And King Tut Shoots For Three!

I cheered for Miami Heat today.

A short trivia: I do not love sports. I mean, I don’t exactly hate sports, but I certainly don’t welcome it with open arms either. Hell, looking at guys battle it out – sweating, cursing, touching butts – is enough to deplete my entire energy supply for the day. I cannot even remember if my brothers and I played a single game of basketball when there is a basketball court right across our house.  I guess not.

(To my credit: I did play a round of basketball back in high school. It was for a Physical Education class. We won. Ha! Take that, Michael Jordan.)

Anyway, the story actually goes back four or five days ago, when I received a message from J-. He’s a friend from law school and a basketball fanatic. Anyway, I don’t remember what I was doing when I received his message. I think I was reading articles on Cracked.

J-: Ken. Do you know any website with live streaming of the NBA?

I leaned back on my chair, crossed my arms and began to think. My friends have always flocked at me if they need something from the Internet ASAP. I do not mean to brag, but I have mastered my Google-fu after years and years of searching rare porn clips and risqué pictures online. If the Internet has it, I can provide it. And the Internet, as we all know, has everything.

I shot back a reply. I hate sports, I know, but I cannot turn down a challenge on my Google-fu. I was already scouring the web at this point.

Me: You’re asking me about basketball? You know I don’t like basketball.

J-: I thought you have everything, man.

I smirked. You only hear that phrase being uttered on shady drug deals.

Me: Fiiiine. What teams?

J-: OKC vs. Lakers.

Me: OKC?

J-: Oklahoma City Thunder.

Me: Okay, wait.

I do not know about you but I do not have any inkling about Oklahoma. I know it’s one of the 50 states and some bombing occured there on 1995 (I read that on Reader’s Digest), but aside from that, I do not know anything more about Oklahoma, much more the Thunders. On the other hand, I do know the Los Angeles Lakers. I guess they’re famous or something.

Anyway, the task was easy. I found a website offering live streaming and sent the link to J-.

J-: Thanks! Welcome to the NBA World.

Me: You’re welcome, dude. Remember: Kenneth’s General Goods and Services, open from Monday to Saturday, 8am to 1am. Haha. Refer your friends to me.

With nothing to do and the night still young, I decided to fool around and irk J-. I know he loves underdogs. My theory is that Lakers, being more popular than this Oklahoma team, J- is betting on OKC  to win the game.

Me: I think Oklahoma will lose. Lakers is more popular. And they’re Los Angeles, dude. Los Angeles.

J-: What? LAL is weak, man. They’re old.

J-: And Kobe’s a goddamn braggart.

I smiled. J- took the bait. That, or he’s bored. Haha. Anyway, I’m a little proud of myself. I know Kobe Bryant! Haha. I keep hearing his name when my friends talk about basketball. He’s got some bad rap or something, but I do know he’s one badass player.

J-: Oklahoma, on the other hand: they’re simple guys. They don’t like to brag.

J-: I’m quite disappointed Memphis took the boot. They’re the blue collar workers.

Me: Memphis? How did Egypt come into the picture?

A few points need to be raised. First, I don’t know how blue collar workers can still qualify to play NBA. Isn’t basketball a full-time job for these guys? And second. Memphis? Isn’t that a city in Egypt? When did King Tut decide to play a basketball league over half a world away?

Anyway, my conversation with J- is actually quite an eye-opener. He revealed that Memphis is actually a city in Tennessee, that Canadians also play NBA, that everybody hates Miami Heat because they stole star players from small teams such as the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers, that Cleveland is not a fictional place invented by Seth MacFarlane, and many more. It is interesting and I am not saying that to be polite. I mean, I am yet to be a fan of the game, but damn, there really is more to basketball than what meets the eye.

Flashforward the morning earlier. I was watching a local show on TV when I looked at the clock and realized that it’s time for my favorite show at the History Channel. While I was surfing the channel, I chanced upon a game between Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat on ESPN. Normally, I would spend a minimum of 5 seconds on sports games and move on.

Not today.

I decided to watch, cheered for Miami Heat because they appear to be losing during the first half of the game, and did a small victory dance when they recovered and won against the Pacers, 101-93. I know. I’m quite surprised myself. Haha. I never thought to be cheering for real live people and at basketball no less.

I am actually quite anticipating for Game 5. I hope Heat wins again.

A toast, ladies and gentlemen, to basketball.

Zombie Philosophy, Part One

I decided to take a three-day hiatus from my social circle for reasons I am too tired to explain here. I deactivated my Facebook, abandoned my Twitter, closed my Thunderbird, told three or four of my friends to take care of my affairs, and left my phone on the bedroom table. Aside from this blog of which only a handful of my friends know of, I am completely cut off from my friends. I do not care much about Facebook, Twitter and e-mail, but the decision to shelf my phone is what made this hiatus quite challenging. I am never without my phone. Well, until now.

I woke up with no plan in my head. The hiatus began exactly the midnight before, and with nothing to do and lots of hours to spare, I decided to groom up and visit the mall. My initial plan was to look for a new book, but as I passed the arcades and saw no one was playing House of the Dead 4, I cannot resist to play one short round. Although I have probably completed the game about a dozen times and played it for twice that number, this shoot-it-up game has never lost its appeal on me. I am not really much of a Tekken guy.

I triggered the secret code to show my score (it is turned off by default for reasons I cannot fathom), swiped my arcade card, and started to shoot my way through the horde of zombies as Player One.

I am no expert of the game, but I am no amateur either. I delivered head shot after head shot. My points racked up. My accuracy score never lost its momentum. The bosses fell on their knees while inflicting the least damage possible. It was, in summary, a massacre.

I was watching the short cutscene after finishing Chapter 3 of the game when a kid, probably 7 or 8, stood beside me to watch. I looked at him and saw that he was simply itching to play the game. You can see it in his brown eyes. Well, to give him credit, it is a zombie game. Everybody loves (killing) zombies.

“Hey,” I called out, “do you want to play?”

The boy shook his head, smiling.

“Where are your parents?” I asked.

It took him a few seconds to reply. “Only my sister, sir. She’s in the grocery.”

“Well,” I said, swiping my card and giving him the gun for Player Two, “you can have this then. I need help.”

The title card for the next chapter appeared on the screen. The scary opening music blasted from the surround speakers. The boy immediately took the gun from my hands, nodded his head, looked at the big screen before us, and lost his smile. There was a look of concentration on his face. I smiled at this, positioned my middle finger on the trigger and waited.

I need not wait longer. The zombies attacked and we shoot – the game begins!

As we fought our way from the subway to the surface, looking for a way to find and destroy the source of the zombie apocalypse, I realized that my young partner is a complete amateur. He was shooting in the wrong places. He forgot to reload at the most crucial moments. He kept shaking the gun when the moment did not call for shaking. I kept saving his ass, killing the zombies who went after him, that I forgot to save my own damn ass. At the end of the day, after we fell the big fat Temperance, I only had 2 lives left, my partner 4 lives, and one credit left in my arcade card.

I sighed and docketed the gun for a while as the cutscene for the next chapter began. I looked at the kid. He was staring intently at the screen, his finger still on the trigger of the gun. I smiled, despite the hardship of trying to actually finish the game and saving his life. At least the boy is having fun.

“Hey,” I called out. “Relax. The game is yet to start.”

He grinned at me. He relaxed his grip of the gun but kept his finger on the trigger.

The title card for Chapter 5 lit on the screen. My heart stopped and I immediately felt pity for the boy. I forgot that I hate this Chapter. I really hate this Chapter. The boss for this stage, Star, is a complete jerk and a cheat. I will get to that later.

The boy and I started good. Three minutes into the game, the boy was finally comfortable with the gun and was going Rambo with the zombies. His shots were far from perfect, but they did nicely. They do, indeed. There was a slight trouble when the zombie horde went after him, but with my assistance and my partner’s don’t-mess-with-my-unlimited-ammo-gun attitude, we eliminated the entire horde. The boy lost one life during the crazy shooting, but that was only because the hit came from fucking nowhere. I added one to mine, thanks to a bonus, so as we stood on the lobby of Goldman Headquarters, the source of all evil, my partner and I were at three lives each.

It was then Star came swooping with anger on his heart and vengeance on his soul.

Let me describe this scum Star. Although a monster, Star appears as a humanoid with pale white skin and an almost featureless face. He wears a red long coat and have knives as his primary weapons. His weakness is the rather obvious large scar on his chest. It would have been easy for anyone to shoot the scar if not for Star’s ability to hover around the screen like a maniac under the influence of meth. This makes shooting him incredibly difficult as he sometimes levitate off-screen. During my entire lifetime of playing the game, I never escaped Star without losing a life.

Anyway, so there we are, Star hovering before us – taunting and knives glimmering.

We began to shoot.

“The chest,” I said to the boy. “Hit him on the chest.”

Although the boy tried his best to hit the increasingly infuriating boss, his trigger finger was no match against Star’s speed. I tried to compensate, but all it took was a short delay on reloading my light gun and Star was able to slash his way through our defenses and decrease our lives to two each.

“Okay,” I said to the boy, anticipating Star’s next move, “keep hitting the guy, okay? Keep hitting the guy.”

As I predicted, Star stopped to hover like a crazy maniac and began to shoot pink projectiles from his knives. As the boy kept hitting the now rather stable Star, I shot the projectiles awayWe successfully deflected the deluge of pink projectiles and the boy managed to pound Star’s chest with a hundred lead bullets. I felt proud of ourselves. The boy and I make a pretty good team, I thought.

Bloodied, Star thrust his arm sideways and began to rotate in an amazing speed. This is his last attack; the last show of the town. Star slowly hovered toward us, picking up speed, his knives slashing through air and the wind beating on our faces. The boy and I raised our guns together, hoping for the best.

We shoot and Star danced along with the bullets.

It was going well until there was a swift flash of stainless steel across our faces and everything went pitch-black.

The Rules of Engagement

I texted this once to a friend: Flirting, I believe, is a mental exercise. It is like chess. Should you push a compliment or should you retreat for now and feign non-interest? Should you castle your feelings, or siege onward? She replied too quickly – is this a trap, or are her defenses finally crumbling down? As it is with chess, flirting needs strategy, persistence, determination. And as it is with chess, the ending can either end with humiliating defeat, glorious victory, or a dreadful draw. How it will end, however, depends on how you play the game.

This entry is about how to play that game. Although I admit that I am not an incubus, a pick-up artist, or someone with a bachelor’s degree in seduction, I am a crucial observer and casual advocate of the rules of engagement. I may have not have the looks, but I do have my way with words and theatrics. Hahaha. You just have to trust me on this one, okay?

A fair caveat before you continue – this article presupposes that you are confident with what and who you are. No amount of how-to essays, comforting voice or humorous anecdotes will help you if you do not want to help yourself in the first place. Well, if it makes you feel better, I think the fact that you are reading this shows that you are ready to tackle the world. And you know what? I believe you are ready. Go out there and wrestle Atlas for the world, stranger!

Also, this is not a walkthrough. Your mileage may vary. Adjust accordingly. Do not use this for evil. This is modified from the American style of seduction as to fit the Philippine setting. Read the readings at the end of the article. This is a semi-humorous article so don’t take everything seriously. Enjoy.

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The cornerstone of every flirting engagement is research and correspondence. Do you believe the usual professional game of chess begins with White’s first move? No, it begins with reconnaissance. Before you engage in total war, you should first stalk the enemy. What is her name? Where does she live? Does she love pizza or pasta? Who are her friends? What is her father’s profession? What are her hobbies? Of course, the Reader should remember not to go overboard. There is nothing more creepy than to learn that a stranger – total or not – knows everything about you, from the exact place of your birth to the exact time that you fell asleep yesterday. Only collect sufficient data, and with the advent of Facebook and Twitter, stalking has now become easy and convenient. Again, and I cannot stress how important this is, do not go overboard. Really.

The second step is connecting the dots. This is where the hunt begins. During this step, you willingly give away your presence to the enemy. This can be easy or hard, depending on how difficult it is to get to her. For the most part, unless the prey is a total stranger, you have already done this step.

The third and crucial step is to meet in the crucible. Now that the enemy is aware of your presence, you need to obtain that crucial chance to be alone with her. This is where most people hesitate, falter and lose the game. A moderately sure technique, with a 30% success rate, is to use friendship as a means to the end. Match your interests with hers. If she likes tennis, join the local club where she is a member, make sure your schedules match, and feign surprise when you see her on the field. If she is a Physics major, learn the intricacies of quantum mechanics, blunder in front of her, and be that harmless cute nerd who only wants to learn something new. Proximity is key to success. The goal here is to force her into thinking that destiny is getting out of its way to align the two of you.

You know better, of course. You know you are your own destiny.

Anyway, before anything else, the Reader should do well to avoid the friendzone. The friendship is only a means to the end. Some people burrow far down the rabbit hole that they forget what they are after in the first place. Do not do anything that will later bite you in the ass. Do not attempt to compromise. Once you have obtained that chance to be alone with her, imply that you are not there for friendship but for her heart. This is important because the friendzone is a tricky place to be in. A surefire way to avoid the friendzone, of course, is to declare what you really feel for her. It is not a bad move but it is risky as you lose that chance of reconnaissance afforded by the guise of friendship. Her reaction will largely depend on what you have built during that point.

If you did manage to get close to the enemy, proceed to the next step – the bait and switch. Although the technique is easy to execute, it is very hard to master. Basically, you push a romantic gesture such as a compliment, make sure it connects, and then quickly pull away if she begins to show any interest. This creates some sort of tension where you leave her hanging and wanting for more. There are dangers, however, that you should be aware when you proceed to this step. First, if your timing is off, you will likely leave a rather awkward moment when you pull away. This makes you look like a fool. Second, as it is with our first step above, do not go overboard or the enemy will eventually realize that you have really nothing to offer to the table and will not expect anything anymore.

The last step is releasing the arrow. This is the time when you admit everything to the enemy. Only you will know the best time when to release the arrow. It will come and you will feel it. And once it does, release the string and shoot the arrow. Aim true. Do not hesitate. If it misses, heave a sigh, force a smile, pick up another silver arrow from your quiver, and look for another target. Your story need not end with failure. Even the greatest silver tongue has faltered many times during his lifetime.

And there you are. The basic rules of engagement. There is a lot more to seduction, of course, but you will learn this as you go along this path of great pleasure. I heed you well with your future endeavors, dear Reader, and have a great day ahead of you. Excelsior!

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For Further Reading:

1. TofuTofu on Being a Modern Alpha Male, Alpha Body Language and Tonality, and Importance of Projecting an Aura of Happiness and Well-Being

2. MaysonNSS on Scarcity vs. Abundance: How Neediness Kills Your Game