Ultimate Marvel versus Capcom III Roster

Monday, December 19, 2011

Finally! The 2011-2012 season!

Now Playing: Wounded Eyes by Blue Scholars

Well, it's been a long and pain stalking wait to see the NBA 2011-2012 delay its start due to the prolonged NBA lockout. Sure, it is not the first time that NBA experienced this type of drama (last was the '98-'99 season lockout). There was so much going on for the past 5 months: we saw jaw dropping trades, players opting to play abroad or go for small events just to stay fit and a few contorversies. The league somehow needs to thank its fans for staying with them and being patient after the lull that the CBA brought to the league.

Now, after the smoke has finally cleared, i'm sure hoop fans have now marked their calendars for the 25th of December, not for Christmas day, but because it's the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season.

Although, it is a short season, it still is a must see year for the league. I have listed my top 10 teams to see this season:

10. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS

Definitely the mood in The Big Easy will change a bit after losing their franchise player Chris Paul and with D-West going to Indiana. With the ownership and financial issue still looming over the team, don't worry NO fans, you still have something to look forward to this season and this one may be a sleeper for most of us. Please New Orleans, no need to follow the hate they once got going in Cleveland.


Come on Eric... Smile for Christ's sake!

Chris Paul was traded over to the Clippers and in exchange got Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu. Now, if you're going to ask me, not a bad trade at all (well, okay, i get the point if you'll raise the ticket sales issue) and i'm sure that the loyal Hornets fans won't give up on their team (just yet, i hope). This trade actually solidifies their line up right away. Now you got a more potent Shooting Guard in Eric Gordon both on the defensive and offensive end. This will now be Eric Gordon's coming out party as he now is the expected leader for this team. When you go down to the low block, you now bring down Emeka Okafor in the 4-spot (which i feel is the best position for him) being able to concentrate more on the defensive end and helping out in the offense and bringing a more legit Center in Chris Kaman. You also got Jack, Aminu, Ariza, and Landry in their respective positions and can hold their ground against the rest of the league (well, let's hope Trevor raises his shooting percentage).

Now, Monty Williams may have his hands full but he has proven that he is definitely ready for the coaching spot and for me, he is the one that will determine how his Hornets thread the waters. If you're going to ask me, in terms of individual talents, the Hornets actually have improved this season compared to last season. I'm sure Williams is up to the task and will quietly make his opponents see that going to New Orleans won't mean an easy win.


09. INDIANA PACERS

Beefing up their line up by adding All-Star power forward David West, the future for Larry Bird's team is off to a nice start. David West expressed his intent to be traded during off-season and landing in Indiana was a good move for the 17-foot assassin.

They also got George Hill from a trade with the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for rookie Kawhi Leonard. I actually don't get the logic of this trade coming from both teams' side. It's not a trivia that Pop really liked Hill's playing style foe his system while he was in Texas so it was a surprise to see him traded off. In Indiana, they already got a solid starting Point Guard in Darren Collison, who proved his worth in his stint in The Big Easy when CP3 was down. So you have 2 good starting Point Guards in your list. It's really a double edged sword as it may make wonders for them in terms of solidifying the position regardless of who of the 2 comes off the bench or starts (Coach Frank Vogel may even play them both), or it may create a little crack in the rotation. I'm sure coach Vogel will make the most out of them though as he proved his wit last playoffs as they battled against the Bulls.

The team also got hard-nose Power Forward in Lou Amundson which adds hustle and energy coming off the bench.

And of course you have your All-Star 3-man in Danny Granger, that I hope stays healthy for his team as he will still lead this team no matter what. They also got solid players in Paul George, Dahntay Jones, A.J. Price, and Tyler Hansbrough. The real barometer for this team though would have to be Roy Hibbert. Last season's stats for the big man wasn't bad but I feel his team needs him more on the defensive end, grabbing more boards, defending the low block and bringing that toughness.

08. DALLAS MAVERICKS

Okay, now that Dirk, Kidd, Terry, team owner Mark Cuban, Coach Carlisle and the rest of the Mavericks organization already got their first ring, you'ld be thinking that they are itching to get another crack at the title, right? Well... The latest move of the franchise of letting go Tyson Chandler wasn't a popular move, maybe, for most fans of the Mavs and got them scratching their heads.

The reason why I actually placed them on my 8th spot is to see how they'll cope with the drastic change and if their resiliency is still flaming red-hot. No doubt that most of the guys in the roster already proved their worth and resolve as winners with each one stepping up during last year's championship run. However, I feel that they actually removed 2 of their key guys in the defensive end. Chandler undeniably changed the identity of the team from an offensive machine to one hell of a defensive wall to mess with in the Western Conference. Not only can he block shots and cover the paint well, he also boosts their energy and is their vocal leader on the defensive end. We may not have seen Caron's worth since he got injured, but seeing him from the past years he played in the league, he is one tough guy in the 3 spot.

I hope that some of the guys push their effort and level a notch higher this season 'cause they'll badly need it, considering that you have young guns in OKC trying to slowly climb the top of the mountain. I'm sure Mark Cuban won't hang his cowboy hat yet. After all, no one expected them to reach and win the championship. Honestly though, they'll have a tough time.


07. CHICAGO BULLS

The Bulls made a statement last season that now, they have a new era to get crazy about in the Windy City. And why won't they? They got their best season since the 90s Bulls team. They have the youngest MVP and one of the stingiest defense in the league. Since 2000, i have not been a fan of how Chicago made their moves as far as acquiring players are concerned. They somehow got young players during that time, let them go to be traded or for free agency and eventually turned out to be good solid players after a few years. However, they stayed with their plan and it paid off.

I believe in the Bulls' system, specially on the defensive end. Coach Tom Thibodeau changed the mentality of the Bulls team and made them grow after one season. Discipline and toughness was now an engraved mentality while playing on court.

Now, for sure they now got their back with a huge "bulls"eye as most of the teams in the league will now consider them as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. They have a good core line-up already but they someone need to patch a gaping hole in the shooting guard position. So I was very happy while watching BTV to learn that they acquired Richard Hamilton. It's like giving them a Christmas gift, neatly packaged and tightly sealed.


Now, Rip is a winner. A disciplined, wise and tough guy hailing from the new school "bad boys of Motor City" team that toppled the Lakers early in the decade and won the championship. Learning from Larry Brown is also a plus. Rip now brings that steady mid range element that Chicago was missing last season (Mister Korver please stand up). He also adds a valuable piece in the defensive end and you know that he'll make the guys play harder and listen to him when needed to. The biggest contribution that I feel Rip will give the team is that added scoring option that the defense needs to consider running off screens and even, coach T may design, at times, crucial clutch plays for him. No doubt D. Rose will still be the main man in Chicago but he really needs help (as evident in their Eastern Conference finals match up with Miami). It will also benefit Chicago big time if Boozer can show up this season as he was really a non-factor last season (the only thing that he has going for him is he plays well along with Noah). I'm sure Noah and Deng will be solid in their respective positions.

I'm excited as hell to see how Chicago plays this season and I hope they make a great follow up to their magical season.

06. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

Being the darkhorse last season, the Grizzlies proved that there is more to see in Memphis aside from Graceland. Eliminating the #1 seed Spurs last season was no small feat. Yeah, the guys from San Antonio may be aging, but everyone knows how good and tough they play come the playoffs... when it mattered the most.

Memphis showed heart and toughness during that season that somehow propelled them as one of the playoff contenders in the west. I was happy to know that they kept their core in tact and made sure Marc Gasol is still part of their line up (after getting a lucrative offer from the Rockets). With Zebo proving to be one hell of a presence down the block, Mike Conley being comfortable as the steering wheel of the troops and O.J. Mayo providing scoring off the bench, Memphis has a lot to be excited about this season.

Rudy Gay was out last season due to a separated shoulder but this didn't prevent Coach Hollins' guys to prove that they won't back down, even with the elite teams in the league. We all know that Rudy Gay still spearheads this team but due to the breakout season of Zebo, most critics say that the return of Rudy Gay may somehow cause a little change in the chemistry and play style of the Grizzlies. For sure, Coach Hollins will muster every ounce of basketball smarts in him to make sure both Rudy and Zach work in harmony together with the rest of the team... and won't that be one hell of a thing to see. I can imagine Zebo going down low and attracting the double team while Rudy Gay moves without the ball... probably cut to the basket for an easy finish or just moving around the perimeter and punishing the defense with a three.

Also, Rudy Gay was part of the USA "Redeem" Team that won the Gold Medal. Most of the players that was in that roster matured and led their respective teams big time. So sitting down the rest of the playoffs with an injury while watching his team go toe-to-toe with a team like San Antonio, i'm sure that Rudy Gay has enough fuel in him to push the Grizzlies for another run, and make sure his team stays happy, in tact and competitive. I feel that if his stats need to go down just for the sake of the team, he won't mind at all. However, I want to see this kid make it to the All-Star team.

Lastly, Memphis' bench is growing in a positive note with role players like Vasquez, Allen and Young proving to be a source of energy and push off the bench. The only crucial blow that they have for this season is the injury of Darrell Arthur that pushed him on the sideline for the rest of the season.

05. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

Whenever I hear the Golden State Warriors, "offense" is the first word that comes to mind. Since the RUN TMC trio that they had back in the 90s, bay-area really never had anything to cheer for except their underdog story last 2007 when they beat the top seeded Dallas Mavericks ("We Believe" era). We all remember that facial tomahawk dunk that Baron Davis delivered to Andrei Kirilenko on that magical season (which by the way ended with them being eliminated by the Utah Jazz). After that run, the Golden State Warriors pretty much served as the bottom dwellers of the Western Conference.

Last season, they acquired the smooth sniping guard from Davidson, Stephen Curry. With a great acquisition from the 2010 NBA draft, things were starting to look good for SanFran when injury plagued them. They had a depleted line up and some say that Stephen Curry and flashy guard Monta Ellis can't work together. I beg to differ though, as there were hints of bright spots last season, even though their backs were against the wall... again.

The year started with rumors of Monta Ellis being traded. When you thought that it's another bad season for Golden State, Chris Mullin decided to sign Mark Jackson as head coach. We all remember Mark Jackson as the give-me-a-shimmy-after-a-nice-dish court general for the Indiana Pacers. Now, he is the sage-like voice that we here during game telecasts. However, Coach Jackson is no rookie when it comes to leadership, discipline and toughness. So... what's the difference, right? Defense.

Coach Jackson made a bold commitment to change the mentality of their team and mold them into one solid defensive unit. Which is really what this team needs. Golden State probably have the most potent 1 and 2 guard combo in the league with the slashing and helter skelter play of Ellis from that silky smooth smarts and long range bombs of Stephen Curry. That machine-gun like offense will always be there as long as they have this combo. However, the idea of having them playing defense still remains to be seen.

It's no rocket science that defense is not Monta's forte in his game and when Klay Thompson was drafted for this season, a lot wondered if it's time for Monta to take one last look at the Golden Gate Bridge. Thompson has both the inside-outside game, and has a decent defense fundamentals. I saw this first hand while watching him play for Washington during a rare few telecasts in BTV. However, Jackson made it clear that he wants Monta to stay and work with his defense individually and as a team. If coach Jackson is able to make Monta work and drop a few teeth on the defensive end, i'll automatically give him props for that.


"Man, we need to get our acts together or Coach J will be on our ass this whole season"

Another weakness that Golden State has is their frontcourt. David Lee can surely hold his ground on the 4th spot and he may need to help in the scoring and remain consistent with his rebounding. But based on watching Udoh's preseason games, it seems he's been working hard to compete for the position. Anyways, if he comes off the bench, it will still do the GSW good. The Small Forward position may still be filled by Dorrell Wright which had a good 2010 season. In terms of the Center spot, I hope Andris Beidrins stays healthy and be able to adapt to the new defensive scheme Jackson has for them. Kwame Brown may be able to help but, sorry man, I'm not really one of your biggest fans.

Going back to Klay Thompson, I personally feel that he is a fail-safe option if in case in the future, they need to trade Monta (if things won't work out as planned). At least you have a stable rookie coming off the bench and may at times play with Ellis and Curry when they go small ball.

In all, I don't expect the Warriors to be a 5th or 6th seeder but seeing them in the playoffs will be a great start

04. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

The Lynx brought a gold last season when they won against the Atlanta Dream. Now it's their male counterparts turn to bring the honor back to Minnesota. Of course that's not an easy thing to do. But things are starting to look great for Minnesota.

Placing Rick Adelman as the new head coach is a great start. I think Rick Adelman is an underrated coach because he's not able to reach the finals. However, considering what he has done to the teams he's been in within the decade: whether building a championship caliber team in SacTown or still pushing the Rockets to be a solid playoff contending team despite the injuries and roster issues; Adelman is definitely a nice building block in changing a culture to team like the Wolves.

In paper, the roster looks exciting and great. Of course we have Mr. 30-30 Kevin Love. Now he's not really getting the love as far as reaching that mark is concerned. Most critics say that if he's placed in a winning team, he may not achieve this feat (which he proudly shares with the likes of Moses Malone). My retort is this -- he actually is a double-double type of player and at times, he actually reached 15-15 marks on some games consistently. Yeah he's not flashy but mind you that this guy is picked for the Redeem Team, which speaks a lot for his type of play and leadership. Kevin, I know Coach Adelman is happy in the position you are in and just play your stuff.

Then, there's the Point Guard position. You have a solid veteran in Luke Ridnour that can definitely orchestrate a team, they also have newly acquired guard fresh off the championship run --- J.J. Barea which I feel may start for this season. Oh! We almost forgot wonderboy from Spain Ricky Rubio. At first, I was wondering what's with the hype with Rubio. Sure he's one of the youngest player to ever play international-level type of basketball and is a solid point guard... but I was a bit off with him coming in to the NBA. I was wondering how he'll cope up with the physicality of the league and his offensive arsenal is not yet that good. However, after watching him play during the short preseason games, I was proven wrong (sucker punch smartass!). He is a great energy type of player off the bench, maybe, after he learns the game and develops his game.

Then there's the 2 spot. I hope that Wesley Johnson gets consistent in playing defense and commit to being a team player. No doubt he has the skills and he's got game, but maturity is a key factor for this man if Minnesota wants to start winning.

The small forward position is where all the fuzz is. Micheal Beasley and Derrick Williams. I want to see who gets the spot. For sure there's no moving over Kevin Love on the 4 spot (okay, at times he may play Center but he's undersized for that position), but it's a bit tricky for the team on who starts and who comes off the bench. It's no secret that Beasley had some issues off the court and it's good to see that he has a little competition in Derrick Williams. And when I say competition, it's really a fight for who gets the thumbs-up from Rick Adelman. Beasley needs to raise his game a notch higher as I've seen Williams play during the NCAA Final Four and live when they visited Manila, and man, this is a great pick for the Wolves. Versatile, strong offensive and defensive fundamentals, and is exciting to watch.

For the center slot, it would be great if Anthony Randolph starts for them and acts as a defensive anchor for them. Kevin Love may slide at times to the 5th spot, I think, when they play small ball. They have a bunch of big men that can solidify their 4 and 5 slot with the likes of Milicic and Brad Miller.

I wish to see the Wolves get back in playoff contention and prove naysayers wrong. I think the only thing that this team needs is their identity and that "one" leader.




03. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

Okay, after the new CBA, drama started in LALA land befitting the glitz and glamour of the town. There is Lamar Odom going to their rivals in Texas and the rumored three team trade that will send CP3 to the Lakers. When I first heard Chris Paul's intent to be traded to the Lakers I was in awe. I really don't like the Lakers and Kobe Bryant for that matter. Yes, he is arguably the greatest 2 guard of his generation but I just am not a fan of #24. I just hate the idea of Chris Paul selling his soul to the devil in trade for a chance at the championship. I'm a big Chris Paul fan, and I can brag that. He definitely deserves to be in a winning basketball team, let alone, a championship caliber team. Maybe, part of the reason why I hate the idea of him being traded is the implications it has to New Orleans, considering the financial and management issues that they have. After the smoke has cleared the trade was rescinded and Chris Paul was left hanging wanting to be moved in a winning team.

Just when I thought that CP3 will start for the Big Easy, Paul was traded over to the "other" Los Angeles team -- The Clippers, via a trade that sent Gordon, Kaman and Aminu to New Orleans. "Hey! There is still another L.A. team waiting for a huge trade suckers.". This IS the trade Chris Paul needs, not only in the current status that he has but also it works for the team as well. Now, they have a solid all star guard that will steer them in the right direction. No doubt he'll help the team in a lot of ways: defensive intensity, offense, leadership and guidance. To think that CP3 was able to bring NO to the playoffs, with the type of personnel that they have, the possibilities are endless now that he's with the Clippers.


Oh yes! There's also Must See BG! Blake Griffin. Apart from being in the top 10 plays of the week for... well, almost every week, he's also starting to be solid in his position. I just want to see Blake expand his game each year. Post moves, mid-range shot, passing ala-Webber down low... there is no doubt he can do these.

The Clippers also got Chauncey Billups which is a proven winner and leader. I'm a bit worried how he'll hold up as a combo guard but knowing Mr. Big Shot, he'll take it as a challenge. They also acquired Caron Butler which is excited to start the season after coming off an injury riddled season. Also, you have DeAndre Jordan in the Center position which gives Chris Paul and Chauncey to green light to throw all the alley-oop pass they can with the frontcourt that they have

The thing that I think the Clippers needs to work out is their defensive mentality and a solid legitimate shooting guard as most of their guards have played (or is comfortable) in the point guard position. We may see a trade once the season starts... we'll see (err...Mo Williams).

This is a season where the Clippers wants to make a statement: WE are the real Los Angeles team.

02. NEW YORK KNICKS

The Kings of Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks. Well, we all know the history that the team has and what it has gone through for the last few seasons. You can also throw in the love-hate relationship that the fans have for their franchise (I can still here the boos thrown when David Lee was drafted by NY. haha.).

For a big stage and state such as New York, they have been in the trenches for quite sometime now and they have been aching to cheer for their team, not for one game only, but for one whole solid season. And New York, your 5 boroughs can start bouncing fresh.

New York got a gold when they landed champ Tyson Chandler from free agency. Obviously, now they have a solid center that can anchor the defense for.... what? Defense? our Coach is Mike D' Antoni right? Are you sure we're talking about defense?

Yes we are. This is probably the biggest challenge the Knicks has to face. Getting Tyson Chandler won't pimp out your defensive scheme right away. Yes, he is a great defensive player but without a solid system to play to... he's just another playing waiting for things to happen in the big apple. Knicks' coaching staff needs to make sure that they get the most out of Chandler and they can only do this with a well planned defensive scheme. With the winning attitude, resiliency, energy and leadership that Tyson brings to the table, they need to make sure that they maximize this night in and night out. They need to bring that defensive mentality and discipline and make it work for the short 2011-2012 season. The coaching staff have their hands full on this task and need to make things work. So far, the preseason games looks good.


The offense is already there for them with Melo and Amare as their 1-2 punch. In fairness to Meloman, I've seen him mature from being a blackhole to a team player and leader, being able to involve his teammates when needed and take things into his hands in clutch (and Melo is on the top of the food chain when it comes to clutch). Melo can get his points when needed and wherever in the floor. The idea that he likes playing for New York is another thing he has goinf for him. Then you have a solid post presence in Amare. He will always be a beast in the paint, but I hope STAT raises his rebounding stats, remains consistent with his swatting abilities and play on a "team defense" concept.

The bench also has to step up if the Knicks wants to move past the 1st and the 2nd round. They need to make a push once their stars hit the bench. I have my eyes on rookie Iman Shumpert, Tony Douglas and Bill Walker to see how they'll help their own big three. Acquisition of veteran guards Mike Bibby and Baron Davis will be a big help for them.

Personally, I think NYC's "big three" will make an immediate impact and is definitely something to look out to in the East. They have the talent, the toughness and the maturity they needed to lead their team as the 4th or 5th seed in their conference. They already have the love from their fans. Maybe it's time for the Knicks to stand proud again.

01. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER


And then, there's one. Power in the Western Conference is now turning tides. After reaching the Western Conference finals, the Thunders made a solid statement: "We are ready to battle". Of course, it is easier said than done, considering the type of team the west has for the past couple of decades. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder has a solid core that grew together and has pieces that already know what their roles are.

Despite the drama that the CBA and the trades around the league, Oklahoma City kept it quiet and had their minds set for the new season. Now that you'll think of it, what can a short season do to the explosive duo of Durant and Westbrook? Well, these guys are young, relentless and hungry so to have that luxury to have a short season, I am thinking that they'll go 110% each time they hit the hardwood.

Definitely, Scott Brooks has some minor adjustments to make when it comes to the system. Overall though, they are in good condition and just needs to set their eyes on the goal. No doubt the offense will still go around Durantula and Westbrook. It is exciting to see though to see James Harden get more minutes. No doubt, it works for the team if he comes off the bench and provide that spark. Sefalosha is a solid defender and served as a good role player beside their team's dynamic duo. However, it may not hurt to give Harden more minutes and play longer to give that added punch. When you sub Harden for Sefalosha, defense is not compromised as Harden can hold his ground with the best of them. In short, give other teams to Fear the Beard more.

I also want to see Kendrick Perkins be more mobile and be the presence that he is in the block when he was in Boston. Serge Ibaka's basketball exposure playing in Europe during offseason will be a crucial factor this season, adding a little post move and sharpening his mid-range shots.

The usual hit that OKC has is against Russell Westbrook. Most critics say that at times needed or in game-winning situations, he usually takes it strong to the hop instead of distributing for a fluid offense or give it to their go to guy #35. There are also comments on how he is as a point guard. Let me remind you though that Westbrook didn't start his career as a point guard. He was placed as the court general when he entered the NBA and he took the challenge. That speaks a lot because playing a position you're never used to, specially as a point guard, is not an easy thing to do. I guess that Westbrook can't please everyone. I give him props for his guts and being a tough guard he is. Playing alongside the likes of KD is also not easy. Still, he held his own. I guess experience will be the greatest ally Russell has in his battle against criticism. I'm sure he knows what to do, when to do it and how to do it when the situation presents itself. OKC, you have a great point guard in this man.

Oklahoma City is a good example on how to build a solid unit. Without a doubt they do not have the luxury and the lucrative pull to players that big cities like New York, LA, or Chicago has. When they started, they actually don't have that large amount of money to spend for operations, trades and other expenses. They just made right decisions, picked the right guys cut out for the team that they want to build and kept it low and quiet when needed. This is why Oklahoma City for me, deserves its rightful claim as one of the league's powerhouse team.






*updates roster details from NBA.com

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Phoenix

Now Playing: On my Own Time by Gym Class Heroes

It's been a while since I was able to write down here in The Pit. Not much has happened though for the past month. Anyways, it may be great to try to account a few things that I've been into for this past few weeks.

First, I was somehow able to muster enough effort to apply for a job. I actually tried applying for jobs related to music -- one was as a store manager and one as a product specialist. As far as the former is concerned, I actually got a job offer but the thing is I need to travel for a week on a 3 hour bus ride down south for the training. I could've accepted it but it's not really that economical. Considering the fact that I left my previous job because of distance and long travel time, I really think it was not worth the effort. Although it would have been great if I somehow was accepted as a manager for that music store. They now carry Warwick basses in their current brand roster so it would've been cool if I actually took the training. No regrets though. The latter, well... I don't know I think I did great in the interview but I never received a call back from the company.

So much for jobs related to music. I already spent 6 months sitting my ass off and just simply drifting with a lot of stuff that I planned to do while in "lay-off" status that I think it'd be bad if I stop applying after my not-so-lucky search for music-related jobs. I tried to apply for 2 BPO companies and was lucky to be given a job offer. I declined the first one because of the fact that they actually offered me a low pay compared to what I was expecting and the account that I was supposed to be under is said to be "toxic". So that's no rocket science as far as decision is concerned. I accepted the job offer given to me by the next company because it was said to be an easy account. I also considered the location which is just in Cubao. The gateway to everywhere you need to be in Luzon! Additional factor is that they pay a handsome amount of money for remuneration and they actually had a signing bonus offered on the week that we applied so not bad considering that I need cash for the holidays. I must admit though that the account took me by surprise. The training was one hell of a ride. Honestly. I've worked for 2 companies in the past 4 years and by far, this is one of the training programs that actually got me to work my ass off. Well, truth be told I really didn't and I actually just took it seriously when I was at work but I was fortunate enough not to be included in the attrition rate. Anyways, after threading the needle, I think I'll enjoy my stint in my new job. Less stress as far as work is concerned. The other cool thing is compared to other call centers where you can surf the net while on work (or use proxy servers to access those restricted social networking sites), this job offer less for more. Somehow you can only use the interface used for the job and other functions are removed. That leaves reading books as a good way to pass time. So it's great since I somehow slowed down for the past 2 years as far as reading books are concerned. Yesterday, I treated myself to a local bookstore buying 5 surplus books for only Php 150.00.

Me and 2 of my friends also planned to start up a small time shirt business. So far we're having a hard time pushing for the first phase due to schedule and other reasons. However, I really want this to roll so hopefully we'll get there and put color to our "drawing". I want to give details but we'll cross the bridge when we get there. Experience has taught me to not get ahead of yourself... always!

I also went back to playing bass guitar. I really know that my decision to lay-off was... may be uncalled for for others. Some may not understand it and take it against me. But it actually helped. I felt that I'm a car's break line always going along with a speed on 5th gear for the past 7 years (dating back to my freshman years in college) and is just waiting for the perfect accident to happen. So better tune up while I still can. Considering some of the shit that has happened to me for the past few months before going on a brief hiatus, I really think it is a good decision on my part. It somehow got my mojo running again and damn I missed my low-end!

Apart from doing my usual nerd routine that comprises of video games, TV and net surfing, mangas and comic books... I actually made it a point to engage in physical activities. I tried playing some hoops and went on early morning routines. Considering that I love basketball, I think it's great to try it hands on again (although playing ball is not really a gift that God gave me). Not that I'm being a health buff but I know that I'll reap the rewards later on in life.

So far, even though it took time, standing on my own again, it actually felt good. It actually brought me back to my senses that I am by my own strength and my own time.

Faith.
Patience.
Respect.
The words i'll soon have in my skin.










Monday, October 3, 2011

A pile of mud and gold

Now Playing: Ms Jackson by The Vines

It's amazing how our mundane lives is made up of irony. From religion, education, political system... even the way we judge other people. If you don't believe me, take a day out of your schedule and spend it in Manila. The soothing roar of automobiles revving up their motors, the countless faces you pass by, the iconic landmarks, and the lurking evil and danger in its streets, the memories... nothing beats the clash of beauty and horror that's wrapped in this concrete maze.

I've been travelling down Divisoria for 3 days with my buddy to gather raw materials for our "small time" business. 2 days wasted because of unseen factors and unplanned moves. We were gunning to buy all the things we need within one day but it seems that no matter how much you prepare for the worst, in Manila, preparedness is just a state of mind. However, it was enough for us to scout the streets of Divisoria all the way to the heart of Binondo.

Yesterday, we set out to hopefully finish our task. In hope that we'd be able to stop wasting money and be able to do something, we raised our optimism a notch higher. I brought a jacket with me because of the impression that it may drizzle or rain, specially that Quiel and Pedring have been wreaking havoc for the past few days. When I thought that we finally got a free pass from a perilous travel, the shine rose up high in the sky and embrace us with warmth as if saying "Haha, gotcha! For a while you thought you could out-smart me huh?". My buddy, which also carried with him a hoodie just made an excuse fir himself saying "Mamaya, tayo naman ang tatawa dahil uulan." If you're wondering, it drizzled yesterday but it never really sufficed the fact that I brought a jacket and walked gingerly while sweating like a crazy monkey in the middle of the humid and hot streets of Divisoria.

Compared to the last 2 days, yesterday's adventure turned out fruitful as we were able to score shirts and few printing materials. Apart from that, we were able to gather a few helpful tips related to our planned business from the store's sales rep and a customer. The best thing about the day though is when we decided to look around 168 mall to check stalls that sells illegitimate Gundam scale models. I know that if we're able to at least see a few models that we wanted, we'll buy one without any hesitations. We went to a few stalls but none of them actually sells the Evangelion or Gundam Wing scale models that we wanted. One of the stalls though stood up for me. I call it the-store-with-the-most-fucked-up-sales-rep in the world. We went there just sorting out Gundam models when this 35 to 40 year-old lady shitty mass of muscles, organs and bones approached us to ask what we were looking for. At first, it felt good as she was accommodating. But as what's expected of the people that makes a living in these streets, the lady suddenly unleashed the innate asshole she was. She suddenly turned to a smart-ass asking us for details that we never asked. Okay, maybe on this point, I was a bit ignorant and never really knew what she was talking about. I just collected 1/100 scale models back when I was in high school so I'm not really a junkie when it comes to collecting mecha scale models. But the tone and look on her face really pissed me off. I admit I have anger issues that at times led me to my demise (and I've been working on it for the past few months), so I just inhaled and simply displayed a poker face. Again, it's probably that I'm clueless of what she was talking about in terms of the details of the scale models and good thing my buddy was able to retort to her questions. But one thing that ticks me off is genuine arrogance and rotting attitude. Just when I thought that the day will be smooth sailing from the time we were able to buy the materials, Manila gave me a sucker punch back in my pride with the use of a bitch. I was thinking that if I actually bought something after she unleashed the bitch within, maybe she'll suddenly worship us like a crazy, old hag.

On my way home, I suddenly got that distinct kick of... I guess, nostalgia would be the proper word? I'm really not sure. It's not bittersweet though... more on a surreal vibe that somehow pulls me out of reality for a second and gives me all the things I've had related with Manila in the past 9 years of my life in one solid kick that sends shivers down to my spine. Nothing close to what mood other cities in Metro Manila gives me whenever I travel. I can say that Manila gave me everything it has offer in the years I've spent with it. The only thing that it never really gave me was a classic holdup scene or actually being mugged within it's streets (thank God for that). I already experienced passing by a fucked up drunkard holding a cocked .45 caliber pistol, being in the middle of a gunpoint between a police and a suspect, seeing the sinful and careless streets at night time, lusciously enjoying it's wide array of delicacies, sorting out the streets for a few rare finds, and other memories that actually made me smile. I was thinking of a good way to put in words what I actually feel whenever I go down to this city and wrap this shit up, but I guess there's really no way to do that. That's Manila for me.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Spider Sense's tingling...

Now Playing: Irene's Song by The Crooner


I was watching Conan early last week when I heard a surprising development with regards to Marvel Comics' Spiderman franchise. Apart from introducing The Amazing Spiderman movie for the silver screen for next year (good marketing move, same thing they did with the comic books), they also introduced Miles Morales -- the new Spiderman, which is mixed with African-American and Latino genes. I checked out right away what the buzz was about.

This idea was introduced by Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso this month but was already in the works and was conceptualized as early as 2008. Miles Morales was created by Marvel and Image Comics mainstay writer Brian Michael Bendis; the brilliant mind behind The House of M series, to name one of his works. As far as the story is concerned, Miles Morales will be replacing Peter Parker after his death in The Ultimate Spiderman Series.

This was an obvious and bold (?) move to raise racial equality, considering that the United States has its first African-American President seated. However, this news definitely raised a lot of reactions and got fans into a web-swinging craze. If you think the shock ends there, think again. There were also concerns about a statement saying that they "may" write the story to where Miles will discover that he is gay. Yep. You read it right. Majority of the fans reacted negatively about this move by Marvel. There were even accounts of some fans protesting in this years' ComiCon in San Diego, CA.

As a Spiderman fan (minus the first 3 films which is OK but not great), I can see where Marvel is coming from. Let's be honest, there's really a need for change... but at the same time, a part of me was appalled by the move. The racial-equality issue is completely understandable. Also, Miles Morales exists in Marvel's Ultimate Universe which is an alternate universe for Marvel characters. For those that's not familiar... it's like a playground for writers to mix up the Marvel Universe and its characters without messing up the main storyline of the real characters. Same concept with a parallel universe for us. So technically, we still have your friendly neighbor Peter Parker roaming the streets and skyscrapers of New York.

Now, for hardcore Spiderman enthusiasts, I can somehow understand why such negative reactions are raised. Spiderman is Marvel's flag-bearer in which they may probably hold sacred. You can also point out that Peter Parker is one of the most popular and loved character ever created in the history of comic books. The mere idea of killing him in story will definitely have a few negative insights. Also, there are heroes that represented racial equality or different races such as Storm, Luke Cage, The Black Panther, Tarantula, Sunspot, Rictor, Strong Guy, Shangchi, Psylocke, Silver Samurai and many others that some fans may feel there's really no need for such change.

However, if you'll think of it... this change is not so bad at all. An African-American/Latino Spiderman actually works. Physically, his African-American lineage may give him that athletic and lean built in which Spiderman actually needs. You can't expect a radioactive spider to change your anatomic structure overnight even in comic books right? Give Miles a break. He exists in Marvel's Ultimate Universe which actually doesn't do Peter Parker any harm. Ben Riley came out in the open as Peter Parker's clone but it's not really a big deal right?

For the franchise itself, I must say that this is also a marketing move to possibly reach out to a different demographic. As they say, bad publicity is still publicity.

I have a different feeling though about the road Bendis is taking as far as Miles Morales' sexual orientation is concerned. If this is true, I must say that for the love of the franchise... I just don't think it fits the mold and is really a bad move. No offense to gay people but Spiderman being gay is not good. As what I said, he is the face of Marvel. That statement alone should speak for itself. I really don't consider the social-equality argument for this one. There are a lot of characters in the Marvel Universe that they can toy around just to make their case with regards to sexual equality but not Spiderman. Anyway, it's not yet printed and in ink so no worries for now and let's hope for divine intervention on this one to have them change their minds if you're with me.

In all, I'll just check and see what Miles Morales brings to the table. After all, it's all about readership. If things won't work out, it'll be pulled out.



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why watch these...

Now Playing: Seventh son of the Seventh son by Iron Maiden

So this is the part where I give a few insights to some films that I've seen that I feel is either overlooked, underrated, obscured, taboo, unheard of or just simply sits at the top of my favorites and my hate lists. I hope that this may somehow give you an additional roster to your nothing-to-do-days movie list.

TRON

You simply can't go wrong with Tron. If you are a science fiction film enthusiast, it's a must-see movie. No excuses. If you've seen Tron:Legacy and have not yet seen the first installment, I don't know what you're thinking. Really.

I remember first seeing Tron with my Uncle and cousin recorded in a betamax cartridge around early 90's and right there and then, I had a notion that the inner nerd inside me was awaken. The visual execution alone was enough to blow my mind considering that this was a film created in the 1980s.

Starred by Jeff Bridges, Tron is a story of a software engineer named Flynn that was warped into the digital world to battle against the Master Control Program and his minions. Inside the digital realm, he meets Ram which is a financial program and Tron, a defense system set-up by Flynn's friend in real life to defeat the Master Control Program to make the digital world free for all programs.

It's simply a groundbreaking film and the visual experience was really fantastic. I remember replicating in Lego pieces the weird space craft (I don't know what they call it) that Flynn rode and used in the film. Of course, there's the Light Cycle which is the old-school (and cooler) version of those cellphone games that we now know as Snake. Steven Lisberger is one hell of a visionary and for Walt Disney to pull this off is risky, which in turn gave them the rewards.

Why watch this? It's a visual masterpiece and given the technology they had back then, it's amazing how they've done this film. Just one of those films that you can't... shouldn't miss out for the love of the genre.

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28 WEEKS LATER

Normal people back from the dead, heavy artillery and firepower, gore and bloodbath, a group of people taken out one by one, enclosed location, nightfall... these are the usual suspects for pumping that adrenaline whenever you see a zombie film. When we thought we saw it all, then came 28 Weeks Later in 2007.

28 Weeks Later is about the spread of the Rage virus after infecting almost the entire populace of London. 28 weeks later, the situation was eventually controlled and civilians were brought back to London to start living normally again with the help of military forces. Don, one of the survivors from the carnage brought by the Rage virus, survived after encountering a number of infected people in the outskirts of London while hiding with his wife and other uninfected citizens. He was able to survive but at the expense of her wife. Don eventually decided to bring his daughter and son to London after being cleared off the Rage virus. His kids decided to go back to their old home in hope that they'll find their mom only to find out that they're about to unlock the gate that held the Rage virus dormant and leads it to its second wave.

28 Weeks Later will really put you at the edge of your seat and brings something new to the table (at least compared to those that came before it). Its fast-paced zombies are really the X-factor for this film that set it apart from other zombie films. Brutal, dynamic, and in-your face action is really the foundation of 28 Weeks Later.

However, I must point out that the premise on how the Rage virus started its second wave is based on one stupid decision after another: Two kids that easily evaded military defense line (let me stress on the "kids" and "military" part); went deep into the suburbs away from the secured perimeter, back to their house and even got close contact to their infected mom. Come on! Am I that harsh or is that just plain stupidity? Pop Quiz: If you learned that your wife is already infected with a virus that turns you into a flesh eating zombie, even if you goddamn miss her out of romantic or sentimental b*llshit, will you take the chance to kiss her and trade salivas? I don't think so.

It's a great pick if you want something to watch something late night but I just need to stress out that flaw (at least on my part).

Why watch this? Zombies that somehow got a heavy dose of steroid before running amok. Best to watch this alone and late at night with 3 cups of coffee on your side.

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MEMENTO

Christopher Nolan surfaced mainstream scene because of the critically acclaimed film Inception and for directing (and steering it in the right track if I may add) the Batman Begins , The Dark Knight and the upcoming Dark Knight Rises. Before these masterpieces, there was Memento.

A short story written by Jonathan Nolan (Chris' brother), Memento is a story of a man that has anterograde amnesia (technical term for not being able to store short term memories) trying to trace back the steps on how and why he ended up killing a guy. The movie opens up in a scene where Leonard (played by Guy Pearce) shoots a guy whom he believes, killed and raped his wife. In order for Leonard to follow the trail he left before his memory refreshes again and to justify his acts, he takes pictures of everyone he meets or anything that may hold vital information to events that took place and writes down details behind printed Polaroid pictures. He also tattoos facts and details on his body to serve as a reminder or a fail-safe option in case he really doesn't have an idea on what to do next.

The movie is a total mind f*cker as it actually took me a repeat view to digest the transition of the story. It has two means to narrate and execute the events: one in reverse order and one in a normal chronological order. The distinction between the two is symbolized by the former in black and white scenes and the latter in color. In the movie, both timelines are interchanged and meets in the ending part of the movie as the scene switches from black and white to colored until the whole scene turns completely colored, which symbolizes the meeting point of both timelines. By the second time I watched the movie, I literally wrote down each scene part and tag it with a "title" to follow the scenes to be able to map out the sequence.

The execution and cinematography also gave it a dark vibe and the characters really didn't gave any hints to what the story was leading to. Definitely leads you to mind-boggling. What's also great is you'll actually ask yourself what's the real story behind Leonard's vengeance. It may leave you to your own conclusion but not the type of movie that has an open ending.

Why watch this? This movie makes you ask questions. It doesn't really give any hint to what the story leads to while you watch it. It makes you not only see it but watch it. If Inception f*cked you up, then be ready to pull your moxie for a second round seeing this one.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Message in a Bottle

Now Playing: Best of You by Foo Fighters

Fact: A person must consume 2 litres of water daily to live healthily. Humans drink an average of 75,000 litres of water throughout their life.

If I was to give a person an option to choose between a glass of water straight from the faucet (municipal water) against a branded bottled water, there would probably be no contest at all. He/She will pick the latter. I'd probably have the same pick too. Of course, that "pure" and "clean" distilled or purified water will surely win a person over that notorious tap water.

But, are we making the right choice?

I saw Tapped a month ago while browsing through a couple of documentaries. It directly aroused my interest as it basically is about a product that I often purchase and patronize. Directed by Stephanie Soechtig and Jason Lindsey, Tapped tackles on the issues that the United States of America faces against the bottled water industry -- from how the water is taken from its natural source and effect on the community, business and political side of things and the health and environmental effect it has.

Now, it may be a documentary tailored for USA but there's no doubt that this is definitely applicable to us considering our colonial mentality and how some of the multi-national titans that we often see and hear each day plays a vital role in this issue. It definitely is something that each of us must be aware of. Out of sight means out of mind. Right? Well, I took the liberty of sharing some cut scenes from the movie (Disclaimer: I don't hold the rights to these videos and is posted to create awareness only).Maybe next time, you'll think twice before grabbing a bottled water.

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http://www.tappedthemovie.com/

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stoichiometry

Now Playing: Beer Pressure by Municipal Waste

I just finished watching The Big Bang Theory's season 4 and although I may still personally consider season 3 being the best of all (so far), this season simply has a different element to it.


The first time I saw this sitcom on Jack TV, I instantly got hooked to it. Okay, I admit that I primarilly watched it because of Kaley Cuoco. I first saw her on a B-Film (by the way, she's also from the Nickelodeon bunch) and when I saw this sitcom with her as a lead, I literally watched it because of her. As it seemed, there was really more to it than a gorgeous blonde chick. No rocket science really. You get 3 geeks plus 1 hot chick multiplied by clever skits and script and... Voila! You got one hell of a series (all hail Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady!). Also, this series can give you serious gas laughing out, and is really... really a great way of picking up a few brain cereals.

For the past 3 seasons, Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar), Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) have been providing viewers with a few good laughs but I must say that what made this season great are key additions in the form of Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik) and Bernadette Rostenkowski (Melissa Rauch). These 2 gals pretty much made the formula complete and equal. In the past seasons, they tried mixing it up by placing a few characters every once in a while (such as Leslie Winkle, the guy with the comic shop, Will Weaton etc.) but this 2 gals are a perfect fit.

Amy Farrah Fowler's character is the perfect fit for Sheldon... a female Sheldon, if I may. This sexually oppressed Neurobiologist has stirred it up and at times, superseded his male counterparts. The past few seasons, Sheldon Cooper have been carrying the heavy payload of punchlines and the other three guys just simply fed off it. But now, you can see the writers actually isolating a few skits for Amy and Sheldon only.

Now, Bernadette's character may have been placed to give an emphasis on Howard's character, which may probably have been an intentional approach from the writer's perspective. Howard's perverted and childish mindset is one of the show's effective characters (my favorite character, by the way) and Bernie's timid and demure attitude is a great match. Also, I can't help but find her character... or at least Melissa Rauch's portrayal a bit sexy; in a geeky kind of way I guess.

I must say, I really didn't like the idea of adding the "Priya-Leonard-Penny" triad as far as the season is concerned, but I guess that's up for season 5 to salvage and for those that follows the geek-meets-hot-chick situation.

It's great to see sitcoms like this still standing out in the middle of the number of drama series America's been airing with the likes of Dexter, CSI, NCIS, Law and Order, and those vampire b*^&#|# series.


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