Saturday, September 28, 2013


EDIT 10/2/13: The pictures are up on my Flickr page... Check out the set here:

So Yesterday was fun. I had school as usual, but from there I came home and my mother took me to downtown Pittsburgh. One of the things I love so much about being so close to the city is that anytime something happens there, it's a 15-30 minute drive (depending on traffic) pretty much anywhere downtown. Our mission was to go on a duck hunt.

So there's this project where Dutch Artist Florintijn (spelling?) Hofman makes a giant inflatable duck, and well, yeah. That's about it. And there's a giant duck now floating on the Allegheny River. But they boated it up yesterday, and I was a part of the greeting party.

I came straight from school and my mother and I set up at Point State Park. I brought my camera and we hung out around the fountain until about 5 oclock, when the media appeared. To my right was a gentleman from the Associated Press, David Highfield of KDKA, some WPXI people, and yes - they were all here to see a 40-foot tall duck float up the river.

Then, around 5:05 we saw the head poking out from around the bend. Eventually that head gave way to a body, and then, GIANT DUCK!

It's hard to describe how ridiculously excited I was to see this thing, and that was shared by the mass of people that had joined us in Point State Park. The artist was there, and his mission - at least the one he states on his website - was accomplished. He brought smiles and joy to the faces of those around him. And Pittsburgh now has a duck floating until October the 20th.

I didn't add pictures at the time of posting, but I will soon, and it all will be available on my flickr page (

Saturday, September 21, 2013

How Can You Dream In The Doorway Without Ever Going In?

First I'm going to acknowledge that this is my 200th post since I started the blog nearly 4 years ago.

This week was an interesting one. Tuesday brought with it auditions for this year's Carlynton Winter Play, Arsenic and Old Lace. It's this dark-ish comedy about two aunts who live together with their insane nephew who thinks that he is Teddy Roosevelt, and basically they take boarders in and kill them. When their 'normal' nephew Mortimer discovers this, well, you'll have to come in December to see it live.

Auditions are always the most nerve-wracking part of a production if only for the reason of the big unknown - you don't know how it will go, and your mission is to sell to the panel your acting skills. If they like you, they call you back. And they called me back. 

Callbacks were fun, and I realized that our entire on-air talent with the morning announcements (Aidan, Clay, and I) were all called back, and I knew pretty much the entire callback crew, so that made things fun. They had me try out the Teddy character, and asked me to try an officer character (again, you need to see this thing) which I attempted a Brooklyn/New Jersey accent on.

I said one sentence and the auditorium started cracking up. It wasn't the line, it was the ridiculous accent (which if you've seen BBC 2 1/2, you can picture an accent of that ridiculous scale.... downright overdone and goofy)

They had me try out also for all-too-serious-yet-semi-sarcastic Mortimer character, a role that was sort of hard to pull off after throwing two ridiculous characters out on stage... but whatever. After that we were left to wait.

Thursday brought the announcements that we were asked to record for Open House that night. We never record, or pre-record our announcements. No delays, no nothing, always live, which made this a bit, um, stressful (I know it sounds ridiculous, but I'm telling the truth!). It was a trainwreck. So we had to come in and re-record everything on the VHS tape during 6th period, my lunch.

I was first into the studio after our adviser. I told her, that that was my lunch period and she responded "oh, it'll just take like four minutes."

It took a total of five takes (four that period) to get the good copy. And since we were using a VCR and VHS tapes, we had to start over every time something went wrong. Our visual producer put it this way:

So yeah, we got it done, and the broadcast that night was flawless; too bad I didn't get to eat my lunch that period... Oh well.

That night brought open house, which I announced the changing of classes and directed parents, and that night I got the email to check the cast list.

And I got cast as the insane Teddy Brewster. So yeah, this is going be fun considering my character's brothers are the normal Mortimer Brewster (portrayed by my WCHS cohort Aidan Kalimon) and the evil Boris Karloff-esque character Jonathan Brewster (portrayed by... wait for it... my other WCHS on-air cohort Clay Bodnar). This is going to be something else.

And Friday brought with it another Carlynton Football win, this time 42-0 over Serra Catholic. Over half of the cast of the play was with me in the student section, so that was cool....

I hope that was long enough. Thanks for reading, and here's to 200 posts! *raises juicebox*

Friday, September 13, 2013

I Can't Tell Where the Journey Will End But I Know Where to Start: The Carlynton Student Section

So it's a friday night, and that means Boys Varsity Football (American) here in Western Pennsylvania.

The cool thing about announcing for the band is I get to see all of the Carlynton football games for free and I get to see every game. When we traveled to Clairton last week, that wasn't exactly the best game, but it was still seeing guys I know play a sport they love, and that's still pretty cool.

And then there was tonight.

Background: Canevin (Bishop Canevin High School) is a private school that geographically is roughly the same area. As a result of this, we are rivals in one another's back yard.

Something amazing happened, and it was quite evident in the air. The student section (which I eagerly was a part of) exploded and so did our marching band and cheerleaders. It was wild, and our Carlynton Cougars won 37-12. But I don't think that was the important part, the winning that is. Granted, that is still quite great to be a part of.

The thing I love about the student section is the sense of unity that comes with it. People screaming all at the same time for the same reason. Heck, even our new principal got into it for a while there. It's something amazing to be a part of, and I think it's great to be able to be a part of something.

And it continues past the time you graduate too, at least in spirit. I know one of the biggest players in the student section still tweets about how he wishes he could be back there with us. I talked to at least two alumni tonight about it, and it's just an atmosphere that's contagious, whether we win or not. But it helps to have won.

More coherant posts to come. I hope. And the giant rubber duck is coming in like two weeks! Oh and FreeBurgh Fest is tomorrow at 5 in Schenley Plaza. I'm done now.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"And I'll Stand Beside the Ones Who Stood Alone " 9/11/13

The Title: Blue October's "Kangaroo Cry". Their response dedicated to those affected by 9/11.

It's been 12 years. I went to Shanksville a month ago to visit the memorial to Flight 93. It was quite impressive, and even more impressive was the universal feeling of being overwhelmed shared by the people visiting there. And I mean it in the most sincere way: there was a sober and peaceful mood about the place. And though not a requirement, everyone there is nearly silent. It's terrible to think that such a peaceful place was the backdrop to one of the darkest days in American history.

When you first visit, there is a bulletin board inside the entryway where people leave messages as part of the grieving process, and messages to the heroes of the strike. What touched me most was this note:

It reads "I wish t[h]at you were a live. thank you."

And I don't think it was the child's handwriting that touched me as much as the fact that it was written by a six year old: born in 2007. Six years after 9/11. I was 4 when it happened, and remember it vaguely. But at least there is a glimmer of life in my head pre-9/11.

Every year on 9/11 I post a picture of the flagpole I built with the flag flying on it (Top Picture). WCHS broadcast a schoolwide moment of silence at about 7:40 AM. Our student government did the same at 8:39ish AM, nearly the same time as the WTC attacks. We won't forget. This 7th grade may (they were born in 2000 or 2001) but we won't. 

And I think above all else this note left in Shanksville speaks volumes that life and time have moved on, yet we should never forget the sacrifice it comes to mean. My prayers are with all affected, as they need it most.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Art, Start, Insert Witty/Slightly Lackluster Title Here

Post Note: This is really just my thoughts, not really a regular 'post'. Sorry about that.

So this year, for the first time in my high school career, I have an art class. Our scheduling is a mess, but I don’t want to talk about that. It’s a creative release for me to design stuff, see any website I tweak endlessly or how many different things are attached to this blog. But I’ve found that I can very rarely create with my hands anything that’s remotely close to my digital design, so that’s nice.

I’ve recently been fascinated by the idea of art and creation. Neil Gaiman talks a lot about this in a commencement speech to an art school, and in the Blackberry campaign with Deviantart a while back, and I got two things out of it. He says that as artists, the most important thing to do is to make good art. The idea is to make art that pleases the artist and is something quite personal. The other part is that writing and art have a lot in common. Literary critics always argue that ‘ooh, the reason the book ended a certain way was because of some deeply though ambiguous black hole’.

I have a better theory.

I would venture to wager that the book ends because the words stop on a page. It’s because the author or artist decided at a certain point that the words/designs needed to stop and the thing they worked on needed to be released to the world. What Gaiman is saying is that a work is never really finished because, what is finishing? In reading books there is an author, and a reader. John Green argued that they work together, sort of like the internet and the often-despised comment section. Things get created because people have ideas and release them into the world.

So where am I going with this? I’m not exactly sure. I’m writing this in a fifth period study hall, and I’m mulling over the concept of design and what a treacherous thing it is to think that an artist is his or her work, as well as the concept of art.

I’m also thinking about the band festival tomorrow and the football game tonight, and just how quickly life goes and what we use our time for. I guess whatever it is; my mission should be to enjoy it. Because I'm reminded every day that I have a bunch of different ideas yet so little time to accomplish anything because of the things I 'need' to do: School, Homework, Volunteer Stuff, Mowing, etc. The internet constantly reminds us of the doom-and-gloom outlook that everything is temporary, and perhaps that’s true. But if it is, might as well enjoy every minute of it, and make whatever awesome things we can. To make good art.

Hopefully a more coherent post Wednesday… if I find the time to post Wednesday. Oy.

Post-Post Note: I realized that I label nearly all of the posts under "Stuff I Shouldn't Blog About" as "Things That Are Slightly Profound". What does that say about this? Does it mean anything?

Monday, September 2, 2013

I'm Moving Slowly for I Dare Not Want to Cause Alarm

(Alternatively Titled "I've got that Summertime, Summertime Anti-Sadness" I don't know what I was going for though. End Parenthesis.)

So I sort of misled you in that my last post I alluded to having been done with vacation. But I was actually in Delaware at the time, enjoying the last few days/hours of my vacation. The following day I took a ferry to Cape May New Jersey from Lewes, Delaware where I took this picture of a picture of Chris Christie:

If you look closely, you can see someone's lipstick on the lovely face of Chris Cristie. Inspiring.
I just thought I'd share that with you. Cape May was quite lovely, and pictures from there and the adventures following that will be up on Flickr in the coming weeks... Sorry, I'm bad at that.

Then we went back to Delaware and the following morning set back for Pittsburgh. I already wrote about taking road trips, but I had absolutely no idea of what happened roughly 30 hours after I hit publish. I was navigating shotgun, getting ready to circumnavigate Baltimore, when we got into a crash. Well, it was a fender bender, but being about 5 feet from the majority of the damage shook me up quite a bit, I'm just very glad I wasn't driving at the time.

But I'm not going to ramble on that, we got back into Pittsburgh on a Sunday (with thankfully no delays, yay! Seven hours in a car FTW!) and I started junior year on that Wednesday.

One of the things that comes inherently with this cycle is readjustments. And it's hard to adjust to new courses, and to at least two people I've met this week, it means adjusting to a whole different world. Because let's face it, each high school is it's own little world. But for the first time in a long time, I adjusted, and for some reason like zenned out (is that a word? I don't know...) which I think is fantastic. Hopefully it's a sign of things to come.

That Friday I came up with a crazy idea which I'll probably announce sometime this week, and we had the first football game of the season.

It was wild to be back in an announcer's booth to again announce the band. Even though I'm scripted, I still love the feeling of it. And what was even weirder was that when the band started marching, nothing happened but cadence. However, as soon as I said "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN please welcome to the field YOUR 2013-2014 Carlynton Golden Cougar Marching Band!" everyone cheered. And that's awesome too. And to top it off I spent the weekend at camp.

So it was a week of strange contrasts from ferries to tall ships; from DelMarVa to New Jersey; from DelMarVa to Pittsburgh; a beach to an announcer's booth.

This coming Friday is an away game at Clairton, and Saturday brings the CHS Festival of Bands, which you should totally come to and listen to me help emcee, or perhaps come for the fireworks, and the fantastic bands. It's 7PM at Honus Wagner. More details on a site I worked on: Click the graphic on the home page for more info.

T-Minus 25 Days Until the GIANT DUCK!!!