Frenzies & Foreign Matter

There is strategy.  And then there is Magic strategy.  I have no idea which is better.  There are those games that teach you tactics in some sense (chess is my prime example here), and others that are just for getting where you need to go (some video games that I’ve played).  How that made sense, I’m still working out myself.  Regardless, I find those games that involve a lot of thinking to be very enjoyable, whether you’re playing against your friends or against strangers.  Naturally, friendly battles are more… er… explosive in character.  If I were to go into the dynamics of Magic: The Gathering wars, doubtless, much would be lost in translation.  At any rate, battles were fought, with a mixture of strategy and overall cunning.

There were 7 decks for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone… wait, no, that’s wrong.  6 decks to mortal men, doomed to play until they fell weary… or something like that.  9 rings to mortal men, but 6 decks of cards to us teenagers of destructive nature.  All homeschoolers, unsurprisingly, on a very beautiful Columbus day, enjoying the merits of… anti-sunlight/computer screenism.  RPG wars – surprisingly unviolent for our group – played out rather dramatically with us being a variety of adventurer archetypes.  The scenario hinged on our decisions of becoming heroes or villains, with the Dark Knight principle given by Two-Face: “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”  We were up against dark forces beyond our control, secret organizations lurking in the shadows, gang wars on the verge of plunging a world into chaos, and surprisingly enough, something about damsels in distress that required more brains than brawn.  Unfortunately, we turned out to be the er… damsels in distress… but not damsels… because we’re all manly men… but not men… because we’re teenagers… well, not all of us – oh forget it.  As of yet, the endgame remains undecided.

Departing that dour world of dark depression nearly 4 hours hence, we took up arms in the form of cards, our words filled with venom as we sang the war cries of… Take On Me?  By A-ha?  Forget the venom part, that song is just awesome.  And oh yes, it’s a war-cry because of that epic title.  What? We’re 90’s kids.  We can sing 80’s songs if we so desire.  Lots of harmonization happened.  We battled upon the stones of war, our miniature armies of little puny cards clashing across the carpet.  Tapped humans swung with all their power, for the glory of the king (me).  Yes, it was that energized gametype: Usurper!
Two assassins born to kill a king; one rogue battling for the power of the everlasting ring; two guards, the ones who are always very nearly victorious; and one king, whose death could be anything but glorious.
Yes, I’m in a rhyming mood (thanks Spectacular Spider-Man).
My faithful guard saved the day, and it is him who I have to thank for surviving this long.  So onward!

Service is very good.  Service is your way of giving back to a community of people.  Yesterday, we began to build these um… “care bears” – for lack of better wording on my part – for my friend’s Stars & Stripes Project.  For those who don’t know what Stars & Stripes is, it’s the highest rank in American Heritage Girls.  It’s a boss organization, go check it out when you get the chance.
So, we constructed these “care bears” for young kids to have, which is pretty cool, and I believe there’s also a collection drive for pregnant mothers, to get them things to assist with… well, their lives.  The process involved cutting, sewing, stuffing, and all other manner of technical things I have yet to fully understand.  I cut cloth, sewed (manly sewing, mind you), and stuffed bear patterns.  It was… difficult for me – probably because I’m clumsy with small needles – but rather enjoyable, I will say that.  Fortunately, I had another associate present who was also a guy, thus we were sonicking things with a mini sonic screwdriver until 14:00 hours.  Good, excellent things.  I should write more about it at a later date.  Service is an excellent topic of discussion.

And finally –

Ah, those glorious parentals to whom I owe pretty much everything, and who in turn owe everything to God.  They’re celebrating 25 years together soon!  25!  It’s crazy.  In a world full of men and women who fail to be faithful to one another, it’s a miracle to have well… parents who you can rely on to be your moral grounding.  I know they can seem a bit overbearing, and sometimes unsure of themselves, but they really are wise (future me, if you’re ever doubting them, read this blog post, and you’ll know you’re wrong) and inspirational.  There are those people who say brainwashing happens at the home, and that people should listen to the world rather than family.  If this were the case, who could you ever trust?  If you can’t even rely on your family to teach you – really properly teach you – then where are you? Lost in the storm, to use a figure of speech.  Trust in your family.  If they truly want what’s best for you, then you won’t go wrong.

25 years.  Commitment has power within it.  Love bonds with all its grace and blessing.  Mushy though it is, that kind of connection is unbreakable.  Whatever happens, bad or good, that connection still exists.  You can’t destroy it.  There’s a part of the husband and wife forever within each other.  It’s a superpower.

– M

Hunters And Flaming Objects

Oh, didn’t post yesterday… huh… well, anyway…

Candles look awesome.  Especially at Mass.  I had the opportunity to be an altar server yesterday, and so, with haste, I set about lighting candles with fire!  It does one great cheer to see even a little flame.  Having only 2 servers for Mass, I had the opportunity to carry a book and sing songs with the rest of the congregation.  There’s something joy-inducing about singing, whether my er… tune was correct or not.  I have no idea what it is, but there was that.  My brother and I – the A team with regards to serving, dare I say – had it near perfect that time, if I may but boast on this single occasion.

So, rewind about… er… 3 days, tops, to Friday.  Quite fun, but slightly gloomy and colorless sky.  The sky usually has a startling effect on my mood, and that day was probably no exception for the first half.  Nightfall, and the first DTS meeting of the month er… happened.  Rainy and well… wet as it clearly was, it was good to see some other people, as in homeschoolers.  We discussed Saint Anthony Mary Claret (cool guy, could read consciences), saw some “magic” tricks from two brothers, and ate cookies whilst talking about Shadow of Mordor.

Sunday night was spent crushing humans in Magic… oh, that probably reveals me as a nerd, but oh well.  RPG war ensued, we crushed tiny humans with wicked sharp swords… and well… I’ll just update this with more detail tomorrow.  I am definitely ready to crash, so good night!

Riverboats & Rain… Oh, & Homeschoolers

There was a brisk wind blowing on Friday.  Not unexpected, but the 2nd deck of the boat experienced the cold feeling a lot more dramatically.  The river below was churning, probably due to our boat’s motions.  We were just beginning our little trip, with about a hundred homeschoolers, when the Cupid Shuffle started going.  Naturally when you have such a large group of enthusiastic, possibly caffeinated homeschoolers doing the Cupid Shuffle on a boat with most of the weight on the top, things tend to shift around.  So like that, the boat started drifting with the motions rather extremely.  Everybody would shift to the right, and the boat would follow, depending on the direction the line dancers were facing.  At this point during the event, I was standing at the rail along with a couple of strangers who had declined to join the shuffling, and we simply stood and were amused at the directional changes made.

Rewind to about an hour and a half earlier.  I arrived at my friend’s house, waited around for more people, then crammed friends and said people into the car.  Surprisingly, they fit.  We then spent 45 minutes in the car, loudly discussing whether we were going to make it to the boat on time, whether we would survive getting there, and a whole bunch of other topics that kept floating about.  Arriving at the boat, we sprinted down the bridge to the landing dock, our coats rippling in the breeze. Zooming through a line of homeschoolers, getting past that onto the boat, finding ourselves among a large number of people, and then, kaboom, time passing quickly, all led to the then current situation of boat movement.

Sort of fast forward through, back to the actual dancing.  So, in the aftermath of the Cupid Shuffle, we were cruising smoothly along the Ohio River, people laughing and waving at things off the starboard bow.  I had no idea how many knots we were going at, but we were moving fast enough for it to be satisfying.  So after leaving my post at the rail, I decided to do a swing dance.  Swing is very versatile, in that the moves are a bit more free-flowing, and it’s light and friendly even when dancing with people you don’t know (provided they know the steps).  So after this cool little swing dance with my friend Jessica – in which I retested moves from months ago – I found myself sticking with the other guys, and being amused by their *cough* antics.

A bunch of line dances – that I joined my pals Ryan and Nathan in – later, the DJs and requests of people decided slower music.  Some good things to dance to, but unfortunately, finding a willing partner and space was easier said than done.  Naturally, I waded through the spinning masses, and eventually found a lady friend to dance with about halfway through a slower song.  It worked out, and after that dance, I decided it high time to traipse down the steps to rest on the first floor.  Unfortunately, Ninja called me.  Not an actual ninja of course, but the game, Ninja.  I rapidly found myself letting everyone else dispatch one another, and thus simply stepped in like a shadowy assassin to strike the hand of my lone opponent with vigor and zeal.  With those formal words, and my rather terribly wimpy battle plan, I conquered the battlefield, and then vanished into the chaotic happenings upstairs.

Regaining my equilibrium after battling friend and foe alike, I confess I sought out a particular partner to dance with next, but alas, this plan did not come to fulfillment.  So I danced with other people, who actually turned out to be just as cool, and thus I was satisfied.  Forgive the sort of formal tone, but I drank coffee earlier, and thus feel energized with strange things.  My friend Jarod and his friend who I later met had a competition to see how many people they could dance with.  Under the impression that they were my elders, I joined in.  So I danced with people.  1, 2, 3, in quick succession.  Later, I realized that far from being older than me, the two were youngsters in comparison.  Giant youngsters clearly, but younger by almost a full year.  I must look and act terribly juvenile then.

The dance continued on into the night, and the gusts of wind grew stronger.  Up above, the heavens opened and torrents of water streamed forth, dousing those unlucky enough to stand near the edges of the boat.  Those who feared for their lives raced down the steps and into the shelter of a fully roofed room, and those who loved the wild water-filled wind stayed upstairs, singing crazy songs with a gusto that rivaled the howling air.  Of course, I was among them, as it was a beautiful night.  This guy called Chris started singing “Hooked on a Feeling”, and I decided to join in, because Guardians of the Galaxy.  Singing in the rain continued (hehe, movie reference), and before long, we were all departing the boat.  Moving across the sodden ground with a spring in our step, my posse and I (claimed it) reached the haven of the van.  From there, we drove and talked like crazy once more, discussing Marvel heroes, Catholic pick-up lines, Steampunk, books, and movies.  And it was cool, because we were all insane.

– M

End transcript.