The End, Pt. 1

May 29, 2013

The End, Pt. 1

Today was my Last Full Day as a Gull Lake High Schooler. Tomorrow will be the Class of 2013’s Last Day as Gull Lake High Schoolers.

You know, a lot of the Seniors have been phrasing things like that lately. They say things like: “Today is our Last Monday!” or “This is our Last Full Week!” or “This is our Last Seminar!” So and and so forth…And it’s gotten me thinking about why we do that, why we phrase things like that.

I mean, we do the same thing in Track and Cross Country during hard workouts. In particular, Ben and I will analyze the number of repetitions we have left until the entire team gets a little math lesson. Say we’ve got a workout consisting of 400 repetitions. Say…10×400. After one, Ben and I might say something like: “Hey! After we do eight more…we’ll only have one left. So, we’re basically done.” Or after we do five, we’ll burst into Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi. Get it? Because we’re “half-way there”. Then at six, we might say: “We only have to do everything we’ve done over again…minus two!

Now, when it comes to hard workouts I can pinpoint the two reasons we do this. One: Simple math is a good way to get your mind off the pain of running. Two: When we look at the workout in a certain way…it doesn’t seem all that bad. Hard workouts are rough, and we can’t wait for them to be over. Because the best part of running is the satisfaction of being done.

But running isn’t quite like High School. I mean, I’m sure there are a few kids out there that are just itching to get out of here. But I’m sure there are also a few, myself included, that are kind of saddened by it. So, why would we mark each passing Last with loud pronouncements? With running, we just want it to be over. But do we really just want High School to be over?

No, I think we phrase things in ways that make us feel best about the situation at hand. It’s all about perspective. It’s all about how we want to see things. It’s like Coach Hawkins said today in his end of the year speech: “There’s a silver lining in anything. You just need to see it.” So, with hard workouts…Ben and I look to The End. Ben and I mark each passing 400 with celebration. But with High School, we mark these Lasts as a sort of salute. We’re saying good-bye to all the great Mondays or Fridays or weeks or Seminars that we had at Gull Lake. We see The End coming and we pay homage to it by celebrating each little step that draws us closer.

So, I hope every Gull Lake Senior had a great Last Full Day of High School…despite the exams. I know I did. I got to spend one more day as Coach Portis’s student. I said good-bye to Mr. Belz. I got one last speech from Coach Hawkins. And I spent one Last Lunch with a group of people I truly treasure.

Tomorrow, it’ll really be The End. Tomorrow, it’ll all be over. Everything this Year of Lasts has been leading to: The Last Races, the Last Shows, the Last Tests, Days, Weekends, Meets, Practices, Dances, Banquets, Rehearsals…It’ll all converge.

I’ll walk the halls one Last Time.

And then I’ll go to South Haven for a day at the beach.

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

The Festival Upon Us

May 7, 2013

The Festival Upon Us

This weekend is the 2013 Gull Lake High School Festival of the Senses. It’s basically Gull Lake’s way of celebrating all the arts in our school…in one weekend.

Artists display. Musicians play. Choirs sing. Dancers dance. And thespians perform.

Of course, the entire Festival is awesome. The art is really impressive (and all made by Gull Lake students). The Jazz Band is always good. The choir is a harmonic troupe of singers that usually perform the works of a popular musical. The dancers work daily in their EFA dance class and it shows when they do their stuff. And…well, maybe I have a little bit of bias, but I personally enjoy watching the One Acts most.

This blog is a little nudge for anyone in the Gull Lake Community that finds their weekend plans are lacking a little…flair. Why not come out to the Festival? It’s free to get in. It’s entertainment. And it supports small-town arts.

In case there’s anyone that needs a bigger nudge, I asked the other One Act Directors to provide me with a brief synopsis of their play, just as a little teaser for any Curious-Cathy’s out there.

Check Please – Aija Rozentals (Friday, May 10th 8:15 PM; Saturday, May 11th 7:20 PM)

“After a particularly nasty break up, a boy and a girl are encouraged by their best friends to rebound and head right back out into the dating field. This one act comedy follows these two lost souls in their bizarre and unnerving search for love. What awaits them as they journey into the unique world of dating in the 21st Century?”

Types & Timing – Shelby Hoxworth (Friday, May 10th 8:35 PM; Saturday, May 11th 8:00 PM)

“Fabulous business woman Priscilla in her controlled, perfect Life is thrown a curve ball when the Sharizer Phoebe shows up out of the blue. Sent to check things out by his boss/girlfriend, MacArthy will do anything to get the promotion he wants too badly.”

Debating the Days – Shelby Cartwright (Friday, May 10th 8:55 PM; Saturday, May 11th 8:20 PM)

“A comedy about the seven days of the week. They receive a letter from America, stating that one of them has to be eliminated in order to help the economy. Each day sets off having to state their reasons as to why they can’t be cut. Each character has their own special quirk about them that adds to the overall humor of the show, and the ending may come as a surprise. It falls on the edge a bit with some of the language and themes, but is a really good show to come along and enjoy.”

No Such Thing As A Vampire – Kristen Russel & Mikea Lapierre (Friday, May 10th 9:15 PM; Saturday, May 11th 9:00 PM)

“On a warm night in the 1800s, Alexis Gheria awakens with a bloodcurdling scream. there’s blood and two puncture wounds on her neck. Could it be what the entire village has been fearing? Her husband, with the help of his loyal maid Carol and helpful colleague Michael Vares, searches for answers to uncover a shocking truth.”

The Pan Complex: A Tale of Peter and Eve – Brian Wiegand & Erica Heathcote (Friday, May 10th 9:35 PM; Saturday, May 11th 9:40 PM)

“A one act drama/comedy all about growing up. In Small Town, USA Eve finds herself faced with her sister Delilah’s departure for college. The night before Delilah leaves, Eve is visited by a nighttime prowler, also known as her best friend: Peter. As Peter desperately tries to get Eve to sneak out with him, the two delve into the thing that haunts us all: Growing up.”

I urge anyone in the Gull Lake Community to consider setting up their weekend around this spectacular event.

The Festival of the Senses has always been worth the evening.

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

Speculations

April 25, 2013

Speculations

Ah, yes. Springtime in Michigan.

The Track season is in full swing.

Prom is just around the corner.

Talk of graduation is becoming more frequent.

Mock Election pictures are being taken.

And today, it was hailing one second and sunny the next!

Yes, it certainly is a Michigan Spring.

With the talk of graduation, comes Speculation about who will win all the different awards that are given out to the Senior Class. For example: Who will be Valedictorian and Salutatorian? Or: Who will be honored by each of the different departments? Or: What athletes will be recognized for their impressive achievements?

From what I’ve heard, Valedictorian and Salutatorian are neck and neck. We’re talking about two kids who’ve taken so many AP Classes, their GPAs can be brought down by an A in a regular class that isn’t weighted by AP standards.

At Gull Lake, just to clarify, Seniors are awarded in a number of different ways. Primarily, there’s the Valedictorian and Salutatorian; they’re determined by GPA. Then, each different department (Math, English, Science, Social Studies, Publications, Business, etc.) honors one or two students for their achievements in that subject area. Lastly, there are things like Class Musician, Class Poet, and Class President (of course, Class President has been decided for quite a while) who all speak or perform during the graduation ceremony.

I think these awards are exciting to Speculate about because it gets me thinking about my class as a whole and the sort of people that fill it. It’ll be cool when we finally hear who wins what because I think it will helps define who we are as the graduating Class of 2013. We’re the class that had Cara as our Class President. We had so-and-so as Valedictorian and what’s-their-face as Salutatorian. Our Math expert was [insert name here]. The Class Musician sang that song at our graduation.

Or maybe Lance will just get every honor. A very real possibility. Kid’s a freakin’ genius.

Anyway, it’s just another reason to be excited for the rapidly approaching graduation season.

-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)

When Gull Lake Glitters

February 19, 2013

When Gull Lake Glitters

There are two times a year that Gull Lake Glitters. The first is during the Summer when the sun reflects off the lake…But that’s not the time I’m interested in talking about.

The second is during the murky period between Winter and Spring when all the Gull Lake High Schoolers harboring secret talents come out of the woodwork to show their stuff at the annual talent show: Glitter.

Glitter is a parent created and organized talent show that is generated once a year and performed one night at Comstock Auditorium. Auditions happened over the past two weeks and the Call Board will be updated later this week with information on what acts were accepted.

For the past three years, I’ve been a Glitter MC. And for the past three years, Glitter has been an absolutely brilliant highlight to every Spring. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll be accepted for a fourth year of MCing.

While being a Master of Ceremony is an absolute blast…I don’t think it’s the best part of Glitter. I think the best part of Glitter is discovering that the quiet kid sitting next to you in Plane Geometry has a set of pipes that would make Adele cry. Glitter is all about the students of Gull Lake High School stepping up and saying: “Guys. Guys look what I can do!”

My Sophomore Year, this Senior named Garrison sang Folsom Prison Blues in a bass that I couldn’t believe. Or last year, Ben sang Lonely Boy and I still remember the first rehearsal I watched him and my jaw absolutely dropped. Or Caiti! She sang Sailor Song last year and her voice was so present, so full. It was awesome. (Granted, maybe there were a few people who know of these “hidden” talents. But I sure didn’t have a clue until they opened their mouths.)

On the other end of the spectrum, there are kids that sing often and therefore most people know they’ve got a throat of gold. This Junior, Grace, comes to mind. And this girl that graduated my Sophomore Year, Sarah.

Glitter is this amazing opportunity for Gull Lake High Schoolers to realize that the hallways are filled with talent. They’re filled with singers, dancers, songwriters, DJs. musicians…hula-hoopers. And that’s something to be proud of.

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

A Snowy Friday

February 8, 2013

A Snowy Friday

Last night, snow fell over Michigan. Lots of snow. And that was rather fitting.

Because today is Sno-Court. Overall, it’s A Snowy Friday.

Sno-Court is a lot like Homecoming. It’s essentially identical. But there is a very noticeable difference between the hype surrounding both events. I think it’s fair to say that people get more excited about Homecoming. Maybe it’s because Football is so unbelievably American, or maybe it’s because Winter is a hard season to get “pumped up” in.

In any case, it’s not entirely fair to compare Sno Court to Homecoming because, in the end, it’s all working towards the same goal: Creating School Spirit. And that’s a goal to be admired.

Schools are filled with hundreds upon hundreds of kids, and all of them are different. There are Basketball players and there are thespians, there are AP students and there are blow-off class regulars, there are shy mice and social butterflies. But they’re all members of the same school. We’re all Gull Lakers. Whether we like it or not, this is the hand we’ve been dealt in Life and Sno Court is about being proud of that. It’s about smacking your fist against your chest and booming: “I am Gull Lake.” It’s about knowing that being a Gull Laker makes you special.

We’re all…”On the same team.”

Now, if you’ll allow me to get really, really…out there, I’d like to try and make a connection. I recently saw a motivational video in which a young boy (Kid President) gave the world a pep talk. And one of the things this little boy said was: “If Life is a game…Aren’t we all on the same team? I mean really, right? I’m on your team. Be on my team.”

I think that’s a point Truer than anything I’ve ever heard. If a High School can come together and be proud of what they stand for as Gull Lakers…Couldn’t humans come together be proud of what they stand for?

And I think, when we really get down to it, that’s what School Spirit is about. That’s what Sno Court is about. That’s what Homecoming is about. It’s about realizing that we’re not really all that different. We may come from different places and we may believe different things…But we’re all Gull Lakers. We’re all humans. We’re all…here. Living.

Anyway, I’ll get off that soapbox and come back down to the real world.

Today was great. Today was A Snowy Friday, but the snow did little to dampen the mood of Gull Lake High School. Today was fun.

Especially because the Seniors totally kicked some butt at the Snow Olympics.

And I’d say that’s all thanks to a little School Spirit.

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

Thick snowflakes fell from a black, quilted sky. The air was cold and still, there wasn’t even a whisper of wind. The snow seemed to muffle all the sounds of Life at Gull Lake High School. That silence came as a stark contrast to the rowdy gymnasium that I’d just left.

I’d spent the whole Basketball game sitting with the most musical kids at our school…the Pep-Band.

That’s where I always sit. Personally, I think that’s the best place to be at a Basketball game. Maybe I think that because a lot of my friends are Band Geeks, which means I can usually find a home amongst the many bleachers full of brass, woodwind, and (insert name of another kind of instrument). But it’s not just the people that makes sitting with the Pep-Band special. It’s the Music.

Every so often, in mid conversation, everyone around me will suddenly pull their instruments up and a rendition of “Thriller” or “The Final Countdown” is suddenly filling the air around me. And that makes me smile. It’s almost like being in a musical…Sort of.

Anyway, that’s not the only kind of Music that makes the Pep-Band section the best. Every so often, Ms. Latham will instruct Ben or Joy to play some music from these huge speakers at the top of the bleachers. And it’s always a song groovy enough to make the whole section dance. Ben and Joy both have really good taste in Music and they make it a point to play only the best parts of the catchiest songs.

And that’s where I spend my Basketball games. Sitting with the Pep-Band, talking to some Band Geeks, listening to some good Music, and occasionally watching the intensity of the Basketball game that’s unfolding below.

I’m like a Pep-Band Groupie.

So, there are two big reasons I’m writing this post.

1.) To talk about the best place to sit at Basketball games.

2.) To talk about an Epiphany that I had as I was leaving last Friday’s Basketball game.

See, I had to leave early because I was taking the SAT on Saturday. As I was leaving the gym, the noise of the crowd and the game was almost overwhelming. The second I reached the outside, though…silence. Complete silence. It was snowing that night and the flakes of snow that fell were the fattest I’ve ever seen. It was as if the snow caused everything to stop. I didn’t hear the passing of cars on the road. I didn’t hear the sound of the cheers from the gym. I barely heard the sound of my own breathing.

I walked through this comforting silence. I walked through it and thought about what I had to do the next day. The SAT was just another reminder that I’d be leaving Gull Lake soon. And, with that on my mind, I turned back to the school. Just to get another good look at it.

And…it was beautiful. I don’t even care how silly that sounds. How could a building be beautiful? I haven’t a clue. I have no idea. But it was. I suppose the more I think about it…The more it makes sense. Why wouldn’t I feel an attachment to Gull Lake High School?

That was where I became who I am today. That’s where I met Coach Portis and Coach Hawkins and Coach Flynn. That’s where I met Mr. Nott. That’s where I learned. That’s where I laughed. That’s where I read the Call Board, telling me that I’d received my first role in a play as Jason. That’s where I spent countless hours with countless people who I would call nothing less than: “Friend.” That was where I became me.

It was a good couple of minutes before I turned my back on the school and made my way through the heavy snow to my car.

Of course, there will soon come a day that I won’t be sitting with the Pep-Band anymore. And there will soon come a day that I won’t be able to call Gull Lake my High School. But that day isn’t today. And that day isn’t tomorrow.

And I’m grateful for that.

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

My Epiphanies as a Pep-Band Groupie

The Rapid Approach of Opening Night

In the year 2013…On February 1st…At 8:00 PM…In the Gull Lake Middle School Cafetorium…The Gull Lake Performing Arts Company will perform their rendition of Twelve Angry Jurors for the first time. It’ll be our Opening Night.

In the year 2013. On February 2nd. At 8:00 PM. In the Gull Lake Middle School Cafetorium. The Gull Lake Performing Arts Company will perform their rendition of Twelve Angry Jurors for the second time.

In the year 2013. On February 3rd. At 2:00. In the Gull Lake Middle School Cafetorium. The Gull Lake Performing Arts Company will perform their rendition of Twelve Angry Jurors for the last time.

For three nights, we’ll perform Twelve Angry Jurors. For three nights, we’ll show the community what we’ve been working on for the past couple weeks.

And then it’ll be over.

Senior Year is a Year of Lasts. I’ve already experienced my last Cross Country Season. Soon, I’ll be performing in my last PAC show. Of course, this kind of event makes me think about my past years of PAC. I still remember Freshman Year when we performed Smoking Lesson. My very first year of PAC. I was a scared Props Crew member that looked with awe upon the big Senior Kendall Jennings. She was like a celebrity. Oh, Kendall Jennings! The lead! The Senior!

Then, in my Sophomore Year, we performed Small Actors and it was my first time ever performing in a play. To say that I was nervous is an understatement. I still remember the first thing I said to Sarah (the “Big Senior Lead” that year) when we stepped on stage. See, the opening scene was this busy High School hallway, so Sarah and I had a moment where we would just talk casually to each other as other students noisily walked past.

“I feel like I’m gonna throw up,” I chuckled.

“Don’t do that,” Sarah smiled.

Luckily, I didn’t.

And then there was my Junior Year, with Mr. Nott’s play: Dune Shadow. The Home Shows that year had a lot of weight placed on them. Seeing as it was Mr. Nott’s last year Directing a PAC show, there was a huge gathering of alumni in the audience. They were all there to celebrate a man who had touched the Lives of countless budding thespians. Well…that was a fair amount of pressure. But, like the year before, I did not throw up. In all seriousness, it was a great show weekend and I had a blast honoring Mr. Nott with his very own play.

And now there’s this year. We’ve only got a handful of rehearsals left…And then it’ll be Opening Night. It’s getting pretty close to the wire and there’s still certainly a lot of work that needs to be done on our play if it’s going to be successful. But if there’s one thing that Mr Nott taught us, it was that theatre is a problem solving exercise. It wouldn’t be live theatre if everything went off without a hitch.

So, it’s time to buckle down. It’s time to work hard to make something that we’re all proud of.

It’s time to…get a little angry.

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

The Most Important Thing

January 17, 2013

The Most Important Thing

I’d like to think that I’ll Live my entire Life without ever doubting myself…It’s the foolish thought of an ignorant youth in the prime of his optimistic high.

Of course I’ll experience doubts. The day I stop experiencing doubts is the day I should start doubting my sanity for not doubting anything. Most recently, I’ve been working on facing the doubt that I may be making a very, very foolish mistake with regards to studying theatre. Even though I wrote about overcoming that fear, it still remains with me…like an annoying monkey on my back.

The thing is, everyone wants to lead a successful Life, right? Everyone wants to do…something. Right? Whether they want to study science or become an artist or start a business or become the president or play basketball or maybe they just want to lay around…who knows? But all of these things are in pursuit of something greater, right? The question is: What is that something?

What is The Most Important Thing in Life? What is the end goal? What is the key to leading a successful Life? What am I trying to get here? What…? What is The Most Important Thing in Life?

What is The Most Important Thing in Life?

I hope you follow me so far. Everyone wants to do something in pursuit of what? I think I’ve said before that the answer is happiness, that it’s satisfaction…And that is sort of where the doubt creeps in. Because I’m confident that theatre is where I find my passion, it is the thing I am most enthusiastic about, it’s where I find happiness. But the thing I’m not confident about is whether or not happiness is really what Life is all about.

Well, anyway, maybe all of that should be written in the past tense…Because today I finally did something about this doubt. I decided that what I needed to know right now was: What is The Most Important Thing in Life?

So I went to four teachers at Gull Lake High School. Four teachers that I hold in only the highest of regards.

Mr. Nott.

Mrs. Jones.

Mr. Hawkins.

And Mr. Portis.

Had I the chance to ask more, I probably would’ve.

Had I the chance to ask the whole world…I would.

I approached each teacher and asked them: “What is The Most Important Thing in Life?”

And each one opened their eyes wide, let out a breath, chuckled a little, looked around, and then said something eerily similar to what the other three said…

Either there’s some secret code at Gull Lake that all teachers must answer this question similarly…Or maybe there’s a right answer.

All of them said something along the lines of: “The most important thing is to know yourself. To know who you are. And once you know who you are and you’re comfortable with it, then you must share yourself with others and help them to grow.”

Honestly, it was unbelievable how similar their answers were.

And this simple question, this simple question that I asked four times…Suddenly made me realize something.

I have no idea who I am yet.

I’m 99.9% sure that my passion lies in theatre. That it lies in the dramatic arts. But I’m only 17. What do I know? I suddenly realized that I really have to go to school for theatre. I have to. Because it’s all part of finding myself. Who knows? Maybe I’ll do a semester of theatre and say: “Well, time to take some different courses.” Or…maybe I’ll do a semester of theatre and realize that I made the right choice.

I’m going to follow the advice of four brilliant minds and work to learn more about myself. Once I know me. Once I know Brian, I’ll work to help others. Just like they told me.

Now all I have to do is decide which college I’m going to…

Oh…

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

The Last Hoorah

January 9, 2013

The Last Hoorah

Across the nation, it’s hard to find a High School that doesn’t offer some sort of…Last Hoorah to their graduating Seniors. Even Rydell High does it! At Gull Lake, we call it “Grad Bash”. Grad Bash is The Last Hoorah for the Seniors of Gull Lake High School. And this year, it’s finally my turn to go on that magical trip.

(Luckily, I’ve turned my form in already. At the end of this month, the price to attend goes up $15. So, to any Gull Lake Seniors out there that haven’t signed up yet…Get on that.)

I still remember when my sister, Molly, went to hers…

Graduation had just finished and we were out on the plaza beside Miller Auditorium, on Western Michigan University’s campus. (Miller is the stage Gull Lake uses to present graduates with their diplomas.) A few buses waited patiently in the parking lot, prepared to take all the Seniors of Gull Lake to a location only known by the bus drivers and the parents that organized Grad Bash. Molly and the Class of 2010 ended up returning to Western’s campus for a night of blow-up, bouncy house fun in the Rec. Center. The Class of 2011 put on their boogie shoes for a night of line dancing at Cowboy-Up. The Class of 2012 was taken up to a community center in Grand Rapids and spent the night playing ping-pong and video games, climbing rock walls, and dancing.

Secretiveness is part of the magic that is Gull Lake’s Grad Bash. None of the Seniors know what they’re doing until they’re there. And I think that’s pretty cool. The mystery surrounding Grad Bash makes it exciting. Even if I had the chance to know where we were going, I wouldn’t want to hear it. Because it’s the unknown that we show an interest in.

Mystery is intriguing.

In the end, of course, I’d still go to Grad Bash if it wasn’t a secret. What’s really important about the evening is the camaraderie that fills the heart of every Senior. I can feel it start even now. Sometimes…I walk down the hallway and I look around at the faces of my peers, the faces of my fellow Seniors, and it feels right. It feels like: “Yes. We really did this. We really made it through these 13 years of school.” Of course, we all have much more difficult challenges ahead of us…But we did this. We played the game and we played it well enough to get here. I even feel this connection with kids I barely know. They’re a fellow Gull Lake Senior, and that’s enough to make me want to smile and wave.

Because we did it together. We made it this far together. We’ve seen each other achieve and we’ve seen each other fail. We’ve seen each other laugh and sometimes we’ve seen each other cry. We’ve seen each other excited and we’ve seen each other scared. We’ve each found our niche and we’ve all become different people. Some of us are writers. Some of us are artists. Some of us are Basketball stars. Some of us are PAC Rats. Soccer players. Band Geeks. Poets. Wrestling champs. History buffs. Quiz-Bowlians. Football beasts. Mathematicians. Equestrian masters. Scientists. Golfers. Outcasts. In-Crowd. Track and Cross Country runners. KAMSC kids. Tennis players. Just there. Presidents. Nerds. Jocks. Slackers. Hard workers. Some of us are this. Some of us are that. Some of us are none of the above. And some of us…well, some of us are Idiots. But all of us make up the Class of 2013. And we made it this far together.

That’s what Grad Bash is all about. It’s all about raising a glass to the past 13 years and having one night of relaxed fun before we turn to face the rest of our lives.

Because…the future is pretty scary. But we can think about that after Grad Bash.

To the Gull Lake Class of 2013, I say: “Thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for more than you could ever possibly know.”

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

The Wisdom of Mr. Nott

December 13, 2012

The Wisdom of Mr. Nott

So, up until this year, PAC has been directed by Mr. Nott.

Mr. Nott is the Drama/Theatre Teacher at Gull Lake High School. I also identify him as one of the “Greats” at Gull Lake. The Art Department Great.

And he’s really got that stereotypical Drama teacher feel to him. He’s relaxed but he cares. He can get pretty “out-there” but he always stays oddly familiar…If that makes any sense. You can usually identify him by his signature ponytail and friendly smile.

Not only does he teach Drama, he’s the proud teacher of the only Oral Traditions class in the state of Michigan. This class focuses on storytelling, an art that Mr. Nott is arguably obsessed with. There’s a quote on his door that reads: “The shortest distance between two people is a story.” And I think this fascination with stories has a lot to do with the kind of person he is.

Mr. Nott has made a Life out of working in the dramatic arts…this pretty much means that his days has been filled with telling stories. That’s all plays are, after all.

That quote reveals something else about Mr. Nott, too. I think his goal as a Teacher is to show students the ways in which humanity interacts on every level and that it isn’t extremely hard to coexist with our peers. High School is a time of hatred for a lot of kids and I think Mr. Nott works to reduce that aggression.

“The shortest distance between two people is a story.” I think he wants all of us to realize that we would all exist more harmoniously if we talked genuinely to one another. Anyway, this post wasn’t really supposed to be about Mr. Nott’s beliefs on how peace would be easily achieved.

It’s supposed to be about a speech that Mr. Nott gives at the beginning of every class.

I received this speech just a week ago, at the change of the trimester…

* * *

“Let’s pretend this is Gull Lake, our school,” Mr. Nott said, pointing to the desk in front of him. On the desk was a pitcher of water and cups. “Let’s say that this pitcher is the teacher…and these cups are all the students of Gull Lake. As you can see, these cups are all shapes and sizes. Just like the kids at this school.”

“Now, you have been told a lie about the way that school works. You probably visualize school like this…You come to school,” Mr. Nott said as he walked the cups along the desk and up to the pitcher, “and the teacher pours knowledge into you, right?” Mr. Nott demonstrated pouring the water from the pitcher into the cup.

“But that doesn’t work…Because not every kid is an open cup. Some kids…” Mr. Nott popped a lid onto the top of one of the cups, “are like this. They don’t want to learn. And no one can force them. That’s one thing you must know: No one can teach you anything. You have to be willing to learn. So, that’s why school really works like this…” He moved the cups back into their original starting position and made them toddle back up to the pitcher.

“This pitcher represents the experience that is presented in a classroom. And it’s the responsibility of the student to dive into the experience…” Mr. Nott dunked a cup into the pitcher, “and try to get as much knowledge from it as they can.”

He pulled the water-filled cup out of the pitcher.

* * *

And Mr. Nott says this to every class he has. Because he thinks it’s an important thing to hear. And he’s right. I think it’s a really good thing that he gives this demonstration.

I think it’s a really good thing that Mr. Nott came to Gull Lake High School.

It’s been an honor to be given the opportunity to work with Mr. Nott over the past 3 years. I can’t believe our time together is almost up.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

The day will come that I have to say “Good-Bye” to Mr. Nott…But thankfully that day isn’t today.

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

The Reflection

When I was a Freshman, Gull Lake High School ran a school year based on semesters. Nowadays, we run on trimesters. But back when we were on semesters, kids used to be able to do this thing called “Double Blocking”. Double Blocking was when you took one class in the first semester (say…Freshman English) and then, in order to get ahead of the game and hopefully reach AP level classes in that subject, you would take the next class up in the second semester (say…Sophomore English.) Well, I did that my Freshman Year. I took Freshman English…and then Sophomore English.

This decision was filled with Pros and Cons…

Pros:

-I was advancing my education in a subject area I enjoyed

-It would create an opportunity to take both AP English classes over two years (one in my Junior Year and one in my Senior Year.)

-I got to have English year-round

-I had Mrs. Jolin as my Sophomore English teacher. (We’ll get to why that’s especially important for this blog.)

Cons:

-I believe that English is the class where you bond the most with your classmates…and I missed out on a lot of that experience with my grade. I never got to see my classmates get assigned parts to read A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I never got giggle with my peers as we heard a teacher say the “f-word” in Catcher in the Rye. I never got to discuss Lord of the Flies with the Class of 2013. I never got to have all of those English class experiences with members of my grade. (Of course, I have AP Literature this year with a lot kids from my grade…but one year doesn’t make up for the two I’m missing.)

-I was a super shy Freshman surrounded by Sophomores I didn’t know

-I made a complete fool of myself on multiple occasions

Anyway, the most important thing to pull from my Pros and Cons list was that I had Mrs. Jolin as my teacher for Sophomore English. Because that was the first time I was introduced to the possibility of being a member of The Reflection‘s staff. The Reflection is the school newspaper at Gull Lake High School and Mrs. Jolin is the advisor that oversees it’s operations.

So, I’m in Mrs. Jolin’s class and she sort of suggested that I should sign up to be in Newspaper the next year. I filled out the paperwork to take the class…but when it came time to actually make my course requests for the next year, I realized I couldn’t fit it in anywhere.

And then I did something really embarrassing.

I had to tell Mrs. Jolin that I wasn’t signed up for the next year of newspaper. But I felt like I would be letting her down if I told her. I sat there every day in class wondering how I should bring it up to her. One day, we had this assignment where we had to write a poem and read it in front of the class…I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea, but I wrote my poem as an apology to Mrs. Jolin that I wouldn’t be in Newspaper next year. And I read that…in front of the whole class.

Maybe it really wasn’t as humiliating as I remember it…I suppose time does tend to distort our memories.

Anyway, I eventually became a member of The Reflection. This year, in fact, I took Newspaper for the first trimester. And I’m glad I did.

Mrs. Jolin has a very kind, quirky nature and that makes her really fun to work with. I suppose I am a little sad that I don’t have another trimester or that I didn’t take the class earlier. But I think My Time With The Reflection was well spent.

I wrote some articles. I made some acquaintances. I interviewed some people. I took some pictures. And, towards the end of the trimester, Mrs. Jolin even put a link to this blog on the newspapers website…which was pretty nice.

In the end, The Reflection was definitely the right way to start off my Senior Year and I’m really glad that I took the class. I’m glad Mrs. Jolin took the time to tell me to sign up. It’s only a week into the new trimester and I already kind of miss marching into Mrs. Jolin’s room everyday, knowing that the entire class time is being given to me and I can spend it working at whatever pace I please.

But as much as I feel this regret that I didn’t take more of the class…I also feel a certain sense of completion. Like the amount of time I spent with The Reflection was the right amount of time.

I am content.

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

 

I think Halloween is my favorite holiday…no…I know Halloween is my favorite holiday. And I can sum up my reasoning for this in four words…

I am a thespian.

There is nothing in this world that thespians love more than dressing up. (Except maybe actually performing in their outfits.)

I love Halloween because it gives me a totally valid reason to put a costume on…which is nice. But I suppose that’s not the only reason. I mean, there’s so much to love about this time of year: caramel apples, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie, pumpkin carving, Halloween decorations, haunted houses, scary movies, Halloween parties, Trick-or-Treating, Gull Meadow Farms (for those of us in Richland), doughnuts, apple cider, candy, red and orange and yellow leaves, corn mazes, cold and blustery days, warm and toasty beds, fresh apples, and there’s just an overall feeling of Fall in the air. It’s the season of beginnings.

I’d like to elaborate on some of the best parts of Halloween…

In Richland, Gull Meadow Farms is a huge part of every Halloween. It’s sorta like a…Fall festival extraordinaire. It’s run by a Gull Lake Middle School science teacher and her family. Every Fall, they set up this huge field full of games, activities, and rides for kids to enjoy when they go on their day out to collect pumpkins for carving. And when people get too cold to keep playing outside, they hurry inside the farm’s store to buy bags of freshly made doughnuts, jugs of apple cider, or any number of Fall goodies. The best part about Gull Meadow Farms for a High Schooler like me is that the workers consist almost entirely of my classmates. Which is cool. And when I was a Middle Schooler in Mrs. Wendzel’s class? She would always bring her students huge trays of doughnuts. Halloween in Richland really wouldn’t be the same without Gull Meadow Farms.

Ever since I was little, I’ve gone Trick-or-Treating. Recently, I’ve always gone with Jacob and Zach in their neighborhood. And it’s always been a blast. No matter how bitterly cold it would get, we would make a circuit around their neighborhood, collecting huge bags of candy. Just the boys and I, out on a quest to collect as many treats as we possibly could. This year, though…we haven’t made any plans. In fact, as sad as it makes me, I must admit that I probably won’t be going Trick-or-Treating this year. I suppose it could be a hazard of growing up. Or it could be a hazard of being too lazy to make plans ahead of time.

I love to be scared. I love the adrenaline rush that comes with pushing yourself so far out of your comfort zone that you could just…scream. That’s why I love haunted houses and scary movies so much. Unfortunately, I haven’t made it to any haunted houses this year. (More lethargy coming back to bite me in the butt.) But I’ve been to plenty in the past few years. I always love a good scare. Just the other weekend, I went and saw Paranormal Activity 4 with some of my good friends. We went partially because we actually wanted to see the movie, but mostly because this group of guys has been getting together for years to celebrate Jacob’s birthday by going to see a scary movie. And it’s always an unbelievable amount of fun. This year, I screamed at the end of Paranormal Activity 4. I was burrowed so deep up against Zach with my legs all tucked in tight and I still felt more scared than I think I’ve ever been. Those movies are just so immersive and if you really let yourself get lost in them, they can get pretty scary. So, despite my intentions to let Zach protect me from the baddies…I was still terror-stricken.

And…dressing up is awesome. Donning a costume and assuming a new personality is what I live for. Maybe my love for costumes sprouts partly from my parents. I feel like they’re some of the most creative Halloweeners I’ve ever met. My Dad went as a black hole one year. (That involved a lot of black nylon.) My Mom has been a pregnant bunny. Or there was the year my Dad was “One Guy and No Truck.” (Instead of “Two Guys and a Truck.”) And they did some pretty creative couple outfits too. One year, my Dad was a roulette table and my Mom was a slot machine wheel. Another year, they went as the two halves of a working door hinge. (They even had this pin that held them together, or they could take it out and split up if they wanted to.) Anyway, I think my parents love for creative costumes had an influence on Molly and I, especially because our Mom used to make a lot of our costumes.

In the end, Halloween is pretty darn great. It’s a holiday for thespians and it’s a holiday for those out there that love sweets. It takes place during one of the best times of year and I love the traditions that surround this spooky holiday. As of right now (and I don’t see why it would ever change) Halloween is my favorite holiday.

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

Gull Lake Victorious

October 28, 2012

 

Yesterday was our Regional Cross Country Meet. The boys and I ran well enough to qualify for State Finals at the Michigan International Speedway next Saturday. As you can imagine…we’re pretty excited.

The top three teams in every Region across Michigan qualifies for the State Finals. Yesterday, we came in second to Mason. Did we have our hopes set to beat Mason and be Regional Champions? Well…yes. Am I happy with how it worked out in the end? Of course.

The Gull Lake Boys Cross Country Team lives to fight another day. (The Girls do too…they’re Regional Champions.)

Gull Lake was Victorious.

Especially because we beat Sturgis. See, Sturgis is this team that Coach Portis has deemed our rivals. They’re pretty good. Before Saturday, we’d beaten them 4 out of 5 times. But they were ranked higher in the state than us. Now we’ve beaten them 5 out of 6 times. Finally, Athletic.net realized we were generally the better team.

We’re currently ranked 11th in the state for Division II Boys Cross country. (Above Sturgis…)

So, we’ll be headed to the Michigan International Speedway in 6 days time to face off against the best Boys Cross Country Teams in the state…and that’s electrifying.

It’s especially exciting for me because I’ve never been in this situation before. Every other year of Cross Country, I’ve merely been a spectator. Freshman Year, I made the trip to Regionals and States to see Tim qualify and race individually. Sophomore Year, I made the trip to Regionals and States to see the whole team qualify and race. Junior Year, I watched as the team once again raced at Regionals and qualified for States.

For the first time ever, in my Senior Year, I’ll be lacing up my spikes and preparing to race at the Michigan International Speedway.

I’m kinda nervous.

Regionals went well…I just hope that States go phenomenally. There are some people on my team who really deserve to see all of their hard work pay off. We all really deserve to reap the rewards of our training. It will be my last competitive Cross Country race ever. Maybe my nervousness sprouts from my excitement. Who knows? With the adrenaline of the meet and the eagerness to run my last race…maybe I’ll break 17:00.

I can’t wait to take our rightful place on that starting line. I can’t wait to run as hard as I can for 3.1 miles. I can’t wait to taste the sweet fruit from four years of labor. I can’t wait to test myself.

Most of all, I can’t wait to have one last meet with the best teammates anyone could ask for.

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

The Booker Award

October 17, 2012

This is the blog of my Life. The funny thing is that part of my Life is this blog…if that makes sense. So, this is a blog post…about my blog…which is a part of my Life…because this is a blog about my Life…? Right. Onwards.

I might as well state the obvious and tell you that I’m very new to the WordPress community. (WordPress is the blogging/social-networking site through which my blog is run.) As I have recently learned, there is an award passed around by WordPress users called: the Booker Award. And I learned this because a kind sir named Nick bestowed this award upon me from his blog.

Step one, according to him, is to thank the previous owner of the award. So…Thank you, Nick. Thank you so much. Because I’m trying to work on this blog and make it the best it can be, for readers and for me. And when I can be publicized through someone else in the community, someone like Nick who is already relatively popular on WordPress, that helps. It helps put my name out there and it helps in the overall creation of The Life of an Idiot. This blog really has become a large part of my Life over the past few months and to have someone spontaneous, to have someone completely random, commend me for my work…well, that feels pretty darn good. So, thank you, Nick.

I’d also like to take a moment to recognize why I’m guessing Nick found The Life of an Idiot in the first place. I think he may have discovered it through a recent spike in activity on my blog. Last Saturday, the day after I posted The Best of Senior Homecoming, I hit an all time high for views. This is what I assume put me on the map for Nick to discover me and, therefore, give me the award. So, I suppose I’d also like to thank all of those in the Gull Lake Community who shared my blog over the weekend. I’d like to thank those in the Gull Lake Community who enjoyed what I had to say and gave such amazing responses. And I’d even like to thank those outside of the Community who commented such supportive things. It’s truly an honor to know that there are people out there who enjoyed and were affected by what I wrote.

Thank you, Nick.

Thank you, Gull Lake.

Thank you, readers.

Thank you, Idiots everywhere.

Anyway, back to the Booker Award. The point of the award, from what I’ve gathered, is to share in the joy of reading. It’s to make the WordPress community more tight-knit by lifting each other up through publicizing one-another’s blogs. And it’s to create a chance for various bloggers around WordPress to share their favorite novels, because that’s the other duty of accepting the award. I’m supposed to share with my readers my favorite novels of all time.

Without a doubt in my mind, I know what my favorite book is…but I think I’ll build up to it first. I’ll recommend three books in total. I’ll start with my third favorite and work my way up to my favorite novel of all time…

Going Bovine

by Libba Bray

This is a modern-day epic. It’s the story of Cam and his journey from a hospital in Texas, to Mardis Gras, to an MTV style house party, and back.

Cam is a burnout who is constantly looked down on by his peers, teachers, parents, and his “perfect” sister. When Cam begins to suffer from hallucinations, most who surround him blame it on marijuana smoking. However, as he soon learns, he is suffering from mad cow disease (he’s…going bovine.) Something he probably contracted from the poor quality fast food joint that he works at.

Cam is quickly hospitalized but makes a great escape when he’s visited by a pink-haired, leather-booted, rocker-girl angel who tells him that there is a man who can heal him. What follows is the absurd journey of Cam, Gonzo, and Balder and a coming of age story that had me laughing so hard sometimes I almost cried.

Breakfast of Champions

by Kurt Vonnegut

This year, I’m taking AP Literature and Composition. And I love it. Part of the class, though, is a Summer reading assignment. For my Summer reading, I read Franny and Zooey, Emma, The Fountainhead, and Breakfast of Champions. And Breakfast of Champions is now my second favorite book. I read the entire book in two days…I was so hooked.

The wit of Vonnegut is hard to resist…but let’s not make this into an AP Lit essay. I’m not going to talk about “the finer points of his writing style.” I just wanted to say that I thought it was a hilarious book that kept me interested from the start.

The novel is Vonnegut’s way of thanking all the characters who have served him so loyally throughout his writing career. It’s his way of giving the people he’s wronged a happy ending. It’s the story of Kilgore Trout and how his science fiction writing drove a man into a mad killing spree. That may not sound too funny…nor does it sound like a happy ending…

But I guess that just says a lot about the quality of Vonnegut’s writing…or my poor ability to interpret novels. Anyway, it was a great read.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

by Mark Haddon

This book…this novel…this gift from some literary deity…was a Life changer. See, my Mother used to be a School Psychologist, which means she used to work a lot with kids who had learning or social disabilities. Among these disabilities, Autism was a frequent reoccurrence. Because of this, I learned about Autism from a very young age. And maybe it’s because I’m the son of a woman who has a PhD in Psychology that I enjoy The Curious Incident so much.

It’s the story of Christopher, a boy with Aspergers (high functioning Autism), and his mission to uncover the murderer of his neighbor’s dog, Wellington. He narrates the novel himself as though it was given to him as a school assignment and although Christopher constantly states that it is a murder mystery, it is a novel about so much more.

In fact, it’s a novel about so much more than Autism. It’s not some heartwarming What’s Eating Gilbert Grape tale.. Because Autism is not Christopher’s defining feature, it is not what makes Christopher…Christopher. It is a novel about the incredible way that Christopher views the world. His mind functions on another level in which his social skills suffer, but his raw fact, math, and science skills soar. With Mark Haddon’s amazing writing, he creates such a vivid character in Christopher, one who sees the world in a way that I could never possibly understand. The ideas presented in the novel are so unbelievably original that I never mind a good re-read.

It is definitely my favorite novel of all time.

And that’s how it works. That’s how the award works. Hopefully, one of those books may have sounded good and you might go out and read one. I think that might be another point of the award. To try and spread good literature.

The last thing I have to do, as a recipient of the Booker Award, is to pass it on to someone else. I’m not really sure how many I’m supposed to promote…but I think I can live with just one. Perhaps I have a slight bias in the passing on of this award, but I believe my friend Jenna deserves attention on her up-and-coming blog. And I’m not saying that I’m going to give her an infinite amount of attention and followers, but if there’s anyone out there who’s following the progress of the award…well, it’s headed on over to Uncharted Territories

So…that’s how it goes! There! The Booker Award. I’m glad I was able to write this post because books are an undoubtedly large part of my Life. I absolutely love to read and, when people love something, they love to share it with other people. And I got to do that, today.

Which is pretty exciting.

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