About that damn knee.

For the past month or so, it’s felt like my left knee’s kinda fucked. There’d be moments when I feel that loss of support, that alarming feeling when something you’ve relied on all your life, suddenly gives way for an instant. I feel like lateral movements are a gamble. And my left knee feels shaky, shakier than it used to be.

And that flash of pain that surprises more than it hurts, and then it’s gone.

One physio says, no ligament damage he can feel. One GP says, feels mostly fine, other than possible strain. Why then, do I still feel like it’s not doing well? Maybe it’s a mental thing.

MRI scan tomorrow, hopefully it’s all good.

It’s time to lay on the rehab exercises hard – gotta be more religious about this shit.

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Being thankful

Sometimes, I can’t help but feel that things in life are meant to be – I’m but a leaf being swept along the river of life.

It’s amazing how much goodness I’ve had in this life so far, so many people who have showed kindness and lent me a hand.

Hopefully there will be more in the years ahead.

All I can do, is to be thankful, and learn to pay it forward.

May the circle continue.

Birthdays: keinday 2018

I like the way my physio, Jay reacted, when she heard my birthday was coming.

“A fit 37!”

Granted it’s not entirely true –I feel like I have a long way to go, in comparison to some folks I know– but it still feels good nonetheless.

Despite a shaky left knee, ankles that could be stronger, an injured right wrist that’s taking a month to heal, and a stupid lower left back that gets sore consistently on meaningless daily tasks (washing the dishes, can you believe it?), I’m still looking ahead, trying to get stronger with each week that passes.

NZ asked me today, how does turning 37 feel?

Honestly, I feel like I’m in way better shape than I was at 30, which says a lot. I guess getting old does make you value your health and fitness a lot more, and with old age comes mental discipline. I think.

This year, it’s still about the self. I’ve spent a lot of effort (and money) on improving the body, especially on understanding where my flaws are, and how I should improve it. Last year was a lot of straight-up strength work at the gym, just pushing hard, recovering, pushing again. This year, I got pissed off after my neck/shoulder locked up again, so I decided it’s time to understand how I can make things better for the long term.

It’s been about a host of other terms: body imbalance, tight muscle knots, myofascial release, rehab exercises, activation/engagement, acupuncture/dry needling, et cetera. Doing rehab exercises consistently, especially on the lower body (feet, hips, groin, glutes, knees), just trying to get my body moving better. The sessions involved heaps of pain, but hey, it’s the price I have to pay to get better, so be it.

I’m thinking about signing up to train with this guy, but the location and fees aren’t quite ideal right now. I’m still trying to figure out how it’ll all fit in with Elly’s basketball, and work, and my weekends. I really like his thoughts on various exercises, and the amount of punishment I could be subjecting myself to. I’m kidding, I hate pain. But the challenge is something I’m really looking forward to. Pain = progress!

To be honest, I have no idea how the birthday is going to turn out, so we’ll see. Good thing it’s on a Saturday, I totally forgot to check which day it was. V got the kids to bake me a cake but I was on the “uhhh yeahhhhh nah” bandwagon weeks before that. Thanks guys, let’s just keep it normal. Appreciate the thought but don’t bake me a birthday cake and use me as a lab rat. Bake me one when you’ve actually had decent practice please.

It turned out to be a pretty normal Saturday. Slept in until Cookie went nuts downstairs, headed out for lunch to this cafe (Puteri) I had my eye on for quite a while now. Turned out to be a really good pick, the food was actually pretty decent and service was great. Will head back for more Teochew food next time.

We moved on to grocery shopping as usual, let the kids have a bit of a play at the indoor play area, and headed home. Did a quick haircut at home, had the sides trimmed, and we had dinner at home with Stan arriving via Uber (the trains were down). Nasty carb feast – garlic bread, nuggets, fish fingers, chips. I somehow managed to stay awake through the carb coma, amazing. The birthday cake wasn’t the one they baked yesterday thankfully, V got one from Laurent while we were shopping – good pick. Wasn’t too sweet, balanced taste and pretty light on the palate. Good chat with Stan before we turned in, and that’s mostly it for the day.

Work

Oh hey, work. Same old same old. I was told during my review, that it would be great to take on more projects, but it’s kinda hard to get time out for projects when you’re kinda being asked questions left and right, and you’re like, the only guy they can reach out to for help.

So, yeah. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I’ll do what I can though.

Something that I’ve been consistently proud of through my years working here – I’ve always had good feedback from everyone I’ve helped, top to bottom. I won’t call myself the sharpest person on the team, but it’s always about getting their problems sorted quickly, with explanations if needed, and obviously a friendly attitude.

One thing that’s been gnawing away at me recently, has the lack of responsiveness on email conversations. Time zones aside, it’s really a pain in the bum to keep chasing for answers for weeks on end, and not get something. It’s nothing new, but it’s grown much worse this year. Oh well, I can only do what I can do so time’s up, I’m gone sorry guys.

The annual increment came, it was normal but not mind-blowing. More share vesting in the years ahead, which is nice. Overall, status quo.

We have more new folks at the office now, which is awesome. It’s great to see our office growing once more, and staffed with people who work hard and are good folks to hang out with too.

The Pick and Roll

I amaze myself sometimes, when I read the last birthday entry and think, holy shit that was last year? It feels like an eternity ago, which is basically every other month. Moments and experiences exaggerate themselves in this space for some reason.

I love that we’ve never had hosting issues ever since moving to Pressidium. Shout out to the lads, they’re awesome. Fantastic reliability and responsive support, can’t beat them.

We’ve had to move our email hosting to an Australian provider recently, and that was a bit of a stink bomb during the migration process. Whatever, fixed and moving on. Hopefully this is the last of it.

With regards to NBA coverage, it’s still a work in progress. Hayley’s been contributing whenever she can, and she’s been a star with the Instagram page. But Jayme/Warren/Winston were basically lost, and Ben once again, pulled through and delivered. He’s developed a fine voice on writing, and the features he’s produced recently have been top, one of them being an interview with The Starters’ Leigh Ellis. I’m always impressed by guys who really want to succeed in this industry, and put in the hard yards to get there. Ben without a doubt, is one of those guys. We’re getting him to the US on a freelancer visa so hopefully that takes him to his next destination somehow.

Another notable addition recently, has been Kane. He’s shown nothing but commitment to the cause ever since he came on board, and has done his best with every opportunity that has presented itself. It’s not easy travelling on your own expense to cover games, without any tangible expectations on reward. But he’s done it multiple times over, and shown himself to be more than capable of handling the scene. I like that he’s always very humble, receptive to feedback, and looking to improve all the time. If anything, it reminds me of how an NBA second-rounder can succeed through consistent hard work. It’s amazing how, within 3-4 months of coming on board, that he’s gone from being an online observer, to attending regular season NBA games, then playoffs games, and Summer League as well. It’s not just the attendance, it’s the fact that he’s been able to meet media folks, actually interview athletes like Thon Maker, Andrew Bogut, something that to a typical fan sounds like a distant dream, but is reality and very much a possibility when it comes to The Pick and Roll. I like to put it this way – we can only provide the opportunities, it’s up to the writer to determine what he does with them.

A shout out to Kyle as well. He hasn’t been as vocal in asking for opportunities, but has on multiple occasions helped out in times of need, something I really like about him. I feel bad about not being able to give more opportunities to him, so that will be a goal of mine in the year ahead.

Video: We partnered with Brotherhood Studios over the NBA season, and they really pulled through in terms of creating weekly highlights. I’d admit I was very niggly on setting expectations at the start, but the BHS boys have been nothing but professional throughout the entire partnership so S/O to them.

Graphics: Great addition, Luke Shelley has done some fantastic stuff in recent months. He’s definitely shored up a flaw of ours, which was being able to generate engaging graphics for social media.

Social: Instagram has seen steady growth, but we’re still nowhere the 10,000 mark (it’s 3.3k now). More videos perhaps? I still am very proud of the fact that the Instagram account is able to crosspost to Facebook and Twitter, which has saved time on Hayley’s side.

Facebook has taken a definite step backwards in terms of growth, thanks Facebook Ads. Might need to spend some time thinking and observing strategies from other pages and how they do it. We’re typically 0.1% week over week, and that stinks, compared to some other pages like Olgun’s Fox Basketball Australia, or even Basketball Australia itself. One thing I noticed, was that we’re not hitting current topics hard enough. FSA had a huge jump in growth during the Boomers brawl incident, and kudos for the extensive coverage. That was something we didn’t do as well; we had one article that came out within the hour of the incident, and no followups after.

YouTube has seen growth, but I’m still not convinced on the utility factor. It’s nice to be able to embed highlight videos on articles that go back to our channel, and Aussie fans really appreciate our niche, but that’s mostly it.

Corporate: There might be transition in our organisational structure in the months ahead, which came as something of a surprise, and definitely caught Damian and myself off guard. If it all works out, things could really, really change. Let’s see how the cards play out. Shout out to Damian for steering the ship during my months of inactivity leading up to the house move and after.

Site advertising: turns out I was right, I did manage to exceed the revenue we were getting with the unnamed digital agency by improving our ad placements, purely with AdSense. In-article placements are the bomb. In saying that, we haven’t had much campaigns recently, but this new one with Uber is looking good.

Spoiler alert: I bombed hard on producing content, so the stats didn’t pick up as much as I’d wanted to. There just wasn’t enough time for me to work on stuff like that.

Life

So, you know that crazy scramble I talked about in last year’s keinday post? It’s still a crazy scramble.

We began househunting and ended up buying a new place. It’s a really nice change from living in an apartment, I have to say. The space is awesome, and the kids love it. The place’s come with its own issues, and we’re just tackling it one at a time, but no regrets. I’m sure I’ll hate living in a house with stairs as I get older, but it’s not a big deal right now.

What the move actually involved, was a shit ton of paperwork, a shit ton of money, and a shit ton of logistics. We had a trip to Singapore lined up before the house thing happened, so I ended up having to make the move myself with Elly in tow, a couple of days before Christmas. There were a couple of movers who helped, plus Jason who was awesome but I was by and large flying solo when it came to cleaning the house, unpacking the boxes, and organising stuff. Over Christmas. Like seriously, who celebrates Christmas unpacking shit in the house?

To be honest, I think I did a fucking good job – probably even better than if V had been around. Saying this from experience, but having a habitual procrastinator as a spouse does not help in unpacking. To prove the point, the one box I’d left for her to unpack, took four months of dragging her heels. Four. Fookin’. Months. Just by way of comparison, I unpacked 17-18 boxes in a single day, plus multiple bags and shit.

The move also necessitated change of schools, a change in our commute routine, lots of adjustments for the kids too. I had to yank Elly out of her school, and Lenny’s gone into kinder which has been a really nice change. But they’ve adapted relatively fine, and made new friends. It’s really nice living in the new neighbourhood, the choice of dining options is just excellent.

Elly has continued to mature at a decent pace, she’s been a really good little helper around the house. She’s shy around new people, really sensitive to remarks and emotionally fragile, but she’s empathic, pretty good at listening and doing stuff, which really, really helps. I like that she’s taken our little rule to heart, which is basically: it’s ok to say no to trying new stuff out (food, sports etc), but only after you’ve tried it out and can confirm you don’t like it. Don’t shut the door on life’s experiences, always make yourself available. (Not drugs though. Drugs are bad.) She does good art at school as well, I might buy her paints and canvases and get her to do up more stuff.

Lenny has just gotten so much better after kinder started, I love it. Conversations are beginning to be a flow, but it’s still rather basic most times. Suffice it to say, we’re not gonna be debating philosophy anytime soon. Most times, it’s about basic stuff – days of the week, food, things at school, friends. We’re not at the stage where he’ll talk about emotions, perspectives etc. The new problem – he just doesn’t shut up and he’s really whingy. New catchphrase when he’s upset? “I don’t want nothing!” I have no idea where he learnt that from. But despite having gone through an official diagnosis for autism and being positive, I don’t think it’s really changing the situation much. He’s gotten better, and he’ll continue to get better. It just takes more time.

Holidays

I ended up making it to Boston after all, for the season opener. I was crushed when Gordo broke his leg at Cleveland, but the video that played on the jumbotron was so awesome. I love the Celtics. My trip involved a lot of basketball games with Hayley –who was such an awesome companion throughout– a visit to the Springfield Hall of Fame (awesome, worth visiting at least once), and zero media. I just wanted to R&R, not be a journo and crank stuff out.

It was good having those me time moments as well, when Hayley and I parted ways. Sometimes, you just want to be yourself, keep it random and just do whatever. Or even just do nothing. Funnily enough, I found that my solo hikes were often dictated by physical urges. Hungry? Eat. Need to take a leak? Time to seek the gents out, and this was really hard. One time, I had to have lunch at a restaurant. There were a lot of bus rides, plane rides, but it was all a great learning experience.

This year? I might be able to make it to Boston season opener again, thanks work. You’re awesome that way. I’m planning to take the California Zephyr train across the coast and see some sights, so hopefully that works out as planned. And hopefully – catch up with Roland, HQ too. It’s been too long.

I also had an enjoyable weekend in Shanghai, thanks to the wonderful colleagues for bringing me around. I’d never expected to play basketball and hit the KTV in China. Great bunch of folks, I’m sad that half of them have left the company at this point, but I’ll be sure to look them up when I get back there again.

And here comes the multiple trips to Singapore.

I went on a 24-hour banger for the FG’s wedding – that was great, glad I was there for the big day.

I also went down to Singapore with the fam late last year, prior to the move. That was good. Caught a Mayday concert (YES!), good food, caught up with good friends (most of my usual people), did basketball training, played basketball, got smashed at gym so hard, I was staggering around with DOMS for two weeks, loved it.

And, I somehow managed to make it to Singapore again last month. That was basically the sequel. Caught a Mayday concert again (YES!), good food, more catchups (or less, because I had less time), did basketball training, played more basketball, didn’t get smashed at the gym (no time). Instead, did rockclimbing with Meishan, HIIT with the FG and her hub, on top of all the basketball stuff. It’s embarrassing that I haven’t been able to swim on both trips, it’s something I really, really haven’t done in a long time now. Need to get back into it.

This is a historical one. I finally made it down to Malaysia to visit the relatives, after an extended absence of 25 (probably more) years. The cousin (Andy) was a stud, took real good care of me while I was over there. Took me around, fed me, and it was good seeing everyone after so long. It’s somehow funny, that people don’t change. The uncles and aunties that I haven’t met in so long, are still exactly the same people I remembered as a kid. It’s a reminder to myself, that I should always strive to be a better person with every passing day.

I nearly forgot to talk about the annual family trip to Geelong. It was fun, but Cookie came out second-best in a fight against a bigger dog, and we had to bring her to the vet for a checkup. Thankfully everything was fine, but it seems like she hasn’t learnt her lesson quite yet. We’ll have to be wiser about letting her off the leash moving forward.

Basketball

Huge progress on this end at last.

Moving to the new digs meant I was a lot closer, so I could join the guys for rec league basketball at last. So I’ve got a regular Monday night thing most weeks, which is good but not great. As you’d imagine, jumping right into a full-court game doesn’t do much for skill development. It helps to erode the skills, if nothing else. I’m still trying to figure my spots out, right now whenever I catch the ball, it’s always in the wrong spot, or I’m catching it and wasting time bringing it back up, and it becomes a case of hello defender! Good to see you again. I need to figure this out.

The sessions with the guys in Singapore weren’t too bad, enjoyed just playing. I loved my last game at Changkat, when the game went down to the wire and I was defending in isolation. Blocked the jumper, got it out and back to Lester, and he banked the shot in, got us the W. Love defending.

The training sessions I had with Nanzhen in Singapore helped heaps. During the last couple of sessions, he really helped me focus on attacking better, and getting into my one dribble, pullup jumper. I feel like I need more basketball training in my life. I’ve actually done a decent bit of research and figured out where I could be training at next, but it’s coming down to a money juggling act – I need to figure out if I can afford it consistently, plus the time it’ll take, and how I fit that into my routine. Gym, physio, basketball training – seriously.

Gym

I’m currently cycling between 68-69kg, kudos to me for eating. I haven’t been pushing too hard on the gym, it’s been a lot of stretches, foam rolling. These days, my sessions tend to be really short, with shorter rest periods.

A typical exercise looks like this, with 30 sec intervals.

  • Warmup set – 12 reps
  • Set 1, 2, 3 – 12 reps
  • Set 4 – 8 reps

I’d often sprint out of the office, get there decently panting. Then start off with foam rolling, get into some stretching and resistance band exercises, then do 3 exercises (free weights, cable or Smith), and sprint back to work. It’s not the most productive of sessions, but I try to do what I can, which isn’t saying much.

The injured right wrist hasn’t helped, it basically stopped me from all heavy upper body exercises, which sucked. This week it’s felt decent, I hope to be able to get back on track starting next week.

Physio-wise, I started with Jay at Kinematics in April, and it’s been a good three months. She’s certainly worked out a lot of the kinks, and I’ve enjoyed our chats about basketball. But it didn’t help that Kinematics raised their fees after they moved. $5 doesn’t sound like a dealbreaker until you realise it all adds up quickly, when you visit on a weekly basis. Jay has agreed that my body doesn’t require weekly visits so that’s been great progress. We’ve pushed the sessions back to monthly ones, so that will really ease my finances up.

I started with Natalie from Muscular Therapies recently, just to get an alternate perspective on where I’m at. I like the place, because of its approach to “cleaning” ie slow, deep massages to clean out the muscles. It’s been really effective, especially on my lower back. It still flares up, but I’m feeling a bit looser and not as tight across the back these days.

Personal

I don’t feel like my perspective has shifted too much. It’s been a lot of living one day at a time, trying to get things done. Sometimes, we’re so embroiled in the daily battle, that we forget about ourselves.

A great milestone happened this year though – I finally got my Australian citizenship, and also renounced the Singapore citizenship. It hasn’t changed much in the grand scheme of things, except that I had to fill out bloody immigration cards and use the manual counters at Changi Airport – or so I thought. Apparently, Australian passport holders can use the same fast-entry gantries that Singaporean passport holders do. It’s just not explicitly stated that way. I only realised it while using the gantries with my passport heading out of Singapore. The theory has yet to be tested on entering Singapore, so we’ll see.

Oh, and getting my CPF back. That’ll be really nice, when I decide to do a beard transplant. I had a consultation session done, and was almost ready to commit but decided to pull it back, until I actually have cash in the bank to get it done.

And oh, I started growing a beard this year. Facial hair is awesome. I suspect I won’t be saying the same thing when I actually have a beard and food keeps getting stuck on the hairs, but heck. Another problem for another day.

And did I mention vasectomy is awesome? Zero complications, and it’s so much easier not having to worry about having another kid when you’re doing the deed. Mental bliss.

Here’s a new wrinkle I’ve begun over the past year or so – investment. Began investing in Vanguard’s managed funds, and also bought a couple of stocks on a mate’s advice. Nothing crazy, but just the beginnings of a little portfolio.

Presents

From Stan:

The omnomnomnivore T-shirt I asked for.

flash_deadpool

And Two Lego-esque figurines, Deadpool and The Flash. And this is the best one, well worth the wait (about a month’s worth thanks to shitty shipping):

A collector’s edition of Sports Illustrated featuring the Boston Celtics’ ’08 championship run.

Thanks to Stan for the presents.

From the FG:

The traditional supply of Esprit T-shirts from the FG, plus a Stay Real tee! She never fails to freshen my wardrobe up.

From V:

A yoga mat. Not any plain old yoga mat either, it’s a Manduka prolite® thunder yoga mat. Took her another two weeks after keinday to figure something out, but as always, better late than never.

Cards

There’ll always be one at least!

Happy birthday to my best mate!

Ever so grateful for your friendship & presence in my life!

There was a day when Jon & I had a conversation and he asked me who’s my best friend so of cos I said You!

Then he said, “I thought it’s Yanni?”

My reply “Yes and No. Cos she’s too busy but Kein will always be there for me. Anytime, anywhere”

So many awesome memories. Thank you for coming down ❤️ Big Hugs!

Have an awesome birthday, my best mate!

The card was posted on the 11th, was supposed to arrive 4-7 days after. (It arrived 12 days later.)

To her, I’m the BFF and best mate. To me, she’s the FG, and one of the best things in my life. And she got that right – I’ll always be there.

Unless I’m dead, in which case it might take a liiiiiiittle bit longer. Just kidding, I’m not fond of being a phantasmal version of myself creeping people out, least of all the ones I love.

WhatsApp/text

ahlong: Blessed birthday and great tidings~ 🎂🍾🎁🎉

PR: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Kein!!!! 🎁🎉🎂🌈 wish you have a great celebration and wonderful year ahead!!!

Nick: haha 14th liao

LS: Happy birthday to my hamsem bff!!!

Sam: Hey Big fella, happy birthday hope you’ve been spoilt rotten today

DC: HB mate 🙂

Jason T: Happy birthday Kien

Julian: Happy birthday

Bill: Happy birthday Kein

SJ jie: Di~ Happy Birthday!!! Just in time to wish u like 5mins before the day ends on your side. Haha. May this year brings you lots of excitement and joy! 🙂

XQ: Happy birthday bro 😊

SC: Sorry , missed messaging ya yest. Happy belated burf my dear friend. 🍻

Vale: Happy belated birthday!! Hope you had an awesome one, and sorry for being late!

Facebook

Dad: 兒子生日快乐 事事隨心所愿

Mum: 生日快樂,健康如意,咪的猪好运连连!

Jim: Happy Birthday, KM!

Stan: Happy birthday btw. Hope this year will be smooth sailing as usual

ZM: Happy Birthday! Have a great day!

Chez: Happy Joyful Birthday!!! Wish you all the best things in life 🎂🎂🎁🎁

Benny: Happy birthday Lao Da !!!

Alvin: Happy Birthday to you!

Terry: Happy Birthday!

Wing: happy birthday superdad!!

Jack: Happy birthday, Kein!

Cheng: Blessed Birthday 😊🎂

Mat: Happy birthday 🎂 mate best wishes

XX: Happy birthday Kein!!! Have a great day with your love one yah 😉🎂🎉🎊🏀🎁

Beryl: Happy birthday Kein!😊

Nash: Happy birthday Batman

Kim: Happy birthday! 🎂🎉🎁🎊😄

Greg: Happy birthday Keino !!

Alan: Belated wishes pal!

Meishan: 生日快乐!!Cookie is sooo cute!

Jasmine: Happy birthday Kein!!!!!

Cherie: Mr Chua, happy birthday 🎂🎈🎉

Davina: Happy birthday Kein 🎁🎈🎉

Doris: Happy birthday 🍰

XY: Happy Birthday Kein!

Isabel: Happy birthday Kein!

Jane: Happy Birthday Kein!

Zhiwei: Happy bday bro!

Estee: Happy happy bday!!

Feli: Happy Birthday Kein 

Keith: Happy birthday Kein!!