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Hello! My name is Andy. I live in Louisville, Kentucky, was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and also lived for about 6 years in Buffalo, New York where I went to Canisius College. I am an artist, a "knowledge buff," and a future history teacher. I imagine that's what spurred me to start editing here at Wikipedia... the idea that I could learn a lot, while also contributing in my areas of expertise. Anyway, that's the short version! See below for the "more interesting" stuff.
Some information on me, that you may better understand what has led me to the various positions I hold.
- I was born, raised, and Confirmed a Catholic. Thanks to my Jesuit education at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland and Canisius College in Buffalo, I am also a thinker. As a thinker, I became a seeker. And as a seeker, I found the Bahá'í Faith.
- I have been into art since a very early age, when I was encouraged by my aunt to draw as much as I could. I got into cartooning, which was further nurtured by my love of comic books. Eventually, I became very adept at caricature, drawing them regularly for the school newspaper, for after-prom parties, and at one point, having drawn the entire staff of St. Ignatius on a dry erase board. I also enjoy origami (at which I excel), sculpture (at which I am good), and painting (at which I am mediocre at best). All of that eventually led me into graphic design and web design in college, which I attempted to do for a living for awhile.
- Music has always been a big part of my life. I grew up listening to a lot of classic rock, thanks to my mom. Also at a young age, my aunt introduced me to heavy metal and my dad introduced me to Rush, and those ended up being my biggest influences. I did go through other phases, though. The attempt to be seen as cool in grade school led me gangsta rap, and my subsequent attempt to find my own voice led me to grunge, specifically Nirvana. I started playing guitar in 8th grade, which led to me playing in church and eventually in a band called Ghostplanet (quirky rock music). These days, I listen to many different music genres, for I feel that I would be doing myself a disservice to limit my influences. That said, I have a great love for progressive rock/metal and power metal, for I feel that those genres best capture who I am.
- I love to read, and always have. As a child, aside from the aforementioned comic books, I also read a lot of Hardy Boys books, and made my way to Tolkien at an early age. These days, I will read anything put out by Michael Crichton (RIP) or Neil Gaiman. I have also read a great deal of Lovecraft, and I am also a huge fan of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, and the Harry Potter series. Regarding comic books, I primarily read DC and Vertigo. Among my favorites are Batman, The Sandman, JSA, Fables, Runaways, and Y: The Last Man.
- My love of reading and my Jesuit eduction combined to make me interested in a lot of different subjects in and out of school. I love history, especially ancient history, and that is why I am currently studying to be a history teacher. I have a particular interest in the Wonders of the World, as I believe they show the peak of human culture and ingenuity. I also enjoyed biology. I suppose both of those subjects are the reason why I love anthropology so much. Religion, mythology, folklore, linguistics, astronomy, and genetics are all fascinating to me. Language in general is very interesting to me, which led to me more or less mastering the English language. I also studied French, Latin, and ancient Greek in school, and am currently studying Spanish in my spare time. I am talented at math, having gone all the way through Calculus... but I don't particularly like it.
- I enjoy video games, both console and PC, though not to an obsessive degree. I am a fanatic for the Civilization series, particularly Civilization IV, which has nurtured, and is nurtured by, my love of ancient civilizations. I am also a devout follower of the Legend of Zelda series. I will also buy any Mario sports game that Nintendo releases.
- I love games and puzzles, especially the ones that greatly stimulate my mind. I am a big fan of Jeopardy! I also really enjoy Trivial Pursuit, Reversi, Scattergories, chess, and Yahtzee. I do crossword puzzles or other word games on a daily basis. I am a board game fanatic, especially long and involved games like Risk, Arkham Horror, Axis & Allies, and A Game of Thrones.
- I have engrossed myself in genealogy, and currently have traced my family tree back into the 400s. Given more time and resources, I plan to go back much further.
- I am a supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and scouting in general, although I hate their policy on homosexuality. I myself am an Eagle Scout and member of the Order of the Arrow. I enjoy the outdoors, particularly in activities like camping, hiking, cycling, and canoeing. I used to be a terrible swimmer, but I overcame that obstacle on my road to Eagle.
- Comedy and humor are vital parts of my day, as I believe that laughter makes life worth living. My sense of humor varies from the sarcastic to the silly, and has a wide spectrum of influences. These range from Monty Python skits and movies, to Mel Brooks movies, to stand-up comedy (Jerry Seinfeld, Brian Regan, George Carlin, Lewis Black, Brian Posehn, David Cross, Louis C.K., Jim Gaffigan, et al), to TV programs (The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Saturday Night Live).
- In case you couldn't tell by now, I am an unabashed geek. I enjoy RenFaires, I study Viking runes and Sindarin Elvish, and my DVDs and comic books are alphabatized. I went in costume to 2 Harry Potter midnight release parties, the first time as Sirius Black and the second time as Severus Snape.
- I have been known to utter the exclamations "great googly-moogly" and "sweet sassy-molassy."
- I can be shy in person, but I treasure good conversation. I truly value the friend with whom I can talk for hours about any number of topics.
- I am not particularly into sports, but I do like baseball, especially the Cleveland Indians. A guilty pleasure of mine is professional wrestling, but I prefer it as an art form, a la Ring of Honor, rather than a specatacle, a la WWE.
- I hate hate and do not tolerate intolerance. I have no patience for groups like the Ku Klux Klan or neo-Nazis.
- There is nothing wrong with cultural or national pride, but xenophobia and knee-jerk patriotism have got to stop. I consider myself first and foremost a citizen of the world. I believe that we, meaning humankind, need to embrace our similarities and celebrate our differences. Remember, variety is the spice of life! There are so many things we can learn from each other, if we just give people a chance.
- I have gotten more involved in politics lately, both domestic and international. I am Liberal, to the surprise of no one. In my opinion, the world is sort of a scary place to live right now, as there are a lot of unbalanced world leaders in power, as well as sweeping changes occuring in many countries. I keep a close eye on dictators, as I absolutely abhor their human rights violations (a big reason why they are my favorite subjects for caricature). Some of the scariest people in power on the planet, in my humble opinion, include Hugo Chávez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Robert Mugabe, and Bashar Assad.
- I despise book burning, as well as these modern-day witch hunts that televangelists seem to always be on. If you actually believe that the Harry Potter books are a vehicle for Satan, I think you need to calm down. And while you're at it, leave the homosexuals alone.
- While I love lots of different kinds of music, I especially appreciate music with thoughtful lyrics. There are far too many great lyricists to list here, but chances are, you will find several in the "Quotes" section that follows. In my mind, combining moving music with poetic and thoughtful lyrics is a talent on loan from God. Along those lines, I believe that Bruce Springsteen is the Poet Laureate of the American working class. All of that said, crappy lyrics still have their place; I do have a soft spot for AC/DC after all.
- Having never had an inaccurate reading, I believe in the divinatory properties of Tarot cards. I also love the artwork on these cards, and I am currently designing my own deck.
- I love the guitar as used in all types of music, but in my mind, it is put to its best use in progressive rock and power metal (which is no surprise, given that those are my favorite musical genres). John Petrucci, Alex Lifeson, Herman Li, Yngwie Malmsteen, et al, are minor deities in my opinion. As for me, I have been practicing heavily to improve my shredding, and hope to be back on stage in a metal band sooner than later. I have gotten good at alternate picking, but my sweep picking still needs work. Until I have mastered that, my arpeggios will be mediocre at best.
- I love the women of heavy metal: Cristina Scabbia, Sharon Den Adel, Simone Simons, Amanda Somerville, Floor Jansen, Anette Olzon, Liv Kristine, Tarja Turunen, et al.
- Caricature is my favorite art form, both to create and to view. Some of my favorite caricaturists include David Levine, Al Hirschfeld, Bill Plympton, Mort Drucker, and Sam Viviano.
- There are several words that I want to come back into the common vernacular. "Swarthy" tops this list. "Chicanery", "fisticuffs", and "tchotchke" are not far behind. "Defenestrate" is a another great one, but hard to really use in everyday life. "Houdafrey" is a great word that isn't actually real. So is "doofosery." I suppose they are neologisms.
Quotes and maxims
From the thoughtful to the absurd:
- ”The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” - Brennan Manning
- "Semper ubi sub ubi." - traditional Latin joke
- “You show me a communist and I will show you someone who will be upset if I eat his sandwich. You show me an anarchist and I will show you someone who calls the cops when he finds me rooting through his closet at 3am. You show me an atheist and I will show you someone begging for God's forgiveness when they taste their own mortality.” - J. P. Chilensky
- "Better the pride that resides in a citizen of the world, than the pride that divides when a colorful rag is unfurled." - Neil Peart, from the Rush song Territories
- "[On being Jewish in the American South] All the parents see you as is a jew; I'm a jewish kid. I'm like a f—king alien to them, you know, I'm a freak...so If I slept over a friend's house, I'd always have to deal with these questions in the morning, like, you know, Mom coming in going <southern accent> "David, I'm so sorry to have to ask you this, I'm so sorry, um...I'm fixing to make breakfast for everybody and I certainly wanna include you...and I'm just having some questions I was hoping you could answer...do y'alls people eat oatmeal?" What? yeah. Is there something in the Torah that says we shouldn't eat oatmeal? "No, it's just that I don't know much about y'alls people, that's all, I just don't know--I know y'all hate Jesus! I know y'all hate Jesus, that much I do know...aand, I know y'alls have seven jew bankers that control the world's money supply, right? In a bunker somewhere about a mile into the earth's core? Is that right? Yeah? And y'all do dances in the woods, y'all wear cloaks and do secret services and burn potions and whatnots, and y'all have horns--that's all I know about y'alls people!" - David Cross
What Wikipedia is...
I spend a lot of my time as a WikiGnome, adjusting grammar and fixing typographical errors. When I sit down to really contribute, though, I spend a lot of time on Music pages. I love History pages, but they are generally pretty good and don't usually require a lot of attention. Music pages, on the other hand, can be all over the spectrum with regard to quality, so I try my best to "standardize" their look, whatever that means. Most of my music work is done on Power Metal and Musica Latina pages (a crazy combination, I know). I am also a very active member of WikiProject Metal in an effort to assess and improve the quality of metal articles.
Articles that I've contributed to (as more than a WikiGnome):
- Human Fortress - band page created from scratch
- Tony Kakko - singer of the band Sonata Arctica; expanded from stub form
- Tobias Sammett - singer of the band Edguy; expanded from stub form
- Edguy template - created from scratch
- Stratovarius template - complete overhaul
- Avantasia - band page: cleaned it up and am adding references; the same with their albums
- Avantasia (EP) - their first EP; created from scratch
- Twilightning - band page; cleaning it up and creating album pages
- Sascha Paeth - German musician & producer; vastly expanded this page
- Miro - German musician & producer; expanded this page
- Robert Hunecke-Rizzo - German musician; created from scratch (though it is still a stub)
- Luis Fonsi - one of my projects is making this page readable, reliable, and informative
- Rush - the portal page for my favorite band; there is some great content on there
- List of countries by date of nationhood - very helpful, but it still needs a lot of input
- List of current heads of state and government - another helpful list!
- List of power metal bands - a hub for finding great music, while showing the diversity of the genre
- List of animal names - a great resource for the names of animals, their young, and their groups
- Outline of James Bond - all things 007
- James Bond music - one of the things I most look forward to with each 007 release
- Ancient Egypt - the portal page for Ancient Egypt
- Numismatics - the portal page for the study of money
- Beth Phoenix - the WWE Women's Champion, and college classmate of mine
- Joshua A. Norton - the first and only Emperor of the United States
- Knitta - love it!
- Dionysius Exiguus, or as my professor called him, Denny the Dwarf - that's who is to blame for screwing up the years on the calendar (thus why Jesus Christ was born in about 6 BC... 6 years before Christ).
North American travels
|Days to Months:|
|Idea and layout hijacked from User:MARussellPESE, who took it from User:jpgordon, who borrowed it from User:Calton, who appropriated it from User:Salsb, who stole it from User:Guettarda who borrowed it from User:White Cat|
Eventual world travels
|All rights released to all text|
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