May 30, 2006

Insomnia

It's midnight and I'm having trouble falling asleep. Today we almost went tubing on the salt river. I'd picked up some cervesaz, a bottle of suntan lotion, and a jug of water, and we set out around 9 AM. This is aldo, me, ivonek, two of his friends, his girlfriend, and a friend of hers. I went in Aldo's car, and everyone else went in Ivonek's. Trouble starts almost immediately. We stop at a gas station to pick up some snacks, and then Aldo's ignition freezes up and wont let him turn on the car, so we waste fifteen minutes with that. Then I take us up the wrong road out of town. Where we are its actually faster to keep going until we get to a juncture where the road we want to be on meets our road, so we hit that and arrive at ASU Wet. The parking lots are packed full, there are 20somethings all over the place, everyone with a beer, a cowboy hat, and sunglasses. We truck in in to the tube rental place. Massive lines. No sign of the other members of our group. We wait for awhile and then find out: they're still in a car line waiting to turn in to this place. It was actually faster to take a 30 mile detour and approach this place from the country direction than to go the short way and wait in line. So we wait some more, grab a beer, people watch, its fun. The lines thin and we get another call from Ivonek: they've stopped letting cars in because they're sold out of tubes. They're giving up and going back. When we hit the road back to town its about one thirty in the afternoon. Aldo and I hit an In-n-out burger than come back and jump in the pool at my apartments and we just chill there for awhile. It wasn't even a really hot day- just 90 as a high. Got a good starter tan. This evening, I helped Aldo move some stuff over from his apartment in the minivan. Thats about it for today, although I had a great evening with the Walkers over at Joes Real BBQ sunday night.

I think I may be able to fall asleep now. I have to get up at 6:30 AM tomorrow. And that luxury is only because I'm DRIVING to work. Suki is being weird again, chasing protons around the apartment again like the possessed and meowing loudly intermittantly.

May 27, 2006

Weekend

Ben's completely moved out of the apartment. He'll come back tomorrow to do some last minute stuff, and theny he'll be gone. It's strange when I think about the evolution of our relationship. In the dorms, we were pretty much aquantainces, who sort of knew each other but weren't really friends. We helped each other move in, hung out with Jen and Amy upstairs and we all did stuff togather. We used to go walk to get dinner and it was usual for us to make dinner togather like a pot of spagetti or something. As my relationship with Jen progressed, it became a wedge bewteeen us, not because Ben liked Jen, but because she and I were spending a lot of time togather I know from experiance the jealously and discontent of not having a girlfriend while a relationship is blossoming in front of you. I began to hear complaints about me through Jen whom Ben held as a confidant and friend. I know that he hated Suki, disliked my messes, and disliked the way I'd open multiple boxes of cereal at once. All valid criticisms. I not messy person- I am actually a fastideously clean person who happens to procrastinate cleaning a whole lot. We never fought, we were usually considerate to each other and polite in conversation. We even still made dinner togather occationally. We'd share the basic cooking ingrediants and drink each other's beverages- asking permission first and not abusing the invitation. After Jen and I split, she became his friend again and took him to costco a few times. SIn any event, it's been a far more smooth roomateship than I could have asked for. Two years, no fighting or arguments, no utilities cut off because someone forgot the bill, no problems with theft, security, or safety. Good converstaions about war and history, both monty python fanatics.o we come to today, leaving each other as aquaintances once more. I wish I could have been a better roomate: Ben hated being by himself in the apartment, and I was always at studio. I can understand him now. Nothing to do, sitting alone at my computer, the horror of the uninterrupted silence for hours and hours.

So here we part. Two years ago, I was a freshman finished with my first year of college, and Ben ready to take on a major in history. Now I'm finished with my third year of college, working in architecture office, and Ben is starting anew at Savannah in furnature and set design. I boyfriended and broke up with Jen, she and her roomate Amy moved into a condo and then acrimoniously split up with Amy leaving mid-semester.

I think I know why I so uneasy lately. I've settled into a comfortable routine of living and I'm approaching some radical shifts. The routine, the coming home every night to the same bed, the wild busy days, that routine is home. When my routine shifts, it exposes the fact that I have no true home. It's the dark side of living internationally- when the world is your home, there's no one place thats really yours. I hate all my stuff but I can't part with individual items. I brought a massive load down to Goodwill today, including most of my VHS tapes that mom tried to get rid of before she moved. The waiting is the worst. I know I'm going to have a great time in Buenos Aires and a good final semester at ASU, but its so much blank tape its a little daunting.

May 26, 2006

Corrugated dreamship

Work is going well- last week Jeremy took me to a meeting at the Mesa Fine Arts Center and we had a meeting with a contractor and the Mesa arts board to finish a little project inside the theater. It was an interesting experiance seeing how all the team players come togather and interact, and how everything is made very very clear with communication as to the roles of each party. The firm had designed the arts center, so after the meeting, Jeremy gave me a tour. Pretty cool. I came up with a new design for the condos so that was sent to the city of scottsdale with one of Jeremy's schemes, so we should see some action on that fairly soon. Today in the gap of waiting to hear back, I wandered into another project designing a police station for ASU. They're pretty far along with only minor details in the design to change. But they need to create a massive collection of details and write up all the specificiations. Essentially the spec book is a super massive manual of what peices to use where. So next week I'm going to be preparing a sketchUp model and presentation to show the designated architecture guy at ASU.

Today was a busy day. I got off of work at 11:30 and came back home, got my paycheck from the library, deposited that with the hard cash I got from Aldo paying me back for the apartment in Buenos Aires deposit, and then I looped around to downtown Gilbert to pay the deposit on the electric bill and get it officially changed over to my name. Aldo will just pay me for utilities. While I waited for the APS people to get back from lunch, I had my own lunch, having skipped breakfast. This desertopolis is a serindipidous place- the part of Gilbert I was in was dominated by pickup trucks and victoriana. They're really playing it up in the old buildings. Gilbert was, and still is to an extent, a farming community, and its kept that feel to it, almost like Ponca city. Even the people seem a lot more country folky. Had lunch in a building which housed a safeway back in the 1920's. It's a barbeque place and I got a bbq brisket sandwich, sweet corn, and homemade rootbeer. Good bbq and tons of seating, inside, outside, and in the arizona room. Joes Real BBQ, is what it was called I beleive. None of that fake stuff here, no sir.

Anyway, got some more administrative stuff done and cleaned my room and the kitchen. Ben's dad and brother are here now, helping Ben pack his stuff up. I've already reconnected the net in my room. Strange days are upon us. I really have a ton of stuff. Even when I start consolodaitng, and getting rid of half of my books, I'm still left with an entire bookshelf of them.

I think work is taking its toll on me. It's ten o'clock and I'm ready to hit the sack. My ciccadian rhythms are going to go crazy. Right now its finally getting adjusted to going to bed at ten and getting up at six. After work is over and I around the world, I'll hit it with a dose of jet lag, and then in Buenos Aires, the nightlife don't even get going before 3 am. So we'll see. It, like all things, will be a test of my adaptability and resourcefulness.

May 25, 2006

status report

Alive, unhappy about going to bed at ten and getting up at six every morning.
Finished reading Snow Crash- its no Neuromancer, but its a wild fun time anyway.
Looks like Ben is moving out this weekend which works since Aldo is going to start moving HIS stuff over. Just transferred power bill over to my name. Bleh, glad its the weekend almost. I'm going to bed.

May 21, 2006

the zen of traffic

people have said that "Life is the journey, not the destination." I've always found that a bit morbid, because it begs the question, if life is a journey, what IS the destination? Are we just journeying straight to our death? What kind of a destination is that?

Thinking about it just now, I realized there's another way to understand it.

Life is the challenges, opportunities, encounters, and boring bits where you listen to your iPod which make up a journey. The destination is up to you. I would even say that really, the destination IS you, because where you are going is what you are becoming, is part of what you are.

If you're heading to Starbucks for coffee for example, you know you want starbucks, its a clear destination in your mind, and you know of a Starbucks Coffee in certain place. So you hop in your car and you take off. You can't control the traffic, the delays, the roadblocks, the vehicle breakdowns, the idiots on thier cellphones who rear end you, or the psychotic guy with the rifle. Some days you may hit all greens, some days every light will be red. It's a beat of life that you fall into. The point is there are things you simply can't control about the drive.

The destination is yours. As long as you keep that vision of scalding hot supercafinated coffee clear in your mind, you will achieve it. Maybe you get pulled over for speeding, maybe they've closed the local Starbucks for renovation; all it means is you'll get there a little later. It's not like that was the only place in the universe where you can get starbucks.

But the journey can change you too. Maybe a microbus pulls up next to you and you see a hippie driving with a big "Stop Globalization" sign on the side. You might decide that Starbucks is too corporate and elitist, and decide to go find a local coffeehouse run by beat poets.

Or you hear a news story on NPR about the health benefits of tea over coffee and you might decide to not go to a coffeehouse at all. Or you might see an advertisement for a new Banana Caramel Frappuchino and begin to salivate. It really depends how badly you initially wanted that coffee, and what you're willing to do to get it.

I think that the key in life is learning to recognize the alternative routes, to roll with the delays and detours, to look for the key openings in traffic, and to understand that a lane ending in 500 feet is not the end of the road. And to be able to weight the value of that coffee versus the sacrifices you have make along the way. Is that coffee worth fighting rush hour traffic? how badly do you need it RIGHT NOW? Is it worth speeding for, worth a police chase and jailtime, worth even the three dollars? The important thing is to Think and decide for yourself.

It seems so easy to fall into a routine, doing the same thing, thinking in the same little circles, working in autopilot. Do you get coffee every day? Why? Habit? because your body has a chemical dependancy? Acknowlege it! How does the reason make you feel? It makes getting coffee a life-affirming experiance. It's coffee with a Purpose.

When I get coffee, it makes me think "what should I get?" (after "why's this stuff so expensive?") which makes me ask, "how do I feel? what sounds good? how late do I have to work tonight?" which begs the question "why am I artificially enhancing my system beyond its natural boundarys?" and "is the work i'm doing worth circumventing nature and losing this much sleep?" These are usually easy and simple questions to answer. If its anything relating to studio, the answer is yes. I mean, it's a coffee in relation to a college degree.

Ok I've rambled enough and I'm submitting to the bus tomorrow, so I will clamber down from my soap box and go to bed.

Saturday Night Live (almost)

May 20, 2006

Week in Review

MONDAY, continued. I hung out with Julie, Cassie, Sarah, and a few other friends, losing badly at thier video games, watching TV, and playing with Cassie's ferret. Ferrets are funky little creatures, and they seem more like little monkeys to me. Very excitable, aggitated, and agressive.

TUESDAY Cassie and Julie both worked at thier jobs, leaving Sarah and me behind. We had a very relaxing day, watching TV, making a grocery store run, and we went to see V for Vendetta at the discount theaters. Cool movie, but it felt a bit too long with too little action. Granted, its more cereberal, but they really belabored the point. The last half an hour is amazing. When Julie got of work we watched more TV at home and then picked up another friend for his birthday dinner. I drove everybody to dinner, which was at a small, but delicious Italian restaurant. The kind of place you half expect to see Vito Coreleone. We finished up there and I drove everyone home in time to catch Cassie coming back from her work around ten. I left tucson after saying goodbye to everyone, and drove back to Tempe, getting home around midnight.

WEDNESDAY was my first day of work. My tie was a bit dressy, but not by much. Most people were in business casual or better. I got a desk at a graphics station, and my mentor-cum-boss explained my first project to me. They have a client who wants some condos, but the design of the apartments is completely ridicoulous with one elevator serving two condos per floor. It's an optimization problem like a puzzle- how does one grant more automony and personality to each living unit while allowing the efficiant acess? Anyway, Mr. Jones let me just go at it alone to see what I can do. By the end of the work day, I'd drawn a property map in autocad, and did a basic site analysis with google earth maps and the city of scottsdale maps. Work hours are 7:30 to 5:30, with an hour for lunch. Wednedays, one of the hispanic employees gives a lesson in basic spanish to everyone over lunch. At this point, they're still learning things like Los Las El La, etc and Sala = room. The other cool thing is that they keep a fridge stocked with free sodas, and tea bags. Drove home that night.

THURSDAY I caught the bus (hour long to get there) into work and continued work, getting into Sketchup with the apartment units to start some 3d stacking work to see how the condos might go on the site. At lunch, Mr. Jones took me to the Design Review Board for Scottsdale, of which he is a chair member. He drove us to city hall and the kiva. We had catered lunch with the other board members in a meeting room. In this way I met Bob Littlefield, a city councilman, the city attourey, and other civic leaders. Then I sat down in the audience for the public sessions of the design review board hearings where various developers and archietcts presented thier projects for approval. It's basically a critique as the various members will cite problems with thier design from a aestetic, code, and design viewpoint. I have mixed feelings about the board, as on the one hand, it smacks of authoritiarian design controls and censorship, but on the other hand, it genereally improves the design of the buildings. I agreed with thier decisions at this meeting though. When I took the bus home, I had to wait 45 minutes for a bus which was supposed to run even 15 minutes. The ride home was terrible. Three people in wheelchairs came on and off during my ride, which means we had to wait five minutes for getting on and five minutes for getting off. Then this homeless man sat next me for about half an hour. I have nothing against the homeless, but this man stank. Like the worst smell I've smelled all year. Old cigarettes, stale body odor, fresh body oder, and absoultely covered in grime. I was nauseated. That night, I went to Nickee's and watched part of a movie with her and some of her friends. I gave her advice on how to pack and what to take for her trip to Europe. Went home around 10 so I could get some sleep.

FRIDAY I slept in a little extra and drove to work. Friday's are casual. "Not grubby," Mr. Jones, admonished me Thursday, so I wore clean jeans and a polo shirt. The other thing about friday's are that working hours are from 5:30 AM to 11:30 AM, so we get the afternoon off. I met with one of the other guys who worked through some of the condo configuration problems with me. He was actually one of the guys who reviewed my pool project at an early stage, and he asked about how my project turned out. I'll bring my boards in monday I think to show him. Friday afternoon, I ran last minute errands with Nickee. She's leaving today (saturday) and is terrified. Late friday afternoon, I picked up my letters from the schools for the argentine visa, so I can proceed with that now. After that, I was picked up by my future roomate Aldo and another friend Ivonek and we hit the mall to kill some time before we went to see DaVinci Code. I went in with very, very low expectations and a wry grin, and the movie satisfied my expections. It was long, and took itself way way to seriously, but it had a few fun moments. I'm glad I knew what to expect with the book. My friends felt let down by it, and there was a massive line for the ten pm showing. We headed over to Applebys for happy hour and had appetizers and beers for a bit chatting and enjoying ourselves. Afterwards, we came back to my apartment and we watched the Godfather.

Hey, its the summer, I'm taking it easy.

May 17, 2006

Workin' Man

Today I rose and showered before 7 AM. I wore pleated pants and a belt. In my minivan, I fought the morning traffic to downtown. I wore a tie. I sat in a cubicle and attended an office meeting. I drove home through rushour traffic, in a minivan.

These are new things to me.

Quick recap because I'm too tired to go into details, although I'll probably post some pics soon.
Where was I? Ah yes, the Badlands of Utah.

FRIDAY we drove to the san rafael reef. The hiking is pretty flat except for sudden dryfalls which take some climbing to do. The canyon is amazing, many parts of it so narrow that my pack scraped both sides of the wall simultanously. These slot canyons are carved by water and refined by wind and sand. It's really amazing to be in there, with both walls shooting up over your head like you're walking on the bottom of a cravasse. This area is incredibly dry. The sand flows through your fingers like in an hourglass. We brought our own water since there was none to be had. Our route was to take us up one canyon, around the base of the uplift, and down another canyon. Roundtrip its 8.8 miles. We made it up the first canyon, stopped under a tree in the exposed uplift zone around noon for lunch and rest, and then pressed on as the uplift zone was pretty barren and open. We entered the other canyon looking for a good campsite to spend the night. We thought we'd found one on the topo maps that Uncle David had brought, and we were hiking towards it when we realized that we were at the fork in the trail where we had split off that morning. The cars were literally ten minutes away. We were still looking to camp, so we headed back and I scouted around, eventually finding an amazing spot atop the swell separating the two canyons. We had great weather, a small fire, and a constant breeze.

SATURDAY we packed up and were back at the car in twenty minutes. We drove back to Salt Lake city, admiring the strange and barren landscape, which was the source of most of the alien planets in Calvin and Hobbes. Got back to town around noon. Brenda and Carrie had already left for the day and so we got showered, cleaned up, and hit the town again as it was mother's day. We started at the department store first, then headed over to Centerpoint i.e. Little Scottsdale. Found a nice shirt at the Gap and talked Uncle David into keeping his aviator glasses instead of buying some new ones. Then we hit deserert industries, which is essentially a Penny's made of thrift donations. Lots of high quality clothes in good condition. I grabbed a linen blend cream sportcoat from Nordstroms and a more classic Haggar cord jacket. Afterwards, hit the State Wine Store and picked up a bottle of wine. After dinner we went out for ice cream.

SUNDAY I took a bike ride up the canyon behind thier house. Five miles, a mild incline all the way up. At the end of the bike raod, there were patches of snow on the ground and pine forrest. Five miles, I zoomed down in about twenty minutes, hardly pedaling at all. Nearly clipped a rattlesnake while I was at it. For dinner, my last one in town, we went out for barbeque.

MONDAY Uncle David drove me to the airport and I flew home. I realized that even with the waiting in line and the hassle, I get a high out of traveling through airports. Especailly with the ipod providing a suitably cool soundtrack. Sally and Gabriel met me at the airport and took me home. I'm looking forward to dinner with them Sunday. After I got home, I unpacked my gear and took a nap. Paid some attention to Suki, gave her a brush, took a shower, Then I drove down to Tuscon. I got down there in the early evening and hunted down Rick Joy's studio. Rick joy is an architect who does a lot of work with rammed earth, and I'd gone through a Rick Joy adolation phase. I found his studio down a dirt alley in a barrio near the downtown. I parked by a crumbling adobe warehouse. The gate to the studio was open, so I walked in. The studio has a large glass wall which looks right out to the courtyard, so two young architects looked up at me when I came in the courtyard. Feeling slightly awkward, I tried the glass door and poked my head in. I told them I was an archtiecture student and if I could look around a bit. One of the guys gave a kind of resigned sigh and got up, and gave me a great tour of the studio, showing me everything from the bathrooms, to the rental apartments around the back, answeing my questions and talking about the architecture. It was very surreal as he had an Austrian accent and was a good six inches taller than me, showing me around distinctive critical regionalism architecture in Tucson. Told me he'd met Rick Joy while he was teaching at Harvard. After the tour, I thanked him and continued on to Cassie's apartment. Cassie was still at work, but Julie and some of her friends were there watching the season finale of Gray's Anatomy.

This is really dragging, and I'm still only on MONDAY. I sincerely apologize to you, my dear reader. Myself, I'm going to bed because I have to get up at 6 AM tomorrow for work.

May 13, 2006

Vally of the Goblins





Shooting Goblins

I'm sitting at the dining table overlooking Salt Lake City at night. Just got back from camping this afternoon. But we're going to Tarintino it up. Cut to

Alec scrambling for quarters in his apartment. His emergency load of laundry is in the dryer after one cycle, and still incredibly damp. I am still two quarters short. The landry room at my apartment sucks and its now around midnight. I string up a clothesline across my room and hang some of my clothes to dry. The others, well, they'll just have to be washed again. I finish packing around 1 AM.

Alarm clock radio starts. 6:45 AM. Sally calls me, asks what I want from Sonic for breakfast. I meet her outside my apartment a little later with both kiddos in tow. Gabriel hands me a momento from Legoland. They bought me a really cool little AT-AT walker with a storm trooper mini figure. It's way cool. I'm lucky to have such good friends.

Flight short and direct, an hour and a half and I land at the airport with snow-capped peaks on both sides. Aunt Brenda picks me up outside in her hybrid and we take off. First stop is gyros for lunch at a very popular little Greek fast fooderie, then we hit the camping goods store and I pick up a bottle of fuel for my campstove, since if I tried to take it on the plane, they'd probably encase my pack in lead, call me up to the check in counter, and special operations agents would rush in and beat me senseless with truncheons. So I decided to leave my cannister at home, and suck up the three dollars. Also picked up a few other assorted things. Then we drove up to the University, and Aunt Brenda showed me around and then had a few meetings with people.

Wednesday night, we had grilled pork loin, which was really good.

Thursday morning, I slept in until 10 AM, which was ok since uncle David was really busy, rushing around to submit drawings to the city for a residential project. After he'd come back from the government offices, we both packed, had lunch, hit the grocery store, and hit the map store, it was around 3 o clock in the afternoon.

We drove south to the Canyonlands, towards Moab, taking smaller and worse roads down to Goblin Valley State Park. Very cool place. The goblins are basically very stumpy hoodoos, which tend to look like mutant mushrooms. There's this huge basin, which is filled with them. As they are 6-20 feet tall, its very surreal walking amongst them. There's absolutely no water anywhere around, so there was very little vegitation down there. It actually reminded me of the topography of the surface of that planet they find in the movie ALIEN. There were a few other people there, but we didn't encounter any of them. We got there just as the sun was at a beautiful angle, and then after we'd walked around down in the basin enough, we had a beer and watched the sun set over the hoodoo'd ridge behind the basin.

We camped in a nearby campsite which had 22 sites, most of whihc were already reserved for RVs. Each site had a concrete pad, a perf steel clad pavaillion, and a patch of dirt clearly designated for the tent, and each one of these these sites located 30 feet from the neighbor. We took a short hike and pitched our tent amongst the goblins.

Pictures to follow, soon.

May 9, 2006

Insert Two Tokens

Busy last few days, even though things are winding down. I spent most of the weekend working on my paper for latin American Design. Saturday night, I had dinner with Nickee and we saw Mission Impossible: III. It was very unintentionally funny, actually, although it was much more enjoyable than Mission Impossible: II. The only thing was that it had a lot more Friends moments in it than I would have preferred. I like my uberaction films unadultrated with housewarming parties. Nickee is going to Europe for a few weeks next month, so she's very excited/scared right now. I gave her what little advice I knew about backpacking through Europe.

Finished writing my paper Sunday and made final revisions and citations to it yesterday before turning it in at noon. I wasn't thrilled with how it turned out. I'm used to writing 5 page papers, and 12 pages is a lot- I dont think I kept it as coherant as it could have been, but today when I checked my final grade for that class, I saw the professor had given me an A for the semester. So happy surprise there. I dropped by studio as I was in the building, and realized that we had our exit interviews set for that day.

I noted my time, went home, and laid out my semester portfolio of work, doccumentation of what we did that semester. It's our last studio assignment. After a few hours of that, I went back to school for my exit interview, slotted for 15 minutes. S---- hauled out a flow chart of the steps were supposed to follow from conception through final presentation/materials and went over how I did on it. He said I was the best writer in the class, one of the strongest students, and that the ideas and concepts were grea. He said I was professional, hardworking, self motivated, and a bunch of other nice things. The problem area, he said, was in the final stage, taking the idea that final step with the clearest expresssion of it in the design, in the presentation, and in the graphic representation of the idea. All fair criticism. I didn't tell him that the reason I didn't make that last hurdle was my heart wasn't in the last two weeks of work. The project was pretty much dead to me at that point. In terms of a grade, he said I was betwen an A and a B, so I'm pretty much getting a B+. But I think I've earned it.

This is very bad, and egotistical of me. I'm going to spend the a lot of my professional life defending, and selling projects that I feel are subpar, and I'm going to need to come to terms with doing high quality, representitive work on bad projects. If I only marginally liked my pool, how am I going to feel about working on somebody else's medicore project. Maybe it stemmed from personal dissapointment.

This is the one chance I will ever have in my life to go completely wild with design, to push the limits of even marginal possiblity in terms of material, form, and budget. My pool is about as wild and imaginative as a dead pidgeon. Words cannot describe how frustrated I feel with myself and the semester. Partially directed towards S---- for his "guidance", but mostly towards myself for my weakness. What happened to the crack? It was filled in and buried under a steaming pile of mediocrity.

Anyway, after that, I biked back home and finished my doccumentation and printed it out and cut it before going into work at the library where I studied for my structures exam. Got to leave an hour early, so I spent it in an impromtu study group up in studio. After I got home I ate some leftover pizza for dinner. Ben came home, sat down across from me, and said " I want some candy." I realized I was dying for candy. So we hopped into the minivan and made a late ngirun to Safeway for twizzlers, milk duds, gummy bears, recees peanut butter cups, etc. Then Ian joined us and we talked for awhile.

This morning I took my doccumentation to be bound at Alphagraphics. Came back to school a few hours before our final and dropped it off, then studied, chatted, meditated, and relaxed. After the disasterous mideterm (more than half the class failed it), we were a bit neverous. Needlessly so, though. Far easier and shorter than the last one. In conferring with classmates, I think I got an A on it, which would be great for my GPA. So feeling good about that.

And... I'm done. With the semester. No finals to take, no more projects to do. I'm sitting here alone at the library working my last shift, probably forever, typing a blog and IMing family and friends.

The whirlwind keeps blowing, however. Tonight I have to do an emergency load of clothes and finish packing all my gear for a 9 am plane flight to Utah tomorrow morning for a few days of camping and relaxing.

May 6, 2006

Cinco de Mayo!

You know what that means! Yup, tomorrow is Sies de Mayo! Today I worked on my paper on Rogelio Salmona. Right now I stand at approximately 1500 words, or about 42% the way there for raw material. My plan is to get to at least 56% tonight, and write the other 1500 words tomorrow, so I can edit and organize my paper sunday. I know I'm may not be able to make those deadlines, but if I need to, I can finish writing Sunday and edit/organize it Monday before it's due at noon. I may have found some friends who can watch Suki although they want me to pay the extra pet rent. They're doing me a big favor, and I am delighted to have close friends of mine watching my favorite cat.

Here are just two pictures I took recently, randomly. I liked how they turned out.


May 4, 2006

The End of History




Had a pretty good day so far. Worked in the morning while I did more last minute cramming, had a great talk with dad in Abu Dhabi while drinking a chai tea latte out on the Charlie's Cafe patio. I think I did reasonably well on the exam. I think I'm definately in good shape for a solid A in that class, especially as we got our papers back today. Another A. Very happy with that. Now, I'm back at home for a few hours to begin my paper on Rogelio Salmona before trotting back to work to work on it some more.

I'm going to fly out and visit uncle David and Aunt Brenda next week after my finals are over for a few days. I need something resembling a vacation first of all, and I also want to talk to them about grad school etc. I also just need to get away for a bit before starting my internship, maybe do some camping up there.

Oh! finaly got around to shrinking my boards so I can post them. Here they are above^
click on each board for full view.

May 2, 2006

Last day of school

Today was the last day of school.

Today I got to school early after running some errands and gravitated up to studio. Found some classmates up there. It's kind of funny, even though we're done with that class, we still go there just to hang out and see each other. It's just a common place. Anyway, we still have to clean our stuff out, take last pictures of models, etc. I really love my bridge model and I think I could transform it into a hangable CD rack, but on the other hand, I should just trash it so it doesnt become part of the debries of my life. Letters for summer internships were finally handed out. They didn't email us or announce it- it was just spread by word of mouth, and we had a lot of fun asking about where everyone is going to going to be working this summer and looking up various firms online. I'm very glad that I was able to circumvent the lottery, as I'd never heard of ANY of the firms people were being sent to. There were firms which did customized McMansions, firms which specialized in landscape design (that student was really ticked off when he was looking at thier projects), and a variety of other firms ranging in size from 9 people onwards. Everyone was very jealous to hear that I'd landed DWL.

Luck is when preparedness meets opportunity. I think I've been such a lucky person in life since I've tried to prepare myself so extensively, and because I've had so many opportunities and known so many wonderful people who lead to these opportunities.

Anyway, we had our last history of architecture lecture, with the likes of Libeskind, Calatrava, Gerhy, Rem Koolhaas, and an as yet unbuilt project by Zaha Hadid. This is pretty much a lineup of the most famous cutting edge western architects. We closed with an image of a Calatrava museum, as Dr. Morton loves alliteration in his subnaming his courses: Caves (of Lescaux) to Calatrava, or approximately 52,000 years of human architecture.

One thing I forgot to mention was that me and two guys from studio were cracking each other up during the reviews yesterday catalouging the various movements that reviewers do while reviewing. While losing something without the hilarious accompanying sketches, here is a basic rundown:

the "Steeple n' Nod"- steeple fingers togather while leaning forward and nod head rhythmically, constantly.

the "Six-inch stand" or the "Smell"- stand six inches away from massive presentation boards and stare at it intently in the middle of the presentation.

the "Step n' Slide"- for a reviewer shifting from the "six inch stand" position, the correct motion is to step back with one foot to the side around the model, and SLIIIIIIDE the other foot around.

the "Pick n' Peek" -reviewer lifts model, peeks into it, turns it around, peeks some more.

the "half-stand and point" - reviewers assume a half-standing, half-sitting posture with the body bent and the arm and forefinger extended to indicate some interruptive point.

the "Squat n' Squint" -reviewer squats down to view the model from eye level, squinting with one eyebrow raised.

the "Mute Lean" -reviewer leans back in chair with hand placed thoughtfully on chin or over mouth, says nothing.

the "Ping-Pong" -reviewer looks back and forth between project and boards or student and boards quickly and regularly. A variant is the up-and-down.

These may be too much of in-jokes, but anyone who'se ever been in architecture school will immediately recognize these. My last day at this job will be next Tuesday.

May 1, 2006

economic and non-innovative

Review went as expected, athough the head of the department was a no-show (so sorry, S----). They told me everything I knew: good economy and thoughtfullness of construction and materials, an economy of gestures, very feasable, but totally lacking in openness to the outside and completely non-innovative in my structure. I had probably one of the best reviews in the class according to my classmates. Flipping through my notebook, I tried to discern where the project began to die. I'm not going to go into it now, its too soon after the review and I need some distance before I really get into the plus/deltas. All in all, I'd say this entire 8 week project has been a failed opportunity.

Is it pride to be dissatisfied with my project, while others regard it as superior to thier own? It is wrong to have your ego such that you hold yourself to a higher standard? Or to assume that you hold yourself to a higher standard?

I finished my model last night at 2 am and got 4.5 hours of sleep. Felt fine after popping a chocolate covered expresso bean. We have our final exam in history in three days, so I'm going to study tonight.

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...