Saturday, June 29, 2013

And After the Storm, I Run and Run as the Rains Come

So there's good reason I didn't blog yesterday. I was at a drive in.

The Line to Get Into The Drive-In
For those of you who belong to my generation and choose to do nothing but scroll blogs, drive in theatres are these magic inventions where you drive into a parking lot (thus the name) and watch a movie projected on a HUGE screen outside. They were apparently all over the place during the 50s-80s, but apparently they weren't cool anymore? I don't know, they seem pretty awesome to me

I went with my mother to see "Monsters University" because we had some groupon and I had never been to a drive in before.

These are magic inventions, and there were people outside of their cars waiting for it to get dark, and kids playing with things and just plain people being out and enjoying themselves.

Yay Magic Screen!
In order to hear the movie, they told you at the gate to tune your radio to a certain frequency and you could hear the movie from there. And here I'm thinking, oh it's some low power frequency, you will get static. No. Crystal Clear. Wow.

So that was how I spent my Friday night, watching a movie at a drive-in.  Sorry for the brevity of this post, it was either this or an adventure in parallel parking. I can sum that up in three words:
It. Was. Scary. 
That's where I wanted to end the post. Hit the labels, and hit publish. But I kept writing.

Okay, so the past few days have been rough. Another friend passed away suddenly. He was 19. I didn't know him all that well, but I will say this: that was too young. My prayers are with his family, and his close-knit group of friends. It's just rough.

Friday, June 21, 2013

My Uke Needs Tuned and Other Adventures

Okay, so this week was sort of rough... yet at the same time very unproductive. I lost a friend from church sort of suddenly, and I don't think that's hit me yet...

The title was a suggestion from a friend... I don't have a ukulele...

So this past weekend I spent up at CAMP! doing various miscellaneous things. My mother and grandfather trusted me enough to drive them to errands and the sort, like to the KMart in Clarion to buy a wheelbarrow.

One of my more productive ventures was to re-do the fire ring there. My grandmother decided she didn't like the rocks surrounding it... so we found some patio bricks. The idea was fairly simple, build a square around the existing circular ring. My grandmother didn't want to have the rocks that were there at all, but I had a (better-ish) idea to re-purpose them.

So the end product looks a bit like this:

Excuse the shovel... this is what it looks like though!
We used some of the rocks to level out the ring down under it, and around the ring for decoration. It looked pretty awesome... until it dawned on me. The rocks could be sandstone. To those of you who aren't familiar with the fun sandstone is around fire, it explodes. And it's usually not too good when that happens.

There was one real way to test it, which was to build a fire and see if it explodes. Unfortunately, or probably fortunately, there is no story here. It was probably some other sedimentary rock (I'm no geologist!) but it DID NOT EXPLODE. But it did rain that night... which made me sad.

However I did make a mountain pie in it. Yes, a mountain pie in the rain and storm, because I can.

That was really the highlight of my week... other than being kicked out of the high school. I can't say much for fear of libel, lawsuits, and other scary stuff from the school district, but bottom line I was working with a group of friends rearranging and updating our high school's video studio and we were informed that we needed to leave. Those are all the details I feel comfortable giving... and we were essentially stranded outside of the building walking the track until our one friend's aunt came to rescue us. Mind you, I'm a volunteer. Thanks.

Friday, June 14, 2013

I Come From Where The Rivers Meet The - Well, Rivers

The Fountain! (Excuse the poor quality)
So I'm free, as most people are, from high school until August 20-something or other. I've done this thing over the past few years where the last day of school (which is usually just a useless day anyway) I do something decently cool during the school day, and then that night do something I haven't done in a while. I spent my day in the video lab, and the evening at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, and watching a musical in the Cultural District.

But first I want to talk about Sunday, the first trip to the Arts Festival. My mother was nice enough to accompany me going into town for the Re(imagiNATION) showcase on Sunday. We were put up in Point State Park (the newly renovated... with the fountain up!) on the "creativity stage". Since no one else was there when we started other than Matt (you should follow his twitter for free Pittsburgh Stuff - @ItsFreeBurgh) I ended up emceeing and introducing the bands.

The disappointment in it all was that I had to stay in the area and couldn't look at the art and the fountain... so I made my mother come down again with me early before we went to see the musical.

So that's exactly what we did. We took the T (Pittsburgh's Subway system) into town and explored the Three Rivers Arts Festival. We also took a walk to the fountain, where I took some pictures of the fountain (see top) and of the "Three Forks" marker.* I talked to a bunch of local artists and saw a bunch of works varying from repurposed scrap metal to photography.

I always get the urge to do something creative when I'm in spaces surrounded by works of other people. I realized that I enjoy photography, so I want to sometime take a bunch of pictures of various local things. I started a flickr, and want to get into that creative end. If you're interested, my flickr handle is here:

Anyway, I love these sorts of events where people are sharing and collaborating and above all, creating stuff. So I guess if I want to make a Summer's resolution, I want to be more creative. We'll see how that works out.

On a final note, I'd like to congratulate the members of the CHS Class of 2013. It's insane to think that that'll be my class in two years. Wow. Special shout out to my senior friends: Isabella, Lana, Aidan, Lindsey, Ben, Seve, et al.

Now to why I put the star (*) by the three forks notice. So I took a picture and posted it of this cool ground marker. It marks the start of the Great Allegheny Passage at the point, and marks the exact confluence point for the Ohio River. Well, after some research, it turns out that they are having an official unveiling of that exact marker tomorrow (6/15). So I saw it and posted it when no one was supposed to see it. It's on the flickr, but I am not putting it here, because that's mean to the the GAP people.... maybe next week?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Smile Like You Mean It

Note: I apologize if this is hard to understand. I am losing my mind with finals in school and assorted other things... Your understanding is appreciated.
So today was the last regular Friday to my sophomore year. Wow was that crazy. I'm one of those people who walk to the top of a hill, and look back. Then I decide to move forward because, honestly, there's so much more ahead.

So today in English our teacher brought out our 'portfolios' which are a collection of selected works of ours from each year going back to 7th grade. It was interesting to see how far I've come as a writer, and how poor my handwriting has become.

I'm again reminded that things progress.

It's wild looking back after something to see what it actually was. By this I mean that I am an idea guy, and to see something actually come out of an idea, or whatever the case is, is satisfying.

I look at the end of this year, and I sort of feel the same as I did last year (, but in a different sense of becoming those older people, and realizing how much has actually been accomplished.

I have yet to do finals, but already I know this much: sophomore year is over. And even though I may not have done so great in chem, and struggled writing research papers for social studies and English I've learned a lot - about the world around me, as well as myself.

I've learned a bit from everything ranging from how to put on an arts festival of sorts, using a studio, how relationships work, how to work in a lab, and ultimately where I plan to go. We'll see how this all pans out.

I can't wait for this summer to come, because I plan to go to Delaware (which I can never spell), and I want to get lost in the awesome of downtown Pittsburgh again, and do so many things... I don't know. I am just excited to be where I am now, and to be moving forward.

For the record and for those keeping track at home, this brings the count to roughly two years until this blog becomes relevant. Thanks.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

And All the Lights that Light the Way are Blinding

Note: I apologize if this is hard to understand/cryptic. I try to separate my school and personal life from this blog... I'm going through a lot in both. Your understanding is appreciated.

So yesterday I went to Gettysburg. Granted, this is the third time I've been to Gettysburg, but I decided to go again with the AP US History class and my AC2 Scholars Class because, well, Civil War. This past Saturday we had the Cemetery Re-dedication, also a Civil War thing. But I want to save the Civil War ventures for another day.

Going to Gettysburg from Pittsburgh requires a four-plus hour bus ride in each direction. In that amount of time I could have slept (if they weren't singing Harry Potter songs behind me) or did homework, but instead I did three things: wrote a bit, talked a bit, and thought a lot.

One of my new favorite quotes is from Walter Cronkite:
"I learned early on that the masks of comedy and tragedy adorn the proscenium of life"
-Walter Cronkite, A Reporter's Life 1996.
"Proscenium" is a theater term for the architectural 'frame' around the stage. It hides the moving parts like the flies and scenery, drawing your attention to the performance.

The Proscenium is the wood paneling here, as well as the curtains.
I've been thinking a lot about theater and about the moving parts, and the big metaphor with life here. Each person, much like each audience member, sees a different performance. The actor does his or her best to portray a certain character or emotion or whatever, and chooses to ignore the real ones, for the sake of the show. It's an interesting concept, in the sense that it is true. People only know the person you portray to them.

I was thinking this as I was walking through fields and passing farmland. I'm also thinking about how being detached from certain things is a very good thing for me on a personal level.

Having a break from everything to look from a different perspective ultimately adds to my own perspective. I really am trying to avoid some weird metaphor that doesn't make sense, but it's hard to explain.

Bottom line, I've realized a lot. I've realized what a proscenium and fly system backs me up. And above all, I've come to realize what a production some people's lives are, and how simple mine is. And I love every minute... and I think at this point, I'm running tech to my own life.