A New Project and The Elections

For the elections, please read my take on it last November 11, 2012 here. It’s so appalling that I refuse to write about it again. I did not vote, for the 3rd time. I still do not see anyone worth voting.

I also have another project: since I went back to the gym yesterday, and planning to try and be consistent again, I thought of documenting my experiences and challenges. I have been trying to change my physique since I was 19, but my work schedule sometimes gets in the way and I find myself going to the gym for a few months straight, and then a couple of months away. It has been inconsistent that anything I gain, I lose all the same. It gets frustrating , but I am not willing to give up.

I am also planning on changing my goal, too. I have been aiming for maximal muscle gain before, but I have encountered too many challenges that I have considered that as an impossible thing. Number one, the aforementioned erratic schedule. I find myself in a tough situation time-wise too many times that any little change vanishes. Number two, nutrition. I cannot follow a strict diet because of lack of availability. It’s not like I can choose what to eat whenever I mean to. I have to make do with what’s available at home, in the office pantry, or what is available in the stores. I did my research, but most of the recipes on the internet involves western food that I don’t know the equivalent here. Plus, I have no idea how to get the calories of the food that I eat. Number three, I am no longer trying to gain as much muscle as I can (since it’s impossible anyway). I am now looking for functional strength, also to prepare for next year’s summer Company Games. I am planning on joining the basketball team for one last push for the championship. I found several programs that are specific to basketball players, and I am willing to try them out, which leads me to number four. Number four is I do not have a trainer, and I cannot afford one yet, so I am sticking to my own research and applying it to my program. Trial and error at its best, not knowing who can and cannot be trusted on the internet. It will be nice to have someone create a program scientifically, but I don’t think I will ever have that, not in the near future anyway.

I just need a good title for my second blog.  I am thinking of something related to ectomorphs (naturally skinny dudes). I am hoping to start posting as soon as this week. I am also thinking of putting my progress pictures. That is, if I ever get over my bodily insecurities and if and when I get results. Any results.

NBA Playoffs and Mother’s Day

Today is the awarding ceremony for our company’s Sports fest, with our team surprisingly getting the 3rd place award for basketball. The quotient system gave us the spot, a relief since we were not expecting to get any awards. I opted not to attend the ceremony and stay home, since it is Mother’s Day,

I tuned in to the NBA playoffs instead. I get to watch the Indiana Pacers take on the New York Knicks. It was. Low scoring ball game because both teams were playing physical. I like these games better because it shows the urgency of the playoffs. I saw Amar’e Stoudemire suit up for the Knicks, surprisingly. I haven’t seen the dude since forever.

Speaking of which, I am also hoping to catch the Chicago Bulls – Miami Heat game. The Bulls are another scrappy team but they lost too many players already that the loaded Heat team looks like a shoo-in for the next round. I want the Miami Heat to lose the series not because I hate them, I just don’t want them to get 2 straight championships.

The Memphis Grizzlies is another physical team, and I also like them to go to the next round.

I ultimately want the underdogs to play for the championship. That is sure to be a dogfight. Memphis taking on Chicago does not sound enticing, or even possible, but if this happens, then I know they’ll have great, close games. Maybe even a few tussles here and there.

I am a Laker fan, but I had erased them from my bracket ever since the dismal display during the regular season, and was completely surprised to see them even make it to the playoffs. So now, I am just waiting for whoever reaches the championship round, and hoping that we get a good series.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all moms!

I hope you take care of your mom every day, and not just during mother’s day.

My Basketball Journey

Our season is over.

The basketball Gods have once again denied my request. They, once again, have turned a deaf ear to my wishes. We made our exit in the playoffs, with the opposing team having a “twice to beat” advantage. They did not even need the second game. After grinding out a 2-3 win-loss slate, we reached the playoffs, but it wasn’t our time. We had to pack our bags and go home.

No one believed we will reach this far. After having two win-less seasons, everyone was looking at our team like we were a practice team. I was not even part of the team the first time we had a company-wide sports fest. I was sitting on the sidelines, telling myself that I could have made a difference if I was on the team. The team went on to lose every single game that year, every loss came with a double digit margin.

The year after (early 2012), I finally got invited to try out for the team. I was the shortest, but the team captain liked my hustle and passing enough to let me join the team.

I got my first taste of the atmosphere, and me being near-sighted, I was not really a threat offensively, as I struggled to even see the surrounding. I played purely with heart, and instinct. I was able to be a part of the regular rotation, partly too because we have a shortage of players. The year ended in a sour note, however, since I got injured by way of a wayward elbow meeting my forehead while I was trying to go for a steal. I had to get stitched up, and that ultimately ended that season for me, and my team. With only 8-9 players, we were down one man.

This year was a more optimistic season, however. We got a few more additions, and we were able to retain most of our core players from last year. We were so optimistic that we even talked about winning it all this year. I felt more confident too, because I got myself a pair of basketball glass frames. I was positive it would help my game.

Our seven core players from last year (including me) went on scrimmages early. I got my confidence higher since I was able to have the best off-season ever. I even scored a career-high 20 points in one of our games. To top it off, it was against a good team too. My confidence couldn’t have been higher. The team once again talked about the possibility of a championship.

Unfortunately, our practice stopped because of our schedules. Work finally caught up to us and we had to postpone practices and scrimmages until 2013 crept in.

We resumed practice a few weeks before this year’s sports fest. However, my skills faltered a bit as the stagnancy took effect. I lost my self-confidence and I became unsure. The team was worried about me getting injured again so they wanted me to ease up. I tried to adjust during practice, and things seemed okay.

Once the season started though, everything went differently. First, they reminded me to ease up on the hustle to avoid injury. I took that in mind, but I felt like I lost my identity. It affected me and my game so much that I became very nervous during games, thinking of staying away from another injury. It became a primary thought that I completely lost focus. I was no longer the same player. Without my niche, I was lost.

We lost our first two games, again by a huge margin. I felt useless and hopeless. The championship talks became talks of frustration. Talks of getting to the finals became discussions of what went wrong, and what could have been. That brought our record to two seasons without a win.

Our third game, however, was against another win-less team so our confidence was up for a bit. I was still advised by my teammates to be careful and not to go all out, so I was again unsure of what my role was supposed to be. There even came to a point where I got so caught up with thinking that I missed a request to sub in. On that game, I committed three turnovers, luckily not one resulted in an opponent’s score. Our team captain bailed us out though, and after two years without a win, it finally came. We got our first win, and it was a bitter-sweet feeling. Sweet because it has been a long while without our team winning that it felt like we already won a championship. Bitter because I, again, had to look for my role in the team.

We won another game afterwards but lost a close game to the top team. That was enough to get us in the Final Four, giving us a chance to face the top team again. We needed to beat them twice. I told myself that I need to go back to my old game so I can help my team more. I didn’t tell my teammates, fearing a negative reaction.

Earlier today, the first must win game was held. I was feeling good about my jump shots. I was able to hit most of my practice three-pointers. I was very optimistic, and I really thought we could win.

But when the game started, I found myself sitting on the bench for most of the game. When I finally got my chance, it was already in the second quarter. Staying on the bench for too long made me anxious and nervous. It was a tight game that I did not want to mess up. I became so worried about messing up that I felt my legs weaken. When it was my time to play, my legs felt like they did not even exist at all.

I still played aggressively, like I was always known for. Going after the opposing guard like he owed me a million dollars. But I still felt the jitters and my disappearing legs that my first two shots were bricks. The first was an air ball from the perimeter, and another one an ill advised tear drop that went “clank”.

I was asked to sit down. I begrudgingly agreed and watched the action from the sidelines, instead. But they said I was playing better that game, so I got a bit of my mojo back. I silently wished that we beat them.

Unfortunately, I did not get my wish. The opponents built a 10 point lead late in the third quarter. I still have not gone back in after my first few minutes. I got my legs back and was raring to go. I was itching to play.

I never got the call to suit up until the last minute. When I got up, I was able to get a quick 3 pointer, a steal, and another 3 pointer. I thought my second three pointer was enough to tie the game, but it was not. I looked up at the scoreboard and the truth just hit me in the face.  It was too late. If only I had asked, or demanded to play, maybe we could have at least tied the game but then again, maybe not. Maybe it’s just me with my wishful thinking.

We have reached as far as we could have, with only 7 players consistently attending. The newcomers were not as committed as we wanted them to be, bringing us back to square one.

We talked about training early for next year’s season. I listened intently to the guys and thought that maybe I still have one more season left. I have been thinking of retiring lately. I have experienced too many heartbreaks in the sport that I am ready to hang my gloves up, or in this case, sneakers. I felt like the game is evolving so fast that I am not able to keep up anymore, with work and everything on my plate. The people are getting taller, and there is no longer a room for shorter guys like me to prosper. I love the game so much that even thinking of staying away from it means that I really feel that there’s no more room for me in it.

Up to this minute, I am tossing my own basketball up and down. I am looking at my shoes and trying to communicate with it.

“Do you think I should let go?” 

I’m still waiting for the answer.

Daily Prompt: Personal Space

“To what extent is your blog a place for your own self-expression and creativity vs. a site designed to attract readers? How do you balance that? If sticking to certain topics and types of posts meant your readership would triple, would you do it?” 

I’ll show you my stats to answer the question above.

My Month's Statistics
My Month’s Statistics

I can confidently say that I have a lot of visitors, and that the question above does not apply to me. I can be as random as I want and still get the numbers I want.

NOT.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I purposely removed the numbers on the left side of the graph, and left out the bars to make me look like a “real blogger” (and maybe a fool). My real and woeful stat-line is (drum roll please):

My Monthly Statistics 2
My Monthly Statistics 2

Ta-daa! 

I can’t even break the 20 views per day mark.

I started this blog because I wanted to have something to look back to, when I get old. I wanted to have a means to reminisce, and see what I am up to during these formative years. I wanted to have something to show my future kids, and to tell them that writing is a good way to express themselves, and to express their feelings, rather than doing something else (something nasty).

I trotted on, a few posts for a few weeks, and I was still satisfied. I read and met (figuratively) a few writers, and visited their worlds. I went with them in their travels, and I communicated. I chanced upon a few blogs that generated a few numbers that I only encountered whenever I play Monopoly. 6 digit visitors per day, 5 digits and even 3 digits. As my stats show, I am happy to have at least 1 or 2 visitors per day. This is when I started telling myself that I need to get more visitors.

I was caught up in the numbers. I wanted to get more views, and more interactions. When I did not get it, I felt sad, and felt like I was bad at writing. I wanted to get more visitors so bad that I almost wrote product reviews and posted it on other websites, like a spam comment. I even started promoting my blog through Facebook, but I have stopped doing so, and even deactivated my Facebook account.

Luckily, I was able to shake this feeling off. I remembered my reason for creating this blog in the first place: to have a personal journal.  My main reason was to write for myself, and not for others. I almost got carried away with the numbers.

Sometimes, I get lucky and get more viewers on one day, but admitting that I will never be an internet sensation is easier than trying to be one. I am not selling out, as what they say. I don’t want to write about one specific topic because for sure, I will run out of gas, knowing myself.  I have too limited knowledge of any topic that I pretty much will be spewing nonsense almost immediately.

Randomness, here we continue.

Goodbye Facebook

FB1

 

It was hard, but I finally did it. I let go of Facebook.

I must confess, Facebook had given me a lot of good times on the internet. I was online for almost everyday, sometimes more than once. I surfed the social networking site even at work, even though it was prohibited. I wanted to see what my Facebook friends were up to, and I wanted them to be updated with what I was up to, too. Facebook became more of a past time, it became a necessity. I played games on it, read articles on it, watched interesting and viral videos from it. I became nuts about Facebook.

But there came a time when I realized that Facebook became a chore. No longer what it was, people used it too much, like I did once. It became an eyesore. It became a place of extremes.

There were people who update their status every minute, even with the most mundane of all tasks or chore. It seemed like these people had nothing better to do but to tell everyone on Facebook what they were doing at the moment.

It became a medium of braggadocio. Whenever I read status updates, majority of them are nothing but attempts to showcase some stuff to show how great one’s life is. There are people who use this as a method to be “something else” or “someone else”, which is completely different from their real self. Majority wanted to be “cool” and majority was willing to try anything to be “cool”, even just in Facebook.

There were people who are “rich”, always posting stuff about their new gadgets, their new toys, new and expensive hobbies, and their travels. It’s great to look at, at some point, but there comes a time when I can’t help comparing myself to them (I wish my parents were rich too), and ending up having a sad start (or usually, end) to my day.

There are the higher ups, your office “boss” who falls under the category above, who sometimes goes overboard with pictures of her night outs, that she most of the time ends up looking like a hoe. I see her in the office every night, and I seriously saw her in a different way after seeing a few (of the thousands) of her pictures.

There are the suicidal and problematic ones, who post pictures of them hurting themselves. Posting pictures of their blood covered self, or just hints of problems, eliciting responses and then responding with “I’m okay” or “it’s nothing…”. 

And then there are the “smart” ones, who like to let everyone know that they are intellectually higher than most of the people around them. They normally “laugh” at the mistakes that they overheard, or say how they corrected someone else’s grammar (look who’s qualified to correct people’s grammar).  

The sadder part is, I know these people personally (most of them, at least), and they are not what they try to claim to be on the internet. It’s just crazy how people change when they get behind a keyboard. On the internet, nobody knows if you are what you claim to be, or even if you are a dog.

Peter Steiner’s cartoon

I can’t even delete my account, the link is broken and apparently, I can only deactivate it. I can “go back” anytime, but I’m hoping I don’t feel the need to.