Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom

I wrote this late last night after coming home from dinner. I was so tired I forgot to publish it so here it is:

It is about 0015 early Monday morning, I REALLY should get to bed because it's a school night and considering what's been going on these last couple days, I am physically exhausted. But I can't sleep, don't know why but I just can't. Maybe it was the excitement left from Mom's birthday dinner or maybe it was something else but right now, sleep is not an option.

If you've been reading my blog or following me on Twitter, you'll know that today or I guess technically yesterday (Sunday, 27th of September) was Mom's birthday. When Dad's around, we would go out to dinner (or sometimes Dad cooks) and then head off to some special place that either my parents or I cherished this past year. We went to a lot of places, from a place up in the hills to the movies to somewhere on Post. Anywhere really, as long as it's some place we cherish/had fund memories of, we'll go there.

Nice plates

This year with Dad still gone and Mom pregnant with a baby sister, I thought I did something different. I knew what Mom wanted, the best gift in the world is to have Dad home. So the three, no four, the four of us can go out and enjoy a good birthday dinner together. But since Dad's away, I had the goal of doing the next best thing. To bring the girls of my life to a good restaurant, open presents, and have a good night keeping each other company.

So I settled with Benihana up in Denver. The drive was over an hour long but it was good. Mom and I talked a lot, about anything and everything too. We talked about the service, about school, college, Dad, my sister (My parents still haven't come up with a name yet, for those who are wondering...) and even Sean (I'll write more about Sean later on)

Food > Show. Food + Show!

As soon as we got to Benihana, Mom just smiled. She loves Japanese food and well Benihana is one of her favorites :) We've been to Benihana plenty of times to know the fancy tricks and what not but sitting next to us were a family of four. A lot like ours, parents and two children: boy and girl. Guess it's their first time because the kids wouldn't stop saying "wow" and "ah" throughout dinner. Mom looked extra happy for some reason, maybe she is thinking about the future of our family, the family of four.

Alaskan roll, freaking amazing!

After dinner, as we were about to leave, I asked Mom to wait. With the help of the people over at Benihana, they brought out some Tiramisu. Mom was so excited she couldn't stop smiling. (Mom's a fan of Tiramisu, ya I know after eating Japanese food, strange, but hey it is her birthday :P)

I never mentioned any gifts. And somehow, she looked disappointed. I smiled, I wanted her to be disappointed, why? Because that means she'd be more surprised. I went to ask for the check, the waitress went away and came back with the bill and brought along a nice PING Latitude Stand Bag completely with clubs for Mom. Boy was Mom happy. Even took her several minutes to find the golf balls and the shoes that came with this gift (as a set of course, she's huge on golf so I think I made a right choice on the gift :D Thanks again to my friend Brooke. Without her I would probably have ended up getting Mom some men's clubs or something. Thanks again Brooke!) Other than "wow" and "thank you, honey" she couldn't stop saying "I want to golf now!" I think she liked the gift :)

PING Latitude Stand Bag


Guess Mom didn't excepted anything else because while I was waiting waiting for the waitress to bring my card back, Mom was all ready to go, got her coat and everything. But when the waitress came back with my card, she sat right back down.

There was more gift than she expected.

If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that roughly four days ago, I got a mystery package. I never ordered anything so it was quite a suspense opening it up. Turns out, it was a gift from Dad. Gift was wrapped with a note right outside of it that said:


It's a little something I brought for your Mother. Hope it gets there in time. Take care of yourself, your Mom and your baby sis.


So trust me when I say, I was just as eager as Mom to see what's inside. Inside was a necklace, a ring, an index card full of baby names, flowers made from what looks like napkins, and a talking picture frame.

Something like this was said,

I love you sweetheart and look, it's your birthday, I didn't forget. Sorry we aren't together right now but no matter where I am in the world, I am always thinking about you, our son, and our baby. I love you honey, hope you like the gift. Happy birthday.

She smiled then cried. I grabbed my stuff, the clubs and went out to the car and waited. It may be the hormones but really, I'm sure she just needed time alone. After we left Benihana, we went to visit Sean, read him a bed time story and started the drive home.

About half way into the drive home, I thought my pager went off, but it was Mom's phone. Still trying to wake up from her small nap, she said hi and nothing more. It was Dad. They didn't talk long, maybe a minute or two and Mom cried the rest of the way home. I'm pretty sure it was happy tears...I really hope so.

I love you Mom. Happy birthday.

Side note: Damn it, Dad. Always want to do better than me. Thanks for making her all teary, I'm the one that got the deal with the hormones. Really though, Dad if you can read this, thank you. For making Mom's birthday so amazing. Come home soon, we miss you. Plus...I can't deal with this hormone thing for much longer.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What Is This?!

I'm sitting in SFO at the early hours of Sunday. Thought I'd do a rerun of my trip, guess you can say this is a part two of my earlier blog: "Congrats, you're an 'adult'!"

The flight out to California went extremely well. I couldn't ask for more from the United Airline flight attendants who were so accommodating of my needs. Got to the airport couple hours before, talk to 'em about isle seats and before I knew it, they tagged my chair and I was off moving towards to the gate. If you're a disabled traveler you probably already know that you can't go through the security gate like most people. So I went through the side and get frisked by the airport security. (Nothing big, just a simple pat down, so all good! :D)

Airports these days are extremely suited for those with disabilities. There are ramps set up almost everywhere and it is a lot easier to get around than other places. (Though you still get crazy people looking at you like you're going to rob 'em or something...if you want to know the staring stories, ask, I'll tell you :P ) As I sit by the gate and wait for boarding call, I was amazed at the art display all over the terminal. They sure got some nice art around the place!

Art at SFO

I was the first to board (flights are usually like this, first on the flight and last off), the flight attendant escorted me to the flight and showed me to my seat. I was fortunate enough to get a seat close to the exit and also in the isle seat. So really transferring into the seat from my chair wasn't bad at all :)

The flight to SFO was just as any other flight I've been on. Again, with SCI it is important to adjust your weight to prevent pressure sores but hey I don't need to tell you that :P

After I landed in San Francisco, good friend of mine, Bobby drove out to the airport to pick me up. (Glad someone volunteered to be my taxi for the two days I was in California) We stopped by IHOP for a good breakfast before heading to my hotel room.

IHOP in Foster City

Like I have said before in my previous blog, the manager at the Courtyard Marriott gave me a personal guarantee that I will be able to check into the hotel room by myself and at the same time, the room will be fit to my every needs. Well this manager sure kept his problem because my room was perfect :)

If you're wondering about the service, you can read it here

As much as I don't want to leave California and stay awhile to chill out with my friends, I had to get home. Mom's birthday is today! (Loads planned, more on that later) So I packed up my stuff and ready for the flight home.

K was nice enough to give me a ride to the airport so early in the morning. We talked about a couple things and promise each other to stay in touch.

The people at SFO were also extremely nice (though the staring continues...) I got to the airport and well look, got time to kill before boarding the flight.

And speaking of flight, it's time to board, shall continue this blog later on.

I'm now on the connection flight home, short flight (just under an hour) so I thought I continue. (Though there is this kid crying in the back of the plane, don't know what's the deal but starting to drive me nuts!) Connection flight, people will tell you is one of the most crazy things you have to deal with when you travel. Adds onto the stress of trying to catch your next flight when you're disabled. Luckily I talked to the crew and they were nice enough to ask the entire flight to wait until I get off the plane before they start moving towards the gate. I manage to get to the gate of my next flight with enough time for a couple tweets :P

I have to say, overall this entire process was amazing. Can't thank the people over at United for making the flights less stressful and of course, to the manager at the Courtyard Marriott, you're awesome :D

Guess the place!

Next stop, home and slowly reveal my evil plan for Mom's birthday dinner :D (If you are following me on Twitter, Mom asked if she can invite her her friends to the birthday dinner. I thought, "What is this, a kid's birthday at Chuck E Cheese's?!" She's lucky I love her because I said yes...)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Talk the Walk and Walk the Talk

It is about 2210 over here in California, just finished watching the last couple football games and well, mostly done with the packing. Got a couple more hours before I leave for the airport, ain't really tired so here goes a blog.

The service went well and the eulogy I wrote was, I guess, alright. Had people chuckling and laughing at points, guess it turned out ok. (I wrote something about laughing at funerals on Woofer. You can read it here. If you don't know what Woofer is, it's a Macroblogging site that looks just like Twitter. It's basically Twitter but you need to write AT LEAST 1400 characters. It's a pretty cool service, for when you just really need to write and then post it on Twitter. Also check out Squeaker, a Nanoblogging site. Let's you post something in EXACTLY 14 characters)

There were a lot of people there at the service. Most of them I didn't know until I was introduced. In fact, most people there that I knew all knew me before my accident. I think K and her family were the only one that really knew about my injury. So, ya you can probably guess it, majority of the discussions during the reception (I'm calling it that because it wasn't really a wake, we didn't go to their house after the funeral) was about me and the chair. To this day, I still find it strange. What's strange? People.

It tends to be older adults that points and talk about me at the same time. It tends to be older adults that gossip and talk about the chair behind my back (though quite loud, I can hear 'em talking all over the place). And it tends to be older adults that shushes younger kids to not mess with me simply because it's "rude" (they might as well say, "don't do that to the cripple man.") Why, well I still don't know.

Most of my friends were, to say the least, shocked. I don't blame 'em at all. Like a lot of 'em said, I was the "crazy kid who just wants to play football and join the Army, nothing else." There were loads of awkward silence (guess people just don't know what to say sometimes) but after I buffered the situation with jokes and funny things since the accident (and show 'em a couple wheelies) they were cool about it. Hopefully they are true friends that will continue to keep in touch despite this "news" about my injury. (Might sound silly to some of you but I did have "friends" that just weren't my friends anymore after they found out I got hurt. Whether it's fear or something, I don't know but it happens, I guess)

Skylawn Memorial Park

Anyways, overall the service was good. Loads of people there to comfort and be there for K and her family. K said it best, "It is during hardships of life we find out who our true family and friends are." I sure hope I did a good job being there for the family and being her friend. And for some reason, I have a feeling this friendship is going to last a life time.

I'll update more on the trip on the flight home. Tomorrow's Mom's birthday, got loads planned (won't tell until later on because I found out Mom reads my blog...) so stay tuned for that.

And...can't forget football! :)
Note: Winning teams are in bold

Ole Miss at South Carolina, 16-10

Michigan vs Indiana, 36-33
LSU at Mississippi State, 30-26

Air Force vs San Diego State, 26-14

Texas vs UTEP, 64-7

Cal at Oregon, 42-3
Ohio St vs Illinois, 30-0
Alabama vs Arkansas, 35-7
Maryland vs Rutgers, 34-13
Navy vs Western Kentucky, 38-22
Virginia Military Institute at Richmond, 33-28
Miami (FL) at Virginia Tech, 31-7

Florida at Kentucky, 41-7

Army at Iowa State, 31-10
Texas A&M vs UAB, 56-19

Washington at Stanford, 34-14

USC vs Washington State, 27-6
Texas Tech at Houston, 29-28

Side note: Crazy week for college football, SO many top schools lost! What the hell is going on?! Glad Navy and Air Force won though. Army was the only one that lost :( What the hell guys?!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Three Years Ago, I Got a Second Chance

If you read my earlier blog and was hoping that this is a review for the rest of the trip, it ain't. But don't worry, there'll be another blog later on.

But for I sit in my hotel room with the TV on and amazing California scene right outside the window, something reminded me today is Friday. Since it's fall, we all know what that means. Football.

I remember the day I held my first football. My hands looked tiny compare to the football but somehow, I knew that feeling in my hand was something I could not forget. I also remember the first time I put on pads and helmets for my first "official" football game, I was so happy I couldn't stop smiling. (Even after some kid who's twice as big as I was tackled me too the ground) I remember the day I finally get to practice football with the high school guys. The seniors looked huge and filled with knowledge that I, a tiny freshman, would never understand. I was excited, I can tell you, I was more than excited. I was living my dream.

Three years ago, I stepped out onto that football field thinking nothing more but make catches, rush yards, and score touch downs. Three years ago, I stepped out onto the football field smiling, joking around with my teammates, and seeing the rest of my four years playing the sport I love.

Plans change I guess...

To some people, three years is a long time and for others, three is just a small number. It's been three years since I got hurt, I have my good days, I have my bad days. I've laughed about my injury. I've cried about my injury. I've asked why; why me, why now, why here? I've hid in the dark for days and I've also show myself and others what I am still capable of. But this is a life long event, this is a life long journey. I may have my bad days, I may have my good days, but overall, I am glad I'm alive. At times I may feel bitter, I may feel sadness, loneliness, shame, guilt, and many more but this is who I am now and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Three years ago today, my love was taking away from me.
Three years ago today, I saw the worry in my coaches' eyes, the fear in my parents' hearts, I saw the pain my teammates' face.
Three years ago today, I lost my legs but gain my soul.
Three years ago today, I got a second chance at life.

Again, I'm going to quote from Friday Night Lights

"We’re all vulnerable and we will all at some point in our lives, fall. We will all fall. We must carry this in our hearts that what we have is special. That it can be taken from us and when it is taken from us, we will be tested. We will be tested to our souls."

It's a busy weekend ahead, but as soon as it's dark and I'm alone, I ain't going to lie...I am going to cry like there is no tomorrow. I'm going to cry and dream of that future. I'm going to cry and hear the noise in my head, see the lights and the crowd in my mind, and maybe, I'll be able to feel the pig skin in my hands. It's been three years, Football, I miss you. Do you miss me?

I better go get ready, having dinner with K and her family at Luceti's (Thank you Mom for helping me find this place)

"Congrats, you're an 'adult'!"

Here I am sitting in United Airline's flight to San Francisco, and bored with doing homework/college applications, I thought I'd write something to post on my blog later on.

If you're wondering why I'm flying out to California, early yesterday morning, I discovered that good friend, K's Mom passed away due to medical complications. K was not a close friend to start with but after meeting her through a mutual friend, we quickly bounded and became close friends. As I move all over the country and the world, both K, her siblings, and her parents would constantly send emails, calls, and even send cards for both Mom and me while Dad's deployed. They really took care of us and watch out for us like we're a part of their family. Truly, I would consider K and her family one of our closest civilian friends.

Colorado Springs Airport

So, upon hearing this sad news, I decided to miss Thursday's match and this weekend's tennis tournaments to fly out to California and be with the family during their troubled times. (and, of course, to to attend the memorial service on Saturday) After all, they were there for us when we needed 'em, now it's time to be there for 'em.

Walking away from that topic, as much as I want to be there for the family, I now face a dilemma. Those who require last minute travel plans to make it to a business meeting/emergencies can tell you how crazy it is to find a flight, place to live, and not to mention cars to drive once you're at your destination. Now talk to a disabled traveler and tell 'em to make plans within 24 hours, they'd think you're nuts! Being a disabled traveler adds onto the challenge of planning last minute trips.

Now...put those two together and tell an adult that he needs to travel that within the next 24 hours. Sounds simple? Not really, the "adult" is 18 years old.

I know that this isn't the first time someone tells me I'm nuts. No matter what was going to happen, how much trouble I need to go through to get this planned, I HAD to be in California within 24 hours. I just wouldn't know what to do with myself if I wasn't. So, as soon as I got home from school yesterday, I went on a mad dash to find a flight, hotel, and car for when I get to California.

I know what you're thinking, "oh good luck, you're going to need it..." And sure enough, I needed the luck. See, I knew about the flights, I knew about the hotels, and I can say that I knew bits of how rental cars work. Read on:

Reserving a flight may sound easy to the A.B (able-bodied, that's right, we got names for you normal people. You better watch your back! :P) but it can be a bit nuts for a disabled traveler. Most airlines these days are accommodating to your needs, but you do need to call ahead just for sort of a heads-up into this "situation". People can spend hours on the phone just to get hold of the airline's customer's service. Thankfully, the people over at United Airlines were extremely friendly and helpful so I didn't spend hours on the phone (I didn't have hours to spare!)

Now, onto living accommodations.

To most A.Bs, hotels are nothing more than the ratings they were given, their price, and maybe what the hotel offers. Talk to any disabled travelers and they can tell you how crazy it is to find a place that's accessible. Yes it's true that there are a lot of good friends out there who would offer you a place to stay on such short notice but not all of 'em have accessible housing. (i.e wide doors, accessible showers, etc.) So the best way to ensure you have that is staying at hotels. It is against the law for hotels NOT to have accessible rooms. HOWEVER, not all of 'em will match an individual needs. What do you do? You get on the phone and tell the people working at the hotel EXACTLY what you need.

Courtyard® by Marriott®

Sounds crazy? Ya it can be but on top of that, I must find hotels that will allow 18 year olds to check in without anyone over the age of 21 present. After hours of searching, I was glad to talk to a manager at Courthouse Marriott who is more than welcome to have me check in by myself AND his personal guarantee that my room will be exactly the way I requested (or else he'd pay for my stay! Awesome management!!)

Lastly, there was the problem of transportation.

Any disabled traveler can tell you how awesome it is when you don't have to rely on others for transportation. After all, independence rules :) Now, rental cars, believe it or not, are actually fairly easy to rent. You just call the rental car place and notify 'em that you will be needing an adapted vehicle. And they, by law, have to provide you with an accessible car. (i.e hand controls) Simple right? Not if you're under 25!!! After searches after searches, I just could not find a place that will allow 18 year olds to rent a car. Even with your perfect record, due to insurance and other issues, companies most likely will not let anyone under 25 rent a car.

So, to solve the transportation situation, I had to ask around for taxi service from my friends within the two days I'm in California. Thank goodness for good friends! :D Two out of three major "issue" went my way, so I guess it can't be that bad.

After that crazy planning, I got thinking. A lot of people say when you turn 18, you're an adult. You're legally an adult and can do many things that kids just can't do. But really, you're still a kid and you can't do anything without a real adult present. So when are we really "adults"? In a bigger picture do our age really define our adulthood?

Few examples of what 18 year old "adult" can't do legally: rent car, check-into most hotels, buy alcohol and so on. So, are we really adults? Or are we just "adults" under the eye's of older people? (And at the same time it's making me wonder why we can enlist at 18 and can't do all those stuff until later on in our lives...quite strange...)

Anyways, the captain just told us we're about to land in SFO, so turning off laptop till I get to the hotel. Stay tuned for more blogs about this trip.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Am I Bitter?

I don't know if it's because it's September or maybe...I'm just overall, bitter.

Bitter about a lot of things...things I used to do and loved. No, things I still love. Things like football and JROTC.

While talking to some people on an online chat. Two strangers started talking about JROTC. As they talk about their units, their cadets and their CO, I sat here and read every single word while every single line jabbed at my heart and soul. I love JROTC, I love talking about it and share my knowledge with other people. So really, even reading it makes me happy.

But why did it hurt so much reading the words? Why does thinking about JROTC makes me hurt and makes me want to cry? Funny when you're little, you tell your parents "this hurts when I do this" and they will say "don't do that then" and you just smiled and move on. It hurt reading the words between the two people, a lot. "Don't read it, then" is probably what you're thinking. But...I just couldn't. I couldn't stop reading. Because reading about JROTC makes me feel that much closer to the drills, the uniform inspections, and so much more. Because reading it puts a smile on my face. But wait, catch-22, I love reading it but it hurts and put me to tears.

I'm wondering to myself, am I bitter? If so, what made me a bitter man? What made me jealous of what others have? Is it my injury? Have Spinal Cord Injury really changed me that much? Has it really made me bitter, weak, and not to mention vulnerable to the things I love?

I miss JROTC like no other right now. As if JRTOC is the most beautiful girl I have ever met. And I'm in tears thinking about this girl, wishing to be with her again, even if it's just for a minute.

I miss you girl, more than you know.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Wow so it's been 5 days since I wrote something and well, it's Saturday so you know what this means! FOOTBALLLLLLLLLLL :D

Quick recap on what happened during the last few days:

School have been going alright, just getting used to the senior year :) Loads of stuff going on with homework, college applications and so on so always busy there. My classes (German IV Honors, Study Hall, Calc AP, Finance, AP Literature, American Government ,and Psychology) are overall pretty good. Typical AP classes along with other college prep courses. Only thing I don't like is Finance. If you follow me on Twitter, you'd know that I have been tweeting about what's going on in that class. And truly, I'm not impressed.

Just recently we had a quiz on check writing. You heard me right, check writing. Is it just me or are these old skills that people should have attained long time ago? Or am I the only one that learned about banking, banking statements, online banking, balancing a checkbook, check writing, and more way before I got to high school?! (And yes, if you're wondering, I Aced it)

Tennis is going well and many thanks to the people who have been asking about the matches and so forth. I won some I lost some. Guess I can't complain when I'm just a noob at this game. You should hear my coach though, you can hear him yell "PUSH FASTER MATT" from yards away! :P

Outside of school:

Mom and I are doing fine with Dad still deployed. With the news of SFC Thornsbury, phone calls still keep us wondering while cars that drive by the house still keep us on the edge of our seats. But this is nothing new I guess, it's a deployment and Mom and I are doing what we can to get through it. No matter where Dad is, just hope he's doing well and staying safe.

Mom's doing well, she's now 33 weeks pregnant (and huge belly!) and with the recent baby shower, she's more excited than ever to have this "thing out of me!" Lately it seems like all she's been talking about is baby names. Guess she and Dad ever came up with a name before Dad deployed and me, well I got stuck listening to her asking rhetorical questions about which names are better and which sounds "cute". The nursery is turning out well. With people coming over today to finish the painting, Mom's extremely excited. (I am too in a way...since I get to watch football and they do the work. According to them I'll just "get in the way" so hey that's just fine with me :D )

Mom's Current "Bible"

Sean is also doing well. Though he is still under treatment and last scan of his brain doesn't look so good, he's still fighting strong. He loved the toys I brought him and said he can't wait to watch all the football games. "YAY NAVY" he said but hey we all know he meant to say "Army" :P

As for people who've been asking how I'm doing, as in me, myself, well...doing well I guess. Listening to music daily and doing what I do best. The date of my injury is coming close and though I try not to think about it, it's still constantly on my mind. (Of which I'm sure it's something I can't help with, it is my love and a love that shattered my heart) There has been some random thoughts in my head lately, not sure what's going on but hopefully for the good. Some things are still happening but I rather not say it here.

On a side note: On Friday I had the sudden urge to make a website. And I am currently going through loads and loads of CSS codes and ideas for the site. I'm not even sure if I'm going to officially launch it or not, guess I just feel like messing with codes. I'll let everyone know if I do decide to go through with this or it'll just be some eye candy on my computer.

Sneak Peak of the site :D

Thanks again for everyone's DMs/IMs/emails about how Sean, Mom, and myself are doing. Truly appreciate the thoughts and kind words. Loads of things happening within the next couple months, excited and nervous but hey it's life! (Still hoping that Dad will be home when Mom gives birth. For the obvious reason of course plus I'd like to keep my hand. Would hate to have Mom "kill" it by squeezing it too hard :P)

Now onto this week's football!
Note: Winning teams are in bold

Michigan vs East. Michigan, 45-17
Army vs Ball St, 24-17
Cal at Minnesota, 35-21
Ohio St at Toledo, 38-0

Alabama vs North Texas, 53-7

Florida vs Tennessee, 23-13
Maryland vs Middle Tennessee, 32-31
Oklahoma vs Tulsa, 45-0
USC at Washington, 16-13 HOLY COW!!!
Oregon vs Utah, 31-24

Navy at Pittsburgh, 27-14
Virginia Military Institute at James Madison, 44-16

Texas A&M vs Utah State, 38-30
LSU vs Louisiana-Lafayette, 31-3

Air Force at New Mexico, 37-13

Texas Tech at Texas, 34-24

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mind and Body

Yesterday I had a pretty decent day. Didn't go to school because I had an all day tennis tournament at school. (Which continues onto today). I think I did pretty good, well...fairly well that is. Won couple matches before losing so I guess I can't complain.

What I wonder is the amount my body is changing and how much it changed since I got hurt. If you didn't know, people who are quadriplegics are very different from those who are paraplegic. (Biggest mistake is probably people assuming that because I use a manual chair, I'm a paraplegic) But I'm not. I have a C5 injury, which if you count 5 bones down from the top of your neck, that's where I broke my neck.

Anyways, quadriplegics are different in a lot of ways from a paraplegic. Biggest issue is probably blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. At this point I really don't feel like explaining into details so check out this video:

Anyways...where was I going with this. At 3 years after my injury, I'm still considered a "noob" at this whole Spinal Cord Injury thing. (You should see those who have it for 20+ years!) So I'm still learning a lot of things about my body that I didn't know before.

Like pain, fatigue and so on. And when the pills my doctor gave me isn't doing what they're supposed to do. It makes me wonder what is going on with my body and it makes me wonder why the pills aren't working.

Then my mind just go on and on and on and think of many different things. And...for some reason I don't think that's good for you...

I think so much to a point nothing seems fun. Not even football. Thank goodness for updates from ESPN I guess.

Final Score (Winning team is in bold):

Navy vs Louisiana Tech, 32-14
Georgia Tech vs Clemson, 30-27
Michigan vs Notre Dame, 38-34
Texas at Wyoming, 41-10
Army vs Duke, 35-19

Florida vs Troy, 56-6
Cal vs Eastern Washington, 59-7

Maryland vs James Madison, 38-35

LSU vs Vanderbilt, 23-9
Alabama vs Florida International, 40-14
Texas Tech vs Rice, 55-10
Oklahoma vs Idaho State, 64-0
Missouri vs Bowling Green, 27-20
Air Force at Minnesota, 20-13

USC at Ohio State, 18-15
Purdue at Oregon, 38-36

Friday, September 11, 2009


Tomorrow, the entire world will remember.

Though most of the world would remember the dramatic event that happened eight years ago, we remember the people. Society seem to share with a lot of us that it's "bad" to celebrate on such day. I tend to disagree.

On 9/11, we should all celebrate. We should all celebrate the life we have. Instead of being sad and remember what life a person once had. We should all celebrate the life that everyone lived and celebrate who that person is. Of the amount of people lost on 9/11, we should all celebrate their life. But at the same time we should smile. Smile and be thankful for our everyday lives. Thankful for what every single firefighter, policemen who fight to help save others. We should all smile. Smile and celebrate life.

When I was a little kid, I remember funerals and memorial as a sad and depressed thing. People came from all over the world dressed in black to be sad. As I grow other and added more funerals and memorials, I realize that there should be time for happiness and celebration. Celebrate the person's life, their spirits and their will.

So I urge every single one of you. On this September 11th, celebrate the life of every single person lost. Put little time to tears and sadness but truly celebrate. Smile and laugh of what the person still IS and not was.

I've been asked a lot about where I was when this event happened. What was I doing and what I was thinking when it happened. Let me share my story with you:

Eight years ago, I was ten. Eight years ago, I was 4th grade. Eight years ago I was sleeping when my Dad woke me up. "Something happened, son, come with me." If you don't know my family, we're huge on military and public service. Police officers, firefighters, paramedics, you name it. And on that day, still half asleep, I realized how lucky I really am.

Eight years ago, my Mom was in New York on a business trip. Eight years ago, on September 10th, Mom had a lunch meeting at Windows on the World (located on the 106th/107th of the North Tower). Eight years ago, I could remember her telling us how important the meeting was but how much she wishes Dad and I can be there to enjoy the view. Mom always loved New York and the wide city view and I don't blame her, once awhile it's good to get away from the stars. Eight years ago, on September 11th, I froze in my living room.

Mom left the weekend before so she can enjoy the sites at New York. She left the weekend before so she can meet up with some family members who are working in NY as firefighters and police officers. She had what she called "HUGE!" meeting on the 10th and 11th. She was excited but at the same time nervous. I could remember her telling me, "wish me luck, wear your lucky underwear and bring everything lucky with you!" Entire weekend was filled with calls of how amazing the New York lights were and inside, I was jealous. I wanted to be in New York too!

On Monday, September 10th, Mom went to Windows on the World for a lunch meeting. She even called and tell us how much she love us and reminded me to wear my lucky underwear. After the meeting she went to The Mall at the World Trade Center. That night, I remember her calling the house. She told us the meeting was amazing and thanked me for brining her luck. She didn't talk much that night, said tomorrow it's another day in the wonderful city of New York.

She kissed me good night through the phone and went to bed.

On the morning of September 11th, after Dad woke me up, I was scared to death. I prayed as I watched the news. I prayed for the people in the building, for the people on the plane and people working at the Pentagon but most of all I prayed for Mom. For her safety and I prayed to God to please, bring her back safely. And with school time getting closer and closer, I wish I can stay home and wait by the phone. Just to know Mom is ok.

Days later, Mom called and told us she was safe and she would be home soon. That call made Dad and I breath both easier. I can not tell you what Mom experience but I can tell you that day, that week will forever be on my mind.

As I got older, I realized that was what many other families were doing that day. Praying and hoping that their love ones will come home. Praying and hoping their love ones are safe. I was the lucky one, my Mom came home. For the family of the 2000+ lost that day, they weren't so lucky. And to them, I say thank you.

So tomorrow, eight years after the attack, I will celebrate and be thankful for all those who died that day. For the heroes who ran up the tower when others rush down. For the heroes who stood up and fought against the hijackers. For those businessmen who make NY what it is. For the families, and more.

Celebrate and smile.
Celebrate and be thankful.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

That Feeling

Right now I am at a lost for words.

Right now, I got this huge grin on my face because...

Right now, that feeling is back.

Yes it's true I'm still having a bad days (it'll be a roller coaster ride for the rest of the month) but right now, I got the best feeling I've got in a LONG time. A great feeling that I just might shed tears of joy over.

As nerve racking it is to talk to sports scouts, anyone of any sport can tell you the excitement of it. Maybe it's the feeling of growing up, of planning and negotiating your way through your life and future. But that feeling, is truly truly amazing.

And right now, I'm getting that feeling. A simple tweet from a stranger made my day that much better.

RattlersRugby @QKnuckles Hey Matt, we were checking out ur tweets, how about applying to UMiami and coming to play quadrugby for ?!

South Florida Rattlers Rugby

After reading that, my jaw dropped, I couldn't stop grinning and the rush is still there. The excitement, the hope, it all brought me back to before I was hurt. Just that feeling...

Wow I can't even put it in words. I can't even tell you how excited I am. I'm excited, I really really am. If you follow me at my Twitter, you'll know that I've been looking into colleges. And after much talk with Mom, the list is finally down to six: University of Florida, Ohio State, University of Kentucky, Texas A&M, University of Maryland, and University of Oklahoma.

And after that tweet...I'm adding University of Miami to the list. I don't know how long this excitement is going to last. I don't know how long this rush is going to last. BUT I'll make the best of it right now.

Thanks to the guys over at Rattlers for making this month that much better.
Up next: applying to UMiami :D

Monday, September 7, 2009

Baby Wha?

Right here is pretty much an extension of what I've been wanting to ask for a long time. I knew about my Mom's baby shower for a long time. And as soon as I knew, first thing on my mind was how lucky Dad is that he isn't home. Second thing on my mind was WHAT THE HELL IS A BABY SHOWER!

And even with the explanation from Mom, I still don't know what it really is. Ya I know we get free stuff and what not but really...what is with all this baby games and what not. I told her the truth about me staying out of it and with a stare she said "You're a bad son." CAN YOU BLAME ME FOR THAT?!?

Anyways, Mom asked me to grill and make lunch for the guests. Ya I don't mind since I love grilling but truly, I didn't want to be part of the baby shower brigade. The laughing, the jokes, the women screaming, that really was something I can't (and won't) take. So I did my part, I grilled and got the ladies food and for the rest of the day I did my best to avoid the all the "action" in the living room and just hid in the backyard with Dosh.

Yum, steak!

The guests came around 1000 and it is now 1742 and they're still here. HOLY HELL THEY'RE STAYING FOR DINNER. I think this might be one of my worse nightmares, 15-20 some women all getting "happy" in the living room. Lord...

Dad, be glad you're not home. And I think she wants me to help her write Thank You cards later on. Someone save me...

Something that kept me sane all day: FOOTBALL!
Cincinnati at Rutgers, 47-15
Miami at Florida State, 38-34

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Little Monster

So after visiting Sean, I decided to take the 2 hour drive back home. (Just to get some homework started, you wouldn't believe the amount of homework I got assigned over this 3 day weekend) Since Mom and I drove only one car to the concert, earlier this morning I went back to the hospital to pick up Mom. (Yes she's having her baby shower tomorrow while me I'm still not getting this whole thing but I guess it's ok, I'm learning. Plus I'd be in my room all day anyways :P )

I got to the hospital, hung out with Sean for a bit (boy can he play Wii or what) and on the way home Mom told me the news. While she talked I started to wonder about this little monster inside Sean's head. Tumors, if you don't know, are like the annoying thing that just tends to not go away. As Dane Cook said it, it's like the annoying person at work that always tends to follow you even if you get a new job. Anyways, a month after Sean's surgery and with the treatments, guess who's back?

Ya the annoying little monster.

Not only it's annoying, it scares all of us. So according to the report, I quote: "This mass now measures approximately 1.5 cm transversely x 2.3 cm....extends medially...appears to be growing along the subarachnoid space in the left temporal region."

Tumor, the Little Monster

I never thought I'd hate the word "growing" so much. I just hope that with this treatment, Sean will be doing better every day. (Still admiring his laughs and smiles even when all this is going on. Good job buddy, way to go.) And with this stuff, life still goes on.

Just truly hope this little monster goes away soon.

Other news, I had a good time watching more than 12 hours of football yesterday. (As you can probably tell by the screen shot below) As much it sounds like I got no life, this is my life. I guess well the life I dream of. It's like what I wrote yesterday, football and I got a love and hate relationship going. Not sure if it's a healthy relationship but ya it's a love and hate thing.

Ya I know I'm nuts

Scores (winning team is in bold):

Grambling State vs South Carolina State, 34-31
Mississippi at Memphis, 45-14
Colorado State at Colorado, 23-17

And for those who are asking for concert pictures, Mom forgot the camera but knows someone who did took loads of pictures. So I'll share that with you guys as soon as she get them.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Football: Love&Hate

Yesterday was an amazing day. As mentioned before I went to the Summer Chill Out Concert with Mom over at the Red Rocks. First off the place is amazing. The entire amphitheater is natural. When we got there it was already dark, didn't have a good look at it if it was still light out, but the place is still amazing. The concert was, well I'm speechless. I am a HUGE fan of Pat Green and hearing him playing Live was just something I dream of, let along looking right at him! Darius Rucker and Eli Young Band were also amazing Live. It really was a huge party and truly, I had loads of fun :D

Amazing :D

As much as I wish to go to the after concert party, Mom and I drove over to the hospital to see Sean. Since it is the long weekend (Mom's having a baby shower on Monday...expect me to be in my room ALL DAY) we thought it'd be a good idea to stay and hang with Sean before heading on home.

Early this morning, Sean woke up and nearly screamed "MATT" on top of his lungs. Boy was he excited to see us (or maybe he was excited by the gift I brought him. We had a good morning just hanging out and even watched football. (Mom's got news about Sean but said she'll tell me later. Hopefully it's good news)

Which brings me to a point, when I hear Sean yelling GO GO GO and when he raises his arms after a TD, I can't help but smile. Because really, that was me. It was me siting in front of the TV yelling out "GO" and "CATCH IT" and "TOUCHDOWN!"

Now I mentioned before it was going to be a long month ahead and really, it still is. Watching football still aches my heart. Watching every receiver make or miss a catch still aches my soul. But as much as football can bring me down, it sure can get my blood pumping.

And sitting here watching the Ohio State and Navy game I'm not going to lie, as much as I don't like the Navy, I envy those guys. I've been a student athlete, I know how hard it is to be on top of your game AND keep good grades. And watching these guys play, I realize they have so much more than people give them credit for. They play college ball, they are enrolled in one of the most elite schools in the world. Not to mention their pride in serving their country.

Ya I'm an Ohio State fan, ya I want the Buckeyes to win but really, every single time Navy makes a good play, I still clap and cheer for them. After all, us military service people got to stick with each other.

So, as much as watching football makes my heart ache. As much as I miss playing football, this is a love and hate relationship. And truly, I can't stop watching the game. After all, football sticks with you no matter how old you are.


Score Updates (Winning team is in bold):

Oregon at Boise State 19-8 (Sept 3rd)

Purdue vs. Toledo, 52-31
Navy at Ohio St, 31-27
Kentucky vs Miami, 42-0

Jacksonville St at Georgia Tech, 37-17
Robert Morris at Virginia Military Institute 14-13

Air Force vs. Nicholls State 72-0

Illinois vs Missouri 37-9
Western Michigan vs Michigan 31-7
USC vs San Jose State 56-3

New Mexico at Texas A&M, 41-6
Army at Eastern Michigan, 27-14
Oklahoma vs Brigham Young, 14-13
Texas Tech vs North Dakota, 38-13
Florida vs Charleston Southern, 62-3
Texas vs ULM, 59-20

Alabama vs Virginia Tech, 34-24
Cal vs Maryland, 52-13
LSU at Washington, 31-23

If you wish to know ALL the football scores, let me know, I'd be glad to put them up for you. I just put my teams up there for future references :D

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Long Month Ahead

Early morning on September 2nd, around 0115, I realized this is going to be a long month.

Yes it's true I am going to KYGO's 3rd Annual Summer Chill Out Concert with Darius Rucker, Pat Green, Jack Ingram, Eli Young Band, Kate & Kacey (Check out the plan route here) this Friday. I may not sound excited in this blog but really, I am extremely excited about the concert. Mom and I are both huge Pat Green fans and Darius Rucker ain't bad either. This will definitely be good for both Mom and I to get away from everything. Dad sure is going to hear all about it when he gets home

Pat Green

It's also true that I got invited to a tailgate party at the Army vs Air Force football game in November- Thanks Nate and Jimmy for hooking us up with the tailgating stuff- and I even brought two pretty good seats to the game. (Planned route here) Again, I may not sound excited but I am. Always love to watch a football game live and of course, watch Army and Air Force going head to head. Just hope Dad will be home by then so we can make this guys day out before the baby arrives.

View from our seats

And out of love for hockey (while thinking about the possibility of going to some Colorado Avalanche's game, even with the 2 hours drive up to the rink, what can I say, I love them. Still not sure which games I want to go to though, so we'll see) I brought a season ticket to the Cadet Ice 09-10 season. As much as I'm "hate" the Air Force (AF families, you know I love you guys, haha :P ) and wish to attend all Black Knights games, that's not possible right now, so I guess I'll settle for the next best thing- check out these plushies I brought for Sean, hopefully he'll like them. And these for the football game and the hockey games.

Air Force Cadet Ice Arena

Guess even when there are exciting things going on, at the early hours of studying and doing homework, I tend to zone off into a world of inanimateness and reality.

As I was sitting in my room studying at the early hours of 0115, for some strange reason, I picked up my old football helmet and put it on. And for hours, I just sat there and stared right at my wall.

I don't remember what I was doing, I don't remember what I was thinking, but I just sat there. Sat there and smell the sweat the helmet collected through weeks and months of practices and scrimmages. Call me weird but that is another thing I love about football, that smell of sweat and dirt collected over weeks and months. That smell you can't wash off even if you try to. I guess I was just trying to taking in the football smell as much as I can...

Before I knew it, it was 5 hours later and ready for school. As much as I didn't want to, I took my helmet off and head off to school. Sure felt like the entire world is against me this morning. At school, I saw people carrying their football gear like I once did and as I sat in class, can't help myself but feel jealous, anger, and regret.

I spend lunch and my free period doing what I wasn't supposed to do. I went against the rules and sat out by the football field. Just sat there and tried to remember something I once live for and still love. Trying to remember the crowd, the lights, the people, and the old pigskin.

I type this tonight sitting in the dark, wearing my helmet, with Dosh sitting by my side, thinking and wondering about what Coach said to me years before. Thinking about my football buddies, thinking and wondering about this amazing quote from Friday Night Lights

"We're all vulnerable and we will all at some point in our lives, fall. We will all fall. We must carry this in our hearts that what we have is special. That it can be taken from us and when it is taken from us, we will be tested. We will be tested to our souls."

I fell and I am being tested, constantly.
It's going to be a long month.

Sorry, Coach. Sorry.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Since it's the first day of September, I thought it'd be a good idea to mention a couple major "events" across the nation.

Being part of the Military, there are certain things you just know. As many might know that September is Suicide Prevention Month. The topic of suicide prevention have always been pretty big around military lives. Even high ranking officers have first hand experience what suicide can do to a family. Since then, many commanders have keep the topic of suicide a top priority when it comes to overall troops health and moral.

There are loads of sites all around that gives information about suicide prevents and where you can get help (sites like Army G-1 Human Resources) but truly the most important thing is know what to do and know when to ask for help.

MG Mark Graham with pictures of his late sons: ROTC Cadet Kevin Graham and 2Lt. Jeff Graham

What many may not know, however, September is also National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Ever since Sean was diagnosed, I think our entire family have been turned upside-down (not to mention both of his parents are still away!) and through the reading and research, I've found that a huge community that brings family together to raise awareness of childhood cancer. Places like Complete the Cure and Cure Search really help in the cause to raise more awareness to childhood cancer and raise money to finding a cure!

Best of all, you can do your part to help! Support National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by downloading's September calendar. Each day shows you a different way for you to help conquer childhood cancer.

There are also ways to help if you love eating at Chili's Grill & Bar®. Chili's Grill & Bar® and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have come together again for their fifth annual contribution. Starting today to September 30th, when you eat at Chili's you can:

1. Make a donation to St. Jude and receive a Create-A-Pepper chili pepper coloring sheet designed for display at restaurants during the month.

Create a Pepper!

2. Purchase Create-A-Pepper T-shirts that can be customized with permanent marker.

3. Buy a customized Create-A-Pepper key that can be cut for use at home or the office.

And here is the awesome part: If you eat at Chili’s on Monday, Sept. 28th, Chili’s will donate 100% of profits to St. Jude! This is just amazing way to help while enjoying the food from Chili's! Thank you Chili's for continuing to help the cause to find a cure for childhood cancer! Click here to find the closest participating Chili's near you :D

You can find out more about Chili's cause, make donations online and more over at Create A Pepper

I'm hoping after I post this, you will spread this big event with your family and friends. After all, kids should never have to fight such battle. Help the cause to cure childhood cancer!