Follow up: Holiday Parties
What I ended up deciding on for each party.
“Casual” Party in Dallas
New York party
What I ended up deciding on for each party.
“Casual” Party in Dallas
New York party
My baby cries the saddest cry in the middle of the night. The wife is away on business so I get up and make him a bottle and feed him. He’s wide awake while drinking the bottle. I’m bracing myself for a long night. After he’s done he takes his blanket and rubs his face with it as is his custom before falling asleep. I breathe a sigh of relief. While staring a him for a moment I see him peek out of his blanket and smiles at me and then hides his face back into his blanket. These are the moments that I’ll cherish.
You’re welcome son. Anytime.
When I first started following menswear blogs I noticed that there was an affinity for double monk strap shoes by many of the bloggers. I thought they were interesting but I preferred the single monk because I found it more classic (and there was no hype for them). However as I saw more and more of the double monks pop up they started to slowly grow on me so I decided that I would keep an eye out for a pair.
Fast forward 2 years later, today I finally got a pair of double monks hand delivered to me by a friend visiting from England.
I’m glad to report 2 things:
1. Even after 2 years I still think the double monk is a beautiful shoe and that it’s not just a passing fad. The single monks are still more classic but the double monks keep things interesting. Although many bloggers love them, you don’t see too many of them out in the wild so they are still pretty unique.
2. These shoes are even more beautiful in person than I was anticipating. This particular pair is the Westminster model made by Edward Green (I indulged a little). What’s unique about this pair is that it’s not in the normal 888 last which has a more chiseled toe box (see here) but rather in the 202 last which is a more rounded toe. The 888 last shows really nicely in pictures but in person I find the portions a little odd when looking from the top view. I was quite nervous about buying these without being able to see them in person considering it’s not the normal 888 last so the look and the fit was more or less a crap shoot on how it would suit me. Luckily my fears were put to rest after receiving these and trying them on. It all worked out and I am quite pleased with these.
The dark oak calf antiquing is amazing and what Edward Green is known for.
Top/front view - Unlike the 888 version, when viewed at this angle, the toe box doesn’t look too small and then balloons out. Instead there’s a gradual smooth transition to the widest point of the shoe from the more rounded toe box.
I gave it a nice polish prior to first wear. I look forward to enjoying these for a really long time.
As I turn another year older this week, I also realized that I went from a sneaker collector who hated wearing shoes to having more shoes than I thought I would ever want or wear. One thing remains the same though I guess, I always willing to spend more for what I put on my feet than most other things that I own. Let’s just hope that in another 10 years I won’t change gears again and start collecting cowboy boots. LOL.
Lastly, while most view growing older as a downer. I find that growing older (and growing up) is leading to new and exciting experiences and opportunities in life so I’m actually looking forward to all that’s to come.
So in love
Film Session - Practice?! - 90%
Spent the day at home resting but felt restless by the end of the day. So I went out to shoot some jumpers for a bit and decided to record it to review. My right leg comes forward too much and I need to reduce that hitch in my release.
After warming up for 20 minutes I went on a 27 for 30 stretch hitting the first 18 in a row. Not too shabby. ;-)
Busy Wedding Weekend
Link to Part 1
As an escape…
After graduating college I quickly realized that people are no longer as free to devote large amounts of time to basketball as they once did. I however, still tried to play as much as I can. I needed it. Not so much for the competition or even for fun, although I do enjoy these aspects of basketball, but mainly as an escape from whatever was going on in life. While having no one to play with regularly was sad at first it was also liberating since I no longer needed to wait for a certain day in order to play. I lived a few blocks away from a park so all I needed was a ball whenever I was anxious, sad, angry, depressed, or bored. I usually played pick up games with whoever was there but many times I just preferred an empty court to myself. I competed with myself by shooting free throws until I hit 10 straight which sometimes didn’t happen or did other drills until I reached a certain goal. I would think of a particular thing to work on and do it over and over until I felt like I made some sort of tangible progress. Practice really does make a difference but more importantly it was something to focus on and take my mind off of things.
More than just playing…
Shortly after switching churches after college I got roped into taking over the church’s outreach sports program. The program was a basketball team consisting of inner city kids from various parts of Queens (Jamaica, Cambria Heights, Flushing, etc). I’m not going to lie but coaching inner city high school kids sounded like a challenge I wasn’t sure I was up for. I’ve coached before but nothing like this. I volunteered a few summers at my old church’s basketball camp in NYC Chinatown which was mostly Chinese kids ages 6-12 but I have never headed up my own program… of non Asians… teenagers no less! Needless to say I was a bit overwhelmed. I knew that getting through to these kids meant I needed to have their respect. In my mind they must have been thinking what can a short, skinny, Chinese guy teach inner city kids about basketball? I was asking myself the same thing. I remember my first meeting with the kids, some thought I was trying out for the team. I don’t remember if I introduced myself as their new coach at first but I remember I played a couple of games with them that day. I think I was nervous but played well enough to get their attention and basketball respect. From there it was no longer about basketball, it was about being there every week for the kids, teaching them about integrity, doing the right thing, and about team work. Doing all those things earned me their respect as someone that cared for them. It was a struggle at times since it was mainly just me and one other guy from a different church running the team for 2 years but it was a memorable 2 years. During that time I got married and the other coach bought some of the kids to my wedding ceremony. It really meant a lot to me that they wanted to be there for my big day. I stopped coaching after the seeing the group of juniors, who were the youngest on team when I started, graduate. I run into some of the kids every once in a while and I’m happy to see that they are doing alright. I would like to think that I made an impact but more importantly I hope they remember that God is always with them.
I still manage to get out on the courts 2-3 times a week, whether to play or to shoot around. I have all sorts of aches and pains now. An achy back, a bad right heel, a weak right elbow, a troublesome neck, and most recently a tweaked left knee (something might be torn but I haven’t had time find out). I’m also a year removed from recovering from a blood clot in my lungs. Dealing with injuries and age is tough for someone who’s used to being active. I’m definitely not as fast as I used to be and I am a far cry from my peak jumping powers of grabbing the rim with 2 hands. But none of that makes me want to stop playing. Just 2 weeks ago I had an open lane and couldn’t even gather myself enough to clap the board, it was quite funny and embarrassing. However, I think I play a much better game from the shoulders up nowadays than I ever did when I was younger. When I was younger I was never able to do well when it counted (in league games, and tournaments) but now everything slows down a bit and it’s much more manageable. Perhaps it because I’m slower so I’m forced to play smarter and within my limits now. And for reasons that I can’t explain I have also been able to expand my range to beyond the 3 pt line in the past year whereas before the mid range shots was I was most effective. Things just click sometimes I guess.
I can’t wait…
Ever since AI got blacklisted from the NBA, I’m definitely not as excited about the NBA as I used to be. (Jeremy Lin might bring me back though, we’ll see.) I don’t even watch the NBA playoffs until it reaches game 3 or 4 of the finals. There are no hoop dreams of dunking anymore or winning tournaments. It’s more about having fun and getting exercise without getting hurt now. What I am looking forward to is introducing this game that I’ve had a love affair with to my son when he’s old enough dribble a ball. I remember the morning after we found out we were having a boy I woke up at 7am on a Saturday just to go to the park while it was empty to shot a video of all the things that I can still do and would want to teach him. You know, just in case I can’t later on. I may not have had any coaching or someone to teach me the skills which I had to learn on my own, but I’ll be sure to teach him everything I’ve spent years learning as long as he has an interest in it. I really hope he’ll love basketball just as much as I do.
I’ve been feeling a bit introspective lately so I thought I would write about one of the loves of my life… basketball. This is an abbreviated summary of an ongoing passion and how it has evolved in my life.
Like most of the sports that I play, I never had formal training or coaching or even participated in any organized teams, I had to learn it on my own. I was a late bloomer and didn’t start playing basketball until I was a sophomore in high school so compared to most of the kids my age I was really far behind in terms of skills. Luckily I’ve always been athletic enough to pick up a new sport and become decent at it relatively quickly. It’s one thing to learn a sport but to excel at it, that’s an entirely different story. Of all the sports I enjoy playing, I am probably best at basketball and have devoted the most time to it. Now I’m not saying that I’m great or anything (far from it) but it’s the sport that I have the highest amount of skill in (which may not be saying much).
In the beginning…
For me the best way to get better at something is through practice. I remember spending countless hours in my little backyard that had a 12 X 14 slab of concrete where I was just dribbling the basketball and shooting at an imaginary hoop until my body felt weak and I needed to eat. I think dribbling well with both hands is probably the hardest thing to get down pat in basketball and even now I’m not satisfied with my ball handling skills but it’s at the point where I can do 80% of what I want to do on the court which is enough for me to get by for the most part.
I had the basketball jones…
During my junior and senior years in high school I waited for weekends with great anticipation as it was the only times I was able to play ball with my boys. A rainy Saturday was devastating. We would get to one of the Chinatown parks at 10am and stay there till 5pm playing games on and off. Win and you get to stay on the court, lose and you can end up with for hours to play again. Looking back I wonder how manage to play for so long each Saturday? We played well together. I didn’t have much of a jump shot and wasn’t particularly good at driving to the basket at that age, especially given my size, so I mainly looked to distribute the ball. The only thing I was truly proud of at that point was being able to grab the rim with one hand. I figured I should be dunking in no time right? LOL. By then we would beat most of the kids our age at the park and were able to hang in there with most of the college guys and young adults. Those were good times.
It wasn’t until college that I was really able to spend a lot of time in the gym. For the first time in my life I was able to manage my own schedule with no curfew and most of that time was spent either at the gym or studying. My first two years of college was just a lot of playing basketball. The competition varied but there were definitely a lot of people much better than me. My jump shot got slightly better but still nowhere near the level of consistency that I wanted. The one thing that I did perfect though was the AI crossover that hangs from left to right. When I finally got that down I was so happy because AI is my favorite player and that was his move. I didn’t overuse it like how a lot of people tended to but only when I knew it would work. So it depended on who was guarding me and how they were guarding me. While that move is pretty effective, I also took delight in stealing the ball from people who tried to use it on me. I’m always anticipating them trying to do it on me. Let’s face it, that crossover is probably the most glorified move in basketball over the last 15 years and to get crossed over by someone is to lose face on the court because people will oohs and aahs or laugh when someone gets crossed. So me being a 5’7, scrawny Asian kid playing against (anyone really but especially) non Asians, I knew guys were gonna try to cross me up… but I usually ended up with the ball when they tried. ;-)
Then it clicked…
It wasn’t until one night during my junior year and I was watching a Knicks game on TV while waiting for the 10pm open gym that something clicked. I was observing how Allan Houston shot the ball. It was so effortless and so smooth. The way he released the ball and how he used mainly his wrist to shoot suddenly made sense to me and inspired me that night. I remember playing at the open gym that night and all my pull up jump shots were going in. The rim was as wide as the ocean (so the saying goes). I didn’t want the night to end because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to shoot that way again. But it stayed with me and finally I found a part of my game that I can revolve around and rely on. The mid range pull up J.
The next level…
Later that year I took notice of a freshmen who started playing regularly at the gym. He wasn’t big or fast or flashy but he had this cockiness to him that was backed up by an unbelievable JUMP shot. Not just a good set shot but an actual jump shot. I’m not even talking about a pull up jump shot because momentum helps you get lift to shoot the ball with a pull up. This kid was able to stare you down and from a stand still, jump straight up and shoot the ball with accuracy consistently. What’s even more impressive about him was that he didn’t have a whole lot of ups either. I was determined to add that to my game and spent the new few weeks practicing that shot. It was incredibly hard getting used to shooting that shot but I eventually got it and my confidence was at it’s peak.
Coming back from injury…
I started off my senior year fracturing my left foot by landing on a guy’s foot. It was my first major injury and I was out of commission for about 6 weeks. I probably wasn’t close to 100% until another 6 weeks later but was so itching to play that I just taped up the foot and hoped for the best. But once I was truly healthy I remember being on a tear. For a 3 week stretch I didn’t lose a single half court pick up game. Sure it wasn’t all me but I was doing at least half of the scoring in most of those games. I remember wishing that my boys, none of whom went to the same school as me, were there with me during this time. It would have been great. At least we played as much as we could have during vacation breaks and when they came to visit me at school. I miss those days.
To be continued…
Here’s a little trick that I learned for cleaning water bottles and containers with small openings such has the water tank of humidifiers.
The loose rice will scrape away all the slimey nasty stuff that’s been building up as you shake the bottle. Once you’re done you’re left with a slime free bottle that doesn’t smell anymore.
Hope you find this little trick useful. I sure did!
Everyday carry - Daddy Edition
This is what happens when I’m left home alone with the kid. LOL.