Nino’s Input A.K.A. The Brother Collaboration

So, Nino started singing Eye of The Tiger, and I thought, “why not interview him?”  This led to an on-the-spot brother dialogue thing.  So here it is!

What is your favorite song?

Eye of the Tiger, September, Piano Man, Power of Love, and Hooked on a Feeling (for the last one, he doesn’t understand the lyrics, and just knows it’s related to Guardians of the Galaxy).

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A LEGO builder or an engineer.

What’s your weapon of choice?

Hmm…. I would say…. a lightsaber and the Force.  Both the Light side and the Dark side.  And I would have two lightsabers, one red and one green.

What do you want your house to be?

Um… a house with hidden guns.  And there’s going to be a speaker behind the guns, so they can hear people and don’t kill any new friends (that haven’t been there before).

What’s your favorite TV show (so far)?

Octonauts is my favorite educational TV show so far, and Transformers: Rescue Bots is my favorite non-educational TV show so far.

Favorite book?

I don’t know.  Hehehehehe.

Do you like fires?

If they’re in the backyard and if they’re not burning a house because people could die. Yeah.

Favorite food?

So far?  Yeah.  I think Teryaki Chicken on a stick.  Teri-YAKI with RICE!

Favorite game to play outside?

So far? Football and soccer!

Favorite activity?

Reading books, playing games with members of my family, and building LEGOs.  And reading Boys’ Life too.

Favorite place to go?

Hmm… I’m thinking… how about favorite park?  I don’t know if this place is a park though.  Kings’ Island.
That works.

How do you want to close out?

I do not know, please ask me more questions.

I’ve got nothing left.

Oh fine, close out.  Goodbye people, I hope you will die someday and go to Heaven.

– End Transcript

P.T. Yeah, that’s him.  His words.

The Price Of Freedom

With the end of school, I am finding a lot of time on my hands to go and write.  My opportunity, in my free time.
Quite recently – less than 30 minutes before I started writing this – my mom was talking about how she was working on a post appropriate for Memorial Day.  That in turn inspired me to give some thoughts, combined with what I’ve seen recently.

American Sniper.  My dad, my brother, and I went to see it on Friday night, in a little theater in a decrepit, almost completely abandoned mall.  I remember the quiet atmosphere as we walked through.  At the time, it didn’t have much effect on me as we were searching for the small theater.

Upon reaching our destination, we settled in, occasionally making jokes about how we should be worried by the state of the place.  That, and trying to minimize contact with the environment.  This continued as we sat in the theater, waiting for the movie to start.

Then it actually began, and with each moment of realism, so many things struck me.  Maybe some part of me had the ideal image of a soldier in the head, no matter how unrealistic.  A soldier who always managed to complete their mission, and with minimal casualties.  That image fled pretty quickly.

Each fallen brother in arms resonated through the screen, especially since the protagonist, Chris Kyle, “The Legend”, had gotten to know them and had been with many of them for some time.  I will say, it was easy to initially view it as just a movie. However, once I truly realized that this was a representation of reality, it made me truly afraid.
The sacrifice paid by soldiers from the past, to this very moment, and into the far future.  Could I ever have the strength or courage to do what needs to be done?
A sacrifice in the soul, at times.  Every tough call shown in the movie made me realize just how much is paid by snipers, especially.  They see ahead, taking the role of defenders of those below.  And often times, with that power, comes a great price.  You never really think about how those men feel after they call the shot.  How hard do you think it is to make the call to take down a child carrying what could be a bomb?  It eats at the spirit, in a very real and dangerous way.  The trauma is unimaginable.
It might be easy to say that you won’t hesitate if you’re ever in that situation, but how do you know?  How could you know?

With each man lost, every moment during which the rift between Chris Kyle and his wife widened, another piece of understanding is gained.  Think about what soldiers with families have given up, in the pursuit of the protection of their country.  They are willing to die for our freedoms.  That’s what’s at stake.  Why we must be ever thankful to those veterans who fought.

Chris Kyle briefly made it back to his family after four tours.  The man then made a difference in the life of those veterans with PTSD and disabilities, until his untimely death.  There is no doubt that we owe him, and his death is a great loss to America.  His service, as well as the service of those millions of others who died for their country, must not be forgotten.  That’s why we have Memorial Day.  Why we honor these men, the brave and the bold.  We’re blessed to have those men in the armed forces who are willing to make the tough call.  To do what needs to be done to keep our nation safe.

After the film came the long walk back through the silent halls to our car.  It allowed for some introspection with regards to the movie.  What has been seen will always be remembered, and I know it’s only a small part of the reality of war.

“The price of freedom is high.  It always has been.  And it’s a price I am willing to pay.” – Captain America, The Winter Soldier.

The blood spilled, lives lost, the decisions that one must make for the good of others, all of it.  So again, I say, thank the veterans, because unless we follow in their footsteps, we will never truly know what they have experienced in their time.

– M

The Moon, The Strobe, and The Dancers

Prom took place.  Dancing with people occurred.  It was… interesting.

How about those super fast dances?  I’m moderately okay with partner dancing, but when it comes to just messin’ around in that huge circle people do, where humans get in the center?
I’d rather walk the plank than (not then) go for an extended period of time in the center, like some of my more confident companions whose skills are unmatched (think backflips and the like).  Hail to those peeps.  I ain’t one, so I get to applaud them without it being weird.

So people seemed to appreciate my music selections that night.  Back To You – Twin Forks; Mais La – Royal Teeth
They got into it.  I was surprised.  Pity those songs aren’t more popular.  Then I wouldn’t have felt lonely singing them.
What format shall I follow for this post?  Stream of consciousness.  Now, g-g-go.

Pictures at 3:45, following the standard format of weird oddities that us homeschoolers are.  My group was comprised of several humans.  So while we roasted in the sun, waiting for the adults to take our pictures, we messed around.  Relaxing banter is relaxing.  Also, Airman.

A short drive later, we ended up at Saint Max in time for 4:30 Mass.  We managed to fit into a single pew, and us guys were nodding silently, in a very satisfied way.  The girls were amused.  And then JESUS.  Yesh, Communion.  After Mass, we headed over to the Conference Room to take stock of the food that we were blessed with, thanks to the efforts of MaryClare and the adults.  There was chocolate, pizza, chocolate, pasta, chocolate, breadsticks, and last but not least, chocolate.  Oh, and some other stuff like vegetables *makes face*.

Despite having a “rejects” table (according to Rob and others) because the main table was filled, the arrival of other cool people soon led to there not being awkward unfilled spots.  Everybody dug into the food, and enjoyed it wholeheartedly, I imagine.
Several topics came up, namely Marvel vs. DC and fork flinging.  More pictures ensued just outside of church, then we were riding up to the Holy Spirit Center in Ryan’s family car.

Enter narrative format.

I stepped out of the car, thanked Ryan’s mother, and joined the flock of human teenagers spiriting their way down the long hallway, lined with windows and doors that went on and on and on.  Upon reaching the registration table, manned by the great adults, I happened upon Mr. Courtney Brown, leader of a thousand happenings such as CREDO and Encounter.  Needless to say, I was surprised, and shook his hand briefly before heading into the courtyard of the Holy Spirit Center.  I spotted Annie, Leo, Danny, Anna, Clare, and a few others I knew more by sight than name (as usual).  Not ten minutes into traipsing the grounds, the doors to the dance floor opened, and people started to flood in, myself and crew among them.

I set my suit jacket and hat down on a chair, and breathed in the air.  Suddenly, multicolored lights started flashing, and A Sky Full Of Stars was playing… except it was oddly distorted.  Oh well.  It was still a good song.  The first swing song turned out to be an excellent one, requested by Nathan.  Dance With Me Tonight – Olly Murs.  I immediately sought out a partner, and asked Lydia to dance.  We had just gotten into the motions when tragedy struck.  The song turned out to be a mix of the first song and… Dear Future Husband, by Meghan Trainor.  Being the humans that we were trained to be, we powered through the mix, wincing at parts, but staying committed to the task at hand.  *insert face of disgrace*

A lot of line dances followed, and it was quite the party as people kept filing in.  I greeted Jarod and Anna Grace among others, and found myself partaking of the fresh air outside with fellow teenagers who had been deafened by the loud music.  In short, success was had.

Anyway…  we had a whole ton of fun, and despite my earlier misgivings, I did manage to dance with quite a few of my group members and others.  Let’s see… out of the group, I danced with Lydia, Annika, Abby, Claire, Mary Clare, and Olivia.  Hopefully they enjoyed the… rather meager skills displayed by my person.  Oh well.  Out of those outside my group, I managed to secure dances with… Anna, Marissa, Annie, Natalie, and Emily.  Now I realize that maybe I didn’t dance that much… huh… well, I guess you could count those other dances.  Walking in the moonlight was peaceful though.  I wouldn’t give that up.

Seniors got called up about halfway through the dancing, and Annie nearly deafened my already debilitated ear (am I using that word correctly?) by shouting out Maria’s name to get her to the front with the other seniors.
Then more dances, during which swing songs happened.  Those were the ones where I took the opportunity to dance with the aforementioned partners.  One of those dances ended up being a waltz to “Don’t Stop Believing” with Natalie.  That was rather excellent.  I remembered who she was, and she remembered me, and it wasn’t weird!  Yay!  I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, when music sped up once more.  With legs already tired from Cotton Eyed Joe and the Cupid Shuffle and all the other bits and pieces, I walked out.  My friends joined me shortly thereafter, and together we sat on the steps, livin’ the dream… of sitting on steps and relaxing.
We did go back in for the last 30 minutes of dancing.

Eventually, things wrapped up, and the usual process of clean-up and farewells took place.
After-prom was… interesting… for me.  I was already dead.  So I just staggered about, and it was weird, and I was weird.  But I played chess, and ate food, so it was successful.  Right? Right?  OBLIVIATE!

– M

Sunlight In Sight

Guys, we’ve all been there at some point.

“What are you talking about?” you might ask.  That closing moment between the end of the school year and blissful summer freedom.  The sky is calling, people are excited to do awesome stuff (hopefully outdoors), and NO MORE SCHOOLWORK TO WORRY ABOUT FOR A WHILE.  Unless you’re busy during summer semester, but that’s another story.

Things to keep in mind as we close in on our goal of success:

  • Not to give up.
    That’s rather important.  We must put our hearts and souls into our final reach.  Racers at the finish line cannot slow down or slack off as they see the endgame.  The final push in the battle.  The war is also another matter.  Consider it a victory of epic proportions, because it truly is.  Surviving months upon months of unyielding school?  You, ladies and gentlemen, are worthy of highest applause for getting to where you are.  Just a bit farther, then we have the chance to kick back and do… EVERYTHING (within reason).
  • To give it all we’ve got.
    Truth.  Those things called exams are both obstacles and… also, possibly concise boards of review.  Yeah, I’m comparing those last tests to those last steps.  Now, I’m not saying that I enjoy those very highly at all.  No, pretty sure I’d be hunted if I ever said that I like… loved a final exam.  Also, I’d have to declare myself medically insane (unless it’s a technical test of mad skills regarding design).  But seriously, stick the landing, make the basket, hit the bulls-eye, be fast enough to stop the Reverse Flash, etc. etc.
  • To remember that what we’re doing plays a role in our future.
    Yeah, this is one of those things that I have to tell myself rather often.  It’s a motivation that manages to keep me going whenever I feel crushed under the heavy workload.  We have an awesome future to look forward to, and what we do now will affect our later lives, in some manner or other.  Not to discourage or anything.  That should actually be a sort of inspiration.  It’s like: “Onward!” and “This task, I like it! *smash* Another!”
  • To keep in mind that we’re not alone.
    Also important.  If you’re struggling, remember that you’re most definitely NOT alone.  This also applies to vices, depression, etc. etc.  Don’t use that to look down on others, but instead use it to gain strength in the combined fight.  Like an anonymous group, or what I think one is like (I might not be correct, but oh well).  People working together despite not really knowing too much about one another.
  • To have fun.
    Ladies and gents, life is too short to be depressed.  So, in the words of Miss Frizzle (re-ordered for awesomeness purposes): “Takes chances, get messy, and make mistakes!” But enjoy it.  Like, really.  Notes, please.  Also, to fulfill my quote quota (hehe, see what I did there?), I have one last one from The Doctor.  “The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and… bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant.”  Seek out your friends, make new ones, and remember to do everything for Heaven’s glory.

Thus, as the sun sets on another school year, I say to summer: “Veni Ad Me, Fra! Our race is not yet done.”

– M

P.T. (Post Transcript) I just realized that the first thing on my list is the only thing that doesn’t start with a “to”.  Oh well, there goes uniformity.

Fire Fall

Pull the wibbly lever everybody, we’re going to go back in time and talk about fire.  So first off, the why of things. Well, in the past few days (relatively speaking), I have found myself messing with lots of fires, building them, and thinking of things pertaining to said burny things.  In that time, I have realized that hey!  Let’s discuss these things and how they relate to life in some form or fashion.  They can be used as symbols, as representations (not the same in this context, I’ll explain), and to simply let off steam (literally and figuratively).  Not necessarily in that order.

So, recently, I constructed a fire pit in my family’s backyard.  Pretty straightforward, simply fire.  Our grill wasn’t cutting it for fires that I wanted to blaze up.  Too small.  Thus, I took it upon myself to dig for an hour or two and make a fire pit with a handy dandy stone circle. During that time, I reflected on many things, namely how hard work was good for the soul, and the devil likes idle humans.  Well, I devoted my mental space to digging, and it was me simply admiring nature, doing something fun, and also kind of relaxing… which is kind of ironic, seeing as it required lots of my strength. Oh, I know how to explain it.  It’s like when you’re taking a break from exercising mental muscles in school, and go and do like… pull-ups or something.  That’s what it’s like.  I was exerting myself physically rather than mentally.

So I built that, but unfortunately, a clap of thunder predestined that I was not to have an inaugural fire in the fire pit… which was sad… When I did get around to it though, I really needed it.  See, being human and all, I get pretty angry sometimes.  It happens.  So I went outside one day, and decided on setting a fire (a controlled one, mind you).  I dragged a small tree towards the unlit fire – one of those nice pine ones that goes up in a blaze – and tossed it in.  Next, I piled a bunch of sticks around it, filling up the gaps in the ring.  Finally, I took matches, and lit the whole thing. The entire time, I was working off my aggression, being physically active, and letting whatever torrent was in my heart unleash into a raging fire.

Speaking of raging fires, that thing started crackling for a few seconds as branches were consumed, and then it decided to shoot up a good 20 feet, while I listened to Raging Fire by Phillip Phillips.  Aw, yiss. There’s something about huge fires that acts as a release, especially if you lit them.  I burned that whole pile, and it served as an outlet for all them feelz.  Nope, I sound immature.  Whatever.  Emotions, feelings, swirling and climbing higher in the hissing and crackling flames… which blazed higher and higher until the roar was in my ears.  Then it died down, and with it, parts of my anger.  Symbol of rage.  It’s fun to let it out.

Suffice it to say, stress relief exercise was a success.

A day passed, then I found myself outside once more, burning things.  I sent another of those pine trees up in smoke, but this time, it was for warmth, and just to admire it and its being a thing of pure awesomeness.  A gift, without the attached aggression.  It was just there to be awe-inspiring.  And yeah it was.  There used to be a tree that was in danger of burning because it hung over the pit.  I was displeased with it, so now it’s not there anymore.  I took a saw to the thing, and it went bye-bye.  Fell down between two trees, which was where I had aimed it, so that was a positive thing.

Yeah, I’m only just finishing this much overdue post thanks to… exhaustion (never a happy thing), and possibly laziness.  I laze, but I don’t intend to do that now!  So that’s why I return.
Future note: There’s apparently going to be a bonfire at St. Gertrude next time, which promises to be awesome.  Since we’re on the subject of fires, I thought I’d bring that up.
What to say about fires… they can bring people together, or they can be used offensively.

Fires are fascinating things.  They’re free to crackle and spread as soon as they touch… fuel.  Analogy time (I think I’m using that word right)!  We start out as these tiny little humans called – wait for it – babies!  Yay babiez!
Yes, human life.  Fascinating.  We start in the womb (yes, at conception, there is life, and there isn’t any other way about it), and then… grow and eventually spring forth to seize the day!  Plain and simple, yet very often confused in so many ways by those who just don’t understand or ignore that truth.  But I’m not here to argue on the life issue, right now.  I’m here to compare humanity to raging fires, which is to say…

Fires are free moving, crackling, raging, powerful things.  They require energy to do so, and the more fuel they gain, the higher the heights they reach.  I think it’s a fair comparison.  We as humans need to gain strength – in many different ways – to be ourselves.  To… strive for the highest goals.  To… flee every temptation to be mediocre… #BlessedFrassati

Now, you might say, “But dude, fires get killed by smothering and what not.”
On that point, we can go back to fires and frustration.  It had been a long day (Saturday, I think), cutting things down, adding fuel to the fire, and all that.  My wrist was sprained from attacking weeds with a heavy machete (and doing what I claim to be fancy twirls), people were tired, and my 6-year old brother had a hose.
I decided, as a good fire warden, to stay outside and make sure my pine tree fire was fully out, supervising Nino’s efforts to extinguish it.  He shot a jet from the hose for almost five minutes, and still it refused to go out.  That blazing fire, despite being a shadow of its former self, would not simply lie down and die.  There were some embers deep down that just wouldn’t go out.

So that’s my response to that.  We do not simply die, like FIRE.  Strength and honor!

Rise to the challenge, live, and do epic, almost random things.  Write blog posts, go dancing, play sports, meet awesome people and wish them happy birthday on their… actual birthdays… anyway, enjoy life!  And nature.  Nature is epic, and we shouldn’t waste life/ the oncoming summer inside.  Get outside and do… things!  I’m rambling, but you get the point by now, hopefully.
Hail to you, good reader.  Onward!

– M