This Land Is Your Land (Oregonian Version)

July 5, 2017 - Leave a Response

The day before yesterday, my brother, Levi, finished his final paper for high school; he should be getting his diploma in the mail soon. To celebrate, we went out to eat with Papa and Grandma to one of our favourite restaurants. In other news, Levi started another blog of his, which you can read here.

Yesterday was a very full day. We went to Grandma and Papa’s house to celebrate the Fourth of July; we had a barbecue, set off fireworks in the driveway that the Tevebaughs had brought; and, in the evening, Daddy drove Mommy, Levi, and I to watch fireworks across the highway like we did last year and the year before that—and, unlike last year, we managed to avoid most of the really bad traffic, which was great. Things were sadly a lot harder for me this year, due to my head injury, but people were very understanding and accommodating about it (I watched the last bit of the fireworks from inside the car, so I could lie down).

 

 

To celebrate to the Fourth, here’s an Oregonian version of the famous Woody Guthrie song, This Land Is Your Land. I wrote the initial lyrics on January 10th, and I worked on the song more the Monday before last. I think it still needs some work, especially after the first two verses, but here’s what I have so far.

 

 

 

 

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Chorus:

……….This land is your land, this land is my land

……….From Fort Astoria, to Wizard Island,

……….From the Mount Hood Forest, to the Willamette waters,

……….This land was made for you and me.

 

When the rain came falling, and I was strolling,
With the great trees waving, and the storm clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting, a voice was chanting,
“This land was made for you and me.”

 

Chorus

 

Down in the city, some folks were clam’ring,
I heard them shouting, “Get out of my country!”
I shook my head wond’ring, if I could make them see,
That this land was made for you and me.

 

Chorus

 

On a bench in Portland, so cold and broken,
She’s such a small thing, hungry and freezing,
As she lay there shiv’ring, she looked up asking,
“Is this land made for you me?”

 

Chorus

 

As we were singing, our hopes ran high,
Then we saw above us, those stormy skies.
Though it may be cloudy, we’re still believing,
That this land was made for you and me.

 

Chorus

 

One land one people, kindred and equals,
The same hymn in our souls, just with different notes,
One fight we’re fighting, one song we’re singing:
This land was made for you and me.

 

Chorus (2x)

 

 

 

 

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Today’s Question: What does loving your country mean to you? For me, it doesn’t imply unconditional support for my government’s actions, but means caring about the people in my nation, appreciating the good things that the country provides me, and a strong desire to improve areas where the good is lacking (“America, God mend thine every flaw”) so we can advance everyone’s rights and quality of life.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke: A young Baptist preacher, recently graduated from seminary, had just moved to a new area to pastor his first church. He was very charismatic, and the people there liked him and hoped that he would help rejuvenate things a bit at their church. One day, he was called for his first graveside service. He got in his car, and started to drive to the site of the grave; unfortunately, since he was so new to the area, he got hopelessly lost. Just as he was giving up hope, he saw men with shovels not far from the road, and he got out of the car started walking towards them. There were only a couple of guys there, and they were already filling-in the hole, which came as a bit of a surprise to him; but he had heard that the old man who had passed away was pretty cantankerous, and in general wasn’t known for having had a very Christian way of life, so he assumed that not many people had shown up for his funeral. The pastor ran up to the two men shoveling, and stopped them from filling the hole, saying, “Brothers! Hold on! This is a holy moment, an opportunity to reflect on our own lives, and what awaits us beyond the grave!” The young man continued preaching, and ended up singing Amazing Grace with the workers, who began weeping and ended up rededicating their lives to Christ. After the pastor helped the men fill in the hole, the foreman walked up to him; and, wiping a tear from his eye, slapped a twenty-dollar bill in the pastor’s hand, saying, “I just wanted to thank you; that was beautiful, just beautiful. Thank you.” The pastor blushed. “Oh,” he said, “To God be the glory.” The foreman continued, “Listen, what you did there was really meaningful, and I just wanted to say that we’d love to have you at all of our future sceptic tank installments.”

 

 

 

 

-Isaac““

 

 

 

 

 

Lazarus Cat

June 26, 2017 - One Response

Isaac’s Log—Stardate: 2017.177.

 

It’s been a while since I last blogged, so I’m here to fill-in everyone on what’s been going on in my life for the past few weeks.

 

First of all, Mommy started attending a coding bootcamp back on the 2nd; most of her work she does at home, but she’s been using Lyft and Uber (now basically just Lyft, since they treat their drivers better, and I guess have more intensive background checks than Uber) to go into their building downtown twice a week. It’s been a little weird not having her around as much, but it’s cool that she’s doing well in school and having fun most of the time.

The following weekend was Pentecost, and the Friday after that was Mommy and Daddy’s 21st anniversary; they went to spend the night at a bed-and-breakfast, and Grandma came over to watch Levi and I, but they ended up having to come home due to bed bugs (ew!). That was pretty upsetting for them, but they did have a good time when they went out to eat beforehand.

 

The following Wednesday (the 14th, the day after the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, who’s another one of my favourite saints), Sid, the oldest of the outdoor cats, went missing. I didn’t hear about this until the evening, and I was in denial for a day or two that he was never coming back; even though he hadn’t been looking very well, and despite the fact that he’s, like, sixteen or seventeen years old. One night (I haven’t really been sleeping well at all lately, but that’s not really related) I just broke down and cried; I could’t stand the thought him lying dead, out in the rain, or the idea that we might never find his body (closure’s kind of a big deal for me with this sort of thing), that when we’d go to Grandma and Papa’s for Father’s Day he wouldn’t be there, and that I didn’t get to say goodbye, et cetera. Sid’s a really nice cat, definitely the nicest I’ve ever met, and he’s really good friends with Timmy, Emma’s brother who also lives outside at Grandma’s; so I felt pretty sad for Timmy, also, especially since he went from having three other cats to keep him company to zero in the space of three months. I texted with Tami a good deal in the days after Sid went missing, and we shared pictures and videos of him with each other; I had reached some level of calm and acceptance that he was really dead by Saturday evening around nine, when the unthinkable happened: I got a text from Grandma, that simply said, “Sid is home”!

I was totally shocked; even though I had kept praying for him, hoping against hope that he might just show up one day, I was incredibly surprised! He was skinny (they fed him some wet cat food); their guess was they he was just shut up somewhere—which has happened in the past—and so couldn’t get home until that day. Needless to say, I was pretty excited going to bed that night; I kept thinking to myself, “Sid’s alive, and I get to see him tomorrow!”

So, the following day was much happier than I thought it was going to be; we went over to Grandma and Papa’s for a Father’s Day Barbecue, and of course Sid was there—I specifically brought a library book, so that I could read outside with him like I used to. In the evening, we watched The Lego Batman Movie. Overall, it was a pretty great day.

 

 

In other developments, Daddy started going to a Baptist church on Sundays with Mommy, which they later found out was the same church that Uncle Jim and Aunt Linda went to. I’m still a little skeptical about the whole thing, but I’m glad to see that Daddy’s happy and going to church somewhere consistently again. Mommy’s still taking Levi and I to the Catholic parish on Saturday evenings, so I joked that my father’s orange and my mother’s green (although I’m suspicious that kind of the main reason she’s green is that Levi and I are, but if that’s true I’m not that upset that she is, since at least I don’t have to say rosary at night all by myself).

 

 

Speaking of church, this weekend was incredibly, incredibly hot; Levi and I weren’t able to go anywhere, and had to stay in our room with the air conditioning most of the time. It got to over 100° (approx. 38° C) on both Saturday and Sunday; honestly, I really have no idea how people manage to live in places like Arizona (I have cousins who live down there), especially before the invention of air conditioning and refrigeration. Today is much nicer; it’s only 78° (26° C) outside, which is a huge improvement from yesterday, and it’s nice to be able to hang out in places other than my room.

Today is my Uncle Andrew’s birthday—he’s 35—and it’s also my Aunt Linda’s birthday—who’s 65—and my Great-aunt Maxine’s birthday—she turned 96 today. We also heard some pretty exciting news today: Clay got a new job (he had the interview on Wednesday) , and he’ll get to make a lot more money than he is now at Olive Garden. Stephie and Clay are both very excited, and I’m really happy for them.

 

In other news, I’ve been working on a platform for a nonexistent political party, which has been fun; I currently have just an exhaustive outline, but I’m planning on expanding it and putting it on a little HTML page I’m building on my computer.

 

On a totally unrelated note, it’s now officially been eleven months since I banged my head on a cupboard and this whole post-concussive syndrome thing started. I’m actually feeling kind of frustrated, since my symptoms have been worse lately due to Levi and I having caught a virus or something—I’ve had lots of really terrible headaches, the sort that make it kind of impossible to fall asleep. On a positive note, I’ve actually felt less anxious overall the past few days than I have in a while; although, based on my OCD behaviours, my family might have some dubiety if I tell them that.

 

 

 

 

Before I wrap this up with a question and a joke, I’d just like to point out that my last joke was about adding more states to the union—and, just ten days later, Puerto Rico voted to become a state. I’m actually pretty excited about this; if Congress gives it the okay, then I guess we’ll have to change our flag to something like this. Unless, you know, if California somehow ended up seceding around the same time (which seems pretty unlikely to me), in which case we could keep the fifty-star flag.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Question: A hypothetical: You need to restart civilization on another planet, and the only previous knowledge of humanity you’re able to bring with you is three books: One fictional, one nonfictional, and one of either category. Which books do you pick? (And yes, picking a tablet or reader is cheating, haha).

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke: There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.

 

 

 

 

-Isaac““

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Pentecost

June 4, 2017 - Leave a Response

Pentecost

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Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,

That my thoughts may all be holy.

Act in me, O Holy Spirit,

That my work, too, may be holy.

Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,

That I love but what is holy.

Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,

To defend all that is holy.

Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,

That I always may be holy.

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-St. Augustine

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Happy Pentecost Sunday, everyone!

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-Isaac““

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American Pie—An Exemplum

June 2, 2017 - 2 Responses

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Once upon a time, I was hungry, and walked into a restaurant. Once inside, I was greeted by a vivacious young woman wearing a top hat designed to look like it belonged to Uncle Sam, the restaurant’s mascot.
“Hello there!” she said, as I approached the register, “Welcome to Uncle Sam’s House of Pies, the best restaurant on the planet! May I take your order?”
“Sure, thanks,” I said, “I guess I’ll have a slice of apple pie.”
She looked around furtively. “This is your first time here, isn’t it?”
“Well, yeah, but—”
“Look,” she said, “Here’s how it works: Before you get your pie, you have decide who you want to be your chef.”
“Oh,” I said, “That’s a little weird, but okay.”
She smiled hyperbolically, and handed me a pamphlet full of the names of cooks and a description of their stances on pie.

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Cook————Stance
Democrat—”We should cut pie as evenly as possible, except that people who are hungrier or are statistically more likely to be hungry should get a bigger slice of pie.”
Republican—”We’re all better off with as much pie as possible; so we should focus more on making more pie, rather than how to cut it.”

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“Those are our two most popular choices,” the woman said, reading over my shoulder, “They usually try to keep the other cooks out of the kitchen; you know what they say about too many cooks.”

“Right, right,” I said, not really paying attention, and continued reading.

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Libertarian—”We’d all be better off if we didn’t have so many rules about cutting pie and how to bake it.”
Green—”We should mainly focus on not making a mess of the kitchen, so that we’ll have utensils left over for when we bake next time. (Also, these ingredients better be organic and fair trade!)”
Constitutionalist—”We’d all be better off if we just followed the rules we agreed to when we founded the restaurant.”
Distributist—”The cooks should make sure everyone has what they need to bake their own pie.”
Anarchist—”We don’t need chefs or a kitchen!”
Nazi—(Says that he thinks we don’t have enough pie, and he’s pretty sure it’s [insert ethnicity of your choice]’s fault)
Nixon—(Tries to read over the shoulders of other chefs when they’re writing their recipes, but specifically denies that he’s a crook)
Technocrat—”We’ll all be better off if we get fancier ovens.”
Marxist—”Cooking from each according to their ability, pie to each according to their need.”
Trump—”I’ll return the restaurant to it’s former glory! Don’t ask how, just believe me!”

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At this point my reading was interrupted by a man with a slightly crazed look in his eyes. “Hey, kid!” he said.
“Um,” I said, “Can I help you?”
“All the cooks,” he said, panting, “All the cooks—they’re all in league against us!”
“They are?” I said, my eyes widening.
“They’re all trying to convince us that what they’re feeding us isn’t really just really mushy cake!”
“But how can you prove that?”
“You just can’t handle the truth!” he said.
“Isn’t that kind of a non sequitur?” I asked, confused.
“It’s also sort of ad hominem,” said the woman.
“NONE OF YOU CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH!” the man bellowed, running to hide under the tables at the back of the restaurant, “WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!”
After an awkward silence, I asked, “What was that all about?”
“Oh, him?” said the woman, “He’s a Conspiracy Theorist; just ignore him, he doesn’t even work here. Anyway, did you decide on a cook?”
“What’s ‘Wake Up Sheeple?'” I said, trying to change the subject.
“It’s a morning talk show for Conspiracy Theorists,” she said, “Now, have you decided on a cook?”
“Well, I read the list, it’s just that I don’t really like anyone’s cooking.”
“How is that possible? You have so many options!”
“Maybe I order something that’s not on the menu?”
“Not on the menu?! Why are you making this so complicated?!”
“Well, I—”
“Look,” she said, calming down, “The policy at this restaurant is, ‘Love it or leave it.'”
“Doesn’t that seem a little extreme?” I asked.
“No, seriously,” she said, “Leave. There’s other restaurants in town.”
“There are?”
“Sure,” she said, pointing out the window, “There’s Casa de Tartas and Maple’s Pies just across the street. Maybe they’ll have something for you picky eaters.”
“Alright, thanks anyway,” I shrugged, and started to walk away. As I was leaving, I overheard the woman talking to one of the other employees, and I turned around.
“What was that all about?” he asked her, “The guy just took up the line for, like, five minutes, and he didn’t even order anything? I can’t abide loiterers; I mean, what kind of person does that?”
“Oh,” she replied, “It’s just another Independent.”

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The Past Two Weeks

June 1, 2017 - 2 Responses

It seems like a lot has happened in the past two weeks since I last blogged. I admit that I’ve been kind of avoiding it, as the idea of going in depth on all these events at once seems daunting, but I’m afraid if I try covering them in one post at a time I might not get everything covered; so I think I’ll just do a quick overview and get it all over with. Rather than rating recent events by relative importance, I’ll be dealing with them chronologically.

 

 

The Sunday before last (May 21st) was the day of my piano recital. As you may predict based on my previous posts, I was very nervous (like, hearing my heart beat in my ears nervous), but it all worked out; I think that my practicing paid off, and I only made a few mistakes (the biggest of which most people probably didn’t notice: I accidentally switched two measures of a song). I actually thought that all of the students did a really good job; I was particularly impressed by a couple of sisters who played a duet together. For anyone who may be wondering, the three songs I played were End Game by Jennifer Eklund, and the 2nd and 3rd Movements of Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in A Minor (arranged by Jennifer Eklund). I had a lot of fun in particularly playing the 3rd Movement, since it’s meant to be really fast.

Anyways, I had piano lessons the following day, and we’ve been on hiatus since as a sort of summer break; but I’m pretty sure we’ll be starting up again next week.

 

May 21st was also the three-year anniversary of Levi adopting his dog, Pat-me (she was fed a piece of peanut butter toast as a birthday treat). While I admit I’m not overly fond of her—largely due to her being the sort of animal who thinks she’s a lapdog when she’s actually fairly big, and me being really haphephobic already —I figure that it’s a date worth noting anyway, since she means so much to Levi.

 

One sad thing that happened that day was that what was left of the old plum tree in Grandma and Papa’s yard was chopped down. I know that it hadn’t actually grown any plums in years, but I have a lot of fond memories of this tree—when Tami, Katie, Levi, and I used to play outside with sharpened sticks a lot, we’d sometimes store them in a convenient little crack between branches near the base of the tree (it had since closed-up as the tree grew); we’d call it the Weapons Tree. I remember all the great times I had reading under its shade just last Summer with Sid (the oldest outdoor cat). When we visited for Memorial Day, I took a piece from its remains to remember it by (like I did when the walnut tree was chopped down some years ago); but I’m still sad that the tree’s gone now, and I know it’s going to be really weird without it.

 

 

May 25th (a week ago today) was the Feast of the Ascension, although our diocese celebrated it the following weekend. Mommy took Levi and I to the library, where I returned a book and checked out a couple more. That day was also the 40th anniversary of the first Star Wars movie coming out; we celebrated by watching a “restored” theatrical version of the movie Daddy found on the Internet. Mommy said that it was exactly like the LaserDisc version she was used to watching growing-up (which I have also seen; but it was nice not having to stop every little while and have to flip it or insert a new one, haha). Although I don’t want to come across as a anti-Lucas-edits snob (unless it’s about that musical number in Jabba’s Palace; I think most of us can agree that that’s really terrible) I was actually pretty impressed with this version; one thing that I noticed that I didn’t think I would was how much easier the film seemed to flow, as far as editing; I guess I didn’t really fully realize how much some of the expanded scenes (such as when Luke drives Obi-wan and the droids into Mos Eisley) seem to add extra attention to scenes at the expense of the narrative. (Disney, take note: If you want to make some easy money off of Star Wars fans, release a”theatrical” cut of the original trilogy onto Blu-Ray and/or DVD—preferably while what we have left of the original cast is still alive, so you can include fun things like new commentaries). But anyway, just my two cents.

 

 

The next day, May 26th, Mommy and Daddy took my brother and I to a play kind of on a whim; it was a funny play, a comedic thriller (I didn’t know you could really pull it off, but they did) called The 39 Steps. As most of those reading this blog may already know, this was also the day of the stabbing on one of the Portland MAX trains, which we first heard of due to overhearing people behind us talk during the intermission. I wish that I had words to say something that could adequately say something about this tragic calamity, some worthy salute to the brave men who risked (and two who lost) their lives just doing what I hope most people would be decent enough to do when able—standing up to defend innocent people, while trying their best to de-escalate a dangerous situation—or some words of comfort to the families who lost their loved ones that day, and to the two young women who were harassed because of who they were; not to mention all the people traumatized by watching people get berated and murdered by some crazy Nazi.

I found out when we went to church on Saturday (the day we observed Ascension) that one of the men who was killed in the stabbing, a veteran, was one of the members of the parish we’ve been attending for the past couple of months; he has a wife and four children. That something like that happened to their father, just a few days before Memorial Day… Yick. Just yick. I don’t think I can rightfully say that the incident freaked me out a lot, since I know that the incredibly minuscule way it’s effected me is nothing compared to what these people are going through.

 

 

 

Last Sunday, we went out to eat; after which we went to a used bookstore, where I found an interesting book from 1924 full of old essays. The next day, we went to Grandma’s house to celebrate Memorial Day with a barbecue. We had a fun time visiting with the all of the family; I played with Nathan, Levi and I did MarioKart with Sandy and Katie (Levi won as usual; I made it to third place, which was extremely unusual), Sandy played with a fun game with Katie and I called The Wrong Game (which is like a trivia game, except that you have to get the answers wrong; it’s actually a lot more challenging than it sounds), I watched Tami design an apartment in The Sims and got to play with her new kitten (his name is Rowan), I listened to Papa tell us interesting stories from his childhood and teenage years (I learned that he got a standing ovation for a monologue in a school talent show, and that he was an extra in a pretty bad-looking movie called Kansas City Bomber—which, to me, sounds like a nickname of some sort of terrorist, but that’s probably a generational thing), Mommy showed Stephie how to check and treat people for allergies using a variation of the NAET method, and I had a cheeseburger with potato salad and potato chips (just to be redundant with my carbohydrates, haha). Overall, it was a pretty great day.

 

The next day, Tuesday (the day before yesterday), was also a pretty great day; we were kind of spent from all the socializing the day before, so we just relaxed most of the day. In the evening, Mommy and Daddy surprised us with pizza, and Daddy bought Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on Amazon so we could all watch it.

 

 

Today is Stephie and Clay’s 4th anniversary. I woke up a couple of hours earlier than usual, but I decided to stayed awake and watch WordGirl on my phone since my head wasn’t hurting me as badly as it normally does in the mornings, and later Mommy went over to the Tevebaugh’s to babysit while Stephie and Clay went out. She came home after a few hours or so, and since then I’ve downloaded an admittedly kind of mediocre text-based game on my phone, Daddy and Papa have gone exercising, Mommy’s read us Harry Potter for a long while, and Mommy and Daddy have gone out to eat. Again, overall, it’s been a pretty good day; unless some unforeseen catastrophe happens in the next three hours, which would be pretty awkward. As of now, other than this whole concussion-symptoms thing, of which I’m kind of starting to have my doubts is really that temporary, life’s not too bad and I can’t really complain. Mommy will be going to a coding bootcamp for the first time tomorrow, and we’ll be celebrating Pentecost this coming weekend.

 

 

I hope that the summer has been going well for you all; it’s been a little weird here in northwestern Oregon—some days it’ll be over 90 degrees (about 32 °C, give or take about a fifth), and then just a day or two later it’ll be in the 60s again (15-20 °C, give or take about a half).

Happy belated Feast of the Ascension.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Question: If you had a Time Machine that could only travel forwards in time, how far into the future would you go?

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke: We should add three more states to the Union: That way, we’ll have 53, a prime number; we’ll be nation, indivisible.

 

 

 

 

-Isaac““

 

 

 

 

 

Ayldran Magical Languages: Vytala—History and Alphabets

May 18, 2017 - 5 Responses

Vytala is the magical language of the Vytala school of magic (see The Magical Schools of Ayldra). An object-oriented language, Vytala influences the life force; and, the members of the Vytala school being healers, it is used primarily for growth and healing. While all historians agree that its practitioners have developed and expanded Vytala’s usage over time, the language’s initial origin is a mystery; members of other magical schools generally attribute its invention to Azara of Crescent Isle, one of the three legendary founders of the Vytala school, but most Vytalans wouldn’t say that she invented the language, believing rather that Azara rediscovered how to interact with a fundamental form of magic that was used at the time of the Island of Ayldra’s creation, and which still reverberates in all living things.

 

VytalaAlphabetChart2

 

Vytala is unique among the main magical languages for having its phonemes based in solfège, and is notated in two different ways: Runic and Cursive (see the alphabets, above).

Runes are usually the first alphabet learned, taught to wizards when they are still small children, and are mainly used for inscribing on stone or wood. They are written from the top-down, like so:

The word, “Shan-ka” (Harmony), in runic form.

 

Cursive letters, which are loosely based on the runes, are mainly used for writing with ink on paper; and, unlike runes, they are written from left-to-right, like this:

The word, “Shan-ka”
(Harmony), in cursive form.

 

 

 

 

 

Even though few members of other schools ever learn it to proficiency, Vytala is one of the most widely used magical languages in Ayldra.

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day, St. Dymphna, and a Runaway Bunny

May 16, 2017 - Leave a Response

Last Sunday, we went over to Grandma and Papa’s house to celebrate Mother’s Day. Before we went, we bought Mommy a video game called The Witness (both Levi and I have been trying to get her more into video games; but Levi especially), which she has really enjoyed; I also made a funny digital card for her later in the day. We took our time before going to Grandma’s—Daddy had a shower, Levi showed Mommy how to play, I said my prayers, and so on—which turned out to be a really good thing, as I’ll explain later. We were having Mexican food for dinner, so Daddy was planning on going with Papa to local grocery store to buy some taco-shells a little bit after he dropped us off; however, once we arrived at Grandma’s, we were told that there had been a stabbing at the store—actually, I later learned that it was a stabbing connected to a really gruesome murder, which I won’t go into. That something so bizarrely horrifying happened in such a small town—a town I’ve lived around most of my life, and at a store I was so used to going to—is pretty disconcerting; it’s definitely really freaked out a lot of the residents, my Grandma included. The good news is that it looks like the man who was stabbed (he’s one of the people who works at the store, and apparently got stabbed when he tackled the perpetrator) is going to be alright. And I’m grateful that we didn’t leave earlier, because then Papa and Daddy might’ve been at the store when it all happened, and they might’ve gotten hurt.

Anyways, Papa and Daddy went shopping later, at a Fred Meyer instead. While they were gone, Tami showed Levi and me where Papa buried Isa; I’m hoping, when my head is doing a little better, I’ll be able to help Tami clean up around her grave and make it look nice, like Tobi’s. I played with Nathan and showed him videos on my phone (mostly cats, which he adores), and later Levi and I played MarioKart with Sandy and Katie. Overall (so, pretty much everything minus the freaky crime), we had a good day, and had a fun time visiting with the family.

 

 

 

The next day was St. Dymphna’s Day, who’s one of my favourite saints—she’s the patron saint of autistics, as well as other people with neurological disorders. Also, it was the nineteenth birthday of my friend Katie; we’ve been friends since we were babies, and she’ll be graduating high school soon.

I had a piano lesson that day, which went well, although I’m really nervous about my upcoming recital—I found out that I’ll be the last student to play in it, which, while of course I felt a little proud that my teacher thinks my songs are strong enough to bookend the recital with (although, not technically, since she’ll be playing after my song; which I was relieved to hear), I’ve never been at the end before, and of course I’m a little scared because I feel like it’s kind of a big deal.

 

 

 

Today’s the feast of St. Brendan the Navigator (otherwise known as St. Brendan of Clonfert), who’s one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. All in all, it’s been a fairly relaxing day; I slept in, Levi and I watched WordGirl, I practiced piano, Daddy went to a doctor’s appointment (he actually came home from work just now), and Mommy went over to Stephie’s to treat Simon. In the afternoon, Mommy went on one of her hospice visits, then came home, then went to Stephie’s again, and then took Levi and I to the library so she and I could drop-off our ballots for the local elections. We stayed at the library for a while, and then came home a little while ago. It’d been a more or less ordinary day (other than the election), and then things took an exciting turn when our neighbours’ rabbit got into our yard, and our dog chased it behind the shed. So, Mommy and Levi got the dog, and went down to the house next door to let them know about their rabbit. They were really nice, and Mommy tried to help with getting the rabbit out from behind the shed, but unfortunately it got away and ran (hopped?) down the street—it was pouring down rain at the time, and assumably no one’s seen it since, but hopefully it’ll go home at some point and be okay.

 

That’s all I really have to report for now, other than that we may be getting to see a Mystery Science Theater 3000 live show in Portland later this year, which should be fun. Also, on a kind of weird note, tomorrow’s my former foster sister’s twelfth birthday (the weird part being that that means I haven’t seen her or her brother for about ten and a half years). On a happy note, it’s now less than three weeks until Pentecost (which is also slightly sad, since that means we’ll be leaving the Easter season; but it’s also a little exciting, because that means that we’re getting closer to Christmas).

 

 

 

 

Today’s Question: What’s one of your favourite jokes? I know I’ve already asked about this before, but I’m always looking for new ones.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke: One tectonic plate bumped into another and said, “Sorry, my fault.”

 

 

 

 

-Isaac““

 

 

 

 

 

Our Lady of Fátima (Ankaǔ, Isa la Kato)

May 13, 2017 - One Response

 

Today’s the 100th anniversary of the First Apparition of Our Lady of Fátima, Portugal. A hundred years is a really long time, so obviously it’s kind of a big deal. For those who may be wondering, during World War I, three young shepherds—Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto—were visited, first by the Archangel Michael (who taught them the “I believe, I adore…” prayer that is often used to this day), and later by the Virgin Mary herself, who told them (among other things) that prayer and penance would lead to peace. The children were met with a lot of skepticism and even hostility when they recalled the apparitions, including from both religious and secular authorities. The visions culminated in the Miracle of the Sun in October of 1917, which was seen by thousands of people, some of which were miles away from where the children were.

Both Jacinta and Francisco died as a result of the influenza pandemic of 1918 (the same virus that killed my great-great-great aunt, Minnie Brandon)—and, in Jacinta’s case, tuberculosis—but Lúcia lived until 2005.

 

Yesterday, we watched Pope Francis pray the rosary (in ten different languages, two for each mystery: Portuguese, Arabic, Spanish, Ukrainian, Italian, Korean, English, Albanian, French, and then Polish; if I remember correctly) at Fátima on EWTN, and this morning he canonized Jacinta and Francisco (I was also able to watch that service; the last bit of it, anyway); they’re now the youngest non-martyred canonized saints, which is pretty cool.

 

 

 

Isa

I also have some sad news. Isa, another one of the cats who lived in Grandma’s yard, was found dead on the 9th (she was buried later that day). I totally didn’t expect this; I’d always assumed she was the youngest of the outdoor cats, due to her coming the most recently—she kind of just showed-up one day some years ago, and had stuck around ever since—and her small size, but she’d always been pretty small, so now I guess she may have been older than she looked (it’s often kind of difficult to tell with cats, anyway).

Timmy and Isa

 

Isa was very skittish for most of the time that I knew her, often being scared both of people and other cats, although she grew much braver around the other cats following Sara’s death back in March, even hanging out on the porch quite a bit; which I’m actually glad of, since otherwise she might not’ve been found after she died. The other cats weren’t overly-fond of her, except Timmy (pictured with her above), who she loved a lot.

I’m sad that half the outdoor cats have died in just the past few months; but I’m very glad that Isa became comfortable with approaching me a couple of years before she died, and that I went outside to pet her semi-recently.

 

 

 

In other news, I had an extra piano lesson this week, and I’m feeling a lot more confident with this upcoming recital than I was just before the previous one. Daddy, Levi, and I have actually pretty under the weather recently with a stomach bug; I’m actually feeling a lot better today, but Levi still has to be in bed most of the time, so Mommy and I had to go to church by ourselves. Hopefully, we’ll all be feeling better by tomorrow so we can go over to Grandma’s and celebrate Mother’s Day.

 

 

 

So, happy feast of Our Lady of Fátima, and happy Mother’s Day to Mommy and all mothers out there who may be reading this.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Question: Are you a early bird or a night owl?

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke: A man joins a cloistered monastery. The Abbot says to him, “This is a silent order; you will be allowed to speak two words every five years.”
The man says, “Okay,” and so begins his time with the silent order.
Five years pass, and the Abbot says that he will hear his two words now. The man says, “Cold room.”
Five years later, the man says, “Bad food.”
Five years later: “Hard bed.”
Another five years later, he says, “I’m leaving.”
“You might as well,” says the Abbot, “You’ve done nothing but complain ever since you got here.”

 

 

 

 

-Isaac““

 

 

 

 

 

A Brief Reflection on Mortality (Ankaŭ, Ovoŝeloj)

May 7, 2017 - Leave a Response

Isaac’s Log—Stardate: 2017.127.

 

It’s now been a month since Dr. Kibert died. We went to his estate sale the Saturday before last; I’m glad that we went—if only for the closure’s sake, and it was also nice that we were able to get a few things to remember him by, such as some of his favourite music—but the whole thing felt really weird and surreal. But death in itself is pretty surreal, isn’t it? Something is alive one minute, and then dead the next; whether as the result of something sudden, or just a gradual succumbing to entropy.

Probably the most surreal part of death is that life goes on; not really the same, of course, but it still goes on. Those Forget-me-nots in Dr. Kibert’s flower-box are still living and growing (even though they’ve been left behind), just like all of us are. Death is often really shocking; for me, it’s often too shocking to even cry much about (which is kind of odd, considering I’m probably more prone to crying than most adult males would care to admit, haha), but life goes on, like it did prior to the shock—sometimes unnervingly so—even if it feels like someone’s missing.

It seems a lot of the people I’m close to have died in the just past couple of years—granted, if I actually stop and think about it, I guess it’s less than half a dozen; but then I don’t really know that many people to begin with, so there it is. I didn’t really have to deal with death at all until I was a somewhat older kid, and then not very much until relatively recently. I guess part of that is due to the fact that my parents had kids “early” (my Mommy is less than nineteen years older than me; I’ve been mistaken for her younger brother more than once), so I was able to meet most of my great-grandparents, and have close relationships with a few—which I think most kids in this country unfortunately never get to do.

I’m really thankful that I’ve had the opportunities to meet these people (I feel really bad for my cousins, who are so young that they probably won’t be able to remember much about them), even though they’re gone now; and that God gave me a good enough memory that I can still see and hear them when I want, even though they’re just memories. Most of all, I’m thankful for Heaven, and the hope that I’ll get to see the people I miss again someday.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Question: Totally, completely unrelated to the subject of this post. How do pieces of eggshell attract other pieces of eggshell? You know, the trick you were taught for fishing-out eggshells you’d accidentally dropped in the mixing bowl; how does it work? I really don’t have an answer for this, and it’s bothering me that I can’t seem to find an answer anywhere. Does anyone know? It’s so commonplace in everyone’s lives, you’d think someone would’ve figured it out by now.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke: A duck walks into a pub and orders a pint of beer and a ham sandwich.
The bartender looks at him and says, “Hang on! You’re a duck.”
“I see your eyes are working,” replies the duck.
“And you can talk!” exclaims the bartender.
“I see your ears are working, too,” says the duck, “Now if you don’t mind, can I have my beer and my sandwich, please?”
“Certainly, sorry about that,” says the bartender as he pours the duck a pint, “It’s just we don’t get many ducks in this pub. What are you doing around this way?”
“I’m working on the building site across the road,” explains the duck. “I’m a plasterer.”
The flabbergasted bartender cannot believe the duck and wants to learn more, but takes the hint when the duck pulls out a newspaper from his bag and proceeds to read it.
So, the duck reads his paper, drinks his beer, eats his sandwich, bids the barman good day and leaves.
The same thing happens for two weeks.
Then, one day, the circus comes to town.
The ringmaster comes into the pub for a pint, and the bartender says to him, “You’re with the circus, aren’t you? Well, I know this duck that could be just brilliant in your circus. He talks, drinks beer, eats sandwiches, reads the newspaper and everything!”
“Sounds marvelous,” says the ringmaster, handing over his business card. “Get him to give me a call.”
So the next day when the duck comes into the pub the bartender says, “Hey, Mr. Duck, I reckon I can line you up with a top job, paying really good money.”
“I’m always looking for the next job,” says the duck, “Where is it?”
“At the circus,” says the bartender.
“The circus?” repeats the duck.
“That’s right,” replies the bartender.
“The circus?” the duck asks again, “With the big TENT?”
“Yeah!” the bartender replies.
“With all the animals who live in CAGES, and performers who live in CARAVANS?” says the duck.
“Of course,” the bartender replies.
“And the tent has CANVAS sides and a big canvas roof with a hole in the middle?” persists the duck.
“That’s right!” says the bartender.
The duck shakes his head in amazement, and says: “What would they want with a plasterer?”

 

 

 

 

-Isaac““

 

 

 

 

Post Script: I forgot to mention in my previous post that, the Friday before last, I went through my entire inbox—over 440 emails! I’m not going to lie, it felt very satisfying to have an empty inbox again—I hadn’t had one in years—so I thought it’d be worth mentioning.

 

Post the Post Script: I got to see Tami’s new kitty yesterday—he’s really cute, and he warmed up to me really quickly. Also, I had a pretty busy day today: We went to see the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie with Papa—which was a lot more intense than I was expecting it to be, but it had a lot of funny parts, too—and then we went out for Chinese food, after which we came home, and then Mommy and I went to part of a Donna Cori Gibson concert at church.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Star Wars Day

May 4, 2017 - One Response

 

May the Fourth be with you, everyone!

Today is Star Wars Day (which, this year, I guess should be a pretty big deal, since it’s only three weeks before the 40th anniversary of the first Star Wars movie being released—which, fun fact, also lines-up with the Feast of the Ascension this year). I didn’t sleep well last night—I fell asleep around 6:00 in the morning—I actually heard a bird start singing, which was super awkward—so I slept in a good deal. Mommy and Daddy went out for most of the afternoon, but Levi and I didn’t stay home alone for very long, because the heat was getting to Levi, so we walked over to Stephie and Clay’s house (they have air conditioning). I had fun playing with Nathan and interacting with Simon (he’s only four months old, so of course he can’t play a whole lot yet, but he’s really cute and very smiley). Overall, it’s been a pretty good day; to top it all off, the plan is to watch Return of the Jedi this evening.

The most exciting thing that’s happened today is that Tami got a new kitten! I haven’t met him yet—I don’t even really know what his name is—but I’m excited to meet him.

 

While we’re on the subject of cats: The day before yesterday was Emma’s (and Tobi’s and Timmy’s) birthday; she turned 14, which is apparently about 72 in cat-years; we also celebrated Dante (Levi’s cat, who’s now 11), since we’re not sure exactly when his birthday is, but we’re pretty sure it’s somewhere around May (he was seven months old when we adopted him in December of 2006). I think the cats had a good birthday; we gave them some of the cheaper cat food that they like, and Mommy even made a cake out of gluten-free blueberry muffin mix (for us, obviously, not the cats; haha).

EmmaClock.jpg

 

 

Yesterday (yes, I realize I’m going against my usual paradigm of chronicling from the the earliest event to the most recent; I know it’s a little weird and sporadic, so bear with me), Mommy took Levi and I to visit the library—it was only the second time we’ve visited the one near our new house—which was a lot of fun, they have a nice library here; but I probably pushed myself too much, and ended up pretty spent for the evening. After the library, we went and had popsicles at Stephie and Clay’s.

 

Other than Tami getting her new kitten, not too many major things have happened lately; Mommy did take me to the DMV the Wednesday before last to renew my permit (Daddy and I went in that previous Friday, before my permit expired, but their computers were down that day), where I got a really freaky picture taken for my ID—actually, my new card just came in the mail today, and (fortunately, haha) in colour it’s not nearly as freaky looking, so that’s nice.

 

 

The new Guardians of the Galaxy movie comes out tomorrow; all four of us have tickets to go see it in the theatre with Papa on Sunday, so that’s pretty exciting. Two weeks after that, on the 21st, I’ll have my Spring piano recital. Four days after that is the Feast of the Ascension. Also, my friend Katie’s birthday is on the 15th—which is also the Feast of St. Dymphna, who’s been one of my favourite saints since I was little.

 

 

May the Force be with you.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Question: If you could only be one, would you rather be smart or nice?

Personally, I’d go with nice, since kindness is actually a virtue; whereas intelligence is more of a positive attribute, like strength, which can be used for good or evil. Besides, I’d much rather be a kind moron than an evil genius.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke (A Star Wars one)What is the internal temperature of a Tauntaun? Lukewarm.

 

 

 

 

-Isaac““