26 September 2009

i should be baking

courtesy of flickr

Google Reader: the joy of sharing

This past summer I discovered Google Reader, which was a big revelation in itself. And lately, I was perusing my Reader subscriptions after neglecting them for quite a few weeks (darn vault got in the way of my prime procrastination!), and finally noticed that little link in the sidebar:

9 new people sharing with you. View.

I was curious, so I clicked and saw that friends were following my shared items and now were soliciting me to read theirs. This is really a feature I rarely use - to be honest, I almost never read the items that are shared with me, and I don't remember adding anyone except for 1 person, and yet my list is populated with 15 people who I supposedly am following. [Note: I now read them, so don't get offended.] Funny how sneaky Google is.

After skimming some of my friends' shared posts, I found funnier the fact that...wow, this is such a great portrait of these people! You start to see major trends in their interests, tastes, and even how often they feel like sharing items with others (sociability perhaps? proactivity vs. laziness?). For instance, JH posts prolifically on architecture, fashion, and food [arch. student]; whereas LH's are all about environmental policy and other issues [you can guess her profession] and MG's focus on chemistry and football [school pride, not a football player]. These are all in a similar vein that really reinforce these central interests.

Others, though, are much harder to categorize in one subject area or another, which is cool to see how widespread their interests are. Take NY as an example: he has blog posts on new gadgets, devotions, light pollution, comics...and the list continues. He also shares somewhat frequently, which leads me to wonder how much work he's getting done (i keed).

Google Reader: another way to bring people together.
My thought: my friends are cool and like to share, so I should probably share with them.
My secret thought (not-so-secret now): this could be a cool diagram...

23 September 2009

have you found my utopia?

Our assignment due this week was to cast our vision for a utopia and present it to our class via our class blogs. You can check out the rest of the entry here, but here's a fun little (and elementary) animation I put together for it:

21 September 2009

The real-world geographical location of a network-connected device.

geolocative design:
The use of geolocative media to augment our experience of a place and facilitate communication and collaboration among a network of participants.

Paris, France

Here's a teaser for a site-specific geolocative film (a bit abstract, but suggestive of another experience of the park with the narrative created by media), whose research group I might be working with this semester:

le chasseur from coleman & goldkrand on Vimeo.
a wifi thriller in dislocated parts

this is the trailer for our geo film project

the chasseur or the hunter was filmed for and on location in buttes chaumont park in paris

the film will be viewable via a locative aware device in the park itself

20 September 2009

season changes

The air is crisp here in Boston. Part of me isn't ready for the seasonal changes, although I have to remind myself that it is, indeed, almost the end of September - fast but true, and with the marching days comes chillier days when walking around in just a t-shirt isn't quite enough.

We're about to start the second full of week of school. So far we've already had one studio review, a handful of assignment deadlines, a site visit (also studio related), the first large group where the Grad Christian Fellowship's worship band performed, and the first Bible study for architecture and planning students. Whew!

My schedule is starting to settle in. A graphic glimpse of what a somewhat typical week looks like:

Those bubbles represent 4 classes (finally have settled with Future Craft as my elective, although part of me still wants to check out a low-income housing seminar... sometimes I just need to say NO MORE) with some additional activities like meetings and practices. It doesn't include my work hours in there, which are flexible.

Time: the rarest and most fleeting of commodities.

16 September 2009

how to : tag-specific site feeds

For one of my classes (Future Craft), part of the course is maintaining a blog to post our work and discussions from the course. We have the option to either start a completely new blog or to just create a tag in an existing one.

I had to ask myself: do I want to start another blog that I would use for only one semester and then drop afterwards - thus adding another site to the abandoned internet wasteland? Or, do I want to open up my work and increase traffic to this blog by adding a tag, but then have all my classmates getting mixed up in posts that are clearly unrelated to the course? (The issue of privacy really is moot, since pretty much anything I write online is meant to be read - privacy doesn't quite exist in cyberspace.)

These wonderings lead to my investigation into how one would actually even create a RSS feed for a single blog tag. And yes, it can be done! Blogger's help section isn't terribly conducive to finding this information (and one of their other help articles didn't work), but I did find it here. Essentially what you need to do is insert the following address into the feed reader:


Of course, you need to replace "blogname" with your...blog name, and the "labelname" in the same way. This works beautifully.

With that said...I started another blog. By now, this is the 3rd blog I've started for a specific project (the other two being for the brick masonry vault project - which still lives on - and the SAP Builds blog, which was specific to my January El Salvador trip but might be revived if the group keeps going). Why start another one?
  1. I like blogging.
  2. It's an experiment: this time around, I'll be starting one on Tumblr, a relatively new blog site launched about 3 years ago. I have blogs on Blogger and Wordpress, but now it's time to see how Tumblr works and if it holds up to the traffic.
  3. I'm curious : not only does Tumblr seem to have some cool design templates beyond what's readily available on Wordpress and Blogger (outside of designing my own site completely), but the focus is on microblogging, tumbleblogging, or just short, to the point posts that are sort of something between Twitter and typical blog sites. Sure, the posts will probably still be something at length, but see #2.
  4. It's also another experiment in targeted blogging. I discovered through the SAP Builds and Vault blogs that really focused sites are easier to describe to others and sometimes attract more of a "following" than general personal blogs. Of course, this blog here resists the specificity since I'm sort of a generalist, but...yeah go to back to #2. I might just end up mashing them all up together in the end - who knows?
Anyways, it's still in its birthing stages but check it out for updates later (will dual-post as well to give a taste):

15 September 2009

school's in session

It's the start of the first full week of classes, and although it's been busy, it hasn't been overwhelming. Phew! This semester is (supposedly) our last one of core, which means the end of our prescriptive classes. I have three of those - design studio, building technology, and history of architecture from 1750 - and, very excitingly enough, now have room in my schedule for an official elective. Last Spring I did take some supplementary classes, but this time around we have the room and freedom to choose what we want.

It's like being a kid in a candy store! It might not seem to be such a big deal to others - and hey, in undergrad I enjoyed taking good classes but didn't revel in it to this degree - but after a year of mandatory coursework, it's nice now to feel the reins slacking and have a choice. My friends and I have been class shopping since the semester officially began last Wednesday, and already I've checked out 4-5 classes. I've narrowed down my options to choosing between:
  • Future Craft : Media Lab class on product design and sustainability - very flexible, explores design issues outside of architecture, and can be tailored to what I want to do.
  • Ideal Forms of Contemporary Urbanism : joint architecture/urban planning class on the modernist trajectory in urbanism - seems extremely interesting and is a topic I want to learn more about. Plus, it matches well with my studio this semester, which is about urbanism.
  • Daylighting : course goes over the basics of daylighting principles, leading into a case study and installation at a house in Cambridge - this goes along with my building technology/performance interest, although I've heard it's somewhat basic.
One of the classes I really did want to take was a sustainability workshop in Cambodia that intersects design and building technology. The project is for a school for impoverished children and it looked really awesome, although there's limited enrollment and slim chances. I got on the wait list, which I suppose is a glimmer of hope, but given the odds, I've looked elsewhere.

In the end, I end up taking a total of 4 courses plus an independent study with John O. (further vault work and material studies) and work (assistantship for the Public Service Center). And extracurriculars. Am I busy?

That's obvious. The real question should be, how often will you actually get to see me?

That's the sad thing: I don't want to be so all over the place that I never get to be anywhere at all or spend time with friends. My mom also offered the caution that, if I'm too busy during the year, then I'll really never find a boyfriend. (Thanks...such advice.) I think that's the least of my issues, although I suppose my mentality is that if I want to spend time with someone, then I will make time.

But anyways, it's a real issue of life balance. One of my studio professors once commented that balance was overrated and that we would have the rest of our lives to be balanced. To me, this statement seems to tip the scale over to extremism. Of course I want to devote time to my classes and do well - that's why I'm at MIT after all - but then again, it doesn't make up the totality of my life, nor does it give me my purpose for working so hard. Lesson, then: discipline, delegation, and prayer. Not everything can be done at once, nor necessarily by me - essential thoughts.

I'm terribly behind with posting... Look out for something on my Seattle trip, vault pictures and why it went out with a BANG, and notes on my first project for this semester. Also, if I end up taking the Future Craft class, then there might also be some posts on those projects as well (mandatory for the class to have a blog).

12 September 2009

A spectacular ending

The vault we've been working on for the past 3 weeks finally had its public appearance! And it went out with a bang - very, very literally...

More later - too tired - but there are SO many people I need to thank for helping us with this project... those who lent their time, energy, and money to help us out; those who bought us food, let us borrow their muscles, and who jumped in to do even the most menial of tasks just to help us get them done. People like:

Huang, Kian, Curtis, Reem, Jessi, Gerhard, Sunnie... and others who were just curious and came by to check out our work.

Now to bed after a night of celebration and drama - finally!

11 September 2009

vault n51: almost there!

the project i've been working on since mid-july (and earlier) is finally going to be open to the public for one night - friday! (aka...tonight) 3 weeks of construction later...we're just about there. it's been a really fun yet somewhat exhausting process.

see the light at the end of the construction tunnel?

03 September 2009

bon voyage, e+j!

maybe not the most flattering picture of us, but it's us nonetheless in typical fashion.

Last week I was at home for a bit of a whirlwind visit with family and friends, and I thankfully got to be around to say bye to my good friends Eric and Jen. It was bittersweet - bitter because I was sad to have my BBB's ("Best Blue Bell Buddies") moving across the globe to Hawaii, but sweet because I know this was very much an answer to prayers for them.

This is one couple that I could always hang out with and never feel like the "third wheel." It was so comfortable that I even witnessed firsthand their bickerings without a flinch - that baring of dirty laundry, indeed, is the mark of friendship! (Yes, Jen is probably making a face as she reads this :P )

But anyways, in typical e+j fashion, I hung out at their place late into the night as a last (well, almost last) good bye. They put me to work in helping them to pack and also handed off some things to me to take. It was actually pretty amusing - I almost felt like they were trying to entice me with the various items they still had in great salesperson fashion: "this makes a GREAT travel pillow - compact - lightweight - and has a cool hawaiian print as well!"

hard at work, and trying not to snap too many of the bubbles

tired by the end of it all

after many takes...the acceptable self-take

Oh Chens...you will be missed! From my first encounter with them in GCC family group to their engagement to their wedding in Hawaii, late night talks, "family" dinners, and lengthy email exchanges... well, we'll just have to make more memories at a longer distance. Here's to heart friends!

01 September 2009

early registration?

As a side project, I'm designing the wedding programs for one of my friends at MIT. I was just poking around theknot.com, looking at some examples for bursts of inspiration, but after a few minutes just about every other page was encouraging me to register for a free account on the website.

This made me snort, but then I stopped and thought about it. It occurred to me that, if I registered, I would pretty much be labeling myself as a would-be bride, when that's clearly far from the case. (Really reee-ally far.) But I suppose it's true that, over even just the last year or so, I've become so saturated with wedding culture. My friend Kaitlyn once remarked that I might have been to more weddings than any of her friends - this came after she asked for design advice and lead into a lengthier discussion on how not to have a boring wedding. (More on that later.)

Oh, funny... Although I can't help but think to myself, "Hm...I like that, don't like that, like that..." when I observe or see various things at different weddings, it's probably best to lay most of that thinking aside. The proper time will come when it's my turn - but until then, I'm content to play a small part in my friends' happiness, even if it's in a graphic sort of way.

Anyways, as I work on my current project (part of my "moonlighting" after the vault during the day, I guess), here's a mini snapshot of the programs I designed for my lovely college friend Jackie, who got married just a couple weeks ago and is now Mrs. Vary (!!!):

[note: the image quality here isn't very good - I'm not sure why it is, since the original files are fine, but it gives a picture.]