Friday, December 31, 2010

A Continuation

[Insert beginning here] It’s hard to start things. This year has not been one of beginnings, or endings, but rather of changes. A continuation, if you will. My relationships with the people around me have changed, in some cases drastically. My relationship with school has gotten more…complicated. She’s a tough mistress. I’ve moved into a long term relationship with Tech Crew. She’s a bit time consuming and demanding, but well worth the time. A, hopefully, life long love affair with writing has blossomed and I love it. Overall, a very interesting year. Wishing a happy and wonderful and eventful year to all!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

“Count Vorkosigan, sir?”

I once heard a line that really stuck with me: You humans choose the oddest things to invest your emotions in. Animals. Inanimate objects. Fictional characters. We get attached to these things, even though they might not feel anything or even exist outside of the pages of a book. It can be wonderful to get attached to these people, feel like we know them better than ourselves. But it can be horrible to have them ripped away from us. For anyone who reads the Vorkosigan Universe and hasn’t finished CryoBurn, stop reading now. I recently finished a book in which one of my favorite characters dies. It was astonishing to me because he was one of those people who seems indestructible. He will be missed greatly. It is a weird type of loss. Until that final page, he continues to exist and live and thrive. I can always go back to other books and spend time with him. But I will always know that in the end, he dies. In a way, it’s an interesting microcosm for life. In the end, we all die. But until then, we live breathe and thrive. The difference is that fictional character exist for eternity. They face a different type of death.

Sorry, this got kind of morbid. The point is: it sucks when a character that you love dies, but you can always go back and relive moments with them over and over again.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Traveler's Dilemma

We are transients
Never finished
Wanting to push onward
It is our nature

One day uprooted
Moving on to something
New and incomplete
We pack our bags

Journeys endless
Always searching
Never finding home
Lost and never found

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wise Beyond Our Years

Well, I’ve got some extra time in AP Gov (our teacher is out and I finished 50 minutes early), so I figured I’d make some use of it. It’s a bit weird, this is the time year when most people are incredibly busy and have no down time. Now, I’m not saying I’m not really busy and have so little time, but I have more free time now than I’m use to. I’ve had time to write, sleep, and even watch videos on the internet. That never happens! But it’s been nice, especially as Christmas rolls around, to have a little more time to myself. I really need it. You’ll probably hear a lot from me in the next few days. I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately. I don’t know why. (It’s not Christmas music, just in case you care.) But anyway…

History allows us to become wise beyond our years
Dr. Reilly

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Untitled, For Now...

Patience, it is often said
is a virtue. Lacked by many
who know little of
life. Wasted and swept away
by the tide. Of progress pushing
the world forward.

What are we to do if all we can do is look forward?
What are we to do if all we can do is fall behind?
What are we to do?

Sorry for trying to get deep. I'm sitting around my computer waiting for a DVD to finish burning and felt the need to spew something down. But now it just looks a bit preachy. Eh, it can stand. But junior year continues its inexorable grind onward, and we run or are swept underneath. Highlights: I got a new phone that doesn't turn itself off every two minutes. Christmas coming. SAT scores on Tuesday. A fun week ahead. Not looking forward to American Studies presentation or Calc test, but what are you gonna do? Well, sorry if this has been a complete waste of your time.

I'd rather read, come back later.
Her smile gave his life meaning.
If it's love, it is really?
It's been one of those days…

Sunday, December 12, 2010


he smiled
they thought he was happy
he thought he knew joy
It started small
but oh did It grow
before his eyes, even, did It grow
soon he didn't know what to do with It
he thought he could ride along
not worrying about It
It would all work out
now he's not sure
what It's going to do to him

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


He slides slowly into bed, bones aching from the toils of the day.
She lays down on the couch, head resting near the empty bottles.
They huddle close together, as the wind blows against the thin walls.

He flips off the lights and dives deep into his mass of covers.
She puts down her book and rolls over into sleep.
They fall close, and speak softly of their day.

He walks the streets, looking for a place to rest his head.
She stares at the screens, with six hours to go.
They drive on, blinded by approaching headlights.

And he rose, sunlight creeping through the windows.
And she rose, her head hammering.
And they rose , heading out for another day.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I contradict myself. Okay then? So what?
An apology for not writing. I've been very busy. (Mentally)

Love has reasons which reason cannot understand.
Blaise Pascal

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oh Yeah, I Do This Too

1. I don't like to write Notes

2. I love the way coffee smells, but cant stand the taste

3. The last dream I remember happened 5 years ago

4. History is my favorite subject.

5. I blog. Don't judge

6. I'm Catholic

7. My middle name in Joseph

8. I have an Israeli flag on my desk

9. I love to make videos

10. I'm taking AP Calc

11. I can write you a poem in Latin. Just give me a few minutes

12. There are always at least 3 books in my backpack

13. I'm dating Kaitlin

14. I'm a nerd. And damn proud of it.

15. I can drive stick

16. I wear black everyday

17. I'm not emo

18. I'm just a techie

19. I bet you've stopped reading at this point

20. I <3>

21. Enjoy challenges? I do

22. One of these facts isn't true

23. I won't say which though

24. But I think you can figure it out

25. I want to live on a mountain

26. I want to teach history or be stage manager. Not sure yet.

27. I have a hackintosh. Coolest thing ever.

28. I'm listening to Into the Woods right now

29. I love photography.

30. This message will self-destruct in 5....4...3...2...1...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sum Quod Eris

Sum Quod Eris
I am what you will be.

Life is full of cycles. Today, I visited a Latin II class. It brought memories flooding back. Those kids were learning the same things I had learned, almost three years ago. Later, I listened to people discuss casting decisions. This is something universal. No one is ever happy with everyone who gets a role. In a deeper sense, there are patterns of interaction that characterize relationships, interactions, and lives across the world. The one pattern that trumps all is best summed up in that Roman grave inscription, Sum Quod Eris. It says, everyone dies.

My life revolves in cycles of sleep, school, work, and friends. Cycles provide me with a sense of balance and order that helps to sustain me through the school year. Habits begin to form. Some of these habits are healthy and make my life easier. Some...aren't so helpful. In the end, it's what school is really about. Not about knowing that one grammatical construct, or how to calculate limits approaching infinity, or who wrote Common Sense. School is about establishing life-long learning habits and cycles that will serve us for the rest of our lives.

I'm sorry this has been so deep. I felt like I needed to do something special for my 100th post. That bit up there had been sitting around for a while. Not really sure where it was going, but I figured it couldn't hurt. Well, it's been 100. Looking back on it, I feel like I can look back on this blog and trace the progression of my life. It's an interesting thing to be able to do. Anyway, I feel like this should be a longer post then usual, so I'll throw some more stuff out here. We are reading Song of Myself by Walt Whitman for history, and I found one of my favorite passages from all of American poetry:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Everybody Take A Breath

Well I have some time in Latin (we just finish Daedalus and Icarus and don't want to start anything new on a Friday), so I though I'd write a bit. Sorry for being gone for so long, I've been incredibly busy working on the school show and trying to get homework done. We open tonight at 7:30 (COME SEE IT!), and so I've been spending 15 or 16 hours a day at school trying to finish the set and make sure everybody knows what they're supposed to be doing. Tech Week, or Hell Week, depending on who you talk to, is always a stressful week for all involved. The worst part of Tech Week is the late nights. Around the middle of Act 1, everyone starts to get a little...weird. Some people last night just began to fall asleep, others started to sing everything they said, and still others lost their mental filter and say whatever comes to mind. Which can get a little awkward when your director is standing right behind you.
The best part of show weekend is getting to see everything come together. There is definitely a sense of magic with live theater. The idea is to give the audience an experience of something beyond the stage. Being behind the scenes, however, can ruin that magic for you. Well...not ruin, but it destroys your "theatrical innocence." It's almost funny to see the reaction people have when they find out how something happens back-stage. "Wow, a shoe falls from the sky! That's awesome!" "Yeah, we used some high-tension twine and part of a door hinge to get that to fall." "Oh...thats cool, I guess."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There But For the Grace of God, Go I

So, school has kinda been controlling my life. So I figured, why not post some school related items. The only actually interesting stuff I've been doing (for most readers, anyway), is Latin.

There is this exceptionally beneficial and fruitful advantages to be derived from the study of the past, that you see, set in the clear light of historical truth, examples of every possible type.

You may hit every other thing Phoebus, but my bow will strike you: to the degree that all living creatures are less than gods, by that degree is your glory less than mine.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Old Staple



Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ideo firmiter propono

Deus meus,
ex toto corde paenitet me
omnium meorum peccatorum,
eaque detestor, quia peccando,
non solum poenas a Te iuste
statutas promeritus sum,
sed praesertim quia offendi Te,
summum bonum,
ac dignum qui super omnia diligaris.
Ideo firmiter propono,
adiuvante gratia Tua,
de cetero me non peccaturum peccandique
occasiones proximas fugiturum. Amen.

O, my God,
I am heartily sorry
for having offended you.
I detest all my sins
because of your just punishment,
but most of all
because they offend you,
my God, who are all-good
and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve,
with the help of Your grace,
to sin no more
and to avoid the near occasions of sin.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I haven't written in a while, and I feel guilty. But I don't really have anything on my mind to write about.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Pink Desk

The weekend isn't half over yet, and already it feels like it's been so long. Friday night I went on a date with my girlfriend. It was wonderful; we had dinner and saw Chicken. It's a show about three people trapped in a nuclear submarine, with as many laughs, scares, and messages as you can fit into a one hour play. It was so funny! "Was the cat food real? Of course." Then this morning I had breakfast with some friends before Tech Crew. Loads of fun at tech, then HTown Day for awhile. Busy, but fun day so far. Up next, work then hanging with friends. Cappies and loads of homework tomorrow. Such a fun weekend. Really. Well, I'm off to work.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jedi Prayer

May the Force be with you,
and also with you.
Blessed art thou among Jedi,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Yoda.
Hail Padme, mother of Luke.
Pray for our Sith,
now and in the hour of our decapitation.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pulcherrima es

Meam puellam es.
Pulcherrima es,
Plena argutiae risusque es,
Habuisti magnam artem,
Tu es mira.
Facis me redeo subrideoque,
Gratulor te.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

If You Can't Handle Me

"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." — Marilyn Monroe

I haven't really looked at a quote in a while, but this one caught me attention recently. (Long live Facebook statuses.) I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. People have faults. If you can't handle them when they're at their worst, you don't deserve them at their best.

One thing Junior year has really helped me with so far is self-reflection. There is an art to talking about yourself without sounding narcissistic. I'm going to work on it a bit. Something I've noticed this past year is that I can be a very empathetic, understanding, young man. I am able to listen well to people's issues and to be supportive when people need support. This has been really nice, because it seems to lead to very good relationships with people. I like to think that this ability to handle people when they aren't at their best is one of my better skills. It's been useful so far. It's also important to realize that I rely on other people treating me the same way.
So, to all those who handle me at my worst, Thank You. Who knows, maybe this trait will be useful again.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Collection

A lonely man leans up against a brick wall. Streetlights dot his view, obscured by fog and rain. He clutches his old, ragged jacket close. People hurry by, eyes down, heads bent against the storm. They don't notice the poor man, hidden from view.

A lonely man sits in an airport terminal, slaving over his laptop. Surrounded by other strangers. Everyone has someplace to go, someplace to be. No one living in the now. Planes come and go. The man remains, lost in time.

A lonely man lays down for another night's sleep. T.V.s blare from the apartment upstairs. Radios crackle next door. He stares up at his ceiling, thinking about all the paths not taken. The sun comes up, the man stays in bed.

A man sleeps out under the stars. Surrounded by the sounds of nature, away from all things man. He is at peace with all the world.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Song of Songs

I will love you more than me,
You are my sweetest downfall,
I just wanted to hold you in my arms.

The stars lean down to kiss you,
I loved you first, I loved you first,
It’s been a long time, but my time is finally near.
And I will see my dream come alive at last.

Hold you in my arms,
And the battle's just begun,
Counting the ways to where you are,

I'm just dreaming.

And I lie awake and miss you.

Note: This poem is a collection lyrics, not my own work. I simply arranged them.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Potestne legere?

If you haven't guessed yet, I'm taking Latin this year. Here are a few of my favorite Latin phrases. Hope you enjoy:

Canis meus id comedit
- My dog ate it
Mea maxima culpa - Through my very great fault
Ad maiorem dei gloriam (AMDG) - For the greater glory of God
Illiud latine dici non potest - You can't say that in Latin
Ave atque vale - Hail and farewell.
Nill illigitimi carborundum - Do not let the bastards get you down

Sunday, September 12, 2010

There's no shaking me.

I feel guilty not posting on The Strategy more than I feel guilty about not posting on my own blog. Unless this is supposed to be a solo deal. In which case, I apoligise.

William Shakespeare's Sonnet 43. My own personal favourite, which I wanted to share.

When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,

For all the day they view things unrespected;

But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,

And darkly bright are bright in dark directed.

Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright,

How would thy shadow's form form happy show

To the clear day with thy much clearer light,

When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so!

How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made

By looking on thee in the living day,

When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade

Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay!

All days are nights to see till I see thee,

And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What's On Your Mind?

When I wake up in the morning, I do three things. Shower, get dressed, and check my email and Facebook. Okay, so four things. By far the biggest challenge of my morning isn't getting out of bed, it's choosing the appropriate Facebook status. Some people put up a little tidbit about their day, others post song lyrics or quotes from movies. Still others put up an inside joke. It's always fun to see what people comment on those posts. But me, I tend to put up funny or thought -provoking quotes. I like to see what people have to say about them. It can be incredibly interesting to hear the opinions of some people who I don't get to see everyday. (Like my Aunt who lives 3,000 miles away in California.)
I think you can tell a lot about a person by what they post on their social networking sites. Aside from just learning what type of music they like or what they're doing that day, you can get an inside look at what the think is important. Why does one person constantly post lyrics from the Rolling Stones? Or why does your best friend constantly quote from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog?
What do you think your status says about you?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Basket by the Door

He sat there for hours
but nothing came
All his efforts
lay in a basket by the door

The shadows crept across
the library floor
the lights come on
the ideas stay away

Finally it all flooded out
Pen flashed across paper
Thoughts became words
Words became action

The man slept at last.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Summer's Gone...

Well it's the last day of summer. It's an incredibly sad day, but I'm also pretty excited to be going back to school. I'm going to go out and enjoy my last day of freedom. I will write more once school starts.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Only Six Words, Millions of Meanings

In the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway’s colleagues bet him that he couldn’t write a complete story in just six words. He wrote: For sale: baby shoes, never used. He won his bet and considered it one of his best works. There are plenty of people who've attempted to do it, but by far my favorite is a collection of teen's stories compiled by Smith Magazine: Six Word Memiors by Teens Famous and Obscure. I decided to give it a try:

I'd rather read, come back later.
He called you, never called back.
Her smile gave his life meaning.

Give it a try.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stereotypical Tennage Things

My friends and I have recently decided that we need to do more stereotypical teenage things, like go to the mall or hang out downtown. We went into the city yesterday and took loads of pictures. Here are some of the better ones.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Month of Travel

For me, July is the month of rest. August is the month of travel. I returned from California, went to Maryland, and leave soon for a trip to Maine. When I return from that, I go the shore for a week. However, all this travel is almost as inspirational as rest.


What a day we've been having.
A hike and meal
There is but a chance
We hurry on

What a day we've been having
We lost them 'round noon
Gone far ahead
Swallowed by the woods

What a day we've been having
A broken mountain path
Scattered traces
Blown about by the wind

What a day we've been having
Night closing in
Still no sign
Two more lost boys

What a day we've been having
The storm blows in
Wipes away all traces

Monday, August 9, 2010

Or You Can Smile

“You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”

-David Harkins

Sunday, August 8, 2010

New Beginings

I bring tidings of great joy! There's a new blog in town: If Only We Look... It will hopefully be a place for a few people to post writings, reflections, and other things of that nature.

Also, Kaitlin will be leaving us. She now writes more than enough to have her own blog, Wish You Were Here. She will be much missed.

Saying what we think gives us a wider conversational range than saying what we know.
- Cullen Hightower

Friday, August 6, 2010

Summer Reading

For the lack of something better to do today, I figured I'd get some of my summer reading out of the way.

Summer Reading List

The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson
Agincourt - Bernard Cornwell
The Floating Islands - Rachel Neumeier
The Crucible - Arthur Miller
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
Rot and Ruin - Jonathan Maberry
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas - Frederick Douglass
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
Knight - Michael Prestwich
City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

Last night a friend of mine hinted very very strongly at liking me. My first instinct was "Oh poop oh poop dodge this at all costs!" I ended up dodging it, but not without stepping on a few toes.

First he was talking about how he'd never had so much trouble talking to a girl before I came around, and he asked if I was getting the hint. Of course I was, but what was I supposed to do? Have a repeat of the Trub situation? I don't think so. When in doubt, lie till your pants catch fire. Play dumb, whatever you have to do to avoid conflict.

I told him that I was a difficult person to talk to. Then I tried to change the subject to cupcakes. He, being Mr. One Track Mind, wasn't deterred. He said things like, "Why are you so you?" and "I'm an idiot because you're so you."

Ohhhhh poop. Please please don't tell me you like me, then it will be out in the open that I know, and I will have to switch to awkward-as-hell mode. Don't make me do that.

So what do I do next? Lie some more. I asked him if what he had to say was important, because if it was I couldn't handle it right now, because "my friend 'Robert' told me he liked me earlier and I was tired of people falling for me and tired of hurting people." It sounds callous, but it had to be done.

At first I thought he got the hint, but of course, he was whiny about it. "I'll just take a backseat." Whatever, man. Does it seem like an even slightly good time to tell me you like me? Am I coming off as interested? I don't think I'm coming off that way.

And THEN he asked if I liked anybody at the moment... You can probably guess what I did. Lied. I said "To be honest, I'm kind of into Leo again, but mostly I'm just burnt off men. They aren't my thing right now."

"Oh. I'm such an idiot."

I tried arguing with him about that, but everybody knows that's a Herculean feat. So in the end, I just decided to stop answering his texts.

If he asks, I fell asleep. I don't have the time or energy to deal with more hurt feelings.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Oh the Humanities...

Anyone else have a lot of artistic friends? Cause I certainly do. There's painters and sketchers. Writers and poets. And a few people who make their computer a work of art in its own right. And then there is me. I can't draw or paint to save my life. Really, just don't even ask. But I can write, though I much prefer research papers to poems. That is actually why this blog got started. I had written something I really liked my freshman year and wanted to keep challenging myself to write more things like it. So you have the 'blog'. But what I've found that I have a real passion for is photography. I enjoy it immensely, and I'm not bad. But a few months ago, at one of the famed Weekend Lunches, we were discussing this very issue; Art. And almost everyone there said that hand-painted works are more beautiful and moving than pictures because of the human touch they contain. Now, this is all opinion of course, but I believe that photography has the capability to be more powerful and moving because they show places the exact way that were when the picture was taken. A picture is showing you what the photographer saw when they took it. For me, that is an incredibly powerful thought. You are seeing what they saw.

Well, what do you think?

Well, have you met any Albigensians lately?

Yesterday was the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, patron of students. He's one of my favorite saints, mainly because he founded the Jesuits, my favorite religious order. Yes, I do have a favorite religious order! I'm a little weird that way. I like the Jesuits because of their ideals, zeal, and their jokes. One particularly funny one (at least for me) goes like this:

What is similar about the Jesuit and Dominican Orders?
Well, they were both founded by Spaniards, St. Dominic for the Dominicans, and St. Ignatius of Loyola for the Jesuits.
They were also both founded to combat heresy: the Dominicans to fight the Albigensians, and the Jesuits to fight the Protestants.

What is different about the Jesuit and Dominican Orders?
Well, have you met any Albigensians lately?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Freud would have a field day.

In addition to Buddhism, I've been doing some reading on Freudian psychology. Specifically his studies and ideas about dreaming. I've often thought that dreams were really relevant to life, the windows into true subconscious desires and wants.

Recently my dreams have been pulling me in multiple directions. Specifically three. I don't want to seem shallow here, but I am a sixteen year old girl. Yes, the dreams are romantic dreams. No, I don't think I will act on them soon. Maybe not ever.

So my three directions? Probably predictable, to those who know me. But I don't want to mention any names.

First direction would be down the road of a certain somebody from my past. We'll call him "Techie."

My dreams involving Techie aren't exclusively romantic. But a lot of the time, they end up with me in a compromising position, often taking some blind leap of faith with him. Sometimes it's literal, meaning he takes my hand and we jump off something that I know is high up. Oh, metaphors. And sometimes it just ends with us doing normal things we used to do, like laying in the grass and me resting my head on him. Sometimes we kiss. It varies.

Second direction would be somebody I pined over for a while but thought I was pretty much over. We'll call him "Actor."

The problem is, I don't get the opportunity to see Actor that often. So when I'm dreaming and he shows up, it's usually a cause for some excitement. In my dreams I'm excited to see him, and somehow we usually end up together on a physical level. This is in stark contrast with Techie, because in those dreams it's usually purely emotional. With Actor, it's usually purely physical. Except sometimes he'll say something like, "I didn't think [insert name of certain inked health nut here] was right for you anyway." And then we kiss a lot. Huh. This might be because Actor and I have the least romantic association of the three in real life.

The third and final is somebody who I "dated" for a brief period, but to be honest, it ended because neither of us had any idea what we were doing. We'll call him "Gamer."

The dreams involving gamer are less intense on both accounts. This may be because he's inexperienced in the field of romance, but he's definitely the least forward and most understated of the three. Most of the dreams are exactly the same, what one would call a recurring dream. We're sitting in his basement playing some video game when he pauses it out of nowhere and kisses me. I'm confused, but not angry. He says, "I suppose that was self explanatory," and it does it again. Then I usually wake up.

The Gamer dreams are the most recent out of all the three, I think because I overheard my friend Papa Smurf tell Gamer he thinks we should get back together. I guess that got me thinking.

If dreams are the windows to the subconscious, I'm pretty conflicted below the surface.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Forty Days Without Food

Hello again. I have returned to the land of modems and internet.

Man can live about forty days without food,
about three days without water,
about eight minutes without air,
but only for one second without hope.
-Author Unknown

Having spent a week in the middle of a forest, surrounded by towering redwood trees, I have a new found respect for packing enough books. I read four books, one of them twice. Most people say its hard to completely withdraw from the world, with all of its convenient technology. But I find it hard to partially withdraw. Over this last week I've had no Internet, no cable, no air conditioning. But I have had cell phone reception. So while most of the world's technology was still unavailable to me, I still had a taste, a taste that made me painfully aware of what I was missing out on back home. It seemed, for the first few days at least, that I couldn't quite escape my life. I'd turn on my phone to call my mom, and find four or five text messages waiting for me. Events missed. As with all things, it took me a while to find a good balance. I spent most of my day playing with my little cousins, reading, hiking (Always look at trail signs, otherwise one ends up hiking 8 miles instead of the planned 4.), swimming in the river, climbing inside trees, reading some more. Then in the evenings, sitting round the campfire after dinner, the phone would come out and I would check to see what I had missed in the past day. Then my brother and I would call my mom and regale her with tales of our day. This last week has helped me see many things, among them the need for balance and quiet.

I can live about eight days without Internet,
about three days without texting,
about four hours without bug spray,
but only for one second without books.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sever all ties to hope.

I've been brushing up on Buddhist teachings lately on the recommendation of a good friend (who not so coincidentally is a Buddhist) because I've been looking for a little permanance lately. It's normally not my thing, and neither is religion, but because Buddhism is less a religion and more of a spiritually or a belief system, it may just work for me.

So there's this Buddhist belief that one must abandon hope, or sever all ties to hope. This seems kind of depressing and down, but it really means that one should focus on what's going on in their life at the moment, not think so much about the future.

I'm not sure if I agree with this one. I mean, yes, I am a very strong believer in living in the moment, but I also think the future is something that should be considered. Not fretted over or all that matters, but at least thought about wisely.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

There's nothing weird about a little oral fixation.

Someday, somebody's going to find the fact that I compulsively chew on plastic adorable.

And find the fact that even the thought of cheese is disgusting to me I still eat pizza and mac and cheese and that gross fake cheese they put on fries weird but also endearing.

The fact that I have anxious spasms will seem totally normal.

The hap-hazardly placed dark brown freckles that are always covered by clothing will be cute.

They will like my hair even though sometimes it resembles a schoolboy's.

And when I say quadcore processor, they will understand and be excited.

Who is your Maude?

There's this fantastic movie from the seventies by the name of Harold and Maude. It's about a young well-to-do boy (Harold) who has a bizarre fascination with death and whose mother keeps trying to marry him to boring, ordinary girls. He meets a wonderfully crazy old woman (Maude) who shows him the beautiful things about living, and they have awesome, hilarious adventures.

So I was wondering, who is my "Maude" in life? There was a couple different people I think it could be, and I had a hard time narrowing it down. But I think I finally figured it out.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We shall make the citizens of Philadelphia confused.

So, I was just speaking to Mike, and watching "Improv Everywhere" on YouTube. It's fantastic! They organize these crazy hilarious scenes in public, like organized musical numbers and turning subway cars into haunted houses. So, we were thinking, in the tradition of those in Improv Everywhere, we would stage our own joyous reunion and or break up that turns into a musical number, somewhere public like Rittenhouse Square. I'm in. Mwahahaha. Philly will not know what hit it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

And We Journey On...

So tomorrow, at 4:30 in the morning, I depart for two weeks in California with my cousins. It promises to be quite a journey, only me and my brother shall be traveling together. If only I can wake up in time for my flight.
On another note, I finally got my permit yesterday! After three attempts, I am at last allowed to drive! So far, I've been out in a few times and have yet to crash the car. So that's good. My mom has a manual transmission. After only a few stalls, I had the hang of it. Kind of. But I took my dad's car out this evening, my first time in traffic. Also a success! So far, so good! On yet another note, while on the ride to the DMV with my mom, we had a talk about liberation theology. Yeah, on the ride to get my permit, we talked about theology. That totally happens. But it was an interesting discussion. Basically, liberation theology is the idea that when ever you make a decision, you should always make the choice that will do the most for the poor. Well, I have to finish packing for the trip! I might be able to write in California. If not, I'll be back in a few weeks.

Small, beautiful things.

I'm sitting at my desk at work. I'm not doing much today, I already posted a couple hours ago, and I've been thinking a lot since then. I do a lot of that.
List of assignments to make your world better:

1. Kiss somebody so hard you leave a lipstick mark on their face.

2. Bake cookies with someone you don't often get an opportunity to see.

3. Talk about something difficult with somebody you love.

4. Take a picture of the sun.

5. Make your own windchimes and hang them in a public place so all can enjoy them.

6. Say you're sorry.

7. Tell someone you love them.

8. Smile at a stranger.

9. Draw a picture of something that makes you happy.

10. Have a sack race.

11. Fingerpaint.

12. Tell everybody the truth.

13. Learn how to knit.

14. Take some artsy photos.

15. Buy something you've had your eye on for a while.

16. Don't think, just go.

17. Do a portrait of a friend with your eyes closed.

18. Tip the guy behind the counter.

19. Hold hands with somebody.

20. Play pattycake.

21. Teach something to a child.

22. Build something of your own imagining.

23. Ruffle someone's hair.

24. Give everybody you love a nickname.

25. Spend less time online.

26. Be nice to your mom and dad. They really do want what's best for you.

27. Call that person you haven't spoken to in a while.

28. Remind somebody they're valuable.

29. Pet a cat.

30. Make a piece of jewelry and give it to somebody.

Oh, my teenage problems...

So yesterday, I had one of those moments that start out as seemingly meaningless that turn into something pretty defining.
I broke up with "Trub" yesterday after about 2 dates and a week or two of being his "girlfriend." I've had worse breakups, and being the dumper sucks almost as much as being the dumpee. I just hate hurting people. Especially people I care about, like Trub.
My question is, why couldn't I let myself fall for him like he did me? Did I quit because I'm scared of getting hurt? I like to think that wasn't the case, because I've definitely had intense infatuation since last summer.
Trub said he was "disappointed." Which is worse than mad, in my mind... I can't stand seeing sadness in somebody's features and knowing I'm the cause. I'd rather punch myself in the eyes repeatedly.
I had a really hard time explaining myself to him. I had it all planned out, too. I knew what I wanted to say. But when the time finally came, I stuttered and second guessed and tripped over my words like mad. I may have the gift of eloquence in everyday life, but when it really counts, I sound like an illiterate moron.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Oh, The Blisters

Home at last! I have returned from a weekend camping adventure with two of my friends a few other people. It was very intense. We had a five hour rafting trip that left me soaking wet and blistered. But it was worth it. Later, as I was laying in the hammock, relaxing, I got beaned in the head by a rock. I have a very nice cut on my forehead now to prove it!
On an other note, my messed up teenage life. I've been talking with my ex-girlfriend and we got talking about these guys she's into. Was it weird? You bet! But that's life. And it's not as awkward as it should be. But it's pretty odd. Just overall having an interesting time. Well, back to watching senseless TV on the Internet.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Blagging is fun?

Kaitlin here. I thought the name Vashta Narada would be more cool and mysterious, because I'm all about that apparently.
I'm new to the blagosphere. Please excuse any glaring mistakes or offenses. I'll do my best.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Self-Enforced Idleness

Ok. So I've had a weird summer so far. Wonderful, but weird. During the school year I have very little free time, what with all my extra crap and whatnot. And during the last few summers, I've kept myself pretty well occupied. But this summer I don't have any camp, no volunteering (yet), and a job that's only on the weekends. It's wonderful! But it is also kind of odd. I stay up late and sleep in till noon. I haven't done anything productive all summer. Until today that is. I cleaned up the yard, did the laundry, and did a bunch of office work for my mom. Not a bad day's work. But some self-enforced idleness is a good thing. Or so they tell hopefully this productiveness will not become a pattern.

The hardest work is to go idle. ~Yiddish Proverb

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fix Not Our Desires

"We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one." -St. Ignatius

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's in a Name…?

A few days ago, my friends and I were out at lunch. We were running through our names, trying to figure out what they meant and if the meanings applied to our lives.

Who is like God? I like to think of this as my challenge to be more holy and live a better life. It sometimes works.

He will add. This describes how people, and me especially, are always changing.

Ruler of the Army. I love this name. I picked it for my confirmation name and I find it very fitting. First, it shows my love for the military and leadership. Walter is also the patron saint of prisoners. He remanded, even when he didn't want to. And so I do things to help other, even when I don't want to.

Gift. This one is just so interesting. I don't like to think of myself as a gift, but no joke, people describe me as one. So it fits.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ite Missa Est

The difference between me and my friend is not just that I'm Catholic and he's Jewish, but that he meets people and knows them from his youth group and I meet people at church and know them from school. This difference is symbolized by the old ending to the Latin mass, Ite Missa Est. Loosely translated it means go or be sent. It used to be said as a dismissal for the congregation at the end of Mass. This mindset has remained to this day. When Mass ends at my church, everyone who can makes a run for their car and are gone as fast as possible. Very few people hang around. So this mentality keeps most Catholics from participating in things ouside of Mass. Or at least, that's my opinion. What do you think?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Calm Mind

Aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem. Remember to maintain a calm mind while doing difficult tasks - Virgil

Well I've had an....interesting....week. School ended on Tuesday. I aced my finals! Woot! I also broke up with my girlfriend. That is the "interesting" part. We decided it would be for the best to give it a try. I like to think I've done rather well with the whole thing. This has been my first major emotional issue since I've discovered Ignatian detachment, and I find its been very useful in all this. I approached the problem with detachment and tried to make a decision based on what would be best, if not what would make me the most happy. But in the end, the best decision has made me happy. Also, I like to think I'm practicing for my sainthood. ☺

Friday, June 25, 2010


Hi again! It's finally summer vacation! I'm so excited! So far, it has been a very interesting summer and I've only been out of school for three days. Yesterday, there was a huge thunderstorm that rolled through our area. In its wake, 200,000 people lost power. Including my house! Yay! Losing power wasn't actually that bad though. I spent a lot of time playing cards and talking with my friends. It was a nice way to spend a day. Well I can't come up with anything deep to say right now...

"Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart." Marcus Aelius Aurelius

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Final Prayer

Finals officially begin tomorrow. Here is a prayer for students by St. Thomas Aquinas. It will be much needed tomorrow.

Creator of all things,
true source of light and wisdom,
origin of all being,
graciously let a ray of your light penetrate
the darkness of my understanding.

Take from me the double darkness
in which I have been born,
an obscurity of sin and ignorance.

Give me a keen understanding,
a retentive memory, and
the ability to grasp things
correctly and fundamentally.

Grant me the talent
of being exact in my explanations
and the ability to express myself
with thoroughness and charm.

Point out the beginning,
direct the progress,
and help in the completion.

I ask this through Christ our Lord.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Year in Review

As the school year draws to a close, I find myself reviewing the past nine months of my life. I find patterns. Some that I like, so that I don't. This year has been one of great triumphs for me. And of failures. Highlights of this year include: getting a job, getting a girlfriend, taking Latin III, doing an Independent Study, being a Stage Manager, etc. Not a bad year. I have really enjoyed my sophomore year. It's been a great learning experience. Personally, I think it's been one of the best years of my life. One thing I have gotten into this year is photography. I have a real passion for it, Here are some of my favorite photos from the 2009-2010 school year.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Centering Experience

Every day (or every other day) I try to start may morning at school praying morning prayer from the Daily Office. I sit on the floor of the hallway, leaning up against a wall, and pull my Book of Hours out of my bag. I spend a few minutes in prayer, oblivious to the the world around me. It is a very centering experience, and I find my day goes better when I get a chance to pray it. Praying the Daily Office has a long history within the Catholic Church, stemming from Jewish traditions of daily prayer. Early in the morning, sitting up against the dirty school wall, it is a very peaceful, reflective experience. I suggest people try to do something similar to start their day, it might make the day a little easier to deal with.

Monday, June 7, 2010


"Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing." -Mother Teresa

I find this quote a particularly relevant one this time of year. For some unknown reason, my school doesn't let out until June 22. So we have two more weeks of school left. Fun, right? In this type of atmosphere, smiling is more important then ever. People need a daily encouragement and a simple smile can be that encouragement. Another reason I find this quote so important now is because my girlfriend is having some doubts about our relationship right now. She's not sure whether she still wants to date me. Every day, when I see her in the hallway after first period, she makes me smile. Like clockwork. It's pretty wonderful. So, with this issue, I might lose that. So I guess the point is, remember to smile. You might make someone's day.

Gift |gift|
1) a thing given willingly to someone without payment

Sunday, June 6, 2010


"You are about to embark upon the great crusade toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you..."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

And on the first day the lord said. . .

"And on the first day the lord said. . . . . .LX1, GO! and there was light."

Today I spent 12 hours at school. Now this would sound kinda crazy to most kids, but yeah, I got to school at 6:50 this mor
ning and left at 7:30. Long day. The funny thing is, we, the tech crew, give up so much of our time for the school. We spend hours after school building and setting up lights, we have to make up work from classes we miss doing unpaid assemblies for school, and very often during show season spend over 15 hours at school. Yet there is very little reward involved. Occasionally some group will pay, but most school activities are done "free of charge." It can be annoying. But it is also a very rewarding experience. We enjoy what we do, and have some of the best conversations ever. Don't ask how, but somehow, in between securing a wall and cleaning up, we talked about personal conscience verses religious doctrine and how that effect our lives. Yeah… So in homage to all those under appreciated techies out there, here are a few quotes and a poem for you. Keep up the good work!

"Actors are props with dialogue"
"An actor without techies is a naked person standing in the dark trying to emote. A techie without actors is a person with marketable skills."
"Our techies practice safe sets and Techies do it on cue."

A Poem

We, the unwilling,
led by the unknowing,
have been doing the impossible
for the ungrateful.
We've done so much for so long,
we are now qualified to everything
with nothing.

Chanler Childs

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Few More Lines

Well, once again, it is time for a few writing snippets. First one is from my European Govt paper. The second is me writing for kicks. And the third, as of right now, has not been formed.
The Frankish kingdom came into being after the Battle of Soissons in 486 A.D.. The Frankish king, Clovis, effectively took control of the Roman province of Gaul, established the Merovigian dynasty, and began to incorporate the remnants of Roman traditional government (Dictionary of the Middle Ages 8:277). These traditions included Roman taxation and administration. Clovis also cultivated the image of himself as a defender of Roman traditions and culture (Dictionary of the Middle Ages 8:277) In 498 A.D. Clovis was baptised into orthodox Christianity and received imperial recognition in 507 A.D. This event was one of the defining moments in the relation between Church and state in Europe because for the first time, a secular leader used the Christan faith as a means to enhance his image and solidify his control. This control didn't last long, however.

She sat alone in her library, curled up on the black leather couch, reading her book. Outside the long, glass window that covered one wall, the storm raged. Rain beat against the panes and lightning bolts flashed above the far-off hills. Thunder crashed, and she huddled closer into the couch's welcoming arms. Here, surrounded by walls of books, she knew she was safe. Behind her, a huge fire roared, providing that bit of comfort she desperately needed. After the storm had continued for a while, the door swung wide and a man entered. He walked to her and placed a mug of hot chocolate on the table next to her. She smiled up at him. He went over to one of the shelves, pulled down a beautiful hardcover and sat down next to her. They read together for a long while.

Oh gravity thou art a heartless bitch
Always pulling down those who wish to soar
We ask and pray that we may have strength
But for what
You are the law and there is no way
To best you
We must learn to live with you
Or we may perish

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Great Writing Experience

Tonight, I had a wonderful experience. While hanging out in the tech booth, working a show, a friend and I sat down together to work on a story idea. (You heard some here.) We spent maybe thirty minutes in silence, passing the laptop between ourselves, working on the same story. And it was a truly wonderful experience. I got to write something with another person, sharing their ideas and becoming more acquainted with their style. It was wonderful. And really, really helpful. We had this story idea, together, over the weekend. I started working on it a few days ago, but found I was having trouble writing believable dialogue, always a problem with me. So I brought it to my friend, she took a look at it, giggled a little, and then dived in to rescue me. And the writing is much more articulate and the dialogue sounds more believable. Here's an excerpt:

Silence filled the shabby football arena.

The wind had picked up by now, and more then a few hats were being blown about. The monstrous alloy poles that held the blinding area lights swayed precariously. No one noticed. They sat silent. Then the teachers began to collect their classes. Students and teachers filed out of the stadium, every person passing by Michael's cell. Some looked in on him, most walked by without stopping. A small group gathered around the cell. The students stood there silently, judging him. Clouds had rolled in, and a few drops of rain had started to fall.

One by one the students made eye contact with their fallen comrade. Looks of nearly every emotion danced in their eyes. Some felt anger and resentment, some had looks of pity and remorse. But the look in everyone's eyes was confusion. A cloud of pure conclusion swirled eerily above the select members of the student body.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

And the Wind Stopped...

He sat in his cell, his back to the cold, cement wall. Outside the wind howled and the rain fell hard against the steel bars. Outside the window, battered by rain, stood His peers. Silently judging. One by one, they all turned their backs on Him and walked away into the storm. After a while, only one person stood alone in the field. She pulled up her hood, and before she too turned away, she held His eye for a second. All day the wind roared outside the door. He sat in his cell, cold, wet, and tired. And alone. Days past and the wind did not let up. His peers went about their lives, already He was a distant memory. They thought nothing of him, except the one girl. She returned to the edge of the field every day, and watched Him slowly wither into nothingness. She came to watch Him, but never did she speak to him. She just stood silently, an observer.
One day, long after that first rainy night, she came again to visit Him. She stood on the edge of the field for a long time. Finally she summed up the courage and walked slowly over to his cell. She stood in the doorway, gazing in on Him. Their eyes meet and she whispered, "We turned our backs on you...we walked away." Then she walked away from him. The wind blew harder. The next morning came, and the wind still blew. All his peers went about their lives, barely noticing the wind anymore. Around midday, the wind stopped. And she alone knew what had happened...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Suffering and Prayer

I recently (2 hours ago) finished a video project on the Holocaust. It addresses both prayer and suffering in way that, I think, gives you something to think about.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

That Nature of Suffering

Much time and energy has been expanding on the question of suffering. Because of this I will not try to explain why humans suffer. I will however, try to give a little of the teenager's perspective. In class we have been reading the book Night, a powerful book about the Holocaust. In the course of our discussion, we began to talk about human suffering, and how, if there is a god, how can he/she/it allow us to suffer. From what we read in Night, the Jewish perspective the author talks about is that the concentration camps were a way from God to punish the Jews for their sins. Personally I, and many of my classmates, find this explanation far from convincing and even a bit repulsive. One of my classmates thought that if this is how God deals with humans, why should we worship God at all? This is the same argument that Wiesel makes in Night.

Personally, I can't explain God's relation to suffering. But something I have noticed, at least with high school students, is that suffering is often a contest. When one person talks about all the homework they have, another person will chime in with "Well I had that much homework AND a sport." Instead of trying to talk about what is going on in their lives, people will try to downplay what is going on in other people's lives when comparing it to their own. They want to be the best, even when that means suffering more.

Everyone suffers. Some people suffer more than others, but that does devalue your own suffering. When we get into a pissing contest over who has more problems in their life, we often ignore the fact that every one's problems are still problems. So when you listen to someone elses' problems, try to remember that, even if what they are going through isn't as bad as what you're experiencing, it is still an issue in their life. So instead of pointing out how your life is worse, just shut up and listen. You might learn something. And at the least, you'll make them better.

For a good look at suffering, the Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Argument for Celibicy #245

Sitting in my kitchen with my mom and my girlfriend, talking about, what else?: radiation. You laugh? Well it's true. My mom is lecturing next week about nuclear chemistry, so when she sees us eating chocolate, she instantly jumps to, what else?: radiation. Chocolate is a good source of potassium, and a significant percentage of potassium is radioactive. So in short, you're radioactive. And so is the person next to you! You're yearly exposure to radiation from sharing a bed with someone is 40 times more then you're exposure from living near a nuclear power plant. So one good way to cut down on your exposure is to not sleep with anyone! And as celibate men and women don't share beds, they are exposed to significantly less radiation over time. The best thing actually is to become a long as you don't live in a cave. So if you don't want cancer, join the Jesuits!

Photo from...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Jesuit Guide: Loving

Mark Thibodeaux writes, "Good Christians often worry about their sexual feelings. They are embarrassed and ashamed of them." Fr. Martin reminds us that sexuality is a great gift from God, and we should remember that these things are meant to be celebrated. God, being all powerful, all loving and whatnot, want us to be happy. And Martin looks at loving chastely as the best way to be happy. But "How can I love chastely?" St. Ignatius says that love shows itself more in deeds, so Fr. Martin gives five ways for us to love chastely: listen compassionately, be present, do something practical, love freely, and forgive. By doing these things, Martin believes that all people, not just celibate ones, can love more freely and better.

While reading this book, a profound experience in itself, I realized that some people around me love more freely then others. One of my friends (whose name is withheld for my safety) has some trouble "sharing" her boyfriend. She gets pretty possessive around him when it comes to other girls, and boys sometimes. When I talked to her about the Ignatian way of loving freely, she gave me this weird look, smiled, and kept talking. But a few days ago, when I asked her a question about her boyfriend, she said she was trying to "share him better" because of what I said. Contemplation in action. I think so...

The photo is from America Magazine.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Jesuit Guide: Part One

Today I finished James Martin's The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything. It was such an amazing book. I will soon start a series on some of my favorite parts. But first...dinner!

Monday, April 5, 2010

This Interview is Over...

Recently, Fr. James Martin, SJ was on the Colbert Report to talk about social justice. "When I feed the poor they call me a saint, when I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Holy Thursday. The celebration of the Last Supper. This year I sang at the 7:30 mass. It was probably one of the most powerful moments of my life. Precessing into the church, all singing, I was overpowered by the sense of God in my life. Ubi caritas etamor, Deus ibi est. Where charity and love are, God is there. Tonight is a reminder of our calling as humans, “Mandatum novum do vobis…a new commandment I give you, love one another as I have loved you.” Sitting in the darkened church, surrounded by the silence, I contemplated what I am called to in life. (I still have no idea, in case you care.) And how we are called to love each other. I found it really interesting how the age old message of love and charity continues to this day, how through the ages people still preach the same thing. All our technology and 'advancement' has not changed our essential humanity. We are still the same people who, many years ago, gathered around that table, broke bread and shared wine, and celebrated that paschal feast. We are called to spread love throughout the world today. And so I challenge you today to love more deeply.

The image is of Jesus washing his disciple's feet after the Last Supper.
Picture is from

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hell Week to Holy Week

So the play is over! It was amazing, but I'm glad it's done. I can finally sleep! This year however, I have the interesting experience of going straight from Hell Week to Holy Week. In all honesty, there isn't much difference between the two. Hell Week means no sleep, no real food, and no homework done. It is the longest week of the year for the entire cast and crew, but it is so much fun at the end. Holy Week is the same thing, except instead of putting on a show at the end, there is Easter! Well, I'm going back to sleep. Talk to you later!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Enough Already

So here's the story: We had a tech director (hired 2 months late) who resigned. So we hired a new one (who should have been hired in the first place) and now have less than 6 days before our first show. So I hope you will all be understanding with me when I say; I won't be able to write much of anything for the next week. So here's another picture, try to figure out what it is!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

So Anyway...

So anyway...I have been doing a lot for school recently, and haven't had time to do much writing. So I'm just going to throw out a few snippets:

She was once beautiful, she was once wonderful. She did not know how. She did not know why. But she was. And she used this. She was able to be who she aspired to be: she became herself. She became free.

The levels of hierarchy were very strict within the ecclesiastical system, with no person ever being in doubt about their relationship to everyone else within the system. This was a very effective means of maintaining control within a structure. In the power vacuum after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Church was the only centralized form of government left in Europe. In many areas the local bishop was the final word when it came to all issues, spiritual and temporal.

I knelt before the altar, head bowed, mind closed to the world. I waited all night, preparing myself for the final trial, the moment. As the sun began to spill through the stained glass, I rose and took my place beside the altar. There I sat until he came in. He too knelt before the Lord, He too bowed His head, and he too closed His mind to the world. He then rose, His robes billowing around his boots. He strides towards me, eyes blazing fire, and places His sword in His attendants outstretched hands. He looks down upon me, towering above me. He knows...

The picture is one of mine, of the coast of Greece.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This Day Shall Gentle His Condition

Remember when you had to memorize something in high school? Well I do. Recently I joined the speech competition, and so now I have the St. Crispin's Day Speech running through my head at all hours of the day. It has been driving my mom crazy. When you spend so much time with a text, you tend to gain a deeper understanding of it. Everyone has heard of the famous line We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. But of all the lines of the speech, I find This day shall gentle his condition to be much more powerful. For it addresses one of the big ideas of Lent, as well as life in general. The things we as humans do, our experiences, have a profound impact on our lives. They change us in ways we can't even see. Some of them, like a battle or a marriage, are things we can easily identify as life-changing. But other things, such as meeting someone or even reading a book, are harder to see and so we must watch for them more carefully.

This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian":
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Birthplace of Democracy

I have never spent so much time sitting down. The flight to Athens is long and sleepless and I reveled in the opportunity to stretch my legs. The rest of the group is similarly unwinding. Gathering up our assorted luggage, we walk through a set of large glass doors and turned to find our tour guide Kate smiling down on us. She beckons us closer and begins to explain what awaits us in the Birthplace of Democracy.

The bus ride into the city is spectacular. Athens built a new airport when they hosted the 2004 Olympics, Kate explains to us. We listen intently, soaking in her words as we watch the sprawling suburbs flash by. The tightly packed houses go on for miles, seemingly thousands of buildings squeezed between the high mountains on our left and the sea on our right. As we drive downtown, all around I see ancient ruins and modern buildings. It is truly awe-inspiring the way the Greeks live around these ruins, Kate is saying. They just build up the new and live among them.

The bus is too big to pull up to the hotel. Our driver pulls up to the curb, about a block away. We hop out, and start piling up our bags along the side of the road. When everyone has their luggage, we trudge to the hotel. It is a wilting day and we are exhausted, so when our chaperones instruct us that we have only thirty minutes to put our things away, we are aghast, yet we mount the stairs with grim determination. A few brave souls wait for the elevator, but when it finally descends down they find it will only fit two people. As I reach my floor, six laughing faces tumble out to greet me. I can’t help wondering how they all fit, but I am too anxious to see my room to truly care. As Nick, Eli, and myself pull up in front of our door, we put down our heavy bags and turn the knob. As the door swings wide, we can’t help notice how small the room is. There are two beds, and one cot, and about three feet of walking space. While we quickly unpack, we mutually decide to spend as little time in the room as possible.

The walk up to the Acropolis is very short. We are staying at the bottom of the hill and Kate assembles us right at the base of a cobbled path leading up to the Pantheon. We all gather close together. I take the chance to look around the group, and what a diverse group we are. People of all ages, high school freshmen to thirty-somethings. Together we walk up to the highest point in Athens: It is the place where democracy was born, where Athenians time after time held their last stands. As we crest the hill, there are actually two Acropoli, one smaller and the true Acropolis. Lucky for us, we only climbed to the smaller one. Even with that, some people are sweating. There is a large outcropping of rock on that hill and we all scramble up it to get a view of this city that we have heard so much about. For me the view was of more than just a city.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

First Sunday of Lent

"Patience is the companion of wisdom." -Saint Augustine

So today is the First Sunday of Lent. That means its once again time to think about about what we are going to give up or what we will take on. This year I am going to try taking on something extra. One more thing in my busy life. Well hopefully the fifteen minutes I'm gonna try to spend meditating will help me deal with it. Most of the time, I find the people around me talking about what they are going to give up. But this year, I wanted to be different. Lent has two slightly different ideas behind it. One of them is the idea that we should try to live more like Christ did by giving things up and living with less. The other idea comes from the Jewish tradition, the idea of a mitzvah: prayer, fasting, and alms giving. So this year I'm trying prayer for just fifteen minutes a day. I hope it goes well.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Jesus is a Freshman

"Jesus is a freshman!" my friend Kaitlin whispered to me in the middle of the play. Well, yeah, I guess he is. Last night a few friends and I went to see Godspell at Villinova. It was performed in the main church on campus, not in the theater. It was a very moving experience. The show begins with a choir singing in the front, right before the altar. Then from the back, above us in the choir loft, is John the Baptist. It was like that throughout, a great use of a great space. But what struck me above all else was the fact that there where five extra women among Jesus' disciples. At first I just wondered why, but soon I forgot about it, lost in power of the play. But at the talk-back afterwards, the director mention that exact thing. He said that he added those women to symbolize the women of Christianity. "They got it, a lot quicker then the guys." He went on to say that women have played a very important part in the history of the Church. The most obvious part of that was when those five extra women took Jesus down from the cross. As a woman bore him into this world, it was women who bore him to his tomb and women who discovered his resurrection. So power to the women!