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When architecture comes to landscape.

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Hello everyone, this is Tony.
Since everyone is talking about their majors, and it is thanksgiving now, let's hit the pause button of the supermarket show. Today I want to talk about my current major, landscape architecture and give a quick glance of what we are doing now and might will be doing in the future.
Just to clarify some terminology here first. The major is called Landscape Architecture, which means it is the art of creating landscape, not creating a house like architecture. This is the professional degree; for undergraduate degree, which is the pre-professional degree, is called Landscape Design and Planning. I'm actually new to the program, I transferred from Journalism to LDP this summer ("From Journalism to LDP? These two have nothing in common, crazy man...") and started my LDP program this term so I can only give some limited information, but my friend, Sarah, is actually writing a blog about the LDP major, with her juicy description and funny tone, you guys can enjoy reading her blog and know more details about LDP program.
Here's her blog, please click the link until you need a new mouse, LOL:

First , why and how did I started majoring in Journalism but then transferred to LDP, which might be the biggest change in my lifetime.
Well, first of all, I'm a sort of artistic person who has some good idea, the work I would like to do is those need to have creative thinking, artistically. Then, becoming a journalist was one of my dream because a news reporter is the one who deals with something fresh, meeting with someone new everyday---I see this as a way to practice my creativity. So I decided to be a journalist, or an advertising designer. I became more passionated to the latter when I was taking my art courses. My paintings were always something new and eye-catching, visually strong enough to impressed the audiences but still had the subject matter to express the messages. I thought this was my strength to be a media designer and I still think it is, I felt I was so close to my dream, there's no barriers between me and my dream.
However, dream can always be beautiful a dream but reality can only be a cruel reality. I was rejected by the program and I still don't know why---maybe I didn't have a strong personal statement, maybe because my language skill was not good enough to be a journalism major student. Anyhow, The fact was the fact, in spite of how many major courses I've taken already or I was a junior already, so I had to find another major to graduate with a degree. I started seeking, and the rule was, something creative.
I thought about majoring in art, since I love doing art and drawing and painting were two of my favorite things to do. But I immediately rejected myself. "You can't major in something you love most, it might run out of your passion one day and you can't risk it" I kept repeating this and looking at the list of all majors in College of Design( CDes). I considered graphic design, which I felt to similar to the artwork I did for my art minor, so I quited. Then, came with Architecture, which I thought it was not fresh enough for me. I like the Chinese traditional architecture a lot and it's to learn anything about that in the United States. Eventually, I saw three words---landscape design and planning. A thought strike me right in my head---"this is what I was looking for!"So, without knowing much about this major, assuming it is about doing something new and creative because there's a "design" in the name, I became a landscape design and planning student this summer.
So, what exactly does landscape design and planning do? the name can tell some stories.
Landscape means we deal with the landscape, either change or create based on the original landscape; design and planning indicate the process, and they are different from each others. In a larger scale like a city, where does the park should be placed; in a community, where does the playground should be built, it is planning; In a smaller scale, detailed enough to each element like a single tree or a piece of brick, that's design. The priority of landscape design and planning is creating spaces, coordinating with the environment and the cultural context, people would better use the land and more efficiently . In a word, landscape architecture is the art of living.

To be more specific, I would like to show two of my work, And again, there's more in Sarah's blog.

1. Using vegetation to create the space.
This is a plan view hand drawing to show my design by using vegetation such as trees and shurbs to create space. QQ截图20121123222420.png
The trees or shurbs work as wall to limit/block people's walkable space, so that the circulation can be controlled. This is just step one, a rough plan. Then, we were asked to consider about the desity of vegetation. Heavy vegetaion can block the way, as well as the view if needed, so what's the density of the vegetation on one side and what's the density on another. What would be seen and what would be visible.
There's more, What kind of trees ore shurb would be fit in the site considering its contexts. what plants can grow together and what plants can not. What kind of aesthetical value can this type of plant create and most importantly, how these vegetation related to the way when people using the site. And there's more elements for one site to be considered when design it. Landform would be considered before vegetation, then comes structure, and the symbolism is another factor needed to be addressed, etc.
So landscape architecture is not a easy work, it is a cross-subject major, which refers to aspects such as art, architecture, hortculture, geology and many other field, and this is another reason why I really like this major---it gives me a great opportunity to explore more and more and keep learning. I'm actually really glad that I was rejected by Journalism.
People always say that, If life closes one door for you, there's always another window open, And this happened to me, which the window is much bigger than the door. I'm very excited about this and for the future, I will get my master degree to be a real landscape architect, I have a really huge dream, create a city, and to achieve that, I will work harder and harder step by step, I'm ready for this!!

The two pictures blow here are another design we make for one of the countyard on campus, Vincent Countyard. We did some huge changes based on the original plan, trying to figure out the way to encourage more people to use this countyard.
Exercise #5 Zhuo C.jpg


Hello everyone,
Last time I compared the 4 big supermarkets around U, today, I want to talk about some smaller stores that are much closer to the U, which means most of them are walkable or easier access to be reached. They are CVS, LUNDS and another one is an online grocery store which called "Gopher Grocery"
What makes LUNDS special?Well, first of all is its organic products. All fruit and vegetables in LUNDS are organic, and other product such as fishes and meat are promised to be fresh.Based on that, the price of LUNDS is higher than other supermarkets. For example, one pound of shrimp may charge $7.99 in Target while in LUNDS the price might be $11.99. However, for other common products such as Maid Minutes Orange Juice, the price is the same as other markets.
Another feature of LUNDS is the delicious food. There's a variety of food, from meat balls to signature fried chicken. and they are charged by weight, $7.99 per pound so if you are smart enough, you can get more kinds of food with less money.
As it is showed in google map, LUNDS is very close to Dinky town neighborhood.walk along the SE 4th St. LUNDS is on the left side.
In a word, because of the higher price, it might be a good idea to treat ourselves after midterm festival or when there's some bigger events.
Category: Grocery store
Price:Higher than average
Recommendation: Recommended
24/7 Open: No

I don't think it's necessary to say too much about CVS, that's the nearest one around the U---located on University Ave. near dinky town, across the street there's McDonald's.
The feature of CVS is the pharmacy. CVS does have licensed pharmacist to assistance customers to find the right medicines. But CVS doesn't have fresh food in stock.
There's another CVS in Midway shopping center area which is open 24/7. But please be aware of that it is super dangerous to go there during at late night( well it's not safe to go out at late night anywhere...)
Category:Convenient store
Price: About average
Recommendation: Recommended
24/7 Open: No for the one in Dinky town, yes for the one in Midway shopping center

Gopher Grocery
Because of the hyperborean weather in Minnesota, it is still hard to talk a 5mins walk to CVS in snow carrying heavy or big daily goods. It is said that the lazy will find the easiest way to do work, I'm lazy enough so I offer you a way I do shopping, which is an online grocery store called Gopher Grocery.
Here's the link to its webpage Gopher Grocery.
Just enter the zip code of the living area, then happy online grocery shopping starts!!
The choices vary from daily goods to fresh food. but the most amazing feature of gopher grocery is they deliver!!Just pay for $2 and they will deliver your order next day and the if the order is over $100, they deliver it for free!!
Name: Gopher Grocery
Category:Online Convenient store
Price: Average
Recommendation: Recommended
24/7: Like amazon, hah
So to sum up again, to buy super fresh chicken, go to LUNDS. Go to CVS to find fried chicken and then at home, order chicken online from gopher grocery.
Next time, I will mainly talk about the international markets for example Asian markets.
To be continued.

Hello, this is Tony's speaking.
OK, this time, I'd like to talk about 4 supermarkets the U of M student usually go, since shopping for grocery is inevitable for our daily lives.

There are 4 main big supermarket around the U, Target, Walmart, Rainbow, and Cub foods. They are big in size so there's always a wide range of selections. They all stick together located in Midway shopping center on the University Ave. in St. Paul (don't freak out, remember I've told you Minneapolis and St Paul are fairly close to each others.) Take the Bus No. 16 heading to St Paul, and these 3 supermarkets are just on the way.
Screen-shot above shows the direction from Jones Hall, U of M to Super target as well as other markets by bus.
However, the "big four" are so different from each other.
As a leading supermarket enterprise, Target can be considered as a multitask market. Its products range from daily grocery to furniture, from digital products to fresh food. Almost anything you need can be purchased in Target, especially this Super Target in Saint Paul("Can I get a car there?""Of course! and you can place it on your desk, toys are always on sale in target!!")And also this Target is the Super Target that held the Welcome Week activity "Target Run"( "Gee, it's an nightmare shopping during the target run, people were everywhere from no where""well, I got a lot of free toothpaste and it took me a year to use them up....")
There's another target located in downtown Minneapolis, which is more closer to U campus. Again, take Bus No. 16 but heading to Minneapolis downtown direction, get off the bus at Nicolet Mall stop, and take a walk to the Target market(or take bus No. 10 or 18, but it's not that far.)
Name: Target
Category: Multitask market
Price: About average
Recommendation:High recommended
24/7 open:No

Walmart is just like Target, another big supermarket featured with their cheap daily goods in a relatively low price. I bought a bike which cost me $70 while in Target it was priced $120.
But the differences from Target is Walmart doesn't have any fresh food or vegetables in stock. The more they offered are microwave food or oven food.
Category: Supermarket
Price: Relatively lower, always on sale.
Recommendation: Recommended.
24/7 Open:No

Rainbow is the first market you will see when you riding a bus on the University Ave to St Paul. Rainbow is also a supermarket but not as "multitask" as Target. Its feature is the variety of food. Fresh pork, ribs; beef, lamb, fishes, chicken; vegetables, fruits and other category of microwave food. ("Gee, there's too many, I can't choose which one to buy....")

Name: Rainbow
Category: Food market
Price: Relatively low
Recommendation: Recommended
24/7 Open: No

Cub Foods
Here comes my favorite market, Cub Foods!("I thought it's Target""I'll explain..") Cub Foods is just like Rainbow, it provides a variety of food; the difference is, it's open 24/7!!!
for night people like me, that the most attractive part! and also, the price is relatively low too!!

Name: Cub Foods
Category: Food Market
Price: Low
Recommendation: Highly recommended
24/7 Open: YES "24 Hours for saving" and they meant it!!!

To sum up:
Target---Good in general owning to its bigger scale of the company.
Walmart---Good market for cheaper grocery( and Bike!!)
Rainbow---focus on food
Cub Foods---focus on food but open 24/7!!
So, to answer the title question, buy chicken in either Target or Rainbow at day time, go Cub Foods at night, lol
Today I shared my own experience about the "big four" markets that are popular for U of M students, for next Episode, I will talk more about some smaller but still pretty nice markets!

Live long and prosper to the infinity and beyond!

To be continued...

The North Star, surprising things about Minnesota

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All the information here is from the internet, give the credits to the WWW~ Some of them are not proved yet, but they are most likely true~
So everyone, I'm Tony. As international students, there must be a reason for us to choose Minnesota for our college years. Maybe because of the relatively low tuition fee; maybe because of the high ranked major programs; Or even there's some weird reasons, for instance, I choose Minnesota because it's extremely cold in winter. (Dude, seriously?) and I'm not joking!
Don't know why choose Minnesota? Haven't thought about it? Well, let Tony tell you something about Minnesota!
1. Why named Twin Cities?
Twin cities is not one city's name, there are exactly two cities!Minneapolis and Saint Paul. They both have their own municipal governments.But why call them twin cities?Because they are really really close to each other. How close? you can take bus No. 16 from downtown Minneapolis to Downtown Saint Paul, and it takes about a hour. And also, their suburbans are more like conjoined twins---Actually there's one time I wanted to find my friends home, so I followed google map and walked, I departed from TCF stadium, when I arrived at my friends' apartment, it took me about half hour, and finally I found myself in Saint Paul already.
2. Who is the big one?
If the "big one" means which one is bigger in size, it's MInneapolis; If the "big one" means who is the capital city of Minnesota State, it's Saint Paul, even though Minneapolis is bigger in size and larger in population, Saint Paul is still in charge of the state.
Minneapolis at night.jpg

However, both cities have their own pride. For Minneapolis, its downtown has skyways connecting buildings. If we connect all skyways end to end, it would be the longest skyway in the world( about 13 km). Also, downtown Minneapolis is so beautiful especially at night, that why its nickname is "little Chicago."
As for Saint Paul, its State Capitol is the second largest unsupported marble dome, after Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Saint Paul is also the hometown of Snoopy and his father, Charles Monroe Schulz "Sparky".I was a big fan of Snoopy when I was a little boy, sadly Mr. Sparky past away in 2000, otherwise I would definitely ask an autograph from him.
Another funny thing about Saint Paul is the city's name. Saint Paul is not the original one, it's a replacement of the former name "Pig's Eye"( I prefer the former one!)
3.10000 lakes, and 1000000 mosquitos!!
Actually there's over 15000 Lakes in Minnesota. One I'm very familiar with is Lake Como because I used to live in Bailey Hall, which is the only dorm in U of M St Paul Campus. Bus No. 3 can take you there. Lake Itasca is the source of Mississippi River. (the image below shows the world largest fresh water lake, Lake Surperior, it's just like ocean, isn't it?)
Boys who like basketball would definitely know Los Angles Lakers, but many of them may not know that Lakers used to belong to Minnesota, because there's 10000 lakes in Minnesota, not in California.

And mosquitos, because there's too many lakes, and mosquitos need water to grow, so it is an nightmare walking along the lakes during the summer time(itch sometimes is worse than pain). Also, if there's no screen on the windows, in summer time, mosquitos will seattle down in the house and have a crazy blood party every night(Let's party through the roof!!).
Because of the frigid climate in Minnesota, most lakes would freeze, local people even drive on the ice or park their cars on the frozen lakes. (Try to find it in this winter, since it's gonna be so cold!)

4.Let's do business here!
Althrough Minnesota has her extreme climate, she still can't stop the steps of businessmen. There are about 21 Top 500 enterprises were established in Minnesota. Those brands people are familiar with such as BestBuy, 3M, and US Bank; Dairy Queen, TCF( twin cities finance) Bank, and Target contribute a lot to Minnesota's economy, as well as the United States.
The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota is the largest mall in America. How big is the mall exactly?well, if you spend 15 minutes visiting each store in MOA, it would take you 3 months to visit them all. There's an amusement park located in MOA too, which again, because of the cold weather, people built this huge park indoor!
Another big thing that related to business is the Annual Minnesota State Fair. Once a year from late August to Labor's Day. One word to decribe State Fair is Crazy Crowded( "Dude, there're two words""Buy one get one free) So 10 things you can expect in State Fair are animals, vegetables, food, amusement park, and then, people, more people, a lot of people ,more and more People!PEOPLE are everywhere!!The population of Minnesota is 5.3 milions, and there are 1.7 milions people go to State Fair every year...
Although its super crowded in State Fair, it is undeniable that the total revenue from State Fair is quite a lot and very important for Minnesota.

The stories and legends of Minnesota can hardly be covered in just one blog article. There's still a lot to talk about, but I'd like to keep them and let all you guys to explore by yourself. It is a way to learn the culture, a way to expand vista, and a way to start loving Minnesota, or Minnesoda, LOL.
You all made the right choice!

Tony isn't a panda

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Hello everyone, my name is zhuo cheng, but people call me Tony because it's easier to remember. I'm an international student ambassador. I'm from China, specifically I'm from Chengdu city, Szechuan Province. People may not familar with the name of my city, but I guess if I say Panda, a black and white cute bear should pops out from their minds. Chengdu is the hometown of pandas, so is mine. And also, it is a very old city, for example the name hasn't change since the city's established, which is a rare phenomenon in China. By saying too much about my hometown, I should tell more about myself. Although I'm from the panda's hometown, I don't really look like a panda or a bear as my title suggested, even though some of my friends do name me panda or bear because I'm kind of overweighted.
I major in Landscape Design and Planning in the U, I'm a junior but brand new to the landscape program because I changed my major from journalism to landscape design and planning.

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