Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More Items for my Birthday Wishlist

Here we go! More items I thought of (and more filler material for my blog). So without further ado...

1. 64GB iPod Touch or 64GB iPhone 4G. I'll be honest, my android phone is decent. But Apple just nailed it with their devices. More (free) apps, better (free) apps, built-in memory. My android is frustrating because the apps only install into the phone memory and that isn't very big. Oh, and why 64GB? So I can back-up my photos too.

2. A new wrist watch. Something like this Timex Chronograph. Or the Blue in Dark Swatch Irony. I miss having a chronometer. I also wouldn't mind getting a heart-rate monitor wristwatch, as long as it's durable. Something like a Timex IRONMAN Road Trainer.

3. A new steel-string acoustic guitar. With a sturdy bridge, no pegs. Just holes to put the string through. I've noticed the pegs eventually loosen and you have to jam paper in it just to make sure they don't pop off.

4. A home suspension training set. Might help me get motivated to work out. TRX has this Pro Pack + Door Anchor kit that's really expensive. But if I had it at home the only excuses I'd have for not using it is because I'm lazy.

That's all I can think of for now.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Birthday Wishlist

Right, my birthday is just around the corner. Time for me to whip up another wishlist. I'll be mixing what I want, realistic and the other totally improbable (unless I end up winning big time in the lottery). It's up to you to decide if what I want is improbable or realistic. So here we go...

1. A Place to Call My Own

  • I'd really love to own a house and lot with a two-car garage somewhere in the Metro. Flood free area and easily accessible to all major areas, of course. Just so my wife, my child, and I have our own place to stay.
  • Or a two or three-bedroom condo unit in the heart of Makati would be nice. With one or two parking slots. As long as the place is, again, easily accessible, and safe. And the streets to get there should be flood free. And the neighbors should at least know common decency and be considerate to others. Nah, I'd rather have a house and lot.
2. My Own Mode of Transportation
  • The first car I'd want is of course a family car. The Toyota Innova is the best choice available in the market right now. Specifically an automatic transmission diesel engined Innova.
  • Or if I can get a second car, a toy car I can use as a daily driver. The Volkswagen Beetle conversion I'd always wanted would do just right. I'm talking Baja Bug sized wheels, improved engine performance, all-wheel disc brakes, extra fog lamps, etc.
  • Or it could be a Kubelwagen. This would also be a pretty decent daily-driver / family car. Just take a look at it.
3. An Electric Guitar Rig
  • A Dean from Hell CFH Dimebag Darrell signature guitar, a Marshall amp, Korg G3 effects pad, and a wah-wah pedal. No, I'm not a kick ass guitar player. But this might get me inspired enough to practice at least 30 minutes a day.
4. A "Super" Computer
  • Core i7 processor with 16GB RAM, dual videocards (one for work, one for play) and 1 terrabyte of hard drive space. Plus solid state hard drive for the programs.
5. 4 - 5 pairs of Nike Basketball Shorts with Pockets
  • I love Nike shorts. With pockets. So versatile, I can wear them when I sleep, play basketball, go walking / jogging, or I can wear them at home. Getting 4 - 5 pairs gives me a total of 7 - 8 pairs, meaning I can get rid of my other older shorts.
6. Dry Fit T-shirts
  • The same reason why I love Nike shorts is the same reason I love dry fit t-shirts. They're comfortable to wear, and they dry quickly. Enough said.
And that's all I can think of so far. Those are the things I want for my upcoming birthday. I don't need to get them for my birthday to be happy, but they will add to my joy if I do get them.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

When It Rains It Floods

I've noticed that Metro Manila is not ready or capable of handling typhoons anymore.

Flash floods happen. Most likely the result of years of throwing garbage in creeks, also of poor sewage systems and bad city planning. It happened a few nights ago.

I was fortunate to go home on time with my wife. We made it home in forty minutes or so. Around ten that evening while browsing through facebook I saw posts by officemates of mine saying the street in front of our office had waist deep flood waters. Sadly this wasn't the "normal" type of flood waters.

It was dirty sewer water. From a creek that no one seems to remember was there because they covered it up and put streets on top of it. I don't even want to call it a creek because the water is stagnant. It isn't flowing. There is a portion of it open beside Don Bosco Church and passing by the bridge on foot you can smell the damn thing.

And it's not only there where flooding occurs. My grandmother's house got flooded. Again. The first time I recall that happening it was because of Ondoy, or Typhoon Ketsana (I think that's her international name, but I can't remember), and the first floor of her house had waters 5 or 6 feet deep. Only this time her house got flooded but the storm was some 300km away... from Tuguegarao. Tuguegarao is a couple of hundred kilometers away from Metro Manila.

So what's my point in this post? I think something ought to be done to make sure that Metro Manila should be better able to handle typhoons. Citizens deserve to be taken care of, and people should not have to worry about their safety when travelling because of any storm.


Friday, June 24, 2011

NBA Draft Live Blog

I'm listening to a live broadcast of the 2011 NBA Draft via ESPN at work. And I'll be blogging my thoughts as this happens, when I have the free time since I am at work. Cleveland Cavaliers with the first pick and five minutes left. I guess they're doing the draft in New Jersey because Madison Square Garden's under renovation? I'll try and add the local time as I type my thoughts.

Oh and I'll only cover the lottery picks. Then I'm logging out.

7:46am - Wilt Perdue is on at ESPN with a few other ESPN broadcasters and they're doing a lot of talking to fill the time while Cleveland decides who to pick. Kyrie Irving or Derrick Williams?

7:49am - Cleveland selects Kyrie Irving with the first pick. Nice. I heard a quick promo of Irving saying he's not in John Wall's league or something.

7:55am - Minnesota selects Derrick Williams second. As expected. I heard earlier the Lakers had offered Odom for this pick. Damn you, Lakers. Where Odom goes, so does my loyalty. Now that the Wolves have Williams, what happens to Beasley, Martell Webster, and even Anthony Randolph? Minnesota could stand to make a few trades to give Williams a chance to develop.

8:00am - Utah gets Enes Kanter. What the fuck?!? I thought Brandon Knight was going to be drafted by the Jazz. Utah now has five bigs (Millsap, Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors, and maybe Memo Okur?) with Kanter on board. I sense a trade will happen. Maybe Utah will get  "The Jimmer" with the 12th pick?

8:06am - Cleveland next picks Tristan Thompson. Say what? Wow, I did not see this coming. Thompson basically plays the same position as JJ Hickson and Antawn Jamison. I guess this was their next choice since the Jazz got Kanter. I always thought the Cavs would get a big man to help Varejao. Interesting.

8:12am - Toronto gets the fifth pick and they get Jonas Valanciunas. What? I thought Colangelo was going for a more American flavor for the Raptors and they get another Euro big? I hope this guy can rebound. I don't get this pick.

8:14am - An ESPN announcer said Tristan Thompson reminds him of Durant. Seeing as how I don't get to watch NCAA games, I'll have to take his word for it. With a grain of salt.

8:16am - Washington gets Jan Vessely with the sixth pick. This guy was supposedly the "Blake Griffin of Europe." I have no idea at all.

8:20am - Sacramento gets Bismack Biyombo. This guy could help the frontcourt. DeMarcus Cousins could handle the offense, and Biyombo could take care of the defense. I'm not sure if this is true, but aren't the Kings trading this pick to the Bobcats? Does this mean Bismack Biyombo is going to Charlotte?

Biyombo sounds funny. Just saying.

8:26am - Detroit gets Brandon Knight. Nice. Now they can move Stuckey to the shooting guard position. Knight and Greg Monroe seem like good building blocks for Detroit.

Could Kentucky get 7 players drafted in the first round this year? We shall see.

8:32am - Charlotte gets Kemba Walker with the 9th pick. Bye-bye DJ Augustin?

So the Milwaukee-Charlotte-Sacramento trade sounds like it's going through. Why do I get the feeling that after the lockout there will be tons of trade activities for teams? Why did the Bobcats get Walker when they had a point guard already. God, I'm so excited for the up-coming season. I just hope there is a season.

8:37am - Jimmer Fredette goes to Milwaukee. I think this pick is included in the trade so maybe Fredette goes to Sacramento? Yep, his rights are going to Sacramento.

8:43am - Golden State gets Klay Thompson from Washington State University. Finally, a tall shooting guard for Golden State.

8:50am - Utah gets Alec Burks from Colorado with the 12th pick. I'm starting to like Utah's young guys, Favors, Kanter, Hayward, and now Burks. I hope they've got a plan.

So the Morris twins are still on the board. I thought Marcus was going top ten. Guess I was wrong. Maybe both end up top twenty. I hope so.

8:57am - Speaking of Morris. The Suns get Markieff Morris. Wait, isn't this the defensive Morris? Good pick by the Suns. They've got enough offense already, now it's time to get defensive. I'm just suprised Marcus wasn't picked first. Unless the Suns thought this was the "better" Morris. Yeah as if that would happen.

I just realized the Suns have two halves of twins in the NBA. And they've got the "lesser" of the twins. They got Robin Lopez, and now Markieff Morris. Both supposedly not as good as their twin, both supposedly the better defensive player.

Apparently Markieff has a jump shot. I hope it helps get him playing time. But he has to fight with Channing Frye and Warrick for PF minutes, and Gortat and Lopez for C minutes.

9:04am - And Marcus Morris goes next to the Rockets. Huh. Scola. Patterson. Now Morris? Stocking up on PFs I see. Again, trades I foresee.

And that's the lottery. I'm ending it here because I really need to use the bathroom.


Monday, June 20, 2011


Has it ever occured to you that all the things you experience in life could disappear? All the sights, sounds, people, places, friends, loved ones, enemies, and everything all could be gone in the blink of an eye?

That's why it's very important that we always appreciate what we have at this moment in time. It's okay to want more, let's just not get too greedy.

So to all the things in life that I hold dear, thank you for being there for me.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kimchi and Other Foods

Last night my mom brought home a batch of kimchi she got from a Korean / Japanese grocery near her office. It was awesome.

I only had a small bite, since I had already finished eating dinner (a delicious dish of sweet & sour meatballs my wife cooked, by the way) I just took a spoonful. It was spicy, a bit too spicy in a good sense. I can't wait for dinner tonight so I can eat another batch of it.

This afternoon at work I suddenly had a craving for all kinds of cheesecake. I have no idea why. So with the help of "almighty Google" I found two recipes online that I would love to try to re-create at home. Most likely with the help of my wife, who can cook better than I do when following directions (for the record, I cook more by feel, not following instructions and just adding ingredients as I go). Here are the two recipes I found:

A layered mocha cheesecake recipe. And the next is a philly oreo cheesecake recipe.

So why the sudden craving for cheesecake? I have no idea. But I do know I miss it's taste. So hopefully this weekend if there is time I can get to taste one of the two recipes above.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fantasy GM - My Two Favorite Teams Edition

First off, before everything else, I'd like to explain something.

Yes, I am an NBA fan. I love this game, I enjoy watching teams play against each other for the win. However, I am not a fan of the players, not the team. So where my favorite player(s) end up is the teams I root for.

For now, my favorite players (currently playing) are Lamar Odom, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Brandon Jennings, and DeMarcus Cousins. I'm also a fan of Kevin Durant (just because he helped me win my 2010 - 2011 ESPN Fantasy Basketball League, along with Odom, Melo, and Amar'e but thats a different story).

Right now the two teams I root for are the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks. And this trade I have in mind just might help these two teams a lot more than expected.

Here's my trade. The Knicks send Amar'e Stoudemire to the Lakers for Pau Gasol. Straight up, no draft picks involved. One player for another. And here's the reasons why I think this trade would work.

Kobe needs help (in my opinion). He needs someone willing to shoulder the scoring load and keep Kobe fresh enough for the 4th quarter of games, in case the Lakers need Kobe to close out games for them. Amar'e is just that man. He can score in a variety of ways, and he has an impressive mid range game that would complement Andrew Bynum's low post offense. Not only that, but Kobe is nearing the end of his dominance, and he needs someone to take over the scoring burden. Amar'e is just that man. Plus if Kobe and new coach Mike (yikes) Brown can keep Amar'e focused on the defensive end, they'll be pretty scary. Oh, and Amar'e wouldn't have to worry about learning the triangle offense since they'll be running a new set of plays. And as an added bonus, Amar'e won't have to focus too much on rebounding because he'll have both Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom to help him clean the glass.

The biggest problem with Amar'e to the Lakers is his health. Everyone keeps saying his knees might give anytime. Let's hope that's not true.

Melo needs help (in my opinion - again). He needs someone to be option 2, not option 1b. Pau Gasol is the perfect 2nd option. He's had experience being the 2nd option. He can rebound more consistently than Amar'e, he passes better, and is more willing to play defense also. He would also be perfectly comfortable letting Melo get the bulk of the shots. Pau would also have the opportunity to bring his championship experience to a relatively younger team, perhaps he would be the missing link to send the Knicks to contender status. And just imagine how effective a skilled big man would be in Mike D'Antoni's system. Remember Boris Diaw's days in Phoenix? He was a walking triple double threat. That could happen with Gasol in New York.

Well, that's my proposed trade to help keep New York and LA relevant and in contention. What do you guys think?


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Playing Virtual NBA GM Again

Here's another trade I came up with using ESPN's NBA Trade Machine.

The Golden State Warriors trade Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh (and maybe their 11th pick in the 2011 draft) to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Anderson Varejao and Daniel Gibson (and maybe the 4th pick in the 2011 draft).

My logic?

A few weeks ago when Jerry West joined the Warrior's front office he mentioned that the Warriors needed more size, and this seems to be able to address that problem quite well. While they will lose Ekpe Udoh, they get a quality big man in Anderson Varejao. Varejao does a lot of good things that aren't necessarily reflected in box scores. He's a hustle guy. He can rebound, he can play solid team defense, and he's capable of scoring off of cuts. Plus he can play both the center and power forward position and would complement David Lee up front. Or he can play a role similar to his role with the Cavs, and come off the bench to spell either Andris Biedrins or David Lee.

Daniel Gibson gives the Warriors an option off the bench to play either shooting guard or point guard. True, he is around Monta Ellis' height, but at least if you do get Gibson he'll be coming off the bench. This will give the Warriors the opportunity to draft a shooting guard with whatever draft pick they'll have in this year's NBA draft. Just hope they don't draft Jimmer Fredette, who stands only 6' 2". They could probably draft Alec Burk, Klay Thompson, Marshon Brooks, or Darius Morris and let their draftee start at shooting guard. 

They could even draft Enes Kanter or Kawhi Leonard if they get Cleveland's 4th pick and trade that pick for a good shooting guard or let that pick develop.

So here's my projected Golden State starting lineup: Biedrins, David Lee, Dorrell Wright, draft pick / free agent signee, and Steph Curry. Varejao is the 6th man, with Al Thornton and Daniel Gibson rounding out the bench players who get major burn.

Now what about the Cavs? Here's my take.

The Cavs can start a backcourt of Baron Davis and Monta Ellis, true they get a small backcourt, but Davis is "big" enough to guard off-guards. And that backcourt sort of worked before when Davis and Ellis were in Golden State. How often can a team turn down a guaranteed 20+ppg scorer?

Ekpe Udoh could come off the bench and spend his playing time at either power forward or center position. Or he could even be a reason the Cavs will be able to trade JJ Hickson for other players who could help them or future draft picks.

With Ellis on board, the Cavs can beef up their front court and draft Derrick Williams, who will can likely play both forward positions, and might even end up playing better at small forward and complementing Antawn Jamison at power forward. Or they could both play the combo forward role depending on who they are matched up against.

And if the Cavs keep their 4th pick, they could even grab Enes Kanter to replace Varejao.

Here's my projected lineup for the Cavs: Enes Kanter, Antawn Jamison, Derrick Williams, Monta Ellis, Baron Davis. Ramon Sessions as the 6th man with Ekpe Udoh and JJ Hickson as rounding out the bench.

Wondering why I only have three players getting major burn off the bench? Blame NBA 2K. The player roles they added in the association feature made me build my teams with 8-men rotations.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Playing NBA GM Once Again - Hawks and Suns

Once in a while I like to go to ESPN's NBA Trade Machine and play NBA GM, trying to make trades happen for different teams. I know I've posted at least one trade I made on this blog. Well I've got another one. This one is a trade between the Atlanta Hawks and the Phoenix Suns.

Click here for the trade.

The Hawks would send Josh Smith to Phoenix for Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley, Gani Lawal (one of my favorite NBA players since we have the same name), and Garret Siler. You could throw in some draft picks if you wanted, but I'm focusing on the players more.

How would this benefit each team?

Atlanta finally gets a legit center, allowing Al Horford to move to his more natural power forward position. They also get an energy guy who can hit threes and is a decent defender, Jared Dudley. Gani Lawal and Garret Siler are more of throw ins, just to balance the salary cap. But it could also be a homecoming of sorts for Lawal, who I think studied in Georgia Tech.

Phoenix gets the high flying Josh Smith. Having two respected and successful veterans (Grant Hill and Steve Nash) on the Suns could be beneficial for him since there are so many articles saying he has "issues" (whatever they may be). Plus can you imagine the highlights he'd get receiving passes from Nash? Alley oops and fast break dunks galore.

I know my explanations for the trade seem short, but if you like and follow the NBA as much as I do, you'd see the sense in my trade without too much explanation.

I just hope there won't be a lockout next season.


Sunday, June 05, 2011

Baja Bugs

I have no idea why, but I am really in love with the idea of owning a Baja Bug. Something about the way it looks makes me want to own one, and experience how it drives, how it handles, how it performs.

Take a look at the images above. Look how nice a Baja Bug looks like. Look at how rugged it looks. That car has character. It looks unique. It looks fun to drive.

And as I wrote before, it would be great for Manila streets. It has good ride height, meaning it could wade some minor flash flooding. You also wouldn't have to be concerned about clearing deep potholes or poorly made speed bumps. You'd just drive over them (carefully, of course).

Although I do have concerns about this car.

First of all, fuel consumption. Assuming you use the existing engine without overhauling it or fixing it, I'm guessing this would do maybe 6km/l at best? Or if ever the engine does get fixed and modded, will it still be a good daily driver in terms of fuel consumption?

Then there's the lack of air conditioning. Yes, Baja Bugs have no airconditioning because a Volkswagen Beetle has no aircon. Which brings me to the fact that Beetles are air cooled. So there is a chance of overheating if this car gets stuck in traffic.

But if I just had the money, free-time, and contacts to buy, fix, and modify a Baja Bug, I would most definitely get one.

I'd fix the engine to produce more power and torque. But I will keep the engine cover, not the common Baja Bug look where the engine is sticking out. I'd make sure there were ways to prevent overheating (like adding oil coolers), I'd make the suspension off-road capable. I'd use wider tires at the rear, but all four tires would be the same diameter. And run-flats. I'd improve the electrical system. I'd use tubular bumpers and add circular fog lamps. I'd put in HID Xenon headlamps.
Hell, I'd add an air-con if it was possible. Just so passengers wouldn't have to worry about the tropical heat here.

A guy can dream, can't he?