Family Reunion

Family reunions for me always consisted of my parents dragging their children to a relative’s house, awkward hugs from aunts & uncles, the adults arguing over who was right, and then the adults vowing to never to talk to one other again. Last night was slightly different. I choose to go on my own, I was the adult, there was no awkward hugs, and the only yelling was that of people greeting each other. Unlike the Phamily reunions which I dread, the Quigley reunion was one that I don’t mind attending at all.

Almost 7 months since we were last together as a family, nothing has changed. Neither the closing, time or change phased any of us. We came together as one Quigley family where we celebrated mass at St. John Berchman’s, shared a meal and enjoyed each other’s company.

It was weird reuniting with the kids I knew so well last year and see how much they have grown (in maturity and height). They are young men now; good Catholic young men. True, the adjustment has not been easy for all and some are still trying to adjust. But the fact of the matter remain: we all miss Quigley. We miss our friends, our teachers, our home, our family. But for one night, everything was as if nothing had ever happened. We were together as we always were: a family. For the students, seeing old friends. For the faculty, seeing the boys grow up. For the parents, seeing what their son had and lost. And for the Quigley spirit, rising from the ashes once again.

Top 10 Quotes of 2007

Here are my Top 10 Quotes of the 2007:

 

No. 10:

 “Illinois beats Ohio State!”

            – Pham, yelling in Chicago when Illinois defeated #1 Ohio St.

 

No. 9:

“This message is for freshmen and sophomore homeroom teachers.  Please check them to see if their zippers or straps are broken.”

            – Pham

“I wouldn’t want to check their zippers!  When would we do this?  During naptime?”

            – Kathy B., during a faculty meeting

 

No. 8:

“I love Coach Lentine!  I love Coach Lentine!  I love Coach Lentine! You **** at you guys recording.”

            – Mauro H.

“I’m free!

            – John B.

“No come back!  Ooo!  My sexy coachy.”

            – Mauro H., in Coach Lentine Tribute video

 

No. 7:

“Oh, I got talent!”

            – Dave G., demonstrating his teacher skillz

 

No. 6:

“Since you brought it up. Do girls fart?”

            – Pham

“Yes!  And they smell just as bad as boy farts!”

            – Erica M.

 

No. 5:

 “…I want solid poo again.”

            – John B., Spirit of St. Louis Half-Marathon

 

No. 4:

“Confession, I’m not wearing deodorant.”

            – Katharine J., Chicago Distance Classic

 

No. 3:

“If another kid calls me Hermione, I’m going to punch that kid in the face.”

            – Katie S., on Halloween dressed as a Slytherin

 

No. 2:

“And the last graduate of Archbishop Quigley, Daniel Zaparaniuk.”

            – MGM, AQPS 2007 Graduation

 

No. 1:

“I miss it.”

            – Fr. Walsh., in reference to Quigley Seminary

After Camelot

One thing special about the Quigley family is that we’re family.  We still keep in touch.  I was having dinner with Fr. Walsh last night.  It’s been over 2 months since we last chatted.  We caught up, shared stories and informed the other of our lives after Camelot.

“I miss it,” he said.

So do I.

Drawing the Line

Question:

What is the difference between a Blog and an Online Journal?

Being an avid self-proclaimed blogger, I wonder what makes my WordPress Blog a blog vs an online journal? I mean, I’ve only started blogging less than a year ago, so I’m still learning and defining my blog. But sometimes I ask myself what makes my blog a blog and not an online journal?

The true definition of a blog is a web log that provides commentary and/or news about a certain subject. This contrasts an online journal which consists of mostly daily experiences, social commentaries, writings, and other thoughts that one might find on a paper diary/journal. Any yet, I find both definitions true but lacking. Blogs came into existence with the formation of Web 2.0. Web 2.0 redefined the Internet not as a tool for information and communication, but a tool for sharing and communicating as a global community. So then how does that effect blogs and online journal writing?

Yes, a blog provides commentary, whether it’s about politics, society, or about a certain issue. However, doesn’t a blog also communicates and interacts with the global community as defined in Web 2.0? Can’t an online journal be called a blog? Look at Brotherhood 2.0; it’s clear that it’s a creative form of communication between two brothers. However, looking at the mass followings of Brotherhood 2.0, conveniently called the “Nerd Fighters”, one can conclude that this brotherhood documentary is more than an online journal; it’s a blog. Another fine example is PostSecret which dates back to 2005. PostSecret provides commentary on life through the global community which contributes weekly to the site. Without the community, PostSecret would not exist. So an online journal can be a blog, under the condition of the Web 2.0 community involvement. But the question now is how does one measure community involvement to make it a blog?

Looking at my blogroll, also know as “People with Pants”, I have linked my “blog” with those of my friends and others whom I read. Does qualify to make mine a blog? I read and link to them and they do the same in return. And yet, somehow, I feel that I’m really stretching it. Or am I?

Looking back at old posts, I can not only say I provided commentary about the last days of Archbishop Quigley and now my current school. I also incorporated the Web 2.0 community, whether it was through YouTube featuring the Chronicles of a Half-Marathon videos or my Harry Potter spoiler study. However, my favorite community sharing that happened recently was when one of my friends posted to her blog, which then I responded in returned, only to have another friend responding to mine. Sharing thoughts, ideas, and information; isn’t that what Web 2.0 about? So would you say my “blog” is a blog?

Looking at my friends who have been longtime bloggers: Katharine, Karen, Erica, Christine, Cassie, Jackie, Becky; would you consider your blog a blog or online journal? And then my friends who are new bloggers: Andy, Liz, Sarah, and James; would you consider yourself a blogger? As for me, I’m still new to this whole blogging thing, but I do enjoy it, though I’m still trying to define my blog.

(P.S. Read my friends blogs.)

First Name Basis

It’s weird when you know someone for four years and each day of those four years you addressed that person as Mr. or Mrs. Teacher. And yet, you now call them by their first name. However, when you haven’t seen a teacher in 6 years, who you idolized in high school, and he is part of the group of teacher friends you hang out with, it’s weird call him by his first name for the first time. Thankfully, the home brew helped the awkwardness.

Now I just need to prepare myself when my former students call me by my first name.

Cricket Hill

It was just before 8 as I was biking down Wilson Ave to the lakefront on a warm, damp and humid morning. Reluctantly, I signed up to assist with the 31st Phoenix Invitational at the behest of Fr. Zi. The Phoenix Invitation is the old and largest high school cross country race in the City of Chicago; today, it so happened to be its last.

This was my first cross country meet in 4 years. Now let me make this clear, by first XC meet in 4 years, I mean the first one I’ve watched in that period of time. There is no way for the life of me can I run, but I can sure cheer on the runners. I forgot how much watching people run really is; granted all you do is see them whoosh by ever 6-7 minutes, unless you chase them down, but it’s so much fun. Plus, cheering with the Phoenix XC team added to the excitement as I began to get to know the kids.

As the varsity races began to start, one of the assistant coaches and a Quigley alum, Victor Garcia, asked me to be the rabbit for the race so he can cheer on the team. There were two things that I didn’t realize when I accepted this challenge, 1. these kids are faster than you think and 2. Cricket Hill.

I gave myself a 150 yard start and began to ride down the trail as soon as I saw the boys running. Thankfully, I had my mountain bike because the ground was slick and bumpy. Down the first stretch I flew as the pack began to immediately separate with the elite, Roger Pinon leading, the fast, and then the rest of the pack. A quick left and a flash of a tunnel, I climbed up a tiny incline and headed through a thicket of trees to a large clearing. In the middle of the clearing was a large sledding hill, to be more exact, Cricket Hill.

I began to race up the hill with all my strength. Not too bad, about the same as Warren Park’s sledding hill. That was what I thought, then as I hit the half way mark, I started to slow down as it got more steep. However, the sharp incline was not my biggest problem. At that moment, at the corner of my eye, I saw a body next to me. Only except, it was next to me and now it’s passing me and beating me up the hill. Roger Pinon out ran me up the hill as I am biking. I could not believe it!

I immediately jumped off my bike and sprinted up the hill to catch up. I thought I would get on top of the hill and use the slope to catch up and beat Roger again. What I didn’t expect was a crowd of the Quigley XC team laughing at me as I reached the top. Honestly! Racing down the hill, two more things were running through my mind: 1. I knew I would hear it on Monday and 2. Roger was already at the bottom of the hill and by the soccer fields. Crap!

Racing down past the soccer fields, back through the tunnel, and to the turnaround straightaway, I knew that Roger was long gone. “Aren’t you the rabbit? Shouldn’t you be ahead of Roger?” I heard a coach yelled at me as I passed him. Oh well, at least I was in 2nd place right?

Awkwardly in Style

Maybe it’s because of the different times, or perhaps I’m older and grown up. Heck, perhaps being a teacher makes me notice this even more. Whatever it is, I cannot help but notice the awkward situation when I walk in certain teen hang out spots: the mall, a fast food chain, the theater, and yes, even coffee shops.

I was hanging out with Panda last night. Neither she nor I wanted a dull Friday night so we made a date of it: dinner and a movie. We were at Old Orchard Mall and we could not help but acknowledge the mass of teenagers (and preteens) roaming around. Whether they were shopping, walking around in their cliques, or even eating at the food court, they were everywhere! It was worse than two rabbits breeding.

As we went along our business and catching up with each other, I could not help but keep a constant eye at the teenagers around me. Last thing I wanted was to see a kid from school walk by; especially a kid I don’t know yet.

Looking around, I could not help but to think of the scene in “Mean Girls” where Cady, Janis, and Damian saw Ms. Norbury wandering the mall. Have I sank so low that being a teacher, my only natural habitat is school? I mean, I’m still cool right? My Quigley kids would vouch for me; heck, even the Tech Club would agree that I’m a hip young teacher. Right? Right?

Well, whether I’m cool or not, I could not believe the kids at the mall last night. The girls sitting around the table in the food court reminds me of middle aged women and probably desperate, who gather weekly to chat and gossip. The prep boys walking around the mall are precursors to drunken and over sexed frat boys in college. Finally, the punk rockers who assembled around a certain store or area best reflects the post-rock/hippie generation who are all for free love and pot. And here I am, normal and possibly cool, awkwardly among a crowd of teenagers asking myself if I, or anyone I knew, was ever like that?

Probably not. Boy how the times had changed.