Thursday, July 27, 2006

12 days left....

Good little time....What am I going to do with this:

I'll pray for a miracle....please, do the same.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

You know you've been....

You know you've been staring too long at your computer screen when:

1) You see patterns in the pixels of your screen.

2) You can distinguish between the imaginary point you want and the imaginary point you don't want.

3) You find comfort getting the right snap icon to appear.

4) You don't mind that the world around you also appears pixelated.

As you can tell, it's crunch time. And after the unfortuitous moment, when I realized the work I just spent the last two hours on was not correct, and that, when animating, 3D studio max really dislikes undoing certain steps, or have positions changed after animation keys are set, I find myself with the unenviable task of starting over. (And, yes, that was a long sentence, with several...damn, what are they called...modifying use to know....)At least the program didn't crash. Wait...where's some damn wood to knock on. I forgot the other cardinal rule of doing computer work:

Never, ever, for a single moment, tell yourself that your computer won't crash.

Back to work...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A bit of good news....I think...

Remember when I wrote about this?

Well, the craziest thing happened. No, didn't win. Wouldn't ever hope for that, given my track record over there. But, somehow, I was chosen as a Reader's Choice Winner...something I didn't realize until I recieved an email from the competition committee.

As a prize, I get three more books to add to my library. Not that I have a library. Or, well, I have a place to call a library. I have books scattered across two continents and several states. One day, day, I promise you, those books will find themselves shelved appropriately. Here's to dreams.

And, if any of you out there actually did vote for me, a big old thanks. Here's to more procrastination in the future. Cause, really, that's why I write in the first place.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Subjects of Inspiration

I'm into the final stretch. One month to make something out of nothing, turn iron into gold. Perhaps I may just yet find a way. Until then, another piece of inspiration, brought to my attention by this blog, who does a much better job of keeping on top of things. Click on the picture below:

I'd cry if I had the energy. I'll just get back to my computer model....

Friday, July 07, 2006

Passing the Time

Usually, during studio days, you spend a lot of time waiting. If you aren’t in group discussion, then you are usually sitting at your desk, checking off the minutes until your studio professor gets around to you. Sometimes you work through the waiting, trying to get those last ideas out before your meeting. Other times, you decide it’s just better to let the professor see what you have, before you start on something that they’ll just tell you not to do.

It was third year, and my teammates and I were waiting for our desk crit, drained from a weekend of non-stop work. At the time, we were working through the programming of our design project, and had drafted, and redrafted, several proposals to show. Yes, you read that correctly. Drafted. Makes me sound old, doesn’t it? But that was the way the professors wanted it done. No AutoCAD for us, with the ease of duplicating, deleting, copying and pasting. Just hours upon hours of pencil to paper, as we worked out a conference center set within the woods of a local nature park.

So, rather than do any more, we decided to wait for some feedback, out minds somewhat dulled from our intimate time with our drafting boards. We were third, and an hour into studio time, our professor was still on the first team. Nap time was calling.

Now, caffeine does nothing for me. So despite the 20 oz. of mountain dew I had just had for lunch, I was dragging. I had taken refuge on a wide windowsill, sizing it up for a possible place to curl up. A studio mate, in solidarity, joined me, and we worked in vain to keep each other entertained, and ultimately, awake. We weren’t doing so hot.

Across the room, another studio was also in session. Our studio space was wall-less, so we had a clear view from our end of the studio space to the other side. In the off-hours, the set up made it a lot easier hold conversations and distract each other. Right now, it made for some great people watching.

A team was meeting with the professor of that studio; they looked deep in serious conversation, all hunkered around a desk covered with drawings. Except that, only two of the three were participating. The third teammate, obviously a bit bored, was hardly participating, pacing back and forth behind them, looking at other work, chit-chatting with some other of his studio members. And, as the minutes passed, their desk crit unceasing, this wandering member seemed to get more stir-crazy.

To distract himself, he honed in on a sharpie pen, hanging on a piece of string, which was strung to one of the ceiling lights. He tapped on it, watched as it swung back and forth in a rhythmic harmonic motion. For a few seconds, he contented himself with batting it back and forth, like a cat playing with a string toy. And then, it got better. He batted it so that it swung in a wide circle, which he began to dodge, from side to side, in a smooth duck and glide. Back and forth he went, left then right then left then right, for seemingly endless minutes, oblivious to the fact that his team was seriously redesigning the project, or that me and my friend, some 35 feet away, were watching transfixed, and quietly giggling like idiots.

While he went on, unaware or the fits of laughter he was causing, my professor was much more attentive. Mid-sentence, in a comment he was making to another team, he stopped, looked directly at me and my friend, and asked if we were alright. Unable to stop laughing, we just nodded, choking back tears. We turned red. We shook where we sat. And our professor, unable to get a clear answer from us, turned to another member of my studio and asked, “Are they drunk?”

With that one question, we lost all control. Unbeknownst to him, my friend and I were the last two “dry” students in the class. Being drunk would be the most unlikely of scenarios, and him assuming we were made the whole situation that more uproarious. He just stared at us for another minute or two, and as if nothing happened, turned back to the team he was speaking with, and continued on, right from where he left off.

The commotion we caused had everyone in the studio area looking at us. Just for a second. Then things went on, the distraction forgotten as quickly as it was noticed. It was back to work, back to waiting.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Just not that into you....

So, as I may have mentioned, the rapport between you and your studio professors can have a great deal of influence on your studio experience. After all, week in and week out, you sit down with them, only to subject yourself to their evaluations of your work, your creativity, your talent. It’s like having hyper-critical parents, except you paid for the experience.

So, you can imagine, that the tête-à-têtes you have with your studio professors can be somewhat nerve-racking. At least, they usually start out that way, when you are unfamiliar with them, their attitudes, their teaching styles, their personalities. I always found the first few weeks awkward, walking that fine line between making a good first impression and becoming that obnoxious ass-kisser. So I usually played to my strengths, worked a lot, and made sure to have a lot to look at when studio days rolled around. And, for the most part, it worked…though I can’t say I would ever be considered a personal favorite amongst many of my professors. I was a good student…but I never really made it to the intimate level that some of my classmates achieved. It was always a, well, not so secret envy I had, when I would see professors inviting classmates to architecture events, introducing them to other professionals, or just hanging out with them for a drink at a bar.

After a while, from the weekly interaction, things usually chill out. You get use to each other, loosen up a bit, and hopefully, find common ground that helps both the development of your studio work as well as the maturity of your interactions. Desk crits become less formal, and you often finding yourself talking as much about your project as other, more abstract ideas. And, what was first a stressful 10 minutes of one-directional conversation can become marathon meetings that could easily not end.

It is also when you, let’s say, get comfortable with your professor, and them with you, that things can become a bit, well, interesting.

Of all the desk crits I’ve had, one still sticks out. And I wasn’t even the center of the attention.

It was closing in on the later half of the spring semester. A heat wave had hit us with record-breaking temperatures and unrelenting humidity. And our studios were not of the air-conditioned variety. On a day like this, even with every window open and a couple of fans blowing, it was close to unbearable.

It was my turn. As my professor settled in beside me, a couple of the guys had decided enough was enough, and stripped off their tops. There were a couple of laughs, a few teasing cat-calls, but the distraction was soon forgotten. At least, I thought it was.

I began discussing the latest series of drawings I had made, making sure to elaborate on the rationale I had made. I outlined the steps, showed some sketches, walked my professor though the revisions I had made. But, each time I posed a question, it was acknowledged with little more than a grunt, a short “yeah” or “alright”. Thinking I had made some serious mistakes, I began to get nervous, speak more rapidly, show drawings I had originally left to the side. And still, nothing.

I finally looked up from my work, looked over at my professor. And I followed his eyes across the room towards one of my classmates, drafting away in shirtless glory. And, I realized, nothing I said had been heard. For a good ten minutes, I had rattled away ideas, questions, concerns while showing drawing after drawing. Apparently none of it could match the visual delight of my classmate’s bare torso.

Later, after our professor was gone, I decided I should get in at least one dig. After all, the way I saw it, because of him, I didn’t get a desk crit that day. So, as we began to pack up for the afternoon, I called over to him.

“Hey…so can I ask you for a favor?”


“Do you think that, while I’m having a crit, you could keep your shirt on?”


“Well, let’s just say that, during the entire ten minutes I was speaking with our professor, he never actually looked at my work.”

At that point, there were still several of us in studio. And everyone around busted out in laughter, a couple taking a few digs of their own. I wasn’t the only one who had noticed. My poor classmate, not knowing what to say, turned a bright shade of red, stuttered a few times before finally saying that he didn’t know what we were talking about.

But, for the rest of the semester, he kept his shirt on during studio time, no matter how hot it was.