Friday, November 4, 2011

Trying Out This Thing...

If you think I'm deep into social media, my uncle is as deep into it as anyone else. He's into everything I think... Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Tumblr, and now, I was intrigued when he started promoting his site on Facebook and thought it was a great, unique concept. Basically, one chooses the online content he or she is most interested in, adds it to their list, and lets "publish" the content automatically into their very own online "newspaper".

I started my own paper yesterday, and I named it, "The Passion Fruit Juicer". Not much to the name, really. The paper will revolve around, and feature my very diverse interests and passions: the Brigadier General Vicente Lim page, The Old Soul Store, this blog, golf and the NFL. My limited understanding of RSS feeds tells me that with it, you get the latest updates from the websites you follow, squeezing out the stuff you value most --- much like a fruit juicer.

Check out The Passion Fruit Juicer here. Seems like an intriguing experiment. Let's see where this goes! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No Space To Run

My Facebook status the other day read:
There was a time when we could just pick a field, and play or do sports to our heart's desire... Today, you get guards telling you that you have to sign a waiver and receptionists saying you need to write management to play a game of catch in an open field. Not quite the message you get if you look at the Nuvali website: "A vibrant landscape springs forth, freely shared by all." Guys, you might as well just drop the photos of kids playing in open spaces, and replace them with a picture of an iPad-toting kid. Oh, might as well drop the words/phrases "space", "sound health" and "nature" too.
In the bustling city of Manila, there aren't too many open spaces anymore. It's rare that you find a patch of green big enough to play in, where you don't have to worry about collisions with other groups of people. For a guy like me who likes getting out, running around and doing something physical, it's a big deal when you find these open spaces. My girlfriend, friends and I thought we found a great new spot to go to out of town, but it turns out we were wrong.

We visited a place called Nuvali, just about an hour outside the city. We heard a lot about it from friends ---great eating places, a man-made lake where you could take short boat rides, feed the koi, enjoy the wide open space. Well, we love to eat, and we love to play. It looked promising, the prospect of doing both. We had our gear ready: empty stomachs, comfortable playing clothes, water, extra clothes and good old pigskin footballs. The whole feeding the fish thing sounded nice, but our main agenda was to eat and to play our own little version of American football.

The eating part was great. We ended up eating at a place called "Pig Out", which serves all sorts of pork dishes (they have other, non-pork dishes too). Needless to say, we were quite satisfied after that. We went on to check out the lake, and got entertained by the desperate behavior of the koi jockeying for position to get to the food thrown in by on-lookers. We even saw someone flying a model jet over the lake.

Again, the main agenda was to play football, so it didn't take long before we decided to go to what the developer of Nuvali proudly calls "The Fields", which is described in the website as, "10 hectares open area". It sure sounded enticing to me when I read up before our little weekend getaway.

"The Fields" at Nuvali --- The dogs were welcome, we were not.
We were surprised to find that there was an on-going event on one of the 4 or 5 soccer pitches there. It was a dog competition, and we weren't complaining. It was added entertainment! We started playing after seeing a few dogs go through the obstacle course.

To warm up, we just started tossing the ball around to let my friends get a hang of throwing and catching the ball. We did that for a good 40 minutes or so, until they felt ready to try a couple of plays. We laid out the rules --- 3 downs, the field boundaries, two-hand touch that counts as a tackle. I even told one of my friends how jamming a receiver at the line would work to his advantage. But even before we could get a play off, a security guard approached us and told us to stop playing. He informed us to secure a waiver from Nuvali's administrative office first. We even heard him going on his radio, saying that we were playing softball. "Softball my a**," I thought, "if you're going to report us, at least get it right!"

We grudgingly packed up, deciding that we might as well comply. We weren't doing anything wrong anyway, neither were we disturbing anybody, nor vandalizing anything. Might as well sign the waiver, and get back to playing.

When we got to the office, I asked the receptionists what we had to sign. To my surprise, they told me quite a different story from what the guard said. No waiver, they said. You CAN'T PLAY. Period. Management only gave clearance to use "The Fields" for events. Write a letter to management if you want to play. And oh by the way, write on a weekday. No one's here to receive your letter now. The dogs? They're part of an event. They could stay.

So much for vibrant landscapes freely shared by all.

Here we were, doing sports, getting healthy, enjoying the clean air, not consuming electricity, staying out of trouble, just having plain, clean, fun... and that's what we get. Write management? Really? I mean, the guy with the model jet was more likely to cause trouble! It goes without saying that we went back to Manila disappointed. Luckily, there's social media. I wasted no time visiting Nuvali's Facebook page and posting what was on my mind. I really don't care that they didn't answer my post. I really don't care if it gets any likes or not. I made my point. I'm making it again here. And I mean it: Nuvali, you might as well just drop the photos on your website of kids playing in open spaces, and replace them with a picture of an iPad-toting kid. You might as well drop the words/phrases "space", "sound health" and "nature" too. Stop highlighting the wide open spaces if no one can use it anyway. If you're going to advocate that kind of lifestyle, do it all the way. This generation is not going to embrace that lifestyle if you're not going to allow it.

I really pity today's children, especially those whose idea of entertainment is facing a computer or tapping away at an iPad. I pity them because their creativity and imaginations are limited to a 10-inch screen. Many would rather play around in a virtual world, than in the real one. Like my friend lamented, they probably won't have the same sense of freedom and wonder that we enjoyed in our early youth. It certainly doesn't help when you're not given any space to run.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


After finishing the last entry, I decided that I would send a tweet to D'Arcy Maine so that she could check out the blog. Here's what she had to say:

and, I finally got her to follow me...

...just plain cool.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

D'Maine Event Monday Night Football fix from a two-inch screen

The trouble with loving a sport that isn't played in your home country (or continent for that matter) is finding a mainstream sports channel that would actually air the games.

I think it was about 5 years ago when ESPN Asia stopped airing Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football. Even a local sports channel that used to air NFL games stopped showing doubleheaders of the afternoon games. Well, I guess I'm used to it in a way. Golf is shown on TV a lot, given its popularity in Asia, but very few from my generation (or even my workplace, surprisingly) actually play the sport, let alone love it like I do. I'm not complaining, but I'm left to play with my dad and his friends. But at least I can play AND watch golf on TV! For me, "playing" American football means coercing some friends to toss a football around with me and run the occasional go route. Watching, on the other hand, means checking out the and highlights after all is said and done. Quite pathetic, as you could probably imagine. Luckily, I stumbled upon "The Maine Event", a live blog by D'Arcy Maine, which is now my favorite non-TV source for my football fix.

Since I live on the other side of the world, Sunday games fall on Monday mornings here, Monday nighters, on Tuesdays. I'm usually on the shuttle van to work while the games are on-going, and I follow the games live (well, as live as it gets anyway) using my suddenly obsolete Nokia 6120c which has a (whopping) two-inch screen. I go to, click on the game I want to "watch", then hit the refresh button every minute or so to get the latest from the play-by-play text.....
3-4 NYJ 19 (6:42) 42-B.Green-Ellis right tackle to NYJ 15 for 4 yards (24-D.Revis). 
1-10 NYJ 15 (6:12) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short left to 83-W.Welker for 15 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
 ...then let my imagination do the rest. It's certainly a poor substitute to watching on TV, but I've had to make do. That was until, I curiously clicked on a link under ESPN Mobile's header which said:
The Maine Event: LIVE From The Best Sports Bar in North America For MNF
I had no idea what I was clicking into. But certainly, the first line that I read gave me a little laugh, and kept me glued:
7:55 PM: We're sitting the VIP area typically reserved for Maple Leafs, Raptors or any visiting team players. A number of people have looked over hoping to see someone famous. They don't seem too thrilled when they see me. Weird.
...before I knew it, it was line after funny line. Not exactly the play-by-play I was expecting. In fact, I almost forgot to check the play-by-play! As it turned out, D'Arcy's game commentary turned out to be just as entertaining as the game itself!
9:09 PM: No doubt about it. This is a Pats bar. Hockey air horn going off for BJGE's TD. Current score: Pats, 10, Jets 0, D'Arcy 3 pounds gained. 
10:22 PM: Debating whether or not to try the Hail Mary challenge. It does not require me to throw a football. It does require me to eat a 67 ounce steak, a pound of fries and a pound of coleslaw. This will end well. If I stop blogging, I more than likely had a heart attack. 
10:38 PM: My boss emailed me telling me to stop eating. Hope this doesn't come up in my annual review. I guess I will not be participating in the Hail Mary contest. Next time.  
In sloppy, boring games D'Arcy once called "field goal conventions", the live blog proves to be even more entertaining than the game.

Now, one has to realize, D'Arcy is a New England Patriots fan. Of course, I'm not too sure she can say it outright, being a writer for ESPN and all, but it's not hard to figure that out. I, on the other hand, can say it outright. I LOVE the Patriots. Now that makes it doubly fun to read the blog... especially when the Pats are blowing out the Dolphins on Monday Night Football (which has happened two years in a row, mind you):

10:56 PM: These fans are leaving faster than Angelina. At least they have a good reason to leave. 
11:03 PM: Fan just featured on the jumbotron with a "We Can Do This" sign. I'm not sure what exactly "they" can do. But I don't think it's win. 
11:13 PM: So, apparently it can get worse if you're a Dolphins fan. Patrick Chung with the interception and 51-yard TD. Patriots 41, Dolphins 14. But it is a palindrome. So at least there's that. 
11:33 PM: Loudspeaker playing "Don't Stop Believing". I can think of about 98879874983274 songs that are more appropriate right now.
9:51 PM: Announced paid attendance: 66,860. This will be questioned next during the Tea Party debate. 
9:54 PM: Down goes Henne. As well as his dignity, pride and life expectancy. 
9:56 PM: ...As well as the crowd attendance. Mass exodus has begun. I'm still surprised Fergie's signing didn't have that effect earlier. 
10:16 PM: I think the cheerleaders are leaving. This can't be a good sign. 
10:25 PM: Fergie. Still here. Smiling and dancing in her suite. Just like all NFL owners do during the final minutes of a loss. 
10:29 PM: If you switch over to ESPN2 to watch the Raiders-Broncos, I won't judge you. You've made it longer than all of the Dolphins fans at the stadium.
I guess these blowouts really induce some inspired writing. Apparently, we all get a little extra when the games are played in Miami. D'Arcy usually has quite a bit to say about LIV...

8:57 PM: The press box is conviently located next to Liv Nightclub. Not exactly the same crowd. Although a lot of middle-aged guys in both. I would go check it out (for you, of course) but it costs $15,000 to sit on a couch at Liv. Yes, $15,000. Leading me to believe there are no worthy charities in the Miami area. But there sure are a lot of fist pumpers. 
9:59 PM: Someone from LIV tried to crawl into the press box from the outside window. Reason #9834 putting a nightclub next to a press box isn't the best idea. 
11:22 PM: Scene at Liv Nightclub: "Fans" alternating between texting and taking pictures of themselves. Money well spent.

...and the Florida Marlins:
11:06 PM: The mass exodus continues. Crowd is now at about 30% capacity. Starting to look like a Marlins game. 
11:19 PM: A Patriots chant has broken out. This really is just like a Marlins game.
I'm sure you realize by now why I love D'Arcy's humor so much, and why I've continued following her blog (not to mention following her on Twitter). Speaking of following... Well, I don't actually have a "personal" Twitter account. I have one for The Old Soul Store (by the way, follow the store! @oldsoulstore). I usually try to keep personal comments to a minimum (like any good storekeeper should when using a "company" account), but after reading this:
4:04 PM: That does it for me from the Meadowlands. Although I'll be rushing to catch McCown's press conference so I'll make to post any quotes on my Twitter feed (see link above). I'll be back here tomorrow night as the Giants host the Rams. Hope you'll join me then as well. Enjoy the rest of today's games! And go Pa...uh, passer ratings! Yeah, that's it.
I just couldn't help it. I had to tweet. I broke my own rules on using the "company" Twitter account. But hey, I got rewarded for it!

Still haven't gotten her to follow me (well, the store) in return though (HI D'ARCY!). I'm hoping this post would... Hmmm...

ANYWAY... Between the Marlins jokes, the subtle (and not-so-subtle) Patriots references and the flat-out hilarious takes on the goings-on in the game from a fan perspective, this blog has just got me hooked. It matches the entertainment value of any good, accurate NFL play-by-play out there. Now, don't get me wrong, nothing can truly replace the excitement of watching the games themselves... but while I don't have that luxury, I'm certainly counting on "apostrophe Maine" and her witty one-liners to help keep my football sanity intact. Perhaps in the future, I'll have the pleasure of watching the game, while keeping tabs on the other "Maine Event".

Quoted lines courtesy of D'Arcy Maine and The Maine Event on ESPN Mobile. Visit ESPN Mobile and follow D'Arcy Maine on Twitter: @darcymaine_espn