Player profile: Woj Bombs

The NBA is a business, and a cut-throat one at that. Today, you could be the franchise player for a small-market team. Tomorrow, you could end up as trade fodder. Change is ever constant in the league. The players, coaches, and their families are well aware of this. At any moment, they could be moved or, worse, fired. In recent years, one scribe has been hailed as the ultimate news breaker. His name? Adrian Wojnarowski. He is the go-to guy on NBA transactions. Once he reports it, you can bet it’s happening. In other words, he is the Perez Hilton of the NBA.

Woj bomb

In effect, NBAers monitor his Twitter posts. Often, as Steven Adams argued, they learn of their coach’s firing through the platform. When Chris Bosh came to Miami, Woj was among the first to break the signing. Due to their sudden appearances, these shockers are known as ‘Woj Bombs’. Moreover, the immense impact of these reports likewise merit this tag. Sometimes, the latter concerns changes that shake up the entire association. Nothing can escape his bombs: superstar moves, starter shifts, role player re-assignments, and free agent signings. His revelations are like the league’s best marksmen: it’s always money. You can’t take his scoops with a grain of salt. Once it’s from Woj, you know it’s for real.

Woj: a history

Woj is of Polish background. He plied his trade at St. Bonaventure, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate years later. He worked with the Hartford Courant, Connecticut’s number one daily while still in high school. He was also a columnist for the Fresno Bee. He has since relocated to New Jersey and New York. He reported for The Record in the former. He then joined Yahoo Sports in 2007. There, he became arguably the league’s best scooper. He offered unparalleled hits that shaped the league’s crew. The road to being one of the most credible league reporters wasn’t built overnight.

Woj became a household name after the 2011 NBA draft. There, he reported half of the lottery selections before even the late commissioner. Woj alleged that he was tired of ESPN’s stranglehold of scoops. This could very well be when the term was coined. After season upon season of astonishing revelations, Woj was in a league of his own. When ESPN signed him in 2017, it came as no surprise. In the past ten years, he had merely done wonders with his coverage.

How did he became the NBA’s best scooper? Well, it wasn’t by accident. Workmate JJ Adande rode with Woj in an elevator. The former saw Woj typing on his laptop in the lift. When he checked his mobile, he swears there was a new Tweet coming from Woj. That, ladies and gents, is Dedication. Furthermore, Woj has cultivated relationships with literally everyone in the business. Simply put, there is no one in the L that he hasn’t met. While with Yahoo, Woj and a colleague broke the story of the Connecticut Huskies’s recruiting violations. Through time, numerous awards have affirmed Woj’s excellence. For instance, he was the Associated Press’s two time ‘columnist of the year’ while working for The Record. In 2006, he also wrote a well-received book on coach Bob Hurley.

Draft man

Woj is especially active during the NBA’s annual draft. Every year, Woj would surprise us with draft selections and trades often before they are called. In this sense, he is like the COVID prophet during last year’s NSW lockdown. The latter was calling it in before the Premier’s announcements. People were shocked at his accuracy. His inside information on the case numbers were later revealed. After some time, with tighter security around the numbers, he began misfiring. He lost the public’s confidence.

Some examples

Here are some famous, recent examples (out of my myriads) from his bomb work. He was the first reporter to announce the league’s suspension of the 2019-20 season due to the pandemic. Paul George wanted out of OKC and forced their hand to trade him. LeBron’s move to LA for $154 million was another. One more example: the Lakers’s trade for Anthony Davis to finally get some help.

While Woj is often on target, he’s had a few miscues over the years. He reported a trade between the Thunder and Raptors. This would allegedly involve DeMar Derozan and Victor Oladipo. Alas, the swap never materialised. He likewise reported that Kyrie would leave Brooklyn by June 2019. To this day, Kyrie remains a Net, signing a 4-year, $141 million extension. In addition, some media outlets have criticised Woj for his apparent biased reporting on LeBron, riding on unspecified sources. In 2010, he had some legal issues for not making good on a book deal. This concerned the late coach Jim Valvano. He stated that this was a misunderstanding and that he’d return the advance to his publisher.

So, if you’re feeling peckish during draft night or tossing and turning in bed before the trade deadline, ‘sigh no more’. Head over to Woj’s Twitter feed and have your fill.

St Bona in winter
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May 2022 reads

We’re in the thick of fall and the mercury is dropping. The end of April saw me battling with a thick Connelly read. The trailer of Lincoln Lawyer had been unleashed and the show premiered yesterday (13 May) on Netflix. I thought it was a good time to read the original. The Brass Verdict had been on my shelf for years and I prefer to peruse the book before watching the adaptation. At 567 pages, it was significant but thrilling. I followed this up with Steven Adam’s memoir, My Life, My fight. The tough NBAer shares his unique story, growing up the youngest  in a brood of fourteen. He only discovered basketball at age ten but has carried the torch for Kiwis in the league. Finally, I knocked back my first Scottoline, another standalone thriller from the prolific author. 

The Brass Verdict (Connelly). This represents the second instalment in Connelly’s Mickey Haller series. The book opens with a hard fought tussle between Haller and Jay Vincent, the prosecutor. Haller wins, and Vincent goes over to his side. Many years later, Vincent is murdered but all his cases are handed down to Haller. This includes the franchise case involving a Hollywood heavyweight. The latter is accused of murdering his wife and her lover. He quickly allots most of his resources to the case, given the hefty advance provided. However, Elliott seems unconcerned. He also wants nothing to delay the trial. Mickey hires Patrick, a new driver. He’s a former surfer who’s seen better days. 

Among the investigators is detective Harry Bosch. Haller grasps that he cannot win the case as a lone wolf. He agrees to trade information with Bosch. He does the same with Times reporter Jack McEvoy, who has a small part. Verdict showcases Haller at his best. He juggles his time as a father with lawyering in his Lincoln sedans. He has the help of his secretary and his investigator. After handing him the cases, he was to report his progress to Judge Holder. He also utilises expensive outside help in trying to measure the jury. He dines in eateries and bars.  

The trial finally arrives. Witnesses are called and both sides argue their case. From the start, Haller makes it clear that he is not concerned about his clients’ guilt. Still, he’s intrigued and wants no secrets. Elliott wines and dines him in the fanciest resto’s. The deceased lover’s angry family turns up for the trial, adding another angle to a full-on plot. When the matador is unmasked, you’d find it a curveball. You’d never expect the identity of the villain. In some ways, it’s a poor man’s The Poet. Most importantly, Connelly ends his narrative with conviction. There’s no doubting or grey area; characters are killed off like the whole cast of The Departed

Connelly keeps the reader guessing. For much of the book, we are left wondering who committed the atrocities. There are enough twists and subplots for an epic. The short chapters also help. There are fifty-five of them which equates to about ten pages a pop. The writing is easy as. It’s classic Connelly even as he takes to court. The title alludes to a verdict delivered via a bullet. As they say, ‘Live by the sword, die by the sword.’ Maybe it was the bigger font size but I liked this better than The Lincoln Lawyer

Rating: 4.4/5

Steven Adams: My Fight, My Life. I chanced upon this autobiography while reading his Wikipedia page. Published in 2018, the book details his journey. As mentioned he comes from a large family. He grew up destitute in Rotorua, New Zealand. When his father died, he was twelve. He stopped going to school until Kenny, an American coach, took him under his wing. He attended an all-boys private school, Scots College, where he struggled to read. On the flip-side, the school did not offer much competition to him on the court. He trained for many hours every day. He was lucky to get the help he needed. There were always magnanimous lifesavers who welcomed him into their homes. He counts his older brother, Mohi, as his saviour. His time at the farm was bliss. 

At first, he was all height and no skills. He was a 6-9 teenager who couldn’t shoot. Still, he won the MVP award each year in the NZ nationals. Adams valued and looked out for his teammates. He was forced to study in order to gain a scholarship in the US. Steven did a year in Pittsburg before declaring for the 2013 NBA draft. The latter is considered among the weakest in league history, with only two draftees becoming all-stars. He worked out for eleven teams, loving the travel and hotels. Adams arrived in the same class as Giannis, Rudy Gobert, and Victor Oladipo. The Thunder selected him with the fourteenth pick. 

He was thrust into a playoff team with a win-now mentality. In his rookie year, he wasn’t a regular starter but wasn’t relegated to the D-league either. Steven remarked that Oklahoma took care of their players, like a family. For him, ending up in OKC was the best scenario. The following season, he became the team’s starting centre. He wasn’t even the fourth option on offence on a team that had Kevin ‘KD’ Durant and Russ Westbrook. Injuries marred his sophomore season and the Thunder missed the playoffs. He learned about his coach’s firing through Twitter. The following year, the squad finished third in the conference, ultimately eliminating the Spurs. They led the Warriors, 3 games to one, before losing the final trio of games. KD left that offseason. 

With the Thunder, he was never able to get out of the first round again. In the final chapter, he singles out that being better everyday is his fight. He wants his voice to be heard and wishes to help less fortunate people. He wants to give back and help deserving people realise their dream. With the help of his co-author, the title was a breeze to read. Though it was three hundred pages long, it never felt like a laborious exercise. I managed to crest it in four days. Adams’s story is mighty interesting. He’s not the highest-paid Kiwi sportsman for a reason.  

Rating: 4.89/5

What happened to the Bennetts (Lisa Scottoline). The plot of this crime thriller intrigued me. It involved an American family going into the witness protection program after scumbags destroyed their lives. The novel opens with the Bennetts, your average East Coast family. They have a house, a car, a backyard, and a dog. Their daughter, Allison, plays lacrosse and soccer. The father, Jason, owns a court reporting business. The wife, Lucinda, is a professional shutterbug. Their subsistence changes with an apparent carjacking. Allison is fatally wounded by an errant shot. One of the thugs, Milo,  turns on his fellow, before scampering away. 

When they get home, the FBI contacts them and whisks them away. They are then sequestered into WITSEC. Delaware becomes the new home and they have to start over again. No contact with their friends and family. No logging in on accounts. Their businesses and lives are put on hold. Hell, they couldn’t even attend Allison’s funeral. Jason tries to piece the killers together. They learn that Milo is part of an organised crime ring, called the George Veria Organisation (GVO). The casualty was George’s son. Paul Hart was their lawyer. He was having an affair with Lucinda. While in the marshes, the Bennetts have to pick up the pieces of their lives. The onslaught against them never lets, even when they’re gone. The WITSEC section is a hard slog as there isn’t much happening.  

After this, Jason takes matters into his own hands. He sets out to make contact with George and to find the truth. The main players fall off like dominoes. One by one, a blue BMW sedan eliminates the baddies. Both Milo and Jason go rogue and in time, the latter is wanted by the authorities. He goes on a race against time to clear his name. He’s reunited with his FBI pal in West Philly, setting the stage for an explosive finale. There is a massive conspiracy in high places that set off the storm. This involved Jason’s time as a court reporter in Guantanamo.  

I would admit that the book wasn’t the easiest read. There is a bit more description than necessary. On the plus side, the short chapters did help. The (mostly) accessible language was another pro. The setting was also well-constructed. This is especially impressive as Scottoline had to do her research on these places. I also liked how she used twists and subplots. It was as though you should ‘Trust no one.’ While Jason searches for answers, so do we. I can’t help but compare this to Ozark, which dropped its final episodes last month. Having taken in both mediums, I’m sure that Scottoline drew some inspiration from that series. 

Rating: 4.01/5

Delaware
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A Mother For All Seasons

For my three-hundredth career post on this site, I’ll write about one of the most significant women in my life. In down under, Sunday, the eight of May is Mother’s Day. It’s a time to remember the person who gave us the gift of life. Allow me to share a few stories about my mum. 

Dictionary

As I’ve already written in another project, mum impressed upon me the importance of the word finder. When I was in year 3, I had started to peruse our encyclopaedias. There were a few foreign words to me. In turn, I asked her for their definitions. After patiently answering my queries, she pointed out this massive red dictionary at home. She showed me how to spot words in the tome and how to tease out their definitions. It became my first option for looking up unfamiliar words. Knowing the meaning of words is important for every reader. Once you discovered a new word or phrase, this gets added to your bag of tricks. As my instructor once said, ‘Once you find a new word, they’re yours’.

Teachers and tutors

We had so many firsts with her. She heard my first word (‘there’). She witnessed our first steps. She brought me to my first school. She taught me how to write my name and the alphabet. She read us children’s books. She cooked us our first meals. She showed us how to shop and buy things. 

Together with Dad, they were our first teachers. She taught us table manners while Dad instilled in us the value of prayer. Whether it was the Lord’s Prayer or the Grace before meals, he showed us the way. Meanwhile, mum impressed upon us the consequence of sharing. If you have more, you should give more. Just like our father, she shared tales from a generation earlier. Both of them had grown up in postwar Philippines. As Baby Boomers, they were both the youngest in their families.  

It wasn’t only prayers either. She tutored me throughout grade school. Whether it was brushing up my maths skills or improving my grammar, she always dropped her work to give us a helping hand. She fussed about our school uniforms and helped us pick our black leather shoes. 

Avid fan

Growing up, she was my biggest supporter. Since I started writing articles, she raved about my rapid improvement. It was originally her idea to transfer us to a Catholic school, where there was more variety and integrity. As our teacher put it, ‘It’s better to have a balance. Your heart should be equal to your mind. You don’t want to have an oversized mind and a miniature heart.’ To this day, as I post weekly on my blog, she continues to encourage and believe in me. 

In the Benedictine school, I flourished. They had much bigger libraries and far better facilities. I was like a man on a mission, perusing encyclopaedias and borrowing carts of books. This was also when I started my writing journey. No doubt, it was one of the best decisions they made about our education. Being broad-minded, Dad went on board with the idea. Later, they both saw the huge difference. 

While writing, I also became a two-time scrabble doubles champion. I casually played basketball. More importantly, I took to reading books. While fighting with class work, I’d spend the weekends reading novels. There was more to me than just writing or studying or simply reading, which is the school’s thrust anyway. We would have mass on First Fridays, say the rosary during October, and assemble for morning praise. We would likewise have Bible sharing and partake in agape. 

New things

She’s always been open-minded. Like Dad, she tries new things. She doesn’t pick the same brand of coffee every time. She welcomes variety. I recall playing against her and my sister in scrabble. Regularly competing against them upped my game. She has proven to be more than a one-trick pony. She does lots of thing well. Aside from the above, she has the daintiest handwriting. She asserts that ‘practice makes perfect.’ Her eloquent penmanship isn’t a fluke. Her diligence showed the way for me. Having her as a parent is truly an honour.

Aside from taking pride in her handwriting, my mum also has other gifts. She sews and fixes clothes. She has a flair for haircuts. She saves people money by choosing to go with her. She is adept at styling both men and women’s hair. She is also our model of a very neat and tidy individual. She yearns to live in an orderly world. Others have always remarked at her organisational skills, which extend even to gardens. Her incredible work ethic sets her apart. She’s also a wonderful cook and a quick learner. Whether it’s Filipino, Italian, Chinese, or even Indian cuisine, mum would make you go, ‘Could I have some more, please.’

Pastimes 

Her other hobbies include swimming, reading and, playing the organ. The latter is her favourite pastime. It’s her way of relaxing. She’s adept at applying natural cures and conventional medicines. For us, not having to go to the doctor is so convenient. She always cures my family. I remember my dad mentioned that he had LBM and mum bought him medicine. After taking it, his runny tummy was gone. The same applies to me and my sister; mum knows what medicine to give us when we get sick. 

I’ve lived in two countries. They are quite different. In one case, your relatives are nearby. They entertain you and have your back. The weather is mostly humid and a tad bit unpredictable. However, you could feel the warmth of familiar people. In the other place, there are long, cold winters and fewer friends. Around five pm, it’s already dark outside. The days are short and nights are drawn out. In this scenario, you often only have your immediate family. Heaven forbid if you’re with the wrong cluster. 

Fam

You don’t choose your family. You can’t get Meth Damon to be your dad or Meryl Streep to be your mum. You must accept what’s given to you, just like your physical appearance. We are so glad and grateful to have our family. There’s just four of us but we grew up in a loving and nurturing environment. Our needs were well-provided; we were taught the importance of prayer, too.

Our alma mater has the motto, ‘Ora et Labora’ (Prayer and Work). There’s much fulfilment not just in toiling but in seeking God. 

Only one day a year is dedicated to celebrating mothers but every year of your life is something you owe her. Even if you’ve moved continents, there will always be a special place for her in your heart. 

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Mid-autumn (2022) reads

This month’s tally is a return to the tried and tested. Two fiction books comprise the list with a collection of anecdotes for good measure. I start off with Camus’s The Stranger, first published in 1942. A model on absurdism, I read the novella separately in two months. Next up is ‘the Arkady Renko book that started it all, the #1 bestseller Gorky Park.’ For a while now, I’ve had this book on my shelf; it didn’t disappoint. Finally, I will cap off this month’s reads with Love Stories by acclaimed Aussie journalist, Trent Dalton. The author of Boy Swallows Universe gives us a poignant anthology of adoration in its many forms.  

The Stranger (Camus). This is the first Camus book that I finished, but not the first one I attempted. Years ago, I had tried to summit The Plague but found it too philosophical. The latter has since found an audience as a result of the pandemic. My reading experience of Stranger was different as I bought it as an ebook. The novella is all of 161 pages an is divided into two parts. Part 1 transpires before Mersault (the protanist) is jailed for murder. Part 2 takes place after his arrest and subsequent incarceration. 

Stranger is like night and day compared to Plague. The former was published when Camus was only twenty-nine. It is a much easier read and I got through seventy pages in one day. Stranger has been dubbed as lightweight and the best introduction to Camus. The plot revolves around an Algerian, Mersault, whose sick mother dies in the nursing home. During her funeral, he sheds no tears and shows no emotion. The following day, he then watches a movie with his girlfriend, Marie. He befriends his neighbour, Raymond, who is rumoured to be a pimp. He even writes him a character reference though he knows that Raymond hurt this girl. 

One weekend, they go with Raymond to the beach, where he murders an Arab on the shore. He is arrested and tried, but his atheism never wavers. Even when he’s headed for the gallows, he doggedly rejects the Church and God. He takes the blame for his actions. In jail, he reads a lot and longs for Marie. During his trial, he shows no remorse and this dooms him. The ending is nothing short of a tragedy. Stranger was originally written in the French but today is considered a classic. There are only a handful of characters in this thin paperback but upon cresting it, this title is clearly polished and well-written.   

‘There, too in that Home where lives were flickering out, the dusk came as a mournful solace.’

Rating: 4.65/5

Gorky Park (Martin Cruz Smith). The first book in the author’s thriller series sees Chief Inspector Renko scrambling to solve a triple murder in the eponymous Gorky Park. Two Russians and an American are slayed in an ice rink. Renko’s superiors believe this is an open and shut case and that the trio turned on each other. The inspector, however, isn’t so inclined. His investigations lead him to a filthy rich American fur dealer and a visiting New York police detective. Meanwhile, he has to dissect this while his marriage is falling apart. 

He loses a friend in the shuffle. Soon, his zealous search for the truth turns him into a fugitive. He uncovers a conspiracy stretching to the top of the food chain. He learns that as long as you have enough bribe money, the authorities could look the other way. Renko realises that his own greedy superior is in cahoots with the enemy. He meets a dissident, Irina Asanova. At first, she is brusque but her beauty beguiles him. Soon, he falls head over heels for her. Arkady even hides her in his apartment. She is a mystery that he wants to unpack. 

The book is divided into three parts. Part One is set in Moscow; Part Two in Shatura. Part Three in New York. A stolen lot of sables is the bone of contention. The Russians have a stranglehold of the sable fur industry. The recent developments though would undercut their monopoly. Once in the Big Apple, Renko is reunited with his lover. However, he realises that they are just part of a bigger mechanism. He also finds Kirwill, the detective who wants to give him a fair go. He learns the truth about Irina’s activities, though he’s convinced that he knew this all along.  

There’s things to both love and hate about this Renko entry. First, it paints a realistic portrait of the Cold War. Park was published in 1981 so it’s not an anachronism. Arkady is also a likeable chap: determined, loyal, and principled. Moreover, I like Smith’s finality. The ending is as decisive as one could imagine. Regardless, the chapters are rather long and there aren’t enough section breaks in them. I also found the novel to be overly descriptive. Moreover, there were a lot of lists. I am a fan of neither. In fairness, the subplots and twists made me tough it out. Based on my web-based research, Park is the finest of the series. As per the photo, a film adaptation was even produced. I would expect it to go downhill from here. I have one more Renko thriller to go through but it’s not high on my reading list. 

Rating: 4/5 

Love Stories (Dalton). A few years ago, I reviewed Boy Swallows Universe. Dalton’s debut novel, both audiences and critics received it well. Boy represented one of 2018’s best reads. He has since released another novel, set in WWII. Last year, Dalton made a return to nonfiction book writing with the publication of Love Stories. The collection has over forty essays. The title is the result of Dalton spending two months on a busy Brisbane street corner with his antique typewriter. He yearned for passersby to tell him their stories. The result is 330 pages of musings about love. Just like Boy, this was also well-received. 

Trent does not discriminate. There are the young and the old, couples and best friends, lasting and ephemeral, familial and international, comedies and tragedies. He tells of both losing and finding love. He relates fondness for kids, parents, and grandparents. He showcases stories from Rwanda, the Philippines, Netherlands, Croatia, and Ecuador. Most of the tales are short and for the most part, narrate accounts from total strangers. However, some of them are his acquaintances. There is even one tale depicting a guy who rocks up in pyjamas wherever he goes. While at it, he does this move, called a ‘floss.’ In spite of his outfit, he never feels embarrassed. He never lets other people’s opinions or stares affect him. Trent then decides to buy an orchid from the Pinay and gift it to one of the storytellers. 

One must note that Dalton undertook this project in 2020, during the pandemic. Out of tough times, hope sprung. He uses the courier new font for familiar thoughts, which add colour to the narrative. This is a nod to the ancient typewriter. One thing though: he occasionally goes on these long-winded lists. Having read him before, this isn’t new but it could be distracting. As a result, I had to skip a few pages. This is a minor flaw in an otherwise impressive manuscript.

Rating: 4.32/5  

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3% (2020) reviewed

This week, I’m going to review my Netflix series of March. When 3% debuted, it was the first Portuguese-language show on the streaming service. The critically-acclaimed first season premiered in 2016. This was followed by three more series, concluding in 2020. At heart a sci-fi programme, 3% also blends elements of drama and action. The production reminded me of Lord of the Flies. Both of them are dystopian in nature. They likewise feature a group of kids who try to find nirvana. They are thrown into a desperate situation and they have to wing it. The series’s cast highlight some of the brightest young stars in Brazilian show business. 

Season 1 (2016)

The eight-episode first season revolves around the mysterious Process. Heaven in this universe is called the Offshore. The latter is like Elysium. The inhabitants eat the choicest produce and drink the finest wine. Of the thousands of participants who vie for the Offshore, only three percent make it through. Every year, adults who’ve reached eighteen are eligible for the Process. All of them are from the Inland, home to the rest of the population. All of the Inlanders wear an earpiece, which functions as a passport/ID. 

Among these aspirants is Michele (pronounced Mi-she-lee). Her ultimate mission is to find her brother, who disappeared years ago. Even at the start, she is forced to make an improbable choice just to save her own skin. Ezequiel heads the process. An intense overseer, he exudes a certain enigma. He’s not an open book. Another central character is Fernando, a wheelchair bound hombre who is the smartest kid in the competition. Meanwhile, Rafael sneaked into the contest by doctoring his mouthpiece. He had previously participated but was unsuccessful. He sometimes resorts to crooked ways to attain his objectives. Joana is another cognisant entrant whose humble backgrounds belie her toughness. Finally, Marco comes from a long line of Offshore immigrants. He becomes the resident bully. 

In season 1, we are introduced to the Cause. This guerrilla organisation tries to destabilise the offshore by planting seeds in the kingdom. Apparently, there are two honeybees who successfully make it through this year’s Process. Their faces will soon be unmasked. Ezequiel always seems wary of these saboteurs. We realise that he was himself suffering from a personal loss. We are there as the aforementioned protagonists jump every hurdle on their way to the next level. One of them will be seconds away from glory. Another two would quit the process for various reasons. The rest may have some issues but make it through. We learn the catch: you would need to get sterilised before gaining entry into the Offshore. 

Season 2 (2018)

The series returned with a ten-episode second season. This picks up from the previous iteration. Though Michele is now in the Offshore, she is stuck in rehab. She can see her brother but cannot communicate with him. Rafael is also there. He begins a romantic relationship with the doctor. Fernando is back in the Inland, where he rekindles his friendship with Gloria. Joana is working for the cause. Rafael volunteers to be part of a task force sent to the Inland. He desperately tries to make contact with his peers. He plays a Jekyll and Hyde type, trying to appear as a dedicated soldier while convincing the plebs that he’s one of them. Rafael feels guilty about how he left his family. 

Meanwhile, Ezequiel professes his devotion to the cause. He asserts that he never really left them, in spite of the evidence. Gloria is among the new batch of contestants. In spite of being handicapped, Marco becomes the leader of bandits. Marcella, his mother, becomes the Offshore’s new leader. The Cause continues to cast its shadow, aided by new blood. We also learn more about the Offshore’s history. Common knowledge holds that the Founding Couple founded the latter. Michele learns that it was actually a Founding Trio. Michele tells Fernando her plan: to build a third alternative called The Shell. 

Season 3 (2019)

This edition features most of the main characters relocated to The Shell. The latter is like an oasis, with food, plants, and electricity in the middle of the desert. As mentioned, Michele builds upon the idea of the third founder. At season’s start, everything is working like clockwork. They plant their own veggies, harvest their grains, utilise renewable energy, and collaborate. Even Marco has seemed to turn over a new leaf. Rafael is the only exception and he’s treated as a pariah. His younger brother is his sole ally. Michele is adamant that they should not align themselves with the Offshore. 


Suddenly, things go awry. A storm wreaks havoc on the Shell. All the plants die, so do the renewables. They only have three months’ worth of supplies left and they have to ration everything. The fire and pitchforks appear. The leader is forced to hold a Process of her own. Michele instructs competitors to remove their earpieces or they must leave the Shell. The masses meet her decisions, at times partisan, with fury. Michele often has to make heartbreaking choices. She becomes the scapegoat, hunted out of her own project. Her subjects are too naive to see beyond surface level. Michele rejects a takeover offer from Marcella. Meanwhile, Joana acts as emissary between the Inland and the Shell. 

Season 4 (2020)

The final season unfolds with Michele sending a delegation to the Offshore. This include Joana, Rafael, and Marco. Gloria stays behind. In the Offshore, Joana meets what she thinks is her real mother. The group secretly tries to destroy the Offshore. Meanwhile, Marcella remains detained in the Shell. With patience and dedication, everything is back to normal there. However, Marcella convinces Gloria to annihilate this little haven. She knows what Gloria wants so this is a painfree endeavour.  

In the Offshore, the delegates attempt to search for a submarine that will bring down Eden. Michele herself visits the Process to stop the turbine. However, Gloria outs them and soon Michele is on the run. Her brother becomes her nemesis. He is now the new Process leader. She learns the truth about what happened to her parents. The Cause’s founder is likewise revealed. She was connected to the Founding Couple. Marco meets his grandad. The ending was more dramatic than I envisioned. However, the finale leaves no doubt that the plot has ended. 

Verdict

Most of the episodes are around forty minutes long. There were 35 eps in total. This marks the second international series on Netflix. The first season was critically-acclaimed. The show also reminded me of Elysium, starring Matt Damon. Both productions are dystopian in nature, utilising high tech gadgets. I must note that this one adds the Process to the equation. I wouldn’t call the series undemanding. Between the action and thrills, we must remember that 3% is conducted wholly in a foreign language. There are some nifty panoramas though. For instance, the Process was shot at a pair of Sao Paolo favelas. Meanwhile, the Offshore exteriors were taken at the Inhotim Institute. Finally, the shell was filmed at a conservation unit in Rio Grande do Norte. An early model for international Netflix productions, the show set the bar for others to follow. Since then, series like Narcos, Dark, and Money Heist, among others, have carried the mantle. 

Rating: 4.25/5

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The Royal Easter Show: past and present

This year marks the second staging of the Royal Easter Show since being shelved by COVID. Last year, despite a daily cap on visitors, the Show attracted the biggest post-COVID event numbers in the state. The annual Easter Show has a storied tradition. Sponsored by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW, the event has entertained state residents since 1823. The affair goes for twelve days, including the Easter long weekend. Sydney Olympic Park in the western suburbs is the current home of the festivities. The event was previously held at Parramatta and at Moore Park. It is famous for its Easter show bags, which the kids love. There are also rides, games, and produce. It is also famous for its competitions, which include food, dog and cat shows, arts, cookery, and wood chopping.

Hottest ticket

In years past, the Easter Show has always been the hottest ticket in town. Crowds would converge on Homebush and on Easter Sunday, it was bumper to bumper. The show is massive enough to warrant a map. There are eateries spread over the grounds. There are dedicated pavilions for certain animals. Visitors are not supposed to feed them. I recall seeing an older gent instructing his grandson to throw some bickies at this goat. Good thing they weren’t seen. A while ago, my dad and I spent some time patting canines. A dog lover at heart, he was really looking forward to these furry critters. I also remember tossing some rings and winning a small snake. 

Some of the games were rather constipated. They had so many restrictions: no leaning, no jumping, etc. There was nil chance of shooting ringless and walking away with the prized teddy. I also recall patting some alpacas. When I went there with family, I got a Pepsi show bag. It came with some drinks and knickknacks. The black Pepsi bag was the gem. I used it for a few months before getting a Jansport pack. Meanwhile, I remember going to sit at a bench. There was this Filo girl who kept her distance from this bearded man. He was holding a pram. ‘Fear the beard’, I thought. 

Pricing

An ex-classmate told me that he always looked forward to the woodchopping display. I had a look myself. In the last decade, the ticket prices have risen quite a bit. The current charges are $49.90 for adults and $39.90 for children. There are also options for a family pass. Indeed, even a while back, the high damage discouraged my ex-classmate. Public transport is also included in the ticket. Moreover, there used to be an option for cheaper entry after five pm. 

Over the past two years, there have been some incidents that have tainted an otherwise cool event. Last year, a brawl erupted. This year, the same happened, only it had a fatality. There was also a ride hiccup when a disabled four-year old wasn’t buckled up. His mum was seeing red. The boo-boo was widely reported but thankfully, cooler heads prevailed. 

Friday Frenzy

Yesterday was Good Friday. This coincided with twelve days of free public transport across Sydney. The show was absolutely packed. Since the incident, there were more bag checks and tightened security. This made for very long queues. One kid said that he waited for an hour. Even inside the grounds, people were shoulder to shoulder. Due to the free travel in Sydney, the Friday numbers had quadrupled from last year. The same thing is happening at Sydney Airport. Employee absenteeism due to COVID coupled with the holiday rush has ensured the long queues. Some travellers had to book nearby hotels as others waited for many hours.  

The Friday turnout was markedly different than Good Friday in the Philippines. As Catholics, the day is revered as the year’s holiest. All families are expected to stay at home, fast, and reflect. On Good Friday in Sydney, all the shops are closed. This has ensured that the masses flocked to the Easter Show. That day, not only was it the hottest ticket in town but also the only one. I’m guessing that most of the visitors weren’t Catholics. 

Droves

Despite the wait, people will continue to flock to Olympic Park. I remember our Swedish teacher asking our class if we knew about the Easter Show. Sensing a few head shakes, she went on to say that ‘It’s a big show down in Homebush. They’ve got rides, food, tunes, and pets.’ 

I nodded along as though this was news to me. It’s not just dogs and alpacas; creatures big and small are there. From bunnies to cats, horses to chickens, there’s a pet for that. During one of my previous visits, I recall visiting the Seven tent, where I got to meet Alex Cullen, the former sports reporter and Sara Groen, the then-weather presenter. They both looked slimmer in real life. The Showgrounds are right next to Olympic Park station. Thankfully, the affair is always blessed with good, sunny weather. Tomorrow, Easter Sunday, should be as packed as Friday, if not more so. The school holidays, coupled with free travel and the Sabbath, will surely make it the busiest day. If you’re in town and looking for some fun, why not head to the Easter Show. It’s for everyone: kids, parents, oldies, hobbyists, and even kids at heart. 

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Early fall (2022) reads

This month, I’ll take a different tack. Usually, two novels and one nonfiction title comprise my reading list. For now, I will review two memoirs and one story collection. I start off with Julie Wang’s Beautiful Country. I’ve had my eye on this for months and reading it was a pleasure. I followed up with Murakami’s The Elephant Vanishes. Seventeen stories, of varying length, provide a glimpse into yuppie culture and generation x. This was a chance to learn from the master. Finally, Will Smith’s autobiography rounds out the trio. One of Hollywood’s most powerful men, Will – like Julie – lived the American dream. He has the unique distinction of reaching the pinnacle on three platforms – music, television, and film. The book was written with the help of bestselling author, Mark Manson. As a side note, the Will review seems more pertinent now. The slapping incident at this year’s Oscars, coupled with Smith’s Best Actor nod, has given the work more notoriety. 

Beautiful Country (Julie Wang). The title derives from the Chinese name of America (Mei Guo). Wang was born in Shijiazhuang, China, the daughter of professors. All of her family were there and they were a close knit clan. Her father left for the US when she was five. He vowed to bring them there. Two years later, they joined him. They led a very impoverished life in Brooklyn, New York.

Her mother has to do menial jobs for peanuts while her dad struggled to provide for the family. Her earliest landlord was a hunchback who hid in a kitchen closet. One time, Wang imitated her and promptly fell asleep. When she entered school, she had to teach herself English. Defying the odds, she would soon best the classmates who oppressed her. She was also fortunate to have a caring mentor, who expedited her learning. At the same, time, there were others who challenged her. Early on, she had dreamed of studying law at Harvard. Their disbelief only cemented her resolve.

Due to their illegal status, her father told her to avoid asking questions and to be inconspicuous. They lived in fear of being outed. Even when she could converse in English, she felt like a foreigner. Her tummy often rumbled and she stared at items that she couldn’t have. Her experiences were reminiscent of Lion by Saroo Brierley. Weekends were at McDonalds, where she could not comprehend ‘Maw Chi Ton.’ During this time, they would also collect discarded items. These deficiencies made other Americans suspicious, as though she were feigning ignorance on purpose. However, she was able to make friends, including a stray cat. 

Julie rode the subway every school day, where she contended with unsavoury types. She chose the name Julie as a nod to the puppet from The Puzzle Place. She met ‘Auntie’, her mum’s co-worker, who died weeks later. Her mum too was rushed to hospital due to a tumour. The operation revealed that it was not cancer. After the op, her mother wasn’t the same again. At this time, she stayed with family friends. She found out that the struggling ones treated her better. Throughout the book, there’s lots of humour. For instance, Julie writes, ‘We would be deported now, as soon as someone cares to investigate why I didn’t have enough to eat.’ Anyhow, she sometimes overuses steamed bun and dumpling metaphors, which turn corny. In case you’re wondering, Julie graduated from Yale University and is now a managing partner at a law firm. The writing was easy to grasp and the story was quite compelling. I devoured most of it in four days.

Rating: 4.7/5

Will (Will Smith). The long-awaited memoir from the media-hopping titan is finally here.  Bestselling self-help author, Mark Manson, helped Smith with writing the biography. The 400-page trade paperback brings us back to Smith’s Philadelphia childhood and his overbearing father. He is the second of four childen and the oldest son. His dad owned a big ice packing company, where he worked. When his so-called daddio hurt his mum, his inaction made him feel like a coward. His father though was a good provider and he studied in a private school. As a result of attending an all-white school, he often felt caught between two worlds. Since his lyrics and language were squeaky-clean, some dudes would say that he was not ‘black enough.’

Even though he was accepted to attend college, he chose to try his luck in the entertainment business. With his Philly crew, he achieved instant stardom. Their first album went platinum and won them the inaugural Grammy for rap. At the time, the hip hop scene was just fledgling and Smith would go a long way in making it go mainstream. He also talks about his love life, where he wants to shower one girl with all his affections. Eventually, his inexperience and ‘play hard’ lifestyle would make him teeter on the brink of bankruptcy. By turning up to the Arsenio Hall Show, he was able to score an audition with a Quincy Jones, a Hollywood producer. He became the star of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which ran for six seasons. 

Having conquered music and TV, Will set his sights to be the world’s biggest movie star. Along the way, he met his wife – Jada Pinkett. They have two children together. Owing to his work ethic and desire for perfection, Smith made one blockbuster after another. They were not all critics’s darlings but were massive commercial successes. Smith’s sustained excellence shattered box office records. At one point, he was the highest grossing film actor ever. Will’s diligence ultimately became his downfall. His thirst for flawlessness and his humongous ego caused his relationships to crumble. In the book’s latter chapters, Smith tries to battle his demons. He sees the beauty of silence and rest. He becomes a voracious reader. He goes to Peru to be healed. He essays an ascetic life. Finally, he tries to bungee jump from a chopper above the Grand Canyon. The book contains twenty-one long chapters. I must admit that this was a more challenging read than Beautiful. However, the effort required was well worth it.

‘Life is learning…the whole point of venturing into uncertainty is to bring light to the darkenss of our ingnorance.’

Rating: 4.4/5

The Elephant Vanishes (Murakami). This marks my second foray into Murakami, after Norwegian Wood. I picked up this story collection off the library shelf. Published in 1993, this one is an older book. One would immediately notice the earlier technology, from landlines to radios, televisions to handwritten letters. Seventeen varied tales fill this omnibus. There are recurrent themes among the stories. First off are those in Japanese settings. There are also a few pets/animals. Most of the protagonists are younger, irreverent males. A couple of times, some magical realism is utilised. Elephant is a telling portrait into 90s yuppie culture.

‘Barn Burning’ is perhaps the most renowned of this title. When I read the story, it looked very familiar. I deduced that this was the inspiration of the Korean movie, Burning, starring Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead). Another tale was expanded into a three-part novel that was released the following year. The book has a bit of everything: a detective story, love stories, humour, and magical realism. They range in length from six to thirty-eight pages. For the most part, the writing is pretty accessible and is a good introduction into his fiction. There was only one story that I skipped, titled ‘The Kangaroo Communique’. 

Murakami ponders the ordinary and weaves narratives out of the commoner. The issue with this book is the profusion of rather unremarkable people. Murakami’s heroes are husbands and wives. They are students and in advertising. They eat McDonald’s and cook spaghetti. They lose a girl’s number, a brain cramp, but also dance their way into her heart. His heroes despise their future in-laws and Sunday afternoons. They mow lawns and look for a decent hamburger. They write and neglect writing letters. They order TVs and have vivid dreams. They drive and they take the train. It still took me longer than usual to finish this book. I had to divide my reading time between Elephant and Will. Fiction is meant to transport you to a different place and time. This one does that well.

Rating: 4.1/5

Yale University, Julie and Indra Nooyi’s alma mater
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On Journalling

Recently, I received a journal among a bag of birthday gifts. We had discussed the importance for any writer of recording their thoughts. I am a relatively late convert to this practice. I had only started last May but it has made a big difference. 

Reasons

I have a couple of key reasons for keeping journals. Firstly, I use the pages to jot down my ideas, arranged by date. Our imagination is inconstant. A great idea now may evaporate in some time. Indeed, this has happened to me on occasion. As a Knicks announcer once said,’Once the moment is gone, it’s gone for good.’ This makes writing down the thoughts imperative. Thus, having a notebook at hand is always a good idea. Secondly, I use the log for reminders. Of course, our smart devices could likewise do this. However, notebooks offer the convenience of not having to stare at a screen. Just like with ideas, scribbling reminders ensure that they will not be lost in the bustle of everyday living. 

Moleskins

Innovators, whether great or ordinary, have long taken up the journal craze. Some of our finest artists have been down this road. At the top of the pyramid are the moleskin notebooks. These hardwearing journals are premium stationery. Titans such as Bruce Chatwin, Ernest Hemingway, and celebrated painter, Pablo Picasso, have all utilised these logs. Last year, this online store had a moleskin sale. Some of them were down to 8.80. However, this was misleading as the shipping fees would double the price tag. Though I was tempted, I decided not to make the purchase. 

The moleskins have gone a long way since Hemingway’s time. They have the standard ruled journals; the blank ones; the graphed ones; and the dotted iterations. At the end of the day, I thought that it’s just a notebook. You’re only paying for the brand name and thicker covers but they have little difference. If I remember correctly, eighty-five of Chatwin’s moleskins were given to a library. They were chock full of his notes. Chatwin makes light of his journalling in his hybrid book, The Songlines. A fair bit of the book was dedicated to his journal musings. 

I initially bought a black notebook from a large retailer. It had a cardboard cover, a spiral binder, 200 A5 pages, and some slots at the front and back. Here you could put things like receipts, post-it’s, and the like. I filled it with all my book ideas, corrections, reminders, big words, and quotes from books and media. I register my thoughts while streaming, while having meals, in the morning, even after hitting the sack. I used it pretty much everyday; this became my constant companion. I noticed that the front cover wasn’t very durable, but I liked how I could easily remove the pages. All this time, I mobilised a simple ballpen to record my thoughts for posterity. Pro tip: always get a spiral notebook for ease of access. 

‘The notebook’

At the start of February this year, I had filled up the log. I had some options. I had purchased three thinner A5 notebooks from Kmart. They had varying cool designs and were good value. My sister had also bought four notebooks for me from this stationery store. They were even cheaper. Before the lockdown, i also purchased three identical black notebooks from a department store. I decided to use one of these. My current log is pretty similar to its percursor, with black covers, two slots, a spiral spine, and a similar A5 size. Unlike its predecessor, I wasn’t as religious in jotting down my ideas. I use the journal mainly for reminders and benign notes. Instead, I used one of my sister’s notebooks to plot out my ideas. Last month, I also got a pricey four-pack of gel pens for good measure. The pen is more reliable than your standard ballpen. It makes you want to write more.

Game changer

The pandemic has certainly redefined our lives. We’ve learned to adapt perhaps more than ever before. As lockdowns were imposed, people busied themselves with puzzles, board games, and Lego. Reading and buying books has had a renaissance. No doubt, some writers would be impelled to buy more journals to lock down their ideas. Thus, I would encourage budding writers to follow my lead. You lose nothing by spending a few bucks. It’s like having a portable backup, a snapshot of your days. You don’t need to dedicate a page to ‘Dear diary’; I don’t. Just regard it as a handy friend that will be of use both now and tomorrow. I want to reiterate that you don’t need to spend a premium. It’s the content that matters, not the cost.  

Despite all these implements, we must note that no one will write the words for you. You might have the best instruments but without some talent and lots of diligence, the tools are insufficient. Your thoughts are the building blocks of your maunscript. Once you’ve outlined your ideas, transfer and organise them onto the paper. The editing comes later.  Soon you’ll realise that you can’t take your eyes off your work. You’ve become obsessed with the process. Times may change, technology may advance, literary styles may go in and out of fashion. In spite of these variations, journals will always have a place. Remember: a man full of ideas will never be poor. You’re welcome. 

home library
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Lent 2022: abstinence, fasting, and prayer

On 2 March 2002 was Ash Wednesday. Mass is usually observed on this date. In school, there was an Ash Wednesday mass and as a result, all students would have a black mark on their heads. The placing of ashes on our foreheads is a reminder that from dust we came, and from dust we shall return. This year, I wasn’t aware of our local church’s Mass. Ash Wednesday officially marks the start of Lent. The latter is an annual forty-day period that worshippers around the world observe. The list includes Catholics, Anglicans, and many Christian denominations. 

Fasting for Lent

The main thrusts of the Lenten season is three-fold: fasting, abstinence, and penitence. All Christian adults are encouraged to fast. I remember in uni, I was invited to take part in this fory-hour fasting. I thought that it was too extreme. Meanwhile, abstinence is about giving up smoething for the entirety of Lent. It is about sticking to a goal as a pledge of devotion to God. The object of this abstinence is up to you. However, one must note that it must be something tangible, whether big or small is up to you. It could be as simple as avoiding fizzy drinks or refraining from buying new books. It could also be as consequential as avoiding alcohol or gambling. I remember in school, my classmates asked our Religion teacher how to fast during Fridays.

‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper,’ Sister Isa replied.

Forty days

Tied with abstinence is penitence. Worshippers are pursuaded to pray and to confess their sins. Moreover, they are urged to repent for their sins. Almsgiving, a simple livelihood, and a denial of self-interests are just some of the exercises interweaved with the season. In the Catholic Church, the priests were violet sashes for Lent. Lent remembers the forty days that Jesus spent wandering in the desert. The devil tempted Him and tried to lead Him astray by offering material wealth, nourishment, and by buying his happiness. Jesus though was a man on a mission and His faith never wavered. Through his reflections, He gained much insight. His diligence enabled Him to build our Church today. 

Ghost town

Sepaking for school, I noted how some vain batchmates would remove the ashes from their forehead. The eateries would also abstain from serving meat. They opted instead for some fish and vegetarian dishes. Holy week is notable as there was a mad rush to exit Manila prior to Semana Santa. Seeing the traffic chaos on TV, it reminded me of a stampede as fans leaving a crowded gym. Then, on Good Friday, the whole stadium is deserted. It was like an apocalyptic scene from a zombie film. Another analogous occasion was when Manny Pacquaio’s fights were on. During those days, the crime rate in the whole country was almost nil, if not zero. 

I remember we had a palmera tree in our front yard. The two shrubs were located adjacent to the grotto. Every year, Lola Paz would get the leaves for Palm Sunday. According to her, this had been a long tradition that had transpired even with the previous owner. 

Unprepared

Good Friday is notable for featuring the Stations of the Cross. These fourteen scenes depict Christ’s suffering from his denouncement by Pilate to his crucifiction and entombment. In Year 8, I recall having to present one of these Stations. I came unprepared. Everyone read from their notes out front. My female seatmates had anticipated a letdown. I put it together though and spontaneously delivered a short but riveting description. I got an ovation and even Sister Isa was impressed. Friday is also known as seafood central. The Sydney Fish Market is open very early. Meanwhile, most shops, restaurants, and services are closed on Good Friday.

Easter feast

As portrayed in the media, Lent concludes with a giant celebration for Easter. There are easter bunnies to give chocs to the kiddos. The Easter Show is the hottest ticket in town, showcasing the best food, talent, animals, and showbags. The Sunday service is packed to the rafters. Christmas would be the only one that approaches this turnout. The malls are hawking big discounts. There are all sorts of online bargains. In Australia, it’s the middle of autumn and the weather is mild and pleasant. In the Philippines, summer is in full swing. You would need a fan or two. 

More importantly, like the Yuletide season, Easter is a time to be with our families. Once you’ve done the marathon, fasted and did your penance, you must apply those lessons and grow in faith, charity, and love. Being a better Christian is more than just spending more time with God. Quantity is nice, but a quality relationship with Yahweh is even better. Being an acolyte or a deacon doesn’t guaratee your spot in heaven. Doing good things and being a righteous person are what counts. So, next time you go through Lent, ask yourself. Are you doing this to score points or are you genuinely aiming for progress? 

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A rainy fortnight

Over the past two weeks, torrential rain has walloped our state. There have been a few days where the precipitation reached over 1 centimetre. This comes on the heels of the four-month lockdown last year. Who could forget that pause? I’ve detailed that cessation in prior posts. The fallout from the lockdown saw businesses crumble, freedom reimagined, and forced people to stay at home. Kids learned at home and employees worked from home. Before this, bushfires savaged country New South Wales, leaving a trail of mangled attractions. Workers had only just started returning to offices when the downpours became merciless. We had merely started welcoming back international travellers. 

News reports

The news did a good job reporting the tsunami; maybe even too good a job. The primetime bulletin was sure to highlight the devastation. (The dams are full!) They showed denizens wading in waist-high water. The cars were stranded. Dinghies were mobilised to transport peeps from Point A to Point B. This was Waterworld, Australia-style. The affected were interviewed (We’ve lost everything.) I remember hearing that all residents of North Richmond, NSW were to be evacuated. Obviously, they had the worst of it, statewide. Given the state of our roads, people were urged to stay at home and only go out when absolutely necessary. It was Groundhog Day. 

Closed for business

This past fortnight, I remember braving the rain. On a couple of occasions, the deluge was so bad that I had to wait for it to subside. Once, I saw a guy walking; he seemed foolish in trying to beat Mother Nature. Earlier in the week, I visited this library to return an item. I had intended to browse the shelves for more inspiration. When I drew closer, I was surprised to find the gate closed. Apparently, they weren’t open owing to the weather conditions. Better luck next time. There’s a first time for everything.

Memories

Even though the homeowners had insurance, this could not return their prized memories. After using and accumulating them for years, no price tag would compensate. Like the bushfire hotspots, they must start anew. A nefarious low caused the damage, bringing horrendous weather to the state. Speaking of memories, the star attraction in the nature reserve took a week off. The big crocodile was forced into retreat as the water level rose. 

Tips for rainy days

What to do when faced with Waterworld? Common sense would necessitate a stopping of all outdoor activities. As they say, ‘it’s better to be safe than sorry.’ However, this is not pragmatic. Our humanity entails us to subsist: to make trips to the supermarket, to our workplaces, and to health practitioners. That’s why bringing a brolly is always a good idea. Check the forecast. How much is the precipitation? Is it possible showers? Rain? Thunderstorms? When exactly is it predicted to happen? I’ve seen a few careless peeps. They left their bags (and brolllies) at home. They must’ve left their wits too.

Once you’ve packed our brolly, make sure that you bring a plastic bag to deposit it just in case. Not all shops supply plastic bags so bringing one is a good idea. While you’re at it, carrying a cap or hat is likewise logical. The rain will not be steady forever, so a hat is useful when it’s only drizzling or showers. I believe a medium brolly would suffice. You don’t want to bring a big bulky one. Regardless, be mindful of your umbrella as it’s one of the easiest things to forget. Furthermore, stay in the shade as much as possible. You don’t want to be mistaken for a human fountain. Most importantly, DO NOT fight with the rain. The downpours will eventually subside and waiting for the  decline is pragmatic. 

Meanwhile, try to bring leather shoes in this weather. Synthetic, textile, or suede kicks will not cut it. Leather sneakers are best in the rain as they are water-resistant. You’ll feel this not only while braving the showers but also while manoeuvring the ground. If you can, avoid wearing light clothes – especially pants. The water will be more visible if you do so. Instead, opt for darker clothing. Despite the rainy weather, now isn’t yet the time to don a raincoat or parka (although I’ve seen others do this). The temperature is not twenty degrees and fall has only begun. So dress appropriately. 

Climate change

The past fortnight was the worst time to go to the beach. Hold on to your surfboard for another day. Keep the sunscreen at home. No rational Sydneysider would swim in these conditions. You could be entertained in other ways. The low has since shifted to Queensland, fomenting much destruction there as well. Today, Sydney’s precipitation was down to 30 mm. The worst has seemed to pass. Some parts of NSW had been in drought for months, maybe years. While having an even rainfall would be more appreciated, I’m sure they couldn’t complain. This rainfall has been described as once in a decade, or once in a century. Bushfires, deluges, and droughts…these all point to climate change. The unrelenting downpours reveal that we must be better stewards of creation.

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