Le Autobiography Of Marcus Troy

Period 2 | 6/10/15

Chapter One: My Name

Marcus. To me, that isn’t a very common name to hear, walking down a hallway, in a store, on a field. I barely see it on TV, and rarely in books. But, regardless of how rare it seems to be, at least to me, I never feel like I stand out with that name. Sure, I am not as subtle as a “John”, or a “Matt”, or even a “Mark”, but I still feel like I fit in regardless if I am the only kid in the school who has this name. It’s perfect, the name that stands out, but doesn’t at the same time, something I can feel proud about, but not look like I am boasting.

That, or I could have been one of two other names, Blaise, or Damian. Blaise would definitely stand out today, compared to the other names you would hear in a classroom. Damian on the other hand, may or may not go noticed, but the reason why I wasn’t named that was because of a movie my parents saw, The Omen. I would have been named after the devil’s son, had Damian been my name. Not that we are a very superstitious family, but thankfully, my parents had the decency to not name me after such a thing. Turns out that my name actually came from the movie Gladiator, which my parents saw just before I was born. Kinda seems lucky to me, as I was named after a famous Roman emperor, and not the devil’s son. To be honest, I feel lucky about my name in general. It’s one of the few things in my life that I simply can’t complain about, I can’t find anything bad in it. It’s the kind of name I would pass on to my kid, because that’s how I feel about it. Some people always say that when they get older, they’ll change their name to something different, but to me, I feel great that I don’t have to worry about such a thing.

A little bit more research shows that my name also is connected to the Roman god of war, Mars. Another aspect that I like about my name. I wouldn’t consider myself a very violent or aggressive person, but I would consider myself to be a person who could emulate some of the attributes that people who go off to war might carry. While being named after the god of war might not represent me perfectly, it certain does much better than me being named after the god of love, or something of the like.

But that’s practically it. In a way, my name matches a little too easily, as in it just fades in. I might feel pride in it, but that lack of recognition that I feel might protect me from the eyes of those who might look for people with outstanding names, also seems to protect me from people making much of my name at all. That’s just it. My name doesn’t really relate to anything modern, or really well known. It’s not like I’m named Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. Nothing sticks. There’s no connection to anybody so interesting (famous Roman emperor, important, but not overly well known) that it can start a conversation, or make an introduction to people easier or more humorous. The only thing that seemed to happen was something back in elementary school, with my best friend, Mark. People would always, and I emphasize, always, get our names mixed up. And they didn’t just do it once. They would do it over, and over again. We stuck together, and that just seemed to confuse people. It was mostly just other kids, but I can remember a teacher or two getting confused during attendance, or a parent on one of those days where we would present projects to everybody and everybody’s family. It’s kind of sad that even that is gone now. Either people remember my name, or get it wrong.

Also, I believe I am the only Marcus in the family. I’m not the second, the junior, the senior. Just me, because everyone else got names like Patrick, or Matt. My name has no historical reference to either side of my family, which I find kind of interesting, when compared to all the boys named after their dads, or the girls named after their grandmothers. I mean, even my sister has some relation in her name that connects with the family, but I don’t. I got my name from a movie, and that was that. Not that I am complaining, but just that I feel like an island, away from the kids relating to their dads, relating to their grandads, relating to their great grandads.

But yes, I am still pleased with my name. It’s one of those solid foundations in my life that I personally think I have nothing to worry about, which is quite a relief, compared to all the other things that could go wrong. The name I can feel proud of, but not the name I can feel like I am bragging over.

Marcus. A balanced name. It stands out to me, and maybe 5 other people. And that’s all that matters to me.

Chapter Two: The Day I Was Born

My birthday is July 8, 2000. Which quite frankly, makes me young for this freshman class (most people already age 15, only a few still 14), being that I have only been alive for 5449 days. (That’s 245 days updated from when I first made this chapter!) There were many details and instances that happened on day I was born.

To begin, the day I was born, the moon would have been exactly 50% full, or at its first quarter. Somewhat coincidental, as the number 50, or the idea of ½, always has been a favorite number of mine, and a common description of my opinions on many things in the world. Along with that, the weather outside was calm, not overly cloudy, not windy, just a calm day. I was born around 11 o'clock before midnight.

But it’s not like I was the only person born on July 8. People like Kevin Bacon (movie actor), Micheal Weatherly (TV actor), Robbie Keane (Soccer Player), Jack Lambert (Hall of Fame NFL Player), and Marty Feldman (movie actor), are but some of a few people who share my birthday.\

On my birthday, throughout time, numerous events occurred, some of which include: Paris’s 2000th birthday (in 1951), Brazil losing to Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the final launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis (2011), the start of the Chrysler wildcat strike in Detroit, Michigan (1968), and reports are broadcast that a UFO crash landed in Roswell, New Mexico in what became known as the Roswell UFO incident. (1947). These events are among many that have occurred on my birthday.

Considering my birthday was almost 15 years ago, many changes in today’s economy have taken place, changing the prices drastically over even just the course of a decade and a half. Here are some prices of everyday items on my birthday, in which postage stamps cost 44 cents, the average price for a new car was $24,750, a four-bedroom house in Media would cost approximately $225,000, a gallon of milk would cost $2.92, and going to the movies would cost $5.29.

In 2000, the president was Bill Clinton, the must-have toys were Zhu-Zhu Pets, Bratz, and the Mindflex, the movies that came out were Memento, Gladiator (where my name comes from), X-Men, and Almost Famous, the movie stars were Johnny Depp, Russell Crowe, and George Clooney, CSI, Survivor, and Family Guy were the popular TV shows, and the international fashion trend was hip-hop, especially in younger teenagers.

Chapter Three: Family Treasures

Turns out that my family’s history is stored in many places. Whether it be in something as simple as a cardboard box with old newspaper clippings, to a trunk full of my parent’s pictures and souvenirs, to something as vague as “The Safe”, my parents’ and grandparents’ mementos are well scattered. When I conducted my search, the only available material came from a trunk that we had in our living room, that mostly dealt with my parent’s marriage, but also had things that related to my mother’s side of the family.

As for the trunk that contained these mementos. The trunk was about 4 feet long and 2 feet wide, made from Cherry Wood. The trunk is 20 years old, bought just after my parent’s marriage as furniture for their new house, and contains pictures and objects that go from my mother as a child, to me as a baby.

The most interesting thing that I was shown was a strangely designed purse with coins from my mother’s (and her sister’s) various trips to foreign countries. The coins inside came from England and France, and a few were from Canada (we couldn’t find them), and were from separate trips. The coins from England were from Mom, and the coins from France were from my aunt. What makes these objects special is due to the fact that my mother did not travel much up to this point in her life, the only other trip being to Canada during high school. She went when she was 26, and stayed with one of my grandmother’s friends. My mom primarily remembers this trip due to the fact that she had to speak in spanish for the entire trip, as the friend had forgotten some of her english (she used to live in Colombia). These coins are one of the few souvenirs that relate directly to my mother’s travels to other countries, and are more important due to the time of my mother’s life that they were acquired.

However, such a wealth of family mementos were not present for my father's side of the family, so they unfortunately are not present in this chapter.

Chapter 4: A Family History

At the moment of writing this, I cannot include a full family tree. However, this chapter is an "interview" (interrogation), shall I say, of one of my two grandmothers, Peggy (as a family, we prefer to call her "Grannie"), the grandmother from my father's side of the family. This interview was supposed to caught on video, but the circumstances at Thanksgiving Dinner prevented this. The interview (questions and responses) and general information included in the assignment given is to be listed below.

Part One: Describe your Meal:
Every year, we eat our meal at our aunt's house, in the living room, while watching Thanksgiving football. Each member of the family contributes something to the meal or desert afterwards, in our case, we came with both an apple pie, and a chocolate/peanut butter mix pie. We prepare turkey and a little bit of ham. Other entries include cranberries, two types of stuffing, at least two different vegetable dishes (one always broccoli), standard corn, dinner rolls, and sweet and mashed potatoes. Desert included our pies, brownies, chocolate-chip and peanut butter (separate) cookies, and varying ice cream flavors.

Part Two: Discover the history of your family’s arrival in this place, at this time.

My grandmother's father was the first person to immigrate to the U.S., and her mother followed, as both met in here. Both came from Ireland, the father came from a farmer background, and wanted to better himself, while the mother came with her aunt to work for a wealthy family in PA. However, unlike the father, the mother came with a secured job, while the father came without any real security in finding a job. They both did not come with any special possessions, just the essentials. Both came through Ellis Island in New York on trips without occasion. When both parents came, they came in the middle of the Great Depression, which was very frightening for the two.

Part Three: Discover family customs and traditions worthy of preserving.
*(continuing from previous prompt) The parents came and spread their Irish traditions with relatives who had already been in the country. These customs would include family loyalty, but this would also reach out to other Irish immigrants. Both parents were very religious in nature, both being Catholics. (Parents married in November of 1931, in St Luke's Church in Glenside PA.) The parents would be involved in the organization of celebrations and events and would invite close friends and family. While no traditions were lost in the travels, the father did practically give up his parents, as he never got to travel back to Ireland, and the parents never traveled over, which was very hard for him to take.

Part Four: Discover your family stories.
What is interesting is that both parents did not carry over Galic as a language, only speaking English. There are no stories that could be recalled from either of the parents. Moving back to my grandmother, she was the mother of 6 children, Uncle Tom, Aunt Terri, my father Steven, Aunt Karen, Uncle Joe, and Uncle John, (specific words were that "they were a great bunch") My grandmother recalls that her parents were proud of each child for their accomplishments. My grandfather was a soldier during WWII, which he joined after Pearl Harbor. What's funny is that after the war, my grandfather ended up receiving two Purple Heart Medals, because he received one directly after the war, but because of a mistake on the shipping and transportation of the medals, he ended up with two individual medals, but only one honor. My grandfather attempted to return the second medal, but could not find anyone or anywhere to perform a task, so to this day, two Purple Heart medals hang inside my grandmother's house.

Chapter Five: Who Am I [optional chapter]

I would identify myself in five nouns, as an engineer, an artist, a black-belt, a student, and a runner. I would say that while each of these nouns could count also as an event or title, that they more accurately serve as adjectives, rather than nouns to describe me as a person. In other words, I wouldn’t just call an engineer a person who builds or constructs things, but I would associate it with the qualities of creativity and problem solving. Therefore, these nouns all together hold a majority of the qualities and traits of who I would consider myself to be. In that, when I say I am an engineer, I identify myself as a person who loves to build, but in general is a problem solver and a logically based person who can make connections. When I say I am an artist, I identify myself as not only a person who creates art, but a person who is creative, imaginative, and willing to look at things from different visual point of view. When I say I am a black-belt, well, one of the major issues about the term “black belt”, is that it is identified as a title or position, or even just the physical item, but a black-belt is a quality, and an achievement, instead, referring to the qualities of dignity, honor, courage, effort, respect, maturity, humility, and perseverance, and the result of showing these said qualities through countless tests to prove and solidify such a statement. When I say I am a student, that doesn’t just mean that I participate in the state’s education system, but rather it shows the traits of intelligence, and the qualities of wanting to learn, of wanting to make connections, of wanting to improve my knowledge upon anything, and of not ever wanting to be in a state of ignorance. And when I say I am a runner, that doesn’t just mean that I participate on the track team, or like to run, but rather it shows that as I person, I value athleticism, challenge, endurance, general physical freedom, but most importantly, and what I live for, competition.

Chapter Six: Lessons That I Learned After It Was Too Late

To begin, I would not like to consider myself as perfect or close to such a description in any form. However, after a lot of self reflection, there honestly have never been any huge mistakes that still have any impact on me, or have taught me heavily significant life lessons. And arguably, I don’t think that this is too unnatural in anyway, as up to this point in any person’s life, there normally won’t be any lingering life-changing experiences, such as longer lasting relationships, jobs or economic affairs, or serious occurrences against the law. Instead, while I may have never had one of these incidents, I have made a long list of generally smaller, less meaningful mistakes that could be grouped in general life lessons overall.

The earliest lesson that I could have learned from direct experience goes back to a general rule of society that pretty much everyone breaks at some time in their life. That rule would be lying. While every kid is (hopefully) taught against lying by media and family presence, they usually tend to test the rule at some point, and based upon the reaction the generate, will change their actions as a result. Being that I am one of these people, there have been multiple instances when I was younger when I took the to action of lying, but instead of using lying as a test, I would only use it in cases where I knew I would get in trouble for something anyway, or if I was trying to keep some sort of action hidden. Generally, this never turned out well, as I was (to be completely honest), a terrible liar, and my parents were relentless in their efforts to find the truth. As a result, I went through such stress in such instances (I can remember two clearly), that I essentially gave up the act of lying as it proved completely worthless and only worse in the end.

Another general lesson that I have learned (and am still learning about) is about time management, and the general usage of my free time. While I have yet to actually suffer from numerous experiences relating to this in such a way that the results would be permanent and negative, I have gone through several experiences that have ended up changing my actions and disciplines over the past couple of years. The first of such experiences came at the beginning of sixth grade, while I was still getting used to the middle school work climate. At this time in my life, there were very few restrictions on how I could spend my time, and so, I would spend too much time messing around or playing video games. Until I forgot about a math test (another smaller separate lesson, in being better aware of scheduling times), and went through one of the worst official test grades I have ever received. From that day forwards (and I’ll admit, it wasn’t fully my decision but it has been something I have stuck to), there was no more free time that dealt with any type of gaming or general distractions. But from that day forwards, my grades never held more consistent, and I have only ran into a select few situations where this mentality has been responsible.

Overall, while these life lessons should hold more value in say, a longer period of time, I would not consider the experiences that have led to learning this simple lessons so severe as to warrant them anywhere a big, long lasting, or permanent mistake in my life. These are the little mistakes that have added up, steadily improving me, and helping me to be a better person.

Chapter Seven: Year In Reading

Over the course of ninth grade, I have read many books, some of which under my own choosing and time, others a required curriculum, but all of the books I have read have left an impact on me. What I am about to do is list all the books I have read for this year, list their authors, the book genre, the personal rating that I give it, “words of wisdom”, quotes that I find have a special meaning overall (or that I just plain love), and a brief summary of the book.

1. Night - Elie Wiesel - Memoir - 10/10

"His cold eyes stared at me. At last, he said wearily: "I have more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He alone has kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people."

“Blessed be God's name? Why, but why would I bless Him? Every fiber in me rebelled. Because He caused thousands of children to burn in His mass graves? Because he kept six crematoria working day and night, including Sabbath and the Holy Days? Because in His great might, He had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many other factories of death? How could I say to Him: Blessed be Thou, Almighty, Master of the Universe, who chose us among all nations to be tortured day and night, to watch as our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, end up in the furnaces? Praised be Thy Holy Name, for having chosen us to be slaughtered on Thine altar?”

“In the beginning there was faith - which is childish; trust - which is vain; and illusion - which is dangerous.”

Night is essentially a direct memoir from one of the survivors of the Holocaust, Elie Wiesel. Night takes place back when Elie was merely a child during WWII, when suddenly his family is snatched from their everyday lives, and separated by the Nazis. From there on, Elie and his father try to survive all that happens to them during the the Holocaust, with the father finally dying just before savior.

2. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee - Historical Fiction - 9.5/10

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

“Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts.”

“Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)... There are just some kind of men who - who're so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.”

To Kill A Mockingbird is a fictional account of a case of racism being brought to court, and the effects this has on society. TKM's real story begins with the conviction of a Negro, Tom Robinson, and his defendent, Atticus Finch. The two must face extreme social bias from racism, with Atticus losing the case even with extremely superior evidence, and Tom Robinson finally being shot after imprisonment.

3. Of Mice And Men - John Steinbeck - Historical Fiction - 9/10

"You jus' say that," she said sharply. "You're always saying that, an' you know sonofab*tching well you ain't never gonna do it. You'll just stick around an' stew the b'Jesus outa George all the time."

"Funny thing," she said. "If I catch any one man, and he's alone, I get along fine with him. But just let two of the guys get together an' you won't talk. Jus' nothing but mad."

"Never did seem right to me. S'pose Curley jumps a big guy an' licks him. Ever'body says what a game guy Curley is. And s'pose he does the same thing and gets licked. Then ever'body says the big guy oughtta pick someone his own size, and maybe they gang up on the big guy."

Of Mice and Men is a fictional account telling about societies's views and interactions with developmentally challenged people. In this case, that person is Lennie, and he and his partner are trying to settle into a new job after losing their previous job. In their short encounters, men try to abuse Lennie's capabilities (or lack thereof) and the whole encounter ends with Lennie accidentally murdering one of the men's wives, and Lennie being shot.

4. Unbroken - Laura Hillenbrand - Memoir - 10/10

"A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain. Let go."

“The paradox of vengefulness is that it makes men dependent upon those who have harmed them, believing that their release from pain will come only when their tormentors suffer.”

“Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The

stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship, can hold a man's soul in his body long past the point at which the body should have surrendered it.”

Unbroken is a memoir / autobiography of Louie Zamperini, an olympian who was forced into the US Air Force during the outbreak of WWII, and his experiences in a Japanese POW camp. The story begins with Louie's childhood and his characteristics, then his acheivements leading to the Olympics, to his enrollment in the army, then to his experiences within Japan. Louie goes through horrific treatments and torture, but wills himself to survival, going through the effects of PTSD afterwards, and finally, his recovery through religion.

5. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest - Ken Kesey - Historical Fiction - 8.5/10

“Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”

"But I tried though", he says. "Goddammit, I sure as hell did that much, now, didn't I?"

"No, my friend. We are lunatics from the hospital up the highway, psycho-ceramics, the cracked pots of mankind. Would you like me to decipher a Rorschach for you?"

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is fictional account of a patient's experiences in a mental hospital during the 1950's-70's. This all takes place through the actions of the only sane character that was newly introduced, who helps to torment the hospital staff while benefitting the patient's rights. This character keeps repeating these events with increasing severity until he straight up vandalizes the hospital's image, frees the narrator, and never heard from again.

6. In The Company Of Heros - Micheal J. Durant - Memoir - 9.5/10

"At times they brought in other men, who allegedly had better english skills, but I'd just ratchet up my vocabulary. Yet, I was consistently polite. ... I apologize, gentlemen, but the disposition of our personnel and the particular nomenclature associated with our tasks is of such a sensitive nature that my duties as an army officer preclude me from delineating such details."

"As the sun continued to set on that day, I experienced a wave of powerful feelings. But there was one thing I no longer felt at all ... Alone."

"The only things I had left were that coveted Night Stalker beret and the Bible. And something I had always taken for granted before -- my freedom."

In The Company of Heroes is a semi war / semi prisoner memoir of Micheal Durant, a soldier who was captured in the event known as "Black Hawk Down". In this account, Micheal describes both his experiences leading up to him being shot down, and during his capture, but also, he goes through many dreams and memories during his account that help to explain major pieces of his character, essentially keeping the story in a state of exposition, while in the middle of a climax. The story ends when Micheal is finally exchanged after 10 days of imprisonment back to UN Forces, and he goes back to the US while reflecting upon his account.

7. For The Win - Cory Doctorow - Realistic Fiction - 8/10

"And this is the kind of thing an arbitrageur is buying and selling. He's not carrying bananas from Mr. Full to Mrs. Hungry, he's buying and selling bets on insurance policies on promises of imaginary gold. And this is what he calls an honest day's work."

"Whether you're a revoluntionary, a factory owner, or a little league hockey organizer, there's one factor you can't afford to ignore: the Coase Cost."

"I'm not magic. You don't need me. I am nothing more than the switchboard. You all lead yourselves. Remember that!"

For The Win is a fictional account set into the near future, in a world where online gaming has taken on huge economic and eventually political power. This progresses to the point where people around the world are being forced to work as "gold farmers", people who abuse ingame currency systems in order to make a profit, because the bosses that own them give them slave wages for maximum profit. Eventually, the varying narrators (there are at least 3) come together through some means of communication or travel, and rally up major worker unions to stop the overuse and abuse of the game workers around the world.

8. Homeland - Cory Doctorow - Realistic Fiction - 9/10

"This is your life, this is your country -- and if you want to keep it safe, you need to get involved" (Actual words by Aaron Swartz, cofounder of Reddit.com)

"Stitch in time saves nine"

"There is stuff going on in the world, bad stuff, the kind of stuff that ends up with dead people in shallow graves, and you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem."

Homeland is the sequel to Little Brother, in an future close to our time, in which a major terrorist attack has just happened on the US, and agencies dedicated to bringing down cyberwarfare are heavily supported by the government, being allowed to use forces so horrific that they are kept secret from the public. The main character, Marcus (oh yeah) is a hacker, and is initially abducted by the government, before being released, where he sets up a public campaign dedicated to removing the political powers that are supporting these agencies. Essantially, after enough rioting by the population, the current mayor and several senators are replaced (This takes place in Los Angeles), and all the main characters go back to their seminormal lives as hackers and public heros.

9. Cell - Stephen King - Sci-fi/Horror - 9/10

"They saw we had built the Tower of Babel all over again... and on nothing but electronic cobwebs."

"Leave it at this: man has come to dominate this planet thanks to two essential traits. One is intelligence. The other has been the absolute willingness to kill anyone and anything that gets in his way."

"It seemed too early for snow, but of course it wasn't, especially this far north. When it came before Thanksgiving you always griped, and when it came before Halloween you griped double, and then somebody reminded you that you were living in Maine, not on the isle of Capri."

Cell is essentially an alternate future where the entire planet falls into chaos when a corrupt signal is sent through all cell phones, causing all who listen to it to have their entire memory reset, effectively turning people into primitive creatures, who are rabid immediately after turning, but seem to go through a state of learning and evolving afterwards. The narrator, Clay, is looking for his son throughout the entire experience, and travels with a group for the length of the story (some members die, others end up leaving for their own purposes), until he finally leaves once he helps to kill off a sizable group of the rabid people. When Clay finally finds his son, he finds that he is also changed by the cell phones, but is not fully affected, and Clay tries to teach / mentor his son to being fully normal again, with the use of a cell phone at the end of the book to try and reverse the effect from the beginning of the book.

Chapter Eight: Friends and Friendships

Quite frankly, I would consider myself to have many friends, but to shorten this chapter, I am going to select only a few more specific examples. My friends would include: Justin S, Matt Rebuck, Dan Esparagosa (*spelling), Even Rosenburg, David T, Matt Tang, Liam Theveny, Billy Angelina, Mark Dresden, John Kirchgasser, Patrick Lawrence, and Matt Arndt. By the way, this list is FAR from the whole thing, but this is just a simplified list.

Usually, I hang out or game online with my friends. We usually meet in the library, at lunch, online, or after school. I would say that my friends usually make me feel positive and comfortable, sometimes humorous, other times serious, depending on the current situation. But I am friends with these people because either they share the same situation as I do (same sports or same classes), or because I like their personality. Personality is huge, at least for me. I know that there have been people who I originally disliked or ignored because of appearance or first impression, but after spending time with them and getting to know who they really were, I can say that I have been proven wrong so many times. When I go seeking friendships, I don't look for the people who make me more popular, the people who just looks good, or just the people I can supposedly ride the coattails of (work, communication, popularity). I go looking for people that are trustworthy. People who are decent to each other and have a sense of humor. People who are hardworking and stick to their guns. I chose friends that I can be proud of saying I can relate to. Not, "Oh, I'm friends with this guy just so I look more popular, but I never actually talk with or work with him", but "I'm friends with this person because this guy is someone I can talk to whenever, because this guy is someone I can ask for and perform a favor for, because this is a person who I can trust, who will have my back.". Those are the people I would classify as a friend, and the people listed at the beginning of this chapter are all people I could easily justify with the classifications listed above.