Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Dangerous Idea... Almost Makes...Sense

I've been listening lately to the soundtrack for Baz Lurhmann's The Great Gatsby. It's an interesting soundtrack, produced by Jay-Z including everything from this Jack White cover of a U2 song (Love is Blindness) to a songs from Andre 3000, Florence and the Machine, and a bunch of music you wouldn't expect to work together but it does.

This week has been quite stressful, and from about Tuesday on I've been sleep deprived. What have I learned? I have made it pretty far with what I want to do, yet I have miles and miles to go before I sleep (see? I can't even be original I've stooped to stealing from Robert Frost for heaven's sake!*).

Stress is an interesting thing for me. I produce some of my best work under deadlines and under crazy stress, but if I get past a certain point I just stop. Stop everything. It's really counterproductive, kills my grades, and drives those around me (family and my few close friends) into maddening confrontation. But unfortunately, like I said, I do some of my best work in my dizzying solitary stress circle.

Dizzying solitary stress circle? I like that, but it seems like one of those "writings of a madman" you'd see painted on the walls in a comic-sans-esque manner.

In Physics this week, we watched one of those Mechanical Universe videos. According to our physics teacher, these were originally on laser disk, and then migrated to VHS tape, and now is on DVD. It always (and I mean always) starts in a CalTech lecture room with the same guy explaining some physics concept and it fades off to some voiceover lady with 80s echo-synth background explaining math derivations. Every time they go to have some historical background, they cut to these historical dramatizations of Newton just creating things, and Keppler as a mathematical wanderer, and it goes on.

It was through this sort of bizarre historical dramatization that I learned that Newton went insane. Like, literally insane. Now I'm not sure how they determined this, or how he became insane, considering he was a solitary individual who was obsessed with math, gravity, and how it all coexists (I think he was insane the whole time, just good at hiding it...). Newton was brilliant, but he was still crazy.

In completely unrelated news, I am in talks with WYEP and Reimagine Media to start a podcast. We have already recorded at least one episode of it, but we are in the process of finding a home for it. Hopefully in a weeks time I'll have a link where you can listen in.

I'm in the middle of planning my eagle project as well as about ten thousand other projects. Sorry it's not all that coherent. Though I love writing, and I love posting here and talking with people (who never comment) about stuff I write about here, I have to have my priorities straight. My posting schedule and sanity suffers immensely for this.

*See what I did there? I cited the source, sort of.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Now There’s Green Light in My Eyes

So last week I finished F. Scott Fitzgerald's (affectionately known to some of our English class as F. Money Bojangles) The Great Gatsby. Generally, I don't like classics until long after I've read them, but Gatsby struck me as endlessly intriguing. I know I'm not of the bourgeoisie but I was still able to identify with Gatsby in the simplistic analysis of the American Dream - or rather, as I've come to understand through a study on the wealth gap, meeting with Occupy Pittsburgh** and others is the American Fairy Tale.

What I think I identify most with is the idea of invented social inequality, and Nick Carraway's fantastically broad pronouncements. We have to take his word on everything because he is the first person narrator, but I find it interesting that for once I can look at a narrator as attempting to be objectively transfixed with everything.

I'm (obviously) no literary genius, and I don't pretend to be but I think this piece is a great conversation starter on the topics of the wealth gap, lust, and built up personas. One of the lines that particularly stuck out (there are so many, but this one is the one I can quote off the top of my head):
There are only the pursued, the pursuing, and the tired.
This applies to love, wealth, success, and I'd go on but the beauty of this statement is that it can be applied to pretty much anything. It's a basic observation about human existence, and for some reason I'm fascinated by this.

I really like this book for that reason: nuggets of things that may not actually be that profound (I'm 16, not some time-honored critic*) but make you say "hmm..." after you read them. Within and Without.

At this point though, I'm feeling quite tired. Have a nice week.

*Another theme of this novel, and prevalent throughout many of Fitzgerald's pieces is the emphasis we put upon superficial authorities: celebrities, scholars, etc. to the point where they are no longer a person but rather an idea. We only allow time-tested authorities to sound off on certain things. We are only allowed a choice of certain giants to stand upon the back of, it seems. The best example of this objectification/idealization is the Petrarchian lover. You fall victim to being in love with the idea of being in love or the idea  of the other person to the point where they are idolized, they are no longer a person but an idea of perfection.***

**No idea what I'm talking about? Here: and here:

***JayScribble's book Paper Towns contains one of my favorite quotes: "What a treacherous thing it is to believe that a person is more than a person". A person is only a person [that is the extent to which I'll comment on the whole Alex Day thing, and I felt it fit with this post. Anyway, yeah, Gatsby.]

Saturday, March 8, 2014

R-S-P-E-C-T or Something Like That

I usually title these things with lyrics of music I've been listening to, but I couldn't come up with anything new. What I did instead is play off of the president's flub (Yes, it's an intentional typo... I know my QC is bad here, but cut me some slack!).

This week has been a whirlwind of projects and adventures. The senior project was introduced to us (the countdown to Senior Year has begun. I'm not sure I'm okay with this...) and I began serious work on proposals for my (hopefully) Eagle Project. Carlynton's Senior Project isn't a service project but rather more of a research project into careers and the sort.

The main idea of the senior project is to establish "Where You Are" and "Where You're Going". It's a graduation requirement for everyone, so it isn't some sort of metacognitive thing to be psychoanalyzed, but if you've been reading regularly for any amount of time, I don't do well with taking things at any face value.

This week has been about progress. There's something fulfilling with being in the process of doing something. Today I was at the station and we spent roughly an hour in the studio messing with the recording suite just brainstorming. We decided we want to start a podcast, but after we bounced from topic to topic, and were just doing something. It didn't matter where it was going or why, but it was nice to be in the midst of some collaborative.

During weeks like this I'm not usually able to do much reflection or come up with something entertaining, witty, or whatever it is that usually takes this place on Fridays and Saturdays (I'm opening the window because I feel one day is a bit ambitious...)

Nevertheless, in two weeks I may appear in a podcast. Whatever comes from this I will let you know and pass along any links that may be of use.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hopeless Wanderer

[Note: This may get a bit, um, deep. Or at least deep to me. I wrote the bulk of it Friday night, added some Saturday, and am finally getting around to posting it now. This is fair warning that I delve into church (no I'm not going to preach to you), my childhood, and mostly incoherent thought]

This past Sunday we had a church annual meeting.

There is a major difference between thoughts and someone else voicing those thoughts. At least with me, I feel there is a certain amount of control that comes with keeping thoughts bottled up, but once those are voiced, once those are brought to 'reality' it becomes a whole other thing to deal with.

I've often voiced that I am an 'idea guy' (it's even on my about page) meaning that I am usually able to think logically through things, but when it comes to actually doing those things I usually freeze up. I always seem to have an excuse - no time, too many other projects, whatever. 

This all works fine in my little bubble, but when it comes to the real world, this doesn't work so well. I recognize this and I'm trying to work past it, but certain things (mainly my mission to earn my Eagle Scout) have suffered and I really have to become more decisive and more impulsive.

But back to the whole idea-versus-reality concept. I've written numerous times about this, but I don't think I've ever touched on this thing that I'm going to call the idea safety gap. This meeting discussed the possibility of closing, or rather selling, the church.

Let me clear this up: at this point it's only a possibility. In all probability any move will be made in the next year or two, but by the time anything is finalized I'll (hopefully) be in college. But that doesn't really matter. It's a major part of my growing up. 

I've often been told that a church is the people, not the building. Which I totally agree with, but at the same time, I have grown attached to both the building and the people. More so the people, but since I'm technically at this point attached to my father (the priest) I go where he does. 

If Slickville goes away, if the church itself closes fully (I don't know this will go down, but there are a lot of possibilities here) and he is reassigned elsewhere, I don't know how I'll deal with it. I know there are other churches, and I know there are closer Orthodox churches, but Slickville is my home. I know I'm always welcome in Carnegie, and usually welcome elsewhere, but I grew up going to the church 40 miles from my house. It's my family. 

Thus starts a series... not sure how many parts or how frequent, but I plan to post once in a blue moon, or maybe even start a side blog, because this isn't my usual content here...