act of typing (really) is what I find most difficult. It's almost like wanting to have six-pack abs but always succumbing to the mightier bacon cheeseburger. However, even if my posts do become sporadic, I am still glad I have them few. I feel like finishing a post is like taking a shot of steroid into your ego. Aaah, the sweet smell of accomplishment, how shallow it may be! So here's to another successful parting of ideas from my imagination to yours.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Sterling Sliver

Finally, a compelling issue to bring me out of hiatus. I probably would've been too indolent to write anything about it but this Donald Sterling news is getting in the way of me enjoying the NBA playoffs. And nothing ruins a run to the NBA Finals more than a social issue of this magnitude. So for the benefit of those who are still in outer space or is not in tune with sports altogether, current Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is in the hot seat for some racial allegations he made coming from an audio tape that was publicly sent out by her girlfriend V. Stiviano. In the recording, which Stiviano's lawyer claims as legit, clearly airs Sterling's racial remarks towards African-Americans. Not surprisingly, this has caught the NBA world by storm and the outrage from all walks of life has been overwhelming.

There is no room for such behavior in professional sports, or anywhere for that matter. This has an undeniable effect to the players, the organization as well as the growing Clipper fans. On a social standpoint, it mirrors the same communal issues in any typical workplace. And like any racial-related case, it must be addressed. Confident enough that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will ensure such actions are dealt with accordingly. On a professional standpoint, how do you see the Clippers deal with this situation? Do you win to play for an owner who does not respect you as a player? Do you win just for you, your teammates or for the team but essentially still winning for the owner? Or do you lose, and as an athlete, give up all you have worked for just to prove a point? As a person, I would understand if each and every one of the Clippers have a different take on this in terms of playing to win or not playing in protest. The problem is, deny it all they want, the Clippers are affected by this one way or another. I think it showed clearly on Sunday's loss to the Golden State Warriors. Not to dismiss the efforts by Mark Jackson's team, but it sure had something to do with the Clippers' lack of focus. As the Clippers go back to Los Angeles, what would the atmosphere be like? Should the Clipper fanatics not watch at Staples? Should they boo or cheer? All of which are distractions if you are making a push for a championship.

As a Laker fan, I almost feel sorry for the Clippers (in fact I actually do) because this came totally from left field. I felt like this year the team would go deep into the playoffs but now I truly have my doubts. Blake Griffin is a monster, Chris Paul is his usual dynamic self and the supporting cast can truly pose a challenge in the Western Conference. However, this kind of predicament has, and excuse my naivety if historically there was a similar incident, is unprecedented. This is not an injury to your star player, not a coach getting suspended, not a loyal fan missing out on a game. This is an owner who runs and benefits from a team that is comprised primarily by African-Americans but ironically is racist. This is not something that a team can easily adjust to. Nobody can just step up and take over the game. This is beyond basketball and should not be tolerated.

Ultimately, as a fan of the game, I wish the Clippers win it all. Not for Sterling but win as a sign of protest against racism. I understand that in the end, if Sterling still owns the Clippers, then he technically wins as well. But Chris Paul and co. still owe themselves, after all their hard work, the sweet taste of victory. I mean if this is in an office setting and you are in the verge of completing a major project, a once in a lifetime opportunity and something you already have worked hard for that would catapult your career to great heights, only to find out you are being discriminated by your boss, would you not go for it and deal with the racial issue later? It is not exactly setting aside a very important issue but rather putting professionalism a step ahead of derogation. After all, being professional would clearly say a lot to being socially profiled right? Perhaps it is the more gallant way to deal with it as a Clipper. But regardless how they show a sign of protest, Clipper or not, Sterling does not deserve to be an NBA owner. Not a chance, not even a sliver.