Our Personal Therapist

May 23, 2013

So, I wrote a blog about my father.

And I wrote a blog about my sister.

And as I near the end of my High School career…I can’t help but notice there was one person I left out: My mother.

I think the reason I put this off so long is because it’s hard to describe the relationship between a mother and her kids. It’s easy to look at Dad and recognize him as a role model. He’s hilarious, he’s happy, and he seems to have it all together. It’s easy to look at Molly and know that she’s one of my best friends on this planet. And she always will be. But it’s hard to look at Mom and sum her up in one, quick swoop. I don’t say that to belittle the relationships that I’ve built with my other family members…but I’d be surprised if anyone could accurately describe the intricacies of motherhood.

Because mothers are so much to children. Life-givers. Care-takers. Wound-healers. The list goes on. Most apparent, however, is a mother’s ability to understand human nature. It just so happens that my mother also majored in psychology. So…I mean…that was kind of nice for Molly and I. She was like Our Personal Therapist. The public school system can get a little sticky at times, it’s nice to have someone to talk to. And Mom is always understanding. Sure, she could apply a little tough-love sometimes, but it never took long for us to realize that she was right. She was always right.

You know the funny thing? And I know, I just know I got this from my Dad: Sometimes, it would take me forever to realize I had an issue only Mom could solve. (Stupid pride.) I would be faced with a moral dilemma and it would worry me for days before there would just be some night that I’d look at her and think: You Idiot. There’s the solution right there.

And, without fail, the solution was right there.

She’s brilliant. She’s the taker of blurry photographs. She’s funny. She’s the inventor of the middle-aged-woman-friendly dance move: “The Margie” (which mostly just involves snapping your fingers to either side of your head.) She’s got great stories. She understands people better than I ever will. And she was always this constant support in my Life that I know I would be nowhere without.

As I go off to the college where she got her doctorate, I want to raise a glass to her and say: This one’s for you.

This one’s for the Track meets. The PAC shows. The Cross Country races. The Homecomings. The Destination Imaginations. The banquets. The books. The Proms. Everything. This one’s for you.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Our Personal Therapist

It Was A Beautiful Day

April 22, 2013

It Was A Beautiful Day

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). According to MayoClinic.com, SAD lasts from the beginning of Fall until the end of Winter. This disorder usually results in a sapping of energy and intense moodiness…

Well, I think MayoClinic.com is a bit of a pessimist. Because I was feeling the good kind of SAD today. After I finished up a nice outdoor rehearsal with Erica and my Trinity, I went for a run and I felt myself smiling like an Idiot the whole way.

The air felt lighter, the sun was definitely brighter, the sky was clear, the grass was green, and the world was just a happier place.

It was finally Spring-y out.

Maybe the weather wasn’t the only reason I was smiling. Maybe it had a little something to do with where I was this morning and where I was last night. See, when I woke up this morning…I was definitely not in Southwest Michigan. I was in Traverse City. At 7:00 am, my groggy self was guided into a dark blue Volvo and driven 3 hours to our humble little village of Richland, just in time for my 4th block AP Chemistry class.

Why did I wake up on the wrong side of the state?

MORP.

I was up in Traverse City so I could accompany my favorite red-haired girl to her Junior…MORP. She attends this private arts academy called Interlochen and, because they’re so artsy up there, they can’t call their dance: Prom. Certainly not. So they call it: MORP. “Prom” spelt backwards.

Well, MORP was a blast. A night out dancing and bowling with Ms. Carly Rae was an excellent Sunday in my book.

The night started out with some quick picture taking on a breezy balcony over a frozen lake in the Great White North. Then we took a bus to the Grand Traverse Resort where we ate a quick dinner before a night full of dancing commenced. Around midnight, we hitched another bus out to a local bowling alley filled with bumper cars, laser tag, a laser maze, and (obviously) bowling.

It was all pretty fun, to say the least. Around 1:00 am, we finally took another bus back to Interlochen Arts Academy.

And here I am, less than 24 hours later, home again with nothing but a head of buzzing memories, desperately trying to relive the awesome MORP that I was lucky enough to experience with Carly.

I think Mother Nature just knew I’d had a great night and decided to make the next day just as perfect.

Because It Was A Beautiful Day today.

And I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Senior Spring Break

For my Senior Spring Break, I was given the amazing opportunity to join the Snow and Hostetler family in their trip to Pensacola Beach, Florida. Truly, I couldn’t possibly thank them enough. Their generosity and their patience exceeded even the most absurd expectations. I mean, I was down there with eleven other kids, all of us running around like chickens with our heads cut off…I don’t know how they put up with us.

I can still remember the first day, when we pulled up to the beach house we’d be staying in. My jaw dropped. The house almost looked like Atlas, holding the sky upon it’s shoulders. It was raised up on high stilts and the frame of the house seemed to be reaching upwards. Balconies were attached to nearly every room and they looked like hands, supporting the clouds. It took all my willpower to help unload instead of taking off in a dead sprint to see the inside of the house.

When I finally did see the inside, my jaw dropped even further. I must’ve looked like some of the fish we’d be eating later that week. The house was amazing. I didn’t think I’d have any trouble spending a week there.

A Senior Spring Break comprised mostly of boys meant a few things: Primarily, crude jokes frequently resounded throughout the already noisy house. Secondly, farting and belching suddenly became everyone’s favorite pastime. And thirdly, food disappeared from the cupboards like we were hosting very crafty mice. (Although, Mikayla and Kylee probably had something to do with that third thing.)

Mikayla and Kylie Makin' Bank

Reflecting upon the week, I still remember certain highlights with a warm fondness. Like when we took to the skies and went parasailing. Or when we went with Mikayla and Kylee down to the Boardwalk and had them hula-hoop for money (they made $22). Or when we made a sand sculpture in front of our house that resembled a very voluptuous woman. Or when Ben, Brady, and I went into the ocean on a windy day and got tossed around like dolls in the rough surf. Or even the rainy day that we spent inside…playing Pokemon and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. There were so many moments during this break where I just had to look around for a moment…and appreciate that these were my people, these were my friends, and these were my teenage memories that I was making. And it was in these brief moments that I found myself smiling the fullest.

IMG_0737

Most fondly, though…I remember the balconies. There was something about those balconies that really stuck with me. I think every beach house should have a million balconies. The more obvious reason is that it provides everyone with an outlet to see the ocean, which is always a plus. But as the week progressed, I began to see another reason. Almost every night, I found myself on a balcony with our group of Senior boys. In particular, we liked to stand on the highest balcony, the one attached to the roof. It was almost as if we had to physically express our current state of elation. All of us were filled with such high spirits, we could’ve touched the moon…And when we climbed to the highest balcony, we were saying: “Why not give it a try?” I think every beach house needs to be A House Full of Balconies because anyone who’s on vacation in a beach house…

Well, I’m thinkin’ they’ll wanna try and touch the moon, too.

You wanna know the funny think about this blog post? I wrote it Friday morning as I lay awake in bed, waiting for Brady and Zach to wake up. We hadn’t left Florida yet. And I made that comment about wanting to touch the moon, right? Well, Friday night we were out on the back porch when suddenly Austin said: “Look at the ocean! The waves are neon!”

Sure enough, the ocean waves were glowing.

It only took a few seconds for the entirety of our Spring Break crew to be down on the beach, looking in awe at tiny, blue, glowing specks that littered the water and shore.

“It must be some kind of fluorescent algae,” Mr. Snow observed.

Whatever it was, it was amazing. We immediately began playing with this latest discovery. Digging a hole in the shore resulted in a pool of water and a high concentration of the glow being left behind, as opposed to it being swept away by the waves. Scooping up a bucket of water and splashing it anywhere created a sort of “ground firework”.

The thing that really stood out to me, though, was when I scooped up a small handful of the algae covered sand…the tiny blue spots on the dark sand made Zach say:

“It’s almost like you’re holding the night sky.”

So, we didn’t quite touch the moon. But we got the next best thing:

We held the stars.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Ah, Tubing!

March 9, 2013

Ah, Tubing!

The other day, Coach Hawkins gave us this assignment in AP Lit where we had to write a vignette (essentially a short, short story) and present it to the class. As I was writing mine, I realized it sounded a lot like a blog post. So, I figured I might as well post it. Why not, right?

Let’s jump right into it…

“Are you ready?” Kelcey asked.

“As I’ll ever be,” I attempted a grin, but I probably just looked gassy. I was pretty nervous.

“Let’s go!” Kelcey jumped into the chilly, clear water of Gull Lake and began swimming over to the tube.

Time to be a manly-man, Brian. Time to look manly. You can do this! Gotta impress her! My motivational thought-speech didn’t seem to be convincing my body, however, because I was still firmly planted on the boat.

“C’mon,” Kelcey called from the tube she was masterfully mounting. She’d obviously done this a lot. Quite a bit more often than I had.

Oh, what the hell. I thought to myself as I plunged into the water. I doggy paddled over to the tube and yanked myself up next to Kelcey in a manner much less graceful then her.

“We’re ready!” Kelcey called up to her aunt, the boat’s driver.

We are? I thought, grabbing hold of the tube’s handles for dear life.

Suddenly, the tube was being slowly pulled along the water’s surface. Before I knew what was happening, her aunt gunned it. Fear constricted my throat and nothing more than a croak escaped my lips while Kelcey hooted and hollered like a wild child. I’d like to think it was the fourth or fifth turn that I fell off…but I’m pretty sure it was just the first.

Even after several more attempts on the demon-tube, I still wasn’t able to generate a more definite grip. Kelcey seemed to be disappointed in my lack of masculinity.

Gotta be manly! Gotta impress her! I thought to myself as I recovered from another embarrassing wipeout. This next one! This next one I will stay on, no matter what! I took my place on the tube next to Kelcey and nodded that I was ready to go. The driver seemed to be trying to take it easy on me now, because it felt like we were going a little bit slower than the speed of light. Kelcey seemed pretty bored, though. I think she started filing her nails at one point.

Suddenly, the boat was turning.

I will stay on! I will not fall off! I will stay on! I thought to myself, steeling my grip on the tube’s handles while Kelcey started to take a quick catnap.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t my grip that I really needed to worry about…it was the rest of my body. The force from the turn sent me rolling into the water.

Do not let go! Do not let go! I gritted my teeth as I was dragged through the water, holding onto the tube for all I was worth.

And then…I felt my trunks get yanked off by the water.

Let go! Let go! Let go, you idiot! I quickly abandoned ship and began a fervent search for my swimsuit. The boat was slowly turning around and heading my way. If I didn’t find my trunks soon, Kelcey would be seeing more of my “manliness” then I ever had planned for this sunny, summer day.

Luckily, fate decided to have a little bit of mercy on me and I was able to find and don my trunks before Kelcey was close enough to see me.

I hate tubing, I thought to myself. I really do.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

A Very Idiotic Christmas

December 23, 2012

A Very Idiotic Christmas

It’s hard to find someone who can genuinely say that there is nothing about the Holiday Season that they enjoy. There’s such a multitude of joyous events that I think it’s nearly impossible to be a Scrooge…or a Grinch…or whatever. Holidays in the Wiegand household are always happy. And I can think of quite a few reasons why that’s true for me…

Christmas Music

There isn’t much that my family does over the holiday season that doesn’t involve Christmas music in the background. My personal favorite Christmas album is Michael Bublé’s. The man has the voice of an angel. I would totally say his rendition of All I Want For Christmas Is You beats Mariah Carey’s any day of the week. And that little girl’s version from Love Actually is in a close third. I have this friend named Grace who thinks the little girl beats ’em all, but I don’t think I could ever agree with that. Anyway, I believe it’s next to impossible to overplay Christmas music because you only get to listen to it for, like, one month every year. So sing on, Mr. Bublé.

The Gingerbread House Building Competition

This’ll be happening in just a few minutes! I’m trying to get this post up before Molly gets home because when she does get here, we’ll probably start working on our masterpieces. (And then Molly and I are probably going to play Jak and Daxter until the wee hours of the morning…Ah, Christmas.) Each year, my family participates in a Gingerbread House Building Competition where we work to see who can build the best Gingerbread House. (Pretty self-explanatory.) We cover the table with graham crackers, frosting, candy, paper plates, knives, icing, and some scrap pieces of cardboard (To give our walls support (But sometimes Mom makes this big deal about how the Gingerbread Houses have to be entirely edible.)) In the end, mine is generally pretty pathetic. Molly’s is consistently near perfection thanks to her artistic touch. Mom’s is oddly…homey…like, it always has this maternal vibe to it. And Dad’s is always really bizarre. I think he feels like he spends his whole Life designing realistic buildings as a career, and this competition is the one time he can design something totally absurd and really unrealistic just for fun. So he goes ahead and does it. Usually resulting in a lot of laughter from the rest of us.

The Family Gathering

Every year, on Christmas Day, my Mom’s side of the family gathers in a single house. It’s pretty packed, to say the least. And there are traditions to uphold. A huge dinner. A White-Elephant style gift exchange. Songs from Uncle Ed and my cousin, Matt. And it’s always a blast. It’s always one of the big highlights of my Christmas Season. One memory that I recall fondly was when my cousins used to quiz me on the names of our relatives because I had some difficulty remembering them all…

The Frozen Lake

I live across from this lake and it usually freezes in the Winter. I don’t know what’s up this year but we’ve barely seen a lick of snow. And, unfortunately, the lake hasn’t frozen. In past years, though, Dad will shovel off a little ice rink in lake for people to skate on. Sometimes, he even makes these little paths that lead further out into the lake. I’ve always thought that walking on a frozen lake was a really cool thing. It’s so open and bright. The snow reflects the sun in every direction, it’s like the ground is covered with trillions of tiny mirrors.

Waking Up On the 25th

I’m 17. In a few short months, I will legally be considered an adult…But I still get giddy the night before Christmas. Waking up on the 25th of December is exciting. I’m excited to see the look on Molly’s face when she sees what I got her. (And I’m worried about what look I’ll see on my parents face when they see what I got them…They’re so hard to shop for.) And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little bit excited about whatever was under that tree with my name on it. Of course, we get it drilled in our head that: “Christmas is about giving, not getting.” And that’s totally true. And I think it’s important to be grateful for what we do receive. And I think it’s important to be grateful for what we can give…But that doesn’t mean it’s not nice to receive gifts…Just as long as we all keep our heads on straight.

The Season

In the end, it’s all about “that time of year.” It’s all about the Holiday Season. It’s all about the fact that this is the time of year that we unanimously give each other an excuse to drop everything and remember that we’re surrounded by people we love. Friends. Family. I’d be willing to give it all up…the music, the competition, the lake, the morning of Christmas…as long as I still had my two weeks off of School and as long as I still had my two weeks spent entirely with people that I cared about and people that cared about me.

So, to all of you out there reading this…

Happy Holidays from an Idiot.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Man Cave

October 24, 2012

When I was younger, I used to go to this daycare run by Queen Suzie…or that’s what she had us call her. I struggle to remember everything about those days…but I do remember Zach and maybe Jacob. However, we’re not entirely sure if Jacob was at Queen Suzie’s while I was…so maybe I’m inventing those memories. Bottom line is: Jacob and Zach are two of my best friends right now. And I had a connection to them when I was younger. This conclusion may seem very boring…of course if we were friends when we were younger then we’d most likely be friends now. But this story is somewhat exciting, I promise. You see, Jacob, Zach, and I eventually reached a gap.

I left Queen Suzie’s.

My parents decided to start hiring babysitters for my sister and I instead of having us attend a daycare. So…I lost Jacob and Zach. Years went by and our path’s didn’t cross due to us being placed in different classes. We stayed separated until…5th Grade, I think it was. Then, one day, I boarded the school bus and was faced with an option: there were only two seats that had room for me to sit and they were across the aisle from each other. One held a lanky, brown-haired kid with his nose buried so deep in a GameBoy Advance screen that I could hardly see his face. The other held a stocky, blonde-haired kid whose nose was equally buried.

I sat down to the brown-haired kid…an odd feeling of nostalgia coming over me.

I glanced at him…he glanced back.

Upon seeing his face, the boy’s name rose all to easily to my tongue…

“Zach?”

And, just like that, I found Jacob and Zach again. That day on the bus, I was reunited with two kids who would eventually change my Life and become the greatest friends I’ve ever had.

I’ve been friends with Jacob and Zach ever since. Together, we laughed in Middle School’s face, conquering it’s troubled hallways and socially confusing classrooms. Together, we ventured to Canada and back…twice. Together, we saw too many poor quality scary movies to count. Together, we played enough video games to last us a Lifetime.

Together, we’re tackling High School one day at a time.

We’re growing up together.

Unfortunately, High School hasn’t been too kind to our quality time together. I’ve been caught up in extra-curriculars and my time spent with Jacob and Zach has dwindled. And I kind of hate that. But, like I said before, there are some friends that never die out.

Now that you have the backstory, let’s get on to the point of this post…One of the best parts of being in a trio with Jacob and Zach is…the Man Cave. AKA: Jacob’s basement.

When we come together, our typical “hangout spot” is the Man Cave. That’s where Jacob keeps all of his video games, his access to Netflix, and his computer. And that really sums up our hangouts. When Jacob, Zach, and I meet in the Man Cave, it’s time to relax. We melt our brains with video games, we watch terrible low-budget films on Netflix (horror first, comedy second), and we surf the web. And, honestly, I don’t see a whole lot wrong with that. I think that’s a testament to the kind of friends that Jacob and Zach are. Normally, given the choice, I would prefer a night out. But I always have an awesome time with Jacob and Zach. I can’t remember ever leaving the Man Cave in a bad mood.

The only bad thing about hanging out with Jacob and Zach…is that it always comes to an end as the sun rises and Zach and I are called home to do homework or who knows what.

I think the best part about our trio is that we’re all so…different. But our differences compliment one another to make this very odd Yin-Yan…Yon? Anyway…

There’s Jacob, for starters, very quiet in school but unbelievably outgoing the second he leaves. He’s the funniest of the trio. He’s the owner of the Man Cave and his family is always happy to invite Zach and I in. He’s also probably the most technologically sophisticated of us. This year, he’s taking an online Computer Sciences class…crazy stuff. He’s a genius. He’s hilarious. He’s the glue that holds the trio together. He’s Jacob.

Then there’s Zach. Zach is often referred to as being the laziest in any group. It’s sometimes true, too. But, I know a side of Zach that comes through in times of necessity. Zach’s a hard worker and an exceptionally bright mathematician…which I never fail to tease him for. Math nerd. He’s laid back and relaxed, he’s the calmness to soothe my thespian craze. He’s the tether to my balloon.

And then there’s me, the drama kid. I need Jacob and Zach to be the touch of reality that I sometimes require.

All in all, it’s been Jacob, Zach, and I for years. Hopefully, it’ll be Jacob, Zach, and I for years to come…even when we reach our parting of the ways and leave for college.

For years, Jacob and Zach have lived across the street from each other and I’ve lived five short minutes away…Soon, we’ll be separated by miles upon miles. The Man Cave will be out of reach and only a memory…

But it’s a dang good memory.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Prince of Kalamazoo

September 29, 2012

Undoubtedly, one of the most prominent relationships in any boys Life is between him and his Father.

Thankfully, I feel that I’ve grown up with a very, very successful Father-Son relationship. My Dad has taught me about selflessness, hard work (even if I don’t always exhibit it), and about the value of getting an education.

My Dad is the greatest.

And…

My Dad is the King of Kalamazoo.

About 30 years ago, Kalamazoo was dead. The city was barren because it was deemed unsafe by most in the surrounding area. Businesses failed faster than they could start. Hardly anyone lived within the city limits. WMU students made sure to stay on campus and avoided the city like the plague. And my Dad was on a committee that was determined to change that…

Kalamazoo needed a jump start. It needed Life to be breathed into it. It needed to be invigorated. It needed…college students. And the committee knew how to reach them.

See, there’s this thing called “Bronco Bash.” Bronco Bash used to be a party held on campus at the start of the Fall Semester each year.

Not anymore. Now, because of the committee my Dad was on, Bronco Bash extends into the downtown area.

This change may seem small, but it had a huge impact. Thousands of college students were given vouchers for sales in the downtown area and let loose into the city. The streets of Kalamazoo were swamped with college kids having a blast at Bronco Bash. Games were played. Vats of Jell-O were slid into. Sales were made. Scavenger hunts were hosted. And business in Kalamazoo was skyrocketing. All of a sudden, WMU students were comfortable with maneuvering in the downtown area and spent their free time throughout the year providing business to shops downtown. And, as if that wasn’t enough, WMU students started to enjoy Kalamazoo so much that they would make it their permanent home after graduating. Kalamazoo was thriving.

 

And that’s how Kalamazoo got it’s jump start. That’s how Kalamazoo became the Kalamazoo it is today.

This worked out unbelievably well for my Dad, an architect and builder. (The founder of SouthWest Builders.) Suddenly, there were businesses coming into Kalamazoo, all trying to get a bite of the college student apple…and they all wanted fresh, renovated spaces to work in. My Dad was happy to supply this demand. And not only that, the flood of WMU students who stayed in Kalamazoo after graduation all needed places to live. And my Dad had a knack for building condominiums. The condos in his buildings would be bought out before he even finished the project.

In total, my Dad has renovated about 12 buildings downtown.

From the Arcadia to the Style Shop to the spaces above Cafe Casa to the South St. Coffee Shop to the Kinko’s on campus to the Park Club to the Keystone Bank building to Trough and Denning, my Dad has affected them all. My personal favorite, however, and the one I never forget to mention, is the Olde Peninsula Brew Pub. I love the Olde Peninsula. And I love going there with my Dad even more.

The story of the Olde Peninsula is an impressive one. Dad renovated the space for the owners, Steve and Marie, and it was costly. The couple sank everything they had into creating the Olde Peninsula. Dad finished the project and watched in awe as every Saturday night, the street would be lined with people waiting to get a seat in the Brew Pub. Within a year, Steve and Marie had paid off all of their debt. The Olde Peninsula, to this day, is a smashing success. It’s still packed every weekend with tons of Kalamazoo citizens brought in by the effect of the committee, my Dad, and the Bronco Bash.

And so, I think of my Dad as the King of Kalamazoo.

It’s actually a challenge to walk the streets of Kalamazoo with him because he’s frequently stopped by seemingly random people who know his name and he knows theirs. They always take a moment to catch up before we walk on. And after each of these moments, I can’t help but look at my Dad in this new light. Like he’s the King of Kalamazoo.

And I suppose that kinda makes me the Prince of Kalamazoo.

That’s why I look up to my Dad. That’s why he’s a great Father. He’s changed lives. He’s made his mark on this city. He’s been imprinted upon the very buildings of Kalamazoo. He breathed Life into an entire city. He met the demand required of all these new citizens and gave hundreds of people the homes they live in today. He made a difference in the world. This humble man from a small town where he was constantly told he would never amount to anything…he changed an entire city.

He changed an entire city.

“I had fun. I had a blast doing it. It was a lot of hard work. But it was always fun.”

So, I idolize him. My Dad. My Father. The King of Kalamazoo.

Is this a post written in arrogance? Of course not. Do I really think I’m a Prince? Not even a little bit.

Do I think my Dad is a King?

100% yes.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Whale Trail Phenomenon

September 13, 2012

Currently ranked at a solid 79 on iTunes’ Top Free Game Apps, Whale Trail is the latest and most addicting iPad app on the market. Most recently, Gull Lake High School has become obsessed with this app and it’s lovable, blubbery hero: Willow.

A lot of my classmates may lay claim to the discovery of this app. But, in truth, it was made popular in our school through the Cross Country Team. One Sunday morning, after a Team Sleepover, a few of us were perusing the App Store for no good reason and, upon Willie’s recommendation, we downloaded Whale Trail. From there, we’ve been recommending it to more people every day. And those people have told other people. And so on and so forth. The app went “Gull Lake Viral”.

The game is simple in concept. Complicated in meaning. Exciting in gameplay. And competitive in scoring.

The object of the game is to guide our flying whale friend, Willow, through the Seven Zones of the Magic Rainbow.

Willow was chased from his sea home by the evil Barron Von Barry. As Willow flies to escape the Barron, he must avoid Thunderclouds, collect Blubbles for fuel, and collect stars to enter Frenzy Mode. Willow’s score is based off how many Blubbles he collects, how far he gets, and what his Score Multiplier is. To enter Frenzy Mode, Willow has to collect seven stars (each a different color of the Rainbow). In Frenzy Mode, Willow is able to smash through Thunderclouds like it ain’t no thing but a chicken wing. The most exciting aspect of the game, however, is the Goodies. Each Zone of the Magic Rainbow is a different color (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) and at the end of each Zone is a Goody. Each Goody is colored and shaped differently based off of their Zone. There’s the Red Goody, the Orange Goody, the Yellow Goody, etc…And these Goodies provide you a trail of Blubbles and a gift. They’re very kind, as you can imagine.

My favorite is the Red Goody. For sure.

Another absolutely amazing part of the game is the music (and sounds). Gruff Rhys created a song, properly entitled “Whale Trail“, which plays in the background of every game. It’s brilliant. And the sounds of the game are adorably hilarious. Each Goody has a different noise they make that perfectly fit the personality of their appearance. Every time Willow flies high enough, he proudly proclaims that “He can see his house from here!” Every fresh game starts with a “WOO!” and ends with an “Aw…” from our whale friend.

And the scores. Oh, don’t even get me started on the scores. The question on every Gull Lake High Schoolers mind is not: Romney or Obama? It’s: Who’s the best Whale Trailer?

As of right now, Brady’s the King with a whopping 4.5 million points. I stand at a measly 1 million while most of our friends (including Ben and Jeremy) stand at around 1.2-1.5 million.

Overall, this game has provided me and many of my classmates with plenty of entertainment. From our first encounters with the Red Goody, to the many conversations on strategy, Whale Trail has defined the past week of Gull Lake High School.

Who knows when Whale Trail will be Number One? Who knows when it will be recognized in the Guinness Book of World Record as: “Best App Evar”? I don’t have all the answers. What I do know is that I freaking love Whale Trail.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Birthday Pee

August 26, 2012

So, yesterday was my nephew’s Birthday.

My nephew, of course, does not come from my 20 year old Sister, Molly. But instead comes from my 35 year old brother, Andre. Andre is married to an awesome sister-in-law, Joy. Together, they have two sons: Lance and Austin. My nephews. I am Uncle Brian. Which is kind of cool.

So, yesterday was Lance’s Birthday.

He was turning three, he was definitely old enough to realize it was his Birthday and to understand what that meant. You can imagine his excitement. Presents. Cake. Everyone being there just for him. I think the most common phrase uttered from his mouth was probably: “Can I open presents now?” I’m certainly not trying to imply that Lance is spoiled, he’s not. He’s just very excitable.

Anyway, the party was great. It was held at our house and we just had a couple family members and friends over to celebrate. The guacamole was good (which is saying a lot, coming from me). Dinner was brilliant. The pool was a nice temperature for the guests to swim. And the day was bright and sunny. A perfect 3rd Birthday party.

Much to Lance’s great appreciation, it was eventually time to open gifts. He opened a few bags and packages, finding clothes, a few Cars toys, books, and a couple water guns. A good haul. After presents, Molly started cutting up the amazing cake she’d cooked earlier that day. (Molly is amazing at making deserts. Maybe I think that because it’s what I grew up with, but I love any cake, brownie, cupcake, batch of puppy chow, pudding, cookie, sweet bread, or Jell-O that Molly makes. I think they’re the best.)

There we were, just a handful of us, sitting at the dinner table. A few people were still mingling outside, including some of Lance’s friends who’d come to the party. At one point, my Mom and I just happened to look up and out the window to see one of the toddlers trotting out onto the front lawn. We watched as the boy dropped his swimming trunks and started to pee…in complete view of everyone at the party and anyone driving down by the road. At first, it really wasn’t a big deal. I mean, he was just a little kid. But then everyone’s jaw dropped. This toddler’s stream, I kid you not, shot forward at least a good five feet. His stream was longer than he was tall. I just about peed myself, from laughing so hard. I’m serious, that kid watered our lawn so well, I don’t think we need to turn our sprinklers on for a while. For a second, I considered that maybe he had our garden hose in his hand? Or maybe one of Lance’s squirt guns? There was no way that such a small body could be peeing that far. But it was. When the kid finished, he bent down and pulled up his trunks and went on to keep playing.

Later, it was explained to us that the boy lived out in the countryside, peeing outside was pretty routine for him. Not that it really mattered. I mean, it made for a funny story, didn’t it? Oh well.

And so the party, pee included, was a success. It was great to see Lance so happy. He’ll only turn 3 once, right?

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Pranking Pop-Tarts

August 24, 2012

For the sake of privacy, the following story will exclude some names. However, it is the 100% Truth. It’s the story of how we Pranked Pop-Tarts…

*Perhaps one more dreamy transition?* (I promise I’ll find a better way to slip into stories…someday…)

It was a Friday night, I believe. The air wasn’t cool, nor was it warm. It was perfectly centered at a neutral temperature that simply couldn’t offend the skin. There wasn’t much of a breeze and I don’t remember there being a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect night for a heist of epic proportions. A couple of Cross Country guys and I got together that night to enact a plan. A plan…to cover a teachers house in toilet paper. However, there was more to this plan than meets the eye…

We met at Applebee’s, a sacred meeting ground for mischievous evil-doers all over the world. I ordered an Oreo Milkshake. This is where we made the best laid scheme of mice and men…but we did not intend for it to go awry.

After our business at Applebee’s was done, we all piled into a few cars and drove to the local Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart was our supplier of cheap toilet paper…

Hang on. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up here. We met at Applebee’s and pretended to make a plan to cover a teachers house in toilet paper. We went to Wal-Mart and only bought about a dozen rolls of toilet paper because we didn’t actually intend to use that many. Because whatever we threw…we’d be cleaning up a few minutes later. You see, the teacher we were going to TP…knew of our plans. But we knew that they knew. They were supposed to know, you see? No…maybe not yet. The thing is, everyone knew that the teacher knew…except for Pop-Tarts (a friend of ours). Is this starting to make sense? We were going to TP a teachers house, but they were going to be ready and waiting for us. The only person who didn’t know that little fact was Pop-Tarts. We fully intended to scare the living daylights out of him.

So, we had our plan. We had our toilet paper. And we had our destination.

After quite a drive, we finally parked, piled out of our few cars, and jogged about a quarter mile to the teachers house. Everyone played their part very well, pretending to move quietly, acting as if we actually had to be careful. Toilet paper soared through the air, thrown by begrudging teenagers who dreaded having to clean all of it up in a few minutes. We didn’t have to wait long, though. We had only been at this teachers house for about 5 minutes when, all of a sudden, we heard the pounding of feet. Everyone bolted. Most of us could barely control our laughter and we were cackling as we trotted away. The teacher went straight for Pop-Tarts, chasing him almost all the way back to our cars. Story goes, Pop-Tarts only stopped after he peed his pants in fear…Maybe that part isn’t true. Either way, Pop-Tarts did stop running once he puzzled together what had happened.

The night had been a success. And now it was time for a celebratory bonfire. We drove our cars into our teachers driveway and helped set up lawn chairs around a happy campfire. We spent the rest of the night taunting Pop-Tarts, eating s’mores, and shooting the breeze.

Don’t be mistaken, Pop-Tarts was definitely a close friend of ours. And he still is. That’s the thing about friends. I think the more able you are to pull a friends leg, the closer you are. Civility is almost synonymous with unfamiliarity. A real friend isn’t there for constant support. A real friend is there to challenge you to grow as a person, they can point out your flaws. A real friend is one who you can prank with the knowledge that they’ll still be there after they’re done getting chased down a country road by a “furious” teacher. A real friend is someone you can bite. And they’ll bite back.

We wait every day for Pop-Tarts rebuttal.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

I promised that you would only ever find the Truth on here. I plan to stick to that promise. This story will be one of the more embarrassing stories I put on here…but I will tell the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. I call it: “The Green French Bathing Suit”. Where to start, though? Let’s see. Well, the Summer before my Senior year of High School (this Summer) I took a vacation to France with my family…

*Insert Another Dreamy Transition*

For starters, the vacation was amazing. Before we went, I’d heard a lot of stories about the French hating American tourists and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t slightly scare me as we boarded our plane to Paris. But, as I said, the vacation was amazing. We spent two weeks in the fashionable European country, starting in Paris and making our way down to Nice and Cannes and stopping in a ton of cities along the way. (I spent my 17th birthday in a little French town called Sarlat…that’s a fun story, I should tell it sometime.) Anyway, The story that I’d like to tell you today takes place in Paris. More specifically, the Marais Neighborhood.

Would a vacation in Paris really be a vacation in Paris if you didn’t go clothes shopping? Probably not. I mean, it’s the Fashion Capital of the World. Anyway, Mom and Dad had given Molly (my Sister) and I some Euros to go adorn ourselves in our favorite French garb. So, we made a trip to the Marais Neighborhood where, according to Rick Steves (the tour book author), we would find the best local shopping.

There’s something you should know about the Marais neighborhood before I continue this story. It is dubbed the “gay community”of Paris. To clarify, I hold absolutely no prejudice. I believe everyone is free to be themselves. But this post isn’t about my personal beliefs and you’re free to believe whatever you want. The point is, Molly and I were shopping in a neighborhood that consisted mainly of gay men. Believe it or not, that is relevant to the story.

So, there we were. Two kids with Euros to spend let loose into a neighborhood full of the greatest clothing outlets you’ll ever see. After a few stops, I’d already gained some blue Fred Perry kicks and sepia toned Spitfire shades. Life was good. It was about to get better…

Again, before I go any further, there’s something else you should know…I love short shorts. Maybe it’s a Cross Country thing. Jeremy (a great friend of mine on the Team) and I had both bought these super short swimming trunks (the red ones in the picture above) back in Panama City Beach and I absolutely loved them. So, I may or may not have been on the lookout for another pair as Molly and I walked through the Marais Neighborhood.

As I was saying, Life was about to get better. This was because, all of a wonderful sudden, we stumbled across a bathing suit store…and there it was. Ignoring all the tempting Speedos, (some of  which had huge holes cut out on the butt) I saw it. A Green French Bathing Suit. Even though it was a cloudy evening, I’m 99% sure a single beam of sunlight shot forth from the clouds and landed perfectly on this Green French Bathing Suit. It was so short! I was in love at first sight.

“Molly…” I rasped, “Molly I…I have to own that Green French Bathing Suit.”

So, we went into the store. Instantly, I became very aware of the fact that this was, after all, a skimpy bathing suit store in a gay neighborhood. Posters of basically naked men lined the walls and dozens upon dozens of the skimpiest little bathing suits were hung up on racks everywhere. I saw the ones I wanted immediately. There was only one pair left hanging on it’s rack. My Green French Bathing Suit. I snatched it up and breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing that it was my size. Just to make sure, though, I thought I ought to try it on.

I went back into one of the changing rooms and took a good look at the Green French Bathing Suit. It was short. So short that if I left my boxers on as I tried them on, my boxers would stick out.

Well, I thought I mean, to get the full experience…I might as well just try them on properly. Without my boxers.

I stripped down into my Birthday Suit and slipped into the Green French Bathing Suit. I wasn’t mistaken in how short it was. It was even shorter than the red suit I’d gotten at Panama City Beach. I loved it, though. I examined myself in the mirror, checking to see that it looked okay. I don’t know what made me notice this…but I suddenly saw a sign in the corner of the changing room. It said something in French, then it repeated it in Spanish, and then it repeated it in English.

The English section read: “Please leave undergarments on when trying on swimwear.”

Oh well, I thought I’m going to buy these anyway, so what does it matter?

Without another worry, I continued to examine the Green French Bathing Suit in the mirror. Then two things happened at the same time. One: I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. And two: a thought occurred to me.

How would they know…anyway…? I thought as I turned to see a small TV monitor in the wall. The monitor was displaying…me! Me from the midriff…down!

The angle of that footage…the camera is behind the mirror! I thought as I turned frantically to face the mirror. A sticker (that must have magically appeared in the corner) suddenly became apparent to me…

It said: “You are being recorded for security purposes.”

That camera had been recording me the whole time! I had just stripped down to the buff in front of that camera!

It’s fine. It’s fine. They probably don’t even bother checking the cameras. Why would they? I don’t look suspicious, do I? They don’t have any reason to suspect me of stealing. I quickly changed back into my clothes, suddenly very aware of the fact that I, indeed, did not have my boxers on underneath this Green French Bathing Suit.

I left the changing room and took the longest walk of me life up to the cashier to purchase my Green French Bathing Suit. I reached the register and placed the skimpy suit on the counter. The clerk quickly scanned the tag and rang me up the total cost. As I was reaching for my money and counting out the proper amount…I noticed something. Out of the corner of my eye…I saw the cashiers computer screen…Oh, boy.

On the cashiers computer screen was a live feed from every single camera in the store. Including, you guessed it, the camera in the changing room. I just about burst into laughter right there. Stifling my giggles with a cough, I quickly paid for the Green French Bathing Suit and left.

I barely made it ten steps out the door before I started laughing so hard I almost cried. Struggling to control my laughter, I told my sister exactly what happened.

Some random French skimpy bathing suit salesman (presumably gay, maybe not, let’s not make assumptions) had seen me naked from the waist down.

I’ll tell you what, though, my Green French Bathing Suit was totally worth it.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Quest for Fast Food

August 21, 2012

And so we begin, right? If there is anyone reading this, you’re doing it, presumably, for some form of entertainment, you want to hear more about the Life of an Idiot. So, it’s story time. My first story is dated. The Quest for Fast Food happened many months ago…my Junior year Spring Break…

*Insert Dreamy Transition*

I was vacationing down in Panama City Beach with some of my best friends of all time. When in conversations with my parents, to save time, they are most commonly referred to as: “The Cross Country Guys”. However, this particular trip did not feature the entire team, only a handful of us made it to Party City, USA. It was me, Nate, Jeremy, Sam, Zach, Pop-Tarts, Dallas, and Ryan. We had the time of our lives. A bunch of teenage boys given free reign over a beach city packed to the brim with other teenagers on Spring Break? Can you say: recipe for success?

Well, it was mostly successful. There was one night, though, that our good buddy David (dubbed Pop-Tarts…that’s a funny story, I’ll have to tell you it sometime: “How David Became Pop-Tarts”) really got on our nerves. It should suffice to say that he was being very…difficult. Without going too far into unnecessary details, (so we may focus on the main point of this story) the group at large was thankful when it was time for bed. There were a few of us, though, who decided that bed was not enough comfort after such an annoying night…we needed sustenance. We needed Fast Food.

The Quest for Fast Food began with 5 of us getting grumpily into a van. There was me, Jeremy, Sam, Ryan, and Dallas. Nate, Zach, and Pop-Tarts had stayed behind. So, we set out into the night, in Quest of adventure and greasy treats. Had we known what we would endure that night…perhaps we would’ve stayed back. Perhaps we would’ve given up on burgers and fries. Perhaps we would’ve quivered in our very skin just from knowledge of the horrors…

“To Sonic!” cried Sam “I’m in desperate need of a shake.” Off we went, our first stop on this trip of terror was Sonic, the Drive-In Diner. We rolled up to one of the available windows (there were quite a few) and sat there for a good ten minutes as everyone debated what they would be ordering. Finally, when everyone was settled on their choice, we pressed the order button. Before we could get one word out, though…

“Sorry, our computers are down…” said the Sonic worker. If hateful thoughts could kill, this world would be down quite a few Sonic employees. With Sam near tears, we all nursed our wounds as we set off to our second choice: McDonald’s. Since when have the Golden Arches ever let down those in need of some grease covered comfort food? It was the logical choice.

We could sense trouble was afoot as we drove into the McDonald’s parking lot. The Drive-Thru line almost wrapped the Fast Food joint entirely in an automobile cocoon. To complicate matters, the line coming out of the front door didn’t look any friendlier. I’ve never heard five teenage boys whimper like we did. Always the optimist, I attempted (deeply in denial) to salvage the situation:

“Maybe it’s not that long of a wait…” I said. I mean, it is Fast Food, right? Just at that moment, two stately looking young gentleman came stumbling by…

“Man! Don’t even botha’, it’s like an hour wait!” they cried. All of our hearts sank. Despair started creeping into our stomachs…and, at the same time, a sudden passion for Fast Food. With renowned vigor, we set forth once again. Where to now, though? On a suggestion from Ryan, we drove to where we thought a Chik-Fil-A was.

Twenty minutes of driving later, Ryan admits that he’s a little lost…With about ten minutes worth of backtracking, we finally find the Chik-Fil-A. Of course, the reason we didn’t see it when we drove past the first time was because it was closed…all the lights were off. In our desperation, we went through the Drive-Thru anyway and screamed at the speaker for about ten minutes.

To say that I wasn’t hungry before we left would be an understatement. I really wasn’t. Some fries just sounded nice, I wasn’t actually “hungry”, per say. Now, however, it felt like I’d been starved my whole life and if I didn’t get a burger in the next five minutes, Sam would have to do as a midnight snack. It’s funny what desperation can do to you.

We left Chik-Fil-A with a fiery passion. Hitting up 3 Fast Food joints and nearly an hour of driving had yielded no favorable results. We still found ourselves without fries and shakes. All this time, by the way, our anger at Pop-Tarts skyrocketed. Obviously, it was his fault the computers at Sonic were down. Clearly, he was responsible for the back up at McDonald’s. Of course, it was Pop-Tarts who closed the Chik-Fil-A. It was all his fault. Dang that Pop-Tarts.

Through his tears, Sam whimpered that we should try Sonic again…to see if their computers were fixed. We were foolish boys living in a foolish daydream. Tonight had already proven it was not our friend. Why would our luck suddenly change now? Of course Sonic’s computers were still down. We left with our tails between our legs. Had Fast Food been nothing but a fever dream?

One last stop. One last chance. This had to be it: Burger King. It may not have been our first choice, (or our second (or our third)) but it looked open. Was this it? Would we finally get what we had Quested for? Was Fast Food really within our reach? The answer: Yes.

The greasy aroma of burgers, fries, onion rings, and chicken soon filled the car. We decided that this food was to valuable to just inhale on the way back to the hotel, we would eat it properly once we got back. However, there was no way in any Universe that Pop-Tarts (who’s a total mooch) was getting any of our Food (not after he’d shut down Sonic’s computers for so long…) So, we decided to eat our midnight snack in the lobby.

The night was almost over. One last challenge awaited us: The Idiots at Burger King hadn’t given us any ketchup or ranch or…anything! Just Food waited in our bags, there were no condiments. Sam, Dallas, and Ryan were ready to give up and just call it good with the Food…but not Jeremy and I.

This was America, was it not? The land of the brave and the home of the free or something like that! We would not sit there and eat food that we were not satisfied with! We deserved ranch! We deserved ketchup! We deserved condiments! Not only did we deserve them, we demanded them! Together, Jeremy and I sprinted across the street to a smelly old gas station where our delicious sauces awaited us. Only in America can two random kids get burger toppings at 2:00 in the morning.

It had taken us two hours. It had taken us five stops at four different Fast Food joints. It had taken us blood, sweat, and tears. It had taken us one trip to a shifty gas station. But we did it. We finally got the Fast Food meal we so deserved. Fast Food had never tasted so dang good.

Though the Quest for Fast Food seemed ridiculous and annoying at the time, I can’t help but reflect back upon it with the biggest of smiles. That trip to Panama City Beach was amazing and probably one of the best Spring Breaks I’ve ever had…yet, here I am telling you about a random Fast Food trip we took. The Quest for Fast Food, I believe, holds an important Truth…especially in the Life of an Idiot.

You could plan out every single day of your Life with events of so much grandeur that the Queen of England would weep at the sight of such a schedule…but you’ll never live as full a Life as those of us who know that the best memories are made through spontaneity. The best memories are made when you’re not planning to make them. They’re when you turn over a rock and find flowers waiting for you, instead of worms. They’re when you find your favorite restaurant after making a wrong turn. They’re when you round a corner and find there’s a festival happening downtown. They’re when you and a bunch of your closest friends decide one night that they’re hungry…and they want to go on a Quest for Fast Food.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)