May 5, 2008

Millennium Goals: Peer review

After having watched the in-class and honors millennium goal presentations, I was very impressed and overwhelmed with information. The honors presentations were phenomenal. I appreciated the amount of style in them; they showed clear dedication to design. Furthermore, their documentation of research was phenomenal. Each individual group supplied their goal, explained the problem, chose at least one location, and then suggested a solution. And each solution was innovative and thoughtful.


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Personally, my favorite presentation was on Goal 4: Child Mortality. I found it amazing to observe the child mortality statistics. The images utilized were heartbreaking and emotional. The solutions suggested seemed simple. The group didn't try to reinvent the wheel, and they stuck to processes that already work. I think their presentation was phenomenal. I felt bewildered at first, and even saddened, but then I felt inspired and hopeful.

Volunteering is Golden

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Here I am supplying the culmination of all of my reports. This is the majority of the document I will deliver to Miss Z at Jackson Street Village. To sum up my experience, I had a great time connecting with the children, but to be honest, I think I gained more than the children...


February 4th (3:00 to 5:00 PM): I, along with my roommate David Ziemer, volunteered for the first time this semester at Jackson Street Village. We had both previously volunteered there for our prior semester. After having contacted the establishment, we met with Miss Z and we discussed the optimum time to volunteer in the future. We decided that Mondays (from 2:30 to 4:30 PM): would be the best time for Dave and myself, as well as the children we would be helping. On this day, only a couple of students came in, and they had very few homework assignments. I spent the majority of the time reading a Doctor Seuss book with one of the students.

February 28th (from 2:30 to 4:30 PM): On the 28th, the children did not have classes for President’s Day. Instead, they were all invited to watch a movie and snack on popcorn. Dave and I arrived before the majority of the children had arrived. The event drew an audience of at least fifteen of the local children (which is a lot!). We prepared the popcorn and juice (as well as some Valentine’s Day treats) for the children, and delivered it to them. Everyone was very energetic and it was difficult to get them to settle down. By the end, popcorn and candy were everywhere, and two juice-spill incidents occurred. Miss Z was forced to instruct the children to go home because they were too loud and they were misbehaving. Afterward, Dave and I cleaned up after the children.

March 3rd (from 2:30 to 4:30 PM): On the 3rd, the children had a book reading day, in dedication of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. I basically read, or helped to read books with the children; as well as help to make door knob signs that said “I’m reading? or something like that. We read through books like Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are, The Cat in the Hat, and Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?, as well as some other non-Dr. Seuss titles. The children behaved very well, and the day was a big success. I felt really content with my volunteer experience.

March 31st (from 2:30 to 4:30 PM): On the 31st, only a few children showed up with homework to do. I helped one student with area and volume problems. I was impressed with the complexity of the problems he had (I had to double-check my own answers!). I helped this student for 40 minutes or so, and then talked to the other children until 4:30; while Dave helped another student read a book. The day was pretty average since most of the children didn’t have homework.

April 14th (from 2:30 to 4:30 PM): On the 14th, very few children showed up once again. I spent the first half of the volunteer time talking to children and reading with them. Later, I helped a student learn how to use Venn diagrams with simple math. Each Venn diagram had two circles of numbers, and of course, some numbers overlapped. The assignment was to find the pattern in each individual circle. For example, there would be a group of odd numbers in the left circle, and multiples of three in the right. The answer would be ‘odd’ and ‘X3.’ It was really fun giving the student hints. He really seemed to be getting the hang of it by the end, even though the answers were getting more and more complex. I really enjoyed myself on this day.

April 25, 2008

Jackson Street Village volunteer report: April 14th

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April 14th (from 2:30 to 4:30 PM): On the 14th, very few children showed up once again. I spent the first half of the volunteer time talking to children and reading with them. Later, I helped a student learn how to use Venn diagrams with simple math. Each Venn diagram had two circles of numbers, and of course, some numbers overlapped. The assignment was to find the pattern in each individual circle. For example, there would be a group of odd numbers in the left circle, and multiples of three in the right. The answer would be ‘odd’ and ‘X3.’ It was really fun giving the student hints. He really seemed to be getting the hang of it by the end, even though the answers were getting more and more complex. I really enjoyed myself on this day.

Jackson Street Village volunteer report: March 31st

jackson_street_village_01.jpg

March 31st (from 2:30 to 4:30 PM): On the 31st, only a few children showed up with homework to do. I helped one student with area and volume problems. I was impressed with the complexity of the problems he had (I had to double-check my own answers!). I helped this student for 40 minutes or so, and then talked to the other children until 4:30; while Dave helped another student read a book. The day was pretty average since most of the children didn’t have homework.

Jackson Street Village volunteer report: March 3rd

jackson_street_village_01.jpg

March 3rd (from 2:30 to 4:30 PM): On the 3rd, the children had a book reading day, in dedication of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. I basically read, or helped to read books with the children; as well as help to make door knob signs that said “I’m reading? or something like that. We read through books like Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are, The Cat in the Hat, and Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?, as well as some other non-Dr. Seuss titles. The children behaved very well, and the day was a big success. I felt really content with my volunteer experience.

Jackson Street Village volunteer report: February 28

jackson_street_village_01.jpg

February 28th (from 2:30 to 4:30 PM): On the 28th, the children did not have classes for President’s Day. Instead, they were all invited to watch a movie and snack on popcorn. Dave and I arrived before the majority of the children had arrived. The event drew an audience of at least fifteen of the local children (which is a lot!). We prepared the popcorn and juice (as well as some Valentine’s Day treats) for the children, and delivered it to them. Everyone was very energetic and it was difficult to get them to settle down. By the end, popcorn and candy were everywhere, and two juice-spill incidents occurred. Miss Z was forced to instruct the children to go home because they were too loud and they were misbehaving. Afterward, Dave and I cleaned up after the children.

Jackson Street Village volunteer report: February 4th

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This is the first of six entries I will conduct covering my volunteer experience at Jackson Street Village, and my response:

February 4th (3:00 to 5:00 PM): I, along with my roommate David Ziemer, volunteered for the first time this semester at Jackson Street Village. We had both previously volunteered there for our prior semester. After having contacted the establishment, we met with Miss Z and we discussed the optimum time to volunteer in the future. We decided that Mondays (from 2:30 to 4:30 PM): would be the best time for Dave and myself, as well as the children we would be helping. On this day, only a couple of students came in, and they had very few homework assignments. I spent the majority of the time reading a Doctor Seuss book with one of the students.

April 3, 2008

Tamil Nadu - The Beginning

When prompted to pursue the intro to the class term project, I decided to dedicate my time to investigating useful pictures for the group. Our presentation, as our group has decided, will be displayed through powerpoint.

The pictures:


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http://www.foodrelief.org/news/pages/Bhaktivedanta-Ashram-School-Project

March 12, 2008

Presentation reclamation

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When prompted to provide inspirational presentation material, I thought to myself, where can I find a large mass of design. Of course, I was still sitting in my Architecture 1701 lecture so the answer was literally sitting right in front of me. Here are a few of my personal favorite blogs (the layouts are nice at least):

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/ukura006/architecture/

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/whee0113/architecture/

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/bleg0025/architecture/

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/skemp013/architecture/

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/stau0156/architecture/


*The picture above is the creation of thousands of small man-made islands in Dubai, called of course 'The World'. I thought it was pretty amazing; maybe we could allocate this immense man/design power to save the world, instead of build a new one.

March 5, 2008

Environment + Built = ?

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The built environment which surrounds me affects me in numerous ways. I go to class in buildings, sleep in my dorm, take the bus, rock climb at the rec. center, etc. Even this blog has become a part of my immediate environment. So the question becomes, how am I affected? My daily life is greatly affected, if not completely rendered by the built environment. I have been placed in a world of time, where I get up at so-and-so thirty in the morning (or afternoon) to go to class, or eat, or generally live. But, if I were in another environment- a crude environment barren of structure - I may wake up (not knowing the time), go to the forest to forage for berries or find some wild beets so that I could live to see the next day. In this sense, my built environment is greatly improving who I am. My environment, although ruled by time, ironically gives me more freedom - freedom to learn, play, and not worry about just staying alive. I like to believe that these activities promote the beauty of my existence, and in essence it is solely that factor which gives much of my built environment beauty. Plus, there are specific cases of beauty in my built environment which do not depend on my freedoms, but rather my personal instantaneous observations. For example, when I do go to the rec. center to go rock climbing,


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I am of course happy to exercise and release some stress; but more importantly I am influenced by the beauty of the color and texture of every rock I lay my eye or finger on. My experience quickly becomes less broad and much more personal. The built environment has greatly affected my experience - my emotion even - on a much smaller scale than that of freedom. But once again, this affect is supports my existence. Here, on such a small scale the built environment may ironically also detract from my existence. This experience incurs when I walk around Downtown Minneapolis. Although I am graced by beautiful buildings high above me, my sight often falls to the trash discarded on the sidewalks below me.

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My attention to this 'built environment' quickly detracts from my mood. I notice the inevitable downfall of small scale built environments. Overall, I trust that the built environment has and will continue to improve my existence. After all, life is better now that we don't have to forage for berries in the wild right?

February 28, 2008

Architecture school program Shmarchitecture school program

If I were released from the enormous constraints of the 'architecture school' program, you could probably find me collecting Legos. I would, with said Legos, construct a giant bouldering wall - which would, of course, meld my two greatest passions (Legos and rock-climbing) into a nation-sweeping craze that I would and do call Lego-climbing. This beautiful environment would be a colourful utopia swelling with heel hooks and dynos, cracks and crevices, pinches and staticing (can also be spelled staticking or staticcing); not to mention the beautiful stacking(not staticking - mind you) of red 4 by 2's and the rare yellow 8 by 2's (there's more to read beneath these beautiful pics).


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Basically, I would be creating a masterpiece of mythic proportions, like liger mythic. Nirvana. In short, I believe I am going to begin collecting Legos, and as a blogger, this is my opportunity - neigh - my duty to ask everyone who reads this blog to save up their spare Legos and donate them to a local poor freshman (in all probability this addresses only Jeff, the Teacher's Assistant to the morally strong section 3). If you would like to contact me, look up Topher Williamson at U of Minnesota '11 on Facebook, for seriouslies. Together we can start a beautiful revolution. A revolution in Legos and climbing - the best kind of revolution.

February 22, 2008

Think of the Children

Children are our future, and if we're going to want a bright one, we had better brighten the children. But cliches aside, there is a serious problem at stake in the world today: poor child education, or even the lack thereof. According to Unicef, 90 million children worldwide are not attending primary schooling(schooling generally defined to be pre-high school). I'll type that number again: NINETY MILLION. So, as a poor, but fortunate college student, I leave you with a couple of images and words that will hopefully reach your heart and light a fire of compassion and concern for this incomparable worldwide epidemic...and you should probably be playing some Marley music if you want a full effect.

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"Coming generations will learn equality from poverty, and love from woes." -Kahlil Gibran

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"Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do." -Kahlil Gibran


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February 11, 2008

Procrastination Innovation

Here at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, I have personally noticed a tremendous problem thriving within the student body: Procrastination. Of course, this problem has no easy solution. I, myself, have struggled with it for a lifetime. My personal solution is a simple to-do list.


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This arbitrary item, although small and innocent, can have huge benefits. First and foremost, it is inspirational. I always find it easier to accomplish the tasks at hand if I know I have already dedicated and committed myself in writing.


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Furthermore, I feel less guilty. I know that I am trying to improve my future, and doing so physically. And finally, the best benefit, is the lack of stress.


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I can assure you it is very stressful to have all of those needs whirling around in your head, so write'em down and take a deep breath....Ahhhh progress.

February 4, 2008

Fluid Energy

The 20th century rang in eras of peace, war, depression, and the birth, and untimely death of the beautiful pianist Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli: Molto buona! But aside from Michelangeli’s finger-tangling riffs, the 1900’s marked an era of new energy. Caffeine had just entered the market: thatsright – Coca-Cola and Pepsi. These delicious soda drinks may have stormed the homes of millions of Americans, but that was just the beginning.

Starbucks, which began in 1971, devoured an energy stricken nation. With it’s beginnings in an obviously somber Seattle, Starbucks was off to a riproarin’ start. It offered peppy coffee drinks, catalyzing caffeine and cocoa. And soon, America - neigh the world, became hooked. Like wildfire, more than 15,000 locations popped up worldwide. Even in my small hometown of Loveland, Colorado boasts six locations. Starbucks introduced espresso shots and caffeine to tired citizens everywhere. These sugary concoctions had transformed energy consumption, and the unstoppable energy drink era had clearly swept the nation.
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Recently, the latest revelation in energy consumerism has taken root in popular culture. Red Bull marks this milestone with its introduction in 1997. The energy drink phenomenon stormed the new millennium while infiltrating offices and even schools. Yes, even the children experienced this addictive phenomenon. The energy drink campaign has even permeated the 2008 Superbowl through advertisement. An expensive thirty-second commercial promoted Amp the Energy Drink during the middle of one of the most popular television broadcasts. Energy as we know it is still currently changing. Guarana – containing ginormous amounts of addictive caffeine is the latest craze.
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But what is the outcome? In effect, the fluid energy trend has transformed the lives of millions of consumers. Not only has it transformed the way they feel and how they act, but on a larger level, physical renovations have been made. Supermarkets are flooded with energy encasings, billboards are filled with power portraits and addictive advertisements, and city block corners are dominated by caffeine ores. The 21st century will consequently and unavoidably be a supercharged dedication to energy renovation and consumption.


Bibliography (and props in general)

1) Wikipedia.org, “Starbucks,? “Energy Drinks,? Accessed February 3, 2008.