?

Log in

Nikos [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Nikos

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

(pas de sujets) [juil. 3e, 2011|05:31 pm]
Nikos
My comptuer harddrive failed and I can't afford the data extraction right now so I think i'm going to be going this summer without a computer. it kind of sucks, but it's been sort of forcing me to do other stuff...like use the internet on my phone. My summer started on June 28th, so I've officially completed my first year of teaching. I'll be going back to Beacon in the fall, so that's exciting. As for now I've just been relaxing as much as possible and enjoying my summer. I've gone to the beach a lot and it has been amazing, so I intend to keep that up.

I have some goals and things I'd like to accomplish this summer, but it's my first week off from an insanely stressful job, so I couldn't care less about them right now. hoorah!
LienEnvoyez un commentaire

(pas de sujets) [juin. 14e, 2011|09:33 pm]
Nikos
some weird russian spam comments appeared on some of my past entries and as a result they showed up in my e-mail. I enjoyed reading my odd ramblings recapping the events that happened in my life since beginning this journal about 7 years ago. I lamented that there are huge gaps where I don't really have much of a written record of my life events. I've had a really intense year since I started with the Rhode Island Teaching Fellows and began teaching. It has kept me busy to a point where I don't think I could have had time to journal if I wanted to, but it would have been nice to have more of a record.

It's summer now and even though I still have 10 days of school left, I've passed my teaching certification courses, I've passed all required tests, I've completed and submitted my teaching portfolio, and my seniors have graduated. So, I now have the luxury of free time again and I'm going to attempt to record interesting (or boring) life events again as I see fit.

This week basically consists of me giving one on one instruction to some of the juniors who need to avoid summer school or retake the NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program) Test. It's relatively stress free, for once and has been pleasant. I'm looking forward to this weekend because there are a ton of events going on. Tim and Kevin (our gaybors) are hosting a brunch for their gay friends before the Providence Pride festivities. After the brunch, we have our Teaching Fellows graduation barbecue and then later on we're going to the actual Pride events. I didn't really think I was a gay pride kind of person, but Providence and Rhode Island has a really active gay community and it's very comfortable to be a part of it. Every LGBT person I know here is going, including at least 5 of my students (but likely many more, since it's arts school after all). Sunday it is supposed to be in the 80's and sunny and I've been dying to go to the beach for about a month now, so no matter what I really want to get out to Horseneck Beach in SE Massachusetts. It's cheap parking and extremely beautiful, so I really need to return.
Lien4 commentaires|Envoyez un commentaire

(pas de sujets) [nov. 3e, 2010|02:06 pm]
Nikos
[Current Location |United States, Rhode Island, Providence]
[Humeur actuelle |coldcold]
[Musique actuelle |npr]

So...what's new with me since I last wrote...

Well, most excitingly I got a job, so my position with the Rhode Island Teaching Fellows is secure. But I'll get to that in a separate entry.

Since I last wrote, I've been done some more tourism and done my best to enjoy autumn in New England. My mother came up for her second visit since I relocated up here. I took her on a big touristy tour of Boston because she hadn't been there before and it was quite fun. I took her through the Back Bay, Boston Common, Beacon Hill, some historical graveyards. We ate lunch at a really delicious Italian sandwich shop on Newbury St. and we went over to Charlestown/East Boston via ferry through the harbor (mostly for the ferry ride, but also to see the USS Constitution).

In an effort to make the most of the Halloween season, we drove to Salem, Massachusetts during the weekend. It was a really nice looking old town on the ocean and it was as kitschy and fun as I wanted it to be. Everything seemed to be themed around witchcraft-related tourism. We went to the Witch Museum which gave us a pretty good story about what went down with the witch trials and then gave us a tour of a hall of witches showing society's relationship with Wicca over time. They compared media representation of witches to the persecution of blacks, jews, muslims, and gays. It was interesting, to say the least. I bought what I thought to be a somewhat tasteful t-shirt as a souvenir. Later that night, we went to the last Waterfire of the season in downtown Providence. It was a really excellent Waterfire with good events and TD bank gave out free yo-yos and paper fans. There was also a Threadless t-shirt truck promoting the website and giving out free things. I got a few kind of lame notebooks, but my mom got a tote bag. All in all, it was a good visit.

Justin and I made it out to New Bedford, finally. It's only about 35 minutes away, so we should have visited sooner. We went to the Whaling Museum and it was fascinating! We spent a few hours there and I couldn't get enough of the history and artifacts they were throwing at me. The Seaman's Bethel, the church attended by Whalers and referred to in Moby Dick, was also there. So that was fun to explore. We also walked along the waterfront and got to see this sailboat that had no radio and was relatively primitive that has made probably hundreds of trips from New Bedford to Cape Verde. It was a gift from Cape Verde to America. I would definitely recommend a day trip to the place as it was once the capital of the Whaling industry and its history is really interesting.

Over Columbus Day weekend, Justin and I decided to take a longer trip up to Vermont. Visiting Vermont has been a dream of mine since I was a little boy watching the Newhart show on Nick at Nite. My life plan as a child: move to Vermont and either open up a bed and breakfast or become an orthodontist. Bob Newhart had the good life in Vermont and I was finally going to visit! We started driving up on Saturday morning and stopped first in Concord, New Hampshire. Justin and I have decided to make it a goal of ours to visit all 50 state capitol buildings and Concord was on the way. It was a really nice small city. Very clean, friendly and it had an attractive capitol building. From there, we drove straight to Montpelier, Vermont.

Montpelier was amazingly picturesque. It was very small, for sure, but it had an extremely active downtown business district and the community was out and about. It seemed that everyone knew each other, which was nice. The state house was beautiful and nestled right in the mountain surrounding it. We hiked behind it and got a nice view of the building and the town. It was everything you expect Vermont to be, I think. From there, it was on to Burlington. We booked rooms at a hostel in downtown Burlington just a few blocks from the shores of Lake Champlain. Burlington was very active and fun. It felt like a much larger city because the streets were constantly packed full of people and there were a ton of thriving independent businesses and restaurants. Very laid back and attractive city. I would highly recommend the hostel. Very friendly staff, nice beds, very comfortable atmosphere and breakfast was included.

The next morning we drove south of Burlington to Shelbourne Farms which specializes in Vermont cheddar cheese. We got to meet all of their animals, hike through their farm, and sample their cheeses. Everything there was delicious. We spent about 5 hours total at the farm because it was so beautiful and had so much to do. Before we left, we ate at their food cart that serves food made exclusively from ingredients on the farm. I got a grilled chicken and bacon sandwich on homemade bread with maple mustard, one year aged Vermont cheddar and a cookie on the side. It was heavenly, but weird to eat as the free range chickens were pecking around my shoes. After the farm, we took a tour of the Magic Hat brewery in South Burlington. It was hands down the worst brewery tour I've ever been on. The tour itself was run by a kind of annoying bro-y hipster and the way they handled the beer tasting was a horribly unorganized free-for-all that made getting a sample next to impossible. On the plus side, there were free tasting glasses.

We kept seeing signs for ferries to New York, so we decided that later that evening we would take a ferry from Grand Isle, VT to Plattsburgh, NY. Again, I mostly took it for the boat ride across Lake Champlain. It was quite nice, but once we got to the other side we realized downtown Plattsburgh was about 6 or 7 miles away and without a car we were kind of screwed. So we walked around, bought some coffee from the ferry attendant, and sat on the shore for a while before returning to Vermont. It was all together a very fun boat ride/mini-trip to NY. The evening was spent exploring Burlington more.

The next morning we got up and went to Waterbury, Vermont. It was seemingly the best place for Vermont food tourism. As we drove in we stopped at the Cabot cheese company's annex in Waterbury. We had already bought a pound of two year aged cheddar at the farm, so we were there mostly just to taste all the delicious cheeses. We visited a cider mill where we got freshly pressed cider and incredibly delicious cider donuts. They also made maple syrup and had bees on display producing honey. So, of course, we bought some syrup and honey, too. Both were/are excellent. We came upon a fudge making lady as well and from her we bought apple cider flavored fudge. She kept giving us more and more samples of fantastic fudges and it was a shame we couldn't buy them all. Finally, we made our last stop at the Ben and Jerry's factory to watch them produce ice cream. Their tour was really well done, although they did not allow photography of the ice cream making process, unfortunately. The tasting was excellent, though. They give you a full scoop of ice cream to enjoy at the end and just sort of let you enjoy it rather than talking to you and interrupting your tasting. On our way out, we did a tour of the flavor graveyard where they place tombstones for bygone flavors. We payed our respects and went on our way back to Rhode Island.

About a week after that, I took a trip up to New Hampshire with a couple of friends. We decided to climb Mt. Monadnock which was extremely difficult, but really fun. It had a wonderful view from the peak of the mountain.

Justin and I have made friends with our neighbors so we've been spending more time with them. They're quite fun guys and tomorrow we're going over for a game night. One of them is a pastry chef training at Johnson and Wales University here in Providence. JWU is one of the very top culinary schools in America so he makes some pretty amazing and delicious desserts and we get to benefit from this! On Halloween we went over to watch the premier of the Walking Dead, which was quite good. The Saturday before, Justin and I went to see Rocky Horror Picture Show in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. It was actually the best production I've seen of it live. They had a nice stage, good props and costumes and the actors did a great job of synching their actions to what was being projected in the movie. It was a fun Halloween, I'd say and on Friday I got a teaching position, so things have been going pretty well.
LienEnvoyez un commentaire

(pas de sujets) [sep. 17e, 2010|12:00 pm]
Nikos
[Current Location |United States, Rhode Island, Providence]
[Musique actuelle |heads will roll - yeah yeah yeahs]

So it's a Friday morning and I find myself listening to NPR and drinking coffee, which has become my morning routine. The morning routine then sort of dissolves into nothing since I have no responsibilities at this time. I mostly just sit around and wait for information from the RITF program on whether or not they've found more jobs to which I can apply. I'm opening up more and more to outside jobs that I can just do for a year and then possibly leave.

I really adore Providence, but more and more it's becoming clear that it's just too small of a city for me and Justin. I fell in love with Providence and Rhode Island very quickly. There's a lot to love here an excellent, unique regional culture. Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design are the driving youth force in the area, so there are a ton of creative and eclectic businesses around. I live a comfortable walking distance to the ocean. As a Western Pennsylvanian who was previously separated from the ocean by the Allegheny Mountains and at least a 6.5 hour drive, this is a huge change for me. I love the proximity of the Narragansett Bay and I love that when there's a strong breeze, the scent of ocean air flows through my second floor apartment. I have a balcony in my apartment, too, which is something I've been dying to have again since I left my room in Rennes that had one. This place really reminds me of living in Brittany, actually.

I really enjoy my proximity to Boston and I've made frequent trips up there since it's a short drive and the Boston T has a commuter rail stop in Providence. I can hop on that, get off at South Station or Back Bay and use my charlie card to get anywhere in the city. New England has pretty solid public transit and as someone without a car, that's really important to me. The fact that I can walk 5-10 minutes from my house to the train station, hop on a train, and get off anywhere in Boston is really excellent.

Local tourism has been the main source of my entertainment since moving up here. I'm a total urbanophile and geography & architecture nerd, so I'm constantly reading about cities and buildings and how they relate to American history in terms of population growth, cultural influence, and industry. I find it all so fascinating and New England is particularly interesting for having been the first area in America to populate rapidly and serve as a cultural and industrial hub. I must say: New England urban decay is so much classier than Rust Belt decay, though. (Which is a little disappointing.) In the Rust Belt people really just abandoned very visible things leaving empty warehouses, housing developments, stores, mines to turn into oxidized steel frames in the middle of new forests. Here, everything is much older. When they say "industrial revolution" they aren't talking about coal and steel but about mills and textiles. At the same time, everything up here is much older and considered worth of historic preservation. So about half of the old mills on the Blackstone River are decaying wood and the rest of them are staffed by people dressed in faux colonial costumes giving tours of the death of local industry which they pass off as uplifting Americana.

Anyway, since moving here my interest in cities and architecture has taken me to Boston, MA; Hartford,CT; and Portland, ME. We went to Hartford to see the Connecticut State House because we saw it on the internet the night before and thought it was cool. Hartford was a very nice city to visit, but I would definitely not want to live there. They had an excellent art museum, but that's where the local creativity ended. It was very business focused and had almost no youth presence. You could likely blame that on both white flight and the lack of a major university in the city. Portland, ME was very different. It was extremely hip and young and was bleeding with creativity, arts, and local culture. There were parts that were a bit touristy, but it's so naturally gorgeous along the granite cliffs of the Atlantic that I can't blame tourists for wanting to go there. I highly recommend Portland to anyone. Next on my list are New Bedford and Fall River Massachusetts. New Bedford was an old whaling town from the days when America ran on whale oil and Fall River is where Lizzie Borden killed her parents! They're both very nearby and were at one point important American cities.

Hmm...I'm not clear on what the point of this entry was so I'll just end it here.
LienEnvoyez un commentaire

(pas de sujets) [sep. 8e, 2010|09:56 am]
Nikos
[Current Location |United States, Rhode Island, Providence]
[Humeur actuelle |mellowmellow]
[Musique actuelle |npr]

I've been avoiding writing a follow up entry to the last one. It's sort of a weird place to pick up from because my plans have really changed since then and I'm also currently in a limbo.

So let's adress the most obvious change: I did not go to the Louisiana Teaching Fellows. I hated Baton Rouge. I tried and tried to pretend that I could live there, but the more I thought about living in a Southern suburbia masquerading as a major city, the less I could see myself there. I withdrew from that fellowship and began to pursue other ones further.

Justin had been accepted to the Rhode Island Teaching Fellows as a biology fellow but they had previously told me that I was ineligible to be a Special Education teacher. I looked over their eligibility requirements and realized that I more than met them so I contacted them, they agreed, apologized for their mistake, and gave me an interview for a week after my graduation.

So I finished undergrad and earned my BA in History of Art and Architecture and French Language and Literature with minors in Studio Arts and Italian Language. The weekend directly after my graduation was the interview. The interview was with just 5 other people: five of us were potential SPED fellows and one was a Chemistry fellow. A week later I heard back that they had accepted me and none of the other SPED candidates.

From there on out, I began packing up my apartment in anticipation of moving from Pittsburgh to Providence, Rhode Island. I stopped working at the Warhol Museum (which was hard - way harder than I had expected. I think a part of me knew that I would never work in such a laid back environment ever again) and about 2 weeks before we left Pittsburgh, I went on vacation to San Juan, Puerto Rico with Justin and my Mother.

My mother has not been as lucky as I have been with travelling, so I was really excited to get to share this vacation with her and my boyfriend (who she also loves). We stayed in a resort directly on the beach in Carolina that we got for an amazing deal online. There was always someone to open doors for us, give us towels, chairs, or umbrellas on the beach, we got free drinks in the bar, there was a rooftop pool and bar with great ocean views...it was all very relaxing. We explored Old San Juan which was incredibly beautiful. It was like being transported to a tropical Old World European city. American influence was present, but not overwhelming. One day we rented a car and drove from San Juan to El Yunque, the only rainforest in America. Going to El Yunque was the best thing we did because my mother and I are very much mountain folk and enjoy hiking and photographing nature. The only downside was the constant raining, which was unsurprising since it was a rainforest after all.

After Puerto Rico, I spent about two or three days in Uniontown with my family and then Justin and I loaded up the uhaul and said goodbye to Apt. 111, 300 North Dithridge forever. We left at Pittsburgh at about 10am, drove across Pennsylvania, clipping New Jersey, up through New York, straight through Connecticut, into Rhode Island and arrived in Providence at around 11pm. We only had time to unpack one mattress and sleep on it for the evening. The next morning we had to be up and dressed well to do classroom observations and go to orientation. Within a week we were teaching classes by ourselves.

I taught second period English during two different sessions of summer school. I had a prep period first period, second period I taught ninth grade Genres the first session and twelfth grade World Lit the second session, and every third period I spent helping special education students in the resource room. I really liked teaching English to the 9th graders and working with the students in the resource room. The twelfth graders were around my age, so it was weirder. Many of them were 21 (I'm 22) and a lot of them dealt with some seriously heavy stuff. Many of them were immigrants (legal or otherwise) or had illegal immigrants in their families. Many had drug addicted family members, even parents. They were less fun and responsive than the 9th graders but they got their work done quickly and with few complaints.

In the afternoons we had to take classes together in how to become a teacher. They were extremely intense and between lesson planning and homework, I'm not sure that I've ever done so much work in my life. I really feel like they've prepared me excellently to run a classroom and write effective lesson plans. The only problem with the New Teacher Project Fellowships is that they do not guarantee that you will get a job. They have strong relationships with districts and encourage them to hire fellows which they are happy to do because most RI teachers are not very good. Justin got a job as a special education Science and Math teacher in Pawtucket, but as of now, I am one of three people left who does not currently have a job. I think schools are hesitant to hire recent graduates. I had been waiting to update this LJ until I got a job, but I'm often bored and need somewhere to organize my thoughts about these things.

They've told us time and time again how sure they are that we will all get jobs and I sort of believe them, but that doesn't mean I'm not applying for other jobs. I can't sit around and let my money waste away until there's no chance of me getting a teaching job and I'm left scratching my head asking how this all happened. I have an active application out with East Providence School District but I also applied for a position at the Providence Children's Museum. I'd be happy with either position. At this point I just want a source of income and something to do during the day because I am extremely bored. Yesterday I got a GRE book and a book of US grad schools so that if this whole thing doesn't work out, I might be able to be in grad school somewhere by this time next year. I have no regrets about this move, though. I love Providence and Rhode Island is such a quirky and interesting place. I'll write more about the fun things I've been doing here in a later entry.
Lien3 commentaires|Envoyez un commentaire

(pas de sujets) [déc. 10e, 2009|10:39 pm]
Nikos
We get four today and they're mostly related!

Day 05 → Your favorite quote
"You don't know what pop is, because everyone was telling me I wasn't pop last year, and now look — so don't tell me what pop is, I know what pop is." -- Lady Gaga

This was in reaction to her record label rejecting her album cover because it wasn't "pop" enough. I admire the kind of confidence in one's art that it takes to say something like that. The best part is that she can actually back it up.

It's not my favorite quote, but I hate quotes so instead we get the pleasure of talking about Lady Gaga.

Day 06 → Whatever tickles your fancy

Lady Gaga before she got famous. My favorite thing about Lady Gaga is that she is not at all what you'd expect. She is a classically trained pianist and studied music at NYU until she eventually quit to pursue her career. Between dropping out and her success she got the kind of practical artist experience that all the best struggling New York pop artists had. She performed music as well as burlesque shows in the Lower East Side to decent acclaim which led to her eventual invitation to tour with Lollapalooza in 2007. She may be a pop star, but she's definitely a legitimate artist as well.

She has her own Factory-esque entourage dubbed the "Haus of Gaga" which has designed all of her infamous clothing as well as her stage shows. Her music videos, especially most recently with "Papparazzi" and "Bad Romance", are incredible as are her live performances. She's slick and clever in her own aesthetic. Almost everything she creates shows off that she has all the talent and intelligence needed to back up her own pretensions. I'm ever the defender of well-made pop music, but Lady Gaga has really set the bar higher than I could have expected.

Day 07 → A photo that makes you happy
The cover of her new album:

I think it's an incredible image. It's a perfect contemporary twist on German Expressionist art. I also dig her recent use and abuse of christian imagery.

Day 08 → A photo that makes you angry/sad

Keith Haring. I love his art and I'm sad that he's not alive to make more of it. Also he's really cute and I have a huge art crush on him. All the best American artists have had tragically short careers (Rothko, Warhol, Basquiat, Pollock, Wilke, and of course Haring) but it seems to at least raise their status in the canonical histories of art.


Coming Soon:

Day 09 → A photo you took
Day 10 → A photo of you taken over ten years ago
Day 11 → A photo of you taken recently
Day 12 → Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 13 → A fictional book
Day 14 → A non-fictional book
Day 15 → A fanfic
Day 16 → A song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 17 → An art piece (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.)
Day 18 → Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 19 → A talent of yours
Day 20 → A hobbie of yours
Day 21 → A recipe
Day 22 → A website
Day 23 → A YouTube video
Day 24 → Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 25 → Your day, in great detail
Day 26 → Your week, in great detail
Day 27 → This month, in great detail
Day 28 → This year, in great detail
Day 29 → Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 → Whatever tickles your fancy
Lien2 commentaires|Envoyez un commentaire

(pas de sujets) [déc. 6e, 2009|01:13 pm]
Nikos
Not hungry on my lunch break, so I thought I'd do this...

Day 4Réduire )
LienEnvoyez un commentaire

(pas de sujets) [déc. 5e, 2009|08:39 am]
Nikos
Day 2Réduire )
I typed this up last night and I guess I never hit submit, so today is a twofer.
Day 3Réduire )
LienEnvoyez un commentaire

(pas de sujets) [déc. 3e, 2009|04:53 pm]
Nikos
So I've noticed a few of my lj friends doing this 30 days meme and I feel like I'd enjoy tackling it. At this point in my life, I'm not delusional enough to think that I'm the kind of person who can keep up with a daily blog, but I really like the idea of writing something everyday, so I'm going to go ahead and attempt this. I want to try to do it first thing during a day to get my brain juices a flowin'.

So...En lire plus...Réduire )

and here's a short explanation of my life right now:

I'm finishing my second to last semester at Pitt.
Preparing for graduation and joining the real world for a year or two before I go running back into the open arms of graduate school. I interviewed with Teach for America and will soon find out if I'll be with them for the next two years.
I've been working at the Warhol museum in Pittsburgh for the past 6 months and I really enjoy it.
I'm now 3 of the top 10 hits for Nikos Giannopoulos on google. Still including the #1 hit of me as a 15 year old being weird. I hope future employers don't mind it.
Lien2 commentaires|Envoyez un commentaire

Writer's Block: Musical Affliction [avr. 27e, 2009|11:35 pm]
Nikos
[Tags|, , ]
[Humeur actuelle |boredbored]
[Musique actuelle |"Another Night" Real McCoy]

Have you had an earworm lately? Exorcise it by inflicting it on your friendslist. Post the lyrics or - even better - a video.




So I heard this song last night at Rugger's bar in the South Side which is odd because it's usually more of a screaming metal music kind of place. But by some chance some God out there blessed me and Brittany with a jukebox playlist of perfect drunk people music including this classic from the early 90's. It reminds me so much of wheels of 8 which any Uniontowner who had a birthday in the mid 90's surely remembers. All I can think about when I hear this song is couples skating in that dark dingy, brown carpeted roller rink with old skates, pinball, strange gummy candy and no more than 3 birthday parties going on at any given time. Incidentally, I was couple skating there with Brittany since she and I had huge crushes on each other in 2nd grade so the song was really appropriate. Granted I like the European version better because it's got a bit more beat going on and the video is fucking glorious: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iOdmb8BnIw but it didn't allow me to imbed that one, so I chose this version.

I decided since 2 different people actually did this on my friends page I might as well do it since it's easy to answer and I haven't posted in this thing yet this year. Last year I posted 4 entries total which is sad because I'm really on this site 365 days a year checking out communities and reading my friends page, I can never find the motivation to write though.

Anyway, enjoy Real McCoy and pretend you're at a dark roller skating party in the 90's getting all clammy handed with your 2nd grade crush.
Lien1 commentaire|Envoyez un commentaire

navigation
[ viewing | most recent entries ]
[ go | earlier ]