4 de Mayo 2008

Term Project Presentations Response

The term project presentations facilitated self-reflection on how selfish of a person I really am—selfish of having grown up in a loving, supportive family, selfish of living in a safe, well-off community, selfish of having the opportunity to have a great education, selfish of wasting our earth’s quickly depleting resources, and selfish of having good health. One could say having all these things is not selfish, rather a blessing, but I abuse these blessings. I admit, at times my personality reflects the type of person who sulks in self-pity over my so-called problems—issues such as stress from school, unappreciative boyfriends, friends, and family, and the inability to like what I see oftentimes when I look into the mirror. And the way I deal with my problems is even more selfish—I’ve freaked out at people, abused medication, been bulimic, and had suicidal thoughts. But really who doesn’t have problems. And outside of my bubble of ignorance to the world around me, people have much bigger problems.

Which brings me to the two presentations I chose to reflect on: Goal 6 – Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases and Goal 4 – Reduce child mortality.


[BLOG 8]

[Goal 6 – Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria & other diseases]
[Section presentation – Friday, May 3, 2oo8]

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[South Africa]
[Corporation → market shift or funded initiative]

I thought the section presentation on combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases was both informative and aesthetically pleasing. Sadly, South Africa is the hub of one of the most severe AIDS epidemic in the world, making it appropriate for the goal’s region. Likewise, the realm of response was appropriate because corporations are essential to reform in areas with a weak infrastructure. Though I was aware of the HIV/AIDS epidemic prior to the presentation, I did not know much about the epidemic and culture in South Africa. According to the presentation, the UN declared combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases a millennium goal because 33.2 million people are infected with AIDS, and AIDS is preventable to some extent. In South Africa alone, 5 million people have AIDS which equates to 10% of the population. Contributing factors to the epidemic in South Africa include rape, cultural/ethnic barriers, political opposition, conspiracy theories, social stigma, and ignorance. The group further broke down the contributing factors stemming from culture into polygamy, sexual cleansing, and traditional healing. As a response, the group turned to corporations because they have a financial advantage over the government. Current problems which need to be corrected within corporations are misinformation or lack of information about AIDS in the workforce and miscommunication between management and employees. The presentation also covered a specific response by corporations to resolve the current epidemic—the ABC education strategy which promotes absence before marriage and condoms. As evident by the information stated above, the group provided a rich background of the issue and an appropriate response. I believe that major corporations have the responsibility to serve humanity—“with great power comes great responsibility?—and I respect those corporations who acknowledge that responsibility.

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[BLOG 9]

[Goal 4 – Reduce child mortality]
[Honors presentation – Thursday, May 2, 2oo8]

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[Sierra Leone]
[Corporation → market shift or funded initiative]

According to “U.N.: Child mortality highest in Sierra Leone: Under-5 death rate reduced by 23 percent worldwide since 1990? by MSNBC on January 22, 2008, as of 2006, “Sierra Leone had the highest child mortality rate, with 270 deaths per 1,000 births? and “a newborn in Sierra Leone has the lowest chance in the world of surviving until age 5.? This disheartening statistic makes Sierra Leone an appropriate region for the millennium development goal to reduce child mortality. And akin to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, corporations have the advantage over government to initiate change so a corporate realm of response was again appropriate for the goal. However unlike the section presentation on HIV/AIDS, this presentation’s call to pathos through images rather than startling statistics drew my attention. The group did a great job presenting the information; however, I believe more emphasis was placed on the images—“a picture is worth a thousand words.? I think this emphasis was further reinstated in the YouTube video the group made which displayed images and quotes rather than statistics to music. The YouTube video was successful in reaching out to the viewer’s emotions because they showed a series of pictures of happy, healthy children to an upbeat tune with children laughing in the background. Then with the removal of the laughter and a change in music, a series of images are shown of children with completely emaciated bodies, tattered clothes, boils on their skin, and who are helpless or are receiving minimal medical care. The group talked about the weak infrastructure and poor resources of the Sierra Leone government and inhumane military tactics. I honestly cannot even begin to grasp how horrible it would be to have my entire family shot to disconnect all emotional ties or to watch a soldier mercilessly chop off another person’s limbs. The group also touched on the movie Blood Diamond which is based on the corruption and tragedy surrounding conflict diamonds and child soldiers in Sierra Leone. I think I could relate more to the presentation after they mentioned Blood Diamond because I have seen the movie, and for me it was one of those movies that I just really connected to and which made me both sick and sad. Another strong point of the group was their knowledge of the different organizations currently helping reduce child mortality rates. A few organizations they mentioned were UNICEF, currently the largest organization helping Sierra Leone, Feed My Starving Children, an organization which we as residents in Minneapolis, MN, could help by bagging food for an hour or so, and Nothingbutnets.net, an organization which gives people the opportunity to donate a mosquito net for $10 to reduce the risk of malaria. I also think by choosing these organizations to talk about, the group presenting on this goal made the issue attainable for each individual in the audience to respond to which I thought was great.

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"U.N.: Child Mortality Highest in Sierra Leone: Under-5 Death Rate Reduced by 23 Percent Worldwide Since 1990." MSNBC. 22 Jan. 2008. 4 May 2008 .

28 de Abril 2008

Community Service Highlights

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“As with all children, the feeling that I was useful was perhaps the greatest joy I experienced.?
-Eleanor Roosevelt


Imagine a 3 year-old boy, about 3 feet tall, clad in flip flops, shorts, and a T-shirt, a big grin across his face, running at you with apple flavored Fig Newtons smeared all over his face, mouth, and hands, trying to give you a hug. For me, it is moments like these that let me know that my involvement in the community really is meaningful.

People become involved in their communities for many different reasons—for a sense of giving back to their community, self-accomplishment, cultural diversity, improving and learning new skills, and an overall love of people. Although Architecture 1701 has a mandatory service requirement, I believe in giving back to the community and providing love and support to those in need and felt as though CommonBond Communities allowed me to do just that.

Through CommonBond Communities at Skyline Tower as a Pre-K Literacy Group volunteer, I was given the opportunity to not only work in a fun, welcoming environment, but also to learn about other cultures, improve my communication skills, and help the cutest 3 year-old kids learn the English alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, and words.

A typical afternoon at the Pre-K Literacy Group consisted of a series of educational games and activities. The program, running from 2 to 3 pm, usually began with playing with alphabetical blocks with the kids, followed by stamping the alphabet into Play-Doh with oversized rubber stamps or practicing writing the alphabet. Next, we completed the tasks on the “Everyday Board,? a white board covered by a magnetic alphabet, pictures of the primary and secondary colors and shapes, and a written set of letters and numbers which the kids were told to recite. Unlike kids’ usual lack of attention span, the kids were actually really engaged and excited to learn. Following the “Everyday Board? the kids picked out books for us to read on the oversized pillows and beanbags, and the hour ended with cleaning up the room and singing and dancing to songs such as “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.?

Although the everyday activities are educational and fun, the most enjoyable afternoon of my experience at Skyline Tower was the day we went outside and played on the playground with the kids. We brought out boxes of colored chalk and drew pictures and hopscotch on the blacktop. After one boy noticed the swings and made a run for them, the other kids noticed them, too, and followed him over there. We each took turns swinging the kids and tried teaching them how to pump their legs. Next, the kids took to the playset—climbing on the bars, sliding down the poles, twisting down the slide, and playing hide-and-seek. As I mentioned earlier, the best part of the day, in addition to the sunny weather, was the kids running around with the apple flavored Fig Newtons that we handed out to them smashed all over their faces, mouths, and hands. It was great to see how appreciative and happy the kids were of a simple snack.

I love working with kids, and I felt the Pre-K Literacy Group was a perfect match for me. The kids really took to the volunteers and looked up to us as role models. In addition to exposing me to other people and cultures, Skyline Tower allowed me the opportunity to teach appreciative and willing 3 year-olds how to read and write, a skill most kids take for granted. I really did enjoy teaching and playing with the kids, and I will definitely recommend volunteering at CommonBond Communities to other students, as well as, taking service-learning courses.

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28 de Marzo 2008

Possible Title Pages

So I could not figure out how to upload word documents, so I just took pictures of my word documents haha oh well. :)

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15 de Marzo 2008

Research Project Presentation

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So I completely forgot until now to do this blog! Ah! I've been really sick and unfortunately really busy! So sorry!

As far as presentation options go, I'd probably say our group will chose a portfolio. This way our group can include images and texts in a creative, yet still professional sense. Another option may possible be a movie. I know Namdi really liked the idea and then we could show the different commericals of BP and Chevron showing their shift from we don't really care about the environment at all because we are making loads of money to we care o so much about the environment and always have.

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7 de Marzo 2008

The Built Environment

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"The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization" -Frank Lloyd Wright

The built environment inspires awe and wonder of the creativity and mathematical advancements of human nature. It represents cultural differences of ideas and traditions. It creates edges and borders, the end of a city, the beginning of a farm town. It differentiates civilizations, countries, cities, towns, and individuals. It portrays time and allows each generation to leave its imprint.

So how have could something so seemingly large and intangible possibly mold the person I have become and still am becoming? Well, the built environment has influenced me enough to want to leave my personal imprint on it, and I am writing a blog for architecture class right now, am I not? For one thing, the built environment present throughout my life of Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, suburbia has scared me enough into broadening my horizons in fear of living in a pseudo Victorian-style house with pseudo shudders, pseudo stone finish, pseudo lawn, pseudo topiaries, and conversing with pseudo neighbors and friends while trying to maintain a pseudo marriage with my pseudo breasts and pseudo tan. AH! But on a more serious note, the built environment has influenced me as a person. For example, the architecture and environment of the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities campus and surrounding areas heavily influenced my decision to further my education here instead of the University of Wisconsin- Madison, the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, and the University of Illinois- Urbana-Champagne (all of which I was accepted to and debating between this past year). The proximity and complexity of the built environment of a metropolis versus a farm community has molded and continues to mold my desire to live in a big city. The charm and flavor of European culture has ignited my love of travel and foreign culture, especially Spanish culture.

And I am not only inspired by the built environment of the present, but of the past and future, as well. I am fascinated by the history and development of ancient civilizations and countries, such as the varying architecture between the Mayan civilization and the Roman Empire. And, as mentioned earlier, I have this aggressive desire to leave my imprint on the future of our built environment, whether big or small.

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Central pivot irrigation in Southwest, U.S.

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Minneapolis Skyline

So I pretty much loathe and have a few choice words for movabletype software because IT JUST ERASED EVERYTHING I JUST WROTE! The following blog entry is actually a redo of everything I JUST WROTE! Why the *%@# do they not have an undo button! What genius deceided to exclude that!?

29 de Febrero 2008

Freedom

If I were released from the constraints of school...

I would go find me a rich man, design a big ol' house and crank out some kids! Just kidding.

No, really, if I didn't have to go to school I would travel. Africa, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, the Southern part of the United States, you name it, I would go there. From the food to the people, I love soaking in the scenery and culture of new places. And one culture in particular I would love to completely immerse myself in is the Spanish culture. I love speaking spanish. (For those of you who do not speak Spanish, my blog name is actually a combination of two spanish words dichosa and artistica meaning happiness and artistic, respectively.) I would love to learn how to dance the tango and the flamenco. And I love Spanish food (Yes, I love Taco Bell, but authentic Spanish food, too). As far as leaving an impact on the world, I would want to be a translator for immigrants to the United States and design affordable housing for them.

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22 de Febrero 2008

Think Green

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"My best Acquaintances are those
With Whom I spoke no Word—
The Stars that stated come to Town
Esteemed Me never rude
Although to their Celestial Call
I failed to make reply—
My constant—reverential Face
Sufficient Courtesy."
-Emily Dickinson

I'll admit, growing up I was a product of Suburbia Americana. My community growing up was Cedarburg in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, one of the richest counties in the United States. In my high school almost every student had a car, almost every girl had a coach bag, and their idea of diversity was having five African-American students throughout the entire school. My idea of community service prior to coming to the U was trying to convince fourth and fifth grade brats at the YMCA to put down their Ipods and cell phones and come outside to play soccer or dodge ball and trying to tutor a freshman in high school in algebra who never showed up because he didn't think grades or my time were important. And the subject of global warming? Well, that was never really brought up. It's just plain easier to drive around in SUVs and throw away aluminum cans, bottles, and newspaper.

My first encounter with any regard to the environment was the summer after my sophomore year of high school when I took an 18-day marine biology course in Hawaii through the science club at my high school. We stayed on the big island of Hawaii for most of the trip which is the island least developed and least overwhelmed by tourists. My teacher, Mr. Zellner (who I love and believe should not have been fired for having porn on his computer-- to all those far right-winged men who investigated and fired him, I bet you all have porn on your computer) had taken many groups of students to Hawaii for the course and knew many of the natives there. Knowing the natives is key to having a trip centered around the environment-- we visited Volcanoes National Park where I was literally 10 ft away from oozing lava, snorkeled with the most beautiful fish, observed the wildlife in tide pools, scuba dived with manterays and eels during the day and night (the night day was especially cool), and visited many interesting parks and homes. Through this experience I learned about several endangered species of marine life and the effects of humans on the marine life environment, which made me wonder the effects of humans on all forms of life, not just marine life. This experience was quite eye opening.

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Beautiful waterfall in Hawaii

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I was only a few yards away from this lava!

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Observatory in Hawaii


Coming to the U was also very eye opening. Senior year of high school I was sooo ready to leave suburbia, ready to see the world... of the Twin Cities (hey, its a start). Before coming to the U, as I mentioned, I was not very well endowed about the environment. Design Fundamentals 1, however, changed that. The "Think Green" aspect of the class was very interesting and my service-learning at Skyline, as well. Also, coming to the U I have no car, so I learned about the value of public transportation and my good ol' legs. I used to be one of those sorry people who three away their cans and bottles and now I'm picking the cans out of my roommates garbage to recycle and hounding my friends about not buying disposable cups for their coffee. And last night my friend came into my room and cut up plastic rings in front of me so I could observe her green efforts.

Sure, this may not seem like a lot of effort, but experiences here have certainly changed me forever.

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There must be a reason why some people can afford to live well. They must have worked for it. I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use." -Mother Teresa

"The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration." -Claude Monet

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Playlist:
"A Day in the Life" -The Beatles
"Piggies" -The Beatles
"Don't Go Near the Water" -Beach Boys
"Godzilla" -Blue Oyster Cult
"Soul Meets Body" -Death Cab for Cutie
"The 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) -Jack Johnson
"Waiting on the World to Change" -John Mayer
"Big Yellow Taxi" -Joni Mitchell
"Somewhere Only We Know" -Keane
"What a Wonderful World" -Louis Armstrong
"Raindrops" -Regina Spektor


"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Mahatma Gandhi

15 de Febrero 2008

Dying to Be Thin

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Imagine you are cleaning the toilet on a typical Saturday morning. But as you are pouring the Clorox into the bowl you notice what seems to be dried spaghetti noodles and Ragú sauce under the rim. The irregularity fazes you, but you do not think anything of it. Later that week, your teenage sister manages to make time to eat dinner with the family. She eats the amount of food she would typically eat at dinner then excuses herself to the bathroom. Normal, right? Ten minutes later she returns to the table and fills up her plate again with lasagna and garlic bread. She must be especially hungry today, a hard day at soccer practice. And then she fills up her plate again. Okay maybe she did not eat lunch today, she was probably getting help from a teacher. She excuses herself from the dinner table again, saying she has a lot of homework to do. An hour later as you are cleaning up the kitchen she again returns. After scanning the pantry, then the fridge, she pulls out a frozen pizza and a gallon of ice cream. While waiting for the pizza to cook, she makes herself a sundae. She leaves for a bit then returns to take out the pizza and without even waiting for it to cool, she eats the entire pizza.

The next morning your sister says she is sick and stays home. At the time her intentions seem innocent, but over time this becomes a weekly occurrence, then daily. A few months later, you hear what seems like someone throwing up in the bathroom, but you cannot really tell because the water is running. A few minutes later your sister, startled to see you standing there, comes out of the bathroom. Her eyes are bloodshot, her hair is tangled, and her face is blotchy as if she had been crying. You ask her if she is ok and she replies, “I’m fine? in a harsh, annoyed tone. You want to question her more, but you do not.

Welcome to the uncomfortable realm of bulimia nervosa. In a society literally dying to be thin, turning the other cheek when it comes to eating disorders has become normal. Relatives and friends often believe if they ignore the problem it will eventually dissolve. No healthy individual would want to believe their friend, sister, daughter, even brother is so mentally bruised he or she is making his/herself suffer from a seriously life-threatening disease. However, ignoring the fact that your loved one is suffering from an eating disorder is wrong, very wrong. If untreated and allowed to develop, bulimia becomes a way of life, and certainly an unhealthy way of life. Malnutrition, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, hyponatremia, refeeding syndrome, muscle atrophy, paralysis, tearing of esophagus, gastric rupture, gastrointestinal bleeding, esophageal reflux, insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome, hyperactivity, swelling, callused or bruised fingers, hair loss, hypotension, hypertension, diabetes, anemia, kidney failure, osteoporosis, arthritis, TMJ, easily bruising skin, dental problems, gum disease, liver failure, infertility, ulcers, lung collapse, internal bleeding, stroke, heart attack, cancer: if the physical byproducts of bulimia do not convince you of its detriment, consider the psychological problems such as depression and suicide. You might as well ask your loved one to pick out his or her casket and burial plot.

College, a combination of sleep deprivation, stress, and a constant avoidance of the food pyramid, can be an especially hard time for individuals struggling with eating disorders. Finding the time and place can be additionaly daunting, therefore having a research and treatment center on campus would be ideal. Since the 1970s, the University of Minnesota School of Psychiatry has been treating patients here at the U. I strongly support its continuation of research and treatment options for students with eating disorders for years to come. The pressures of college are overwhelming enough for some students that I believe if they had to seek treatment off of campus they would lose hope.

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8 de Febrero 2008

Graffiti in Motion

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"Movement, change, light, growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that I try to tap through my work. I need the shock of touch, the resistance of place, materials and weather, the earth as my source. Nature is in a state of change and that change is the key to understanding. I want my art to be sensitive and alert to changes in material, season and weather. Each work grows, stays, decays. Process and decay are implicit. Transience in my work reflects what I find in nature."
-Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy, British artist, photographer, and environmentalist, creates sculptures using the nature indiginous to a particular environment- leaves, stone, icicles, twigs, mud, and snow. Fascinated by the processes of nature, Goldsworthy portrays growth, tension, fluidity, and energy through his sculptures. He does not think the landscape needs him, rather he needs it. Immersing himself in nature centers him... defines him. Most people would call him crazy-- devoid of any "real" profession, he goes out into nature making sculptures in a cold climate with his bare hands that oftentimes fall apart or are carried away by the tide. But aren't we all a little crazy in our own ways?

Similarly, graffiti artists create art influenced by their environment. Viewed as vandals, graffiti artists go against social standards to portray energy and tension present in their urban environments. Like the nature Goldsworthy uses, graffiti artists create with spraypaint, a product of the urban environment- cheap and oftentimes used as a drug. And graffit artists, too, are attached to their environment. Emotionally impacted by aspects of the city ranging from gang violence to diversity, graffiti artists portray sadness, hatred, poverty, and a need for peace and acceptance.

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