Friday, January 25, 2013

Is This the End or Something Really, Really Beautiful?

Tumblr Is Awesome
Those are lyrics to a Voxtrot song called "The Start of Something." I like this song for a few reasons... It's really mellow yet upbeat song that a friend showed me a while back. It's all about relationships and the sort, but I like that some of the lyrics are just about "the start of something really really beautiful" and that something could be literally anything.

This week has certainly been an interesting one. It's been one of new beginnings, and sometimes just a freshening of stuff. Monday brought the second inauguration of Barack Obama, and MLK day. It was an interesting combination, and one that the commentators on the major media networks (I'm sorry, only saw NBC and CBS Monday) took note of.

SOURCE: (Inauguration 2013)
The question they were asking was What is the Civil Rights Movement of Today? And they meant it in the sense of asking, what should we be focusing on as a nation that will define this generation.

Now if this were a year ago, I'd probably say the Occupy Movement, because it seemed like a movement towards something. Ultimately the issue was that "something" not being solidly defined. However, I like what Condoleezza Rice said. What it should be is education.

I emphasize "should" because at least to me it seems that pop culture leaning more towards Gay Rights and Gun Control. And yes, I think in the coming years these issues will be looked at and action will probably taken. I can't see into a crystal ball and tell you when in the eyes of the law the LGBT community will be considered equals with those outside of it, and minorities getting their equal rights, but I hope within the next decade that happens. I'm not going to touch gun control because, well, politics.

I think that Condoleezza Rice has a point, and in a nation that is considered the most wealthy, where we possess in our pockets a machine capable of summoning all of human knowledge that we should be capable of adding to that knowledge.

So why do I rant about this week after week? Because I'm trying to prove that I care, and that this generation is genuinely concerned with the quality of the world that we're inheriting.

I think the way of the future is collaboration via schools, communities, the internet, phones, everything. It's by combining two minds that you come up with something really beautiful, but you have to start it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Triumphant in Your Mind of the Logic that You Hold

Those are lyrics from Mumford & Sons' "Where are you now?". And I kind of apologize for not posting on Friday... I had a severe case of writers block mixed with post-midterm brain fried-ness. I'd say it's real, but I haven't consulted my doctor yet on that.

So what I want to talk about is one of my fears. I'm afraid that my generation here doesn't think. Now, this may strike in one of a few ways. Considering you are reading my website, it might strike you as an "okay, what do you mean by this". But to the majority of people who don't read this site, that sentence would strike you as, "and what? Why do I need to think?"

And what scares me more than anything is that that is the majority of my generation, the ones that ask "why do we need to think?". When I pitched the idea of this post, as I occasionally do, to my father he brought up a song that had a line of lyrics that went something to the tune of "thinking is the best way to travel".

It is my thought that an emphasis from society and popular culture that 'someone else will always do the thinking for us' has poisoned into our lack of the need to think.

So I guess another question is, what is thinking? defines it as "to have a conscious mind, to some extent of reasoning, remembering experiences, making rational decisions, etc."

My mind then wanders to that Sir Ken Robinson video about the current education system, and how the rise in standardized testing is parallel to the rise in medication for ADHD med prescription. He brings up the conclusion that the education system is not only not stimulating enough for its subjects, but the system itself does not work.

Being on the inside, I concur that the system doesn't particularly work for me. Since I'm 'gifted' I'm taking five honors-level classes, but in my personal opinion, I've learned more with my experiences at WYEP on random Saturdays than I have anyplace there.

Again, I recommend his video: and John Green's TEDxIndy talk on thinking outside of the box called the Paper Town Phenomenon: He says it much better. Draw conclusions as you will, Rant Over.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Creatures' Gentle Glowing Never Lasts

Those are lyrics to a song by Laurena Segura, a Canadian girl that makes music on YouTube. This song in particular is called "Fireflies of Montreal" and is written more mellow than her song "Permafrost". I recommend checking her out, because her music has an acoustic folksy flair to it. 

There are so many things I could write about this week, be it a rant on having mid terms or RICK SEBAK VISITING MY BLOG, or seeing The Chief at the O'Reilly yesterday in Pittsburgh. But what I think is going to happen is that I'm just going to start somewhere and go from there.

I guess I should explain why I mentioned Rick Sebak. For those of you from Pittsburgh, you should know Rick Sebak's trademark scrapbook documentary style, and even those of you who watch public television (if you don't know what that is, you should probably leave the site. I'm all about public radio, television, and internets) could be familiar with his Breakfast and other assorted specials.

Anyway, in a crazy Sunday haze, I decided to send a link to some of the people I follow on twitter to this website. This included Jim Lokay, John Green, and Rick Sebak. I said something along the lines of "if anyone actually reads this, I will freak out". Mr. Sebak actually did that, and responded by telling me he also saw BBC 2 1/2 (REALLY old and abandoned project, circa late 2010). 

I think that it's amazing that someone actually reads this, and I want to thank Mr. Sebak for reading this, even if it is the blog of some crazy sophomore from the South Hills.

This week has been interesting in other respects, namely revisiting the cultural district to see The Chief. It's a pretty well written and EXTREMELY well acted one-man-play about Art Rooney Sr, founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I think I appreciate theater for a number of reasons, but part of it is that I've been in basically every element of it, except in a directing or writing capacity (and I don't EVER plan on going into that... seems too stressful). It's a magical place where for a little while you can escape the mountains of American Cultures homework, the headaches of the real world, and genuinely get lost in something.

Theater reminds me of music, something that people who are passionate about work really hard on and get lost in. It really says something when you see that someone throws himself into his or her work, and it loses the idea of being 'work'.

I'm off to WYEP again tomorrow (for the first time since the HOOTENANNY which you can listen to here: and no doubt will have some magic story to tell about down there. I guess radio and Re(imagine) work is what I get lost in. Only time will tell though. 

On a complete aside, I realized that I've been working on my troop site since January 10, 2009... meaning this is FOUR YEARS of doing this web designy thing... which is insane. Okay, back to reality.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

It Seems Everything Has Been Found

What I want to talk about is a combination of two things: Education and the Espy Post.

I grew up in a world where it seems pretty much everything has already been invented, and the only frontier is cyberspace, which is a virtual and endless space. Essentially meaning do whatever, all is already done. I say "seems" because this is a LIE.

Gavel Block Thingy in the Post
Same applies to the GAR Post ("Civil War Room" to most locals) in the Andrew Carnegie Free Library. Back two years ago, I signed up to become the youngest docent for the Espy Post. There are a lot of things in this post, and it's a lot to give a tour on, but it seemed everything was known. Boy, was I wrong.

So I've added another project to my list of projects to do, this time something commemorating the 125th anniversary of the Post's memorial out in Chartiers Cemetery off of Noblestown Road in East Carnegie. Ideally, we're going to do something on Memorial Day weekend.

I've decided to do some research into the original dedication day, and I didn't have to look too far to find some interesting things. There is a little explanation of it in the 1911 catalogue:
... The monument was dedicated July 21, 1888, at three o’clock P.M. The following program was carried out at the services: Prayer by Rev. Wm. Lynch; music, “Mustered Out,” Allegheny Quartette Club; original poem, Miss Josie S. Sholes; unveiling of monument; music, “Unreturning Braves,” Allegheny Quartette Club; dirge, St. Luke’s Brass Band; oration, Col. John A. Danks; music, “America,” Allegheny Quartette Club; doxology; benediction, Rev. Beasom. The day was fine, over three thousand persons were present in the cemetery. ...
as well as it running two weeks straight in the local paper. I'm trying to imagine how three thousand people fit into the cemetery, and what it was like on that 'fine' July day in 1888.

It's called 're'search for a reason: things aren't lost, they just aren't together. It's the job of the person looking through those things to mesh them together into some semblance of sense. Being that person who tries to mesh it together is an interesting yet nerve-wracking feeling. Considering that every single person that contributed the $1500 to build the monument have passed and many are buried in the GAR plot surrounding this monument.

They present education to us as a definitive thing. "This is all the math you will need" "Read the classics" and those sort of things define a "curriculum." The senior project in the Carlynton school district is basically a presentation answering the question "what do you wanna be when you grow up?". It's very much a system based on filling in the box and moving on.

Inside of the Espy Post
But I think a true education is much more than that. It's looking at microfilm of newspapers from 1888 to try and understand why something in existence now matters. To be totally honest, before I had started becoming a docent, I had no clue what the Grand Army of the Republic was, that there even was a veterans organization after the Civil War.

I'm very much opposed to this notion that High School teaches you everything you need to know. Yes, it may fill your 'need's in some respect, but I feel it's a bare minimum, and if you want a full education, you need to look for that full education. This doesn't happen in a classroom but rather in a library or in a radio station on the South Side of Pittsburgh, or even at a monument in a cemetery.

I say think because I'm not sure if I'm right. Some people are able to just accept things, but I know I can't. I think that if you want to understand something, you have to try it or at least delve further than face value. You don't need to invent the wheel, but you can. All this going deeper with meanings and yet I still am bad at interpreting poetry.