Apr 18, 2005

Suits me

Saturday evening I took Jen with me to Fashion Square to look for suits. We looked all over the place, from Dillard's to Macy's to Robinsons to a few smaller boutiques. Macy's was the only place that had a suit in my size (36) that fit well and was in the color I wanted. Dillard's didn't even have a single 36. The suit is made by Alfani, single breasted with three buttons, and a traditional lapel. 100% wool, of course. The only modern things about the suit is that the pants aren't pleated, and the jacket is has vent cuts in the back instead of the single cut in the middle of the back. I tried it on with a dress shirt (that's a sixty dollar shirt, the salesman informed me) and with the slacks. It looked really good, really nice fit in the shoulders and arms. Jen really liked it. It was the first whole suit I tried on, and we came back to buy it after looking at the other stores. The suit normally retails for $470, but it was my luck to get it half off. I would have had them hem the pants for me, but it takes them 11 days to do, and I intend to wear the suit in New York. They gave me a list of places they recommend, and I'll call a close one monday to find out thier turnaround for hemming.
I have a test tomorrow in structures class on dirt, steel, and wood. So back to studying.

Apr 16, 2005

A Sad Day for Salsa

I started the day off very leisurely, waking up at ten. I spent the day re-reading The Fountianhead by Ayn Rand. Some I read in bed, some lying on the couch, sitting at the table, sitting on the floor, sitting on the steps outside sipping iced tea. I finished it tonight, covering about three hundred-odd pages today. Its a great book, but the end feels too ideal, too perfect, like Jurgis at the end of The Jungle. Everything suddenly goes right. It felt out of character for the novel. It's a good inspiration for my portfolio which I will resume this monday.

Tonight we went to our salsa final. It was set up as a competition, with about 500 of her students from the various levels. The room was packed. A group would run on the stage, dance for under two minutes for the judge, then run off the stage as a new group ran on. It was difficult to figure out the timing of each heat so you had to pay close attention as to who was dancing and what they were doing. Sally, Jonathan, and Jen's mom Diane, came to watch us. Sally brought me brownies, which was really nice of her. She also got a few pictures, but I think it was mostly of my back.
I slipped up and recovered partially in the salsa. My rhumba was a mess, I completely forgot our moves. Cha-cha was so bad, I had to stop to get back on time and so nervous I started doing a completely different dance. Mergengue was mercifully last, so we ended that dance without my screwing it up royally.
There are four tiers of competition. We didn't even make it to the second. We went into the audience to find our respective spectators. They made a good show of liking the dances we performed. Ah well. We had practicied for this competition twice, each time for under an hour. Jen had her portfolio to turn in the 15th and I had my final project. We had no time to spend on dancing, so I was extremely grateful that we got full credit for merely participating. I'm just no good at coordinated activity under the spotlight. In cross country you had three miles to show your stuff. In architecture, you have weeks to prepare and think and plan, so that even though you might pass out where you stood, you could still talk coherantly about your project's ideas, spatial organization, and concepts. Am I making excuses for myself? Probably. I'm just glad I got what I did from the class. I disliked almost every class- it was a bad idea to take it at night, and on my most stressful day of the week- but I'm glad it taught me to be confident on the dance floor of the clubs, to really enjoy meringue and bring me closer to Jen.
After we all walked back, Jen's mom took us out to the Country Tavern at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale. It's a kind of upscale claim jumper, reminded me strongly of other places I'd been, mood lighting, exposed wood, tall dark booths, steaks, expensive seafood dishes, and exemplary service. I ordered an excellent Seafood Pasta with jumbo shrimp, andouille sausage, and scallops in a creamy cajun sause on linguine. I wore what I wore to the competition, black pants, white shirt open at the collar. We ate dessert there, apple cobbler and chocolate torte. When we got back, Jen, Ben, and I went to the crazy house for a party.
The crazy house is rented by five students of design. One dates a twenty-five year old mother, one recently changed his major from architecture to archeology, one only dates black men, one is in my studio, and the fifth became a residential assistant at the dorm were we all used to live. They throw massive parties. There were easily eighty people there and the place was jumping. We left a little around one, when there were more strangers arriving, more people getting drunker, and another keg on the way.
What a day.

Apr 14, 2005

Recovery

Well, I'm finally getting over my headache. Too much caffine and too little water. I went to bed last night at 7:00 PM, and slept until 3:00 AM when I awoke from hunger. I hadn't eaten anything since a bowl of cereal at 6:30 the previous morning, and a snickers bar during the project review. I toasted some eggos and downed two glasses of orange juice. Then I went back to bed. I slept until 10 AM. I look thinner. During charette week I think I lose about five to ten pounds.

Went to urban planning this afternoon, the only class I've attended this week apart from studio. It was a guest lecture on sustainable development (not only is it impossible to define, but its also nearly impossible to impliment). The TA with my paper told me his dog ate it (along with seven others) but that I got a B. I was less than elated. Ah well.

I treated myself to a great lunch at the Chuckbox, the best burger joint in town. They ask what size you want (the big one or the really big one), and what kind of cheese you want. Then they slap the meat on the mesquite grill and grill it right in front of you. I also ordered some beer-battered fried mushrooms and a lemonade. Total came to a little under 8 dollars. Kind of pricey, but delicious. I loaded up on the condiments, tomato, ketchup, and lettuce and dug in. Man, that first bite of burger is the best. Juicy beef with that smokey grilled tinge, cool lettuce and tomato, the slightly toasted bun. The mushrooms are great too. Beer-battered, fried, and served with ranch dressing. A lunch to remember, maybe I was just hungry. I ate ravenously and everything.

Came home and now I'm getting started with cleaning up from my studio mess. There's bits of cardboard and chipboard everywhere.

Recovery

Well, I'm finally getting over my headache. Too much caffine and too little water. I went to bed last night at 7:00 PM, and slept until 3:00 AM when I awoke from hunger. I hadn't eaten anything since a bowl of cereal at 6:30 the previous morning, and a snickers bar during the project review. I toasted some eggos and downed two glasses of orange juice. Then I went back to bed. I slept until 10 AM. I look thinner. During charette week I think I lose about five to ten pounds.

Went to urban planning this afternoon, the only class I've attended this week apart from studio. It was a guest lecture on sustainable development (not only is it impossible to define, but its also nearly impossible to impliment). The TA with my paper told me his dog ate it (along with seven others) but that I got a B. I was less than elated. Ah well.

I treated myself to a great lunch at the Chuckbox, the best burger joint in town. They ask what size you want (the big one or the really big one), and what kind of cheese you want. Then they slap the meat on the mesquite grill and grill it right in front of you. I also ordered some beer-battered fried mushrooms and a lemonade. Total came to a little under 8 dollars. Kind of pricey, but delicious. I loaded up on the condiments, tomato, ketchup, and lettuce and dug in. Man, that first bite of burger is the best. Juicy beef with that smokey grilled tinge, cool lettuce and tomato, the slightly toasted bun. The mushrooms are great too. Beer-battered, fried, and served with ranch dressing. A lunch to remember, maybe I was just hungry. I ate ravenously and everything.

Came home and now I'm getting started with cleaning up from my studio mess. There's bits of cardboard and chipboard everywhere.

Apr 13, 2005

whupped

see above. crit went ok, better than most. I had everything this time and it looked pretty cool, but there was one guy who wired his model for electric lighting. Anyway, got five hours of sleep monday night, and no sleep last night. Forget salsa, she's just going to yell at us for not practicing anyway. As if I could do anything on the dance floor right now. Current status: see above.

Apr 10, 2005

brief update

Had a nice dinner with Sally and Johnathan last thursday night at the Indian restaurant my family would always go to. In urban planning that day I got an 97 percent on my exam, which is worth about 20 percent of my grade for that class. Friday was really busy too, I directed the habitat truck into campus and helped load the framed walls of the shed I built so they could be taken back to be used in a house. Then I spent a few hours working with my classmates on a site model we decided to build out of class. It's the context and area outside of the site we're building on, so we can just pop our models into and out of the site. I was planning on going to the Beaux Arts Ball afterwards, but I was just drained. Ben grilled some steaks outside and Jen had her tri-tip and afterwards we played a few rounds of scrabble.
This weekend I've just been working on my architecture project, which is really a shame as is gorgeous, warm, and sunny with cool breezes. Fortunately it's due wednesday and not monday, but I'm going to try and get the model done today. I may also get a haircut, get it cut short for the summer. I'm going to look so wild after Europe.
While waiting for my concrete test pour to cure, I picked up The Fountianhead. I had read it the summer before coming to ASU and actually made comments in the margins. It's fun, because its like a conversation I have with myself. My studio instructor recommended that people read it before college, during college, and once again after one graduates, as different things will be noticed and taken.
Back to work. Try not to think about the dance competition that Sally and Jen's mom are going to see.
"Jen's mother is coming here? We shall double our efforts!"

Apr 7, 2005

Kind of a crummy day

Well, got to bed last night around one after working on the architecture project, a regular bedtime now, and was promptly woken up at 7:30 AM by American Express to tell me that they couldn't verify my card. I was so tired I didn't even remember what they said. Anyway, as I had to be up at 8:00 to get ready for my 8:40 class, I just got up. I did talk to mom which was really nice as I don't get to communicate with my family enough. Anyway, I left without breakfast and got to class to see the teacher not show up. We have this great coordinator, a professor smurf, who got confused about his own schedule as to when the project was due, then announced last class that today's' class was canceled, thinking our project was due next monday. This guy is always making these kind of mistakes and then holding us accountable for what's written in his handout, so my architecture group decided he'd realize his mistake then come. I guess he figured since most people wouln't come, he wouldn't, either.
With no time to waste, I walked to a nearby art store and bought twenty dollars of basswood and chipboard for my model. I left it on top of a locker, all but hidden from view less than two inches from the ceiling and went to my 9:40 class, a lecture this time on "Wood: Our Friend" in structures for two and a half hours.
I had waffles for lunch after I got back and packed my model and other supplies into my portfolio case and walked to school early to catch an Architecture Student Assoc. meeting at 12:30. I passed one of my friends in third year coming the other way who informed me that the meeting was actually at noon, the email I read being incorrect. So I talked to another person in my studio while I waited for the 1:40 studio and realized the chipboard I bought was not going to work for my base anyway, as the thickeness was wrong. I would have returned it, had I not cut it in the store waiting for class. The basswood bundle had also been taken, apparently much too visible. The studio instrcutor gave us his ten minutes of "ASU program sucks, your craft sucks and I spit on your presentation skills" speech and then let us free to get to work. At least we dont have to stay in studio. I walked home.
Upon reaching my apartment, I drove directly to the art store Utrect and bought the correct chipboard I needed. The next two hours I spent precisely cutting through the double ply to get 12 identical sheets of the right size and shape. I still need to actually make the elevation change cuts, but that can wait for tomorrow. After I did the cuts, I made a formwork and poured a test concrete wall I colored red with powdered pigment. It's actually a nice shade of Tucson red.
To my shame, I must confess I spent nearly thirty minutes hanging out with Jen wating for the concrete to cure. I ordered a pizza and was able to eat three slices before we were due at Salsa class. I forced myself to focus on getting the dance routines right until it ended at 9:40 and we left for home. At least we ended practicing merengue, my favorite dance (the one with the least complicated footwork).
Ben recommended we watch some SNL and I though hey, I could use a little SNL. So I invested an hour in recuperation watching the best of Phil Hartman (Unfrozen Cave Man Lawyer). Something about one of the sketches, Cooking with the Anal Retentive Chef, just triggered me and I just laughted hysterically, until tears streamed down my cheeks. Just needed something to release the stress I guess. Anyway, Dinner with Sally tomorrow, the birthday girl and ONE CLASS.... AT 12:15.... LAST CLASS OF THE WEEK.... I love Thursdays.

Reader's Digest Presents: Last Two Weeks

San Francisco
Saturday we drove into the city and walked around the pier. Saw the sea lions and took a harbor tour as Alcatraz was booked solid through wednesday. Ate clam chowder from a sourdough bowl from a famous local cafe and walked around the Gheridelli Chocolate Square where we found a bookstore dedicated to books about architecture, urban planning, construction, and interior design. I bought three books, all at really good prices. New Vernacular Architecture and New Forms: Architecture in the 1990's, and Home: an Evolution of an Idea. Afterwards we drove to the massive park in san francisco, which really reminded me of the botanical gardens in Singapore. We walked around there for awhile and drove to the Palace of Fine Arts, a massively scaled roman dome and collanade.
Sunday we all went to church, then I helped set up for the Gozzi's Easter dinner where they served ham and the usual tasty dinner dishes. After a quick bite to eat, we left at six and drove to the airport for a late flight back to phoenix, getting me home a little past midnight.
I'm going to New York on the 22nd, and before then I have to finish my last architecture project ( it has to be the best I've ever done), and also compete in a salsa competition with my salsa class for our final grade.

Medium is the message

I moved the blog again. I deleted the Tumblr account and moved everything to Medium.com, a more writing-centric website. medium.com/@wende...