May 7, 2008

Yet another Star Wars fanatic...

If you haven't seen this yet, Ozayr, its a must.
He might love Star Wars as much as you.

Blog Prompt #8: Masters of Presentation

I thought most of the presentations in my discussion went fairly well. The honors presentations were elaborate ant very well put together. The first honors presentation really blew me away. When in comparison to the presentations in my section, it went above and beyond the requirements. They spoke clearly and loud and held my attention. They broke down global development issues into three main groups, which was helpful. It made the problem easier to understand and to target those important ideas. The fact that they had a $100 computer to look at really added to their presentation. It's a tangible way to show how someone is going about solving the problem of poor school quality and making communication cheap and available to people worldwide. Their analysis of each portion of the problem and its possible solutions was clear and in depth. I thought their final product was an extremely well put together presentation.

One of the projects in my discussion addressed the empowerment of women in Africa. This has always been a touchy subject for me. I love women and all, being one myself, but I feel like people approach this issue in an extreme manner. It turns me away from accepting their ideas because they present them in a way that seems radical and unrealistic. Setting aside the fact that the issue itself isn't one of my favorites, the presentation could've used a little more work. It seemed somewhat unorganized, like they were jumping from issue to issue without a logical order. They also tried to incorporate personal stories into their project. The stories seemed short and impersonal though. I think it would've made them much more effective if they were more in depth, if you could really put yourself in their shoes and feel what the experience was like for them. Other than that I though their presentation went smoothly.

It was interesting for me to see how different each group approached their goal. I am a little bit confused though. It seemed as if each group was searching for the solution to their problem, and after talking with Jeff I felt like the project was asking us to take a different approach. It was my impression that we were supposed to analyze our research and make connections to our goal in order to find some way in which the problem is not being addressed, to find that which was missing. In our group we used a personal approach to see that individual needs need to be expressed and met. It felt important to me to look at it from the eyes of the individual, not from statistical numbers.

The Saga Continues

Since my last entry I've been to the tutoring center only twice. It's been really hard to find times to go in to help. The center now usually closes at 3:00, so I have to miss one of my classes in order to get a few hours completed. As of now I have a total of 5 hours completed, which isn't near enough. Hopefully I'll be able to help for a few hours this Friday. I talked to the coordinator and I might be able to chaperon a field trip for next week. I think that would actually be a really fun experience.

The last couple times there have only been a few students that showed up, and they rarely need help. Usually its just a question here and there, nothing major. Maybe it's because I arrive later in the day. I don't know. They're usually pretty friendly though, and it's eye-opening for me to see how teens living in a different area compare to people I went to high school with. In some aspects they are completely opposite, and when it comes to some things they are very similar. I like being able to interact with teens who are a little younger than me, so I can help them through things that I've already experienced, but old enough for me to connect with. Even though getting hours in to fill the community service requirement for my architecture class has been a definite set-back, its still rewarding to lend a hand when someone needs a little extra help.

April 14, 2008

My first few community service experiences...

So far, I've only completed one full hour of community service.

The day that I went was actually pretty interesting. There were only a few students there working on their homework, and although no one needed much help, but it was nice too see everyones different personalities. One of the students talked with me about her participation in a group for poets who went to a big competition for reciting poetry. I can honestly say that I've never met anyone my age with an aptitude for poetry and her recitation was really heartfelt. Everyone seemed comfortable and open with each other and it was a friendly environment.

I've been having some problems with scheduling times to volunteer. With the Augsburg Fairview Academy they only need volunteers during the high school day, which coincides with my school day. The only time I'm able to help is on Fridays at 3:00 or, if I skip one of my classes, I can get there at 1:00 and the students leave at 4:00. They have also had a few Fridays off and the tutoring session was canceled once. I looked to see if any other organizations had any openings that I could volunteer at also, but I was unable to get a hold of them. Hopefully I'll be able to get enough hours in for the class.

April 4, 2008

Blog Prompt #7: Coverpages

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March 13, 2008

Blog Prompt #6: Designing AIDS... ?

Honestly I have no idea how to approach this task. I'll do my best...

I mean most blogs seem vague to me but this one takes the cake.

My understanding of the objective of the Millenium project itself is not good, but that'll have to be taken on another time.

When I think presentation and documentation my mind automatically jumps to either a paper or a power point presentation. I suppose these are pretty common responses. One different idea I had for the project was to focus on the education aspect of disease. Many people don't clearly understand AIDS as an illness. To incorporate a a design aspect, and assuming the word 'design' includes an extremely broad spectrum of things, I thought about designing an educational program with activities, visuals, and discussion to further educate those who don't know much about AIDS.

The program itself can be used as the presentation. If I were to present my idea to a group of people, I wouldn't want to talk about my ideas, but rather give them the experience of completing the program itself. Documentation would be included in the visuals and and handouts or writing used. This class could be especially beneficial for areas where AIDS poses an urgent threat, like in Africa. With the help of volunteers a program like this could be implemented across the world.

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March 5, 2008

Blog Prompt #5: Who I Am

Before I can really dig into this prompt I have to answer one thing: Who am I? The complexity of this question sends my mind spiraling into an abyss. I know things that I like (sun bathing, clear night skies)
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and things that I dislike (being controlled, messiness, inability to be openminded)
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But what do these simple things say about who I actually am?

I like things to be comfortable and relaxing like sunbathing. Familiarity and feeling at ease in a place can really affect how open I am as a person. In the built environment, hard surfaces and sharp angles in a seemingly cold space cause me to close up.

The feeling of being in awe inspires me. Like looking at the stars, looking at a majestic and/or finely detailed piece of architecture makes me want to push myself to be creative in similar ways. Phenomena come into play in this instance. Great pieces of architecture are systems full of different related pieces performing different purposes at certain times.

Free will is important to me. I like to have a sense of control about life. The idea that everything im life is predetermined and predictable takes away its excitement. The built environment is similar. Pieces without predictable patterns or shapes have a more interesting and stimulating theme. They reflect my desire for adventure and excitement.

Organization has always been important to me. Messiness and clutter clouds my mind and makes it hard for me to focus. Simple design without clutter is ideal for me. It helps me stay calm and think clearly.

February 28, 2008

Blog Prompt #4: Free to be...

School has always been a restricting force in my life. My older sister set the bar high for me, and my parents have always expected more than 100% in my school performance. It was never a question of whether or not to go to college, but rather which four-year college I wanted to attend. This prompt was difficult for me to process, seeing as my life has revolved around school.

The college environment has been something very different than anything else I've ever experienced. Most of the time I like things to be clear and straightforward. So far, college has been like walking through a fog; hazy and uncomfortable. An unsure feeling has stayed with me since my first day at the University of Minnesota. Close to all of my classes have been extremely vague, which is difficult for me. Theory classes have never been my strong suit.

Last semester, Architecure 1281: Design Fundamentals 1, was mostly project oriented. Going through the entire process of having an idea to materializing that idea is an amazing feeling. Ever since I was young I have been interested in the project aspect of things. From crocheting blankest to sewing purses to designing and putting together my own outfits, I have always had a love for bringing my thoughts to life. Even without the restrictions of school and the architecture program, I would still want to use this creativity in my everyday life.

If school, and money for that matter, wasn't a factor I think I might like teaching. Possibly an elementary school art teacher. The idea of projects is still there and the opportunity to work with children who, for the most part, aren't yet affected by the restrictions of the world would be something that I could find daily enjoyment in. Being able to express myself, as well as help young people express themselves, would be rewarding. Seeing as I haven't yet picked my major I might want to rethink architecture, but well see what happens.

February 25, 2008

fight against AIDS/Malaria sites

The Global Fund
To fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and Malaria
raises money

ONE
The campaign to make poverty history
(AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria) sending tratment and preventative supplies to needy regions

Red Cross
focuses on education

Malaria No More
sends bed nets to Africa

February 21, 2008

Blog Prompt #3

"Four hundred thousand South Africans are dying every year of AIDS. This makes the war in Iraq look like a birthday party." -Jeremy Cronin, SACP deputy secretary at the Satawu Congress in Johannesburg

As I surfed the internet for information about HIV/AIDS and other diseases I was surprised at the amount of comedic and sarcastic responses I came across. With issues as serious as the AIDS epidemic in Africa, as well as the rest of the world, I would've expected a more morbid outlook. The truth of the matter is that it is an extremely serious matter. "Over 22 million people have died from AIDS," and "Over 42 million people are living with HIV/AIDS'" . Comedy in response to an issue this extreme can only mean one thing: the inability to comprehend the severity of the problem. In one instance " the populist ANC politician Peter Mokaba, and Parks Mankahlana, who served both Madiba and President Thabo Mbeki, denied the existence of AIDS" . Ironically, both men were living with HIV.

The images i found told a different story. Many promoted awareness while other showed the visible products of the AIDS virus on the body. This picture of an AIDS patient beings assisted by a nurse is one of many disturbing visions associated with the disease. Many people, especially in developing countries, don't have access to this kind of health care and therefore must cope with the full force of the illness.
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One, if not the most, disturbing image I came across was an advertisement advocating HIV and AIDS awareness. The picture emphasizes the severity of the disease.
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the push for AIDS awareness extends to the music industry also. Salt N' Pepa, an R&B group popular in the early 90's, released and album with a track titles "I've Got AIDS" in order to further their fight againgst the disease and to encourage their listeners to think safe when making decisions about sex. Other songs, like "Everyone Has AIDS" by Team America exaggerate and make a parody of the issue.

One song that has had a personal affect on me is Sarah McLachlan's "World on Fire". Although it doesn't focus on AIDS in particular, the music video depicts the struggles other countries are facing from finding safe drinking water to the absence of health care to a lack of available education. It juxtaposes issues in developing countries with the unnecessary frivolity of American entertainment. I was amazed.

February 14, 2008

Blog Prompt #2

One of the biggest design issues I've been personally affected by here in the Twin Cities is the set-up of the city. The paths of the roads have no set pattern throughout the cities and therefore have made it extremely difficult to navigate. As i become more and more familiar with the area it becomes easier to map out routes and directions, but it has been a serious challenge for me.

In one somewhat comical instance i was lost in the city for over 3 hours. Of course it was not long after i had received my drivers license and i had no prior knoledge of the city, but it was a traumatic experience nonetheless.

The road set-up does not help the driver. With one major highway that loops around the city, there are a mere few entrances and exits to and and from the downtown areas. The names of the streets are also no help to drivers. Some have numbers while others have names, but they're not alphabetized or in any predictable order.

The ability to change this in any way is near impossible. Changing the road locations and/or names is completely out of the question. I think that the city is beautiful, but its an intimidating place. The only way to avoid confusion in the city is to study it before attempting to navigate it.

February 4, 2008

Blog Prompt #1

Andy Goldsworthy focused his ideas about energy and flow through a natural environment. He used only things found in nature to capture his ideas and bring them to life. While nature has its own flow, the city, although manmade, also has a theme of flow and energy.

The idea of giving back to the environment and contributing to nature's cycle that Andy Goldsworthy used when sculpting his ideas is completely opposite of that in the city. Even though the city doesn't contribute to nature, and often times plays an antagonistic role, it has its own sense of a natural cycle.

If the city is looked at as a seperate environment, it has a lot of things in common with nature. It has its own type of transformation. Just as nature changes with the seasons, constant work is being done in the city. From road work to extraction of new buildings to the destroying of old ones, the city is under construction at all times. The sense that there is always something to be done in the city, the persistent hustle and bustle, also relates back to a natural environment. The one-way flow of rivers and streams relates back to the city also. With one-way roads binding the city, it is similar to the rivers and streams connecting the oceans and lakes.

The entire landscape, although some parts may differ, works in uniform. The city mirrors nature in a seperate, but similar way. The idea of all things having a way of creating their own energy and flow is a way to look at the world through movement.