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February 24, 2008

Reading Discussions 9-10

---9 The Image
by Kenneth E. Boulding

Key Words:
1. Message
2. Knowledge

Messages are constantly being sent to us. They are everything that we can sense and perceive. They are what changes our image. Some may be nominal and not make a dent in our image of the world, some may have small effects, and some completely change the image we see. Messages can clarify an image or make it more unclear. The image that results can help our knowledge grow.

Discussion Questions:
1. Boulding says, "We do not perceive our sense data raw; they are mediated through a highly learned process of interpretation and acceptance" (14). What influences our senses? How does this differ from person to person? How does it effect our messages and therefore image of the world?

2. I was really interested in her point about everyone assuming that the world they are in is the same others assume they are in. I think we get that everyone has a different view of life and see things in different ways, but it is crazy to think that the room I walk into could look completely different to someone else and we have no way of knowing exactly how other people perceive things. How can we, as designers, use this as a tool?


---10 Mr. Palomar
by Italo Calvino

Key Words:
1. Awareness
2. Perception

Calvino discussed through Mr. Palomar the perception and awareness that becomes complicated as we try to look at it. Mr. Palomar tried to look at a single wave, but could not do it as the one wave was connected to so many other things.

Discussion Questions:
1. I think we've all had our moments where we just stare at something- we isolate one object from the rest of the world. Sometimes this is in examination and contemplation of the object and other times it is just to stare. What is the difference? Where does meaningfully isolating something get you? What is the point of reflection?

2. Calvino says, "the sword exists only because he is there." What does it mean for something to exist?

February 22, 2008

I'm freeeee

"If you were completely released from the constraints of the 'architecture school' program, what would you do architecturally, artistically, bodily, lyrically, etc that would still have an impact on your environment. Describe a real or imagined place which might allow you to do this. Explore through images and text."

There are so many paths my life could take without architecture school.

I think I am interested in too much for my own good. But what I would do would have to do with something that makes me really happy. What makes me really happy?

1. Coloring with my set of 50 crayola markers (12 of which are "silly scented"- the best invention ever).

2. Finding new music. Listening obsessively.

3. Making music (yes, I am in a "band" called the Raindeer Bot Clothing Exchange. Basically, my friend and I mess around with garage band with a mix of joke songs and some pretty cool covers. My friend at Reed College is going to play us on his radio show!!! HA I find it hilarious that my voice will be on the radio ever, as I am not a singer by any means.)
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4. Going to concerts. This is NOT wasting my money, I swear... There is something spiritual about live music.
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5. Taking photos/ figuring out how to work my camera.
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6. Kids. In small doses.

7. Eating. Mostly ethnic food. My brother-in-law is Sri Lankan. He is also an excellent cook. I am obsessed.

8. Being outside. Walking. Watching the leaves change. Staring at the river. Camping. Being sustainable.
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9. Organizing. When I was young, I did not play with my toys, I organized them. By size, color, whatever. There is nothing more relaxing to me.

10. Dancing. I suck. It does not stop me.
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Okaaaaaay. That is my top 10. It doesn't answer much, but hopefully it will help me determine what I would do with my life sin escuela. I want to be passionate about whatever I do. I could be passionate about any of these things.

My mom often asks me if I want to change my major to something in music- music production or business (which I find really funny because my friend just dropped out of school and is going to McNally Smith for just that, very much against his parent's will). I don't think I would like it though. But I do think that music is in my future. But in what way?

Maybe I could plan music events. Or design venues. Or a music camp for kids. What if I turned this all into one? Ambitious, but I can do whatever I want, right? I could create a sustainable, interactive venue for people to come listen to music, dance, eat, and learn about music.

I am kind of obsessed with lyrics, so I would probably design the venue with snippets of song lyrics running along all of the walls. I think it would be cool to have the artists write some of their favorite lyrics as they play in the venue. Along with their lyrics, they could add their favorite photo or piece of art. Eventually, the walls would be covered in all kinds of unique art work. Maybe this could be a gallery as well... the possibilities are endless.

Come to think of it, i really would like to design music venues, regardless of if I am free from architecture school or not. Think of all of the perks...

February 21, 2008

A Global Partnership for Development


Goal 8: A Global Partnership for Development

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http://exposedplanet.com/images/peace-in-tibet-kid-tingri.jpg

• Develop further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory, includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction— nationally and internationally
• Address the least developed countries' special needs. This includes tariff- and quota-free access for their exports; enhanced debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries; cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction
• Address the special needs of landlocked and small island developing States
• Deal comprehensively with developing countries' debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable in the long term
• In cooperation with the developing countries, develop decentand productive work for youth
• In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
• In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies— especially information and communications technologies

If you have the opportunity to play this game of life you need to appreciate every moment. A lot of people don`t appreciate the moment until it's passed.
Kanye West

A lot of people think that Kanye West is just some arrogant rapper. He is probably the only one that could make the "you're acceptance speech should be done by now..." music stop (an act I thought to be brilliant). But really, look at this quote- he knows what's up. We are given this life, this existence. Don't mess it up by mistreating it...

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http://people.tribe.net/kachinakatrina/photos/827a9428-3bc9-41df-8c3b-b764da3c6f5c

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

Martin Luther King Jr.

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968), "Strength to Love"

Turbulence is life force. It is opportunity. Let's love turbulence and use it for change.
Ramsay Clark

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http://www.friendster.com/photos/41134960/0/765897976

Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)

change.jpg
http://peoplesdesignaward.cooperhewitt.org/2007/images/nominations/change.jpg

Playlist:

i figured out how to embed a media player!!! however, as many of them are obscure and random, the website did not have everything i wanted. i'll keep trying to get them up...


1. First Breath After Coma- Explosions In The Sky [The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place] This song is purely instrumental. It makes me happy. This is what I listen to as I am walking through campus feeling pretty optimistic about life. Somehow, every time I listen to it, I notice things: the bike tracks in the snow, the sun reflecting on the trees, the way in which people walk. It makes you think.

2. Where Do The Children Play?- Cat Stevens [Footsteps In The Dark]
Society is changing and we have to make sure that it is in the best possible way, that our children still have somewhere to play.

3. When The Night Feels My Song- Bedouin Soundclash [Sounding a Mosaic]

Just a song of hope- hope for change, for better days.

4. What I'm Fighting For - Matisyahu [Youth]
"What I'm fighting for is a chance to unite the past."

5. Section 11 (We Sound Amazed)- The Polyphonic Spree [Together We're Heavy]
"Take the time to find the world another way" Let's find another solution. Look at things in a different way.

6. I Like Giants- Kimya Dawson [Remember That I Love You]

7. Everyone's A V.I.P. To Someone- The Go! Team [Thunder, Lightning, Strike]
The song title says it all, we all matter.

8. Carry You- Dispatch [Who Are We Living For?]

9. Honor And Harmony- G. Love & Special Sauce [Thicker Than Water Soundtrack]

10. Ballad Of Paul And Sheila- Mason Jennings [Use Your Voice]
I think a big part of uniting and developing is looking up to the idealists that have come before us. Look at what they have started, and strive to finish what they began. Mason Jennings sings, "Hey senator, I'm gonna do, everything I can to live my life more like you did..." Paul Wellstone was a man with high aspirations. We can look at his legacy as inspiration for making this life better.

11. Purpose- Cloud Cult [The Meaning Of 8]

"There must be healing here, cause everybody here has been damaged." We all know pain, we all have purpose. Let's use that for something great.

12. Gunship Politico- State Radio [Us Against The Crown]

13. We Are One- The Matches [A Band In Hope]
Okay, I'm not going to lie, this album isn't out yet, so unless you search for it, you probably won't be able to hear it. But these lyrics have great meaning; in the background, they chant, "if you're not the change you want to see, who will be?" The chorus goes, "When we are loud, we are one, when we are one, we are more." We can do so much more working together.

14. Always Love- Nada Surf [The Weight Is A Gift]
"Hate will get you every time."

15. Heard the World- O.A.R. [Stories Of A Stranger]

February 17, 2008

Reading Discussions 7-8

---Reading 7
The Profession and Discipline of Architecture: Practice and Education
by Stanford Anderson

Key words:
1. Profession
2. Discipline

Anderson discusses the difference between the profession and the discipline of architecture. The difference is that the profession “brings something into being? whereas the discipline is “a collective body of knowledge that is unique to architecture.?

He explains that the two intersect and are partially coincident.

Discussion Questions:
1. Anderson says, “schools of architecture have a responsibility to sustain and advance this distinction? that the field of architecture is distinct from other activities, meaning that architects must know a broad range of knowledge. How do you feel we as students can obtain that overall body of knowledge? How is the U of M helping us in that way?
2. How have you seen profession and discipline intersect, both in architecture and in other professions?

---Reading 8
All You Ever Needed to Know You Learned in…
1000 words for design students

by Allan Chochinov

Key words:
1. Work
2. Opportunities

Chochinov’s point is really that you have to work extremely hard to make it in the field of design. You pay dearly to go to school, so make the most out of it. I really when he talked about how professors are working for us, so we should take advantage of getting to know them and getting the best education possible out of them. Outside of the classroom, you also have to work really hard at expanding your mind, taking advantage of your surroundings and peers. Make connections and take any job possible. He does not specifically say anything about opportunities, but overall this is his advice- to take all possible opportunities (getting off campus, auditing classes, taking jobs, etc.) and running with them.

Discussion Questions:
1. How much of this do we actually do? Think of a few ways to follow Chochinov’s advice more effectively.
2. Would you really take any job?

February 12, 2008

Day ONE

Confession: I am a dork. Since eighth grade, I have been obsessed with college books. You know, the thousand page long books that describe all the statistics and demographics of each and every college in the United States and parts of Canada. The process of applying and getting into college intrigues me. After applying to ten schools (despite the fact that I knew I wanted to go to the University of Minnesota since freshman year), I probably knew more about the process than my fresh out of college guidance counselor.

It is appropriate, therefore, that this semester I decided to depart from my normal volunteer position of a elementary school tutor and enter the world of career center volunteer.

Last semester I worked at the Plymouth Christian Youth Center. I love tutoring and I love kids, but after five years of pretty solid volunteering in elementary schools, I felt it was time for a change. Achieve! seemed like the perfect organization for me. After applying, I was accepted for my first choice school, South High School.

Earlier today I had my first day their. I set up training with Anne Erickson (coordinator of the Achieve! Career center at South High School) and Alison Criss (volunteer coordinator for the Achieve! program). I left about 40 minutes early to get there because I didn't know exactly how to get there. This actually turned out to be okay because I JUST missed the light rail. I sat around for ten more minutes, listening to Girl Talk. Loudly. And dancing to myself. Embarrassingly. It was great.

I quickly found the school when I got off the light rail and was interested in how different the atmosphere of the school was from my high school. It is a bit smaller than my school, but felt so huge. As I walked up to the career center door, Anne opened the door and greeted my by name. I knew right away that I was really welcome there.

Alison walked me through what the career center is all about, which I am familiar with from my own high school. She explained that I would really just be helping students out with whatever needs they came in with it- be it help writing college essays, figuring out what they want to do with their life, or how to get scholarships.

After going through some paperwork and learning the basics, I explored on the websites available to the kids. They had all of those fun career tests that ask you questions and then tell you what types of professions you should be working in. And guess what? I BELONG TO ARCHITECTURE! It is always great to see some short quiz confirm that what you want to do with your life actually fits your personality.

As I was selfishly sitting on the computer getting excited about my own career, a few kids were coming in and out. Most of them were just working on papers or on the computers. Finally one girl came in I could help. She needed help with a college essay. It was fun for me to sit down and look over what she had. I just kept thinking back to everything my teachers told me about what college admissions officers hate to read and what they are looking for. It was hard for me not to get so excited and try to write it for her. But I think I did pretty well at asking questions to push her own development of ideas rather than giving them to her. I hope I gave her good advice...

I also hope that the time I spend there in the future will be just as useful. I look forward to next week.

February 10, 2008

happy hippo

the name of my blog- "you'd best learn to live while you're alive"

yes, it is corny. very corny.
then again, i would say i am as well.

but it comes from lyrics from my favorite band, cloud cult. they are a local band, and in my opinion the best local band. trust me, i was very disappointed when they only came in at number 22 on the top 89 of 2008 on the current. they are holistically the greatest band i know. their lyrics are meaningful. their sound is unique. their commitment to environmental causes is unheard of as artists. their live performance is phenomenal (lead singer craig minowa's wife connie and best friend scott west are artists that paint on stage as cloud cult performs. the art work is auctioned off at the end of the show and the proceeds go to a charity supporting child medical research- as craig and connie's son died mysteriously when he was three years old. one day, i will buy one of these paintings).

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this particular lyric is from the song "happy hippo" on their 2005 album advice from the happy hippopotamus.

"hey hey, my my,
you'd best learn to live while you're a alive
all you've got is what it gave you
and it can take it way
my my, hey hey
hey hey, my my
you'd best learn to live while you're alive
It's better to burn out than to fade away
my my, hey hey "

this song is about living your life while you have it. don't waste what is in front of you. do something with it or it will crumble away.

this concept is interesting. i was at a concert the other night and one of the openers played a song about how they don't want to burn out, they want to fade away. i was taken aback. why would you want to fade away? what is the point of half assing everything for a long period of time? live it out now. this is the time to live.

check out cloud cult. they are releasing their sixth album on april 8th. that night, there will be a free acoustic cd release show at the electric fetus. then they will be back to first ave on april 26th.

http://www.cloudcult.com/

Minneapolis Public Library

The Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery is a great organization out of Golden Valley working to reduce child abuse and neglect through providing services for parents in crisis. Their goal is to strengthen families and communities. After volunteering at the Nursery for a few months, a friend of mine became very interested in the seemingly low literacy rate of the children she was working with. She wondered if her shock was a result of growing up with very educated parents in a wealthy neighborhood or if she was just unaware of how illiterate our society was. In response, she devoted a semester to learning about childhood literacy and presented her research to the student body. She opened our eyes to the low level of literacy in many adults and what that means for their children. One major problem that stuck in my head was the number of children that do not own books. If kids don’t have books to read, how are they going to learn? Especially when their families are not in a state to be able to help them.

This problem sparked the “Read to Succeed: Tonka Students for Childhood Literacy? program. Throughout the first year, my friend collected almost thousands of books to put in the hands of children passing through the Crisis Nursery. The hope was that with these books, the children would be inspired to read and break the illiteracy cycle.

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The next best thing to children owning books is going to the library and renting books. The libraries are public facilities that every child should be familiar with, right? They should be available to everyone. But the truth is that in the past few years, keeping libraries open and usable in Minneapolis has been very difficult. Ridiculous budget cuts meant fewer hours. Then fewer employees. And in 2006, it meant fewer branches. Unfortunately, many of the 15 branches of Minneapolis Public Libraries were closed. Others were cut down to a few hours a day or only a few days a week. These limits make it so much harder for kids to get to the libraries, especially the ones that need to be at the library. More than likely, parents will be working during the hours the libraries are open. Or the library would be too far away.
There has to be a way that libraries can stay available for all children. A way for them to get there. A surge fundraiser. A strong volunteer system that will allow more branches to stay open. A compromise on hours.

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In 2006, three budget situations were proposed with different combinations of hour changes and branch closings. The one chosen called for the closing of three branches and cutting hours dramatically at three others. The remainder of the branches would have extended hours, but only would be open Tuesday through Saturday. So what happens on Mondays? What happens to the kids that lived by the libraries that are now closed? What happens to the parents that can’t get their kids to the library in the limited hours?
There is no easy solution. And I guess I don’t know enough about the library system to give any advice. But I know that with creativity, budgets can be stretched and compromises can be reached that will provide children with the best possibility at becoming literate.

Reading Discussions 4-6

---->4 Is design political? by Jennie Winhall
Key words
1. User- According to Winhall, design is becoming something that is done
not only for the user, but also by the user. They are such a large part of
the design process that the designer is no longer the dictator.
2. Consequence- design is a political body as it results in a consequence.
Because design is a personal, social process, it effects people and
thereforehas consequence.

Discussion Questions
1. What consequences have we seen in our own designs? Should we take
responsibility for this consequence?
2. Can design ever be neutral? Are things always designed with an agenda or
program?


---->5 Design in a World of Flows by Thomas R. Fisher
Key words
1. Flow- All aspects of life must be joined and thought of holistically.
2. Responsibility- Architects must take responsibility for all aspects of
design to reconnect the flow.

Discussion Questions
1. Where do we see overlap/ flow in our education?
2. In what ways would we redesign the field of architecture to make it more
holistic?

---->6 The Redesign of Practice by Thomas R. Fisher
Key words
1. Apprenticeship- this seems like a good way for a student of architecture
to learn how to invent and create. However, I think theoretical schooling
is also necessary.
2. Redesign- Fisher feels like the system of both learning and practising
architecture must be reconstructed.

Discussion Questions
1. What would we be doing right now in a reconstructed architecture
education? What/ how would you ideally be learning?
2. What are the advantages/ disadvantages to different types of firms?

February 4, 2008

flow

Energy, flow, and transformation.

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When I think of cities, I think of skyscrapers and bright lights and traffic and movement. The idea of city to me is like a ball of energy. Constant movement drives the city and the people that walk through it every day.

It seems that every major city is centered around a body of water. Duluth is centered around Lake Superior. Minneapolis around the Mississippi River. Chicago around Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. New Orleans around the Gulf of Mexico. New York City around the Atlantic Ocean. The list goes on and on. Water embodies all of the qualities of movement and life and energy. Water flows from one place to the next in all ways. The water flow can be calm, harsh, fast, slow, rough, and so on. The flow changes with the weather, the time of day, and the season. The flow of the water can carry objects a short distance or across country. The flow of water can connect places with completely different world views or even geography. The flow of water connects everything.

So it seems appropriate that the water that epitomizes the word 'flow' would create a basis for the structure of our cities. Take Chicago, for example. I was recently in the city and observed what an influence the bodies of water had on the expansion of the city. As the city broadened over the river, bridges were built. Every few blocks, a bridge runs across the river creating unison and flow between two sections of one city. Suddenly everything and everyone is connected.

The ability of transportation systems to connect the flow of cities also strikes me. The movement of a mass vehicle system, such as subways, connects each area of a city. The rich and the poor, the liberal and conservative, the financial and commercial suddenly become one.