Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End of the Old Year, The Beginning of the New [reflections]

Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog, and for all of my fans dying to see my creative writing and razor sharp wit, I’m sorry! I’ve been busy with many things and lots of work just piled up on me, no doubt in part due to my procrastinatory nature. I apologize for not updating bi-weekly like I said I would, and it probably should return to normal soon, but I can’t guarantee anything, so bear with me!

With that said, I would like to talk to you about the end of the year. The end of the year is a special time in most people’s heart. It’s a time to both reflect on time past and think about planning ahead. Many people at this time decide to make resolutions to accomplish during the new year, but of course, most of these goals aren’t met. Oh well. I usually don’t make goals anymore, because what’s the point? You can make goals any time, which I decided to do.

Anyway, what do I think of the new year? Many things. Right now, I’m going through some…….issues. I will be fine, of course, and it’s nothing that’s life threatening or anything like that. However, there are things that I need to think about, things I need to do, and things I need to fix, and some of those things could potentially determine what happens to me and what I do from here on out. I won’t go into too many details here, but I will say that I pray that God will help me with these tough times and for Him to show me what I need to do. And thank you to all those who continually help me go on my way.

As I said, there are many things that I need to think about. However, it’s not all bad! There is a lot I look forward to as well. But before that, I just want to reminisce for a bit. This year has been……..intense. so many things that have happened, and many big changes, both to me and from me. I am no longer the shy kid I used to be. Of course, I am still shy, and it takes time to build self-confidence and social skills (that’s a topic for another time……..maybe). But every day, I work towards my goal to be a better person and be someone that can effectively communicate with my peers. I’ve also become happier. I still can be stubborn and moody, but I’ve managed to make those moments become less and less frequent, and instead been able to be a more calm and cheery person. I’m not a smiler, but I still can share my bit or mirth. As always, my friends have helped me achieve this goal, and so I am grateful, as well as to my family for their support and care. School’s been a blast, even though the work has been continuously been killer, and it’s mostly the physics/math classes. The rest of them are basically jokes. But alas, not everything can be easy. Either way, the fun I have at school makes the schoolwork all worth it. The time I’ve had with my friends have been one of the best times in my life. They are my family away from home and I trust them with things that I trust my family with. Well, there are things that remain with family, but that’s because of things which can really only be shared with family. Still, they are dear to me, and this is the first time I’ve felt so close to a group of former strangers. Before college I only had one best friend but I’m glad to say that I have more best friends now. Things at home have also gotten better. While relations with my parents aren’t the best, but they’ve improved dramatically, and now I think I have a better handle on how to understand and talk to them. Me and my sisters are still close and still help each other even though we fight sometimes. And above all, God has always been behind me, helping me when I’m most lost, so for that, I give Him eternal thanks. For this new year, I’m looking forward to many things, including some of the best times I’ll have in my life. I can’t wait to be one step closer to graduating college and yet I don’t want to leave. It’s all so strange, how life changes on you and in turn you change life. It really makes me think and internalize all that I’ve experienced, and I’m grateful for this chance to experience many things. As long as I keep growing and learning I will keep living and hoping for a better tomorrow and maybe one day I will finally grow into what I am meant to be. But for now, I’m still in the journey, and I want to make sure this journey is a good one.

I wish everyone out there a Happy New Year! May God bless all of you!!!!!!! Enjoy the new year and stay posted for more craziness!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Slang in My Head

Hey yo! This is the grand master v here, with some more knowledgeable tidbits! I figured, since I tend to talk weird in real life, I would explain just why I talk this way and what I say actually means. This is a small dictionary of what kind of slang I use on a day-to-day basis. Keep in mind that I come from NY, so much of the slang I use will be different from yours unless you also are from NY (SI REPRESENT). *cough**cough* Anyway, enjoy this educational post and maybe you can learn how to talk just like me!

[Note- all references come from urban dictionary so as to give an “official” source for my usage of these words.]


1. Overdose on a drug.

Now, this might seem like a weird to use in a day to day basis, since I know few, if any, people who do drugs. The way I use it, I say things like “The teacher od’ed on the hw”, which would make no sense if that’s all “od” meant. However, if you look down at definition 3:

3. Can be used as meaning of over dosage, usually with drugs. Now though in many urban areas "od" is now a term used when someone does something excessively.

With this new definition, you can see what exactly I mean when I say “the teacher od’d on the hw”. It can be contextual; that is, you can understand what “od” is referring to by the context. Say, you were talking about a guy who makes a lot of jokes. If your friend tells you “This guy made several jokes about white people” and you respond “It was funny, but he od’d”, you are saying that he went excessively on the jokes, not that he overdosed. Basically, “It was funny, but he od’d [on the jokes]”. People who are familiar with its usage usually understand you even if you say “You od” when responding to a comment such as “I hurt myself carrying those boxes”. To help you remember this usage of “od”, think about “over doing” and how “od” is an abbreviation of that. Pronounce it as “oh dee”.

1. Most predominantly used in the greater New York area, "mad" is an appropriate replacement for Northern California's "hella" and Boston's "wicked." In the common vernacular, it translates into "a lot" or "extremely." Can be used almost interchangeably with any of the above listed words.

That about basically sums it up. When someone says “that’s mad pasta” in reference to your enormous serving of baked ziti, they are saying that you have too much pasta on your plate. It is pretty common.

Dead Ass
1. To be completely and honestly serious.
A reply used by people who have been questioned on the truth of their comment.
To be truthful and not lie.
A truncation of the phrase "dead ass serious".

It’s another way to say “I’m serious”. When you say it, you usually are talking about something incredible or unbelievable. For example, if your cousin tells you he hooked up with the best looking girl in school, you would probably tell him to stop lying, in which case he would respond with “I’m dead ass”. It sounds a bit weird, but it seems to be related to “dead serious” in connoting a strong emotion of seriousness. As an aside, my cousins and I at home say “culo muerto” [culo- ass in Spanish, slang; muerto- dead in Spanish], mostly because it’s an inside joke and also because it sounds even more ridiculous, and a bit more vulgar.

1. Language invented by Snoop Dog, used to utterly confuse everybody who isn't an urban black rapper.

It’s either an ending or an insertion in words that make the word sound more “encoded”. If you know pig Latin, you can see the same principle at work here, although the root word is a lot more distinguishable than in pig Latin, so it should not be used as a secret language. For example, usage should be something like “What up, my homizzles [homies]”. If you are talking to people who are new to the usage, it is better to avoid making the word too truncated, although someone who is a frequent user can understand what words like “bizzles [bitches]” and “hizzles [ho’s]”. Not very common nowadays, but I use it because it sounds funny. (Notice my reasoning?)

4. 2.) mad/angry

A niche usage of “tight”. Usually, it refers to either dressing stylish, female genitalia, or being close friends (“I’m looking tight!” “That girl was so tight last night” “Me and my bro are tight”, respectively). I only heard this newer definition recently (in the past 3 years) from my cousins. I personally don’t use it often, if at all, because I tend to make fun of them by referring to the “female genitalia” definition of tight. Which of course, they object to. It’s no wonder why the other definitions on UB are so much higher up, since “tight” is used much more as the aforementioned definitions rather than the “mad” definition.

1. 1)crazy, cool, insane

Mostly everyone should know what this is. It’s pretty common to use “sick” in this way. I doubt I will need to clarify this one much.


No Mames
1. It's a mexican slang that has 3 meanings:

1. it's a vulgar or informal way to say "you're kidding"

2. it's a vulgar way to say "stop messing around"

3. sometimes can be used like saying "no way"

4. or when you're scared or desperate and you suddenly say "no mames" just because nervous or something like that and when you say that word is like saying "damn".

Common among Mexicans (as the definition states). Obviously, I use this among Spanish speaking people, so this type of slang usually waits until I’m at home or on the phone with my cousins. It’s a bit vulgar, and literally, it means “don’t suck”. “Mamar” is used in another expression, such as “mamame [suck me]”, and is usually used for insults.

1. Dude in Spanish. Correct spelling is actually "buey" but sounds like "guey" or "way" so it's just changed a bit. Literally means "ox", and is a negative term like "fool" or "ni**a" but it's used as a term of endearment more like "dude".

Just like how you would use “dude” or “guy”, although since the word is a bit more vulgar, I suggest you don’t use this around parents or other older family members. It can be used either to insult or just to show familiarity.

1. Pendejo is a spanish slang word for idiot, stupid or dumbass.

Straightforward word. Used to insult someone.

Puta Madre
1. The Peruvian style (mostly in the south) of expressing anger or disbelief. Sometimes people just say "puta" - although when you add "madre" after it makes the saying more explicit/severe.

(literally means: mom-whore - - chat abbv.: "pm")

In other words its a spanish version of how english speakers say "Holy Shit"

It is also used among Mexicans. You can use it to denote surprise, anger, a whole variety of emotions. Can be used to insult someone, and it is very effective in this endeavor.

1. In spanish "chinga" is basically like the word fuck. So it can be used chingado or other ways.

Used like the word “fuck”.

1. mexican, and latinoamarican equivalent for cock, the equivalente for penis is pene, verga is much more rude and offensive, verga can be also used as a surprise exclamation generally in a worried manner, verga can also be used to refer to someone that is exceptionally good at something, or used as a nonexistent place where you send somebody kind of like telling someone to go fuck himself or to fuck off

Commonly used. It is a vulgar word that should not be used in the company of older family members. Also has a variety of uses; for example, if you say “Me vale verga”, it literally means “it is worth cock [to me]” but its intended meaning is more akin to “I don’t care”. If you tell someone to “vete a la verga [to go to the cock]”, you’re telling them to “fuck off”.

1. Spanish translation for "ass"

Popular slang for “ass”, and the subject of Pitbull’s song of the same title.

So there you have it, the type of slang I use. I use a bit more Spanish slang because I hang around my cousins and family a bit more than with people in school, not to mention that we’re not accustomed to using slang that suburban people. Anyway, I enjoy using it because it sounds funny and it gives a different twist to my vocabulary, although I do realize that slang isn’t for everyone nor that it should be used in every situation; indeed, slang should only really be used when among close friends, and even then, to those who don’t mind vulgarity or such things. However, this guide is here to show the meanings of some of the words that I use in the hopes that you can get to know me a bit better to see where I’m coming from. So if I say something like “That’s od, she mad tight son”, you will know it means “You went overboard with the commentary, now she is fairly angry at you”, or “No mames, guey, I’m dead ass”, you will know that that is “No way dude, I’m completely serious” So for now, live, learn, love, and take care for next time!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Love [Reflections]

I’ve been wanting to do this kind of post for a while now. 1 Corinthians 13 happens to be my favorite passage in the Bible, and I think St. Paul wrote a beautiful explanation of God that really touches the soul. After seeing what St. Augustine did with the psalms (how he analyzed each one closely), I decided to try my hand. However, since my development in theology is still not perfected, I probably won’t do as good a job as he would have. My respects to Augustine.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

Paul is talking about how without love, you become just a noisemaker. Without passion behind your words, those words become empty. They become nothing more than noise. Even if you are giving a great message, it means nothing without love, almost as if it became a mockery of the message it was supposed to give, a big joke. To me, this seems to show that Paul believed love was a virtue that empowers us to live and to give meaning to what we do and what we say.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

He is emphasizing his previous point, even going so far as to say that miracles and knowledge are empty without love. What is the point of prophecies without love? What does knowledge matter to you if you are loveless? What use is there of a faith with no basis in love? It is a very strong view of love and attests to Paul’s belief in love being the highest virtue.

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

He goes on to make his point. If you give a sacrifice of yourself, but without love, that sacrifice becomes nothing. It means nothing, you learn nothing from it.

Love is patient, love is kind.

He goes on to describe what love is. Love is patient. Many people seem to not understand this. You can’t rush love or anything like that. I see that more and more people get married on whims as opposed to waiting, and then they get divorced. It makes me feel sad because they’re bringing so much hardship on themselves because they can’t wait. I believe as a Catholic that love (in the romantic sense) requires one to wait to have sex until marriage. I’m not going to go into that now, but I might for a later post, so for now let’s just say that I agree with the Church.

Love is kind. Love isn’t just some feeling that goes away or retreats when you’re mad or upset. When you love, you have understanding; you try to make things work. Kindness is an important part of love, because it shows that you are gentle, yet firm. You know how and when to use strength, and when to be soft.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

I know that when you love someone, you tend to be jealous. “She’s my girl”, “he’s my man”, stuff like that is common, and I can understand such sentiment. When you love someone, you want them all to yourself. At the same time, however, when emotions like those go to an extreme, they become hurtful. Things like paranoia and stalking can break an otherwise perfect relationship. True love knows when to be protective without passing the line into obsession.

When you’re also in love, you tend to show it. Like, you want to yell at the top of your lungs that you love a certain person. But love itself does not do that. When you love, you don’t brag about the person you’re in love with. And what’s more, people can see if you’re happy or not and so it becomes unnecessary when you’re in love, because your own feelings shine through if they’re positive ones. Love isn’t a show-off who delights in exalting itself, it is a feeling that shows itself through your joy.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not make you a grouch, but rather, I believe it makes you an overall happier person. When you love someone, it’s such a beautiful thing. Think back to how you were crushing on that cute girl or guy and how happy you got when you looked at them smile or when they complimented you. Now imagine that magnified a hundred-fold. Or possibly even more. You become someone who is happy, and happy people are usually nice.

Love is sacrificial. If there’s one thing love is not, it is definitely not selfish. Love only wants what’s best for the love one. Like Jesus on the cross, who died to save us from sin because of His love for us, when we love someone, we also do the same. Parents would do anything for their children, a man would do anything for his woman, a best friend would do anything for his/her best friend. Love makes you give of yourself, it does not take.

Love makes you more patients. Why? Because when you’re happy, you tend to become more resistant to pain or stress. You feel stronger and can take on more. You can be calm and think things through rather than go into a fury. Of course, when the person you love is in danger, your anger can come out, but that’s a different story. Love also doesn’t punish or keep grudges. When you love someone, you become more tolerant and more forgiving.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Love isn’t something that makes you do evil but rather is happy when the truth is known. As a positive virtue that comes from God (and indeed IS God), I believe that love orientates you closer to God. It wants you to become more like God and follow God in a better way.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

As mentioned above, when the life of the person you love is in danger, your love for them makes you do many seemingly impossible things to help them. You have the desire to help them, even at the cost of yourself. That is what makes love such a strong emotion, that it can go against natural human instincts such as greed and self-preservation. Love makes you more hopeful, makes you more able to wait for a better time. It is something that gives you strength to live on, even for that one special person.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

Paul here makes a point of saying that love never fails and then shows things that cease to exist. Love is something durable and eternal. Love is God, God is love, so of course, love also is eternal, like God! Prophecies are meant to be useful before the event prophesied happens, after that event the prophecy becomes useless. Languages also do not matter after a certain time, namely, after death. Even knowledge will mean nothing when there is nothing else to know in Heaven. However, love transcends all these.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

What does it mean to be a man? It means many things, but for me, one of those things is to be a defender and a righteous person. You mature, you grow, you live, you love. It is the same with a woman. Children sometimes do things without understanding the consequences of their actions or because they want to be in control. An adult does not have that luxury anymore. When I become a man, I can no longer afford to waste time, I have to be responsible, and no matter my wishing to postpone that, I know that the time for me to stand up on my own will come, and relatively soon at that. To put childish things is to leave behind your immature, foolish self and to finally embrace your role as a human being. This is a lesson that I know very well but still struggle to follow through fully. It is hard to do, but eventually we must all go through this path. Also note that being a “child” and “adult” do not necessarily correspond to age, but rather to mental development.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

As “children”, we are incomplete, as if we were looking at a poorly made mirror. However, once we grow, we become full, we are then able to see what we are with a full strength of dedication. Once we become full, we can know clearly, without hindrance, but with a new mentality and new clarity.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

The final declaration of Paul- the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and love. Out of all of these, he put love in the most exalted place. Love is something so much more than faith and hope. Sure, you believe in God and others, but without love, what does this believe really mean? Faith is complete in love, because without love, faith is just words. You can hope all you want, but without love, what are you hoping for? Hope becomes full in love because love gives you something to look forward to and it gives your hope meaning and strength. So, love. Love is the highest virtue we can possess. With love, everything becomes open, and we are able to enjoy God in all His majesty. God is Love.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and hope even more that this reflection has at least made you think about love and our place in love. As always, leave compliments/critiques/advice/anything else! Good night everyone, and let the Love of God embrace you all!

(On a side note, I wanted to explain more fully what my ideas of love are, but since this post is big enough, I guess it’s best to leave it for another time, probably sooner than later. Wait for it!)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Traveling [or: A Huge Hassle When I Have To Go Home For The Weekend]

Since last time was a bit on the heavy side, I wanted to talk about something more light hearted than death. Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of anything good and so I’ll just tell you about how I get home.

As I’m writing this, it’s 7:15 in the morning, and on the Staten Island Ferry, all tired, and a bit hungry, although the sandwich I brought with me mitigates that. Anyway, I am headed back to ‘Nova right now, and I still have……….about 3-4 hours left. For those who don’t know, I live in NYC, Staten Island, to be precise. And my school is in Pennsylvania. So you can imagine the hassle it takes to get there (of course, it’s a lot easier with a car, but since I don’t have one…) but what can you do, right? Well, Let me tell you how I ended up arriving home yesterday, since there isn’t much variation in my travel. In fact, I have it down like clockwork, which is good for me, cuz I hate wasting time on the road if I don’t need to.

12:50: Took the R5 train from Villanova to Market East Station in Philadelphia. Wait, no I didn’t, I ended up eating with my friends and was too lazy to leave after only eating 20 minutes. Lemme try it again.

1:50: The R5 train from Villanova to Market East Station in Philadelphia. There we go!

While on the train to Market East, I usually just stay bored, since I forget to bring anything to read or enjoy myself with. This time, I was lucky that I have a class on Augustine which requires me to read his Confessions, and since it was in my bag, I decided to get ahead and read book 4. After a while, I stopped, then just listened to my iPod. Not bad.

2:25: Got off the R5 at Market East and took the 2:30 Chinatown bus to New York City.

This is probably the tightest part of the trip. I usually make it to Philly with enough time to get to the Chinatown bus. But if I missed the bus, I would have to wait half an hour in a neighborhood that I don’t know, which sucks. I take this time on the Chinatown bus to text some people about what’s going wrong with my weekend and then promptly fall into my usual habit on the Chinatown bus, which is taking a nap. Let me tell you, for some reason, my right knee always hurts because I can never get into a comfortable position on those seats and my right knee always juts out into the seat in front of me.

4:17: Got off the Chinatown bus near the subway 1 stop in……..I believe Franklin St. in Manhattan. Takes the 1 to South Ferry Terminal.

For some reason, the bus usually stops near this station right after getting out of the Holland tunnel, but hey, it works. I was listening to my iPod but unfortunately the subway is louder than MODERN STRANGE COWBOY (J-rock song with Engrish) so my ear usually take a beating here. I decide that pausing the iPod momentarily will be more beneficial than keeping it on. The train itself is kind of packed, but it’ home. Or close to home, w/e. Anyway, I take the 1 and end up at South Ferry, which let me remind you, is all new. They redid (or more like made a new subway stop) and it look SOOOOOO nice. Everything is new, the walls, the stairs, everything. And so clean.

4:28: Got off the 1 train at South Ferry and boarded the Staten Island Ferry.

The ferry was kind of late today. Or, I actually think it was rush hour or something, cuz it seemed like it left at 4:45 as opposed to 4:30. Fine with me though, I really didn’t feel like waiting a half hour for another ferry. So I board the ferry and crank the iPod with some more J-pop. There are no seats near the front of the ferry, so I sit out in the dock, where I get the fresh air, and also some sun, which burns.

5:10: Got off the Staten Island Ferry and took the s78 to my house.

FINALLY!!!! After traveling in like a billion different vehicles, I arrived at a most familiar sight- the Staten Island bus. I took the bus, using the transfer I neglected to tell you that I got from the subway. I feel that I can relax now, because from here on out I know I’m home.

5:25 Goff off the s78 and made it to my house.

Home- where the food is, because this whole trip made me hungry, and you trippin’ if you don’t think I’m going to eat right away after traveling with no food. Said hi to my mom, then to my dad, then ate some steak and potato sautéed thingamagig with ham in it. Oh, and some salad. The potatoes were spicy, but damn if I wasn’t going to eat the anyway. Pretty much I did nothing while I was at home, which makes you wonder why I even WENT home. That…….is a secret! Although if it’s any consolation, I did in fact waste my time at home because what I had to do wasn’t due till November, and some people at my house cannot read dates *COUGH*hermanas*COUGH*.

Stressful, right? It took me a while to get everything down to minutes and seconds, but it usually doesn’t take more than 4 hours to get home. However, going back…….ugh. I mean, yea, just do everything in reverse, but some things are different.

For example, when I go back to school, everything goes smoothly until………….I get to Philly. This time, I had the misfortune of the R5 train stopping their service because some electricity failure or some crap. Fine, there’s another way to school, the R100 line. However, I had to go to 69th Street station on the Market-Frankfurt line (or something like that) to get there, which required me to use MONEY to buy tokens to get onto the line. Thankfully, it wasn’t far from the Market East station, but it was annoying. I get to 69th, and lo and behold, the train just left. I have to wait 20 more minutes to catch another R100. And then I get on, but OH NO! The train stops moving because of ANOTHER failure. Whatever, I get to school 2 hours later. Keep in mind that I left my house at 6-30 so I can get to Villanova by 11. But nooooooooooooo, SEPTA had to be dumb and cause delays. I’m glad I got that off my chest.

But in all seriousness, the scheduling of the R5 on Sundays practically guarantees me waiting 40 minutes, since their trains don’t come until every 40, so if I get to Philadelphia around 11:56, I have to wait for the 12:40 train. It could be worse though, I could not have a way to get there.

And there you have it, the wonders of mass transit and traveling to and fro the best city in the world *cough*NYC*cough*. I hope you had fun learning about my travel plans, and if not, meh. See ya next week! Maybe I should talk about happier things than mass transit…

Oh, and I finished this blog post at 12:17 on Sunday, because I got lazy lol. Yea.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Death and Dying: Part 2

Part 2 of this blog post will consist of me talking about my ideas about dying, Heaven, and Hell. Remember, these are my ideas, so feel free to give comments on how to improve them!

So what I do I think about death? It is an unfortunate consequence of life, but something that we cannot avoid. However, it is not something that represents an “end”, but rather, a “beginning”. Death is sad for those who stay behind, and indeed, may even be sad for those who leave this Earth, maybe regretting not going on that vacation with their kids or buying that car they really wanted. However, I don’t think that we should focus so much on the fact that the person “died” and they can’t participate in the human experience anymore. Rather, we should realize that they are in a better place, where there is no pain, and be happy that they no longer have to experience suffering (this is, of course, assuming that they go to Heaven as envisioned in Christianity). Though it is normal to grieve for a departed one, we must not let that grief consume us. After all, we would want our loved ones to be happy even without us, or at least when I die, I want those whom I left behind to remember me fondly and for them to live life with happiness, despite me not being there anymore. One day, we are to join them, so why not wish them the best? Let them go with no worries.

Now, what does that death represent? As I said before, it is a beginning. But a beginning to what? In the Christian tradition, whenever someone dies, if they have lived a good life and die with no sin, then their soul goes to Heaven. If they die as a bad person, with sin, then their soul goes to Hell. Simple, right? Not exactly. Catholics also believe in a Purgatory, which is where souls go when they aren’t evil enough to go to Hell yet are not quite saintly enough to go to Heaven. Some may scoff at this idea, especially Protestants, but the existence of Purgatory can be supported with scripture. Anyways, you can think of Purgatory as a car wash. You are clean for the most part, you just need to get rid of the few blemishes you may have. That’s what Purgatory is.

What is Hell? Hell is the evolution of the idea of Sheol, except that in Hell, souls are tortured. Or at least that’s the preconception of Hell that everyone believes. I have come to shy away from that idea, simply because the implications of an all-loving God who would also willingly torture non-believers and sinners in such a way to be disturbing, to say the least. Thanks to several people and some inner thinking, I have come to see Hell not as a place of torture, but as an existence where the evil soul experiences pain because they realize they have deprived themselves of God’s presence. In a way, I am starting to think of Hell almost as Sheol- a place where you simply don’t “exist”. This would also sort of explain God’s omnipresence with the fact that Hell is supposed to be the complete presence of God. And what better place for God not to be present in is “non-existence”? These ideas still need thought and are subject to revision, but for now, this is what I believe.

What is Heaven? Heaven is the complete presence of God. You are there, with Him, near Him, as a part of Him. You’re surrounded by God. You will no longer experience pain or sorrow anymore. This is an eternal existence, so it is practically impossible to describe how eternity feels. What happens when you enter Heaven? Since Heaven is a place where you experience existence in eternity, then once you “go” there, everyone who was, is, and will be going into Heaven is already there. Basically, it’s like everyone went into the same time. It’s a bit confusing to think about. With that said, I believe Heaven is the best place to be, because there you are with the source of Love itself, God. At that point, you give yourself completely to Him, and you let Him live in you as you live in Him.

As I take more of this class and learn more, I will continue to develop my ideas and improve my theological thinking. For now, have fun, and don’t forget to stay tuned to this blog!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Death and Dying: Part 1

It’s time for another blog post! Despite the laziness, I fight hard to bring you this little insight into my mind. Today I want to talk about death. I will write it in two parts, and today I present part 1.

YES………death. The one constant thing that happens to all humans, and indeed, all life (some would argue taxes are also a part of that, but you can live without taxes- I’ll tell you in a later post [citation needed]). Why? Well, since I am taking a class on death and dying, I decided to tell you a bit of what I’ve learned, as well as some ideas that I have on the matter.

Death- what is it? It is the ending of life? Well then, what is life? Life is the process of existing, the state of being able to reproduce, eat, drink, move, feel, hate, love. To define life and death is a tricky thing, since biologically speaking, it is a bit more straightforward that explaining it in theological or philosophical terms. So, returning to life and death. Death is something powerful, able to reach both rich and poor, strong and weak, saint and sinner. But how exactly did death, the idea, develop? How exactly did people think about death and after death?

For the Jews, they envisioned death as almost a non-existence. When a person died, they went to Sheol, which is translated usually as “hell” in our Bibles. Sheol was where everyone went, no exceptions. And what happened there to you? Nothing. You were basically nothing. God could not hear you; it is like screaming and wailing at someone while in a soundproof room. The inhabitants of Sheol are just there, like shadows. However, this idea of “after-life” went along with a belief that the good get their rewards while alive, and the bad get their punishment. When their history was starting to become unbearable to the Jews, they began to question their ideas on the afterlife. However, they still held on to their idea of earthly reward/punishment Later on, the Jews began to be exiled and conqured over and over again. In this time period, the book of Job was written, which explained the story of Job and how his faith was tested, and how he was rewarded for his strong faith. However, the idea of death and afterlife was going to change soon.

By the time of the book of Daniel, a new image of afterlife was present. And a new concept of “resurrection” came about. For the Jews living in the time of Jesus, they would be able to hear about how there would be a resurrection at the end of days, that the loyal followers will go up in Heaven, body and spirit, into Heaven, uncorruptible. And that idea has persevered to this day. However, this evolution of death and afterlife has lead us to separate our concepts of “body” and “soul”, as almost being at odds with each other. This is an idea that the Jews and probably the Christians of the 1st century would not have had. The Jews believed that you lived not as a composite body-soul but just as a “person”, that what made you, you, was not contained in a “soul” but rather was a part of you, IN you. The idea of soul came from the Greeks, in particular from the writings of Plato and Socrates. From there, this idea spread to Christianity, and influenced how we consider the concept of resurrection. So what inevitably does get resurrected? Before today, I would say that the body and soul join again, and that the body becomes “better”, but now I’m not sure. This will lead me to reevaluate what I believe about resurrection.

Part 2 comes tomorrow!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Anime and Manga Review: Part 2

First off, I would like to tell you that I probably will no longer be updating my blog on a weekly basis. I have entered school for the year, and either I will start getting lots of work or I will be distracted, probably both. So I think it’s best if I just warn you that I will probably be updating the blog every two weeks as opposed to every week.

So now, I decided to make part two of my anime and manga review.


Code Geass:
One of my favorite anime series, ever. A fairly new show, it started in 2006 and ended in 2008, after being split into two 26 episode seasons. The story is about a fellow called Lelouch Lamperouge, who takes care of his blind and crippled sister Nunnally. They live in Japan, or as the ruling power over Japan calls it, Area 11. The world is shaped by three power blocs, the Holy Britannian Empire, the Chinese Federation, and the Euro Universe. Britannia is slowly taking over the world and Japan is one of their newest acquisitions. After a fateful encounter with a childhood friend named Suzaku, Lelouch faces a near-death situation, until a mysterious woman named C.C. (pronounced C2) gives him the power of “Geass”, which lets him give people an absolute command, which they must obey. As Lelouch is revealed to hold a grudge toward Britannia, and is actually a Britannian prince, the story follows his struggle to take over Britannia for his sister and for the sake of a better world. This show combines mecha action with school comedy and dramatic elements. Overall, I very much enjoyed it, and apparently many people did too, since it has garnered several awards. The mecha action was good and unique, while not being overpowered, although the second season brings the mechas more from real robot to super robot territory. There are many interesting characters, most notable of them Lelouch and Suzaku, and especially their rivalry and clash of ideals. Other fan favorites include C.C. and Jeremiah Gottwald. The comedy episodes at their school are also fun and give a break from all the tension of fighting and drama. There is also some fanservice, just to let you know. I would give this series a well deserved 9.5 out of 10. I recommend this show to everyone, since it has a bit of everything. It also is compared a lot to Death Note and other such shows.

Gurren Lagann: A show coming from 2007, it is also a newer title but also one that is immensely popular, and one of the latest super robot shows available. It starts with Simon and Kamina, two friends from the same underground village. When a giant robot ends up inside their village, a young woman named Yoko barges in and rescues them. Then, Simon beats the robot using a tiny mech he found underground. It turns out that there are many underground villages, like the one Yoko comes from. From there, the three of them assemble a ragtag group of allies to explore the surface and figure out the truth about their situation, all the while fending off giant robot attacks called Gunmen using their own robot they stole, renaming it Gurren. When Simon’s small mech, called Lagann, fuses with the Gurren, they form the Gurren Lagann. Eventually stuff happens, with big explosions and awesome fast paced mecha fights. The story is not too heavy on the drama, and is mostly about courage and strength. The fights are basically won through who has the most determination to win. I liked this show a lot, and it kept me fairly entertained. There is a bit of fanservice in this show, mostly from Yoko, but it gets toned down as time goes on. It’s also fairly short, only being 27 episodes. I would recommend this show to anyone who likes watching giant robots beat the crap out each other and who like watching really cool things happen. Two words: GALAXY SHURIKENS. I give this show a 9 out of 10.


Beelzebub: This is a new title, with only 26 chapters out, yet it seems like a good manga to start reading and catch up on on a weekly basis. It starts with Tatsumi Oga, who is a delinquent at his high school and good friends with Furuichi Takayuki, although Oga usually treats Furuichi a bit rough. One day, however, Oga meets a woman named Hildegard, who prefers to be called Hilda, and carrying a child, Kaiser de Emperana Beelzebub IV (known as Baby BL for short). She entrusts Baby BL to Oga because Baby BL is actually the son of the Devil King and needs a human to fully develop his demon powers. Soon, the school’s four strongest people try to take Oga down one by one, while he worries about Baby BL and the pact he now has with him developing. It sounds like a very actiony series, but it’s actually full of comedy. The fights don’t last long, although as of recent events it’s heading into more action territory. Right now though, it is more of an action-comedy manga. I got into it a while ago after seeing some recommendations for a new and original manga, and so far I enjoy reading it weeky. For people who like humorous stories and some action thrown in, Beelzebub is right for you, especially with all of Oga’s and Baby BL’s antics. A solid 8 out of 10.

Onani Master Kurosawa:
This is a story about a lonely middle schooler named Kurosawa. He has a specific ritual he does every day at school, until the day he’s almost caught… In his third year, events occur that force him to make choices that change both his thoughts on people but also his outlook on life. At first, when I heard about this manga, I was like, “what”? It turns out, onani means “masturbation”. At first, a title like that might be off-putting. However, I heard some great things about the story, and so I ventured into it. As it turns out, it’s a surprisingly good story. At first, he goes and does his activity, but then a girl named Kitihara finds his secret and uses him to “punish” those who bully her, like one of the school bullies named Sugawa. As Kurosawa finds himself becoming a tool for revenge, he all of a sudden starts to get closer to Takigawa Magistel, a beautiful girl who makes him slowly but surely change subtley his life. And then disaster strikes. Telling you anymore would be spoilers! Seriously, this is an unexpectedly good story. Many people have said it’s a parody of Death Note that later develops into a compelling story. At only 31 chapters, it’s not a great time consumer. Even though the title sounds weird, it is still a very good story that you should at least consider reading it. I give this an 8.

There we have it folks! Tune in next time for some more goodness from my brain!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Magic and Me

And now for something completely different.

I’m going to take a break from all the theology and seriousness for today and tell you guys about one of my new hobbies, Magic. Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game that has a long established history and is probably the biggest one today. However, I am a newbie to the history, so I won’t be retelling it here. Instead I’ll tell you a bit about MY history with the game.

How did I get into Magic? Good question. It all started with my friends from school. Two of my friends were playing a card game called Magic. I’ve heard about it but never got into it. However, I knew how fun card games can be, since I was an avid Yu-Gi-Oh! player. Anyway, I continued observing them play. Soon, a third friend got into it (or rejoined the fray), and pretty soon I was intrigued more and more. I didn’t want to get into it yet, since I know I tend to go overboard with these things, but I decided to keep an open mind. All I remember is that they had fun playing and making references about it. This all happened in freshman yea, if I’m not mistaken. At the end of freshman year, a fourth friend got into it, and soon I began wondering if I should join them.

Sophomore year rolled around and as I saw my four friends playing Magic, it made me want to play even more. One day I decided to play a game with two of my friends, using a deck loaned from a third. Apparently, the deck I used was a hard one to master, and I ended up making several fatal mistakes. But the funny part was that I actually won. Why? Because both of my friends made a silly mistake at the end, which lead to my victory by default. However, I had no idea what I did at all during the game, so I decided to practice more on different occasions, as well as read up on the rules a bit.

Around Christmas, I had a small grasp on the game, and decided, why not? I looked for what I thought was the best cards. Because of the way I thought the game functioned, I was lead to believe that life gaining was fairly important. I had noticed that the game makes you start with 20 life, but with so many spells that can either chip away at it, or the sheer number of monsters that can attack you, that I felt padding my life total would lead to successful victories. I bought an Eventide deck, Life Drain, and a Guildpact one, called Code of the Orzhov, as well as a Reya Dawnbringer. I bought those two decks because first, I wanted cards that gave me life, and second, because I was fascinated with black and white, and especially hybrid black/white cards. My goal was to make a angel/demon deck, but since most angels are expensive mana-wise, and the demons had detrimental effects, I decided that it would not be a good idea for a beginner. I also ended up buying two Tenth Edition decks, the white one with a Cho Manno (or Bro Manno, as we refer to him in these here parts) and the black one with
Ascendant Evincar. However, out of all the cards I got (and trust me, getting four decks was going a bit overboard for a beginner), the one I fell in love with was this one: Divinity of Pride. Bar none, this is my favorite card in all of Magic. Out of the four decks I bought, I made my very first deck, a life gain deck. This is my baby, and still my strongest one, striking fear into the hearts of my friends whenever I play them.

At first, it was a bit rocky. My deck was good, and it won a fair amount of games, but the problem was it was just too slow. Many of my cards are mana intensive and my mana sources were less than adequate. I kept tweaking it until it now works reasonably well and quick enough to withstand several deck types, and occasionally pulling some quick wins itself. Out of all my decks, it is still my best one, and also my favorite. I decided to then make a discard deck, since I liked that effect for some reason. This is the first deck I made from scratch, and dropped quite a bit of money on it. It now no longer exists, but part of it is now one half of another deck I have. The discard deck was good, but not as good as my life gain, and it was also too slow to be effective.

My third deck is another black one, with a focus on reanimation. I only had Dread Return as my reanimation card, but it worked quite well. This deck was not as fast as I would have liked, but still fast enough to pull off the Dread Return/Spirit of the Night. It also had a lot of removal. This deck was really fun to play with. This is also the time when I started noticing my shift towards more black, but I still liked playing with white. For some reason, blue’s counterspells annoyed me, as did green’s creature army and red’s burn spells. So I kept to white and black. This is also the time when I started trying to collect the spirit avatars from Shadowmoor/Eventide. Even now, I am missing only two. Well, you know how Divinity is my favorite card, but Demigod of Revenge comes close. Such a ridiculously good card.

My fourth deck was a deck I made for pity, since I felt bad for red, blue, and green, and I have three of the spirit avatars that, because of their color combination, were completely unusable to me otherwise- the Deus of Calamity, the Overbeing of Myth, and the Dominus of Fealty. The deck was kind of bad, but still pretty fun to play with. I also started noticing that I had way too many cards.

I currently have about 10 decks, mostly since I also bought the Divine vs Demonic duel decks and have a big collection of cards. The demon deck in particular is probably my second best deck, and also my fastest. I got lucky I managed to get four Demigods, which make this deck oh so deliciously fun to use. The presence of Demonic Tutor is pretty nifty as well. I also have a colored artifact deck with is pretty fun to use, although I would like it to win more often.

Well, as you can see my story comes to an end right now. I am now a pretty decent player, and can pretty much hold my own against my friends and then some. And for those of you whom I will play against, watch out because the life gain deck is getting a bit of an upgrade. Watch for it!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Characteristics of God

Before I begin, if you have any comments/suggestions/corrections on my prior entry to this blog, then by all means, tell me! It’s always good to expand on ideas to make them better.

Also, I apologize for my lateness, something came up that required my attention.

Now, let us continue, shall we?

I think I want to expand on my idea from last week by explaining how exactly this model can work in explaining not only Jesus’ dual nature, but also His characteristics. Let’s start with God nature.

Characteristics of God (Christian):
omniscience (all-knowledge), omnipotence (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present), omnibenevolence (all-loving), incorporeal (having no physical body), atemporal (timeless), perfection, and eternal/necessary existence. For the sake of this argument, I can only use the attributes that are physical in nature, seeing as how science is a study of physical things, and as such is not useful in studying things like omnibenevolence, for instance. The attributes I will talk about are omnipresence, atemporal, and being incorporeal.


How would I explain this? Omnipresence is the all-present attribute of God. But how can God be present in all places at all time? Well, physically, you can consider God to be a particle, a quantized God if you will. If God is a particle, then He can then be described by a “wave function”. The boundaries for this particular wave function, however, is the boundaries for the known universe. In essence, the probability of finding the “quantized God” inside the boundary of the universe is 100%. He will always be inside the universe. This by itself does not show His omnipresence. But what if I were to say that since God is infinite, He cannot be confined to a “quantized” shape? In that case, God would be a “quanta” of infinite size. Which would make Him be in all places in all times in the known universe. Never mind the philosophical/theological implications for now; I may revisit them on a later date.


Atemporalness is the attribute of God to remain outside of time. How can God feel no time? Well, it makes sense, seeing as how if He created the universe, He also needed to create time, and thus, needed to be outside of time. But how? If God were to be in a state of being which He moved at light speed, then He can be in zero time. At the speed of light, time stops. In God’s case, He would feel no time, and thus would be eternal.


Incorporeal is the attribute of not having a physical body. This seems a bit easier than the others. You can’t “touch” light, can you? And yet, light has the power to cause change. In the same way, God also cannot be “touched”. God has no material body (other than Jesus), so He is therefore incorporeal.

As I said before in a comment, many, if not most, of Christianity cannot be explained via scientific analogy. However, if there is a possible connection, I will try to make it. Again, sorry for the tardiness.

And again, if there is anything wrong with the doctrine or science aspect of this, tell me so I can correct my mistake!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Quantum Jesus

First, I would like to say that this post is one of the reasons why I made this blog. I wanted to share ideas like this to people, so that I would both have an outlet for them, and for people to help me develop these ideas further. This particular idea of mine occurred to me quite a while ago, while I was part of a forum discussing religion and philosophy. I decided that an interesting way to explain Christian doctrine would be through scientific principles, and thus, this idea was born. And yes, it's early.

This particular idea of mine will require knowledge of particle-wave duality and the Hypostatic Union. I will explain these in order for my idea to make sense.

Particle-Wave Duality

Particle-wave duality is a tricky concept in quantum mechanics. To explain this phenomenon, I will use the photon, the basic light “particle”. The beginnings for this conflict can be said to be during the 1660s. Sir Isaac Newton established a theory of particle light, which he used to explain reflection. Christiaan Huygens developed a theory of wave light, which he used to explain concepts like diffraction and interference. While this theory worked well enough, due to Newton’s prestige, Huygens’ model was ignored for a while, until it was apparent that Newton’s model was insufficient in explaining diffraction with a particle model of light. Experiments done by Thomas Young and Augustin-Jean Fresnel, like the double slit experiment, only added to the evidence for the Huygens theory of light. Soon enough, his theory of wave light was accepted as the correct one. James Clerk Maxwell and his equations of electromagnetic radiation solidified the wave model of light with concrete evidence, both theoretical and experimental.

However, this model of light could not explain things like the photoelectric effect, and so they were lost, until a little known man named Albert Einstein came along, and using Max Planck’s theory of quantized energy, proposed that light existed in discreet packets of energy (called “quanta”), which can be considered “particles” of sorts. Then scientists were in a dilemma. Einstein’s explanation only works if light is treated as a particle, but only the wave model could explain diffraction and interference. Which was right? Then a scientist named Louis-Victor de Broglie created the de Broglie hypothesis, which states that matter has wave properties as well. After being confirmed by several experiments, scientists needed to find an answer to their problem. When the creation of quantum theory was complete, it was necessary to adopt the consequences of both theories. Therefore, light could only be reasonably explained if it contained properties of waves and properties of particles. Of course, only one of these properties can be seen at any one time, depending on what you are testing for.

Hypostatic Union

The Hypostatic Union is one of the most central doctrines for Christians. It is the official term to denote the nature of Jesus Christ as both fully human and fully divine. This doctrine began in order to explain the nature of Christ. At that time, there were several Christian sects who either believed Christ was only human, only divine, or two entities. The sect we are dealing with, which would become the Roman Catholic/Orthodox and other derivative churches, set up a meeting to define what not only Jesus was, but also other important doctrinal issues. The Trinity was decided to be three realities/persons (hypostases) in one essence (ousia). The idea to apply a similar idea to Jesus first came from Apollinaris of Laodicea. However, his work was seen as somewhat heretical, since he believed that Chirst’s human and divine natures become one hypostasis, one reality. Another thinker, Theodore of Mopsuestia, argued that Christ was instead dual natured, being both human and divine, with two hypostases, or two realities. The Chalcedonian Creed, which was created at the Council of Chalcedon, compromised. Christ was dual natured, but at the same time was one person. He would exist in one reality (hypostasis). With this, the modern doctrine of the Hypostatic Union came about, with Christ being both man and God in one Person, one of the Three Persons of the Godhead.

Quantum Jesus

But how can this be? How can Jesus be both God and man? Isn’t that impossible? Well, this is where quantum physics comes into play. Remember light? Light demonstrates both wave and particle properties; it can be said to be both (Technically, this is not quite right, but the point I’m trying to make applies). If you can consider light being both a particle and a wave, then it also becomes reasonable to see how Jesus can be both a human and a God. Think about it. Jesus exhibits “human” properties like having a physical body, eating, drinking, and having emotions. On the other hand, He also has “God” properties like the power to resurrect people, controlling the weather, knowing future events, and healing. Like light, Jesus exhibits properties from His dual natures. You could say He is the true “God Particle”.

I hope I will at least make you ponder about God and His nature. Also, if you have any corrections on the science/doctrine part, or have any ideas for any future works/improvements on this one, then feel free to comment.

Most of my information came from the various wikipedia pages.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

God and His Biggest Fan [Intermission]

The Alpha and the Omega………..the Beginning and the End………..Lord of Lords, King of Kings. These are just some of the titles given to the Christian God. However, even all these names, I feel, fail to convey how I feel about him. As a Catholic, there is something majestic about God, especially when at a Mass with beautiful music and a wondrous church to worship in. God for me is something that is not able to be expressed in words, someone who has always stood by me even when the world abandoned me.

It’s weird, because I decided to write this as soon as I came out of church just a while ago. I had been feeling a bit sick today, not to mention tired from traveling a lot. I almost missed Mass due to me being somewhere else; however, I made it. I almost thought I would fall asleep, but thank goodness I didn’t. For some reason, I felt more alive in church, almost as if being there was giving me strength, not only to stay awake, but for me to continue on living. I always like that feeling that going to Mass gives me, that feeling of hopefulness and strength. I just feel so alive right now. It is really hard to explain unless you yourself are a believer, but I’m sure that whatever belief you believe in (or lack of) , you have your own set of beliefs that make you feel happy. I just wanted to tell someone how I felt, I guess. It felt really good, and it's been a while since something has given me a feeling like how i felt the past hour.

For me, I was just grateful to God for giving me at least this hour to talk to Him and worship Him and for Him to give me grace and calm in my heart.

I will use this short blog post to announce that pretty soon I will have more free time to write more serious blogs, about theology, philosophy, and the life. Consider this an “intermission”. Maybe one of those posts will be about how my belief in God came to be, and how it has evolved. For now, all I can say is, have patience for me. Of course, I will also talk about non-important but interesting things. Now though, I want to start really taking my ideas to flight. Continue supporting me if you are, and if you’re not, start now! I promise you won’t regret it!

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Well, since I have nothing good to write about today (well I do, just that nothing really comes to mind that requires urgent telling), I will talk a bit about some pictures that I made. Of course, I didn’t really make them, I just masterfully used Photoshop to edit these scans and/or add some more special effects on them. I have quite a creative side, but since my artistic skills are unfortunately subpar, I can’t quite make my imagination reality via a paper medium. That is why I have taken to computer editing of images, since I can take a pre-drawn image and make it better looking. My goal is to actually draw some of my characters that I have made up and THEN edit them to look even better. But alas, that dream will have to wait.

So without further ado, let me demonstrate my art!

First off, this is my first image that I managed to edit:

As you can see, it is a bit plain. Of course, I was but a mere beginner at that stage (even though I still am kind of a beginner….), but even then I showed my flair for…..flair? Anyway, this took me about a day to shop. Since I was trying to learn how to do special effects like the glowing and feathering, it took a while to look up the steps on tutorials. For a first work though, it was relatively good, I would say. The reason why it is so small height wise is because I wanted to make it into a signature for a forum that I used to go to (the forum no longer exists).

The second one I did was a bit more fun, since it was completely random and just for me:

This here is Jeremiah Gottwald, the most LOYAL man ever. While my first one featured Lelouch, since that was my avatar on the site, this one was inspired because of one of my friends. During one of my more boring classes, I just goofed off, so one day I showed him something that Jeremiah did at the end of Code Geass (you know Jeremiah came from CG, right? RIGHT?!?!?!?! I kid.) and I said a catchphrase that is spoken ever so often in CG- “YES, YOUR MAJESTY”, in all it’s Engrishy glory. This become a small inside joke, and for some reason, I decided that making another sig would be a good idea. I made this one like, two days after the previous one. It’s a bit more intricate than the first one, simply because I felt like I knew what I was doing. This one also took about a day and a half. I added some nice orange background because everyone knows that orange is the color of LOYALTY. Just in case you were wondering, the LOYAL thing is a CG joke among the fanbase. It came out a bit nicer than the other one, even though I’m more partial to blue and black.

Then the third one:

Oh boy. I made this one right after the previous one (see the pattern? Also, I feel like I’m abusing the parentheses too much). This makes three sigs in a week, not a bad pace, except when you have tons of homework. Anyway, this was inspired because of Gundam 00, which was one of my favorite shows at the time. I think season 2 was still running. The main character, Setsuna, was featured here along with his first Gundam, the Exia. I am still planning on making another one with the 00 Raiser, but as of yet have not found good scans of the 00 Raiser or have just been too lazy. This one is a lot more detailed than my previous two attempts. I used 3 pictures, which are all very annoying to trim, and then applied several different effects, like textures and Gaussian blurs, to make them look like that. I also made the blue background as opposed to shamelessly ripping off other people. All in all, looks a lot better and more pro than my other two ones. This one took almost three days, as opposed to the other ones. Wow. After this one and the time consumed making these, I decided to take a break.

This is Lelouch, in a dramatic pose:

The fourth one I have is actually designed to be a desktop. I liked the CG desktops that I had, but I wanted one that looked REALLY nice, so I decided, hey why not? After all, it was a while since I hadn’t shopped anything. So I began with cropping a previous Lelouch background with him doing the pose as you see here, then making his color more vibrant with the brightness/contrast settings. Then, make him glow a bit, and voila! he’s done! For the background, I wanted something darker than the old one, so it occurred to me to get an image of the Hubble deep field and make it all blue. Making the galaxies shiny via the Gaussian blur method made them look crappy, so I only did minimal blurring. Then I just added the two words you see and I finished. This actually took not all that long, most of the work went into the cropping. It now sits on my desktop, after a few slight tweaks.

The last one I have here is the one I finished about two weeks ago:

It features the Gawain, Lelouch’s personal Knightmare Frame (read: gigantic robot). The design of the Gawain is so appealing to me; the black and gold go well together, plus the Hadron cannons it has on its shoulders and the way it makes that hanging arms pose. For this one, I decided to go all out, or as all out as I could. I daresay it is a masterpiece. I added glow to the Gawain with blur, fixed the coloring, and added a glow to its flight pack by making a separate green ellipse that I placed over the original image (those green things glow more than before because of the green ellipses.) I even found a way to make the words glow! Wow, I’m nice. However, I blanked out on ideas for a background. I asked some friends, and they gave me the idea for the Pleiades, so I went with it. After tweaking the sisters, and adding a blue moon I cropped and shopped (heh heh, that rhymes), I was done. That one took two days; however, it was a lot better than any of the ones before. Very nice. I feel as if my skills are getting better. Unfortunately I ran out of ideas, so maybe if you, the readers, could be so kind enough to give me some?

Don't forget to check on more pics coming soon.

Once again thanks for reading, and see ya next week! That is, if the laziness doesn’t strike again…

Saturday, July 11, 2009

SPECIAL EDITION: The Many Uses of “Bro”- The Life of Bro, As Told by The Philosophers Over a Game of Magic

Before I begin, I must give a shout out to the funny people on the Persona 4 forum who coined many words with the word “bro” in it (at least, as far as I know…..) A lot funnier if you know the story of the game. Oh, and the MTV show “Bromance” which gave me my first exposure to all things “bro”.

Interesting times I had today, with some of my friends, all while we were enjoying a nice peaceful game of Magic: The Gathering (and by peaceful, I mean a raucous occasion of yelling, cursing, and merrymaking). It started out innocently enough, with me using my supreme Life Gain deck (patent pending) while my friends used their various decks against each other. As we played a game and made jokes, the topic of “bro” came up. I had earlier named one of my friends (who was Ronald, a very cool bro)"Bronald". At that point, my friends decided to dub me “Bronicio” (since my name is Vinicio). After switching to a bigger table to play a game of Allies, we decided to pause for a bit and watch “I’m on A Boat” by the Lonely Island (the same ones who sung the hit “Jizz in My Pants”) and laugh for a bit. Then, game time. I started out with some good cards, and I was setting up my eventual combo of gaining life out the wazoo. I played Goldenglow Moth. My good friend Aaron, in a moment of spontaneity, decided to dub my card “Goldenbro Moth”, to which we laughed heartily. A while later, he played one of his best cards- Blowfly Infestation, which he gave the moniker “Brofly Infestation”, which resulted in us losing it. From then on, we incorporated “bro” into several aspects of the game, like Brotivore (Mortivore) and having the browalk ability (referencing landwalk). It was a fun set of games, and it made for lots of laughs and great memories. As we were bro-ing our day away, it felt like a good bonding experience, not to mention the relaxation of the weekend combined with our favorite pastime Magic.

Today, we went to the beach. But before that, we needed to eat breakfast, and I needed to wake up. As I stuggled to get up, I carried myself to the only dining hall on campus available to us to meet my bro Aaron. While we talked on the way to the parking lot, we chatted about our many uses of “bro” that we had coined prior, and added Brogenitus (Progenitus), with protection from other bros as an ability, to more laughter. As we departed for the beach, he went in the other car while I rode with my friends Jared and Kyle. Fun times. So I fell asleep due to sleeping so late from the Magic last night, and when I woke up, we had lost the other car. Long story short, we caught up with them, and convinced Aaron to join the Bro Patrol. We got to the beach and enjoyed our time there. As we basked in the sun, we witnessed our fellow bros in the air, the brogull (seagull). There was a whole bunch of brogulls who were valiantly fighting to fly through the currents. We even spotted the legendary Elder Brogull, who distinguished himself by his royal brown coloring and his personal fleet of five brogulls protecting him from harm. We then decided to swin. The water was actually very nice, even if really freaking salty. Anyway, we decided to get some food, but since the college student by necessity is a cheap being, us in the Bro Patrol opted to park somewhere cheap, where we only spent two quarters to park, and some seven dollars each to get a couple slices of pizza. More bro bonding time. We finally walked on the boardwalk for a while, till we decided it was a good enough time to get home. We also bought some ice cream at a store called Kohr's Bros. I take this as a divine sign of broness happening, that we were destined to be bros. After we got back, we played – you guessed it – more Magic. The bro words went flying out of our mouths. It was a fun day indeed.

There were a lot of bro things that we said and did, but alas, I cannot recount all of our bro mirth to you. However, this weekend is one of the best I've had in a long time, all with my bros. So peace out, chillax, and have fun with your bros. And sorry for the blog being late, since I wasn't here to make one, but it will be up tomorrow!

And many thanks for the forum again, for making up and/or using such terminology as "Brotagonist" and "Bro Patrol". You guys are hilarious.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Identity/Mi Identidad

As you all know, yesterday was the 4th of July. (Yes, this blog is late. But come on now, really?) So I think I would like to talk about something relevant, something that has also been on my mind a couple of times in the past.

Why do we celebrate the 4th of July? Nowadays, the reason for this commemorative date might be obscured in all the pool parties, bbqs, and fireworks, so you might not be sure. But the 4th of July holds a very special meaning to those who love this country. Is it the day that we finally gained independence from Britian. Sure, it was in name only (and the Declaration of Independence was signed on the second, not the fourth), but the significance of what the group of delegates did is what really matters. And there, the birth of a nation began. From that humble beginning to now, living in what can be arguably called the best country in the world. But, what does it mean to be a citizen of the United States? And what if you also have ties to somewhere else? For a person whose whole culture is not really his at all, but rather, a blending of the old and new ways of life, growing up in the United States is a unique experience, but also one shared by thousands of other children of immigrants who learn to live like and love the country their parents came from and also this country where they were born into.

For me, this is an experience that has taken some twists and turns, and has also affected how I life my life. For some reason, I refuse to fit into either category of “American” or “Mexican”. Or maybe it’s not that I refuse to fit in, but that I simply just don’t. My parents are Mexican (BIG SURPRISE!!!!) so as I was growing up, I learned to be Mexican like they were, which included eating Mexican food, believing the Mexican faith (Catholicism), talking Mexican (Spanish; you would think most people know we talk Spanish, but I still hear remarks about “talking Mexican”), and learning Mexican customs. However, I was not in Mexico, so as you expect, I don’t act like a typical Mexican. I don’t like chile or most spicy food, because it burns, and so I’ve gained a reputation of “chicken” among my family members. I don’t believe in lots of the superstitions that are held in my parent’s hometown, although I am a faithful Catholic, or so I would like to think. I talk Spanish fluently, but it’s much more fun to talk Spanglish. However, I am also not a full “American” either. Sure, this is my country, and I lived here all of my life, but I also do not represent the typical American (if there is such a thing). Yes, I grew up eating hamburgers, Chinese food, and pizza, which shows the cultural diversity this country has to offer. I learned English after a struggle to speak for some unknown reason, although I speak Spanish to my parents. I learned about the social norms of people here, even though living in New York City can’t exactly be called “normal” living; yet, I also interject my Mexican mannerisms from time to time, especially when talking to my cousins or sisters. So growing up was kind of weird. On the one hand, I was expected to represent the people from which I came from, mi raza. On the other, I represented one out of a million people that makes this country so great, a melting pot of cultures. For some time, I struggled a bit with this dual identity, and for some reason, never found a completely satisfactory answer.

As you can imagine, this lead to some difficulties. Nothing serious, but they still affected both the way I perceive myself and how I would identify myself. I didn’t fit in to the Mexican stereotype of being hard working, liking both the women and the booze a little too much, and giving off an air of strength and manliness. I was weak and lazy, so you can imagine how my cousins (who were all about 10 or more years older than me) perceived me. I didn’t, and still don’t like alcohol, and while I did like girls, I didn’t flaunt it like they did by looking at magazines like Maxim. For me, all of that seemed like a waste of time. They saw me as strange, so I didn’t get along with them that well, even with the few cousins/nephews I had who were my age. And for Mexicans, one of the most important things is camaraderie. As you can imagine, I spent most of my time alone. Flip the coin to see what happened on the other side. I really didn’t fit in with my peers at school, due to a factor of reasons, but one of those reasons I’m sure is because of my “Mexican-ness”. Kids can be very mean, and they were, for a long time. Because of my parent’s insistence of no watching TV shows that were deemed “inappropriate” for children my age, I was out of the loop for the most part when it came to talking to my classmates about things like movies and popular TV shows. While, yes, this is not a uniquely Mexican attribute, my parents took it to a bit of an extreme. I was overprotected, you could say. Not used to letting their children hang out and do things after school, they decided to not let me spend time with my classmates after classes ended. So I mostly just read books, and when it came time to talk to people, I mostly talked about what I had read. As you can guess, this made me unpopular with the majority. And some of these kids took it to the next level. Pretty soon, some of them on occasion would make fun of me for being Mexican. Now, I probably had it easy compared to other times where any form of immigrant was treated roughly. However, as a small child, being picked on for who I was still stung. I never rejected my Mexican side, but it caused moments where I doubted what I was and why I was so teased. In time though, I learned to accept these things as inevitable, and the only thing I could do is just be me.

Presently, I do not call myself solely “Mexican” or solely “American”. I am both, and I am neither. As I grew older, I began to realize that there was no need to fit into any one of these ways of thinking and living. I am a Mexican, living in America. I consider myself a Mexican-American, but more importantly, a citizen of the world. I also attribute some of this shift due to my increasing interest in my faith (that story is for another time though.) Oddly enough though, some of my earlier side choosing still kicks in from time to time. When I’m at school, where most of the people are white, and thus most of my friends (oh yea, I have friends now *laughs*), I subconsciously act more Mexican. In fact, when they tell me I am American, I try to then say I am Mexican. However, at home, I seem to distance myself from my Mexican roots, mostly because those same cousins who used to be ashamed of me now bring me shame or at least a feeling of “what?”, and also because sometimes my family still tries to impose a sole Mexican identity on me. However, thinking about this yesterday, I decided to try to stop this way of thinking and embrace both sides to the fullest, to let my American and Mexican sides blend in to a harmonious mix of culture. There is one thing I can’t change though- I will always support the Mexican soccer team, even though they seem to be on a losing streak as of late. I actually don’t care about sports too much, but if Mexico plays, I try to lend my support, even if I know later on I will be probably disappointed. I guess you can’t fully take out the Mexican from the Mexican. I will be yelling out SI SE PUEDE (Yes We Can), not only for the Mexican soccer team, but for the world, in hopes that one day we can live harmonious. But for now, I will enjoy being a Mexican-American in a country where a dark skinned man like myself can find an equally bronzed beauty, or perhaps a blonde bombshell, where you can eat both tacos and pizza in the same sitting, and where I can buy tortillas from a grocery store that usually sells products with all-English labels. It’s great that growing up, the world around me has also changed, and headed in the direction I’m going, blending of culture and making one thing better with another.

I hope you all had fun this past 4th of July, and even though I was kind of bored, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Remember where your came from, and also think about where you’re going. You are not just one thing or another. You are a combination, and it’s precisely that that makes the US so great.

PS- I think I like white girls more, although I'm still waiting to find a hot Mexicana in real life. I'm saddeded that all the good looking Mexican women are on TV. Please stop hiding! Thanks.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Ok, I am feeling somewhat lazy for the moment, and nothing comes to find. So, I have decided to give you a special treat! This is from an earlier writing, where I researched some information on angels and demons, since they are something I am very interested in (I don't know why, don't ask lol). Since it is a lot of information, I shall split this into two entries. This will be the angels, and below this one will be the demons.
Angels- the mystical, winged creatures often spoken of in Christian stories. Sometimes pretty children, sometimes handsome adults, angels usually make their presence to people in the form of humans. They have appeared at various times in various places, usually entrusted with important messages or visions from The Almighty. These messages or visions are given to special people, who are almost always considered holy in some way, and then share the knowledge that God has bestowed upon them to the rest of humanity.

The word angel comes from the Latin angelus, which comes from the Greek angelos (άγγελος), which is "messenger". They are the ones who deliver these special messages from God to humanity. There have been records of angels in several different cultures, whether it be Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, or Muslim culture. There are several differences between each culture's rendition of God's messengers, as well as the hierarchy of these angels in Heaven.

Usually, an angel's name ends with -el. In Hebrew, El means "God". So when an angel's name is given, like Michael, his name literally means "Likeness of El", or the likeness of God. Basically, most angel names describe something to do with God.

ex: ___el = "___ of God" ---> Gabriel = "Hero of God"

The Choir of Angels
According to Christianity, the most accepted choir of angels is structured thus-

First Choir:
Seraphs- The highest of the angels, seraphim are the ones closest to God. They sing His praises constantly, never ceasing to give Him adoration. The seraphim burn continuously with love for God.
Cherubs- The second highest class of angels, cherubs are the guardians not only of the Garden of Eden, but also of the celestial objects (the stars). They are said to have an amount of knowledge that rivals the love of the seraphim.
Ophans- The last of the First Choir, they are connected to the cherubim. They are described as "great wheels of fire". They are tasked in carrying the throne of God.

Second Choir:
Thrones- They are the personification (deification?) of God's authority and justice. They are the ones that reflect God's goodness the best. They deal out justice in the most perfect objective manner.
Dominions- They are the ones who silently keep the universe running in order. They are also the guardians of nations. They rarely show themselves to humans.
Principalities- They follow the orders of the dominions and oversee groups of people. They inspire humans to pursue such subjects as the arts and the sciences.

Third Choir:
Powers- They can be considered the recorders of history. They concern themselves with academic subjects such as theology and philosophy.
Archangels- They are the chief messengers of God. There are two archangels according to the Bible, Michael and Gabriel (Raphael is referred as an archangel in the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit). It is said that there are seven archangels who are the highest in rank of archangels.
Angels- The basic messengers, angels are the most frequent of angels who visit humanity. They are the ones that concern themselves with human affairs.

List of Angels:

The Seven Archangels
Michael- ("Who is like God?") Said to be the chief of angels, Michael is one of, if not, the highest ranking angel in Heaven. He is the leader of the Heavenly Army and the defender of Israel.

Gabriel- ("Hero of God") Another of the Seven, Gabriel is the messenger to Mary regarding the birth of Jesus.

Raphael- ("God Heals") He is one of the Seven. Raphael protects Tobit and Sarah from the demon Asmodai (Asmodeus). He is one of the highest angels, and usually appears in the same ranking as Michael and Gabriel. Raphael supposedly healed Abraham after wrestling his dark adversary at Peniel. Legend states that he personally delivered a charm to King Solomon in order to control demons to build the Temple.

Uriel- ("Fire of God") One of the Seven, and almost always included as such.

The last 3 are in dispute among several sources, so only the names will be given here.
According to the Book of Enoch:
Raguel- ("Friend of God") One of the Seven.
Zerachiel- One of the Seven.
Remiel- One of the Seven.

According to the Psuedo-Dionysius:
Camuel- ("He who sees God") One of the Seven.
Jophiel- ("Beauty of God") One of the Seven.
Zadkiel- ("Righteousness of God") One of the Seven.

Metatron- One of the highest angels in creation, Metatron is the heavenly scribe. He writes down all the deeds that occur in Heaven. It is said that Enoch was turned into Metatron when he was taken up to Heaven. The twin brother of Sandalphon. He is sometimes referred to as the "lesser YHWH", the lesser Tetragrammaton, since it is said that there is an angel that God said "My name [YHWH] is in him". In the Kabbalah, Metatron shows up twice; once as the crown, and another time as kingdom (Sandalphon). When Enoch was transformed into Metatron, he turned into a spirit of fire, was equipped with 36 pairs of wings and gained innumerable eyes. Metatron in many cases is exalted above all angels, said to be the greatest of them. The meaning and origin of his name is a mystery.

Sandalphon- The twin brother of Metatron, Sandalphon is usually associated with the prophet Elijiah, who was turned into an angel when God took him up to Heaven in a fiery chariot. Sandalphon appears in the Kabbalah as crown (Metatron). Kabbalists say that he is responsible for the differentiation of gender in embyros. His name is said to mean "lover of sandals".

Lucifer- (Latin lux ferre, light bearer) Although not a real angel, Lucifer has an interesting history attached to him. The term "Lucifer" was translated by St. Jerome from the Hebrew Helel ben Shahar, the Son of Dawn, used to described the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. When the term in Hebrew was translated into Latin, it was errornously turned into the proper noun "Lucifer", which was then associated with Satan, thus the story of the great angel Lucifer falling from grace and becoming the evil Satan was born. As a note, the word "Satan" in Hebrew means "adversary".

Raziel- ("Secrets of God") He is said to have the teachings of Jewish mysticism of Kabbalah.

Samael- ("Venom of God") Samael is sometimes referred to as one of the greatest angel, and sometimes as one of the worst demon. He is referred to as a husband of Lilith on occasion. He is also considered an angel of death. In many occasions, he is interchangeable with Satan.

Hanael- ("Glory of God") A minor angel.

Azazael- ("Strength of God") A minor angel.

Azreal- ("Help of God") An angel of death.


Ok, I am feeling somewhat lazy for the moment, and nothing comes to find. So, I have decided to give you a special treat! This is from an earlier writing, where I researched some information on angels and demons, since they are something I am very interested in (I don't know why, don't ask lol). Since it is a lot of information, I shall split this into two entries. This will be the demons, and above this one will be the angels.

Demon comes from the Greek word daemon (δαίμων), which simply means spirit. In Judaism and Christianity, demon has come to mean an evil spirit. Demons have been blamed for a wide range of problems, from disasters to disease and devastation. Demons are the opponents of angels, and in some ways almost ironic, since the demons come from the ranks of angels. They are referred to as "fallen angels". Like angels, fallen angels come from all of the chiors. They are said to be very strong, and very evil, although usually they are defeated either by angels or by willpower, as in the case with exorcism. Demons were things to be feared and hated, which required God's intercession to defeat.

Demonology became a popular area of study in the Middle Ages; books called grimoires proliferated around this time, with ways to summon, subject, and otherwise use demons to the caster's advantage. Many people wrote grimoires, including kings and popes. Some were even attributed to King Solomon. These grimoires recorded many different demons with many different stories to them.

Many demon names are either taken from Jewish evil spirits or other deities; it seems that the Jews/Christians consciously or subconsciously demonized other deities, like Baal and Beelzebub, in order to show the superiority of YHWH/the Trinity over the other gods. An interesting way to integrate the deities of other cultures while simultaneously declaring the Trinune God as the one true God.

Since the demons are really fallen angels, they also correspond to the Angelic Choir. It would be impractical to give the demon's original location in the Angelic Choir since there is much dispute over their origins.

List of Demons:

Adramelech- He was a sun god worshipped in the city of Sepharvaim. The "melech" in is name means king, and the "adra" is fire, thus, "king of fire". Adramelech has been related to the Babylonian Anu and the Ammonite Moloch. He is given the appearance of a peacock or a mule.

Astaroth- Called the Prince of Hell, Astaroth has the appearance of a man with dragon wings, hands, and feet, while riding a wolf and holding a serpent in one hand. He is said to be able to teach science, math, and handicrafts, and also has the power to turn men invisible and answer any question asked of him.

Asmodeus- Also called Asmodai. He appears in the Book of Tobit as a demon attracted to Sarah, when he was defeated by Tobit and Raphael. His name comes from the Avestan language aēšma-daēva ("wrath" "demon"), but the Zoroastrian aēšma-daēva and the Jewish Asmodai are different entities.

Abbadon- A demon, or angel appearing in the Book of Revelation, who is the leader of a horde of locusts. Deriving from the Hebrew name "destruction", he is the guardian of the abyss and the angel of death.

Apollyon- The Greek for "Destroyer", he is the leader of the locusts of Revelation, and thus can be equated to be Abbadon. He is also similar to the Greek Apollo, although Apollyon is not influenced by Hellenic ideas.

Baal- a chief Semetic deity. He is one of the most popular deity to worship in Biblical times. The name Baal can also mean "Lord", such as Beelzebub (Lord of Zebub). In Semetic religions, many gods were referred to as Ba'al (Lord), and thus, later demonologists simply thought all these Ba'al's to be one and the same. His Semetic predecessor was usually in the shape of a bull or a man.

Belial- It is not sure what his name means, but most commonly translated as "without worth". Belial has been called a respectful demon. He is also a prince of Hell. Belial's name has been used to indicate the worthless in the Old Testament.

Beelzebub- A chief demon in hell. His name is said to arise from the Hebrew Ba'al Zebub, "Lord of Zebub" (or Lord of Things That Fly, thus "Lord of the Flies"), which is thought to be a corruption from Ba'al Zebul, "Lord of the High Place". His name is sometimes used interchangebly with Satan. He was worshipped in the Philistine city of Ekron.

Grigori- Greek for "The Watchers", a group of fallen angels who mated with mortal women and fathered the Nephilim, the giants in the times of Noah. They taught mankind secrets of civilization, like cosmetics and weaponry.

Nephilim- The children of the Grigori and mortal women. They were said to be wicked giants, and were the reason why God sent the flood. The Nephilim were likened to the indigenous peoples of Canaan.

Lucifuge- Latin for "he who flees the light" (lux fugio, "to flee light"), Lucifuge inflicts diseases and cause earthquakes. He is errornously equated with Mephistopheles. He has power over all the world's treasures.

Legion- The demon that was made from a conglomeration of other demons. This demon was named in the New Testament when Jesus drove him out from someone and promptly possessed a herd of pigs.

Rahab- A giant sea monster, he is also considered a demon. Like Leviathan, Rahab is a lord of the sea, and later on, became synonymous with Leviathan.

Satan- Chief demon in Hell, Satan is the usual leader of the demons and also associated with Lucifer. In Judaism, Satan's role in the Heavenly Court is that of an adversary, if you consider Heaven to be a court of law. He is the "tempter"; even his name, HaSatan, means "the adversary". Satan in the Hebrew sense is not inherently evil; in the Book of Job, he tests Job with many ills and devastation, but he can only do what God allows, which doesn't match up with our conception of a Satan that does evil to spite God and ignores His mandates. The jump from Judaism to Christianity made Satan into the villain that he is perceived as today. He is attributed to Beelzebub, Baal, Samael, Lucifer, and a host of other names.

Lilith- Said to be the first wife of Adam, before Eve. The first form of Lilith was a class of Sumerian storm demon called lilitu. The only mention of Lilith in the Bible occurs in Isaiah, where it is said that Lilith rested in the desert. Lilith is also said to be the wife of Samael (who is sometimes synonymous with Satan). She is a tempter of men, and brings them to their ruin, much like a succubus.

Baphomet- a demon with a goat head. His name is most likely a French corruption of Mahomet (Muhammad). Some people have accused the Knights Templar of worshipping Baphomet.

Mephistopheles- A minor demon, he was the center of the story of Faust and the demonic pact. Faust made a deal with Mephistopheles in order to gain occult knowledge. Mephistopheles becomes more popular as time went on, becoming the main character in the Faust legend. He is sometimes equated to Satan.

Belphegor- Originally the god of licentiousness of the Moabites, Baal-Peor, he became a demon associated with laziness. He has the power of discovery and helps people with inventions. He appears in the shape of a young woman.