I enjoyed watching and playing the game of basketball, since I was 9 years old. (It all began in 1996.)
When I was growing up, I was a weird kid. In the late 1990s, I surprisingly rooted for the Utah Jazz over Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls. I did not go for the popular team neither the best player in the planet. (After my high school years, I began to understand the game more than before. Then, I finally realized Michael Jordan was an electrifying, amazing basketball player.)
I became a bandwagon. In the early 2000s, I rooted for whichever team was winning, such as the Los Angeles Lakers.
Yes, I was born and raised in the Bay Area most of my life. I still root for the Golden State Warriors.
Most importantly, I love the "game" more than the Golden State Warriors.
(If the Warriors lose, I do not stress out about it anymore. May the best team win. Referees might miss calls, or officiate bad calls. Then again, it is the name of the game. It happens.)
Also, I do watch that much television anymore, except basketball, and some tennis.
I am an NBA super fan, like the known architect man, James Goldstein. He usually wears outlandish outfits with his cowboy hat. (You will see James Goldstein on national televised games on the sideline, while I only watch the games on my iPad on Reddit or TV.)
I used to hate on NBA players, such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Draymond Green. When they were rookies, they were out of control. Now, they have proven me wrong. I must give a player time to grow and evolve, like anybody in life as well.
If they are not able to develop their game, they still have successfully made it in the NBA.
Obviously, it is tough to make it in the NBA.
I will crunch down the numbers.
We have a world population of about 7 billion people. Currently, the NBA consists of 30 total teams. Each NBA team has a maximum of 15 total players. Thus, the NBA has only a total of 450 players.
Congratulations to the NBA players.
Any NBA player will dominate at any pickup basketball game anywhere.
My 10 favorite NBA players when I was growing up:
(Michael Jordan is the only GOAT, but I did not get to see most of his games when I was growing up. Same goes to John Stockton.)
1. Kobe Bryant (The great footwork and the wonderful turnaround fadeway jumper. Also, he can dunk.)
2. Steve Nash (His eyes were everywhere. He will find you anywhere.)
3. Allen Iverson (The killer crossover. He made defenders look silly.)
4. Tony Parker (He usually drives towards the basket, and kicks it out to the open 3 point shooter in the corner. He possesses a tear drop shot and a spin move drive. Still playing in the NBA right now.)
5. Rod Strickland (He was in the 1988 NBA draft class, while I was only one year old. When I started watching basketball, he was already in his prime. He was a flashy, first-pass point guard.)
6. Muggsy Bogues (Shortest NBA player to ever play the game at only 5'3. Most importantly, he played in the NBA for 14 years. Size does not matter. He stole everybody's pocket. Be aware of your surroundings, or else you got it picked from him.)
7. Earl Boykins (Stands only at 5'5. Also, he played for 14 years in the NBA. A great scoring guard at that size. Also, he can block shots.)
8. Jamal Crawford (An automatic scorer with the fancy ball handling skills. Currently, he leads the NBA in 4-point plays. At 37, he is still playing right now as well.)
9. Manu Ginobili (Before James Harden, there is Manu. He is the master of the Eurostep. Still playing at 40 years old.)
10. Dirk Nowitzki (He continues on with his 1-legged fadeway jumpshot. His signature. You cannot block it, like Kareem's skyhook. Still playing at 39 years old.)
My 11 favorite current NBA players:
(No need to explain each player's strengths. Just watch them play. From 2nd to 11th, in no particular order whatsoever.)
1. LeBron James
2. James Harden
3. Kevin Durant
4. Russell Westbrook
5. Stephen Curry
6. Damian Lilliard
7. Kyrie Irving
8. Kawhi Leonard
9. Isaiah Thomas
10. Giannis Antetokounmpo
11. Mike Conley Jr. (People say I play similar to him, even though he is one year younger than me. I gotta add him on this list.)
The "game" for me started 5 years ago.
In 2013, my good friend and I visited Las Vegas together. We assumed attractive women will come to us. Apparently, they did not. Welcome to reality.
My good friend came back home with frustration. Thus, he researched and discovered the "game." He found YouTubers, Simple Pickup. (FYI, they were not the first people to talk about the "game.")
He introduced me to the "game."
Simple Pickup has taught me how to pick up (or approach) any attractive women. (It all goes step-by-step, such as get the number, go on the first date, build the relationship, and etc. I enjoyed watching their YouTube videos. For the reason that, I must see it to believe it. At that time, they were the first to film videos of picking up girls. Now, everybody does it.)
This is the "game."
I remember my first time ever to approach a woman. I had extreme social anxiety.
My good friend and I were eating together at a restaurant, "Burgers and Brew," in Sacramento. I saw my type of woman. She was with her friend as well.
My good friend told me, "Go (talk to her)."
I could not do it. I was sweating and overthinking. I was being lame with excuses.
30 minutes have already passed.
The girl was still eating.
(In Simple Pickup's old videos, if you cannot approach a woman, you have to do something outrageous in public, like do 15 pushups right now.) I did my pushups on the floor in front of everybody. Then, I approached the girl.
It was successful, even though I was super nervous. Surprisingly, she gave me her number. Beginner's luck. (I was super excited. That feeling when I hit a game-winning layup at the buzzer. I have done that before. Showtime.)
I started to study the "game" more. I have read the book, "Rules of the Game," by Neil Strauss.
When I started learning the "game," I was very harsh on myself, if things did not go my way. I had many regrets.
Here is a list of my harshness:
All negative thoughts in my head. I was not able to control it. (No wonder, I was depressed on December 2016.)
Also, I became more analytical. I wanted everything to be perfect, step-by-step.
So far, I have realized two sides of me in talking to attractive women: The "game," and my true-self.
When I learned the "game," I was a pickup artist. I wanted to lure women in having sex with me. (That was my championship goal.) I always talked about myself. I always impressed women. I was cocky. I was never myself.
For instance, my old high school crush saw it when I approached her at Target store. I remember she told her friend about me. A few months later, her friend gave me a disgusted look.
As a pickup artist, I hated a lady if she rejected me. Also, I used to go out for an hour to just pick up women.
This new year, I have been my true-self to everyone, especially attractive women. I continue on being humble to others as well. First and foremost, I want to connect now. I ask, and listen.
As my true-self, I respect a woman's decision. Also, I stopped going out to just pick up women.
For instance, if I am running errands, I see an attractive woman. I would approach her if I want to. I have managed my mind.
Most importantly, the "game" is in my blood.
I am very grateful for learning and developing this skill (or the "game"). I have taken risks. This skill has taught me to take any type of risks for my every day life as well. Be uncomfortable.
Without this skill, I would be still terrified talking to women.
"The 'game' is like the 'force' in Star Wars movies," my good friend told me.
Lastly, he told me, "May the force be with you."
Be aware of the "game," and my true-self. Now, I am able to manage the negative thoughts in my mind.
I have no regrets anymore.
An amazing balance of the "game" and my true self.
(In one of my previous blog posts, “A Letter To Her,” I wrote a letter to my future girlfriend.)
Dear Future Girlfriend,
I am writing another letter to you.
Every morning, I wake up from my bed. I remind myself that I am very grateful I found you.
I enjoy more of your “presence,” than your “presents.” You already know.
I will continue on being my true-self to you. No secrets kept from you. I respect you.
I introduce you the 3 C’s: Connect, cuddle, and chill.
This defines our relationship together. I adore the 3 C’s with you.
When I first approached you, I really wanted to know you. I was struck by your prettiness. I had butterflies in my tummy. I was nervous. I wanted to connect with you. I just asked and listened.
I adore connecting with you.
When our relationship went deeper, we became closer together as one. We have provided warmth and comfort together. You keep me relaxed.
I adore cuddling with you.
When it was time, we trusted each other in our bodies. We have experimented together different positions. Also, we have patiently studied each of our strengths and weaknesses. Chilling with you is more powerful and meaningful than anybody else.
I adore chilling with you.
Relationships come unexpectedly, especially us.
As we continue on our "up and down" journey together, our balanced relationship gets stronger.
I adore you.
Picture taken from Makati Shangri-La, Manila in Horizon Club Lounge.
I arrived in Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.
Many stories to talk about.
Now, these are my memorable stories. (Not in chronological order.)
Story #1 (A friendly encounter.)
Flying from Hong Kong to Manila, I met a lady in plane. She was my seatmate. (She works at Hong Kong.)
She was going to celebrate her 3-year-old daughter’s birthday on the next day.
She was traveling with her friend and her family.
As the plane was slowly taking off, her friend’s baby was crying.
I told her, “This is normal for babies. Their ears cannot handle the huge increase in altitude.”
Her friend was seated further away from baby crying. (She panicked, and jumped off her seat. The flight attendants wanted everybody to remain seated.)
So, I told my seatmate, “Your friend can exchange seats with me, once we are able to get up from our seats.”
The flight attendant thought we were together as a couple.
Story #2 (A hilarious moment.)
At the hotel’s horizon, my uncle jokingly advised me how to talk to our server.
The attractive server, Precious, came to us.
I nicely told her, “I really wanna have a precious moment with you.
Then, I asked her, “Are you free tonight?”
She laughed, and nodded her head.
A few seconds later, my uncle was embarrassed, and apologized to her. Then, she apologized as well.
I told her with a smile, “I respect your word. No need to apologize.”
People told me stories what they either have experienced (throughout their life) or heard (through ear).
Stories have been passed on.
Stories I have been told:
Last night, I arrived in San Francisco airport at 8:40.
Later tonight, I will write another blog post, “Post-Philippines Trip.” I will talk about my story from this 12 day trip.
Many stories to talk about.
Bumble is an online dating phone app. (For further info, just google it.)
Here goes my Bumble date story...
In the Philippines, I get a successful match on my first arrival date on January 17. (My last date was a year and a half ago.)
(I am here until the 29th. Free hotel stay and food covered by my good friend’s Dad. Courtesy from his appreciation to me.)
My Bumble match and I exchanged messages to each other. Then, I set up a date with her.
My uncle insisted me to have her meet us at our hotel’s horizon on level 24, which serves an open cocktail bar and dinner daily from 5-7pm.
I told him, “That’s fine. Meet her a bit. Then, give us space.”
He said, “Ask her to tag a friend. I want a good conversation. I want some good company.”
(Side note: My Uncle is married to a loving, caring wife. Keep reading a bit further, and guess what Uncle will do.)
I answered, “Yes. That’s fine.”
An hour later, my date and her friends (also her co-workers) met us at the Horizon. (She actually brought 2 friends with her.)
My uncle was seated alone on a sofa facing across her friends. My date and I sat next to each other on our own sofa.
(Total of 3 sofas in a mini-lounge area. 3 sofas were positioned as a U-shape. Hopefully, you are able to picture that in your mind.)
My uncle continued on talking about me in front of my date and her friends. (He was my wingman.)
My date and I had our privacy connecting with each other.
Then, my Uncle wanted to take a picture of me and date. Also, he wanted a group picture of us. I said, “I guess.” The girls did not seem to care anyway.
(After the date ended, I went on showing off the pictures taken from Uncle to a few of my friends. That excitement when I have not been on a date for a while. Also, my first ever date on Bumble.)
An hour later, they had to be at work. They were already running late. I walked them to the elevator. Then, we parted ways.
I went on date with my Bumble match tagged along with Uncle and her friends. This rarely happens. It was hilarious.
Say what you want. Game-changer or not. I do not really care anymore.
My older-self would be very analytical. I did not go for the kiss. I should have pulled her to my room. I was not able to execute. Therefore, I lost. She might not contact me anymore.
I was a pick-up artist.
(I was greedy. I kept going for the better girl. I do not prioritize picking up girls for one straight hour anymore. It would get into my head. I must pickup every girl I see. If I missed that opportunity, I lost. When I missed talking to one, I was too harsh on myself. I was not able to be my true-self. Now, I have freshened and managed my mind. I have the skills to pickup girls. It is in my blood. My good friend told me, “May the force be with you.”)
I am coming to a point now, where I only want to connect with a girl. After my bumble date, I enjoyed her presence. Sex is great, but it is not my championship goal, unlike before.
Live in the moment.
My good friend’s dad is taking me with him to Manila. (His appreciation from me to him.)
He told me something like, "You are always there when I need help."
He will be attending his high school reunion over there.
(We are staying in Manila from January 17-29. Tonight, we are heading to San Francisco International Airport. Tomorrow, our departure is 12:30am.)
He will be showing me a rich, classy life. (Even if I was ever rich, I ain't about that life. He already knows me. It is wonderful to at least experience it.)
We will be staying at Shangri-La Hotel in Makati. (I only paid for my airfare. My Uncle is covering my hotel stay.)
First and foremost, building relationships is powerful. I choose it over everything, especially money.
Again, be humble to others. Do not expect anything in return. (If you are given something in return, be very grateful. Remember, do not feel obligated to give them something.) Be your true-self.
My most memorable New Year's was this year.
Long story (kind of) short.
Most importantly, I reconnected with old friends. Also, I connected with a new friend. Furthermore, I stayed at their homes.
I was in the Los Angeles area from December 28, 2017 - January 7, 2018.
(I had an "unplanned" itinerary. I like it that way. No rush in the schedule. Relax, and enjoy.)
Now, I perceive it differently.
It is only a motivation to continue on reinventing myself at any time of the year. First and foremost, it is up to me. (You already know.)
I used to think a new year will change me. (I would wait, until a new year comes.)
One word: Procrastination. (Yes, I still procrastinate but it is not as worst as before.)
Today, I told my Uber Driver about this.
Then, I asked her, “How do you see New Year’s?”
”I do not start changing right when New Year comes,” she answered. “It takes time for me. Maybe 2 months in.”
Be the change you want to be. Expect failure. Whenever you are ready, start your (up-and-down) journey.
My parents and I only celebrate Christmas by attending mass together, ever since my sister passed away in 2003. (No picture shown of us. My parents dislike taking a picture of 3 people as mere superstition.)
During this year's Christmas Eve mass, I calmly listened to the homily given by the priest.
"A little girl gave a present (gift) to her father," the priest said. "The father opened the gift. Surprisingly, it was empty. The little girl told her father that I blew many kisses into it. This is all for you, Daddy."
Christmas is not all about "presents." Instead, it is more about your "presence."
After Christmas Eve mass, I spent time with my good friend and his family.
On Christmas Day, I came back to visit him and his family.
Picture shown of me and a few of his family members.
Later in the afternoon, I picked up (another) good friend's father along with his wife to a hotel in San Francisco. (They celebrated his birthday, and their Christmas at SF.) We ate dinner at his house.
Video shown below.
Again, I have come to realize that it is our "presence" in the moment, not exchanging "presents."
My dad once told me about my bonding relationship with my two good friends, and especially their families, "Son, you are a good man. You have people who care about you. I did not have this."
I answered, "You joined the US military to start a new life at 18 years old. You escaped from a poor life in the Philippines. If it weren't for you and mom, I would not have been here."
The past is remembered.
Most importantly, enjoy your "presence" with others, not "presents" (unless you want to).
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.
Blogger, College grad, Hiker, & Traveler.