Mike Conley finally breaks out of shooting slump

By WILL GALANG | 18 days ago 🔗

Mike Conley: Photo by Scott G. Winterton

Six days ago, I was lamenting how Mike Conley’s shots are not falling, two games into his being a Jazzman, and jokingly wished if we could have Ricky Rubio back. Just the other day, Conley broke out of his offensive slump to score 29 points, 18 of which he poured in the 3rd quarter with 4-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc, to lead the Utah Jazz in disposing off the Los Angeles Clippers for their 4th win out of 5 games. (The Clippers rested Kawhi Leonard for that clash, it’s important to mention. You know, “load management” thing.)

Of course, I am pleased! Thank you, Mike!

Was able to catch that Jazz-Clippers game in its entirety and I appreciated how Conley slowly but surely won over the Salt Lake City crowd with his patience and determination to spearhead the Jazz offense in the second half. It was somehow obvious the fans were waiting for him to break out, and break out he did.

I still miss Ricky Rubio. But if Mike can keep doing this consistently, then I will have to come to the acceptance that one of my favorite Spanish hoopers is not going to be back. (And stop being sentimental about player movements.)

Mike Conley celebrates after scoring a basket as heads to Jazz bench

Mike Conley celebrates a crucial bucket as he heads to the Jazz bench during a timeout.


Hard to imbibe this freaky Halloween jive

By WILL GALANG | 25 days ago 🔗


There was a time Halloween wasn’t really big on the consciousness of Filipinos. Of course, we know what Halloween is — but we just never observed it at home, at school, or at work. After all, it isn’t our holiday. We do have a November 1 All Saints’ Day (similar to the Day of the Dead) tradition, where kids would go around the neighborhood singing a cryptic jingle about kaluluwa (souls) in return for small change. But it’s not even close to the Halloween trick-or-treating that we get to see on American popular culture.

But something changed over the past few decades, I think. Perhaps it’s due to the mall culture where stores would put up “Halloween Sale” here and there and then deck their shops with grim and macabre decor that suits the theme of the sale. Or the filthy rich Americanized-oligarchs that observe Halloween fun within the confines of their gated villages. Halloween started creeping in to the local mainstream psyche. Even at the companies that I’ve worked for in the past decade or so, office folks spend an inordinate amount of time trying to decorate their workstations to conform to the Halloween mood. People would bring their kids to work, trick-or-treating people at the office with such vigor you’d think Halloween was made for them.

Our office team was not spared. We had to at least try decorate our own space or risk being branded as uncooperative. Fortunately for our small team, we have a couple of younger members who are energetic enough to take the lead in turning our work area into something more attuned to this spooky Western Christian (pagan, actually) holiday.

Happy Halloween from the Dream Team

Hello, morning sunshine.


Clipper Kawhi Leonard vs Laker Danny Green

By WILL GALANG | 26 days ago 🔗


I was annoyed when the Spurs parted ways with Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green back in 2018. Maybe they could have helped San Antonio to another title or two. Then the duo hugely contributed to give the Toronto Raptors its first championship last season. But it’s all water under the bridge for me now even as a new set of NBA wars just fired off.

This time, they’re not teammates anymore.

I caught the second half of the tussle between the two LAs. Great to see Leonard and Green play so well for their respective teams. The Clippers got the better of the Lakers though, I believe that was expected. I foresee both to help their own LAs do well in the regular season. And it would be fun to keep tabs of the games of these two. However, I still root for the Spurs and the Utah Jazz, team-wise. Make no mistake. So there.

Danny Green

Danny Green | © NBA

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard | © NBA


Philippine business firms still use pirated software!

By WILL GALANG | 31 days ago 🔗

Man using computer

In this day and age, I find it unthinkable that companies would still risk their community standing and industry reputation by using pirated software in their daily operations. The price of software, including those being used for business, have become more affordable over the past several years (my observation). Even individuals like me now have options to use software legally on a monthly subscription basis. And there’s always open-source as an alternative, if one doesn’t want to shell out money for productivity suites.

Which is why I was mildly surprised encountering this tidbit earlier:

More than half of Philippine companies use illegal software in their business operations, a new survey released Friday found, putting data at risk nationwide and creating significant gaps in the country’s cyber security defenses.”

“According to a 2018 poll by industry group BSA | The Software Alliance, an estimated 64% of corporations in the Philippines use pirated software.”

“What we would like to see improve is the activity levels of CEOs in the Philippines to make sure their corporations are 100 percent legal in terms of their software use,” BSA Senior Director Tarun Sawney said.

“Unfortunately, today, we know that this is not the case.”

Somehow, one would expect 100% legal compliance from companies nowadays. Apparently, we’re still far from that.


Oblivious of the public's daily transportation struggles

By WILL GALANG | 38 days ago 🔗

LRT Station

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. It’s impossible to please everyone, especially here in my side of the world. When Philippine Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo took up the challenge to take public transportation after he pooh-poohed the daily commuting struggles of Metro Manila citizens, we already know it’s going to be bedlam out there. Some said the stunt was a circus which basically tantamounts to nothing. A few commented that the government official was a sport about it all to the point of acknowledging certain truths about the day-to-day commute in the metropolis that we poor citizens know and participate in on a daily basis. But if there’s one thing that Panelo’s little Friday morning adventure proved, is that most people at the upper echelons of government are totally clueless about the ordinary Filipinos’ daily transport woes.

There are some ongoing mass transport projects that will hopefully alleviate the traffic mess that we’re in once completed. And there are more slated to begin construction within the next three years. Too little, too late? We all could have started these projects some decades back, right? The Light Rail Transit 1 (which started operating December 1984) was a huge step in the right direction. But ugly political turmoils started rearing its ugly heads in Imperial Manila. By 1986, the coup that brought down Ferdinand Marcos gave Filipinos a sanctimonious set of government leaders that seem to be allergic to the word “infrastructure”.

Branding all projects in the Marcos pipeline as “evil” — which included more metro railways and subways (and even a nuclear power plant) — they unwittingly promoted stagnation of the metropolis’ transport system. To make matters worse, they privatized and deregulated city bus operations that spawned the “kabit” system that led to the corrupt and decrepit transportation network we have today. The Filipino masses deserved better but hypocritical political and business oligarchs think otherwise — they’re all content being chauffeured around the metro in their fancy high-end cars, unmindful of the public’s needs. A couple of leaders tried to play catch-up in the public transportation infrastructure game, which gave Metro Manila two (2) new light rail lines, inaugurated 1999 and 2003 respectively. But it’s not enough, as the delays were too telling. Not surprising they’re all running overcapacity for years already.

Now, everyone’s resorting to pointing fingers at everyone else but themselves.


If our officials take the trains, this will be fixed pronto!

By WILL GALANG | 44 days ago 🔗

LRT Station

For a system that has so many moving parts, there is something fundamentally wrong if there are no readily available back-up for some devices in the event something goes haywire. That’s just what happened to the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2 (Purple Line) last week when critical parts burned up, shutting the entire line to a grinding halt.

The authorities are now saying it’s going to take a turn-around time of nine (9) months at the minimum just to get the replacements. (Wow, we should win an award for that alone! Maybe the sloppiest spare parts procurement system in the world?)

I’ve lived along the Purple Line for a long time and I’m one of those who know how convenient this line is when you need to transfer to either the Yellow Line or Blue Line. I hope the (sorry-we-do-not-ride-the-train) authorities can take a bigger responsibility for this. If their day-to-day existence are reliant on the train systems, I don’t think they will be content with waiting for an inordinate period of time just to source the needed parts to get this fixed.

East-bound Line 2 train approaches Pureza station

An Eastern Metro Manila-bound LRT2 train approaches Pureza Station.


Chinese puppets versus American stooges

By WILL GALANG | 50 days ago 🔗


I can only cringe whenever I hear how a certain group in my country pushes the Duterte government it wants to dismantle to act belligerent, goading it to stand toe-to-toe with China concerning its control over the South China Sea. This political party (and its allied interests) is under the impression the United States is right there to quickly jump to their protection (citing a Mutual Defense Treaty the Americans are strangely evasive in committing to honoring when pressed in public forums) in the event the Chinese engage the Philippines in a shooting war over the disputed islands.

Where’s all this confidence coming from? I can only surmise it’s largely due to the historical meddling the Americans (or at least the CIA) did for this particular Philippine faction, helping achieve a couple of abrupt regime changes (1986 and 2001) that worked to the latter’s favor within the last 33 years. (Well, to be fair to the U.S. and the world, they officially referred to the Estrada toppling as “mob rule” and “de facto coup”.) What’s one more time between friends, they probably think to themselves. But recently, I can’t really blame the we-always-want-an-allied-haciendero-at-the-Palace bunch if they’re giddy for another round of intervention for them — considering their collective appetites were whetted by certain U.S. lawmakers actively taking the cudgels for one of the former’s troubled narco-friendly buddies, publicly crying “political persecution” so conveniently, to cover up the alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.

We’ll see how far Uncle Sam will go for a few of his powerful Filipino friends especially with China’s huge shadow blanketing and hereby affecting the little details. Will the enemies of the Philippine government press the Americans for another CIA-backed coup to oust the China-friendly Duterte dispensation? But the Americans themselves are currently embroiled in their own internal political hostilities! But if the Philippine oligarchy is lucky, Duterte will be ousted first. Unconstitutionally, of course. That’s the only way for Duterte’s adversaries to succeed. Unless they pray to their gods that Death somehow comes early for their target. Madame Leni would be more than willing to take over.


Another crummy Grab driver

By WILL GALANG | 52 days ago 🔗


Chalk this one up under “Obnoxious Grab Transport Drivers.” I booked a GrabShare ride from Paco. (I was NOT in a rush.) After a few minutes, got one that’s supposed to pick me up after first making a stop at a nearby residential building. Then much to my surprise, after reaching the stop before my turn, I noticed that the car’s directional path on the map on my phone app was already heading to Sampaloc, away from my general vicinity! Instead of notifying me that the ride is on its way to pick me up, the Grab app is telling me that I’d been picked up and that I am “on my way” to my destination!

Wait a minute. Something fishy is going on here. “I’m still here!”

Started sending messages to the driver somewhere along the lines of “Hey, why is the system telling me that you’ve already picked me up when you still haven’t?” No response. Tried calling. No response as well. Problem is, there is no more Cancel button at that particular stage of the trip when you’re already classified as “picked up.” And to make matters worse, Grab already took that trip’s fare from my online wallet. Double whammy! I thought to myself, “Aah, this must be a new dirty trick from unscrupulous Grab drivers.”

Got to my destination an hour or so later than usual using alternative means of travel. Filed a report to Grab to ask for my money back. Gave the erring driver a piece of my mind through the online reporting/grievance system. What an inconvenience, stemming from the actions of a grabby fellow. Pretty soon, most Grab drivers will share the same ill repute of Metro Manila cabbies.

I miss Uber. They were so much better then and a little bit cheaper as well.


Longing to knock down some bowling alley pins again

By WILL GALANG | 53 days ago 🔗

Bowling Ball and Pins

I miss playing ten-pin bowling. It’s the only sport that I’ve regularly played over the last couple of decades since I gave up on table tennis and basketball (or rather, basketball gave up on me). My bowling partner (a.k.a. The Wifey) recently started showing signs of wear and tear on her bowling arm (we’re both right-hand bowlers, by the way) and this further contributed to our prolonged absence in the bowling alleys. Perhaps I can ask her to just watch me knock down some pins while she recuperates from injuries. (But I guess this would be too difficult for her.)

My spouse and I aren’t really serious bowlers. We just love to play for the sake of fun and relaxation. Over the last 20 years we knew each other, we both actively participated in office bowling tournaments and even won team medals along the way. My wife took her playing a notch up by making the official bowling team of the financial firm she works for and got to experience the enjoyment and competitiveness of the annual Bankers Athletic Association bowling competitions a few years back.

Hopefully later this year, we both can hit the lanes.

Scene from a BAA bowling tournament, September 2014

Scene from a BAA bowling tournament, September 2014


Rainy night-time commutes

By WILL GALANG | 57 days ago 🔗

Raindrops on my ride's window

The commute to (my night shift) work can be a challenge lately due to the typhoon/monsoon season upon us on my side of the world. I’m just a bit lucky I don’t have to negotiate the horrendous EDSA traffic on a daily basis. For three straight working days, my travel to the office coincided with heavy downpours, which could bring out all sorts of problems.

But for reasons I’m not sure of, I’ve found my rainy night-time rides relaxing, as of late. Helps a lot if my driver(s) are not chatty. I’d focus on the sound of rain pelting the car roof. My mind will quietly play from memory “Only Happy When It Rains.” Pretty soon, I’m there.