Saturday, December 29, 2012

an unconventional 21st

I turned 21 on Thursday.

On Wednesday night, I wasn't sure how to feel about my 21st birthday. Most people go out to drink on their 21st, but seeing as my parents are pretty conservative about drinking and they would be carrying out all of my birthday festivities, I figured that a wild 21st birthday celebration was pretty much out of the question.

My best friend came over on Wednesday just before midnight to wish me a happy birthday and give me the coolest birthday presents ever: a special reissue of an early Bright Eyes record and a book on illustrations (she really is my best friend)

My sister passed her driving test on Thursday morning, so she drove my mom, my youngest sister, and I to one of my favorite cafes and we had a nice brunch, celebrating both her success and my birthday. After brunch, we decided to drive down to the Cabazon outlets. We didn't stay for long, but the drive was nice and the sales were even nicer.

After driving home from Cabazon, I had dinner with my family, my cousins, and my best friend. It was probably one of the better birthday dinners I've had because I didn't have to stand on a chair and cry while the entire restaurant screamed the happy birthday song to my face (which happened to me at Buca di Beppo when I was young and might have scarred me for life).

After dinner with my family, I somehow ended up at WinCo with my best friend and my sister, where I  stole way too many yogurt covered pretzel samples. (wildest thing I did all day)

My birthday ended while listening to records with my best friend and my sister. My 21st wasn't exactly what I pictured, but I spent it with the people I love most, which is pretty okay with me.

Besides, I'm 21 now.
I'm sure that I'll find that wild celebration I was looking for sometime soon.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

giving thanks... a month later

Due to the intense amount of work that had to be carried out during the last few weeks of November, I felt like I couldn't adequately celebrate Thanksgiving. I did spend Thanksgiving weekend in studio, so it was pretty hard to find any time to appropriately give thanks when I barely even had time to make it home for Thanksgiving dinner.

But now that things are winding down and I'm finally enjoying the holiday season, I feel like I can adequately give thanks.

Thank you, architecture school, for bringing some really special friends into my life. Also, thanks for the constant challenge that, although a bit trying at times, has introduced me to new ways of thinking, seeing, and learning.

Thank you, cozy ass bed, for being so stinkin comfy and warm every night. And for being my main Netflix homie.

Thank you, concert gods, for bringing SO many good shows to Pomona/LA this year. Anthony Green, Bryce Avary, Childish Gambino, Conor Oberst, Jenny Lewis, Circa Survive, Minus the Bear, The Faint, and possibly Casey Crescenzo? Hallelujah, praise the concert lords.

(Can I also just freak out for a second over the fact that I am seeing Andrew McMahon for the first time ever next month? And that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs just announced a show at the Glasshouse? All hail the concert gods.)

Thank you, spontaneity, for getting me into some pretty cool/weird/but fun situations. I don't think the opportunity to attend a fancy Christmas cocktail party at Union Station will ever come up again.

Thank you, bedside table, for letting me put all of my junk on top of you, while you safely store my records and books without complaint. And for being the only thing to come home to sometimes. And for being a literal shoulder to cry on while I sit on my floor reading and listening to Bright Eyes records on repeat.

Thank you, best friends, for being so caring, hilarious, understanding, unique, and beautiful. You guys are the best people I know. I hope that our Ikea dates never grow old and that we never tire of their $1 non-fat frozen yogurt because it is as delicious as our friendship is wonderful.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

creating traditions

I come from a pretty nontraditional family. We celebrate most of the major holidays, but we don't really have any special festivities that are unique to the family. I don't necessarily think that it's a bad thing, but I thought it would be nice to create some sort of tradition for myself.

So I doodled up some Christmas cards for a few of my friends and decided that I might try to make it an annual thing. It sounds pretty silly, but I've never written on the inside of a Christmas card before so I wasn't sure of what to write inside of them. Hopefully wishing everybody a "twerkin" holiday season was an appropriate thing to say.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

fall quarter studio project

I find it kind of silly that I hardly ever blog about my actual architecture projects because architecture school is such a huge aspect of my life. I guess I've always felt a little uneasy about putting my undergraduate projects on the interwebz, considering that this is my personal blog and not my portfolio. But there were so many processes that went into this project that I think I can safely share the construction process on here without exploiting the (limited) contents of my portfolio.

For this fall quarter's studio project I had to design a 500 - 600 sq ft residence for a Japanese film maker, located somewhere on Mt. Baldy. Later in the quarter, I also had to construct a 1" = 1' model using realistic construction methods.

The first half of the quarter was spent working on smaller models for the conceptual, schematic, and structural processes, so that our designs could be represented through drawings and work in a structural manner.

I began the construction process by making a 2' x 4' base, adding some rebar, and carving some foam (which is typically used for insulation) to represent the topography of the project's site.

Then I poured and treated the concrete footings, foundation, and retaining walls. This was the most frustrating/anxiety-inducing part of the construction process because every dimension had to be calculated and approved beforehand, and I had to rebuild the formwork twice before casting the concrete.

I then began to frame the floors and walls of the house and started to paper mache over the pink foam. I also made some built-in interior furnishings and started attaching the white "skin" of the house to the framing.

To finish up the project, I put in plexiglass panels, made a folding wood-shutter system, and finished adding the white "skin" to the framing.

I only took a couple of short naps during the last few days before the project's deadline, and managed to finish around 4 AM, 4 hours before the project's deadline. I wanted to sleep then, but some of my friends were still working on their projects so I helped some of them out until deadline at 8 AM. I didn't have to present my project until 5 PM that day, so I took a pretty glorious nap in my car for a couple of hours until my best friend came to visit and see my project. My presentation went pretty well and I received some of the best critiques I've ever gotten from a panel of jurors.

Although this project cost me an arm and maybe 2 legs, and even if it was a series of very trying processes that induced 2 mental breakdowns, I learned so much more than I expected, ended up with a final project that I'm proud of, and had a lot of good times with friends in studio.

Friday, December 7, 2012

loose leaves

It's kind of unreal to look at all of these pictures and think about how much has changed since the last time I've posted here. I've been meaning to come back every so often and at least post my monthstagrams, but the past couple of months have consisted of the most challenging and trying times I've ever had to endure. For this quarter of architecture, I had to construct a large scale model of my design using real construction techniques, which involved a ton of work, weeks of living in my car and crashing on couches, and a lot of sleepless nights. I went to a lot of shows this quarter, some of which were the best I've ever been to. (Can I geek out a bit over how good the Conor Oberst and Jenny Lewis show was??!?!?) I also made some really good friends in studio. Like really, really, really good friends.

But somewhere along the way, I lost myself completely. I grew ignorant to the things that were happening around me and oblivious to the things happening to me. I developed unhealthy habits and lost the trust of some really important people in my life. If it weren't for the few friends who sat me down and encouraged me to get back on track, I probably wouldn't have composed myself in time to complete my studio project for this quarter. I am so grateful for those who believed in me when I was so quick to give up and resort to my unhealthy ways. I owe them so much more than I feel like I am currently capable of giving. I hope that I'll soon be well enough to appropriately express my gratitude. I hope that I'll soon be well enough to enjoy the holiday season because it's my favorite time of the year. But for now, I feel like I should dedicate the first portion of my winter break to sleep, which I have missed so dearly and am in dire need of.