28 March, 2007

Whirlwind NE American Tour, Part I

In the next few months, I'll be all over the top right quadrant of my country. (Not Ireland, silly, the real one). Here's the report on the first weekend! (I'm really cheating on the time this was posted, but wanted them to be posted chronologically. Ergo, I cheat. Pardon.)

I had a hard time finding a substitute for my Saturday job this weekend, but God provided. I was working like a bee before we left, and was able to sleep a lot on the way there. I saw my Colorado relatives for the first time in four years. That was cool. They were there because my Uncle Ernie (who owns his own Physical Therapy clinic) does these Primal Reflex Release Technique (PRRT) seminars all over the country.

I was supposed to wake up at 5:30 AM on Saturday to help at Uncle Ernies' seminar, but considering that I couldn't sleep until 2:30 AM, I chose to stay at Uncle Dank's. My little cousins and I decided to walk to the local $1 store, where we made the manager nervous. He greeted us with a Mexican accent, loudly asking, "now yous kids don't mess anyt'ing up, 'kay?" We got laser pointers, gum, and chocolate. Not bad :-)

After lunch we made bits of a music video that never fully materialized. In this video, you can see my brother Matt, my cousins Jordy, John, and Emily. Jordy does his sweet rendition of the dance move called "the Worm."

Dinner was...I forget. But we watched some March Madness basketball on Uncle Dank's 64" HDTV. Honestly, I prefer our projector, but the stereo he had hooked to the TV was SWEET! He even had outside speakers. Nice touch.

On Sunday, I successfully woke in time to attend Uncle Ernie's seminar. He gave me an anatomy book to browse through during class, which was good since most of his presentations went right over my head. So I played around with my face, finding bony structures and muscles, until I was needed. Uncle Ernie had 13 students, so I became a guinea pig for them to try their new techniques. It was fascinating, though I really had no idea what was going on. The basic idea of PRRT (I think) is to counter stress. When people are stressed, they go into the "fight or flight" mentality, which "upregulates" their system and, over time, will cause musculoskeletal pain. Therapists use PRRT to "downregulate" their patients, and eliminate pain that can be tied to stress. I think there are other uses, but this was just a beginner course and I didn't even have the credentials to take the course. But I enjoyed it.

We hung around my Grandma's house that afternoon. I ate a lot of Hershey's kisses while I talked with my aunts and mom. Aunt Karen tried to find out why I'm an insomniac, but couldn't find a cure. Still, it was fun to talk about me :-P

The "grown ups" stayed at Grandma's while my siblings watched the younger cousins at Uncle Dank's. We got the subs pounding and recorded some more sweet dance moves. We jumped on the trampoline for a bit, but soon switched to "Ghosts in the graveyard." That game is really fun, but it's really loud, so I'm glad it ended shortly after dark.

I discovered Guitar Hero that night. I thought Dance Dance Revolution was a cool video game, but this beat it. It's the sweetest video game I've ever played (which isn't saying much). You've got this cheesy little guitar, right, with buttons instead of a fret board and a switch instead of a pickup, and a whammy bar. You pick a song to play, and the screen shows a fretboard and tells you which fret buttons to push and when to "strum" the switch. During the long notes, you can use the whammy bar if you choose. Every once in a while, something called "star power" is available, and you can "rock out" by shaking and tilting the guitar. My cousins call this "feeling the music" and it adds points to your score. By the time I left my uncle's house, I had progressed from playing single notes to "chords." It was sweet! It made me wonder if kids enjoyed that more than actually playing an instrument, though. Kinda sad thought.

We left on Monday afternoon. Aunt Karen invited me to visit them in Colorado, which I'd love to do this summer. Aunt Liz later e-mailed me, saying I'd left some shampoo etc. at her house. Oops! I'm expecting to get it back in the mail any day. Sorry, Aunt Liz!

I have a cool family.

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