Monday, December 31, 2012

Lets See How Far We've Come 2012: A Review

So Apparently 2012 is over now. For me, it was an interesting one to be certain. I sort of summed it up in my Christmas Letter in about a sentence:
This year was a challenge to see how full a schedule could be, and how much we could change.
Change in this case can be a good thing and a bad thing. At the beginning of 2012 I made a resolution to post once a week, on a Friday if I could, and this resulted in the 59 you see on the sidebar.

January brought Bishop Daniel to Carnegie. I invited the bishop to Slickville, and He said that he would try his best to come out sometime. I visited the nationality rooms on the campus of Pitt, and I also read John Green's new Book, the Fault in Our Stars.

February brought yet another college campus visit - this time to Carnegie Mellon for a Merit Badge program. March brought an adventure to the wilds of West Virginia, the wilds of the studios of WYEP, and the wilds of theater.

April brought the Drowsy Chaperone, my first ever musical that I performed in. It also brought a rant on Love timed around Easter.

May may have been the craziest for one weekend: Cinco de Mayo weekend. Friday brought a Camporee for which I designed the patch for. Saturday brought the first ever Re(imagiNATION) competition. The following day Bishop Daniel kept true to his promise and visited Slickville. He called the Tuesday before, and said that he had remembered me inviting him. I also became a Life Scout in May.

June brought NYLT, a training course made by the devils of the scouting world to change you from whatever it was you were to a leading man. It also brought me to Camp Seph Mack. We had developed a tradition of inviting the staff down to our site for a bonfire. It seems that bonfires bring people together, and this was no exception. On outpost night at NYLT, we had a bonfire I will remember for years.

July brought my first ever guest post, from my father, regarding vacations. I took my first ever vacation with my family out to Delaware. I celebrated 3 years of writing this website, and I started taking almost weekly bus rides out to WYEP to work on various projects.

August brought back school, and I quoted some songs for blog titles. I also started book reviews.

September brought my debut into announcing for the Carlynton Golden Cougar Marching band, and some side adventures with that.

October brought Homecoming, which I had the pleasure of sharing with a good friend of mine. It also brought Jamboree on the Air, and the end of the Football Season,

November brought the Ten Commandment Hike, references here to Squanto, and some reflection on natural disasters and the sort.

December brought me some good music, the 2012 HOOTENANNY and the 'end of the world as we know it'.

So this is where I break off and say thank you. I decided to write every week because I wanted to work on my writing skills a little, and develop a voice for this. Anyone that knows me can tell you I am not good at finishing things. I will start, or add a middle part, but finishing doesn't work with me. But I've had motivation

Back at the end of 2011, I had a total view count of 3,000 something. It's doubled in the past year, now at nearly 7500. All I can say is thank you. It helps to know that someone out there is reading what I'm writing. Friends, Family, Canadians, I don't care who you are, I just want to thank you, and invite you to join my little site here in 2013.

I plan on writing by the way until at least 2015. From there only time will tell, but that seems to me to be a tad far off. Thanks again, Happy New Year, and May God Bless You All!
-Alexander Popichak, the 2015Blogger

Friday, December 28, 2012

For in this World I'm Bound to Ramble

Movie Poster (Yay Wikipedia!)
The title this week is from a song called "I am a Man Of Constant Sorrow" made famous in the 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou? which I have yet to watch any more than the music video portion of it, which may I add is pretty interesting... (Warning: Profanity - )  making me wonder why I've never heard of using a can as a microphone.

In researching this post to give accurate year information, I found that George Clooney is in the movie, and it's like a Romeo + Juliet (Bazz Lahrman Movie)-esque version (in modernizing it up to the 1920's) of the Odyssey apparently... Though I think it'd be a tad more interesting

Which brings me to another thing. Since I've been sick, I've done a whole lot of nothing productive. Though I do feel satisfied with what I have been able to accomplish.

BACKSTORY: So back on Election Day, a few days before we finalised the Election piece, I was sitting on the first floor of the Carnegie library on the South Side of Pittsburgh. I was flipping through a book simply titled Cronkite because A) I wanted to know more about the guy B) If you're going to be a journalist, you should see how it developed into what it is today and C) I was bored and the guy I was to conduct the interviews yet hadn't showed up yet.

I told this little story to my mom, who in turn told it to my aunt and uncle (the same ones that introduced me to KDKA, John Green, and WYEP) who bought me the book. And now I have something to reference that isn't his autobiography that I borrowed (am borrowing) from my father.

Source: Some News Guy's Blog:
I flipped once again today to the part I was skimming on that November day - the infamous JFK assassination broadcast.

I read about it, and what went on behind the scenes, and I realised: This is the dawn of the "Breaking News Bulletin" regarding national news for ALL THREE networks. I look at today's media coverage and think that it seems a tad flustered in the marathon coverage. If the creation of it was this event, so be it. But if they did it 'right' or at least less flustered than today's. I wanted to see also it in context. I've seen the thirty second video clip ten thousand times from ten thousand different instances, but I wanted to see the context. I then stumbled across a gem, two hours of the original coverage ( (roughly 56:32 for the "The Flash From Dallas - Apparently Official..."))

He did it better and more tastefully than what I had seen done less than three weeks ago with the Newtown Shooting. I say this not based on concrete study of the journalistic arts, or anything. I just say it as someone who watched both, and compared the two. It's not even that in 1963 they did it more 'right' or 'good', I just think there was a difference in what I saw, and the older footage - yikes, it turns 50 this coming year -

And I am reminded of why in the world I want to be a journalist: Because I think it's a way to make a difference in how people think, and how people view what goes on around them. I may be preaching atop the proverbial soapbox, or this may be like a fever dream in a blog post form, but I might be onto something.

I'm not sure what I am doing at this point, or exactly "what I want to be when I grow up" but I do know a few things: I want to write, I want to help people, and above all, I want to make a difference.

It's a cliche anymore, but I still like John Green's words in An Abundance of Katherines:
"What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try and do something remarkable?"
Or, In the words of Walter Cronkite (Which at press time I use as my quote at the end of my signature:
"I can't imagine a person becoming a success who doesn't give this game of life everything he's got." 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's A Thursday, and I'm Sick

That is a fair assumption of my day so far. Actually, that has been my week. Back on Saturday I fell ill with the dreaded ick that seems to have spread to everyone as of late, and have been sick ever since. Nevertheless, it's Winter (Western Christmas) Break and I thought I'd write about that.

I consider myself extremely lucky in more ways than one. Granted, the unlucky balances that out, but with some good I have not too much to complain about.

One of the ways I am lucky is that I was born into a family of a strange religion - Orthodoxy. We follow the traditions of years ago, which while sometimes they seem old-fashioned, it has its benefits. Namely, there is a 13 day discrepancy between Western Christmas (December 25th) Orthodox Christmas (January the 7th).

So how is this so wonderful? It means that I get to separate the holiday (holy-day, get it?) from the commercial celebration that the December Holiday has become.

So why escape the commercialism?

I think this is where the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas comes in. What rang true in 1965 is worse today. People are too materialistic anymore. We want the "stuff" and nothing more. It's nonsense.

I apologize for the preachiness and brevity, and I plan on something deeper tomorrow. Happy Christmas and Boxing Day To Everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Schools Out, Forever (or at least next week)

(It's a play on song lyrics... If you haven't heard the song, then I don' know what to tell you)
So yeah, it's winter break. I think I'm going to blog about a few things, but I'll name them as subheadings: It's the End of The World As We Know it (and I Feel Fine), and OMG It's Snowing In Carnegie.

It's The End Of The World As We Know it (And I Feel Fine)
I have some bad news for you conspiracy theorists: I procrastinated on my Friday blog post, and we're all alive.

But Friday marked the last day we had before this lovely little break, as well as the annual CHS Variety Show. I was informed the day before that the WCHS Morning Crew (Consisting of Me, Clay Bodnar of JSVH fame, and Aidan K of AK Productions Fame) were to host the variety show. Now, I had emceed events before, notably the Talent show of like 2009 or something but my counterparts had only done the AM announcements with me.

It's strange to be on this end of the spectrum when a year back I ran lights for the same event. I got the call from the people running the lights that it was time to go, and instead of hitting the button for a spot, I led Aidan and Clay into darkness with nothing but a spotlight glaring upon us. For me, it was very strange.

We then talked about the end of the world as the opening, doing a custom-tailored version of REM's "It's the End of the World as We Know it (And I Feel Fine)" that we had learned a mere 9 minutes before curtain. It was complete with jumbled lyrics and an ancient Mayan dance, which consisted of Aidan doing the "start the lawnmower" and sprinkler.

Somehow, we managed to host the show with limited injury. We almost lost a Kozy cutout, and were nearly booed for our jokes, but hey, so are the pros! There were a few tech and performance snafus, but I think we managed well enough on our end.

I was asked when I went up to my grandparents house this weekend if our grades were checked, or if we needed to be in scholars or honors classes to do the announcements. Quite plainly, no. We're a group of volunteers that just want to do this for the heck of it. We get no bonus points, magic pats on the back, and I don't think we need it. Our announcements crew (not the tech crew... that is another story entirely) is a dysfunctional family that gets stuff done in a wacky way.

OMG It's Snowing In Carnegie
(Kudos to the CHS band for inspiring the title)
So there were two trends inspiring a lot of the tweets among local teens, or at least the people that I follow on twitter. The first was the end of the world, and the second is that it's snowing.

What a shocker that the first day of winter (northern hemisphere) contains snow. Yet the local news, and twitterers alike took to their proverbial pulpits preaching that it had indeed snowed.

On a final note, these events inspired this gem of a tweet from the great Lana Meyer responding to the great Marin Exler:

No school means hopefully more time to blog. Look for something on Boxing day and MAYBE on Friday for once. 
Happy Western Christmas, Chanukah, Boxing Day, Festivus, and New Years everyone!

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I'm not ready to talk about today's events; and I'm not sure I ever will. 

So yesterday I walked around my neighborhood as I usually do. I got a call from a neighbor to check out something that he had said was going over on his street. I go over and I see that there is an excavator tearing down a condemned house across the street from him.

For years, we had known this just as "Tom's House" a condemned house which we had deemed the monster house of the neighborhood. It had become a hotspot for drug users and other semi-illegal activity. It was a welcome sight to see it go down.

After I saw what was left of "Tom's House" I proceeded to go home and get ready for WYEP's Holiday Hootenanny, which is our annual fundraiser for our education department, and namely Re(imagine) Media.

There were two portions to the program: the VIP act featuring some of the bands from our Re(imagine) Media band competition, Re(imagiNATION) back in May. They performed for the VIP ticket holders, and then the general admission show started.

The general admission show consisted of three bands, Chet Vincent and the Big Bend, the Neighbors, and Mark Dignam and the House of Song. Each of these headlining bands played sets of 7 or so Christmas songs and featured local singers such as Emma Cox and Molly Alphabet.

The event was supposedly livestreamed to UStream, but I don't know because I was taking pictures for WYEP/Re(imagine) Media the whole time. When those are up, I will post a link. However, I have to clean them up a tad, since I was using a not-professional camera.

The entire station (or at least as many people that I know existed) showed up including our E&CE director Alexa, Sensei Matt, and my fellow Carlynton resident Mrs. Meyer. I was introduced to many amazing people, and it truly reminded me of a full-scale version of our Re(imagiNATION) back in May.

The idea that music brings people together seemed to be embodied by this event. Yeah, the people that were there were supporting us, but I think in a broader sense, it was something bigger than that. It truly was a 'holiday party' where all of us Re(imaginers) got to meet the people that make what we do possible. It's extremely humbling, and it was extremely awesome to be a part of.

And I think it's this togetherness that really makes me appreciate what we can do with a radio station, and with one another as creative people. it's a great feeling to feel so much support, and it felt like WYEP truly is more than a radio station - that we're a family of sorts. Some of us are distant, but we're still all together.

If you want to see our informational pieces, pictures of what we've done, or are just interested, check out our blog at

If you're interested in hearing the music that was the Holiday Hootenanny, you can listen to 91.3FM locally on Christmas Eve. If you don't live in Pittsburgh, go to on Christmas Eve.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Test

I've been mulling this one over for a while. My original mission was to take a walk around my neigborhood, take some pictures, and do a 'Thoughts From Places'-esque travelblog, but the always dependable Pittsburgh weather had other plans.

My second thought was a rant on education, an open letter to the Education Dept of the US and Pa. But I don't want to just stand atop my blog soapbox and preach like the guy that is talking about the end of the world, only in the form of education.

It seems that the popular idea is that if you want to prove you learned or did something, you need to either have a grade or a test. This kind of reminds me of the opening to John Green's Crash Course:World History series. He talked about a test. It's a great quote, so I recommend listening to it here:

So basically what he says is that life itself is a test. This in and of itself is an argument that tests matter. I mean, if you think life matters, and life itself is a test, then I guess it does matter.

So what am I getting at here? Don't get me wrong, tests are important because it shows progress, and they measure how much you ___ something. That blank could be filled with know, can do, anything you can think of.

But an undeniable truth is that the test itself can only measure as well as the person who devised it can gauge.

What am I talking about? Specifically, standardized testing. I'm personally opposed to it because instead of standardizing curriculum to useful things, we are standardizing benchmarks and as a result, we are teaching to the tests.

So if life is a test, wouldn't it be good to study? Well, yeah. But I think if you are studying, you should study what is on the test and what will matter in life. And I don't feel that the current education system does that.

Why do I say this? I think I've seen more of the 'real world' in WYEP, the scouting movement, and the other things I've done outside of this education bubble. Take for example, I take the scholars track in Math. I'm studying Algebra 2, yet I haven't learned any business math, like taxes and the sort, and I won't.

I may be wrong. After all, I'm only a high school sophomore. But say I'm on to something real here, I think it's time we take some time to study what will really be on the test.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

'Cause Though the Truth May Vary

Those are lyrics from a song I've come to love, Of Monsters and Men's Little Talks. This week has been an extremely interesting one. I'm not 100% sure where this will end up, but here goes nothing:

Today I went to WYEP. It's hard to believe it's been over a year since my start there, but I still love every minute of it, probably more than when I first got there.

This coming Monday marks the 1-year anniversary of our trip to Occupy Pittsburgh. We took the opportunity today to bring back up some of the old projects, and kind of look at it in retrospect. This story is especially interesting to me in retrospect, considering the day of I was interviewed by Matt Spangler about the whole day as part of an audio journal. I listened to that audio, as well as read a blog post (yeah, I do read these from time to time to look back) about visiting.

I also look back to a post I did on the one-year anniversary of the Wall Street movement also, and I guess not much has changed, except I sort of rediscovered it. I Re(imagine)d it, and realized that this was truly the first time I had covered and experienced something.

If we wanted to kickstart a real revolution, or another Occupy, someone would need to step up with a platform of some sort. If it really is a move for social reform, someone should have the foresight to put that as their mission. I'm not saying Occupy is dead, because in essence, Occupy is an idea. I'm just saying that if the gentleman's idea of "eventual results" is going to happen, there needs to be some form of organization in ways of platform, and exactly who/what they are fighting. You just can't redistribute wealth, you have to work out a plan of a system.
I've become semi-skilled in the art of creating audio pieces. I'm not, by any stretch of the imagination, an eloquent speaker, but I am able to get pieces created. I've at least come a long way from where I was a year ago.

This couldn't have been possible without the amazing people at WYEP. Check out our blog ( in the coming weeks to see some of our projects. I'm in the process of cleaning up the election piece, and we're in the process of adding multiple projects in the future, including the spotlight.

I apologize for the scatter-brainedness, I have a lot going on, and not much sense in my head. Thanks for bearing with me.