Thursday, November 20, 2008

Excelsior 2: The Adventure Continues!

I'm moving. Well, virtually. I like the editor and the pages option in wordpress better, what can I say? If blogger adds more features maybe I'll be back, but until then, update your bookmarks. This page will still exist as archival material, and who knows maybe I'll be back. But the volume 2 is located at

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

6 rules, 6 facts

Playing Tag

1) Link to the person who tagged you: Crystalee at

2) Post the rules on the blog: Posted

3) Write six random things about yourself:

1. i just ate chocolate cake and cream of mushroom soup together...the soup i treated as my drink.

2. it's a lot easier than i thought to get up at 4:40 am

3. a camel tried to eat my arm off

4. i know why hot dogs come in packages of 10 and buns come in packages of 8, my friends.

5. i started riding my bike again and it makes me feel like a kid

6. i might dress up as hannibal lecter for halloween

4) Tag six people at the end of your post.

5) Let each person know they have been tagged. .

6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

"Tag, You're It!"

i tag laura, mark, elizabeth, chad, april, and carolyne

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

news angles

the bbc news corporation has a head line that of "US anger at Guantanamo Bay Ruling" regarding the declaration by a US JUDGE that the Uighur detainees no longer be declared enemy combatants. ( But the United States of America is not just its government, and in my experience travelling abroad, most people make that distinction. Of course, in recent years, it has become less and less distinct, as the world seems to have less respect for us. Anyways, not all Americans want the 17 Uighurs (Chinese Muslims) to be indeterminately detained (7 years so far). There's the judge, the lawyer, and now, the relgious community in Talahasse Florida. A statement from the Center for Constitutional Rights revealed:
Religious and community leaders from both Tallahassee, Florida and the Washington D.C. area offered to the court detailed plans for the support of the men, from housing and counseling to employment and car insurance. In this stunning show of goodwill and solidarity, 20 leaders from faith-based communities in Tallahassee, Florida, and a network of refugee resettlement agencies and other religious groups, have pledged to help settle the men in local communities.

See BBC? Not all Americans are angered by this! In fact, it's bringing some together.

Monday, September 29, 2008

PhotoHunt: Wild

i'm kind of backtracking, because i just started the photo hunt. this is the theme from the week of september 13th, 2008. WILD. this is my wild shiba inu, akira. okay, he's really yawning, but he looks fierce!

Photo Hunt: View

This is a view of the Black Sea through one of the church ruins in Old Nessebar, Bulgaria

Photohunt: Road

This is my first Photohunt- go to to find out more

This is a shot from inside the car on the road from Koprivshitsa, Bulgaria

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Post AmeriCorps Service

The AmeriCorps Pledge

I will get things done for America -
to make our people safer,
smarter, and healthier.

I will bring Americans together
to strengthen our communities.

Faced with apathy,
I will take action.

Faced with conflict,
I will seek common ground.

Faced with adversity,
I will persevere.

I will carry this commitment
with me this year and beyond.

I am an AmeriCorps member,
and I will get things done.

In the oath we took at the beginning of my AmeriCorps service, I committed myself to a lifetime of service, beyond my years in AmeriCorps. Time to put my money where my mouth is, and since I don't have any money, that's my hands :). I volunteered today in Braddock doing light renovation on a future foster home and planting an orchard with peach, plum, apple, and pear trees. I was contacted to do this through AmeriCorps Alums. The majority of people there were currently in AmeriCorps keys, but there was also a Vista alum who served in Seattle and currently works at Reed Smith in Pittsburgh, and some of his coworkers who also volunteered. Mayor John also actively participated in the project. We cleared all debris out and around of a house under renovation, and then moved to the orchard site. The ground was so hard and full of rocks and brick that even using a pick axe was hard going. So the Braddock fire department gave us a little help softening up the ground by spraying it down. It was hard work, and my back is feeling it now, but I got to run under the fire cannon water, play in the mud, and use a firehose, so over all, pretty good time!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Debate Tonight

the debate is supposedly on tonite after mccain tried to back out...9 pm eastern time, 8 pm there... i'm going to watch it on pbs because jim lehrer is moderating...

new blog

dont worry i'm still posting here, but i'm divvying things up a bit. this blog will be about personal stuff, service, education, politics, and marketing, and misc. the new one will focus on art, literature, language, philosophy, religion, and culture....anyhow excelsior vol 2 is located at

Friday, September 19, 2008

Two Sides of the Same Page

i did these in colored pencil blended with water on a q-tip in bulgaria

Back to the Drawing Board (Literally)

I've just had a really strong urge to draw lately. I am not very skilled at it, having mostly given it up in the 8th grade after I got bad marks for not being able to draw straight lines... I used to love love love to draw, I had my own drawing table and got these giant sketch pads. My Dad would buy me 2 or 3 of the good colored pencils (rexworth) every time he had a class at youngstown state, and I gradually built up my colors. I had Indian ink and a gummy eraser, and water colors, and it was pure joy for me to make art. I feel bad that I let grades deter me, because it's something I really enjoyed. I continued doodling in the margins of notes, but that's about it. Then a few years ago, I started doing sumi-e, more recently I've been working on mixed media collages, and now I'm back to the drawing board, sketching. So they're not great, and they probably won't be for a while, but I am having a lot of fun, and getting out some creative energy. I thought I'd share a few with you. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sarah's Project, Day 1

I started work on refinishing a side table this evening. The table reminds me of the old telephone tables, where it has a shelf on the top to put the phone, then space below for a phone book. i don't have a phone, so it makes a good side table by my couch. Anyways, I found it in an alley way along with some other furniture and a sign that said Free Take. I carried it home about 3 or 4 blocks. I realized too late that I should have taken a before picture, but I didn't so I'll describe the state it was in. It had stain on it, but was scratched, faded, scraped in places and had cup rings. So I started sanding it today. First I roughed it up with a 60 grain sand paper by hand, and then I used the electric sander. I only have 80 grain for that, so it's slow going but it's working, just have to spend more time and add more pressure. I cleaned up some of what I did with a 100 grain, and i have 120 and 150 to use when I'm done. I bought a red oak stain. I only spent 2 hours on it this evening because my neighbors were all getting home from work and I was making a lot of noise in our basement. Hopefully, will finish the sanding tomorrow, and apply the stain the next day.... Stay Posted!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

First Steeler's Game

North Shore and Side were full of people tailgating, hawking tickets and parking spaces, and generally walking around in black and gold. I tried to take a few pics on my cell phone without being obvious.. :0)


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hope and Humour

while the republicans are being nasty and airing loads of baseless attack ads, the dems are responding with hope and humor. they know how to use their claws if they have to, but it's done with aplomb and some jabbing humour.



and now some quotable quotes from the dem nat convention today (paraphrased as i'm not looking at transcripts)

bill clinton: the world has always been more impressed with the power of america's example than the example of america's power.

the third time is not the charm.

joe biden: that's not change, that's more of the same (regarding john mccain).

it's time for america to get back up, together.

bob casey: john mccain likes to call himself a maverick, but 90% of the time he's voted with george w bush. that's not a maverick, that's a sidekick

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Finding Bulgaria in Pittsburgh (post 4)

On the Verizon building, there is a portal with a globe of the world rotating within. The point is that you can call anywhere in the world from Pittsburgh, I guess. Anyways, the boys took some time to find Bulgaria.

Bulgarians in Pittsburgh 3: PPG Building

first two pictures by Rado, he has a good eye for that sort of thing. then me playing with the reflections from the building...

Bulgarians in Pittsburgh, Pt. 2 The Point

Bulgarians in Pittsburgh

Pavel, Other Pavel, Joro, and Rado with Roberto Clemente

on Roberto Clemente Bridge

walking by the Allegheny River

Me and Rado pose for a picture

to the Point

I know I said I'd post about my trip to Bulgaria, and I still plan to, but here is Bulgaria's trip to me! haha. The brother of Rado's sister-in-law was in Redding, PA for training and came with two other Bulgarian coworkers to visit us for a few hours... We had a blast and tried to compact the surrouding area into a few hours with success. We left on a walk from N. Side and travelled by Pirates (PNC) Stadium, went across Roberto Clemente bridge, walked along the river to the point, went to PPG Square and Market Square, ate at Primantis (A Pittsburgh Original). Then we continued our walk across Smithfield St. Bridge to Station Square, rode the incline to Mt. Washington and enjoyed the view, and walked them back to their rental car before heading off to a concert in Highland Park. What a Pittsburgh day! If they get to come longer next time we'll show them more of our lovely city, but they were very impressed by the city and said they enjoyed it more than Philadelphia or New York. That's right folks! Pittsburgh rules.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Am Not A Movie Snob

To be clear, I do appreciate indie movies, foreign films. I like movies that make a statement, are an act of protest, or try experimental camera angles. But it must be said, I still find merit in movies that are released to more than a limited audience and/or don't have subtitles. Some people criticize the pop culture movie as being fluff or the same old stuff. But to me, most of these movies serve to affirm our common humanity. Regardless of if we physically resemble the characters, or if our situations differ, we can almost always identify with a situation or emotion in these movies. Because they are "formulaic," they tap into the archetypes that occur in every culture. The quest narrative, the questions of identity, the struggle/agon/angst... We can see a part of ourselves on the screen. We can also feel a part of ourselves in the audience. When everyone in a darkened theatre gasps at the same time, sheds a tear for the same tragedy, laughs together... it shows that despite our many differences, we are all human, and can perhaps one day get along when the lights are up.



I have not been posting. Obviously. I will post some entries on my recent trip to Bulgaria, as well as things that have been happening around Pittsburgh soon. Promise.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

LET'S GO PENGUINS! (Aviary Post 3)

Here is three month old Sidney. He is rooting for the Penguins and his namesake Sidney Crosby tonight, are you?

Aviary Post 2- Pigeons

On the way home from NYC back in January, I ran into the apparently now defunct "World of Pigeons." I knew that all pigeons and doves were of the same family, Columbidae, but I didn't realize how varied they were...truly a world of pigeons...until I went to the National Aviary in Pittsburgh yesterday...

Some of the Columbidae Family at the National Aviary:

  • Nicobar Pigeon
  • Pied Imperial Pigeon
  • Victoria Crowned Pigeon
  • Green-Naped Pheasant Pigeon
  • Bartlett's Bleed Heart Dove
  • Fruit Dove

Victoria Crowned Pigeon

fruit dove