Dethrone the King?

The NBA playoffs. The most intense time for all basketball teams throughout the NBA (for those who have made at least ahem.. the Lakers). New unexpected teams are sprouting throughout the league hoping to prove the regular “powerhouse” squads that they deserve respect by veteran playoff teams. Most of these “playoff rookies” include the Detroit Pistons, the Charlotte Hornets, the Indiana Pacers, and finally the Boston Celtics. Personally, my favorite team of these 4 would be the Detroit Pistons.

The Detroit Pistons owned by Mr. Stan Van Gundy, and coached by Stan Van Gundy. The once feared team back in 2000. Led by a numerous amount of NBA legends (in my opinion) including Ben Wallace, Chauncy Billups, Allen Iverson, Bill Laimbeer, Rasheed Wallace, Isiah Thomas, and Richard Hamilton the Pistons owned the league in the early 2000. Seeing up to 3 championship seasons and 6 playoff appearances whose last was in 2009. After that, they never managed to retain their old glory. They never came close to making the playoffs and quickly seeped to the bottom of the league.

Until this year, after acquiring a dominating center that the young Andre Drummond is in 2012 as the ninth overall pick. This powerful center quickly made a name for being one of the most aggressive centers in the league. Drafting this aspiring star gave hope to Detroit fans and the organization.

Things began to look up for the Pistons. Soon after that, they managed to  steal Reggie Jackson in during the 2014-2015 season. Reggie Jackson being drafted  in 2011 by the Oklahoma City Thunder and played limited minutes under the shadow of Russel Westbrook wanted more. He wanted a greater role for the team but the Thunder could not provide so the Pistons quickly snatched him up.  After that, the Pistons future only seemed to get brighter after snagging Tobias Harris from the Orlando Magic who is young and has lots of talent which fits perfectly with the team already. The Pistons finally made the playoffs this year and now they face the King, Lebron. Tobias Harris will have to step up including Reggie Jackson for they have to guard the elusive Kyrie Irving and the King himself. Hopefully in several years they will easily, dethrone the king.

It’s Impossible

50 Free

“It’s not possible”

“You can’t do it”

“There’s no way”

I grew up hearing these phrases and I only had one thing in my mind. How can I do it? Ever since I was little, the dream of doing the impossible or just being told you can’t do something or you have no chance, those phrases motivated me. I grew up always favoring the ‘underdog’ because the idea of being less favored or having lower expectatoins of that person, but they actually end up beating the favored person. I used to watch a lot of NBA basketball with my dad and I would always cheer for the ‘underdog’ team becuase I thought it was really cool when people thought the underdog team was going to lose to the superior team, but the underdogs actually won. It seemed really cool to me that they could prove people wrong and actually win…

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Sisyphus and the Grizzlies

“The Gods had condemned Sisyphus to  ceaselessly rolling rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight.”

Sisyphus was the King of Corinth, he was famed and wealthy. However, his ego was too large, he believed that he was more clever than the Gods themselves. Sisyphus was too ignorant to die and accept death, he kidnapped Death and asked his wife to give him a nontraditional death. The Gods punished him by forcing Sisyphus to push a boulder to the top of a hill, only to watch it roll back down…

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Flash back one year to when the 2014-2015 NBA season began. The Grizzlies were a powerhouse. They ruled not only the Western Conference but the entire NBA. December 17, 2014 they had a solid and dominating performance of 21 wins and 4 loses. They entered the playoffs with a 55 win 27 loss ratio which got them at 5th in the Western Conference, and also 5th in the league. The “Grindhouse” was led by none other by the aging yet efficient core: Mike Conley at the 1, Zach “Z-Bo” Randolph at the 4, and at the 5 they had the Spaniard Marc Gasol. They easily beat the Portland Trailblazers 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs using their patented play style of “Grit and Grind” in which they focused their offense around their big men. However, they met the blazing Stephen Curry and his Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Semi-finals. They went back home to Memphis on Friday, May 15 losing 4-2. This would be the beginning of the end of the infamous and almost effective “Grit and Grind” play style.

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March 3, 2016 the Memphis Grizzlies have a 36-24 record. If you remember, the Grizzlies had a 55-27 at the END of last season. That’s only 3 more losses and another 19 more wins for the next 22 games to match last year’s ratio. Why have they fallen so far down? The once feared organization is now barely holding the boulder from rolling back down. Being in the more dominant Western Conference, making a solid playoff run is almost impossible for them. They must face the “Kings of the NBA” the Golden State Warriors, the old but effective San Antonio Spurs, Kevin Durant and the hungry OKC Thunder, Doc Rivers and his consistently average Clippers, the aging Dirk “The German Wunderkind” and the Dallas Mavericks, Damian Lillard the new “Rising Star” of the NBA, and finally the disorderly Houston Rockets. All in all, the Memphis Grizzlies are facing an uphill battle.

David Joerger  the current coach since 2013 has had his style of basketball centered around defense and the use of his big men (the center and power forward). The NBA teams of today have centered their offense around ball movement and great shooting. All great teams such as the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors have perfected both aspects of today’s game. Their biggest problem? The lack of offense and shooting. Tony Allen is not an offensive threat for he is shooting a measly 43% from the field and 40% from 3-point land. They have been playing the same exact way for the past several years and did not show any signs of willingness to change until now.

Marc Gasol

In this Sept. 29, 2014 photo, Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol poses during the team’s NBA basketball media day in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies have been in the playoffs four straight seasons, and Gasol wants more. “I don’t think the journey’s over,’’ Gasol said. “I think the best is to come.” (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

 Marc Gasol and Randolph have the entire team’s fate on their back. The new additions of Lance Stephenson, Mario Chalmers, and P.J. Hairston show progress. Personally, I believe the Grizzlies have a chance to change within the next year or so. They have a lot of work progressing their players into better shooters and changing their offensive abilities. This upcoming summer will be big for them. They have to sign someone effective on the perimeter, and a young player also to add more depth and rejuvenate the older players. Also, hopefully they can draft a decent player that can add energy to the aging team. It will take lots of work changing the entire organization, but it will be worth the time and effort. Hopefully, they can restore their dominance in the NBA and become Championship contenders. After a couple years of rebuilding, they might just be able to push the boulder over the hill…

Clean Slate

“Sometimes, all we need is a fresh start.”

1st semester? 6/10 to be honest. Wasn’t my hottest or best semester I’ve had in my school career. I would rate my school and learning experience this semester a good and solid 7/10. I think I could’ve done better and I regret not putting in work and effort. Before this 2nd semester began I told myself that I would put in the extra effort and time to improve my grades and work ethic. 

Tet just came by. Meaning a “new year a new me”. If you don’t know already, Tet is the beginning of the Lunar Year for some Asian cultures. The first day of the new year (February 8) my family and I went to several different temples in my area. In these temples we would pay our respects to our lost ones and ask for good luck this new year. We not only ask for good luck to be placed upon ourselves but for our loved ones and friends. As a kid I just placed my palms together and closed my eyes and waited for my parents to finish praying. Now that I’m older, I gave it a try. I didn’t realize how hard it would be but I did it.

Now onto my biggest regrets this year/semester so far. Of course I regret not putting in 110% effort.  I hate the feeling during a test or quiz where you wished you spent an extra 5 or 10 minutes studying or looking over notes. My focus on school work and my goals wasn’t up to par. I feel like I got distracted easily especially when there was important projects or tests coming up. To fix this? I think I just have to organize myself and prioritize my goals and what’s important to me. After that I think I need to ask myself how bad I want it just like one of my favorite motivational speakers, Eric Thomas, always asks.  Friends wise? I think I’m glad I got closer to the people I got closer to this year. The past year/semester was a learning experience for me. I think this year I feel smarter and I think I learned a lot from the past several months. I’ve learned a lot not only about myself, but the people around me. I really and truly hope I finish this school year strong and that I begin this new year full of hope and happiness for myself and my friends and family. This is the beginning of my fresh start. 

 

How to…

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”-Franklin D. Roosevelt

All people, may they be poor or rich, old or young, everyone wants to achieve ultimate happiness. To me personally, happiness is a confusing thing. Before we answer the question of how to achieve happiness, we must understand what it truly is. It comes in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Depending on the person, happiness can be anything. From a cookie to a child, or a million dollars to an adult.

In the movie The Seven Samurai, Akira Kurosawa masterly depicts the struggles of a small village of defenseless villagers that are afraid of the imminent raid from a band of bandits. They find 7 well-rounded samurai who agree to protect the village for the small cups of rice offered by the peasants. Now to the villagers, happiness would be living in peace and prosperity without the thought of bloodthirsty bandits riding on their horses from the mountains into their small defenseless village. But to the samurai? What are the samurai receiving from the peasants? A bowl of rice? They can easily go out and buy rice themselves. Why would they have to put their life on the line for mere peasants? As the leader of the 7, Kanbe Shimada states: “It will bring us neither money nor fame. Want to join?” The 7 brave, noble, honorable samurai are helping the out of luck peasants out of the goodness of their hearts. This is their definition of happiness. Helping others in need without thinking for their own safety. Now back to the question of how we achieve happiness as human beings. The samurai are just a group of well-rounded people. People that are “extraordinary”. For others the answer to the question may not be as crazy as the samurais’. But to achieve their happiness, they had be brave and take risks. They also had to sacrifice a lot. People could argue maybe even too much.

 

The same simple yet very confusing question is answered in the book, Siddhartha. The author, Herman Hesse, takes his audience on a journey through a young hermit’s life as he searches to understand the teachings of enlightenment of the Buddha by himself.  Without spoiling too much of the book for you guys. Siddhartha experiences several things in the book. He experiences the loss of close ones, love, friendships, greed, and finally happiness. Near the end of the book, Siddhartha meets his old friend, Govinda, who went on to follow the Buddha. The two smiled at each other and the book quotes, “wounded deeply by a divine arrow which gave him pleasure”. The thought of being through their separate journeys’, experiencing different things and finding each other in the end fill them with happiness. So Siddhartha’s way of achieving happiness? Going on a super long journey, trying out different jobs as a clerk like Michael Gregory Rowe on the TV show, Dirty Jobs. Siddhartha also met a woman and had a son just because. And finally he found his calling as a ferryman for a river. Not all peoples’ vision for happiness is as confusing and random as Siddhartha’s but to achieve that vision he had to sacrifice the comfort of his luxurious life with his family.

 

All people want to achieve happiness. Everyone has different visions of happiness. Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors want another championship. The Carolina Panthers want to show the nation that they are a force to be reckoned with. I want to get good grades in high school. What they have in common? Sacrifice. Stephen Curry spends countless hours perfecting his game. Last year, in a crucial game in the playoff series versus the New Orleans Pelicans, it was sited that he shot 77 three pointers in a row during practice. I’m spending my Sunday night writing this right now. All a person needs to do in my opinion is sacrifice their time in order to achieve their vision of happiness whatever that may be.

Where did it all go?

 

“Time is what we want most, but we use worst.” -William Penn

Tick tock. 4 PM. Turns on TV to my favorite show. Tick tock. 4:20 PM. Twenty more minutes and i’ll start my homework. Tick tock. 5:00 PM. Uhhhh… I don’t have a lot of homework today its fine, 10 more minutes. Tick tock. 5:45 PM. Where did it all the time go? Lately, on my journey to change my lazy work ethic I’ve realized the bad habits I have accumulated over my several years of life. Time management is one of my weaknesses. I don’t think it’s just me that experiences this even though it’s one of the worst things to be bad at. The other day I realized that I waste several hours of my day doing things I don’t need to do like watching TV, eating snacks, and taking forever to do the simplest of things. This waste of time prevents me from doing more important things. Studying for that spanish test tomorrow. Reviewing for the chem test in a week. Asking for help on the math homework I never did. Or maybe reading that book that I checked out of the public library for fun. Thinking back, I could have done a million things instead of watching that extra episode of “The Office” or the “Walking Dead“. The end of the year is quickly approaching and time is slipping away. This year slipped through my fingers very quickly giving me almost no time to enjoy it at all.

Where did it come from? I don’t know. I don’t know how I became so bad at managing my time not only at home but at school. I don’t know what was going through my head when I decided to just “chill” when my teacher gave me a free 30 minutes in class to do my homework. I don’t know.

But I know it’s bad. Not only for me but the people around me like my group partners that are counting on my to buy or finish something. I’m going to outgrow it (hopefully). What began with a small assignment of noticing “things” that happen in my daily life ended with a long term goal that will benefit me and the people around me. Not only that, but it will increase the level of happy in my life.

Step One

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”-Lao Tzu

8 kids. 1 year. One goal. To make the world a better place one step at a time. The year 2014 began with an idea to start a club. This club would act as a small “branch” of a huge organization.  That organization is Global Citizens. Our club would serve as a helper of the community by making global problems known and help our community through volunteer work. This was our way of helping the world. The world where the goodness of people is clouded by greed and power.

Our first event? A beach bonfire social. We decided that as a club before we start helping the community we should at least, get to know the people that devoted all of their Friday lunches to us. This social helped us learn everyone’s’ names and personalities. It began with a hot sunny day at the beach and as more people arrived (roughly 60) we played friendship games and obviously, we went into the water. The other board members and I went back to work planning our next event in which the community would actually benefit from. We announced a fundraiser at a local shop that sold a local favorite. Boba. In each cup that was sold to a costumer that mentioned our name, we would receive one dollar. We would then use that money and donate it to the Thomas House. The Thomas House is an old organization that helped unfortunate families in need. How much money we got? One hundred and forty dollars. That’s one hundred and forty cups. Probably one hundred and forty people that took time out of there day to support us and our cause. That one hundred and forty dollars would help one child purchase school clothes. After the fundraiser, we decided to do the same exact thing but now with clothes. We figured that this would be the first step into the success of our club and the overall wellbeing and happiness of our community. Before creating this club we were a bunch of kids that dreamed of having an enormous club that made our “not-yet” perfect world. But all great things begin with the first step. When will you take yours?

How to poop.

Dung, deuce, doo doo, feces, or poop. Whatever you call it, everyone does it a lot, hopefully. Everybody has been doing this since square one and new studies show that what you have been doing your entire life is wrong….

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The puborectalis muscle “chokes” the rectum when we are sitting on the toilet. 

The squat. Everyone has probably heard that the only normal way to carry out your business is by sitting on a toilet. New studies show that squatting is the best way to poo. Yes, squatting. This blog writes about a study in 2003, where a number of people were chosen to poo in 3 different ways: sitting on a traditional toilet, sitting on a low toilet, and squatting. They would then write down their experiences, how much time it took and how much effort they put into it. Surprisingly, squatting was said to take the least amount of time and effort. The reason? According to the weird people that found out about this, sitting curls up your colon into a “hook” shape. However squatting, allows the colon to stretch out into a straight line. This allows your, uh, poop, to “evacuate” your body easily. Sitting makes you prone to a number of health problems, long term colitis, constipation, and hemorrhoid stems.

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With the squatty potty, your rectum relaxes and straightens out to make pooping faster and more comfortable.

Squatting gets rid of the possibility of getting any of these diseases. Actually, humans have been squatting for millions of years until the invention of the toilet.  A man named Robert Edwards has actually taken advantage of this everyday problem in American households and sells “stools for better stools”. The squatty potty. A stylish stool that easily slides under your toilet once you’re done with your business. This stool comes in different sizes and colors to meet your desires. The idea actually came after his mother suffered from colon problems and with a little bit of studying came up with the squatty potty. You can easily get your very own squatty potty for as low as $35.

So next time you find yourself upon your toilet. Think to yourself, is this the best you can do for your body? Because your body’s health will influence your everyday happiness. And healthy is happy.

Ordinary Bad?

“There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that the point?”-Pam Beasely Halpert

Beep. Beep. Beep. Rolls out of bed. Eats. Goes to school. Come home. Eat. Homework. Sleep. Repeat. This is how an average, boring, and amazing day begins and ends in my life. Many people’s lives aren’t too different from mine. But some people hate it and some love the repetitive lifestyle that they have. I love it. Some people in the world tend to want to zoom through their day just so that they could go on to the next and onto the next and etc. They don’t realize the small amazing things that they look over. The really nice lunch lady, the kid sitting by himself during lunch, the person you walked by without saying “hi”, or the kid that you never helped after he dropped his papers all of the floor. What’s the point of whizzing through a day expecting tomorrow to be amazing if you do the same thing the next day? People lose sight of things, and they never seem to realize how extraordinary their day actually is. Take your day for what it is not what you think it is. Going to school to share laughs with people you’ve known for your entire life, and learning new things that you never knew was out there in the world.

“There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that the point?” A quote from one of my all-time favorite TV shows, The Office. It perfectly explains that even the most simple, generic, and ordinary things have truly beautiful qualities. The show is based on a documentary about how an average office of a small paper company operates everyday. Pam Beesly Halpert is the office’s receptionist who begins the show as a young girl who basically just trying to get through the day as quickly as possible. 9 seasons later, she married the man 10 feet from her desks, raised two children, and is probably super happy. The entire show is full of colorful moments even though you would expect that a documentary about a paper company would be super boring.

All in all, the point of this post is to tell you to enjoy life a little no matter how dull or lame it may be. You might not know but maybe in 20 or 30 years you’ll look back and you’ll wanna relive those moments. Yes you might do the same things today as you did yesterday or as you would tomorrow, but slow down. Slow down and notice the things you never noticed before. Talk to someone you’ve never talked to but always walk by. Make the most of your ordinary day. 

Family

“Families are like fudge-mostly sweet with a few nuts.” -Author Unknown

The Google dictionary defines the word “family” as “a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.” I define family is the greatest bundle of happiness life has to offer. Family is a  valuable thing in a person’s life. They bring happiness and love and support during the tough times many have in their life. Family will always be there for you unlike friends who can come and leave as they want. But a father will always be a father and a mother will always be a mother.

Such as in the book called “Sophocles” translated by Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald. But how does the theme of family integrated in a book written about a myth told thousands of years ago? Because the society in the book has the same things we have today in our lives such as: dark desperate times, loyal family members, terrible friends. These same things or people are in our daily lives. Like in the first section, Oedipus is seen being banished from his own kingdom for unknowingly killing his father the former king. His two daughters, Antigone and Ismene, help their blind father survive without the aid of King Creon, one of his closest friends. King Creon decided that it would be best if Oedipus take his daughters and himself away for the kingdom forever. Though King Creon was always by Oedipus’s side in the past, he turned on Oedipus not even letting him explain the reasons for his actions. See because Antigone and Ismene will always be his daughters.

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But family is never perfect. They have their ups and downs, their good and bad times. Nothing is perfect but we have to treasure the ups and forget the downs. May that be a tough time in your parent’s relationship, or a terrible loss in your family, or just a horrible time for your family. Personally, I may not have a perfect one but perfect is boring. Everyone’s family is unique in a different way and remember to treasure that uniqueness. Never take your family for granted because you only get one father or one mother or one brother or one sister.