Friday, February 24, 2012

Honus Wagner, Unicorns, and Peter McKay

Note/Warning: The following post contains a lot of links. -AP

Source: Baseball Hall of Fame
So for those of you who didn't know it, today was Honus Wagner's Birthday. For those of you who don't know who Honus Wagner was, please drop your laptop (Please not your desktop) on your foot, and then click this link here.

The reason I bring this up is because it is trivia that came to me via twitter, and Honus Wagner was from Carnegie (Originally Chartiers [#TheCarlyntonProject for the win!]). I have somewhat of an interesting connection to Mr. Wagner. His house is across the street from one of my troop member's houses, and my grandfather used to run beer to his house when he was a kid. Just goes to show, when not looking too hard for something, you can find stuff you never know you were looking for.

Anyway, my secret sister Mikaela was texting me earlier when I was gathering my thoughts to attempt to write another post. I at that time, as almost every other Friday, was wondering what to write about. She suggested the existence of Unicorns.

Source: Wikipedia
Unicorns, for those of you in the future who are without knowledge of what a Unicorn is, are magical horses with a horn protruding from its head and, in some depictions, can fly. However, loosely defined, anything with a singular horn protruding from its head can be considered a "unicorn" however it is not what we will call a true unicorn.

My friend Alex recently discovered that he is, indeed, a unicorn. (Again, loosely defined in this case). He has this bump that appeared square in the centre of his forehead. When he had it scanned for tumors or whatever, it turned out that this was actually Just his Skull. When I approached him on the matter, he said that "I could start my own RELIGION now that I'm now a unicorn."

As to whether or not that actually happens (Its just as sketchy as Tarvusim) is to be determined. Either way, know that my blog will be the #1 source for coverage on this Modern Unicorn-Driven Religion.

So Tomorrow is Saturday. Other than being the one day in a week where I can (rarely recently) sleep in and go to WYEP, it is also the one day where I actually read a portion of the paper. I usually just read page 2 (Because Page one is SOOO Mainstream :P ) the comics, whatever seems interesting in the Local News, and this magical column that I discovered.

This column is published once a week by a Ben Avon resident named Peter McKay who writes under the title of "Homemaking". Now, this really almost never has to do with actually making homes, or decorating homes, but rather what really makes up life. He talks about the things that make up life - the little pet peeves, the relationships, the stories that we all share but never publicize.

Basically, for those of you who know who Tom Bodett (again, if you don't educate yourself, then throw a dart at something) is, Peter McKay is a Pittsburgh version of Tom Bodett. If you want to check out his more recent columns, or the sort, check him out at

Sorry no adventure stories this week, but I will go someplace soon! And I will add another Super Special Bonus Blog Thing!

Side Note: From now on I am going to have a tag for blog posts that is "Unicorns"

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Super Special Bonus Blog Post Fun Time!

Do I ever use my own pics?
So yesterday I was texting my sister (No, not my real sister, but you get the idea... [maybe this is what Jay Scribble means by "Secret Sister" and "Secret Brother"]) and she invited me to church. Granted, I can go to church down the hill anytime I want, but I got invited, so I decided to come...

So this morning I woke up and walked down the hill, over a block or so, down the hill some more, and eventually made my way to Mansfield Boulevard where the church is. I walked into the church, greeted the greeters (Its a bizarre feeling to be formally 'greeted') and then got the reader(My not-real sister's father)'s permission as well as the priest's permission to serve (I'm an alter server, not a priest, or deacon, or bishop, or anything else).

It has been a long time since I have served solo with another priest; and it was, to say the least, interesting. It isn't, at least in my eyes, my "home" parish. That title goes to Slickville, and will forever be Slickville. But it was nice to be able to experience church through the customs of my geographic home parish.

On a side note, the priest was absolutely amazed I walked the five or so blocks to church.
"If your dad and brother are in Slickville, and your mom is in Butler, how did you get here?"
"Um, I walked"
"Woah. Oh, thanks for coming"

Anyway, I stayed for the Parastas, and then attended Sunday for the first time in about seven or eight years. Again, it was a tad taboo for me to go into a church basement, sit with people my age, and discuss what had just happened upstairs. I won't go into too much detail (Feel free to ask, I just am not trying to be a blogevangelist), but it was bizarre to me, or at least foreign. Slickville has an average age of about 75, making my brother and I the youngest "members" of the church (legally and canonically, we can't be members, but again, I am not going to go into detail). Our Sunday School was my mother brother and I talking in the basement of the church about the miracles of Christ, as well as what the parts of the liturgy meant, et cetera. It was very much the same in the content respect, only it wasn't two small children and their mother talking one-on-one.

We later went next door to the hall, where I talked for a while with people I hadn't seen in a while, greeted other people, and then my sister's mother gave the two of us a ride to musical practice.

I am not at liberty to discuss the specifics of the show (See it at Carlynton live April 19-22nd) but basically, we took pictures, sang a little, attempted to dance (Or rather, I attempted to dance whilst the people around me actually danced), and then went home.

Yay, this is something I actually own!
"Going home" was staying at my house for about an hour, and then descending the hill I already had walked this morning to the basement of another church for a boy scout meeting. We discussed upcoming events, and then had some team-building stuff that we went over as well as chain of command.

According to my friend, the girl scouts are a classroom-oriented organization. You are sorted by age group and have one year or so to accomplish a rank. The boy scouts is quite the opposite. You gain a rank by earning it with your own initiative (You can be in the program for six or seven years and be a tenderfoot... we don't encourage it, but you can do it). We are very much boy-led, and its kind of amazing how it all is brought together.

I finished my Sunday by texting my sister and the before-mentioned friend and coming up with a blog post idea. I decided I was going to talk about my Sunday. I texted my sister a name, and that was "Super Special Bonus Blog Post Fun Time!" And she liked it.

PS: Why is Blogger telling me Slickville is not a word... or texting?

Friday, February 17, 2012

#Hashtagging, Texting, and Explaining JayScribble

So I was watching NCIS on CBS (No, they don't pay me to say it, its just what is always on at my house for some reason...) and in the bottom left I saw during like the first two minutes of the show "#NCIS" which to anyone who is unfamiliar with the internet or Twittering (Tweeting? Tweetering?) doesn't know what this means.

Anyway, about Julyish my friend Dave introduced me to this idea of kind of "Tagging" things in facebook, twitter, etc. posts. The idea was, you place a Pound Sign (#) before whatever you wanted to tag the post with, and then people could search the tag and see how many other people had the same tag.

Here a few months ago, I find that I was only a small part of this idea, and that it's on Twitter (Yeah, I'm on twitter, feel free to follow me @AlexPopichak). I also found out that if you go to the web version of twitter, you can click on a hashtag and it'll take you to a thing where you see the Hashtag's search page. I don't think there's anything yet for #The2015Blogger. Hmm...

So on an unrelated note, I have been texting like crazy for the past few weeks. I have found that I am quite good at texting, albeit almost never in a timely manner. It helps a lot that I have a keyboard cellphone, though.

Anyway, my teacher claimed that text communication and internet communication are a step backward as far as communication goes. I have to say I disagree with that. At first we only had talking. The only way to reach someone was to think of something, then form it with your mouth, and then hope they interpret what you really mean. Then we had this thing called writing, with the same aim, only using physical characters instead of words. This made it easier to get a point across, because you didn't need to rely on the telephone (the game, not the instrument) method or be everywhere at once. Now we have texting.

In my opinion, texting is the closest thing we can get to telepathy. It combines the ideas of writing with the words coming straight from the mind. I might be going out on a limb, but I believe I have some form of a point here.

So the next best thing to telepathy or actually being in a place in person (and I hope you'll agree with me on this one) is appearing via video. Jay Scribble and his brother do this once a week.

Anyway, JayScribble did this series in his Vlogbrothers videos back in 2010 regarding the French Revolution. I enjoyed it personally (although he talks really fast) because it got all of the information in your head in a memorable way with visual aid.

So we were studying the French Revolution in class, and I asked my teacher (She prefaced class with "we're watching a video today") if she was talking about some dry half-hour video with a video sheet. She was. So I introduced her to JayScribble and his French Revolution series. I just asked her to take a look at it.

My American Cultures teacher prefaced her class the following day with "We're watching a video series today that Alex found." And then for the next half hour we covered the entire French Revolution a la John Green. At the end of the series she made the comment that she feels that she talks REALLY SLOW in comparison to JayScribble.

I find it ironic that about a month before that, he had created a World History series on a separate channel. You can check that out online at

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why I Enjoy College Campuses, and Broomball

So Friday I went to this ice rink to meet with some people from 262 to participate in this thing called Broomball. Broomball is kind of like ice hockey, only its not. You basically attempt to hit a ball (or three or however many Mr. Z throws out) into a net on the other side of the room. You hit it with this broomstick-like thing, oh and did I mention that you're on an ice rink with no skates, but rather either sneakers or hiking boots.

Anyway, so that was what I did on Friday from 10 til about Midnight. I originally planned to rant about this one kid who kept hitting me for no reason, but that runs along the lines of the "This is NOT a Coat" incident. For this reason, I will not be slanderous.

So on Saturday I woke up earlier than my average (ha) Saturday and took a ride to Oakland to visit the campus of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). I went there for a merit badge class and, above all, just to visit Oakland.

There's something magical and enchanting about snow in Pittsburgh. This Saturday brought a lot of snow down onto the campus with a strangely quiet and serene reception. Of course there was a little hustle and bustle about the campus naturally with college students going wherever they were going. I also saw the increasingly snow-covered "fence." Bottom line, its this random fence in the middle of the green at Carnegie Mellon that every year gets painted in the dead of night. After like 60 years or whatever of being painted, its about a foot and a half in diameter.

Anyway, this green containing the fence, as well as the CMU drama dept's posters proclaiming "Les Enfants Terribles" and "Sweeney Todd" amongst the upcoming attractions has a large drop off cliff thingy to the right of it as you pass between the drama building and the Humanities and Social Sciences building. This drop off serves some importance I assume, but bottom line, there is a building in the middle of that called "Hamershiag Hall" or whatever that has this round thing on top of it that is the sole piece of architecture that CMU is known for. See the picture to the right.

So anyway, this green is high enough and far enough behind that you can look straight out and see simultaneously this circle thingy and the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning. This was quite beautiful with the snow falling and everything.

No, I didn't take this, but its what I was trying to illustrate.
Here you have two universities known worldwide for their technology and medicine (CMU and Pitt, respectively) less than a mile or two away from each other.

On my way home, I tried figuring just where CMU ends and Pitt begins. In reality, they are intertwined, with buildings dotted amongst each other splattered all across Oakland. Its an interesting idea, just how two things can coexist like this.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The English Language, WYEP, and School Boards

Again I feel the need to apologize for posting a day late.

So yesterday I took two tests. The first being an American Cultures test which is semi-irrelevant to this post, and the second being an English test. It was a reading/vocab quiz (WHY VOCAB‽‽‽) on the first act of Shakespeare's Masterpiece, Romeo and Juliet which he stole, but that's irrelevant to the point here. There is always an essay to these things; some way for the teacher to pick inside your head, and call your train of thought wrong, or right.

Anyway, he wrote up on the board something along the lines of "What type of literary devices did Shakespeare use to build suspense in the first act of Romeo & Juliet?" I immediately saw room for creativity (along the lines of my before-mentioned toaster story) in citing a bunch of different things, for I would make it my mission as blogger extraordinaire to somehow make literary devices half-exciting.

He then did the predictable move, and decided to come up with a "better" questions. Predictably, he switched it to something along the lines of "Explain how Shakespeare uses dramatic irony to create suspense in the first act of Romeo and Juliet."  This, of course ties into our study of irony which, may I add, we have been studying since the first week of school. I, needless to say, was quite sad, so in answer wrote this lovely simile about how Shakespeare's suspense kind of is like standing in a line at like Kennywood or some theme park to ride this crazy roller-coaster and seeing the loops and stuff beforehand, inevitably having to ride it, as you're already in line, and asking yourself "Why did I do this again?" and the rest of the story is the actual riding of this roller coaster, and the worst part in this tragedy is the fact that you know what's coming.

Today I was at WYEP for their "Teen Center" Now known as Re(imagine) media. I was working alongside yet another gentleman who I've come to know being named, of course, Alex. We were finalizing this news-esque story about the Occupy Pittsburgh movement.

Well, thanks to technology, we aren't done yet. However, we did get together with the rest of the WYEP crew to start work on this crazy "Battle-of-the-Bands"-esque thingy yet to be named. Bottom line, the idea is to take a bunch of local teen-created bands and have them judged and chiseled down to a top 5. These top 5 will perform live and be judged, who will chisel them further into a top 1. Look for more posts on this later... We are also talking about starting a website where we'll host videos, podcasts, and various other stuffs from the Re(image) media project. I will probably be working on this website project, but once again, details will come later.

So this past Thursday I had to fill in for the guy that usually films the School Board meetings. This was incredibly convenient since I needed to attend a school board meeting anyway for a requirement for a merit badge. In the meeting, they talked about various stuff, mainly Stage Curtains, fill in front of the Carnegie Elementary building, and then they got to my favourite part - The Open Forum.

Since the Public didn't want to talk about anything, the board discussed some headlines involving textbooks coming to the evil Apple devices. It was interesting how the board wasn't overly sure what this was about; but wanted to look into trying to do this anyway. I talked afterward with a board member about my thoughts on the topic, being the student that would be on the receiving end of this. I talked to him about how I preferred actual paper textbooks for certain applications, and how it'd be beneficial for history (1984 references) class to have paper textbooks, while technology would be beneficial for certain applications like science class models and things.

He was fascinated that A) I came up to him and B) my position on this. He pulled over like two or three board members (one being the Vice president, the other being the wife of a gentleman who owns a technology company). It just goes to show that if you know how to talk to people, you're opinion can be heard.