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March 30, 2005

Drama at the Beach

Rosie and I had an excitement at the beach today. We found a puppy! She was wearing a collar and had gotten out of her yard up the beach, and fortunately the owners were home when I called. They came down the beach to meet us, clearly bracing to be yelled at, but I was just happy they were home so I didn't feel obligated to take the puppy home. Though she was happy to see her people, she was none too happy about being caught, and I don't blame her: it was a gorgeous night to go for a walk on the beach.

Playing with Jersey dog


Dog in sunset

water ripples

# Posted by ayse on 03/30/05 at 8:55 PM

March 29, 2005

I've Just Realized...

I am going to spend April Fool's Day on a college campus with 17,000 undergraduates.


# Posted by ayse on 03/29/05 at 10:55 PM

March 28, 2005

Finding Something to Read

I use Amazon's wish list to keep track of books I want to read or at least check out. I sometimes browse through their recommendations engine to find something new to read, but these days that's not as often as Amazon might like. Not because I have no money to spend, but because the engine is broken in a few really critical ways.

I always feel like such a crank when I go off to waste time on Amazon and get foiled by the recommendations engine. For one thing, it always ends up with me muttering nasty things at the computer.

  1. It shows me stuff I've already bought in a different medium. Chances are, if I bought it in hardcover, no matter how much I loved it I'm not likely to also buy it in trade paper and mass market paperback.
  2. It shows me things that are already on my wish list. It's not uncommon for me to be flipping through my recommendations and find a book that looks familiar and noteworthy, and decide to check it out. For me that means adding it to my wish list and then looking at it later in a store, which will help me decide if I want to buy it or take it out of the library or just not bother. I only very rarely buy books based solely on the information on Amazon, not in the least because they never ever say what kind of paper the book is printed on. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten, the book is already on my wish list, and I just give up and do something else with my spare time. Amazon could really be selling me stuff here and they're falling down.
  3. It shows me a hundred variations on what I bought last. I bought the textbook for my calculus classes on Amazon. The next time I went to see my recommendations, there were fourteen calculus textbooks there. The time to sell me alternatives to a textbook or reference is before I've paid, not after. Amazon has absolutely no filters for knowing the difference between liking novels about space ships and buying a non-fiction book on the space program, so everybody is treated as if they are doing in-depth research on anything they express an interest in.
  4. It keeps showing me the same stuff. Unless I tell it I'm not interested in something, that thing keeps reappearing on my recommendations. Why not keep track of how long it has been there and rank it downward, eventually off the list? Obviously, if I look at my recommendations every two weeks, and in fourteen weeks I have not even clicked on a particular book, I'm not as interested as you think.
  5. It can't handle broad interests. I'm interested in a lot of things. For some reason, Amazon is better tuned to handle people who like one thing (example: dogs) and barrage them with everything it has related to that thing (example: dog-shaped earmuffs). It grew exasperated with me last Christmas and offered a book on dealing with multiple personalities. I say an impatient salesman is a bad salesman, and one thing machines should be able to do perfectly is avoid getting impatient.
  6. It thinks like a computer. I recently ranked a book by Porter Shreve very highly. It recommended I read a book by Anita Shreve. I know this is going to come as a shock, but somehow, I doubt that everybody with the same last name writes in the same style.
  7. It shows me stuff it should know better than to show me. Every now and then the recommendations engine seems to lose its brain and offer up a selection of boring mass-market movies and music that could not possibly be of interest to me. Given that I've been buying from them since sometime in 1998, and I rank books I've read but not bought through them just to improve the recommendations, you'd think they could do better than falling back on the best-sellers list. If I want that, I'll be somewhere that is explicitly that.

I like nothing better than browsing around a bookstore, and Amazon is like a sort of book store with a search engine attached (convenient as somehow real bookstores will have shelved that book of writing about food in biography instead of cookbooks where you were expecting it to be). Somehow, I doubt I'm the only person who gets frustrated and just gives up, and all of us who do that are customers who are asking to have books sold to them. Sure, Amazon is not a bookstore any more, but the recommendations engine is just as bad for non-book items (which I don't tend to browse around for, hence the general lack of use of the recommendations engine).

# Posted by ayse on 03/28/05 at 8:22 PM

The First Day of School

So, school started today. We lead off with environmental control systems, which is basically all about how to suit a building to its environment this quarter. Interesting enough, though I'm sure in two weeks it will be five of us in there (and it's a required class for all second-year students). Then structural systems for architects, ie more engineering. A longish break, then studio. Then I was done for the day and went to the beach with Rosie, because what good is it to have the dog for a visit if you don't go to the beach?

This is the view from the new studio. It's called "Skylab," and it's nestled among a bunch of third-year studios. I like the teacher a lot because he seems to have a good sense of play and doesn't filter his opinions. I need that kind of feedback.

Studio view

Somebody named Charlie posted these all over the halls where the architecture studios are. I wanted to write, "Wanting a break means she doesn't love you and is too chicken to tell you so" on them, but maybe that's a lesson we want the kids to learn for themselves.

Love letter

When I came home, the girls in the front apartment had bought a lawnmower and weed whacker and did a bunch of tidying of the lawn. I pay too much rent to do landscaping for the landlady for free, and also MY lease says landscaping is provided. But apparently theirs doesn't.

Back yard

It was very windy at the beach.

Wind in ears

We chased some new small birds that were lots of fun (they didn't fly right off).

Chasing birds

Sun on water

# Posted by ayse on 03/28/05 at 6:37 PM

March 27, 2005

Dog Tired

Rosie came down to spend the first week of school with me, because it's usually pretty light and also I have Thursday off in celebration of a socialist hero (Cesar Chavez, who's a big deal here in agri-land), so we're going to spend a lot of time at the beach.

We think she's got some kind of cold or something, because she was really needy and sleepy this weekend, and tonight I get her in, fed her, and she immediately crashed out in her crate and started snoring LOUD, which means she's deep asleep. I was going to take her for a walk but I don't want to wake her if she's not feeling great. I just made up the bed and she just lay there looking at me, waiting for the commotion to settle down.

I have a mellow quarter this time round: only 16 credits, but all in real classes (history of modern architecture, studio, environmental control systems, and my last structures class before I move on to building systems engineering). Depending on how the workload feels and our financial situation, I may try to find a part-time job at a firm or even at an art supply shop (for the employee discount) to cover my studio supplies.

And now, to bed. I'm taking the bus in tomorrow to avoid day-one traffic, so I have to be up bright and early.

# Posted by ayse on 03/27/05 at 9:46 PM

Viva la Deep Fryer

Last night we had a few friends over to talk about classical organ music and the tendons in your hands. No, seriously, we just had some people over who we hadn't seen in a while, and that's what they ended up talking about. There was also some drunken piano playing and an argument about keyboard size that ended with the tape measure being taken out. It's no end of fun over here.

Being utterly impoverished, we settled on a simple menu of fish and chips (made in The Fryer of Love), salad, and chocolate cake for dessert. Noel bought some cod and purple and white potatoes, some salad greens, and a few odds and ends for appetizers (pancetta and tomatoes with a little slice of cheese), and I bought a bunch of eggs, chocolate, and cream, because frankly that's how I am.

Boning the fish

For Christmas a couple of years ago my mother gave me a deep fryer, a device which it did not take long for us to worship as a god. Frying is so much less touchy when you have an appliance keeping track of the temperature. For our fish and chips, we used Jeffrey Steingarten's recipe for french fries (fry once at a very low temperature to cook, let drain and rest, then fry at a very high temperature to get that delicious crunchy outside). This recipe is simply divine. And with a mandoline to do the slicing and the deep fryer to maintain the temperatures, it's just as easy as whipping out boring frozen fries.

Preparing the fryer

I made Nigella Lawson's chocolate babycakes, from How to be a Domestic Goddess. The babycakes are absolutely marvelous, look like a million hours of work went into them, and take all of half an hour, including baking. I garnished with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, a couple mini scoops of vanilla ice cream, and some raspberries. Delish.

Babycakes ready to bake

Baked babycakes

One of the things I perversely enjoy about having people over is the piles of dirty dishes to be done. Perhaps because we have a dishwasher? It's just nice to see things you have and save for this sort of event actually in use.


Dirty dishes

# Posted by ayse on 03/27/05 at 12:55 PM

March 21, 2005

Walking Tour

Today we walked around college town and campus a bit, ostensibly in search of a mail box, but really just to get out and get some exercise. Ithaca is dismal and dead right now, with students away and the slush in full force.

A lot of the maples on my parents' street have died or gotten so sick the city has cut them down and replanted, so the street looks bare and bright and weird to me. Those trees had been there for a hundred years, so they were good shade and good old friends. So strange to see them gone.

Bryant Ave.

One of the buildings in college town used to be full of shops and stuff, but every storefront is empty -- the shops have just moved across the street or a block away.

Dead shops

For whatever reason, college town has turned into a collection of huge apartment blocks. It's sucked residents out of downtown and up onto the hill. And it's made our nice, quiet little college town into an urban landscape.


When people think of Ithaca, they think of the gorges. Ithaca is littered with them. What looks like a mild-mannered stream turns into a gorge in a matter of meters. One second you're by a quiet lake, the next you're looking over a 200-foot drop over jagged cliffs. Makes life exciting.

Gorge 1

Gorge 2

Sage Hall is a student residence, one of the older buildings on campus. Late Gothic revival and proud of it. I've always been fond of the shape of the tower. (Edited to add that my father informed me that a few years ago this became a Business School building. Well.)

Sage Hall

Ithaca in March equals slush.


I remember when the site this building is on was a parking lot. Actually, I remember when a lot of buildings on campus were not there. Makes you feel ancient.

Theory Center

Moments before I took this photo, two large bucks crossed the path. But I wasn't taking it because of that.

No winter maintenance

# Posted by ayse on 03/21/05 at 7:53 PM

March 20, 2005

An Evening of Library Science

We're visiting my parents this week, which meant a startlingly long conversation this evening on the subject of creating bibliographic records and authority records. I'm fairly certain most people would find this an unbelievably boring conversation, but it was interesting and stimulating, if only because my mother clearly enjoys it so much.

We've had a couple of days of sitting around the house doing nothing apart from chatting and preparing for a dinner party, and tomorrow my parents actually have to work so we're possibly going to actually leave the house and go visit some Upstate New York wineries. I hear the German-style whites are particularly strong around here, which makes sense when you consider the climate.

It's odd being back in Ithaca, which is much like it was when I last lived here, and yet very different, because I could easily walk around town and not see anybody I know. I know college towns are like that, with a population that disperses to the ends of the world regularly, but it's not how I think of Ithaca. Visits back to Northampton might have been similar, except that they've all been for reunions, so of course everybody I'm likely to know is in town then, too, also visiting their old haunts, so of course I'm constantly running into people I know.

There are all sorts of new stores, chains mostly, which have been filling the shopping areas and choking business out of the downtown. This is much more corporate and mass cultural than the area has ever been before. It was always amazing to me that there were two huge grocery stores with wide selections of international foods, but now there are numerous discount stores, chain specialty stores, and the like. I guess college students do spend lots of money, because I can't imagine the local citizenry supporting these places. The end result is that downtown is dead, and the old mall is not doing so great, either. Downtown has been dying slowly all my life, but the mall's fading didn't have to happen the way it did, if the management had been handled better and more of those stores down on Route 13 had been lured into filling the storefronts. With a series of failed strip malls as well, Ithaca has turned into a sort of giant retail graveyard of failed shopping areas. It does make you wonder what the city planners have been thinking.

But Ithaca has never, frankly, been about shopping to me. I like the scenery, as dismal as it is now at the end of the winter, the fresh smell of the waking earth, the crisp cold air. March is not Ithaca's most attractive month, but it is when you start to get the sense that winter is almost over, and we're about to have one of the four totally wonderful days that Ithaca gets each year. Living in California, where about a quarter of the days are totally perfect and they're mixed in with the too-hot or too-cold or too-windy days, I've lost that keen sense of anticipation of rare perfection. You get four perfect days in Ithaca, so you wait for them all winter or summer long. It's like a present to have one of them. Then maybe you get a second, and then it's six months until the mugginess subsides and you get a couple more, followed by endless months of cold, slushy, grey days.

Either you learn to love the slush or the heat, or you go crazy.

The huge difference between here and home is in network connectivity. I've gotten spoiled over the last several years by ubiquitous high-bandwidth connections. While it's true that in my studio I am essentially shut off from the rest of the world most of the time thanks to an utterly useless wireless network (it only works OUTSIDE), at home and at my apartment I have scads of bandwidth waiting around to be used as much as I like.

At my parents' house there's dialup. And scrounging for an open wireless network with maybe one or two bars of signal, obtained only by holding the laptop three feet above the floor and at a slight angle. This is not the standard of connectivity to which I have grown accustomed. People who don't live and die on the net don't tend to think of wireless routers and DSL as necessary expenses, as astonishing as that seems to me.

# Posted by ayse on 03/20/05 at 11:14 PM

March 17, 2005

If You Pinch Me, I Will Smack You

I'm not wearing either green or orange today. This is not because I'm a spoilsport, or because I have no sense of fun. It's because I'm NOT IRISH.

I know this is going to come as a shock to many of you, especially my parents, but in general the Irish tend to come from Ireland, and as far as I know nobody in my family has ever been born in that land, much less been of an ethnicity that could be traced to that soggy, inebriated isle. (We come from a dry inebriated isle.)

I really only went out once today, to do laundry, and you'd think that at the laundromat people would not hassle you about what you are wearing, seeing as most of them are wearing the very last clean item of clothing in their wardrobe, but no. A woman was walking around saying, "You aren't wearing green? Do you want to be pinched?" She came near me, but I glared at her with the Evil Eye. She stopped short, then walked off to harass somebody else.

I really do hate this holiday more than others. Not that I don't like my Irish friends, but frankly, I'm not interested in being Irish any day of the year, especially if it involves green food colouring in otherwise inedible foodstuffs. I dig that the Irish were inexplicably unhappy about having snakes in their gardens, but an entire day of walking around drunk and pinching people is hardly an appropriate celebration for the results of having an exterminator visit, even if he was a saint.

I wonder what people would say if on some random day I went around wearing red and saying, "On this day, everybody is Turkish" in an obviously fake Turkish accent. I mean, at least my father was actually born there, which you can't say about most people who whip out that Irish great-grandmother as if she were some eat-green-food-free card. I could say that nobody could drink, and we all had to go beat up those guys who work at the Greek restaurant down the street (who happen to be Guatemalan, but close enough). You'd think I'd gone insane.

# Posted by ayse on 03/17/05 at 6:09 PM

March 16, 2005

Waiting a Lot

At Smith, exams worked differently. You had a week or so to take exams, but you could mostly take them when you wanted, because you went, checked the exam out, did it, then checked it back in the right amount of time later. A good, well-enforced honour code and trust in the students meant that if you had two easy exams, you could do them the same day, and study for the one hard one the rest of the time.

Not so Cal Poly, and I guess for good reason. It's much harder to maintain an honour code with 17,000 students who have been "educated" in California. I've had numerous classmates ask me if they can sit next to me during tests, and quite frankly I'm appalled at the lack of ethics or honesty, but it seems like I'm alone in that one. So we have assigned times for exams.

Which means that my hardest exam, engineering, was at 7:30 am Monday. My accounting exam was this morning (easy enough), and my political science exam is tomorrow night (piece of cake). Had this been Smith, I would be out of here by now, but instead I get to sit around (stewing about plans and planners and basements) reading novels, half-heartedly reviewing my notes, and generally waiting for the exams to come up. It's really irritating. Add onto that something making me not sleep very well these days (stress, maybe? Or perhaps BOREDOM?), and I've been antsy as all hell all day. But too angry after my little volleyball episode with the City to go out and be around people who don't like being bitten and kicked in the shins while somebody yells "I'll give you a detailed electrical plan" at them.

I have to do laundry tomorrow (because otherwise I'll be showing up at my parents' house with it, and I'm a touch old for that routine). That should keep me occupied for a couple of hours. I've read every book in the apartment and I really want to get my hands on a couple of books at home (I was thinking about Finnegans Wake today and getting irritated because I could not remember a detail and obviously I didn't bring it down here, nor am I going to go buy a copy; I could go to the library but it's full of people who are irritating me by BREATHING MY AIR so it seemed like a bad idea). I may also try hitting a few thrift stores tomorrow for cheap novels, though apparently people down here don't read much, because mostly the thrift stores have books about Jesus or ancient test-prep manuals, so I'm not holding my breath.

And don't tell me to knit because I have used my hands too much this week and knitting or crocheting makes my fingers go all numb. Can't even draw. See, I get the use of my finger back at long last, and immediately screw it all up for myself by doing too much CAD work and wonking out my wrists and shoulders. I can't be trusted with a body.

# Posted by ayse on 03/16/05 at 9:35 PM

What I Wanted, What I Got

I'm in a really bad mood right now, pretty much ready to yell at anybody who gives me shit. Why? Don't read any more if you don't like naughty words, because I have a lot of them.

Because I wanted a fucking cellar, not a live-in basement, but the City of Alameda is basically making me design a fucking mansion for bicycle storage and lagering, thus draining every penny I had for, say, a functional bathroom into elaborate energy-efficient windows for the basement.

Because, you know, it's better to live in a house where the rooms you actually live in have large, air-leaking holes to the outdoors but your new storage space is designed within an inch of its life, than to have a utilitarian storage space and a comfortable, warm living space. Obviously I have fucked-up priorities.

Have I mentioned that they want complete elevation drawings of the ENTIRE HOUSE so they can decide whether 3'-10" is less than 6'-0"? Have I mentioned that one yet? Or how they seem to have told Noel that our property line begins somewhere halfway up our front staircase? Or that we had to add so much light and ventilation to the WINE CELLAR that it is now absolutely useless as a wine cellar, and I had to squeeze a tiny corner to wall off into a closet for that purpose? How about how they told us three different reasons why we needed to ruin our nice basement by making it into a living room? do seven more, different drawings every time I come back with the ones they've asked for? Or how the lady said, "You know, why don't you just drive down and sit with me talk about this" when I had just explained to her that I'm 250 fucking miles away from Alameda at the moment?

I'm ready to bite somebody's head off. I'm trying to decide whose head it will be. I think I will start in planning (they want those ridiculous elevations) and work my way through plan review (you who made me ruin my perfect basement to make some suburban shithouse rec room idiocy because you watch too much fucking TV to realize that there are people who actually don't think snouthouses are appealing at all), then I'm going to get started on anybody who tries to explain it to me as if it made sense to live in a basement on a shallow island so of course I would want to do that.

Fucking world. It can fucking bite me.

Edited: Noel has taken over like some kind of personal saviour or something, and thinks he can make all well with the city. This would totally make my month.

# Posted by ayse on 03/16/05 at 1:40 PM

March 14, 2005

Daily Statistics

It's been one of those days. I was trying to write out an entry about how it's been one of those days, but it turned into one long, stupid list. So, my list.

Final exams taken: 1
Drawings: 1
Times I set myself on fire: 1
Fingers sliced off with X-Acto knife: 0
Number of cups of cocoa spilled over self and kitchen: 2
Cups of cocoa actually consumed: 1
Cookies dropped into cocoa: 1
Doctor's appointments forgotten: 1
Times I noticed the toilet paper had run out and the new roll was in the other room: 1
Times an item exploded in the microwave: 2
Times I finally cleaned the microwave: 1
Changes of clothing required: 4
Pages added to online portfolio: 12
Items removed from studio for end-of-quarter: 6
Parking tickets received for being one minute late to return to car with studio items: 1
Items remaining to be removed from studio: 4
Stupid, anti-American ballot initiatives found unconstitutional: 1
Rambling messages from contractors: 1
Books read: 1/2
Rows of knitting done: 0
Meals consumed: 1
Healthy meals consumed: 0
Eggs dropped: 1
Textbooks purchased: 3
Other books purchased: undecided
Discussions about mud and "extreme conditions": 3

# Posted by ayse on 03/14/05 at 6:11 PM

March 13, 2005

The End of Dead Week

The last week of classes at Cal Poly is traditionally called "Dead Week" in the College of Architecture, for reasons which seem to be lost to antiquity. Anyway, the last day of Dead Week is when all the studio crits are held. Noel came down Thursday night so he could see my presentation. And now you get to see it (well, the pictures from it, at least), too. But first, some scene setting....

This is set up in the stairwell of the damned Architecture Building. It moves in the constant breeze, which is lovely and ethereal, in stark contrast to the Brutalism of the building.


One fifth-year student's setup in the Gallery. He had complex models

5th Year setup

... and used a projector to show a flythrough of his design. My only criticism is that the two settings were facing one another, so you had to constantly turn your head back and forth to get your bearings.

Using a projector

Now, back to my studio. This is what we had to work with: a projector, a screen, our photos up there and our ability to make a presentation. Here's my classmate Steph presenting her sandwich shop/living space.

Steph presenting

We had a pretty decent audience of primarily 2nd year students.

Watching the presentations

Now, my space (as you've all been holding your breath anxiously):

Live-Work Plan

The shop from the parking lot nearby:

The studio space, looking forward to the shop and the back of the alley:
Studio space

The view from the shop into the shared garden, framing the view with books and walls:
View back -- first floor

The built-in bookcases on the stairs:

The kitchen (no overhead cupboards):

Two dining areas: formal and casual:
Dining area

A simple, bare living room:
Living room

The view back from the living room:
Long view -- second floor

The view back from the bedroom:
Long view -- third floor

The bedroom is surrounded by frosted glass to make it very light and bright in the morning:

The nautilus shower doesn't need a shower curtain:

The presentation went well. My teacher had some very good, pointed criticisms of my visual aids (very helpful). I was one of the students he asked to give him a reference copy of my presentation to be kept as a record of work by the college. That's a huge honour. I was very happy.

Rosie was also very happy, because we got home from school at about 4 and immediately went to the BEACH for RUNNING and PLAYING. That is what a dog likes best.
Ready to go out

# Posted by ayse on 03/13/05 at 12:48 PM

March 11, 2005

Science Shows it is True

I'm the most smartest. See: Older Siblings Smarter, Norwegian Study Shows

So does that mean big sisters really are smarter?

"Yes. It's hard to admit because I have older sisters," Salvanes said.

# Posted by ayse on 03/11/05 at 10:51 AM

March 9, 2005

Fingers Up

It occurred to me this evening, as I was contemplating the unpleasant task of changing the dressing on my ruined stump of a finger (no, really, I'll be fine; they say they might be able to save the arm), that I haven't washed my left index finger in about a week.


Now, it's not as if I've taken to jamming the bugger into piles of feces or rotten food, and I have been sterilizing the area and all that hooha, so it's not festering with rot, but still, washing is for more than merely keeping down the microbe population, and my left index finger is starting to feel kind of gamey.

It's also starting to hurt, which is one of those delicious ironies of the sliced finger. At first it hurts not at all, on account of how you hardly notice you've sliced off half the finger with that ornery piece of balsa wood. Then it hurts like holy hell while you clean it and glue it back together with superglue (no kidding, that is what they did), then it stops hurting because at that point the brain realizes it was overreacting, on account of how the nerve was sliced and it really has no idea what is going on down there.

The thing is -- and this is the good part -- as the finger heals, nerves somehow kick in and start sending the brain all kinds of weird bullshit, like, "It's COLD down here!" or "Owie!" or even "I'm all wet." So now I have a dirty, gamey finger that's telling me it's cold and wet when I know for certain (by checking with the other hand) that it is warm and dry and doing fine, and also yelling a lot more than a finger really ought to be allowed to do.

Also, the superglue stuff has cured into a hard solid end on my finger, which feels substantial until you try to use it for anything, at which point there's this terrible, unpleasant oosh feeling. So I'm not doing that any more.

Also (I'm on a roll, and nobody can stop me!) the superglue stuff has cured into a hard mass with my blood, duh, on account of how it's a flesh wound, but now it smells funny. I can wash it, but I can't get rid of the smell because it is coming from the stuff bound up in the superglue, and that's what's keeping me from bleeding and bleeding and just running out of blood. So I have a dirty, stinking, lying finger.

Send in the posse.

# Posted by ayse on 03/09/05 at 9:35 PM

March 8, 2005

Early Morning Conversations With My Guts

I woke up at 5am today, not on purpose, but because my guts woke me up.

Guts: Hey, wake up. I gotta go.
Brain: What? Shut up. It's still dark out.
Guts: No, seriously, I gotta go.
Brain: What time is it?
Eyes: 5am. Would you please tell Guts to shut up?
Brain: Guts, it's 5am. Shut up and go back to sleep. You can wait another hour.
Guts: Can't. Gotta go NOW.
Brain: Aw, fuck. Feets, do your duty.
body shuffles to bathroom in darkness
Brain: Happy now?
Guts: Just five more minutes.
Brain: No. Five minutes? It's 5 in the morning, you moron. I've gotta get up in an hour, and I want to sleep.
Guts: I just need five more minutes.
Brain: sighs

So I was up until 5:30 listening to my guts. This is when having cut my finger so badly is not so bad, because I had woodshop this morning, but can't go because, well, I can't use any of the tools, so I slept in by an hour. Stupid guts.

# Posted by ayse on 03/08/05 at 10:56 AM

March 7, 2005

Surprise Ending

I actually finished building my model today, on time and on schedule. I was the only student who managed it, and I did it by not spending the first week screwing around like my classmates.

Today I did the kitchen and living room, both of which relied heavily on pieces built for other rooms (like cabinets and bookshelves. I also made some backdrop walls for the photos, which naturally I will be posting here as I work on my presentation. I'm so glad that I don't have to rush on this, because I have 200 doctor appointments this week and Noel is coming down Thursday night to see me and go to my presentation/crit. This will be his first visit during school, and I'm very excited.


Now, photos. Only two today:

The kitchen, with no upper cabinets because I am short and don't like them. The screen overlooks the staircase with its bookshelves.


The living room couch, which took a ridiculously short amount of time for how finished it turned out. I used this adhesive foam stuff that I got for another project. It looks very much like real upholstery. I think I may rebuild my bed out of the stuff, so it looks more cushy and bedlike.


# Posted by ayse on 03/07/05 at 9:34 PM

March 6, 2005

Building for the Pictures

Our final project for studio is a live/work space, and last week I made the "work" part of the equation. The thing that's due is a bunch of photos of the space, so I'm going to re-use a lot of the pieces for the kitchen and living room, which are all that remain to be built.

And of course, I have photos. Some actually taken with a decent digital camera instead of with the cameraphone.


We start off at the front door. There's a tiny little shop (about 13' x 15', but I haven't measured so don't listen to me) with display space for about ten pieces at a time.

View of shop

Another view of shop

The person in the drawing is sized to five feet tall, so I can see how the space relates to me.


Behind the shop is the workshop, which is basically a giant room with a big table and lots of storage shelves. The ceiling is 12' high, roughly. The staircaseat the back has a little room under it for retreating and hiding in. I cut my finger making that staircase.

view from shop into workshop

But check out the little books! From the staircase you can see out into the shared back yard, which has a dog-safe pool in it, plus a couple of kilns and a table to eat at.


Side view of the workshop, which somehow turned into the view outside of my studio window.


A better shot of the workshop (I ended up shortening the legs of the table so I could work at it). Lots of shelves full of books and boxes. They're the same books as were on the staircase, by the way. I'm lazy that way.

workshop showing shelves

Carla keeps knocking the model base and making things fall over, then getting all apologetic about having messed my stuff up. So I had an earthquake.


# Posted by ayse on 03/06/05 at 6:59 PM

March 5, 2005

February Log Roundup

I know you all find my long, detailed posts about what appears in my web logs absolutely riveting. So here I go again. This time, I talk back to the searchers.

I've found a real winner in cardboard boats. 125 people came to this site looking for pictures, plans, physics lessons. Interestingly, 16 people ended up here looking for information on cardboard chairs, of which there is none available. Note to the physics-impaired: cardboard chairs are not subjected to the same forces as cardboard boats. Just FYI.

But far and away, the most popular search is for wedding stuff. 362 visits from that alone, a large number of them interested in how to draw a map for a wedding invitation. My advice: print out a map from a web service like Yahoo and trace it onto tracing paper. Then you can photocopy the tracing paper and have a nice map. Don't try to learn Illustrator before your wedding. Just don't. That's ridiculous.

Falling to third place behind the cardboard boat spectacle is my beloved rendering of Schroeder House. I always imagine architecture students around the world printing it out and copying it. Note: I got the shadows wrong and left a couple things off because they weren't in the plans I had. So rely on my rendering at your own risk.

We get lots of hits from people looking for information or pictures of house renovations. A new theme is people looking to paint over that crappy fake wood panelling. Don't do it. Just take the stuff down and fix the wall. You will be glad you did.

Also, please do not do a foundation replacement or shoring for yourself if you are not a shoring contractor or experienced professional. This stuff can make your house fall down. On you. There are some renovations that it does not make sense to do yourself, no matter how much it costs to hire it out.

I don't know how to repair a porch if I don't know what's wrong with it, but if you need a number, we got estimates of $10,000 to repair the rot in our front porch, which was badly rotted when we bought the house.

On the minority searches, I'm not sure why so many people (nine) think I know anything about acid reflux, but my advice is to see your doctor for medical advice, rather than a random web site. No, seriously.

I was amused to see that five people found me by looking for ways to get their neighbor's dog to stop barking. My method is to call the police every time the dog barks for more than an hour, or after 11pm. Another neighbor is doing the same thing, because the last time I called, they said somebody else had already called it in.

Then there are the weird one-offs. A single visitor with that search term, and you can sort of see how they got sent here, but clearly there's not going to be anything to help them, certainly not on a web site, rather than in a psychiatric hospital. For example, we have the embittered male:

why does a woman have control in the bed

The unanswerable questions:

is there is one truth
why would a dog eat drywall
why does noel's poop stink

The science-and-logic challeneged:

what pushes you forward when you walk no swim and row
what is a magnetic personality

The digestively obsessed:

stomach not going to bathroom
how many stomach does chicken have
otter digestive tract
she needed to poop
what to eat if you're carbohydrate intolerant
people allergic to glucose

The Bad Situations:

how to annul a marriage in ohio

I don't even know what this is:

tubbing out a firebird

The disappointed:

naughty yard gnomes
nekkid ladies

The Over-Analytical:

passive aggressive landscapes

# Posted by ayse on 03/05/05 at 1:02 AM

March 3, 2005

Cutting Edge

I cut the end off my finger today. It was that kind of day. I didn't feel rested when I woke up, then worked pretty much nonstop from 9am, so when 3:30 rolled around, it's not surprising that when I hit the hard bit in some balsa wood, the knife slipped and sliced off the end of my finger and some of the fingernail. When it became clear that it was not going to stop bleeding, I went to the health center, where they made me soak it in ice water while my life blood poured out of me (it was quite dramatic). Then they put this interesting foam stuff on it and it finally stopped bleeding.

I had mild hysterics. They gave me juice, which helps low blood sugar but not hysterics. Now I am typing awkwardly with not all my fingers. The dumb thing? I keep thinking that this is going to really screw up my ability to do all the construction work I need to get done this week.

# Posted by ayse on 03/03/05 at 9:05 PM

March 2, 2005

Cut and Glue

Lots of model-building today. I finished my framing model for practise (the final is going to be open-book! And open-notes!), and also did a bunch more work on my final model for design. Our "deliverable" is actually a set of photos of the model, so today I changed my strategy on the advice of one of the teachers and began "building towards the photos": basically, building only what I need to get the photos I need for my final presentation.

I must say that building out of balsa wood lends a finished look to the model that cardboard lacks. Some photos....

The third floor, from a distance. This floor has the bedroom, dressing area, shower, and toilet. The wooden frames will hold up a glass roof and walls, which I have to build.

Model: overview

The bedroom, from eye level. That person is folded to my height, so I can use her to size things. For my final presentation I will use a real photo of myself.


The toilet (contains sink and toilet). The person here is six feet tall, which is close enough to Noel's height that I didn't modify him.


The wee sink I spent too much time making today.


My person walking into the Fibonacci Shower, which doesn't require a curtain because it curves around on itself. See the little bench for your robe? Right out of possible splashing range.


My framing model around the start of studio today.

Framing Model 1

My finished framing model, sometime around 7pm.

Framing Model: finished

I've got some little shelves I made, plus counters and display shelves for the storefront, but they're just sort of in a jumble and I didn't take photos. I did take photos of all the sketch problem drawings that had gotten a dot as of tonight, but there are tons of them and I don't have the time or energy to post them all now. Maybe tomorrow, if I'm feeling ambitious.

# Posted by ayse on 03/02/05 at 10:36 PM

March 1, 2005

If a Bomb Blew up on my Desk, How Would I Know?

My desk in the studio is a bit cluttered right now, because we're in the middle of a couple of teeny-bits-of-balsa-intensive projects. In studio, we're designing a house to fit in an alleyway downtown, through a process of writing stories about how the space is being used (it has to be a live/work space for ourselves) and then creating models that fit those stories. Very interesting, indeed, though you should hear the grousing and complaining about it, all from people who don't have itchy pieces of tape stuck to their backs.

In professional practise, which also takes place in the studio, we're building a framing model of a sample house. We already did a set of working drawings (though not a very complete one), so we have all the measurements. I'm almost done with mine except that I keep running out of materials because it certainly takes a lot of STUFF to make a weensy little house, where STUFF is balsa wood.


So far in my model house, I've got a bedroom, dressing room, and bathroom. I actually spent more time on this today after I ran out of balsa wood of the right size for my framing model, so now the wall is nice and straight and made of balsa (sense a theme here?), and there are some columns and other elements in the scene. I have two little people sized for my scale, plus two cats and that's Rosie on the floor, asleep.

I like my wee lamp. I'd actually like a full-sized one similar to it.

Model Bedroom

And here's the framing model, yesterday. I've got a lot more of it done today, and would have finished had I not run out of wood.

Practise Model

Other than that, my life is dominated by having to stop what I am doing every fifteen minutes and force myself to relax through a bout of the itchies. These patches come off Thursday, and I am looking forward to it with every ounce of my being.

# Posted by ayse on 03/01/05 at 7:24 PM