Be without Fear in the Face of your Enemies…

Sometime ago, there was a Irish-American Priest named Father Michael J. McGivney, who gather a group of men together to create an organization, to provide assistance to families who have no means to take care of themselves, the main idea was to provide a mutual benefit for society, to help those who could not help themselves. Catholics were forbidden against the Free Masons and any other organization that young men can join to spend their free time. So then Father McGivney decided to create the ‘Sons of Columbus’ in honor of Christopher Columbus. However his friend, James T. Mullen, decided that the organization’s name would better capture the ritualistic nature of the organization, and therefore named it, ‘Knights of Columbus’. The Organization grew exponentially, as Catholic Men, joined and became closer to God by doing for others, charities, volunteering and over all providing assistance to those who are in need.

Sounds good to me!

As of Yesterday, I have signed up to become a Knight of Columbus. I wasn’t sure why I didn’t do it before, because I have always wanted to be a Knight, a Catholic knight, for that matter. I mean it’s a ‘Class’ that I have planned to take on in the future, so why not now? It’ll just mean, I can say I’m a Knight on more than one level! A Catholic Knight and a Final Fantasy Knight.

Although I don’t think they’ll place me on missions to fight evil demons or rescue Damsels in distress, it’ll be nice to know that I’m part of an organization that is doing what it can to help save the world. Heh, just like me.

Now all that’s left is to do what I can to be able to provide the greatest amount of assistance, to my family, my friends, and soon, the World. Now I have friends who can help me do it.

This ought to be interesting… Very interesting…

It’s a start…

As Storm Clouds Gather…

July 6th… That is the day of my MCAT, July 6th… Judgement Day… D-Day… The day where I put it all on the line. When I walk into a room and show what I’ve retained after 6 months of review and studying.

Heh heh, at the current moment my mental legs are shaking at the idea…

“We are our harshest critic” and I’m not exception to this, my mind is flooded with ideas such as, ‘What if it’s not enough?‘ or ‘Did you really study all this time?‘ or worse yet, ‘Do you really think you’re ready for this?’

Thoughts like these are now happening more and more frequently. It’s as if, storm clouds are gathering on the Horizon, and settling right over San Diego, the place of my Test. As they get larger and more ominous, they represent self-examining questions, doubts, concerns,  and their frequency is proportional to their size, needless to say, the larger they get, the more often I have self-doubts.

But that’s the thing, isn’t it?

That’s the point. That’s the stereotypical ‘odds stacked against me’. I mean, I’m the 7th child of a (now deceased) Steel Worker and a Ailing housewife, no one in my entire family tree has ever done anything this grand, this time-consuming, nor this expensive, save for raising a family. I’m practically trying to change the World just by aiming this high, and the fact that I don’t have much help in terms of advice and direction, is only making this more and more uphill.

So with all this in mind, I feel like the Hero of a story, suddenly realizing himself in a strange world, with strange people, doing things no one thought he could do, not even him. Standing alone against all the hypocrisy, all the Darkness in people’s hearts, and defying all those who doubt him.

It’s unknown how the story will really end, simply because, this isn’t a story, it’s a Life. It’s my Life. And the conclusion has not been determined yet. Sure, it’s common to say that I’ll make it, beat the odds and remain triumphant over all the obstacles that were before me. But that’s just being… Silly. The fact of the matter is, that at any given moment in time, I can fail and lose everything, this story can end instantly. Heck, I can get hit by a bus tomorrow!

…… But I haven’t…

The story hasn’t ended yet… The journey isn’t over… I’m not done yet… I have to keep going… I can’t give up. There’s no reason to! My father would smack me over the head and say, “So what if there are clouds? Get an umbrella, Taras!” He never saw the point in pondering over the inevitable future, he simply did what was supposed to be done. One would almost say, he had no doubts, but I know better, he simply knew how to hide them from those who looked up to him.

And that’s what I have to do now.

I have to not show my doubts, my fears, my hands must be steady and my voice firm. I must stand tall, and have my head held high, because the world isn’t going to wait for me to develop the actual confidence to do anything of these things for certain, it’ll simply yell out, “Heads up!” and launch a barrage at me. There’s no time to get doubtful nor scared. The man dying before me, isn’t going to have much time for me to think about how to help him, I simply have to act. Follow my gut, Do what I know is right! and Worrying about metaphorical storm clouds isn’t doing anything for me, save costing me some sleep!

I’m not going to walk towards those clouds in a dramatic manner, I’m going to freakin’ run through them!

The Strings, ahh Yes, the Strings

Last night, or rather today at 1AM, I happened upon a rather interesting artist, Lindsey Stirling.

I was first watching Peter Hollens on Youtube, doing his song of A cappella of the Skyrim Theme with lyrics as seen here. Then I saw their ‘duet’ with Lindsey Stirling, seen here. And although I don’t play Skyrim myself, I loved the song and my video game nerdiness was piqued when I saw their outfits and *ahem* Battle sequence.

Ahhh, but what really pulled my heart was Lindsey’s Zelda Medley. Outside the fact that she looks gorgeous up close,it was her playing style upon her violin that really got me. I’ve always respected and appreciated the Violin, despite the fact that personally, I’d go with the Acoustic Guitar or the Piano.

I remember in the Distant Worlds Concert that I had gone to, Nubuo Uematsu and Arnie Roth did a rendition of Dark World, and Mr. Roth (who was the conductor) did a solo on the Violin and it was amazing, Sad and dark and absolutely wonderful!

This link was the concert that I had actually gone to. Listening to it right now, still captivates me. I feel entranced by it, it’s a sad and lonely theme, yet with Uematsu on the organs, it signifies gravity and grandness throughout the background, like an overwhelming darkness, both fragile and consuming… Heh, I think you can hear me cheering in the background…

I also remembered the day when a friend of mine played I believe it was “Spring” by Vivaldi, I was captivated by her playing and thought it was played splendidly, despite her saying that she kept messing up in pieces and segments.

So then I realized that, I’ve had a lot of interactions with the Violin. It’s a masterful, however small, instrument. Capable of pulling such feelings of sadness into a form to allow all around it to hear, as well as to bring simple liveliness to the entire room.

… And now I want one. I’m inspired, and captivated as well. I’ve seen so many various people play it, and it has always been an instrument I’ve respected and loved. So, I will add it to my Trial of the Bard. 1) Obtain a Violin and 2) Learn to play 5 songs on it! Heh, looks like I’m going to be a rather high level bard, when all this is done, I have 5 on the Guitar and 5 on the Piano and now, 5 on the Violin.

Children drain the soul

Ha ha ha, sorry, I don’t really mean it, It’s been roughly 6 days since my nieces have come and I’ve noticed that I’m significantly 110% more tired each day than before, so my scientific mind quickly jumped to the differences between then and now.

On a more serious note, I love the girls. I’ll never let them know the true potency and depth of my love for them, because if I did, I’ll be putty in their hands.

Perhaps my new-found exhaustion is due to the fact that I see them in segments, or rather, each summer, so over the year they grow (substantially), and I get the results of said growth, so with that, I have to adapt to their mannerisms and ever-impressionable personalities and quickly!

Sirena is becoming more reserved and technologically dependent, or will be, that is. She tells me that she doesn’t like the outdoors anymore, although I cannot hold anything she says as serious because, well let’s face it, she’s 8. When I was 8, every sentence ended with a 5 second pause and followed by a “PSYCH!”

Isa is raw energy manifested, she’s always running, playing, looking, observing, questioning, heh, she’s constantly curious and her mind is always working and running, heh, when she’s not being lazy. And as strong as she is, she’s scared of walking into the dark by herself. The strength and fragility of a Flower blooming in adverse conditions. I can see this one going far.

Suffice to say, the girls like to play and run around, this is new energy entering the house, and the energy I’m used to, is well not little children energy, I am– or was — used to the stillness of the house, because I was the youngest, and my energy was no longer running around wildly, playing tag.  Oh well, I’m not about to let them beat me again like last year! I’ll get stronger to make sure that not only can I catch up to them, but surpass them in energy!

Oh yeah, and I finally graduated, I’m now a wielder of a Bachelor’s in Biology: Biomedical Sciences with a Biophysics Minor.

For Greater Glory…

For Greater Glory, starring Andy Garcia, with an interesting blend of Hispanic actors and actresses. It’s covers the War over the freedom of Religion in Mexico, when Catholicism was outlawed by the Government and many catholic priests were killed and shot outside of the Churches (and sometimes in them!). The people have decided to revolt against the government and Andy Garcia plays a former general who won many victories in the past, and was hired by the Cristas, to lead them and help them win the war against the Government, despite his lack of Faith.

It wrenches your hearts when the Priests, just before they were killed, would tell the soldiers and their captain that they forgive them. There was also a boy who ran away to help fight, no more than 15, and Andy Garcia’s Character takes him under his wing due to him having only daughters. He treats the boy like his son, and the Boy gets caught, tortured and is executed for not renouncing Christ. Andy Garcia arrives just in time to see the execution but was too late to stop it. It was only then, that he has decided to truly accept the Catholic Faith.

For me, as a Catholic as well as a Mexican, I felt like I had received a slap to the face. I never knew the bloody history of Mexico as well as how devoted the people were to their faith. Quite honestly, tears were swelling in my eyes, and not because of what was displayed through subtle and advanced movie techniques and tricks, but because what I was watching was true: a boy under extreme torture and facing Death, smiles and says, “Long live Christ”; a Country divided over Religion; and the Faith people were willing to die for.

My eyes swelled because I was questioning whether or not I will have such faith were I in that situation. Will I praise Christ when someone points a gun to my face? or will I give in to their demands and renounce my Faith? Although I’m certain that I’ll never wind up in that situation, only God knows what the future holds. And it is only under conditions of trials and tribulations that we show ourselves, as well as the world, who we truly are. And until I’m faced with that scenario, the questions will constantly be burning in my mind, “Will I give up?” “Is my Faith strong enough?” “Will I run or stand my ground?” These questions and so many more, will echo in the back of my mind. I suppose, the answers to them will be revealed when my life is over, and I am cold in the ground.

Heh, I guess I should say, “and I am in Heaven.” But the truth is, I’ve always found it arrogant when people assume such things. Then again, it’s the age-old debate of, “Are we forever saved or do we have to earn it?” And the arguments go back and forth. But for me, I will wait until my end to be revealed where I go, mostly due to a desire to do good for the sake of Heaven’s Glory. If I let myself think that there’s nothing I can do to prevent me from going into Heaven, then will I start sinning and lose my entry? If I don’t think that my place in Heaven has already been secured, then am I truly saved?

… Heh heh heh, I guess these questions don’t matter in the end. All that matters whether or not I am a Good man, and prove to myself, and hopefully the world, that I am a good man each and every day. Heh, it seems like this gets harder and harder as time passes and I find myself with less and less patience when it comes to certain people.

But that’s the point, isn’t it? To decide at the moment to give in to anger or patience? To hate or to love? To sink to their level or take the higher path? I guess for each of us, we have to decide for ourselves what we are and where we stand, and hopefully in the eyes of God, we will be good people, the Chosen people.

A break

So as of Monday the 11th, the 6-week Challenge is officially over, and I observed my progress during said time and compared them to my goals for the Challenge. I found that despite some slip-ups, I’ve managed to acquire the grade B for my overall progress. I’d say that was very well done seeing as my goals were rather difficult on my part. My goals were:

  1. Do 10 Pull-ups without break/dropping
  2. Do 100 Push-ups a day, save for breaks/days volunteering, etc.
  3. Drink water instead of mal-nourished drinks
  4. Find a doctor to shadow/follow
  5. Volunteer a total of 36 hours by the time the Challenge is over
  6. Read and finish Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince
  7. Wake up at 7AM from now on

Some of these were more difficult than others, but I’ve managed to do them all rather well, not perfectly complete my goals, but I did complete them. I got only 30 hours out of 36, and there were some days when I didn’t do push-ups due to them slipping my mind, etc etc.

So, now I’m giving myself a break until the next challenge begins which will start next Monday the 18th. I have until then to come up with some goals and plans as to how I’m going to achieve them. So far, I have:

  1. Beat Leadchipmunk in the PVP Challenge
  2. Prepare properly for the MCAT

And that’s about it so far, Leadchipmunk is another NF-user who has challenged me to a Reading and “Maintaining Virtue” race along with some parkour training thrown in, to make what we’ve decided to call, “The Gentleman Assassin Challenge” a bit silly, yes, but that’s the fun of it. I think it’ll really push me to strive to become better on some interesting levels. And the MCAT is the test that I’ll be taking July 6th, so I might as well include it in the Goals list, so that it’ll cause me to study harder and be better. I’ve been having trouble concentrating lately, so I think by having this as a goal, it should help.

So now I need to make more goals 3 fitness and 1 Life goal, the MCAT is in the middle of the Challenge, so I don’t think it’ll be enough, I’m going to need something else.

Nena and the family are coming on Thursday, I can’t wait! Greggy and I have cleaned up the house rather well today, and we’ll be doing more cleaning tomorrow after Mom’s appointment with her Psychiatrist… Hopefully. Which reminds me, I need to call about my loans, because they were under Grandpa’s name, so we’ll see what happens.

It feels kinda weird not exercising, I hope I don’t fall into a lazy mode and be succumbed by Laziness and not exercising! I don’t think so, I’ve been doing so well, and this will help me stay focused. So I think I’ll take this time off and really enjoy myself, I’ll still study for the MCAT, that’s for certain, but I’ll take a break from exercising… at least for now.

And then I ran…

I was at the store and then suddenly, Norm and my Father kept pushing me towards the door, and my brother was telling me to look at the list of places that was flashing before me, various locations were displayed in what seemed like a millisecond and then, someone yelled out “Hey! Stop!” and then my brother and dad gave me their wallets, and then my brother pushed me towards the Emergency Exit door and I ran to the Tahoe, I sat in the car for juts a moment, I looked into the rear view mirror and I saw a woman in black, Black suit, black sunglasses, black tie over a white shirt. She was looking for me, I look at her hand and I see a gun. I turn on the Car and then she saw me and fired 2 shots and then, I set the car in Reverse and tried to run her over, she dove to the side, and then I drove off, at the edge of the Parking lot, I saw 5 more, and I sped up, They all ran and I got away. The next thing I noticed, I got to a Mountain where I got out and then started hiking, I realized that I had forgotten the wallets, so I ran back and grabbed them, I found that I couldn’t run, so I walked as fast as I could, and then I came to the top of the Mountain, I turn around and saw a man standing on a spire, he was holding a British flag, and then fell. I kept walking and then I came across a small town, where I got something, but I don’t remember what it was, and then I finally got home in the evening, where I saw my brother JC, sleeping, then in the background I heard my mother saying, “If only I hadn’t woken up.” and then another voice trying to calm her down. Just as I was about to leave, JC was standing behind me, it was dark, but I saw him, I said something, to him, and finsihed off with “I’ll see you around.” and then as I was leaving I noticed a sandwich and 2 drinks, in my hands, I finished the drinks, but took 2 bites of the sandwich, walked across the street, and then set it down, and proceeded North. I kept moving, North, towards Canada, and when I reached the Park, I moved left, and found a plethora of Churches, They were Catholic, but I wasn’t certain, their names were weird, well, I saw people inside and simply kept moving. I reached the top of the bridge, and then……

I woke up.

“I should write that down!”

Heh, the importance of having some sort of notepad on your person when one is a writer. Well, I don’t really consider myself anything close to a writer, but I do see the importance of having something to write upon when you’re out and about, the moment an idea comes to mind, and there’s nothing, not even a pen on me to write down what I thought would be brilliant to remember later on… Heh, especially for a guy like me who has the memory of a Goldfish.

And it would be at random moments in my day as well. I would be watching some show or a movie, and an idea would come to mind, “Wow, this is a great thing to reflect upon later!” and sure enough later comes and I cannot remember anything about it, not even what caused the idea to spark in the first place.

Well, no more!

I’m going to Remember to write things down rather than try to remember what the things were! It makes things more simpler, sure when I’m on my laptop I can simply open a word document or use the Notepad application, that comes with the standard programs, yet it’s funny how ones mind works in a given situation, because at the time, those options never come to mind.

Not to mention that there are other situations when having something to write on is beneficial, like say for example, giving ones number to a very attractive individual. Granted, I would write on my very arm to get her numbers, although a good idea in my mind, would probably turn off girls on the spot. “Why not just put it on your phone? you say? Well, the problem with that, is one: I personally have a cheap phone, and putting it on there doesn’t seem very professional, two: other people are too attached to their phones, with all of the apps and added features, that their attention away from said attractive individual appears a moment, when 3 years have passed by! (an exaggeration, yes, but you get my point.) Besides, I would like to look at the number being written in her hand-writing, along with giving her an opportunity to add an optional message, should she desire. “Call me”? Why, Yes I will! X’s and O’s? D’awww You’ve melted my heart. Winky Smiley face? My smile could not be bigger.

Although these are merely jokes and superficial to a point, the idea of writing it down is that it ultimately adds a personal, human touch to the scene. For a brief moment, you can see that person’s entire life in their handwriting. You’re not looking at electronic impulses on a screen, you are looking at them! It’s not a text, it’s personal, handed from their hand to yours (or vice versa). It’s almost as if one receives a hand-written letter(if anyone still gets those anymore), someone has put the effort into putting pen/pencil to paper with only you in mind, granted it’s just digits or a quick message, but I think that it’s the effort that counts. it’s not a Font, made to make the subject look better, it’s not printed by lasers and the 3 Primaries, to get that perfect blend of colors and shading, it’s just simple. Pure. Sentimental. Human.

‘Human’… I wonder if that’s a word we have forgotten throughout these digital realms, where laughter is contained in abbreviations, expressions that were once unique to each individual are now a mixture of colons, letters and symbols, where “I love you” is shortened and sent to loved ones behind a screen with no voice of affection, People’s faces that bring us familiarity are now blended with the motions of pixels trying to capture each movement, and the special traits that once made each face unique are lost. Conversations are now being had without ever having to have the person in front of you, losing their true reactions to the conversations, their energy, their vibe, heck, even their scent. We are becoming lost in a sea of Digital Masks and Flashing Lights, of Screens and Mirrors, of Texts and Tweets…

So… I’m rather inspired now to carry a pen and paper on me at all times, to add that reminder, however subtle, that I am still human, and that there is more to life than a screen.

Nearing the end of this Challenge

There’s only days left in this 6-week challenge that started from April 30th and will be ending on the 11th of June. Heh, I thought it was going to be Monday, but apparently I’ve still got a week to try to achieve the rest my goals. So let’s see…

Goals I’ve competed, thus far:

  • Read and FinishThe Prince
  • Find a Doctor to Shadow

Goals needed to be finished:

  • Replace all Mal-nourished drinks with Water
  • Do 100 Push-ups a Day
  • Complete 10 Pull-ups without stopping
  • Total of 36 hours Volunteering
  • Wake up at 7AM

I’ll consider most of these completed at the end of the Challenge, due to the fact that they’re day-by-day goals. But save for the Volunteering, I think I can complete by the end. I had to stay home last Friday due to concerns for my Mom. She’s alright now, but that means I should have a total of 30 hours of Volunteering by the time this is over. So until then, the weekend is full of interesting activities with which to relax with. So see you around.