Me Liam O'Reilly

Encyclopedia

Bike

I bike everywhere. To school, to sports, to church, to hang out, and many others. Here is a comprehensive list of reasons to bike

Practicality - People nowadays are incredibly lazy. Companies like Uber and Lyft are taking advantage of them by giving you the easy way out for a small fee. That is, unless you have a bike. Being on a bike gives you total freedom. You can ride on the road or on the sidewalk without annoying civilians or having to pay a single cent.

Exercise - Every morning (especially after New Year’s) many people wake up it the early hours to hit the gym. Instead of signing up for an expensive gym membership and sacrificing sleeping hours, just bike! The accumulation of many hours of cycling will build up muscles in your legs and the fresh air will make you feel great

Outdoors - Speaking of fresh air, cycling is a great way to enjoy nice weather. Instead of a monotonous drive or a boring walk, hop on a bike and experience the outdoors from a new angle. Every morning I wake up tired and dreading school. During my bike to school the wind in my face, the honking of car horns, and my cold fingers wake me up set me up for the day ahead

Chess

Recently, there has been a resurrection of chess in my life. A few weeks ago a friend asked if I was interesting in going to chess club. Of course, I am wary of my social appearance and chess isn’t exactly the most ‘hip’ or popular activities to do, especially to spend your lunch doing. Despite this, I went along with him to see what it was like. To my surprise it had more than two members, about 15 seniors and one sophomore that annihilated me the first time we played. It is the most relaxing way to spend your lunch period - hunched over a chessboard silently delivering blows to your opponent’s pieces. Nowadays I find myself in Mr. Victoria’s Physics room at lunch playing the Game of Kings.

London

I was born in London. The largest city in Europe with attractions like the Eye, Buckingham palace, and of course, Nando's peri peri. Ironically, me moved to the US of A in 2004 and I hadn’t been back since. Every time the awkward question came up “where were you born?” my answer would spark more questions and more assumptions. “So you’re British.” “Where’s your accent?!” All of these questions I have to answer. Birthplace is the only connection I have to London, or England for that matter. Does that make me british? Anyway, my dad, sister and I traveled to London for a lovely twenty-four hours. We were half tourists-half locals and that made for the weirdest travel experience of my life so far.

Nando's

As we toured the city, my dad pointed out little facts that only someone who had lived there for fifteen years would know. “I rode down this street everyday to work” or “There used to be the best Indian place there.” Funnily enough, he was still amazed by Buckingham palace and other simple tourist attractions. As a local, he had come to take these things for granted, always glancing over them but never actually stopping to observe. Some of the things we take for granted we never realize the sheer beauty or value of.

Poker

For us, poker is a way to decide. A way to pick a loser. We don’t bet money, what we bet is dignity and pride. Hours of pairs, straights, flushes, and cusses to decide a loser. The first without chips has to do a predetermined forfeit. Sting pong, mystery cocktail, underwear runs, you name it.

Skiing

I’m not a great skier and neither are my family members. Sure I can conquer any slope and I can land jumps but I’m no natural. Despite my, or our lack of ability, skiing is a huge part of the O’Reilly family as Americans. Before immigrating here, my parents hadn’t stepped foot in skis. Arriving in ‘the States’ and this alpine pastime is a huge part of many families, so why not give it a try? Now we ski every winter, near home, faraway, and plan elaborate vacations around it. We learned a new skill that many people grew up with and made it our own. It’s pretty fun, too.

Soundcloud

Soundcloud - the website where you go when you’re not looking for a particular song. It’s the wikipedia of music. People create, mix, and mash different tunes and beats to create some wonderful creation. When you’ve finished a song, it auto-plays a related song and before you know it, you’re deep into the realm of sounds. If you’re not into forking over the ten bucks per month for Spotify, just hop on the cloud for free, quality tunes.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Everything I look for in a movie, this has it.

Comedic characters with something fundamentally wrong with them

A love story that doesn’t take away from the plot

Scenery that plays a part in the overall story

Easy to follow sense of time

Villains you can despise

And more. If you haven’t, watch it.

Favorite scene - Mr. Gustave and Zero are chasing the mad killer Joplin atop an alpine peak. After murdering the spy Serge X, Joplin hops into skis and flies down the slope. Zero and Mr. Gustave, having been so close to extracting information from Serge must follow him. Zero, determined and resourceful as ever finds a sled and the two follow the murderer. The camera angle then changes to a fantastic bird's-eye view capturing the pursuit. They sled through a bobsled course, and then a ski jump. Zero was in his early twenties and his memory of the events were certainly distorted. The exaggerated way all of these actions are played out and performed makes this scene feel like a book, and relates it back to the fact that it is a story being told over dinner years later.

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s in my family is usually a pretty underwhelming spectacle. It’s spent mourning the passing of christmas and the looming prospect of school starting soon. We wonder whether it’s early enough to take down the christmas tree and dream about how we could be lying on the beaches of the Caribbean or skiing the Rocky Mountains.

This year was different. On December 31, 2015 we found ourselves in Hong Kong, halfway around the world. Of course, my uncle had reserved a western restaurant for dinner and I was sitting at the table laughing at the irony of travelling all the way just to have a slice of pizza. Both of my grandparents, my uncles and aunts, and my two cousins (one-child policy) were sitting around the biggest table in the place. It was strange to have all of the family gathered for a special occasion and the chinglish conversations were mixed with smiles and photos. Over the mediocre Italian food, I asked my cousin how school was going. The last time we had talked she was in high school, fighting her was through the complicated and competitive education system. Now she was working part-time at Uniqlo and regularly traveled around southeast Asia with her friends. So much time had passed between visits and there was so much to learn.

After dinner, we all headed back to our rented apartment, a five-room place with a kitchen that could physically hold about three people. The bathroom had recently been redone and the place smelled faintly of paint. I ran into my room and looked through the skyscrapers and across Hong Kong harbour at the island. The big Sony screen had lit up the time: 10:00.

Hong Kong is a large port city located in southeast China at the mouth of the Pearl River. Across the river is another city, less known for its commerce and food and more renowned for its gambling and wild casinos; Macau. Many Hong Kongers traveled to Macau frequently as children, to play in the mega hotels while their fathers gambled around the clock. My family was no different, and once somebody pulled out a deck of cards the fun really began. Someone threw down ten Hong Kong dollars, my grandma twenty, and before I knew it the pot was over a hundred Hong Kong dollars.

These hours with my family are ones that will stay in my memory forever. The laughter, and smiles shared by me and my family members were priceless. Despite the language barrier and the fact that I only see them once every few years, it felt like we had lived in Hong Kong our whole lives.

As the clock approached twelve we gathered by the window. The ice cream had been eaten, the money gambled, and the alcohol consumed. Everybody was tired but the whole city was awake. The skyscrapers looked like a checkers board, filled with little white dots of people waiting as intently as us. The streets were still besides the steady flow of traffic heading out towards the airport. We counted down ten, nine, eight...three, two, one…

Happy New Years! And happy times with family too.

Daily Schedule

It’s important to develop a routine because it makes the harder tasks in life seem easier. That is, if it’s a productive routine.

6:50 - Alarm goes off, take note that I didn’t say “I wake up” because all that happens at 6:50 is the ringing of my alarm. Anytime before seven o’clock is too early to begin my day.

7:05 - I wake up. This involves lots of stretching and regretting my decision to wake up at all. As I think about what classes I have later that day, I sigh because I thought I dropped bio but now I have to do homework at lunch.

7:35 - After showering, dressing, and eating a delicious bowl of cereal, I hop on my bike and ride a friend’s house. As I ride I think about my upcoming classes and the best way to make it to 2:30 without incident. I wake up during my ride and the fresh air and I chat with friends about jv sports, projects that are due, or whatever happens to be in the news. This ten minute stretch in the morning really sets me up for what’s ahead…

8:00 - School, as I walk through the glass doors I prepare myself for a day of notes, quizzes, and reading.

10:52 - After english I head back to palmer to meet up with a friend and play some chess. It’s a very therapeutic way to spend the time. Besides the two of us, everyone else in the club are seniors and they keep us laughing for the whole period.

2:30 - Global History ends and I hike back towards the Post side of the building. As I ride home, my earbuds playing whatever I’m into at the time, I plan out the rest of my day. I always tell myself that I can finish my homework in one productive hour but that usually doesn’t happen. I try to get my homework done immediately because the worst feeling is staying up late cramming in low quality work.

5:30 - Dinner comes early on weekdays and I eat it in a hurry as I have to leave for soccer in an hour. This is about the first time I talk to my sister all day, and my usual questions of “how was your day?” and “did you have any tests?” are met with simple one-word answers.

7:00 - Soccer, I get my daily exercise and I forget about school for a while.

9:00 - After getting home for soccer I have another bowl of cereal because why not and I promptly fall asleep. I shower too because I value hygiene.

This is 14.

Fourteen is the beginning and the end. Your days of being a care-free, completely oblivious child are over and the challenges of high school and college are just ahead of you. Nowadays, you spend less time hanging out and more time studying, learning, and cramming. You’ve come to a point where you realize that everything you do matters and heading down the wrong path could really hurt you. With this realization you feel great responsibility to stay focused and make something out of the life you find yourself in.

Fourteen is telling yourself you’ll be productive, but knowing you won’t. It’s frees spent talking in the library and playing eight-ball pool. The more friends, the less productivity. You think back and realize how much work you could've gotten done. Hindsight is one of the most painful tools.

Fourteen is when you spend more time with your teachers than your parents.

At fourteen you find ways of getting around. The seemingly faraway prospect of driving is closer than you realize. Biking ends up being a great alternative. Exercise becomes more than sports and your only barrier is weather.

Fourteen becomes a time of constant stimulation, and all of your energy is spent learning, studying, sporting, or making plans for more activity. When a quiet Sunday comes, you go through the withdrawal. Your mind and body is used to always ‘doing.’ Relaxing becomes a luxury, like an expensive present you don’t wanna use in case you break it. Before you know it, leisurely time is gone and you’re back to the ‘full steam ahead’ attitude that is required to get you through each week. You wish you had done more, or less with it.

It is trying hard not to be judged, but silently judging yourself. In the public, you watch your back and check your surroundings before speaking. You stick with your friends, the ones you trust, but also keep your eyes open for new ones. You jump with joy when your bestfriend is in your class, and deflate when there’s assigned seats. Maybe next quarter...

At fourteen, money becomes the only present you want. You know that coffee isn’t nearly worth four bucks but you get it anyway. In the back of your mind you’re thinking ‘this is the last time’ until you find yourself in line 24 hours later. The only way to not waste money is to not have any. You tell yourself that you’re gonna get a job ‘next week.’ Getting your act together is the biggest struggle you have.

With the beginnings of maturity and responsibility the shelter of youth ends. You are no longer a little kid. That being said, you’re not an adult either.

Author’s note

First of all, I am not the author of this writing piece. An author is somebody who writes books or articles and things like that. This assignment is too creative to be considered among novels and such. So on that note, I am the creator and this is my creator’s note.

When writing, I try hard not to force ideas. Though that sounds hypocritical, it works for me. During the drafting of the ‘This is fourteen’ piece, I was running out of ideas. Instead of sitting at my desk, trying to bust my brain for inspiration, I dropped my ipad and continued with my day. When I returned to the assignment, I found that I had so much to write about and that the break was all that I needed.

My encyclopedia of me writing was definitely my favorite piece to write because it allowed myself to express myself. The goal of the assignment, as I understood it was to describe things in our lives that were important, quirky, or… both? I wrote about relevant things in my life like biking and chess and I wrote about pastimes like poker and skiing. One great aspect of this assignment was that I could include my personality and style into my writing. Many writing projects are a step by step formula that will eventually get you across the line. More creative writing, like the encyclopedia pieces were not only interesting to write, but they were enjoyable.

Personally, the narrative was a very interesting piece to write. Every year in english we write a narrative. I always end up writing about one of the many soccer trips I’ve been on or another sports related event. This year, I finally switched it up a bit and wrote about family, one of the topics I usually veer away from. When the prompt of holidays came up on Mrs. Binney’s board, I thought back to the previous holidays. After the simple process of elimination I realized that New Year’s eve 2015 was actually perfect. Though it was more generic than the encyclopedia or fourteen piece.

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