The "Friends Forever" One Month Rule

I’m going to type out some lyrics. Some very well known lyrics. And I would be quite surprised if you were able to read them without hearing the annoying tune playing in your head.

As we go on, we remember

All the times we had together

And as our lives change, come whatever

We will still be friends forever

I despise this song. Absolutely despise it. I think it’s got a rotten tune and the lyrics are as cheesy as the end to every bad romantic-comedy you’ve ever seen. I’ve got nothing against the artist, Vitamin-C. I think the girl did a great job with the song “Vacation”. (Which plays at the start of the animated short Pikachu’s Vacation, the opening to Pokemon: The First Movie.) But every year, right around this time, I hear “Friends Forever” played and I…cringe.

And yet…

Well, here we are in our last month of High School and…I might’ve caught myself singing it a few times. After about the 30th time I absentmindedly heard myself hum the chorus (the only part I know) of that terrible song, I decided to make a rule in my mind.

The “Friends Forever” One Month Rule: Most sane people will spend their entire lives despising the song: “Friends Forever”…Except in the one month before graduation…Then it’s kind of okay…

I think this rule has a few clauses, like certain times during that month where it may sound a little better than others. For example: The day after your last High School dance. Now that Prom has come and past, things are starting to seem a lot more real. After the Conference Track Meet and the Festival of the Senses (both happening this upcoming weekend), the next big event I’m looking forward to is Graduation itself. And that means I’ll probably be hearing a lot more of “Friends Forever”. I guess I’m all right with that.

Heck, there’s only four weeks of school left. That’s chump change, chump change in the grand scheme of things. Might as well just say school’s over now.

Four weeks.

I better get my “Friends Forever” kicks while I can. I better listen to “In My Life” before it gets old. I better jam out to “Forever Young” before it makes me wanna blow my brains out.

-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.

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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)

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)

How I Asked Her

October 7, 2012

This is a blog about my Life. Every aspect of my Life that I feel contributes to the creation of me.

Right now, a huge part of my Life as a High Schooler is Homecoming. In fact, the game is this Friday and the dance is this Saturday.

You can bet, Gull Lake is gearing up for the big event. Dresses are being bought. Plans are being made. Groups are being organized. Ties and collared shirts are being purchased. Reservations are being placed. Student Senate is “busy” planning. The administration is ordering breathalyzers from the local police. A DJ is being requested. Float building is in full swing. The parade is being planned. The football team is getting ready for the big game. And every student is either asking their date or wondering who they can ask last minute.

This week is Spirit Week with all sorts of activity like Dress-Up Days, Lunch Time Games, and the Homecoming Assembly. For those who may find it interesting, this year the Homecoming Dress-Up Days are as follows:

Monday – Come As You Are Day

Tuesday – FANdom Day

Wednesday – Sports Day

Thursday – Patriotic Day

Friday – Spirit Day

Anyway, Homecoming is sort of a big deal at Gull Lake. More specifically, how a guy asks a girl is very important. At Gull Lake, flashiness is generally rewarded with an embarrassed giggle, a smile, and a “Yes.”

Of course, whether we admit it or not, part of the reason why people go for extravagent and “flashy” invitations is so everyone else can see. It’s making a bold statement that says: “I care about this person enough to go the distance to make them feel special today. To make them feel like people are watching them with earnest interest.” And that’s really all part of the fun. There’s nothing wrong with desiring a little attention. Personally, I love to make some kind of effort when asking a girl to a dance and I enjoy making it public (maybe that’s the actor in me.) I don’t really see anything wrong with that. I’ve already done a post about how other people at Gull Lake have asked girls to dances. Today is the story of How I Asked Her.

The problem is, Carly’s up at Interlochen. She’s hours away. And despite the fact that I tried to make my invitation public, I’m not sure enough people saw. So, this is my ditch effort to make it known that I asked Carly. And that I tried to make it as cute as I could.

So, with the assistance of our friends in Band and PAC, I invited Carly to Homecoming through a series of pictures. I wanted Carly to know that we all miss her. I wanted her to know we’re always thinking about her. I wanted her to know that her friends at Gull Lake are waiting eagerly for her return. I wanted Carly to know that she’s not forgotten. I wanted her to know that we’re all rooting for her back here. I wanted Carly to know that no matter how far she is, no matter how long she’s gone, there are those of us at Gull Lake who will always care about our favorite ginger artist. And so, I mailed her the following pictures…

 

Rachel and Shelby, two friends of ours in the science hallway.

A few of our Band friends (and Shelby) sitting where we used to eat lunch.

That last one is a little bit odd. It’s supposed to be a reference to a past photo in which Jonah…You know what? Long story. Never mind.

Rachel, Grace (another good friend), and one of Carly’s favorite teachers, Mr. Minehart. This was taken during AP European History, a class Carly would undoubtedly be taking if she was at Gull Lake this year.

It says “Homecoming” for those who can’t quite make it out. The boys of the Gull Lake Cross Country Team are more than willing to help out any fellow teammate when it comes to Homecoming invitations. (Especially if it involves taking our shirts off…so we can show off how built we are. (Sarcasm.))

And that was the last picture. Me up on the cafeteria’s stage during lunch.

So, that’s How I Asked Her. That’s how I asked Carly.

Just today, she said: “Yes.”

Despite what I may like to believe, Homecoming is a large part of my Life during the Fall. It’s a large part of any High Schooler’s Life. And, this year, I decided to ask this spectacular red-headed artist to the dance. This spectacular red-headed artist who decided that she’d take a leap this year. She took a leap in transferring to one of the most prestigious arts academies in the world. I think that it can get pretty stressful for her, sometimes…So, I’m glad she can come home this Saturday and just relax for a night.

I’m glad she’s coming home for Homecoming.

I’m glad that Carly can come home for a night of horribly cliche pictures, a dinner with friends, and a dance in the High School that she will never truly be gone from…

Not while there are those of us here who keep her in mind.

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

I can’t remember if I said that Glee was my favorite show in my post on the Gleeson Four Premiere. If I did…I might have been lying.

Monday the 24th marked the premiere of the 8th Season of How I Met Your Mother. And that may very well be the best show on TV today.

I just can’t help but feel like it’s one of the most well-thought out stories I’ve ever experienced and I think that’s something to be respected. Every plot-line has a purpose, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first, and references to events in the future happen seasons in advance. And it all makes sense. With the amount of flash-backs and flash-forwards that happen on that show, it’s amazing that the audience can follow each little detail. And, yet, I’ve never been confused. I’ve never had to rethink something. It’s always very clear and well laid out. If you don’t like anything else about How I Met your Mother, an applause should at least be given for the successful writing of one of the most complex plots I’ve ever seen in a TV show.

Complex plots aside, I find myself utterly in love with the themes presented in the show. The Importance of Stories. The Importance of Friends. The Quest for “The One.” And, most apparently, the Presence of Fate.

The Importance of Stories. The whole show is one (very long) story (with millions of stories within it). The story of how Ted Mosby met his wife and mother of his children. It’s the story of How I Met Your Mother. And I think one of my favorite moments in the show is in an episode where Ted asks his parents how they met, and they give him some quick, one line response and he says:

“That’s it? Man…when I have kids, and I tell them how I met their mother, I’m gonna tell them everything. The whole damn story.”

However, on the other end of the spectrum, in the premiere of Season 8, they do have a moment in which Barney sums up the entire plot of Ted’s journey for love (from 7 Seasons) in a minute. So, maybe Ted is being a little long winded. But we’re all proud of him for staying true to his word. It’s a story that he feels he must tell. And, personally, I’m glad he is telling it.

The Importance of Friends. It’s hard to top a group of friends like Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall, and Lilly. Even Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Phoebe, and Joey struggle to match up. All the characters are so clear in their strengths and weaknesses and their relationships to one another are vividly defined. They’re a real group of friends. They’re so familiar to us because, hopefully, we can all picture the people in our lives who make us smile just as much as Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall, and Lilly make each other smile.

The Quest for “The One.” Ted is constantly on a journey to find his soulmate. That’s kinda the whole point of the the show. The story of How I Met Your Mother is a quest for love. A Quest for “The One.” As more and more episodes pass, I keep asking myself: “Do the writers really believe in everyone having “One” person who they’ll end up loving?” The idea just seems so far-fetched. I always tell myself that they’re just repeating that for the sake of the show. And, yet, every so often, an episode like the premiere of Season 8 crops up…and I think to myself: “Maybe. Just maybe.” Maybe there really is a soulmate out there for everyone. Maybe the writers really do believe that. Ted Mosby is certainly starting to believe it. Maybe. Just maybe.

The Presence of Fate. This is by far my favorite theme in How I Met Your Mother. It also ties in with the “complex plot” thing I was talking about earlier. Future Ted (the one telling the story) constantly makes references to the fact that he was thankful for this or that happening because it took him one step closer to finding his wife. It took him one step closer to finding “The One.” Future Ted usually follows up a comment about some Fateful event with “I just didn’t know it yet…” And I think that’s something prominent. How can any of us know whether we’ll be regretful or thankful in the long-term for something we do now? Ted was often met with misfortune in his story…but, in the end, we all know it’ll end with him finding her. “The One.

Overall, the show is about Life. And the little miracles that come with it. The miracle of finding love. Of achieving Life-long friends. Of experiencing. Of laughing. Of living. And that’s why I love it. Ted is on the Quest for “The One”, that much is for sure. But he’s also on the quest for happiness. He’s just trying to live Life. And that’s what we’re all here to do. We’re here to love and be loved to our best ability. And…maybe some silly show on TV can really help us learn that.

That’s why, every Monday night…? You’ll find me eagerly awaiting to discover who owns the Yellow Umbrella.

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