Saturday, November 19, 2011

WYEP and an Eagle Project

FORWARD:No, BSA National, please don't sue me. Two things A) I'm a scout and B) FAIR USE.

So recently I attended Sam's Eagle project and helped finish off the "TEEN ROOM" at the ACFL. It kind of seems that I am almost always doing some project somewhere indirectly (or directly in this case) involving the Library. I know the exec. director there, the old exec director, the library director, and the kind lady at the front desk that just happens to know everything.

So anyway, Sam's (not my cousin, friend from school, WYEP group person, friend's cat) project is to turn this useless room into something-well, less useless. I helped put in lighting, a couch (NEW COUCH), some chairs, a bookshelf, and a cart for a Wii. Now, of course the Wii needs a television to work properly. So the library lords decide to look in storage and find this monster 39ish inch projection television. So Sam and I attempt to take this monster off of the cart and get it up a flight of stairs into the 100ish year old building. We barely made it off of the cart (this thing weighed like 200 pounds or something). It took four guys (yay, Sam's dad and Scoutmaster Extraordinaire to the rescue) going up a narrow flight of different stairs to get this back on to the original cart. Luckily, it actually worked after all of this jostling.

After that I went to WYEP's Community broadcast center to be a part of their TEEN CENTER. I took a tour of the magical building and learned how to use a professional recording studio... well, kinda. I learned how to work the various microphones and record using Adobe Audition and replay over studio speakers. I proceeded to learn how to use a field recorder and interview people using a magical device called a ZOOM.

So this is going to be a good project. I am bound to blog more here about it; as well as possibly on the Teen Centre's eventual thingamajig.

Finally, I will sound off on the creeper thing on Facebook. They call it "Top Stories", but I find it just a tad creepy. I do indeed talk to some of my friends more often than others, but I don't need those particular people's posts in my face. I'd like to find them myself, thank you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wireless Telegraphy, and the DROWSY CHAPERONE

So I get one of those Google Calendar notifications each week to my email address reminding me to post something to my blog every Thursday or Friday. So I sat at my dinner table today thinking... what to blog about? With nothing else fresh in my mind but songs from The Drowsy Chaperone, Coldplay songs, and Vlogbrothers quotes, I was forced to google "random google search thing". Even though it was redundant, surely enough the first result produced a URL generator that took me to Wikipedia's page on "Wireless Telegraphy." Ironically, what had inspired this search was the "random article" button on Wikipedia. I think that Google should look into that.

Anyway, Wireless Telegraphy (according to Wikipedia) is the historical term used for attempts of wireless communication before radio started becoming radio. Now I need to explain how this is relevant.

So recently I decided to audition for Carlynton's production of The Drowsy Chaperone. The play is about a man (Man In Chair) who tells a story about his favorite record from the 1920's, a fictional soundtrack to a broadway show called the Drowsy Chaperone. I got called back for a part of the show-within-the-show's butler. Almost needless to say, I didn't get the part, but it got me to thinking just how far communication has come long before I was even a thought.

Stage shows date back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans as ways to to allow playwrights to convey certain messages or to entertain. Then came along type, then movable type. Over the past 200 years we have gone from telegraphs to now reading my blog on a computer, iPad, or whatever. However, we still act in a play on a stage to entertain. We still sing and dance to entertain others.

Finally to how this is relevant. I am about to embark on an experience at WYEP where I may end up (talking like 3 or 4 years from now) landing a spot on public radio.

It just goes to show you (oh no, I used "you" in a writing piece... where's my English teacher now?) that even though society may progress, we still stick behind the mediums that get us closest to real people.

Friday, November 11, 2011

On Minecraft, and Musicals, and Daytime Television

First off, I decided to write a blog about Pop Culture. I am not 100% sure as to why, but here goes nothing.

I am not a fan of television anymore. I drew the line at NCIS never-ending reruns on USA network. I got fed up and went straight for the internet. Honestly, the internet is a television that you choose your own content (Youtube) and Channels (Also Youtube) and can interact with them. However, sometimes my parents think I am too involved with internet, and force me back into reality. Rule of thumb is that if its dark outside, I'm either on my computer, sleeping, or otherwise doing something of that nature. This leaves me to only be watching occasional daytime television.

Daytime television is really the shows that could never make it primetime, or have too involved a plot for the night dwellers. These shows are what we call "soap operas." These are the most pointless bits of professional production that I have come across so far. And there are MAGAZINES for this stuff! Not only do they assert their pointlessness after the noon news, they also have to invade the stands around where people check out with their bread and milk.

This is a Creeper ^ He says hi
Moving right along, one of the most happening thing on the internet and gaming world is something called "Minecraft."  Its this magical little game where one's objective is, well, whatever he/she wishes. I have taken a liking to mooching off of my friend Clay's computer and building this insanely huge railroad thingy (yeah, creative mode, I am just that awesome) that defies gravity and runs into itself and stuff. Otherwise, I don't care too much for building houses with the little blocks and whatnot. I don't particularly understand the fascination of it, but I will keep plugging along at Clay's house with the magical railroad.

I have debated at great lengths as to whether or not to actually get this game for myself. I don't have the time really.

Speaking of not having much time, I am about to audition for a musical. This brings up two things: my lack of dancing skills, and the return to a stage. I haven't been on a stage in front of a crowd performing for about three years. The second isn't much of an issue because I enjoy the stage for no apparent reason. Take for example anchoring the TV announcements when they needed a fill in on Thursday. I enjoyed it being alongside co-anchor DavidWov and Host Clay Bodnar. But back to the first issue. I am concerned that not being able to dance might play a factor in auditions. However, as my chorus director told me - You're a guy, they won't expect too much. Find a girl and have her help you.

Well, that presents a whole other problem with "finding a girl", but not one involving a musical.

Post-Blog: I believe that I have developed a style of writing here. I title a three-topic blog and add a picture of something semi-related and then write some semi-depressing note before a closing that looks semi-optimistic. You like?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Can I Write a Blog Post in 10 Minutes? Sure!

So over the past few weeks, a topic for discussion in my house has been that of the microwave. No, we aren't battling over some 1980 microwave on its last leg or whether or not to upgrade from some magic pot-bellied stove. Our arguments have been over leaving time on the microwave.

My mother likes warming up things (Coffee, Leftovers, My Food, etc). She sometimes decides that the time she put into the microwave is too long. To remedy this, she takes whatever it is out of the microwave, and eats/drinks/serves/cooks whatever on her merry wave. However, the time she usually leaves left on the microwave is about 5 seconds. She just leaves it there until I growl at the bloody machine and clear the timing on it to bring it back to whatever time it is. My question to you would be, what difference does 5 seconds make on toast or soup or coffee??

Much like Tom Bodett, I fancy myself a writer of random essays. So I'd like to (Much Like Him) call upon the great office lords at Black and Decker or Sears or whoever makes microwaves to design the next new microwave oven with a function where if you take the food out (Yay Pressure Sensors) it automatically clears the time on the microwave.

Why did I rant about this? I want to know if anyone else has this issue. Is this a good idea? Probably not. Why would the office lords listen to a high school freshman? I am not sure.

Speaking of listening to a high school freshman, I have recently been accepted into WYEP's (Pittsburgh's vversion of NPR) Teen Center. What exactly is this? Its a course on Radio Production as well as Journalism that the eventual aim is to turn high school teens into local advocates for issues.

This is an interesting project for a few reasons. 1) It gives real teens some sort of training with an aim of getting people interested in journalism and radio production 2) I might end up working as a summer job there (This is a stretch...) and/or 3) Public Radio finally can make itself relevant to people like me by simply reaching out.

To WYEP Listeners, Hello. To Microwave office lords (I like that... I think I'll use that), fix your Microwaves. To everyone else, take a look at my site :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Eulogy for A Man I Never Met.

So recently I logged onto my magical Blogger account (Why must they always change designs and whatnot?) and the stat thingy told me that this website has 3000 pageviews. My question is... why? Then again, I shouldn't question the logic of the internet.

SO this past weekend I was in the woods. I spent Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday morning at camp Guyasuta in Pittsburgh. It was sort of a homecoming for me because this is the same camp where I discovered what camping actually was about 7 years ago as a Cub Scout. My experience this time was quite different though in the minor fact that I was an SPL (basically Ruler Of Scout Troop) for the troop that I had just joined 4 years earlier. It was also different in the fact that it was about 20 degrees (Farenheit) overnight as we slept in tents. Please remind me not to do that again.

I emerged from the woods a different person yet again. Its something about fresh air and being a small person in large wooded areas that gives perspective as to what matters to a certain degree. At least, it kind of clears your head.

I emerged from the woods and into my parent's car and after about three or four blocks they said "Im sorry...". I didn't know what they meant until they explained that while we were at camp, Andy Rooney had died.
{Source: Wikipedia}

Rooney was hospitalized on October 25, 2011, after developing postoperative complications from an undisclosed surgery,[40] and died on November 4, 2011, at the age of 92, almost five weeks after his last appearance on 60 Minutes

So now why does this matter? Mr. Rooney was one of the unique journalists in a dying breed. Walter Cronkite pioneered cable news, and Mr. Rooney the video editorial. In a way, I guess people like John and Hank Green owe it to Mr. Rooney for being one of the first to speak his mind and have other people actually care.

I admired him because he spoke his mind and never cared what others thought. He told it how he saw it and wasn't warped otherwise. I only learned of his existence about a year ago... It seems that every time I discover some relatively old guy that does good journalist stuff (Andy Rooney, Walter Cronkite, etc.) they either retire or die. I don't like this track record. Luckily for me though, I think Scott Pelley is locked into a contract with CBS for the next few years or so.

So thank you to those who pioneered speaking their mind. Thank you Peter Zenger for paving freedom of press and thank you Andy Rooney for being the cranky old guy at the end of 60 Minutes that everyone hated to love.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Questioned Mentality

So a while back I was wondering where I was going to try and lead my friends into for the next video project. We started with a variety show (JSVH) which demanded 4 hours realtime to film and 15 minutes of a viewer's time. Then we stopped for a while and invented a series that required little effort (The Total Randomness Series) and that kind of worked for us, but it wasn't ideal. Then we invented BBC 2 1/2 which kind of worked again, but it is a relatively repetitive format. Then I met a few creative people, and we created the idea I'd like to call "Questioned Mentality".
Screenshot from Possible QMentality Filming

This idea is modeled after our bizarre lives (Write and Film What You Know) and its ups and downs. My friend Alex (xanderqwerty123 on youtube) and Dan (MrXigbar22 on youtube) as well as Clay Bodnar (JSVH, TR series, Lapsing Reality) and David Wovchko are helping bring to life a youtube channel bent on one mission: The most random and Creative short videos all posted to one channel. Thus, we are starting this project within the next two months.

Yes, I did that just to use "thus" in a sentence. For the record, I am optimistic about this. As Isabella  once said "Negative Attitudes Lead To Negative Outcomes." Granted, she was talking about a relationship with a girl, but it still applies here.

My Questioned Mentality
Sanity is defined by what? Some say its an average of everyone else. Others say its staying out of an asylum. Others say sanity is staying out of love, some in. The issue I personally have is that sanity is almost always defined by comparing to someone else.

Do I not like other people? No, I like people... why else would I be writing to people through the internet. I just don't like how the definition of mentality depends on what others think. If I let them be their own person, who are they to call me insane? 

I am questionably mental because of three main things: the way I interact with people, the way I think, and the way I express myself. What would the world be like without Self Expression?

The name Questioned Mentality is derived from the reactions that we (Project Contributors) get when we tell someone ideas. We want the channel to make people wonder if they are sane, if we are sane, and more importantly, we want to try and redefine entertainment.

And, just to throw this in... NO the Kardashians aren't my idea of entertainment. Try Wheezywaiter or Smosh or RayWilliamJohnson or even Meekakitty on for size.

And because this is running through my head right now, check out Paradise by Coldplay from their new album Mylo Xyloto