Sorry for the lack of blogging to my fans. Adrienne (ex-Penn blogger) and Stynger gave me crap the other day for not writing anything lately. So I guess I can break it down and write it up.
I'm only taking 4 credits this semester (3 classes). It costs the same to take 4 or 5, but the savings isn't enough to drop to 3 (part time). I have two credits from my first summer in Japan, so I will graduate with at least 30 credits, even though we only need 28. SO, I'm taking Building Systems Integration starring Ali Malkawi. I have to say starring because he is like a celebrity. It's a solid class. Nothing “amazing” but good, solid learning. He's a great guy. He says hi to everyone even though he is tenured and smart and cool. That can't be said for all of the faculty.
Of course I'm taking studio, with Tina Manis. So far she is really good. She is really smart, assigns good work, and really seems to care. You know, answering emails and what have you. We have a mini-review on Thursday which is really a desk crit, but with Mathias Hollwich as a guest critic. His studio is next to Tina's and he also seems cool. Tina was sick on Monday, but she asked him to come by and see if we had any questions. On Monday we will go to NYC and the UN. We're going to get a tour, check out our site options (three to choose from) and then have a lecture with one of Tina's friends. We each chose an aspect of the UN to focus on and then create something. I am looking at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. There is a lot to talk about, but I am taking creative license and creating a center for stem cell research using the UN's international territory to get around US laws. Should be interesting maybe.
Probably the most interesting in terms of stories is my print making class. It's a seminar, and from what I can gather, the MFA students are required to take one seminar a semester to build skills outside their concentration. So, I'm the only non-MFA and I don't know how to do print making. The teacher is this old Japanese dude. He's pretty cool, but doesn't really teach. He helps and stuff, but I spend a lot of time staring, standing, sitting and otherwise not knowing what I'm doing. I ask people, but it's pretty slow going for me. I hope to get in on Friday (after the mini-review) and put in a few good hours of work. We have some kind of show on November 2, and should have some prints. I'll let you know how that turns out... He also talks A LOT, which majorly cuts into our class time work time. Not teaching talking, but random stories and such. They are pretty cool stories, but after 2 hours, of standing at 9 am, you just want to work or sleep. I'm going to use it as an opportunity to make a mess. I don't want to make a single straight line or clean shape. Manual bunk all the way. It's liberating. I've just been putting crinkled paper soaked in hard ground on the plate, scratching it with steel wool etc. It's kinda cool.
TAing visual studies is actually really fun. I work with your's truly, Adrienne Yancone of archinect blog fame. It's fun to just help the students trouble shoot ideas. I mean, I probably don't know MUCH more than them, but a little more from just having that one year advantage. So I work with them and I learn stuff and I hope they learn too. I will probably do a demo on VRay for Rhino at the next meeting. I've been really happy with VRay. My only complaint would be that it seems to lack the ability to do quick and dirty renderings. It seems to be easier than Mental Ray to get some really nice results. The default settings will be pretty good. But the trade off is that it's hard to get really quick renderings. So it seems to be a strange middle ground, faster for good results, but it doesn't have that super speed that you can get in Mental Ray. Also, there is some noise/grain to the renderings, but I like it. Some people might complain, I think it looks cool. More photo like. But I also like to use Fuji Neopan 1600 with an orange filter just to get extra grainy photos. Anyway, happy with that product and looking forward to using it for real. I'll post some output soon. I'm reworking some Takenaka stuff and eventually, most of my school work, for my portfolio.
I am probably going to London during Thanksgiving to see some friends that are at the AA this semester. Figure, I've never been to Europe (Weird right? Twice to Asia though.) so it's a good opportunity to get there for a plane ticket and food, free lodging. I almost have enough frequent flyer miles to go to Asia again. Could go to Europe, but no SkyTeam members have good flights to London.
I've been back in Philly for about a month now and have come to realize the utter incompetence of your typical employee. Yes, I know that Taco Bell and the grocery store are not stunning careers, but for the love of all that is Holy, the people in Philly are incapable of pretty much doing anything. The exception, sort of, is Starbucks. But seriously, you go in to say...Taco Bell. There are about 13 people behind the counter. The chicks with big ass weaves are just talking and cleaning the counter until they are buffing off the cheesy purple surface, some guy is talking on his cell phone while he “takes your order” and the rest of the people are pacing around in the back yelling at each other. And it's everywhere. You cannot get the slightest hint of service. Even if you go to this “indie” video store near my apartment. First, if you want to rent anything other than the latest Koyaanisqatsi, The Princess Bride, or other enlightened hipster favorite, you get a dirty look. Second, the guy in the suit with the Dumb and Dumber bowl cut is having some stupid, pseudo-intellectual, anti-establishment conversation about not paying his rent with the dumpy, hoody wearing, Bettie Page bang having chick, while you just stand there and wait for 5 minutes. Give me my damn $.99 burrito and my copy of Resident Evil: Apocalypse and let me get on with my life. I mean shit, I had a college degree from a good school with a great GPA, resume etc, and was living with my parents while working at Target with no sign of a good job and I still did my freakin' job (it was 2002, bad economy, but I did eventually end up scoring a sweet job at Harvard). Talk about depressing. $20000 in debit, worked hard for 4 years and I was stocking shampoo! I think a problem in schools around here, is that they may not realize that they can go to college. I know there are family issues and societal issues that all add up to a poor value of education. But, I think when kids don't have college role models (I had parents and sisters) they don't realize that YOU CAN GO. I think most people "out of the loop" think that they can't afford it, and they don't understand educational debt. But so many people are on loans in college. I mean, I'm white, middle class American and I'm $120,000 in debt. Everyone pays (other than those damn Penn undergrads!!). Ok, I gotta rigor up some studio or Tina will kill me.