a bird’s-eye view

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Am I crossing a line with posting this image? Not sure, but I’m going to say it’s okay since you can’t make out faces. And they’re so cute! From where I live, I can see the playgrounds (play yards? play courts?) of two nearby schools. The main disadvantage of living so near to schools is that they have REALLY LOUD announcements at 8 AM. It wasn’t so bad during the winter, but now that the weather’s warming and they’re doing their morning exercise drills outside, oh heaven have mercy! If their outdoor PA system is waking me up in the morning, I fear for those kids’ eardrums!

Last week the elementary school was holding some kind of event for the students. Maybe because it’s nearing the end of the school year? They were playing lots of REALLY LOUD Chinese pop music and it looked like there were groups of kids putting on routines for the other students. There was even a row of kids with yellow pom-poms. Looked like a hoot. Makes me miss childhood! Back when I was in elementary school, we’d always have a field day near the end of the school year … although our field days were more like mini carnivals. And we had real grass to play on.

thesis? oh, that thing i turned in?

Thesis – done. Not fantastic and not actually done, but turned in so … DONE. Not completely happy with what I turned in so I’ll probably work on it some more before the End of Year Show, but that’s just for me. But basically I’m done. Absolutely done. Commence intake of food and alcohol and long periods of sleep!

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A bunch of us went to Five Lamps Tavern for dinner in celebration. Some people still had work for other classes so couldn’t join, but … it was a good night. I had fish and chips, which were yummy, made all the more yummier by the fact that they represented FREEDOM FROM THESIS.

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congrats, pratt peeps!

I just wanted to extend a hearty congratulations to all those graduating over at Pratt! Pratt was my first real taste of New York, so even though I haven’t been back to Clinton Hill since that summer way back when, I will forever have a soft spot for Pratt.

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Two of my fellow interns are graduating from Pratt’s interior design program, so I stopped by the Pratt Show on Monday to check out their work. They graduate next week, but basically they’re done. This show is the big hurrah with all their thesis projects, and their thesis books are due aftergraduation … crazy, eh?

The Pratt Show 2013 is currently being held at the Manhattan Center (311 West 34th Street at 8th Avenue). The show opened May 6 (when I stopped by) and it’ll run until Thursday, May 9. It’s open to the public! You should go! And if you do, head to the very back where the master’s interior design work is exhibited!

time warp: i hope i survive(d)

Am I alive? No, seriously … did I survive this past week? I honestly don’t know because I’m writing this post a week in advance of when this is being posted. Why? Because the next week (er, the past week) is my hell week. Paper due. Final thesis presentation. Hence the label of hell week. And hence this time warp. Are you humming “Time Warp” from Rocky Horror in your head yet? Or even out loud!? You should be.

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Image is from the National Gallery of Art in DC. “Multiverse” (2008) by Leo Villareal is an underground light tunnel in the concourse connecting the NGA’s east and west buildings. Reminds me of James Turrell’s “Light Inside” (1999) at the MFAH, which also acts as an underground connector tunnel and uses light. Very trippy.

how to survive the library

Since I’ve been spending quite a lot of time in the library stacks of Avery, I thought I’d offer some tips on how to survive the experience. Also, I’m procrastinating. Can’t you tell?

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1. Beware overhead objects. Make note of them, but do not get distracted by the exposed pipes and/or wiring. When you are losing interest in your research material, letting your eyes wander to the fascinating aspects of the ceiling can be disastrous. Do not let your concentration shift upwards. Or sideways. Or any direction other than the next page.

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2. Put some muscle into it. Who said academics were all weaklings in ivory towers? There’s some real force required to shift some of the movable stacks, so throw your shoulder into it and get those gears cranking. Turning them bit by bit only reduces the momentum and prolongs your stay. If there are multiple stacks bunched together, you’re going to have to move each one individually, so just get it over with.

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3. Kick to save your life. If caught between electronically-moving stacks, kick the red/white strip running along the base to avoid being crushed. If you’re caught between hand-cranked stacks, for goodness’s sake, YELL. When you have safely escaped from the enclosing wall of books, smack the person who didn’t check the aisle before moving the stack and feel free to glare at them evilly any time you see him/her in the future.

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4. Don’t get lost. One of the worst things is to go down a row and forget the specific call number, volume number, or issue number of whatever it is you are looking for. That many books in a small area can be disorienting – arm yourself with a list and a game plan. If you have multiple books on your list, make note of which stacks are already open and then work out the best order to retrieve them before you go around shifting stacks. Be prepared for the onslaught of books!

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5. Accept assistance when needed. If you are short, own it. The stacks can go up pretty high and this isn’t the stretching Olympics, so don’t risk throwing out your back, pulling a muscle, or having a book fall on your head. Save your strength for flipping all those pages and grab a step stool. Plus, if there’s a step stool in the aisle with you, you can’t get crushed to death.

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6. Check the clock, at least occasionally. Or you will be in here forever. This is the only exception to #1. When there’s no window and you’re all by yourself, it can be hard to gauge how much time has gone by. If you don’t occasionally glance up at the clock, time will run recklessly wild. You will skip lunch, skip dinner, and before you know it the library is closing and some guy is telling you to pack up your stuff and leave. And then you will look up at him with tears in your eyes muttering about how you’re not done. Avoid that.

Happy researching!

sweet leaf sweet tea – austin iced tea

Sweetness. Sweet tea. Love the stuff. How can you not? Sweet Leaf is a brand of iced teas, and the company is based in Austin! Ah, fond memories. Since Sweet Leaf uses cane sugar and black tea and its ingredients list is super short, even though it’s in a can, it’s much, much better than Nestea or Brisk or Snapple because Sweet Leaf actually tastes like sweet tea rather than canned/bottled iced tea.

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My favorite flavor is the peach sweet tea, although the original is pretty yummy too. The vending machine on campus has an array of Sweet Leaf options, which is great (and fairly uncommon for New York) … but a bad thing for my coin purse. I’ve been on campus A LOT lately working on thesis stuff, and the Sweet Leaf is only two flights of stairs and $1.25 away … so yes, there has been A LOT of Sweet Leaf consumed lately.

feeling a tad trampled on

And … I am once again feeling overwhelmed. What an uncomfortable yet familiar feeling. Ah thesis, how you torment me. How you so insistently crush my soul!

The statue is from the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial near Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Basically I stood under the statue and took a picture up at the horses hanging over me. Heh.

Oh, and today is St. Patrick’s Day, when everyone is supposedly Irish. It’s spring break. Am I out drinking and having fun? No. I did laundry. I went to school. I went to the library. I worked in studio. The end.

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all wrapped up: the phase box

I was in the library the other day looking at some old books, and I went off in search of Diderot’s Encyclopédie. And when I found the row of volumes, the books were all wrapped up and tied with bows. It was adorable.

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I had seen books in archival phase boxes before, but usually the boxes are fairly new, constructed of mounting board or some such, and the closures are Velcro. These boxes however, were … um, not really boxes. Only the front cover, spine, and back cover had hard surfaces, and the flaps that go around the pages’ exposed three edges were a flexible sort of textile. Not exactly archival.

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Oh, and I got really nervous at one point when the corner of the page CRUMBLED AT MY TOUCH. Woah. I wonder how long those books sat there before I messed with them. Pretty neat to see books that are super old, but at the same time, it’s kinda nasty thinking about how many people have touched the pages before you, and as you’re flipping through the pages, you’re basically breathing in dust particles that have been trapped for YEARS.