March 2006 Archives

Farmer Class


I'm taking a class on irrigation technology and water resource management this quarter (not just because I want to, but because it both fills a huge hole in my schedule and fulfills a technology requirement). Sounds all technical, right? Well, let's just say that after the last year and a half of engineering classes, the idea of needing to spend two lectures on unit conversion including thirty minutes on inches to feet is simply beyond my understanding. I mean, I know the aggies drink a lot, but surely this is elementary stuff?

On the other hand, it is looking like it will be a fun class, especially when we get into the more interesting technical bits, like sizing and doing flow calculations. I was hoping for a section on wetlands reconstruction, but I think this is not the right class for that. I admit to a qualm or two when the teacher suggested that our take-away information for this course would be knowing how to install sprinklers in our lawns, but you know, I can actually use that information. Of course, I did just spend three months reading every book in the library about it and making a detailed sprinkler plan, but I'm always open to more information.

Other than that, I have just studio and professional practise. Thirteen units. I'm not sure how I'm going to cope, with so little to do at school. In all likelihood, I will waste the time on things like reading that whole shelf of books I just found on concrete mix design. The library of a technical school is full of gems like that.

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Too Many Items on the Calendar


I make this post because it seems like everybody is always asking me when I will be home next, and rather than respond to e-mail individually, I'll just post it here for the world to see. I'm going to be back in the Bay Area Friday, because it's Cesar Chavez Day and we have a holiday, and there are numerous orders of business for me to complete there that have to be done on a weekday.

This weekend planning has been a weird daze of where-will-we-be for the last few weeks, beginning with me originally saying I wanted to be at home for the long weekend (which is what I usually do for long weekends). Then Noel wanted to go see his sister in the LA area that weekend and scheduled it with her, so we changed the calendar to say we were going to be down here. Then we needed to have an in-person meeting in San Francisco and Noel scheduled it for Friday (because I had told him that was a good day for me and he didn't make the connection to the long weekend and our proposed trip south), and then a few other things had to happen in person in the Bay Area, so the short story is that we dropped the Southern California things on the floor and decided to be home this weekend.

Then yesterday my design teacher suggested a weekend visit to Irvine this weekend, to see the site we will be working on this quarter.

There's one way for me to make that happen and that is to rework the entire weekend plan once again, possibly leaving after things Friday to drive all the way down to Irvine with my class. But we've had so much chaos around travel and work and home and school all kind of piling up on us that I decided not to do it. Besides, there's a Morris thing in Southern California sometime soon and I can make the trip then if I want to see the site in person.

So I will be home this weekend. I think I will spend some time Friday weeding and otherwise crawling about in the dirt, then maybe planting the California natives I have in pots. I'm busy definitely until noon and possibly later Friday during the day, then from 7-8pm Friday evening (paperwork). We're also going to a brunch on Sunday, I think. Other than that, if you want to see me, let me know.

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Loose Ends


I forgot until today that oh, yeah, I should go and get my stuff out of the studio. And it has to happen tonight, because I have a final tomorrow afternoon and after that the girls and I are bundling into the car and heading North for my week off. (Can't do it in the morning because there's no parking nearby during the day.) I was going to do laundry tonight but found a secret stash of clean clothes, so I guess I'll use that time to move out of the studio. At least a lot of it is just going to be recycled, because I have electronic copies already. Less stuff to haul down stairs and cram into the apartment somehow.

It's been cold and rainy here -- colder than in the Bay Area, according to my little weather monitor. So cold that on Monday morning when I went to drive in for my engineering exam there was ice all over my car, and when we go out for morning yard use at 6am, the dogs have been walking funny on the icy grass. The cold and the rain makes us all less inclined to hang out outside, so when it warmed up this morning it was a very pleasant change.

I finished my next-to last final (a take-home) yesterday evening so today all I had to do was stop by school before noon to drop it off, then the girls and I went to the beach for some sniffing and splashing. It was gorgeous: warm and sunny and not too windy, so we stayed for over an hour, which seemed to shake the beans out of them. Goldie was playing this really cute game where she would stand and wait for a wave, then jump on it and bite it. Adorable. And when we got home, neighbor-dog Naga was waiting for us, all ready to play, so we stayed out and threw balls with him for half an hour, until Goldie begged to go inside. We've spent so much time outside today that the dogs are completely socked out now, snoring their heads off on their respective beds. Not bad for a day off.

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Yes, I am still at school. Yes, I am still alive. I have three finals tomorrow (engineering at 7am, design review at 3pm, law at 4pm), then a final Tuesday (housing) and a final Thursday (environmental control systems). All of these I feel prepared for, although I am a little nervous about the engineering final.

That will be my last engineering test until I take the registration exams, for those of you keeping score at home. That definitely feels like an accomplishment.

In the mean time, I have the dogs with me for the week, so we can go to the beach and run and play. Except Goldie ate something bad and has the poops, so instead of getting to have fun, she's alternating between urgently needing to use the yard and sleeping it off. Poor thing. We're skipping the evening walkies because it's cold and rainy out, and she's pretty miserable anyway. I hope she feels better tomorrow.

Thursday afternoon I go home, then Friday Noel and I are playing hooky (him from work, me from nothing at all) at go to the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. Because we can't get enough of the plant matter.

Spring break is a week long, then I'm back in school, trying to get into several construction management classes (non-majors can't register in advance, which means that whenever I want to take one or more of those classes, my schedule is a total mystery to me until the second week of classes). And apparently I'm super-popular, what with being famous and all, so my time in Alameda is rapidly booking up with dinners, garden projects, stitch and bitches, and some doctor-recommended sleep. So if you want to see me in the Bay Area next week, you better let me know soonish.

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Good Plant News


Noel e-mailed me photos of the fruit trees today, because they're blooming. Lots of rain, feet in nice rich compost -- why wouldn't they go crazy?

Check out this nectarine (Arctic Queen). Nice little blossoms. Of course, we can't let it set fruit this year, because it's supposed to be making roots, but the flowers are pretty and it's very encouraging to have them showing signs of life.


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And spray painted with dark grey primer:

Spray painted

Tomorrow I do more printing (I modified my plans and need to re-print them), some rendering, and build a light study model.

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This evening I finished the model for the CSDR project we've been working on this quarter. All I need to do now is spray paint the buildings dark grey and attach them to the base. The glue is still kind of wet, so that has to wait until tomorrow.


There are three buildings arranged around a central courtyard, to meet all my program requirements. The closer one in this photo has a large display lobby for exhibits, some conference rooms, and the administrative offices for the program (in the low section in the middle). There's a huge theater/lecture hall off to the left of the building. The zig-zag roofs is eight units of housing, loft-style, for graduate students and faculty. Half the roofs have solar panels on them. The other building is laboratory space, classrooms, and offices. There's a cafeteria there, too, because this campus is located well away from the nearest campus food services.

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Rilly, Rilly Busy


It's that time of the quarter again and I've been deeply buried in model building and drafting. I got a bit ahead yesterday, finishing a model I meant to finish today, but that turned out to be a good thing because I spent half of today asleep. Ah, sleep debt. I'm not going to be able to do that again for another week.

This evening I just finished my research paper for construction law (managing risk in design-build contracts) and am now beginning my engineering homework. My last ever engineering homework. Hah. Amazing how good it feels to be finishing the engineering sequence. Almost as good as it felt to finish the history sequence.

Next week, last week of classes, I finish my models, finish my research project for housing, print all those drawings I finished (but came up with a modification for yesterday), do some renderings (I'm planning to do them based on the models), do some drawings (I have them on the boards and just need to finish the shading), then breathe deeply and relax and prepare for my final crit on Friday. I've actually scheduled it out and can afford to slip schedule by an entire day without a problem, and that's not likely to happen, on account of how far ahead I got yesterday. Calm and relaxed.

Wednesday morning, the San Francisco interns are meeting to do a planning session. Wednesday is usually my sleep-until-noon day, because I don't have class until one, but I guess it will give me some motivation to work on project stuff if I have to get on campus for a morning meeting. After that I might as well go up to the studio and work all day.

Anyway, if you don't hear much from me this week it's because of that, although I do have some plans to post photos of the model and so forth.

Oh, and also, check out this piece on house blogs in the New York Times magazine. I do kind of wish some of my self-deprecating humour had come out in the writeup, but you can't have everything, so I guess I get to be the Austenian heroine instead, which isn't bad. The site is kind of getting something like a hundred times the normal traffic right now, which is only slightly intimidating.

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Good News for Next Year


I just found out I was accepted into the San Francisco Internship program for next Fall quarter. That means I get to live at home for a quarter, and make lots of professional connections. Yay me!

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