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Breaks are still good

I think I’ve already spoken about the benefit of breaks, but I think it deserves being mentioned again: breaks are good.

Breaks allow us a chance to kick back and recuperate from the stresses of school. We get to spend time with friends and family that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to contact while at Wabash, and we can do so without having to worry about loads of essays and assignments coming in. Seriously, sometimes it seems that just before breaks is when we get hit the hardest (although that makes sense, considering that they want us to get as much done as we can before we go away and begin to forget what we just learned… not saying that I’ve forgotten anything).

Wabash feels like this sometimes; I’m the Dreadnought and all the school work and stuff is the mass of Orks

Also, now I’ve gotten a chance to plan out what lays ahead for me; I’ve gotten through my first semester at Wabash without too much trouble, and now I’ve got to make sure I can get through the next semester as well. I think I’ll do fine; I’ve just got to stay focused and not get too distracted. Dork Club might help, as will some other things going on around campus.

Yeah, next year is going to be good.

Yesterday was Christmas last year too

Yes, I am still alive. I think what I had planned out to be a nap from writing after finals turned an elongated hibernation.

Well, I am home now and winter break is here at the best possible time. As much as I love the cold weather back at C-ville, I think Houston’s relative warmer weather can’t be hated. My parents will never understand me when I say “I don’t need a jacket, it’s hot outside.”

Though yesterday was Christmas the day the family gets together is on Christmas Eve, better known as Noche Buena by my Mexican parents. I spent it with my parents, brothers and their wives, and my newborn neice who is now a month old.

Opening gifts was freakin awesome. My oldest brother is a private Ford Diesel Mechanic and we all pitched in to get my dad a F-250. Well, being a college student I am going to work for him over the next three weeks to pay off my part. We handed my dad the gift bag and the keys were inside. His first response was “Oh, I needed new keys.” Then when we told him to go outside, he could not believe it. He was stoked because he has always wanted one. All the excitment took me back to a year ago when I was still in high school.

A year ago I had just received my acceptance letters from Wabash, St.Thomas here in Houston and Berklee College of Music in Boston. That is after I took out my denial letters and schools I really did not want to go to. Denial letters were probably the best thing that I got at the time, (not as great as my Wabash acceptance lettter though). For me, the more options I have it becomes overhwelming. It would still be 4 more months until I had to make the biggest and greatest decision of my life yet, but it was nice that my options were those I liked. This time last year when family was over from all over, they were all asking me the same thing “Where are you going for school?” I would reply with, “Not sure yet, but these are my options” and I’d tell them what I knew about each school and the great alumni they had all produced.

At the time, I saw my life going in three different directions and what I imagined life at Wabash is not how it is at all. It is a million times better. It is definitely hard, but football or any sport would not be fun or interesting if it looked or was easy. Thats why Wabash Always Fights, because nothing is easy and we can work hard through it. WAF WAF WAF

Thanks for reading, and in the spirit of Ron Burgundy “Stay Classy.”

Parenting 101 from the Unmarried Wabash Freshman

There are many things that I am thankful about Wabash. For one, being around a bunch of guys and getting a chance to learn how the be a gentleman has given me some perspective on how I plan to run my life in the future.

Why do I bring this up? Well, ‘tis the season of Christmas shopping, and that means I have to contend with one of the rougher aspects of the season: greedy, misbehaving children.

Now, I like kids. I think they are a lot more intelligent than they appear, and you can talk to them about almost anything and you’ll get a response. However, I am not overly fond of them when they start whining, when they butt into conversations, and when they won’t stay still for more than ten seconds. This is especially bad around Christmas time, when the prospect of getting gifts tends to cloud their judgement (I recommend teaching them the meaning of Christmas nice and early so they stay calm).

Sometimes I blame the kids, but other times my target of irritation is the parents.

Wabash has taught me a lot about being a responsible citizen and person, and sometimes I wonder why more people aren’t being taught this because a lot of adults don’t show a lot of responsibility, especially when dealing with kids. I’ve begun noticing this more since I accepted my bid at Wabash, and it keeps getting more and more on my nerves.

One aspect of irresponsible parenting (probably more appropriate to call it “lazy”) is the electronics issue. Growing up, I had no TV or phone, I was allowed limited computer time which I spent perusing the internet (mostly on the Discovery Channel website, because they used to show programs on dinosaurs back then). I spent most of my free time reading, playing board games, and cutting out little paper dinosaurs and airplanes, and once I did expand my electronic consumption (in 8th grade) I had a wealth of knowledge developed so I could find things that interested me, develop my writing skills, and avoid becoming a mass-consumer couch potato.

But what about those that were introduced to electronics at a younger age (like, say, elementary school)? What about those 5th graders who got an iPhone for Christmas the year before they went to middle school? Well… they’re kind of boring.

One of the biggest disadvantages of electronics is that it draws your attention away. As a writer I do tend to drown things out so I can focus, but the same thing happens when I’m just browsing. Now, give a kid an iPad and he’ll have the same reaction, focusing so much on what’s in front of him that he’ll spend no time doing something very important: talking. If you want to get anywhere in life, you have to find a way to socialize with people, but if your entire life is just spend glued to a computer screen you’re not developing a lot of social skills.

I’m ranting about this problem due to an experience I had over spring break. We were on a Western Caribbean cruise, and one night we went down to the main dining hall for dinner. A larger family, containing a few kids in the late elementary to early middle school age, sat down next to us, and even before they had all sat down the kids had pulled out their iPhones and their iPads and were busy playing Minecraft. Even when their food came they didn’t stop playing. As I was raised without electronics, and thus had to talk with my parents about topics at dinner and thus work on my speaking skills, that just felt wrong to me.

For one, it insults the intelligence of the kid because their parents are basically giving them the game as if to say “Sit quietly and don’t talk while me and the other adults have an intelligent conversation”. Kids are really intelligent (I was able to have an engaging conversation with two kids regarding superheroes, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Warhammer 40K over Thanksgiving break, and it was probably the best conversation I’ve had in a long time). Worse, it ends up hurting your kids because they are losing the ability to both think beyond “point and click” and have an intelligent conversation. I enjoy playing games like Warhammer 40K because it makes me think: I have to tailor my army meticulously so that everything works in harmony (example: getting the right combination of heavy weapons to thin out large crowds so my front-line troops can close without dying in droves). Quite a lot of video games, like the Battlefield and Call of Duty franchises have no strategy beyond “crouch behind this knee-high wall and try not to die”. And as I said earlier about focus, it’s hard to have a good conversation with someone who’s spending so much time facing a screen, and once you get them to look away they have no idea how to act.

Secondly, it’s incredibly disrespectful to the people sitting around you, as they probably wanted a nice evening dinner and have to watch some kid get blown apart by a Creeper over at the next table (I also hate restaurants that have too many TVs; I go out with people to talk with them and catch up with things, not watch some well-paid thugs throw a piece of leather around and bowl each other over). When you are doing things that distract others from their meals, you show that you don’t care what they are doing, thus making yourself appear incredibly selfish.

I don’t have to deal with this at Wabash. Here, me and my fellows can and do engage in conversations without having our eyes fixed on a cell phone or iPad. I feel much more engaged while talking with them, and I feel I learn a lot more by listening to them rather than playing a game.

My second gripe towards lazy parents (yes, I’m still talking about poor parenting) is a lack of assertiveness. Your kids are not your friends, they are not bonsai trees; you cannot baby and concede to your kids or else they will become very greedy little monsters who won’t take no for an answer. For example, yesterday I was out picking up gifts for Christmas, and one of my stops happened to be a small restaurant. As I was waiting in line, a lady came in with her three young kids. the kids began to scuffle among themselve (something about not sitting near a fireplace or something) and after about a minute of this the mom finally got fed up and left, taking the kids outside and telling them they were going home.

Seems okay? Well, I hadn’t left yet.

I picked up my things and made my way outside. As I walked outside, I walked passed the same woman and her kids going back inside. Why? She had said they were going home; why would they come back inside? Some conceding had to have happened, and that’s not a good thing. By conceding to your children, you put the idea that they can get away with anything without serious consequences, and thus will have little to no respect for parental authority once they grow up. This can lead to plenty of serious problems later in life, such as an unstable work environment due to failing to acknowledge that someone else is the boss and not them. And you’ll get no respect from them, as they’ll expect to get whatever they want and will react badly once you finally man up and say “no”. Kids need to realize that there are limits to what they can do, and it is the duty of the parent to show them what those limits are.

But enough about the negatives. This is supposed to be a happy time of year, a time where we get together with friends and family and enjoy each others company. I may have my gripes about some aspects of life, but I’ve said my bit now.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Dorkapalooza!!!

These are my Space Marines. And they shall know no fear

Have I mentioned how much I love Dork Club? I probably have, but let me say it again: I love Dork Club.

With all the stress of Finals building up, Dork Club is the one place where I can get away from everything and just chill out for a few hours. I don’t have to worry about tests, or essays, or anything; just whether or not staying in Tokyo is a good thing or whether or not those ZOMBIES will be able to reach me next turn. It’s great for relieving my stress, and I don’t think I’d have made it this far without Dork Club.

Why am I talking about this now instead of on Wednesday? Well, because today was Dorkapalooza, that’s why!

Dorkapalooza is kind of like the ThanksGaming event I talked about a few weeks ago, only a bit bigger. For one, more people showed up, and there were dozens of games being played. I showed up a little early to help get some things set  up, but once more people arrived we were ready to play.

I started the day off with a game of King of Tokyo (mentioned in my ThanksGaming blog). I was playing Cyber Bunny again, only this time the dice were not on my side (read: I died). After finding out I was not king of Tokyo, I next played a round of Bang! I got to play as the sheriff this time around, and after accidentally shooting my deputy I managed to kill the renegade before being killed myself. So I lost there. No yay.

But that was followed by probably the main event of my day: Warhammer 40K. 1,500 points worth of my Wabash Space Marines against an equal number of Tau (aliens with anime influences and big guns). We set up on a large, desert-like map with a few buildings, rocks, and a crashed Tau gunship for cover.

As the game began, the Tau got off to a good start, shooting up some of my vanguard squads while remaining out of range of my normal fire. However, Space Marines are a bit hardier than Tau, so I was able to press up the board despite suffering casualties. Eventually, due to a few lucky rolls on my part, I managed to turn the tide by destroying both tanks the Tau player had deployed (the first was repeatedly damaged and wrecked by my Predator tank, the second suffered a severe case of missile to the face and exploded, taking a nearby Tau Stealth Suit with it). Combined with a sacrificial Terminator strike in the center of the Tau gunline, I was able to get the enemy into a position where my Captain and his retinue could charge into the enemy command squad.

Now, Tau and close combat mix like ducks and shotguns, so a bunch of Space Marines charging in spelled doom for the command squad. Although successful in wiping out the Tau commanders, the Captain’s retinue was shot down by other Tau soldiers. The Captain retreated while heavy weapons provided covering fire, and he began to pursue another element of the Tau army across the board. In the end, he did catch up to them but was unable to kill them, but by then the game ended and the Space Marines barely eked out a victory over the Tau. Yay me.

Once that was complete, I played another round of King of Tokyo (dying once more), before playing a game of Formula D racing. It’s exactly like it sounds; you control a little car and have to race the others around the track, controlling how fast you are going so you don’t crash or shred your tires. I got off to a bad start, and remained in last place until the end of the race. Having raced a little, I moved on to Zombiecide, choosing Machete again to continue my ZOMBIE killing spree. I think I did better than last time (as a whole, I think the group did better; we only lost one guy, after all), although I think the dice are out to get me and I did not kill nearly as many ZOMBIES as I wanted to.

I closed the night with a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity before going back home. Now, I feel relaxed and ready to take on Finals, which is a big improvement over my last blog post.

Yeah, I’m happy.

Have some pictures

The Space Marines and Tau prepare for battle

After an attack from my Terminators (in back), My command squad prepares for a charge

 

WINTER WONDERLAND (Cont.)

Just kidding. That wasn’t all! Last night was the 1st Annual Mr. Wabash Pageant, and in the middle of that the snow came down in a beautiful drift! By the way, Mr. Doug Baker ’15 and Mr. Ben Cook ’14 represented Phi Gamma Delta, and Cook received Honorable Mention and Baker was runner-up.

Last night it snowed into a “White Christmas” as it were. Our pledge brother Noah Levi, from Florida, had yet to experience a true snow yet, and had some fun enjoying a snowball fight with us. A spontaneous snowball fight, with some brothers of Fiji, and my pledge brothers was great! SNOW SNOW SNOW is so much fun!

Back to studying


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