The following are half-thoughts that I’ve written down, with the intent making a full post for.  But after some time, I realized there just isn’t that much content for these. So I’ll just write out my thoughts and see where it takes us.

  • In high school, it was rumored that I broke Brandon Brown’s pinky during football practice.  It was said that while matched up against him during a passing play, that I slapped his hand while he try to catch the ball, which made it so it hit his pinky.  First off, I am flattered that people thought I could keep up with him and even guard him properly. And for the record, no I didn’t slap his hand; it was just a poorly thrown ball from a coach with a lot of sun in our eyes.
  • I enjoy group-effort games.  This explains why I only enjoyed Mario Party for the team mini games and Halo, Gauntlet, X-men legends or games like those for the co-op adventures.  Especially if it’s player vs. environment as it subtracts the variable of another team that loses. Video games aside, this is why I also enjoy escape rooms and board games such as Pandemic.
  • There was one year where I went to China with extended family and unfortunately, all of our luggage went onto the wrong plane.  So, not too long after we landed, we made our way to a store similar Walmart or Costco and bought clothes and toiletries. It was an interesting experience wearing clothes made for the local peoples.  Even though it was the middle of Summer, it was impossible to find short sleeved shirts, so we ended up buying scissors to cut the sleeves off and use them as undershirts. We found the jean pockets were too small and shallow to hold anything significant and everything seemed to have a weird starchy feeling to it.

  • During CSM, we were split into groups of 3 to roam the streets of Downtown LA to converse and interact with the homeless.  It was Matt, Peter and me as we came across a man. He might have been a war veteran caught on tough times just based off of his apparel and overall demeanor.  At one point we bring up the gospel and he tells us he knows about it, but lost his Bible. Peter then offers him his own Bible to keep. He thanks us and turns to show us his favorite verse: 

    “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
    -Hebrews 13:12We part ways and realize that we forgot to tell him about the Union Rescue Mission.  So Matt and I run a block or two to where he was to tell him and he’s not there. And there’s that brief moment where we thought “hmm.. Was he an angel?”.  Or maybe he left on a bus. Who knows?

  • It’s well known that I used to play League of Legends under the moniker of gimsh.  Some of the greatest memories I have with the game aren’t necessarily the victories and achievements, but the times I was able to play with friends.  Notably, I spent a considerable time playing with iSpecialist, negxalt, wrekhavok, BenGmite, hapanese, khat23, KuyaLes, RECKLESSWAG and smoh (Lauren).  It’s notable because for the longest time, I just knew them as Lauren’s friends from Long Beach or the Long Beach guys. We knew each other’s voices because we would be communicating through Skype.  We joked that we refused to meet in person (there were a couple opportunities) because then it would destroy the magic and mystery of it all.
  • Meet the Robinsons is a terribly underrated movie.  I especially liked the theme of repeating “keep moving forward”.  I actually printed out that quote and put it up in my dorm room to keep me motivated during sophomore year in college.  It would have been nice to look ~20 years into the future to see that everything was going to be okay, but it wasn’t necessary.
  • It bothers me how dependent people are on their smartphones.  I know there are a handful of justified reasons and rather than go on a tirade, I’ll just leave this video here to chew on.



Etude Toccata

During all of my classical music lessons while growing up, there was only one song I truly enjoyed playing; Etude Toccata.

I remember it vividly still.  My piano lessons were always on Tuesdays at 4pm.  That was ample time to be picked up late from school, grab my piano books and head to the piano teacher’s house.  Before my time slot, there was always a Brandon having a lesson.

What do I mean?  Under her tutelage, Mrs. Chiu taught two Brandon’s, whom she decided to differentiate as Brandon A and Brandon B.  So, one of those Brandon’s always had the time slot before.  For this story, it’s Brandon A.

Remember him?  He’s from this story.

Sometimes I would arrive a little early, or the lesson was going a little late, so I would wait out the last few minutes of Brandon A’s lesson.  He was a level or two ahead of me, so it was so interesting to hear him play this song one day.  Have a listen:

The ending is so satisfying when you get it right.

It’s interesting because the first half of the song, you’re playing one note over and over again.  Granted, there’s much more depth to it than that, but I couldn’t help but think “that song is easy”.  But as he finished it up his lesson and I heard the song a few more times, it grew on me.  Given my lack of effort, it probably took me about two months to learn any song, and then another month to fully memorize it.  But not for this song.

In fact, I was able to play most of it after hearing it a few times.

This was a weird turning point for me.  Because in terms of piano, I considered myself to be a  “waste of God-given talent”.  I never practiced.  That might have worked out for me until late middle school, but then songs started getting longer and more intricate.  Anyway, for the first time ever, there was a song that I wanted to learn.  Before, it was just songs Mrs. Chiu picked out at her discretion.  I was so eager to learn it, I had it fully memorized and master within a week.  And from there, I started to care a little more about honing my musical skills.  This was around the same time I began tuning into kMozart more (when it was still on 105.1 FM).

So, I was Unemployed Again..[The God Factor]

Let’s rewind it again, but a little further.

During my long period of unemployment before I started working at Kaiser, I was actually interviewing with LA Fitness’s corporate office.  Unfortunately, the timing just wasn’t quite right.  LA Fitness offered me a job the day after I accepted the job offer from Kaiser.

Fast forward to the tail end of contract at Kaiser.  I had a few phone calls and interviews, but no luck.  Remembering I still had the contact information of the manager that interviewed me at LA Fitness, I reached out.  After some back and forth, I got an interview.  That was followed by another interview the next week.  The next day, I got a job offer!  I was also able to negotiate a later start date to to give me time to find and move into an apartment since the job was located in Irvine.

Let’s talk about God’s timing and how perfect it is.  Even from the beginning.

  1. Initially, LA Fitness wasn’t ready for me.  When they contacted me with a job offer the first time around, they kind of just made up a position for me.  I probably wouldn’t have had the same opportunities to grow professionally if I was some sort of advanced intern.
  2. Getting the job at Kaiser was clearly act of God.  If you recall, I was initially rejected for a more qualified candidate.  It was about a month before they revisited me.  I didn’t learn about this until much later, but apparently there were 5 other candidates before they settled on me.  The first turned down the offer for a better one.  The second accepted the job offer, but then had a family emergency, forcing her to fly to China for an extended period of time.  The third was an in-house hire, who decided he didn’t want to leave his old team, so he turned down the offer.  The fourth was fired after her first week because she refused to adhere to the dress code policy.  The fifth wanted to accept the job offer, but wanted 3 months before she could start working.  6th place is the best place I guess.
  3. Working at Kaiser allowed me to be close to home.  I had planned to continue serving in college and youth ministry at church until certain senior class graduated from their respective ministries.  I’m glad I was able to see this through
  4. Kaiser employees are required to fulfill a certain amount of service hours, trainings and extensive surveys every year.  Being on contract meant I got to sidestep these minor inconveniences.
  5. Being on contract meant being paid hourly, which meant I was properly compensated for working overtime.  I worked a lot of overtime since Helen (the new director) started there.
  6. Kaiser is considered to be technologically ahead of its competitors in terms of the medical field.  Yet despite this fact, it quite behind in general.  I worked in an environment that had poor coding practices, no version control and no developer peers for me to bounce ideas off of.  I was the only software developer in my department.  All this to say that working there wasn’t great, but it was tolerable.  And the thing is, for a lot of people (including myself), tolerable is enough to stay at a job.  Had I been a full time salaried employee, it might be easier for me to be “stuck” there.  Being on contract meant the decision to leave was made for me.  God had bigger plans.
  7. Everything about moving to Irvine came together so seamlessly; God’s hand was in everything.  Technically speaking, I was only unemployed for about a week.  The job offer given to me was pretty generous, factoring in that employee prospects are expected to do some negotiating.  The only thing I really asked for was ample time to find an apartment, which was given to me.  Within 4 days of the job offer, I had an apartment lease signed and ready to go.  Conveniently, I’m exponentially closer to my fiance now.  No longer do I have to commute 1 hour 1 way just to see her.  The extra time I had to move in was used to furnish and settle into the apartment and even take a trip with friends without having to worry about nonexistent vacation days.

All Glory to God

It was a tough journey.  I remember praying a lot, asking God to let His Will be done and not my own.  I remember asking God to show me His plans, since things were not looking too promising for me.  I remember learning a lot of patience and trusting in God.

I thank God for what He has done for me.  He gave me the strength to push through it too.

So, I was Unemployed Again..[A Preface]

First, let’s rewind a little bit.  In March 2016, I was suddenly laid off.  But after several grueling weeks of unemployment, I was given a job offer at Kaiser Permanente in May.  A blessing considering it was so close to home, and allowed me to continue serving at church.  It was a contract-to-hire position, meaning I was considered a contractor until they onboarded me to a full time employee.  That also means I don’t accrue any vacation time, don’t get paid during national holidays, get paid hourly (as opposed to salary) and I don’t get to enjoy Kaiser’s great benefits.  I don’t really know the advantages of a contract-to-hire role, other than having an arbitrary probation period (standard is 60 or 90 days).

What are these great Kaiser benefits?  The standout perk is if you retired with Kaiser, you basically receive Kaiser health insurance for free for the rest of your life.  Why is this important?  Before I began working there, it was announced that this perk would no longer be supported starting 1/1/17.  So, if you wanted to keep the old system benefits, you would have to retire before then.  For ease of following along, here are some names (not their actual names):

Alex – the vice president of the financial department, and David’s boss
David – a director of the department and Ned’s boss
Ned – the manager of my team, and my boss

I’ll admit, I had a shaky start learning the system and getting a hang of things.  I don’t think Ned really liked me all that much at first.  But David liked me, and that mattered more.  Unfortunately David was retiring in September for the benefits.  As I sat in his office during his last week, David said he liked me and wanted to onboard me, but he didn’t feel right doing it as he was leaving the company.  So, he didn’t.  Even though I’ve worked there for 3 months and should be off the probation period.

Yup, that sucked.

In time, I proved my worth to Ned.  After 7 months of being on contract, we had a conversation where he said he liked me and wanted to onboard me.  He even said he would give me a small raise.  About a week later, Ned got back to me saying he was vetoed by Alex.  Alex wanted the decision of onboarding to go to whoever replaced David.

Yup, that sucked.

It was around here that Ned announced his retirement.  He didn’t care about the benefits since he’d be starting a company and travelling the world to teach underprivileged kids.  At the end of April 2017, 11 months of being on contract, Kaiser finds and hires Helen, who fills David’s vacant spot.  You can imagine some of my anxiety during this time, since the contract was originally supposed to end after 1 year.  After Helen goes through the motions of meeting the whole team and reorganizing things, she gets a chance to sit down and talk to me about my contract situation.  She barely knows me but at least acknowledges that I have some value here, so she extends my contract to the end of June.  I’ll shorten this story a little bit and say this pattern repeats itself 4 more times!  So, for 4 more months I have this back and forth uncertainty of whether or not I’ll have a job at the end of the month.  Until finally Helen said she wouldn’t extend the contract past the first week of October.

Yup, that sucked.

Of course, I had been applying to jobs and seeking other opportunities for a while.  More on that next time.

All the negative stuff aside, I could tell my presence there was appreciated.  I had like 3 or 4 goodbye lunches and parties before I left, and it was topped off by cupcakes and a card signed by the team on the last day.


After all the major projects I worked on, the reason my contract ended was because there just wasn’t much else for me to do.

A Good Bad Example?

On one of the my missions trips to Thailand, I recall a story that bothers me, even to this day.

As you know, we visited an orphanage that was kind enough to house and feed us for about a week.  I imagine they did this often as there seemed to be more than enough rooms for our small team.  These rooms were unused by the kids themselves, but were certainly optimized for guests.  Not too long after we arrived, the orphanage welcomed in a group of missionaries from Hong Kong.

They arrived in a mini bus, similar to how the rest of team and I did.  But as they disembarked and unloaded, I couldn’t help but conclude that they were all very well off.  Lacoste polos, Gucci bags, among other designer brand things.  We were informed that they had their own agenda, so it’s not like we would interact with them.  The rest of the day and evening was spent settling in and acclimating to the heat and humidity.  Of course, as if a natural instinct, most of our team spent time playing with the kids despite the language barrier.  Admittedly, it was so hot and humid, I couldn’t function unless I was standing in front of or under a fan when outside.  

The next day was Sunday, where we woke up early to join the service held in the orphanage’s main hall.  For some context and visual aid, the main hall was set up like this:

Notice that the chalkboard and podium were on the right, in front of the right section of chairs.  And even as we got there, many of the kids were already sitting in the right section, where one of the orphanage leaders was also standing in front of.  I think you get the point that everything is on the right and that’s a natural prompt for you to sit there (on the right).

So, the Hong Kong missionaries came in and sat in the left section…  They certainly stuck out with their bright yellow team shirts as well.  Now, it all could have been a simple misunderstanding, and they could have migrated over, but no, they stayed there despite the urging of the pastor to shift over.  They elected to turn their heads to the right.  And it wasn’t an slight head turn either, it was an inconvenient chin hovering over your right shoulder head turn.

So service started with a couple of canaan hymns.  Afterward, there was a moment where we greeted those around us.  Despite some people on the right side greeting those on the left, the Hong Kong missionaries mostly remained to themselves.

Notice the word “mostly”.  Their saving grace?  ONE of them took the prompt to come over and sat with us during the sermon.  She spoke English and even translated most of the me and others sitting nearby.

A couple days passed and we only really saw them in passing.  But there was one afternoon where we came back and they were gone.  I stumbled upon this information as I went to one of the rooms our team stayed in.  I was putting some things down when I heard a faint but constant noise.  We were in the mountains, so unless its the noise of big trucks driving by or kids playing, it was often pretty quiet.  I went outside and went over to the room next to ours to investigate.  It was one of the rooms the Hong Kong missionaries were staying in.  The room was cleared out, yet the fan was still on.  Upon closer inspection, they left a bunch of ash on the window sill where they had been burning their mosquito coils.  They also left a stack of mosquito coils and the room was a mess.  After turning off the fan. I still heard something.  It was the bathroom their room was next to, and the shower was left running.  For context, the first day we got there, the orphanage told us go easy on our water usage, as they were running low on it.  It’s as if they left in a hurry.

I want to give them the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe they had a sudden change of plans or they were being hunted by the Thai police, and one of them had to leave mid-shower.  Maybe they were diseased and that’s why they didn’t want to sit or interact with us or the kids.  Or maybe they actually were a group of pretentious snobs.  I’ll never know

And it’s at this point in writing all of this, that it might just be me.  So, after those encounters I decided that as much as possible, I will do my best to not come off the way they did.


As mentioned a few times already on this blog, I was kind of an idiot in high school.  But despite it all, there were still a few classes that caught my interest and that I genuinely enjoyed.  One of those classes was Spanish.

Rewind back to 8th grade where we were first given an opportunity to take Spanish as an elective.  Although I don’t remember the criteria to qualify for Spanish 1-2, (it was probably just to be “smart” or something silly like that) us regular folk could freely elect to take a semester of Introduction to Spanish.  The beloved Senora Norberg did a great job of garnering our interest of Spanish in 8th grade (whether introductory class or not).  Yes, it’s a pretty easy language to learn, but I still picked it up quick and enjoyed learning and studying new vocabulary.  I thought it was such a fun subject, I actually contemplated being a Spanish translator when I grew up.

Moving on to high school, my joys of learning the subject carried over as I was taught by Señora Snider.  Conjugating verbs, practicing conversations in class, the Spanish alphabet.. It all came naturally to me.  This was probably the only subject where I could say I didn’t study but aced all the tests and quizzes.  Learning Spanish was fun for me; the cooking projects and watching movies in Spanish were just icing on the cake.  It was more of the same the following year with Señora Cobos.

And then junior year came around and I would be taught Spanish by Dr. Graciano (she prefered that we address her as ‘profe’).  Up to this point, every Spanish teacher’s classroom I’ve been in or simply passed by was decorated from floor to ceiling.  Posters, projects, pictures of food, pictures of the culture, anything and everything covered the walls of those classrooms.

I stepped into her classroom on the first day and there was.. nothing.  I didn’t know the walls were white until that day.  The whiteboards were spotless.  She had a small desk and podium in the front of the classroom, clear of any knick knacks, figurines or clutter.  The only thing that sat on the tables along the windows was a CD player boombox and this framed poster of Enrique Iglesias that leaned against the wall:

(I’m a little surprised I was able to find this poster via google)

Needless to say, there was nothing fun about this classroom.  I probably should have taken that as some sort of foreshadowing.

I want to say it was a culmination of the classroom, her teaching style and just her personality in general, as I didn’t do so well.  In fact, I’d venture to say that she sucked the fun out of Spanish for me.  More likely to be the reason would be trying to learn how to conjugate verbs in the tenses I didn’t even have a firm grasp of using in English yet (like future perfect continuous or future continuous tense).   I could no longer do well on tests without studying and my grades took a hit.  Although, my classmates actually did a pretty good job of convincing her to lighten up.  We got to watch some movies and have a food party in class.  By the end of the year, there was one row of projects taped to the wall.

But it wouldn’t be enough to reignite my joy in learning the language.  To my credit, I still remember some of it; I was able to use it the few times I went on trips or cruises to Mexico.  Later, I took one quarter of Spanish as a GE to get the easy A in college.  Other than that though, it’s all just another thing I learned now.

Macaroni and Lots of Things

It was another lazy Saturday afternoon at Stu’s house.  Matt and I were over and the three of us were having a blast doing nothing together.  Relevant Calvin and Hobbes comic.

At some point, we moved over to the piano to “jam” a bit.  I say “jam” because we’re 12 or 13 in this story and our musical potential had not been unlocked yet.  Stu still barely knew how to play the drums, I knew nothing outside of my classical music training and Matt hadn’t found his passion for jazz yet.

“Are you guys hungry?”, Stu asked.

Matt and I looked at each other before agreeing, “yeah, we could eat.”

“Okay cool, be right back”, Stu got up and left us as Matt and I continued experimenting on the piano.

Not too much time passed as Stu returned with a giant bowl of Mac and Cheese with cut up hot dogs and 3 spoons.  It was one of those big bowls you would normally use to toss or serve salads in.  And looking back at it now, Stu cooked that up really fast; is there a boy scout badge for speed cooking mac and cheese?

Anyway, we moved to the kitchen area and gathered around to eat his creation.  After a few spoonfuls, Matt spoke up and said “It tastes like it’s missing something..”  I thought maybe he meant a little salt and pepper, but he and Stu went into the fridge to see what we could add.  Matt found a small container of gravy from KFC.  “This!  Let’s add this!” Matt exclaimed.  Stu was hesitant about it.  After a small Benny Hill chase sequence, Matt was finally able to pour the gravy into the mac and cheese.  To Matt’s credit, it actually tasted pretty good.  After a few more spoonfuls, Matt once again posed the question:

“What else can we add to this?”

And right here is where we should have stopped this nonsense.  Instead, we went down an exponentially faster descent of adding things and then trying to save the integrity of the mac and cheese.

There were a handful of things we mixed into the mac and cheese at first that made it taste good.  Forgive my memory as I can’t quite seem to remember them (it was so long ago).  I think it was salt, pepper, ketchup, some hot sauce and I think eventually more cheese and more hotdogs.  The part I remember vividly was when things took a weird turn.

“Cap’n Crunch!”

Stu and I barely had a chance to stop Matt as he poured some into the bowl.  It might have been fine if it was regular Cap’n Crunch, but it was actually the berry version.  So now our mac was a weird savory mix, and from this point forward, it was gross.

In an attempt to bind the flavors together and mix savory with savory, Matt added a big spoonful of peanut butter.  Good idea, but still gross.

It was around this point that Marty joined us.  We filled him in with our current dilemma and he tried his best to help.  He found a bottle of thousand island dressing in the fridge and poured some in.  Still no good.

Finding a plate of soft boiled eggs I threw those into the mix.  For a moment, we thought the mac and cheese was saved as Marty tasted it and let out a satisfying “mmmm”.  It was then pointed out that he just had a spoonful of egg without the other elements.  Not too long after, I had a brilliant idea:

“Soy sauce saves everything, right?”

The others applauded my idea as I poured in what looked like just the right amount.  We each took another spoonful only to find that though it tasted better, it was still gross tasting.

We were just about to abandon it before Matt said “Wait! I think if we add more Cap’n Crunch it’ll taste good!”

Nope.  Should have just stopped at gravy..

Strength and Honor

Like many stories about us, it all kind of started as a joke.  It was a typical Sunday morning at church and we were doing the usual messing around in between services.  We were done being seniors in high school and were enjoying the last few days of Summer.  On this day we conversed with our Sunday school teacher, Ben, as he indulged in our nonsense.  This was somewhere around the time we were transitioning from calling him Ben-Dover to Ben-gaged to just Ben (because now he was married).

I forget what lead to it, but Ben just started grabbing each of our arms and saying “strength and honor” in a deep raspy voice.  Of course, a couple of us caught his reference to the beginning of the movie, Gladiator.

We chuckled and played along with Ben, trying to do our own impression of Russell Crowe’s voice.  For various reasons, this stuck in our minds.  

Later, on one of our last hangouts at Stu’s house before college, we were getting ready to go our separate ways, when, instead of saying “goodbye”, I extended my hand and said:

“Hey, Strength and Honor…”

There was a small pause as we all looked at each other with smirks on our faces.

“Yeah.. Strength and Honor..”, Matt said.

And so, it became it our thing.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Matt, Stu, Caleb, Marty and I went to schools that were still pretty close to home.  So it was very common for all of us to be at church together on a given Sunday.  After a week of school, homework, projects and tests, it was a joy to see one another again.

“Strength and Honor”

It was a greeting, a goodbye, an exhortation.  It kind of encompassed it all as we said it and made eye contact.  Eye contact that was akin to heading off to another battle (ie. another week of school).  Though it was just jokes, it felt very brotherly and real.  It was pretty cool.

We were college freshmen when this all began and it carried on until we were juniors.  Not so much because we grew out of it, but probably more so because we each started to spend more weekends on our respective campuses.  We enjoyed the novelty of it so much that it actually inspired the College Winter Retreat theme for one of the years I was the director.

“Strength and Honor: when Beauty and Religion just don’t cut it..”

Again, this was our thing.  So of course we wouldn’t acknowledge Jackie when she extended her hand for it.  She parodied it with my sister and the rest of their friends by making up their own, “beauty and religion”.  Hence, the tagline for the winter retreat theme.

I kind of miss those days where we used it so liberally.

The Last Summer Break

Summer 2012

This would be the last Summer break for me, and others like me that were taking a 5th year in college.

Kevin and Caleb were gearing up to go to Thailand again.  Marty was already working a little bit and getting ready to go back to school to get his credentials.  Stu was done with school, but still actively looking for a job.  Matt had a free Summer (for once); free from studying abroad or going on medical missions trips.  Me?  I failed to find an internship before the school year ended, yet I still tried putting my application out there.

This Summer is actually encompassed by one day in particular.  It was quite hot, so of course Matt and Stu rode their bikes over to my house to utilize the pool.  Stu was tired of applying to jobs, I was tired from finding an internship and Matt was tired from working out everyday, so we just used the day to relax.  We didn’t need to be adults quite yet anyway.

We got pruny, so we went inside.  Matt and Stu brought out their laptops, while I turned on my desktop.  It was around this time that Matt jokingly suggested that we find a game that we could play together.  He reminisced on all those times we played the Gauntlet series together.  Even pulling some late night sleepovers to enjoy it.  I then remembered downloading and playing a cooperative game from Steam a while back.  I pointed it out to them, and told them what the game was like.  Honestly, I didn’t even sell it very well.  After all, this was a game that didn’t excite me enough to want to keep playing then, why would it change now?  I figured it would be one of those times where there would be a unanimous “naaaaw” and then move on to the next idea.

That game was Spiral Knights.  And as it turns out, I was wrong.  They loved the concept so much they began downloading it immediately.  The funniest thing happened next:

Not too long after, my brother came home from a long day of work.  He was probably slightly annoyed at the fact that he came back to his room (we shared a room) and saw 3 half-naked guys (from swimming) playing computer games.  He questioned us on what we’ve done all day as he turned on his own computer.  Glancing at our monitors and hearing us out, he got really interested and began downloading Spiral Knights as well.  He even told us to wait for him.  We spent the remainder of the evening completing some missions together.  It was great!

Really, the title of this blog should be “A Summer of Spiral Knights” or “The Adventures of poostu, Maluweee, smhappyguy and gimsh”.  This was pretty much what we did for the rest of the Summer.  Exercise a little bit, have some fun in the sun and then play Spiral Knights (which we later codenamed “pumping iron” to sound less embarrassing when talking about it in public).

Perhaps more so because it was the last, but this Summer break was easily one of my most favorite.  I wouldn’t have traded having an internship for fellowship with friends during those months.  Alas, the nights came quicker and Summer came to a close.  As school started up and we did our respective things, our digital adventure came to an end.

Operation Cheesy Cat, Attempt #2

Our college days were over.  We graduated, got jobs and started growing up a little bit.  For Eddie, Lauren and I, our friendship continued in the form of a Facebook message thread and scattered hangouts.  At some point, Lauren would introduce us to the game Hearthstone.  An online collectible card game that was free to play, who could resist?  Not me.

Naturally, if I found out a friend played, I would add them to my friend list in the game.  One of these friends was Katrina.  She posted on Facebook that she played too, so I messaged her for her game ID.  I was a little surprised that she responded, I was afraid she would ignore me because the last time I spoke to her, we were sophomores.

Once a blue moon, I’d log on and see that she was playing too.  We’d chat a little bit, though it never moved too far from small talk.  It was kind of weird talking with her, because she basically didn’t exist socially from 2010 to 2013.  In those sparse conversations, I learned one piece of vital information; she had a boyfriend.  No, it didn’t mean she was off limits for me; rather she was off limits for Eddie.  At least for now.

Months would pass and the conversations continued.  And then something happened.  Since our conversations were usually 1 – 2 months apart, the question of “what’s new?” often had legitimate and fresh answers.  On this particular evening, I happened to ask how things were going with her boyfriend.  She said that they had broken up a while back and I expressed my sympathy.  At this point, a trigger went off in the back of my head.

DING ding DING! Operation Cheesy Cat Greenlighted! Go go go!

But I needed a catalyst of some sort..

Another grade hangout!

I just knew if I could get those two in contact again, something would happen.  All the magic, romance and cheesy stuff they experienced as Freshmen would come surging back.  I just needed them to look at each other again or something like that.

But first I needed to test the waters.  The next time I saw Katrina on Hearthstone, I talked to her about the idea of helping me plan a grade reunion.  She liked the idea too and I asked her to also help me hype it up and promote it too.  As soon as that Facebook event was made, I messaged Eddie.  Being upfront, I told him “I’m getting you back together with Katrina”.  I think he was skeptical again, but Lauren supported my idea.

The plan was simple.  Have a grade hangout, let them reacquaint and let the magic happen.  I even went as far as essentially structuring everything around her.  That is, scheduling the hangout on the only night and time frame she was free and such.

Little did I know there was still so much energy between them.

Again, not so much my story to tell, but before we even got to our grade hangout, Eddie and Katrina got back together and became official.  She ended up messaging him to make sure things wouldn’t be weird.  They met up for coffee and reconvened.  The grade hangout still happened, but it was now just a formal presentation of the new Eddie and Katrina.

Operation Cheesy Cat was a success.

After Eddie thanked me profusely, he told me I won the award for Wingman of the Year 2015.  I jokingly told him to commemorate that with a trophy or medal.  And now that they’re married, he did:

One of my finer moments in life, I’ll treasure this forever.