Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Quest Retreat

Been a couple weeks since I last made a post. Well I was gone all of last week so that played a major role and the reasons for which I was gone will be the subject of my latest entry. I was consistantly hassled(practically harrassed though his intentions were good) by Mr. Reiling to go on this "Quest Retreat." His words are as follows "Hey Hauser, don't you want to uncover the mysterious energies of being a man!" Not always the best way for a 50-some year old man to approach a 17 year old about a supposedly religous retreat, but he's not your average religion teacher (or person for that matter). Luckily the retreat was in a span of 3 days where I would only miss one day of school and it was supposed to be "senior skip day" that thursday anyway.

So I arrive at school at about 3 pm and we are on the school bus by 4 to go to a hostel in Peninsula, Ohio. Did you know that there was a hostel in peninsula Ohio? Or a Peninsula Ohio for that matter. But there apparently is and that is where the many misadventures would take place over the following 3 days.

We had little discussions about Jung's four archetypes of male energy, a little map-drawing session of our individual kingdoms, etc. Don't shake your head at the computer screen, you just had to be there. Anyway, these were all EXTREMELY interesting but one can only handle so much psychology per day.

So in between these discussions we did the normal stuff likfe throwing a football around, hiking, playing card games, hassling Mr. Reiling for not bringing his hippie guitar or peace pipe, etc. So we were sitting there playing Uno (which, like scattergories, is 2nd base in christian basebal) and four of us agreed that Uno was fun and interesting at age 7, but seems to get boring afther the 16th round. So we went and played Euchre, which is by far my favorite card game. So between all of these activities I actually got some time to get quite a few pages of writing done.

There's something about the wilderness and countryside that instills peace in me and allows me to really be creative, there are way to many distractions in city life, especially in the loud city of Lakewood. Now for the people who are not affected by ADD: Loud/Sudden noises + ADD = Bad. It's next to impossible to concentrate sometimes but thankfully i can just put on my mp3 player at full blast and put my entrainment track on repeat for a few hours. This is a cool little trick (that plenty of people could use) to put oneself into a deeper level of thought. The great thing about the wilderness is that you don't need high-tech devices to do that. just a blanket and a pen and paper.

Since this is supposed to be about my crazy life of writing, revising, and directing it seemed fitting to add these thoughts in here. Its a shame that millions of people in the world rarely leave the big cities of places like New York, LA, or Cleveland and plague themselves with a form of tunnel vision that pushes out any thoughts of self expression. Plenty of the people I go to school with, a lot my closest friends, are only concerned about where the next big party is going to be. It's so nice just getting away from the hustle and bustle and enabling yourself to actually hear your thoughts.

The saddest thing about living in a big city, or even just a small town where lights are wround is where you can't just look up and see this:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

School of the Assassins

I'm excited about next month. So lets fast forward to the upcoming entertainment that November holds. The week before thanksgiving is the School of the America's Vigil. I touched on this in my last post but would like to go a bit more in depth on the experience (but lets keep this on the down low in front of Grandma Keller, she's not too thrilled with the idea of her grandson hanging around with peaceloving hippies lol). Last year I was asked by a teacher of mine if I was interested in attending this "protest" to aid in the efforts to help shut the school down and bring attention to the cause. Now for the previous two years I sat in this man's class and explained what a great experience it was and apart from the whole "jumping over the barbed wire fence" thing, it was totally legal. Now I needed service credit and anyone who knows me would agree I'm probably not going to turn down the chance to spend 20+ hours on a bus with cute college girls. But I never imagined how much I would learn on this bus ride.
The School of the America's is an institution created for the soul purpose of training millitants. Here is an excerpt from the vigil's website:
The School of the Americas (SOA), in 2001 renamed the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation,” is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia. Initially established in Panama in 1946, it was kicked out of that country in 1984 under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. Former Panamanian President, Jorge Illueca, stated that the School of the Americas was the “biggest base for destabilization in Latin America.” The SOA, frequently dubbed the “School of Assassins,” has left a trail of blood and suffering in every country where its graduates have returned. Over its 59 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the School of Assassins.

So last year I learned all of this and i decided to head down there. I went with 7 other of my St. Ed's piers along with our campus ministry director Mr. Chrosniak. The closest friends I went with were Alex Dilallo, John Price, Kyle Hord, and his sister Liz. This would be the basis of the future adventures. The first thing I learned was how long a 12 hour bus ride really is! So for a good deal of the bus ride we talked, especially about the church and its past (I couldn't believe my ears at times). We also watched movies, listened to music, and slept. Probably the most humorous instances on the bus involved either Alex's sleeping habits, Willow(who is a 6th year student at cuyahoga community college) or Symmetry(the extremely pregnant hippie who doesn't talk much but is obsessed with ear buds).
Things were pretty normal for the first couple minutes but before the bus started rolling we had the pot smoking socialist college professor telling us that if we were tempted to jump the fence, to first take a deep breath and know that you are commiting a felony, and if you feel like going over then go for it, because he sure as hell would be. Then we had the nun's who were convicted felons (quite possibly for the instance previously described), and then Willo decides to pray. So she starts out with "Father God.." (ok sounding pretty normal) "...Mother God, we thank you for the trees, and all of the animals on this planet, we ask forgiveness for eating your creations and that you will still accept us into the kingdom of heaven. Thank you for the soles of our feet for without them we could not walk, thank you for this bus and let us pray that we will not all die in a terrible crash....Amen." Well thats a GREAT way to lift up our spirits? So our group then decided that Willow was an abstract. A few other funny things happened that are of less importance, we got reprimanded for watching Blazing saddles, A man in Tennessee tried to sell us all armadillos, and John found out that coca cola is apparently an evil company and that he should feel ashamed when he buys Coke products and Nike shoes.

We finally pulled into Columbus Georgia. Talk about southern hospitality! We got a nice toothless grin from the man behind the desk at the motel, pillows marked with sharpies, and a small snake in the bath tub. Ok it was a RUBBER snake but that doesn't stop your heart from skipping a beat! So at about 10 pm after dinner, Alex, Kyle, Liz, Mr. C and I decided that we needed some pie, and maybe some coffee. So we head down to the waffle house. On our way there we pass a nice little pawn shop advertising the sale of AK-47's. We walk about a half mile and our little journey comes to a climax as we walk into the waffle house. We walk in and sit down and we are waited on by a woman who looked like she had just eaten a pixie. I mean there was more glitter on this woman than in an arts and crafts store. So we get our coffee and cake and Kyle points out that his cake looks sparkly. Upon further examination we see that there is glitter IN the cake and coffee. So this turned into a little contest, "who has the most glitter in their food." Thankfully I lost (or maybe I won) with a total of 0 pieces of glitter. So the 5 of us head back to our motel and sleep off a very long bus ride and a strange greeting to the deep south.

The next day we got up at about 7 o' clock to eat breakfeast and go to the gates of Ft. Benning itself. We have a nice 10 minute walk to what looks like a carnival. I was extremely surprised to see how many people were there. Most of the first day was walking around buying buttons (which I still proudly wear on my backpack) and being the hippie I know I am at heart. I bought 20 or so buttons, a ghandi T-shirt, a legalize marijuana T, and the guys at the marijunana booth were nice enough to give me about 40 posters to take home and pass around the school and community. My group also ate vegan bread, which is probably the best thing i've ever tasted (i need to find out the name again and the recipe to make it), listened to a guy talk about how you shouldn't need a drivers license to drive your car and met a few famous people like the Indigo girls and Congressman Kucinich.

We spent most of the day there and also learned another very important tbing about Alex. He is easily impressionable and almost jumped the fence (Michelle I would have been spending a few days at your house until we bailed alex out of jail). Later that night we had a nice big dinner and headed to mass. Unfortunately we were wrong, first off, it wasn't a mass, it was a prayer service, and secondly, it was going to end up being about three and a half hours long. Now sitting on chairs and we could have endured it a little easier, but no, we sat on a cement floor.....for 3 and a half hours. That crappy hotel bed would never have felt so good in any other circumstance.

Now these events were fun but the true reason we were there was going to be realized tomorrow. Each year thousands of people uniformly walk in a big eliptical pattern and chant "presente" as the leaders read out the names of the people who have died because of the atrocities commited by the students of the SoA. There were over 3,000 names and I cannot say I have ever been part of a more spiritual experience and that will probably be the most prominent image in my mind for years to come. In a world where there is so much violence and hatred, there are events like these that remind us all that there is still goodness in humanity and that there is still hope for us as a race. Many people, including other teachers, told me that this was a waste of time and that this could not change a government's mind. Tell that to the thousands that were present and the countless people of Latin America that were there with all of us in spirit.

So this year I decided to do a few things differently. i'm going to bring my camera and lots of film along, and i'm going to document everything I see to the smallest detail and create a small documentary so that even the people who couldn't attend could perhaps get a glimpse of this amazing sight.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Because it's cool to jump on the bandwagon

I thought it'd be fun and enjoyable to create a blog just to jot down thoughts, keep in touch with people, and keep everyone informed on my insane life and future aspirations. Quite a long agenda but if you'll sit here long enough to read it I'll sit here and keep typing. In the words of Daniel Tosh "I'll just keep talking until about six people know what the heck i'm talking about, then we'll move on to the next joke."

Ever since I was really little I think I had the independence and will to drive my parents completely off the wall. From the infamous events (in Mike and Beth's minds) of me opening the front door and walking straight out (despite losing the birthrite to see "a goofy movie"), I forever sealed my life of crime. I was never like the other kids, I always had different interests and though i was friends with many people I only felt that I shared a bond with a select few. Who became my best friends? A Canadian Anarchist, a Frenchman, and a Jew. Sort of sounds like the start of a bad bar joke right? But despite my brash generalizations, these were the people (along with my family) that became the foundation of who I am today.

Through my gradeschool years I learned the hardway that you are more socially accepted if you do what everyone else does. Kids in the late '90's and early 2000's didn't really understand people who listened to rush, radiohead, and counting crows I guess. But throughout these hard times I discovered many truths about myself. But we all know the horrors of middleschool so lets fast-forward....

Freshman year! I'm finally a big kid! All of this new independence combined with raging hormones. And where did I want to go? An all boys catholic college prepatory school. Talk about a suckerpunch from biology. It took a little while to adapt (it went pretty quickly when i learned about the all GIRLS schools that were around and these amazing events called varsity football games) but i survived to be writing this over three years later. Wow has it really been that long? Over the next three years I'd discover why everyone talks about high school.

Everyone goes through dreams of becoming an astronaut, a professional athlete, or the president of the United States. Even I did, which is funny because I hate math, don't like being told how to do something, and loath the political system. So I needed to think about a profession that would allow me to express myself, travel often and keep myself out of a desk (WOOT for A.D.D.!). For a while I had no clue until about halfway through freshman year(and even up to senior year) where I found a passion for film.

I was talking to my friend Andre (now called andrew so he's not associated with his parents origin) about movies and he started recommending movies that I see and that He, Austin, and I should have a movie festival over the summer. If you lived in the Hauser household during my middle school years you would know how often the basement was used as THE party venue. In fact it was agreed upon that it was my friends' favorite place to hang out. Even more than the South of Lane (aka SoL) mansions that a few of them lived in. So before we moved to cleveland we had quite a few parties where we viewed classics such as Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Citizen Kane, A Clockwork Orange, and Battle Royale(the movie that sparked my love for Asian Cinema).

So I took the initiative at Saint Edward High School and in collaboration With Mark Urban (My freshman English teacher) created the St. Ed's Film Club (or maybe a recreation, might have to consult Big Mike on that). Since then we have viewed about 30 movies, produced a few students who became film majors, and from a small group of 12 people have grown exponentially to almost 50 as my tenure as President comes to an end.

On the side of leading film club, going on many retreats and protests (I'll be in GA on the 21st of November!), and being a member of Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice, I often relax by listening to music and writing. Most of the scripts will never be seen by anyone but myself and a few others but i'm pretty enthusiastic about sharing my ideas with people who ask.

When it comes to multimedia I can confidently say that I am a rare breed. A person who will listen to or watch anything and everything. I might not like everything I see but every film gives me more information on what it takes to create a film. As for music, I think my playlist or mp3 player says it all. I love all kinds of music (save most country and opera) but especially have a love of alternative rock and some of that screamo-emo music parents must love! (well Beth likes Finch and Deftones which she infact turned ME onto so maybe she can't talk).

My 17 years on this earth have definately rattled a bit of the general population but I think that is my calling. Not to conform with society but to jump off the path and sprint through the woods, maybe i'll tumble down a few cliffs but when you climb back out of the valley you will find yourself on the tallest mountain!