Things and Other Things

First off, I’m very sorry that I haven’t posted in while, but you know, life. You might want to prepare yourself-it’s gonna be a long one.

Anyway, you may have noticed that I now have just over 1,000 hits on my blog. You know, no big deal or anything…

*Must…resist…making…reference…to…The Office*

This is a HUGE DEAL! (At least for me). I have always wanted to make a website that people actually looked at, but I never had anything to write about, and the BAM! COLLEGE! So thanks for that readers!

Now on to more important business.

I had my first SOILS101 test earlier in the week. Here is my fairly extensive study guide.

IMG_5109   IMG_5111

I was very proud of myself.

So the testing experience: Penn State had a state-of-the-art testing center, and it’s seriously high security.

I had to arrive at the testing center at least 15 minutes early. Then, I sat in a waiting room full of anxious, sleep-deprived students frantically flip through their notes in a tense silence. So that’s fun. When it is close to the starting time of the test (tests start every hour) we all lined up in a snaking line behind three little turnstiles. When it was my turn, I swiped my ID card and walked through. At the desk, a ticket printed out with my picture and station number. Also, if your teacher has allowed scrap paper, you are given a one at the desk that has a bar code on it that must be scanned before and after the test is taken. The measures they go to to prevent cheating are quite impressive.

Next on the agenda, the LARCH freshman trip to Pittsburgh and Fallingwater.

I woke up a 5:15 in the morning. I’m sort of a morning person so I enjoy the times when you are awake and you know that everyone else is still sleeping and there is no one on campus, but there are also those who are…less enthusiastic about being awake before the sun comes up. As soon as the bus took off, everyone fell asleep. Sitting close to the front of the bus, it was pretty funny looking to see the array of sleeping positions. The open mouth with head slumped back is a classic, but the drooping head and pillow neck position are also promising up-and-comers.

Before we drove down in to the city, we stopped at an over look. Here is a panorama I took at said overlook:


It’s a pretty fantastic looking city, I’d say!

Here, also, is a non-panorama picture:



That fountain there is the tip of Point State Park, which is where we went next.

In first-year seminar for landscape architecture, we are talking about the value of place and what that entails, so we went around to multiple places in Pittsburgh so we can consider what we think “place” should mean and whether or not the locations we visited have the qualities that would distinguish it as a  place. Generally, if somewhere is considered a “place,” it has a cultural or personal significance, makes peoplIMG_5127e feel happy, and creates or encourages feelings of community.

From my incredibly-some might even say lacking-knowledge of this state park, I can tell you that there was a for there. According to one of the articles I read, “Point is where the Allegheny and the Monogahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio” (Van Trump 59). I am very excited to be using this article outside of school 🙂 Also, “In November 1758, a British army under General Forbes captured Fort Duquesne, which the French had abandoned, and the new garrison-settlement at the Point was named Pittsburg by Forbes” (Van Trump 59). I thought that was pretty neat.

Fun fact! The water from this fountain comes from an under ground glacial river! (I also learned that from reading)




…and I just realized that I got my finger in front of the lens again.

After the park, we visited two plazas that were across the street from one another.

Here is the Gateway Plaza:


(With my traveling shoe)


And here is the PPG Plaza:









I really don’t much to say about either of them, since we didn’t spend much time there. Also, I must apologize for my not-so-great photography on the trip.

After that, we went to the strip district for lunch. (and I am still very sorry for these pictures. This is much cooler in person).









This was taken on the outskirts of the Strip.

And this is one of the streets with vendors and whatnot.





Then, after another hour and a half of driving, we arrived at Fallingwater.

There are really only three things you need to know about this house:

1. Frank Lloyd Wright was basically a genius.

2. Nature is everywhere.

3. Cantilever, cantilever, cantilever.

If you ever tour the house, I would advise you to count how many times the tour guide says the word “cantilever” because it is said an incredible amount of times. Of course, that it not without cause, since basically every other furnishing in the house is a cantilever.



But you really just want to see pictures…

IMG_5155              IMG_5153






We are not allowed to take pictures inside.

Last weekend, I went home for the first time since college started. It was nice to be home in my own bed and my pets… and my family 🙂 I also went to the gym (where I do gymnastics) with my best buddy and we surprised everybody! That was a good time. I would show you pictures of me spending time with my family and friends, but somehow, the only picture I got was of my bathroom at home and I’m to posting that (even though the bathroom is clean since just my sister is using it now).




3 thoughts on “Things and Other Things

  1. Love the pictures and commentary, Zoe; but I do have a question about the test. How do they make sure that no one has notes on a cell phone or even on their person?

    • They have security cameras in the testing center and they tell you to turn off your phone and put it in a bag which you are not allowed to unzip until after leaving the testing center. They provide closeable bags if you only have a tote. I also think that they assume that most reasonable people are too scared of getting caught to bring a phone in, although I’m sure people have slipped through the cracks.

  2. Well Zoe, I must say that I enjoyed Pittsburgh very much while a student at PITT, when the only good thing about the strip district was Primanti’s that opened at midnight and closed after lunch! Oh, and I also visited Falling Water, and yes “cantilever”……

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