Friday, January 27, 2012

My Past Week

It always seems that there is a "theme" or something to each week. Its as if each week is a television episode, in which you are the main character and by the end of the episode you learn something great and wonderful, or are left to fix whatever you broke in the next week.

Then again, it probably is the other way around. Episodes of television were probably modeled after a week of a lifetime; leaving the gaps to be what distinguish who we are... you know, those times that truly define you, those times when you aren't really the "main character."

I have been talking recently with my friends about writing,  and my one friend has been talking about the novel she is working on. It got me to thinking about this whole "main character" idea, and how we all kind of seem pre-occupied with our own lives.

So local news this week was reporting about this new "Facebook for the Neighborhood" thingy. I forget what it was called, but the basic premise is that you can now interact with your neighbors through this magic website. This kind of brings me back to Hank Green's video on SOPA. He talks about the internet kind of being like an infinite street, how there are bad sections of it, and fancy sections, and run down sections. The more people connected to each other, the longer this infinite street gets.

But the thing that irritates me is that THIS IS A VIRTUAL STREET, and albeit the neighborhood idea is great, but why not just knock on the doors of your real neighbors and actually talk to them. I am not condemning the internet, I just think that us internetians need to get in touch with the real world as well as this virtual paradise.

So I conducted another social experiment today. I had this little nametag thing when I went to the Science Center/Sportworks. In anticipation of seeing those "Ask Me About [Insert Product/Exhibit Here]" buttons, I decided to write on mine simply:

Interestingly enough, I was asked by the Science Center people "So tell me about the internet" and I basically said this - The Internet is like an infinite street... and I got some interesting reactions.

One gentleman proposed that we create a new internet... one that has decency and is kind of what the internet is supposed to be - Creative people collaborating and creating awesome things as a result. I was taken aback at that, but I shouldn't have had been surprised. I ran into an Eagle Scout there afterall, and so I was kind of taking whatever was going to come to me over the course of the day.

I believe that is the best way to live life. Live it in segments, and live it by taking in stride whatever happens.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Bishop Comes to Carnegie, I go Sledding, and Some Other Stuff

I have this habit where I write some amazingly profound three-thinged title, and then get too lazy to write what the actual title was. First off, I'd like to apologize that this isn't my regular post day, but I have been busy doing stuff.

Again Stealing from another site;
So this past weekend I did a lot of "church-ing". Being the son of an Orthodox Priest kind of puts you in this alienated bubble. You see, my geographical church is in downtown Carnegie, Pa., but in reality I end up going to my appointed church in the center of the Universe Slickville, Pa. The median age in Slickville is 75ish, ergo I am the only highschooler other than my brother. But nevertheless I love it.

SO anyway, I had the chance to go to my geographical church and serve (I'm an alter server and sometimes fill-in reader) with the bishop of Greater Chicago, Bishop Daniel. He's a fascinating gentleman who, if you didn't see him in some fancy robes, you would think him just a regular 30ish gentleman.

It was, to say the absolute least, an interesting experience. I met people who apparently I knew at one point; but had sincerely forgotten. I had last been there about two years ago. It was amazing how many people had just welcomed me as if I had been there every Sunday since I knew consciously what Church was. (Depending on how this gets received, I might blog more about church, but I do not want to offend anyone.)

Anyway, backtracking, the Saturday before this visit I decided to go and sled ride at Carnegie Park. I ran into a former scouting friend Eric. He and I crossed over together, and we immediately recognized each other. Its amazing how paths are crossed and people remember who each other.

I honestly think that in order for anyone to truly appreciate what they have, they must step back and take a look at what you actually have.

Sorry I didn't post much, or about anyone in particular, but I am doing this on my own time; which between musical and WYEP and school and scouts, is QUITE hard to find.

If you want to get in contact with me (Feedback on posts?), I network socially (Tweeting is quickest, @AlexPopichak).

Friday, January 13, 2012


STAT: This blog is fast approaching 3800 pageviews! Amazing! Thanks to everyone!

In English class over the past two days, we presented speeches about what we thought were important to us. I picked three rather cliched topics - My writings (This site, WYEP Stuff, newspaper fails), the outdoors (scouting, the summit, biking), and videography (eugh... you lost me).

I gave my (horrid) speech, and then proceeded to listen to my classmates' speeches. I learned a lot about the people whom I pass in the hallways everyday. Granted, this was a scholars class that had grown close due to the smallness of our class and our school, but still we learned of each other.

There were gamers, dancers, indie music (TALLY HALL) lovers, travelers, cheerleaders, basketball players, baseball players, card trick wizard/relgionesque dude, and there was even an actress/artist/figure skater. It occurred to me that the true meaning to high school is CERTAINLY not learning something academically, but to learn about the people and relationships and interactions with those around us. It is only when one walks 10,000 steps in one's shoes that one can begin to comprehend the complexities behind that individual (and WOW is that cliched).

Anyway, I learned things about my class that quite frankly surprised me. I was told once that you are a person who is either creative or intellectual. There is the very small few who are both. She told me that I was both, but I constantly question how creative I am (Considering I come up with ideas that have already been done) and exactly how smart I am (Umm, I still can't find theme in most written pieces... forget finding one in my own). Regardless of my personal situation, there are definitely people in my class who posses the gift of both. Take the actress/artist/figure skater for example. She is perhaps the best novel interpreter (finds crazy literary stuff I can only hope to catch on to) that I know behind, like, professional novelists (shoutout to JayScribble!) and people who read Greg's comics (No Andrew you CANT Read "Carrot"). She also can draw quite well.

The thing that I indirectly stated in my speech is the fact that I absolutely loathe English Class writing assignments. I am one of those bratty writers who want to be completely freeform. You tell me to write a third person story about a magic toaster or something, and I can do it. Tell me that I need four paragraphs, the toaster is unpersonified, and I must use at least seven vocabulary words, then you take the story and squash it.

Finally, never are we given prompts about alpacas or toasters or anything good. It all must have a tie in to what we are doing, use some mechanism of the mind control that education has been instilling into us (umm, when am I going to be given a list of completely impractical vocabulary words and need to work them into, say, a blog post?) and then it gets sent off to be judged by someone.

I digress. Bottom line, I have learned more from my fellow classmates about life and reality in the short 60 minutes of speechifying than I have doing proofs in Geometry, or finding a specific theme in a short story written hundreds of years before I was born.

Literature only becomes irrelevant when one tries to look at it from a modern perspective and try and find modern aspects to it. If you'll excuse me now I am going to memorize some literary terms revolving around literary techniques for a midterm test.

Reading - TFiOS Becoming Legit

NOTE: There will be another post not unrelated to this post coming also today.

My Jay Scribbled copy on mon laptop
avec mon website
So This past Tuesday (Question Tuesday) Jay Scribble (John Green)'s new book, the Fault in Our Stars was released. It has been asked by the author that no one reveal spoilers, ergo I won't comment on plot. I will rather comment on something else.

Prior to the production of his book, John Green decided that he would sign all 150,000 copies in the first printing. You can see the full story as a part of the Vlogbrothers series on YouTube, but the important part is the fact that the first page of each copy is signed.

John Green had the piece of paper inside of your book in his hand, and with him as a part of history. Its kind of amazing if you think of it. The author took the time to sign a piece of paper and shipped it off to become yours exclusively.

Well, I got my copy on the 25 December 2011... due to a pre release error thingy. My aunt and uncle who the year before introduced me to John Green handed me the book... I made a pact not to read it until it became legit - on January the 10th. I looked on the first six pages - Signature, Title, Copyright (2012, making it the FUTURE at the time), dedication, title again, quote, and authors note. And yes, I realize that's more than six pages, but I read NO PART of the book until the day it was released.

I finished it shortly before writing this post, after carrying this hardcover signed book with me 24/7. There was no way it was going out of my sight... minus of course the videolab this morning, but I won't get into that.

The day it became legit I brought it to my 1st period class where there was a girl who I had known to be a fan of John Green's. I showed her the book. She just looked at me. I handed her a book like any good Nerdfighter would, and let her glance through it. I then read it for the next 3 days.

And to be honest, it was a pretty good book.

Friday, January 6, 2012

This, In Turn, Kept the Professor Higher than His Students

Source: Wikipedia
PGH's Cathedral of Learning
That was what our tour guide Jamey told us in the German Room on the first floor of the Univ. Of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning.

I think the Germans get a relatively bad rep for having Hitler (HE WAS AUSTRIAN!) and, well, the Nazis. NOT ALL GERMANS Were/Are Nazis!

Anyway, last weekend I got the chance to go to the Cathedral of Learning on Pitts Campus. The Univ. of Pittsburgh has a beautiful campus (Minus the construction and hospital bustle) and some really unique buildings. The Cathedral has this grand hall on the first floor open to the public and students to study.

Anyway, surrounding this magical hall is a square-ish hallway with large brown doors with a plaque on each door and a coat of arms above the archway. Coats of arms have always fascinated me not for their intricacy or abstractness, but the fact that they are completely and utterly useless. Honestly, when am I going to use my family's coat of arms? I guess that's why I don't have one.

Anyway, when the university was building the building, they needed money to help build it. They told nationality groups (Germans, Greeks, Slovak, Russians, etc) that they would be provided with a room, but they would have to furnish and pay for everything in the room, keeping in mind that this was to
be used as a college room.

Its a unique idea that you cannot find anyplace else. Germans have the idea of a Professor above his class while the Chinese room focused on Confucius's teachings that the teacher can learn just as much as his pupils.

My favorite room by far was the English room. It was modeled after I believe the house of Parliament with more coats of arms (Including Ireland being the Unicorn) . I liked the room for three reasons - The first being that it had a brick from 10 Downing Street (PM's house), second being that its England and modeled after real England, and the third being that it is unexplainably haunted.

So if you get a chance, and you are in the area, check it out.

For the record, this post was written on the 5th, but posted on the 6th as it is Orthodox Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to all of my fellow Orthodox friends, Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Oh, and HAPPY 2012!