Apr 30, 2007


Saturday morning, I watched some of the thesis presentations given by the masters students, which was cool because we'd gotten to know many of them on the Buenos Aires trip. Saturday afternoon, I got a text inviting me to Four Peaks Brewery because Claudio and Sergio were planning on going. So Saori and Sal and I head over and we meet a bunch of masters students and we drink for a bit. Adam, Chris, and Jake also come but ran into a problem because Adam lost his wallet and his passport is currently in the system to have pages added. Anyway, after Four Peaks, we went to Trax near my apartment and drank a little more. More friends joined us and finally Saori and I left a little after midnight.

That night I slept very poorly since it was so hot in the room. My roommate and I are competing with the elements to see how long we can hold out without turning on the A/C. When I woke up drenched in sweat in the morning, I realized that the room wasn't that hot, but I was. I had a low grade fever, swollen tonsils, and ached all over. Must have had something in the works that the alcohol lowered my defenses enough for it to take over. Aspirin helps some. Sunday I spent the day at home, mostly watching dvds in bed. Saori has been taking care of me, picking up food and checking up on me. Today I'm working at home on our final presentation for sketching tonight. If I still feel this bad tomorrow, I'll make an appointment to go see a doctor.

In other news, I got a haircut. It turned out a lot shorter than I was expecting.

Apr 26, 2007

A Mediocre End to a Mediocre Semester

Final review today. Jury loved my design, hated my presentation. I didn't rehearse, too much to show, not enough organization. They ripped my presentation and boards apart, and the people who had been at my last review asked all about things I didn't mention that they'd liked. In short, it was a colossal failure of communication. My studio teacher jumped in to present part of my project, and the jury was so eager to understand my proposal they asked me to take more time to present it more. I had suggested placing a giant map of Phoenix on the floor, and my professor called it a brilliant idea. She also took my idea of putting blown up images around the outside of the display. I sat there, looking at a poster and a computer fly-through and I realized I was done with architecture studio. That's how it ended.

I'm tired. Last night after pinning up the posters downstairs a friend criticized the fact that I really hadn't touched the grain silos rather than putting a cafe on top. He sparked an idea, and so I had to spend the next six hours creating a seven-floor apartment building around the back side of the silos. I'm glad I did it, but I still got only a few hours of sleep last night.

At least it will look good in my portfolio.

Apr 16, 2007

Military Intel

Shawn Beaird, another architecture student I went to Buenos Aires with, has started his own blog about his army tour of duty in Afghanistan. It's an interesting insight to the whole process.
You can read it at http://www.shawnbeaird.com/blog.html
It's pretty crazy when you think about the fact that Afghanistan is only about a two hour flight from balmy, ritzy Abu Dhabi.

Apr 15, 2007

So It Goes

Friday night, Saori and I went to un Asado with a bunch of the people from the Buenos Aires trip. The asado party was hosted by Chris and his roommates, fourth years, but dismayingly, only Noah showed up from the sixth years. I asked him why the other sixth years weren't there, knowing full well that as two groups we've never mixed well, and he said that some of them were wiped from working on their masters thesis, and that the others were lame.

An added bonus to the part was the arrival of Melissa, one of Jake's friends from Argentina. She's never been to the US before and she's a college student about my age, but she was apparently on the "watch list" of the US government. When she arrived in Atlanta, customs and immigration people pulled out of the line, and took her a small room where they held her for an hour, going through her luggage, asking her what she was doing in the US, and about all of her possessions. She missed her connecting flight and was so distraught by the whole interrogation that she called Jake in tears. Welcome to the United States of Paranoia.

School is flowing smoothly, while people in some other studios seem to be struggling to get on top of their projects, I feel like I'm rolling inexorably towards the finish line. I still have mixed feelings about this studio. Every studio has funds. Many of the studios used the funds to travel: to New York City, to Las Angeles, to New Orleans, and to San Diego. Our studio is going to use the funds to pay a web developer to create a flash-based website for our projects. Of course the the intensity levels too. With the city trips comes more work, harder projects, more group work, many more sleepless nights in studio, but naturally a greater accomplishment. This studio encourages the people to work at whatever level he or she wants, which is to say that if you want to only want to spend ten hours a week on studio work, that's ok. I feel very certain that as developed as my project is, I am still capable of better work. But I don't really feel that bad about it because it's still a lot of decent work, its fun, and its giving me a chance to enjoy my last semester. More time to sip lattes and read the New York Times out on the terrace of Charlie's cafe.

Systems is a breeze, human behavior is getting a bit more interesting, but still a simple 100 level class, we're on to our final project in sketching, and I'm halfway done with my sketchbook.
My sketch class deserves a word of note, we've started a project called "Flying Islands," a piece that's graphic, sculptural, and conceptual. Essentially we had to choose a character from "The Little Prince" and make an flying island for that character using a very meta-process oriented methodology (i.e. draw on a photocopy, rescan it, fold the scan into origami, rephotograph, etc). The sketch book is a blank hardbound book with about 200 sheets. We're supposed to fill it by the end of the semester, but I don't think that's going to happen. I have about a hundred sheets done (200 sketches, wow!) so I think I'm pretty close to what a normal size book is. (I grabbed the double big sketchbook by mistake). Anyway, I get to keep it when its done, and I've surprised myself at actually getting better at drawing as I've gone through the pages.

Taylor turned 18 last week, and I guess he's going to keep on getting older. It feels so strange to me, after I went to college and he went to Moscow, the time and distance really made itself felt, and he's a different person every time I see him. I suppose the same is true with me, to a certain extent, but he's really grown up overseas. Sometimes I still see glimpses of the old Taylor though, so I know that deep down its still him. He's going to be coming to ASU next semester, into the CLAS, getting a dorm, and getting a handle on this whole college thing.

There's something poetic about it, Taylor starting, and me graduating. I'll still be here for him, though. I talked to the head of personnel at work, and he was thrilled that I wanted to stay on after graduation. He's going to give me an offer next time I'm at work. I'll probably work there for about a year, travel a bit, and then go to grad school. So it goes.

Apr 8, 2007

Bad News Beaters vs. The Brawlarinas

Friday night, Saori, my roommate Sal, and some of Saori's Japanese friends all met at a sushi restaurant called Crazy Fish right off of the 101. One of Saori's friends who is in the 3+ architecture program actually works there as a sushi chef so we got to watch him preparing sushi and he served up a few rolls and nigiri sushi with some sake.

Saturday, I spent the day sleeping in and working on an addendum to my sketchbook for the sketching class. This was a book I have to print of all the work I've done on the photocopy-collage-model-sketch project. It turned out pretty well. I like where it ended up graphically. I got a call in the afternoon from Chase who was in town for Easter, and we decided to meet up. Chase had heard about a roller derby championship going on and so I said, "why not?" I'd read, a few months ago, about how Roller Derby was making a big comeback as a real competitive sport, all organized and run by women, with definate rules and regulations. Instead of the scripted battles and balls of the roller derby I'd seen on TV, this seemed to have a completely different attitude shift.

Chase and Mike Chu (another friend from high school) picked me up and we drove out to Casey at Bat, a batting cage/minigolf place which had a field hockey court that had been converted to a Roller Derby rink. We were all dressed very prepily, with nice shirts, slim jeans, and nice shoes. The first guy we see there is in a cut-off white undershirt. The patrons of the event (which also had a Budweiser beer garden) seemed to be the typical NASCAR croud, with cutoffs and sandals the norm with a bunch of people wearing their favorite team's tee shirt. It was weird.

The whole air of the event was half-ironic, half bad-ass-girls, with lots of black and pink. The event could easily have been sponsored by Industrial, and in fact, they blared lots of female indie rock like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It was a mix of the surreal, ironic, white trash, and funny. There's a certain point where the kitsch becomes cool, and real roller derby really straddles that line, rolling back and forth over it. Edgy lowbrow.

Anyway, the two teams that night were the Bad News Beaters and the Brawlarinas. The Beaters were dressed in white and blue vertical striped hotpants, with blue baseball jerseys with the team name and the roller name of each girl. The roller names were fun, with names like "Babe Ruthless," "Jessie Dahmer," and "Knockout Kniko." The Brawlarinas were dressed in black short leotards with pink tutus. They had names like "French Lyck," "Chase Enyu," and "Holly Would." They also had a sign in their team area which announced that for a $1, they would take off the tutu.

The game was confusing at first, as it appeared they were all just skating around the ring, but its actually pretty easy to understand. Body checks are still legal, although fist fighting is out of bounds (which didn't prevent several fights from breaking out.) And the girls do really get banged up out there. One of them crashed off the rink after a particularly hard blow, and she was gasping and throwing up. The announcer said, I'm not making this up, " Hey waterboy, turn around, she's not breathing." But she was ok.

The best parts of the game were the penalty wheel spins. One girl from each team would spin the wheel to land on a penalty. I saw a Radio Flyer, where the girls raced around the rink twice with a spectator riding in the wagon they pulled. There was also a Pillow Fight, an Arm Wrestle (where a spectator was picked to arm wrestle the girl), and the crowd favorite, the Pink Cheek Alley. In this penalty, all the spectators run into the inside edge of the rink, and one of the refs pull the girl around slowly so everyone can spank her.

I'm not going to become a regular, but it was a fun and interesting outing. Chase commented that blogs are really good because they encourage you to go out and do strange and interesting things instead of sitting at home watching TV.

Anyway, afterwards, we drove back to Tempe and grabbed dinner at My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, and then caught the 1100 showing of Grindhouse. If you liked the really gory parts of Kill Bill Vol. 1. Then this movie is for you. It's a double feature, with two complete movies from Tarintino and Rodriguez, plus absolutely hysterical previews from a couple of other directors. Both movies had plenty of gore tempered with humor, although Rodriguez was more action packed and bloody, while Tarintino had his trademark dialog and Kurt Russel as a crazy driver. Good times. The whole package ends up running over three hours long, so it was 2 AM before I got home.

Today, Easter Sunday, I got up at 9 and went to Sally and Jonathans for Easter Brunch, with some of Sally's family. They made my mother's egg cassarole with homemade salsa, which was delicious, and they sent me home with a big bag of jelly beans.

Happy Easter, reader.

Apr 6, 2007

Studio update

Here's a slideshow of my studio work. I added a bunch of new images of what my modules can be used for. Click on the slideshow to go to the full gallery.

studio work

Apr 3, 2007

Sketch class

Sketching class is difficult, but I'm glad I'm taking it. In a way, its the most challenging class I have right now. The sketchbook is not quite halfway done, which is incredible. I just need to keep on working on it nightly. Its a hardbound book, so I'll always have it which is cool.

The project we're working on now is an exercise in mixed media in concept exploration, especially if you have a site you don't know what to do with. We started with a photo of an alley, I didn't see any cool alleys here so I used a photo from Buenos Aires.

Then we lay a piece of tracing paper over it, and cut out pieces covering what we thought were the most significant parts of the photo. Then we outlined the cuts with pencil, and added lines where we saw them in the photo.

Next, we flipped the image to get a different reading of space, and added magazine cutouts to create a collage which described either a space or a series of spaces. We photocopied this to flatten the image.

Then we mounted this image to a board and following the lines in the images, cut and folded the board to create a "gadget," a scale model of ambiguously programed spaces where gravity was relative to every plane and there was no clear orientation. This gadget we then photographed with scale people in it.

Apr 1, 2007

Photo update

Added more photos from my adventues over the last week, including relaxing at the cafe, studio at night, hiking south mountain, and wandering around Tempe Arts Festival. Click the photo to go to the full album.

train barrier going up

overexposed me

rock hut 2

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