Not My Last Semester

Yeah. Hi. So I’m back at school again. Classes started on Monday. If I were in almost any other major, this would be my last semester. But instead, I still have another year. That’s probably good since I don’t really feel like being a full-on adult yet.

Classes are hard and its cold outside. But not as cold as it was a few days ago! I’m excited for all my classes, although there is a lot more reading than I’ve ever had to do and that stinks because I am a very slow reader. Like painfully slow. But if I don’t read slowly, I forget what I read. I have three classes (Studio, geography, and ecology + design seminar) that will require copious amounts of reading. Currently, I am writing this blog post to continue procrastinating. Anyway, my studio this semester is all about urban ecology in Baltimore! Very exciting! I am also taking Food Facts and Fads which will be AWESOME and also counts for THREE credits of gym. Ha! I beat the system.

Since we are all in different studios, we were assigned to new desk clusters. I moved to the other side of the building. Here is my new desk:

The state of relative neatness that you see here will not remain for long! My laptop screen shows the blog post that I’m writing right at this very moment!

Also note the drawing of the Penne pasta:

All is good so far! But things will pick up soon and I will be very stressed. So yay for that (not really).

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Final Review, Finally Home

I DID IT

No all-nighters necessary but still some pretty late nights required to pull everything together for my final project. Oh man, it was rough. But done! and you get to see all the cool stuff I made that took hours to make and were only glanced at for two minutes. It is so nice to be home!
Anyway, ap (according to my mother) there are some adoptee people interested in seeing my final design, as it would take lots of explaining, but will post pictures and do some explaining in this post!

The Inbetween: International Adoptee Memorial Park

First off, if  you haven’t seen it yet, check out my mid-review project which is in an older post.I didn’t explain much in it but you can look at it if you want to. Also, watch the video animation -CLICK THIS LINK- cause it took forever and I’m very proud of it and it also shows some of the aspects of adoption I considered in my design.

Did you see everything? Ok good.

Some notes about the “rules” for my studio’s projects:

  1. It is technically “siteless.” Mine is located in an urban setting and is, in theory, going to be located in every major city in the world. You’ll see why eventually.
  2. Practicality of building materials, scale, cost, technology are non-existent, so no need to scrutinize over pavement joint spacing or funding from private donors and local municipalities.
  3. Hmm

So, here goes. This is the plan view of my design. There’s no scale, but the block is 600 feet by 650 feet, which is absolutely huge for a design like this.

Also here is my site from a birdseye view:

Below is a diagram from my project board that identifies the different parts of the design:

The ground plane pattern was made using the idea of cracked earth as a representation of a not fully whole identity. It also could be thought of as a road map to a city, so there’s is a duality of scale where you can imagine yourself simultaneously as an ant walking across the ground and a giant bounding across a streetscape. I liked this because it creates a sense of placelessness in feeling small in a big world, feeling like the distance between yourself and your birth life is impossibly large. But at the same time, your very existence stretches across continents and oceans. In the center is a slightly raised platform of tiles. It’s shaped like an abstraction of all the continents crammed together. This tiled grid will light up where ever you step. And, if you imagine this same memorial site located in every city in the world, the glowing path of every person walking on the grid will also show up in every other city. Here is another animation I made to demonstrate this point:

Also in the animation, you see holographic paper airplanes that can be thrown into the sky by making a throwing motion. These airplanes explode into a ‘hello’ that is translated across countries. I thought it was interesting to imagine being able to throw a paper airplane half way around the world.
All of this emphasizes the idea of dualities. With the glowing tiles, it is a reminder that there are people out there that you may be connected to, but that feel/are inaccessible to you.

In the plan, you can also see there are areas of water with paths crossing them. There are acoustic mirrors that concentrate sound from a far distance so you can talk to someone across the water. The idea here being communication across oceans (represented by water). The section cutting through one of these paths shows what it looks like:

Now in my mid-review design, I used the mounds to signify all the unattainable knowledge about an adoptee’s origins. I decided to break the mounds up and turn them into active places. These include climbing areas, chalkboard areas, and slide areas.

Here is my model on the milling table

Final model

In addition to redenerings, we also had to make 3D models. I milled mine out of MDF in the wood shop. The CNC miller is like a giant drill bit on moving arms that carves out landform from a block of foam or wood.

My model included some 3D printed objects that were designed in a 3D modeling program called Rhino. Below are images of my final model and close ups of the 3D printed parts.            

Final Review Day (dun dun duuunn)

So it’s review day, and ya know who’s invited??? KEN SMITH. He’s a landscape architect who owns a firm named after himself in New York City! Anyway, he’s famous and important but for some reason came to out little presentation day in surrounded by mountains and deer Pennsylvania. That’s crazy! Ken and five other supremely intelligent people came to our critique as well and they are all important and they all wore black. Everyone wore black. That’s the thing apparently. Although I made a mental note to find some more colorful pants. All in all, our critique (we had 17 students) lasted about seven and a half hours. I was standing for a good majority of that because I hate sitting. My presentation was about half way through, so most people were still awake and attentive. I felt like I was all over the place, probably because I’d forgotten to actually write what I wanted to say. Ugh. It’s ok though because they didn’t hate it. One critique I got was that there was too much going on and the activity needed to be distilled into a more purposeful experience in regards to how one moves through the site and how different people with different life experiences feel in the site. But the best thing was, Ken Smith told me, “you are very good.” I thought I was going to fall over. I didn’t. And I know that no design is perfect but I couldn’t believe he said that to me. I took a super creepy stalker picture of him:

I could’ve taken my picture with him but I was too nervous haha.

Here are my presentation boards (they were GIGANTIC!):

And after all of that, I am home! (actually I’ve been home since Friday)

Pre-Fall Break

Hi everyone! First of all, Happy Thanksgiving!  But this is not my fall break post.  Anyway, Here is what went down since last time you looked at the internet:

Virginia Tech Meet

Yes, a fall meet. You remember the last time we went to a meet in the fall and the car I was in broke down half way to Syracuse? Well that didn’t happen this time. Which is good. Because we drove aaall the way down to Virginia Tech. It’s like six hours.

Being shuffled outside from the fire alarm

So we are at the meet, warming up when the fire alarm goes off. Hooray, we all get to stand outside in the cold. It wasn’t too bad though. We sang a bunch of songs and were generally very obnoxious while all the other teams kinda glared at us and some prospective student tours struggled to wade through the sea of warm-up clad gymnasts. Fifteen minutes later and we were back inside. The meet went well. Nothing spectacular. BUT Penn State Men and Women clenched first place for teams! Oh yeah! So that was fun. Also I won first place! Yay!

 

Hmm… What else…

Anonymous People Judging Me

We had our portfolio review “showcase” before break where all ofour portfolios are spread out on tables and everyone is invited to come write things that we need to fix on them. The only problem is that no one knows who wrote the comments so I don’t know whose advice to listen to and whose to ignore. Haha I’m kidding I listen to the criticism. I’m actually pretty happy with how my portfolio turned out. You can’t see it, however, because the internet crashed when I tried to upload it.

 

Ill-Advised Food Choices

Remember that place Momotaro that I wrote about last time. Well Logan and I went back there to get some of these cool chocolates that didn’t look edible but apparently were. They were pretty pricey at $2.50 each but we were curious. But as cool as they looked, they were just not worth the money.

Above you can see the two chocolates and the macaroon

On an unrelated note, my friend Haleigh had come over to my apartment to watch TV and we decided to eat a whole box of farafelle noodles with butter and shaky cheese. Here is a picture of that:

P.S. The header image is irrelevant to anything in this post. It’s just a cool leaf with water droplets.

 

It’s Too Early to be This Busy

Hi friends who still read this blog even though my frequency of posting is dismal. Three weeks of the semester have already come and gone, and many things have happened since my last post. I haven’t even told you what classes I’m taking!

The most frightening thing about this semester is that all the professors have told us that third year is notorious for it’s difficulty and stress level. Not a great thing to hear right out of the gate. Luckily, I am only taking 14 credits. It was going to be 15 because I tried out for a private piano lesson class but messed up pretty bad at the audition and ended up getting the good ol’ boot. But don’t worry! Something even better happened which I will tell you about later. The classes that I’m actually taking are two LARCH studios that deal with community design and planting design which I mostly enjoy but have some gripes about which will be detailed in the next paragraph. I’m taking some writing/history of LARCH class which is very confusing and vague. And, finally, I’m taking an awesome photography course. It’s an intro for learning how to use a DSLR (Digital single lens reflex) camera. It really enjoy it so far, although I’m pretty terrible at taking pictures and having to manually adjust all the settings.

Here are a few of the pictures I have taken with the camera that are not super terrible:

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Anyway. So my gripe about Planting Design class. I spent my entire weekend in studio working on a project for the class. I had almost no time to do anything else for my other classes, which sucked. We have never had to stay in studio that long so early in the week! Sigh. At least my design looked pretty slick! Here is a PDF of it: roane-hopkins_z_mixedplantingbed I was pretty proud of my renderings. [EDIT: PDFs take up a TON of space that I can’t spare so it has been replaced with images]

Other good news. I got a new laptop! YAY! and it WORKS! Very exciting! It’s an Acer Aspire R and it is great! Not much else to day about that but I just wanted to let you know.

Last weekend, PSUkulele traveled to the Hershey Medical Center to play ukulele for people. What a wonderful experience! You may or may not recall that we also went last year and played in the lobby and the cafeteria. Well, this time was a little bit different in a very cool way. Instead of playing in the lobby, we were suggested to play outside in front of the pediatric wing, because it has this big wall of windows looking out on a sculpture garden. Although it was a little misty and cold outside, we stood by that sculpture and sang as loud as we could to the windows. I don’t know if any of the patients could actually hear us but we could see a few little head peeking out of the windows and waving to us and it was so cool. While we were playing, a mother walked by and told us were were cute and asked if we wanted to play up on one of the floors. The woman who coordinated our visit told us that we weren’t aloud but we convinced her otherwise. We weren’t allowed to play in the patients rooms but did get to play in one of the small lobbies on one of the floors. A few patients and visitors came over to listen. After we wrapped up our singing, we went to a local crepe place which was delicious!

In the way of club gymnastics stuff, we have an away meet coming up at JMU and I am no where near ready. haha.

That’s about it.

Oh, the reason I was fine about not getting into a piano lesson is because I got offered an opportunity to do paid research with the Stuckeman School! Yay! Ok I’m tired, goodnight.

 

An Uneventful Couple of Weeks

I’m sure you’ve been wondering why I haven’t posted anything in a long while. Well, maybe you haven’t been wondering, but in any event, I haven’t updated you on my marginally exciting life because not much has happened. Just lots of work. I know I haven’t been keeping you updated on anything I’ve been doing in studio but we are learning GIS this year which is a program for creating and analyzing maps. It is not the sort of thing that lends itself to exciting blog posts the way the designing and model-building stuff does.

So what did happen in my life in the past couple of weeks?

Fun with Bricks

Our materials class journeyed down to Penn Technical College to learn about brick laying. We actually got to learn how to lay bricks and CMUs (concrete masonry units) which is much more difficult than one would think, but it was actually really fun!

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Cinder blocks as far as the eye can see

 

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We made an arch with bricks and mortar!

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Fall Festivities

My lovely friends and picked out pumpkins to carve at the arboretum! My pumpkin carving was a little lack luster but oh well.

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A Cat!

My friend introduced me to her tiny little kitten which actually isn’t hers it’s her roommates but it’s SO CUTE!

TINY KITTY!

TINY KITTY!

My Professor Owns a Forest

Not really, but kinda. He invited our class to visit his beautiful house and the land that he owned. He is one of our landscape architecture professors. Anyway, his property is beautiful! And on top of touring the place, we were treated to a delicious lunch of chicken and rice, bread and cheese, apples, hot apple cider, and fresh chocolate chip cookies! I love my major! haha. But seriously, it was a beautiful day and it was really interesting to learn about the different nooks and crannies of their property. (And you couldn’t ask for a blue-er sky!)

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Potato Party

Half way through the semester and we finally got around to actually planning a get-together with our friends in the form of eating loaded baked potatoes and watching “The Incredibles” on DVD.

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My friends are so strange I mean cool

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If you are wondering what a potato party is, it is where everyone brings a potato and one potato topping to share so we end up with the right amount of potatoes AND a spectacular array of toppings.

Free Birds

I took my birds out of their cage for the first time! I think it scared them but I got Parsley to sit on my hand!!! They are so cute. But I think they still hate me. Please forgive this awkward photo of me and just look at the bird, thanks.

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Street Uking

My mom asked me to get a picture of myself playing ukulele downtown and I told her that I couldn’t because I was alone. Consequently, I had to ask someone else to take a picture for me. I had some interesting encounters that day. One man came up to me and said “I bought my ex-girlfriend a ukulele and she never learned to play it,” then he threw a dollar in my case. Another guy asked if I was “any good at anything.” I told him “No, I wasn’t’ and he said, ” so people are giving you money for doing nothing?”

“yep.” This was said very sarcastically as it was clear that people were giving me money for looking extremely cold, sitting on the ground, and strumming a ukulele with striking mediocrity.

He later came back, said he felt kinda bad, and gave me a dollar.

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Enjoy the rest of your day!

Breaks in the Spring Time

I’m on Spring Break! (although you probably could’ve guessed from the title). It has be wonderful so far! Remember when I told you that my plant died? or maybe I didn’t, I can’t remember. Anyway, I bought some new plants and they are so cute!

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I also made this clock, which has a technical error in the design, but I won’t tell you what it is because I didn’t notice at first.

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And, did some lovely sidewalk chalk drawings:

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This was meant to be sarcastic but my mom read it and proceeded to drive over it

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Vitruvian Sitck Figure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, I can now pogo stick without hands, which I think is pretty impressive. (I hope you’re jealous)

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While I have you, let me tell you some stuff that’s been happening on campus before break:

My friend and I almost went to THON
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The BJC all lit up

There seems to be this vibe during THON that you will be at THON at some point in the weekend because why wouldn’t you go. Well, after a long bout of indecision, my friend and I decided that we should go to THON and see what’s happening. It was maybe 10:00 PM by the time we got to the Bryce Jordan Center (aka the BJC). We went at a really bad time, when the pep rally was happening. We knew it, but for some reason we went anyway. Well, lo and behold, the stadium was at capacity. But, they’d given us wristbands and every hour, they would send out a text for which numbers could enter the building. So we waited. We walked around and people watched. At 11:00, the text was sent out and our numbers were not in the range which meant waiting until 12:00 AM to see if we could get in. I understand that for THON weekend, 12:00 is not that late, but hey, we were impatient and had a ton of work to do, so we went back to the dorms.

PSUkulele

More exciting, PSUkulele performed at the UNICEF Snowflake Ball. It was a fun time!

UNICEF Playing
(PS follow @PSUkulele on Instagram and Twitter!)

Studio Happenings
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So, super exciting but not really, the little block of north campus I call home is being turned into a giant construction site. On one side of Stuckman, the entire parking lot is closing for construction and they are building a new dorm. On the other side, the are building a new water tower. So far, it looks ugly. They have begun welding and won’t stop for the rest of the semester, and because they we all keep looking up at the pretty sparks from the welding torches, they put paper over the lower windows so to deter us from blinding ourselves (even though there is apparently no real danger of that happening). The good thing is, we are all artsy fartsy people, and we turned the stupid paper into a mural.2016-03-04 11.52.522016-03-02 12.24.29

 

What Happens When You Don’t Safely Remove Your USB? You Cry.

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This was my USB after they put it back together

OK SO LET ME JUST TELL YOU SOMETHING.
Super terrifying.
Ok. So, last Sunday, I was about to get ready to work on my studio project on the computer. It was more than half way done and I was super pumped to finish it. I wanted to take my laptop into studio to work on the project. However, my USB, which had my project and all the related files, was plugged into my laptop and all the programs I needed were open on my computer. That meant that I needed to close all my programs in order to take the USB out, and of course, I’m too lazy to do that. So, I proceeded putting my laptop into my backpack when… I DROPPED MY LAPTOP RIGHT ON MY USB and before my eyes, I watched my poor, defenseless USB get snapped in half. IN HALF. I started at it in shock and horror. I’d like to tell you I was calm and collected about the whole situation but that would be the a lie and then some. I. FREAKED. OUT. For like ten minutes. It was all over. I was going to have to start from the beginning for a project due in two short days. I was going to die. Or maybe drop out of school all together. Or maybe I could fix it. No, it’s broken. Forever. All my information gone. After my initial panic, my roommate Haleigh came to the rescue. After asking some computery people on our floor, we discovered that the apparently, the way the USB broke, it could be stuck back together to retrieve the information. My buddy Logan walked down to the library to the IT desk where they could hopefully fix it. I handed them the two parts of the USB and the guy fiddled with the prongs of the one piece, trying to fit them into the holes on the other piece. When he seemed satisfied with the connection, he carefully placed the USB into the port. But nothing happened. He took it out, fiddled with it some more and then stuck it back in the computer, exclaiming “we have light!”. What an emotional roller coaster! I was relieved, and finally got to work on my project. Long story short, if you’re going to break your USB, break it right. Also, don’t be lazy and just take the USB out of the computer.

Other exciting things? We found out there’s a way to get on the roof of our dorm. Pretty cool.
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Also, the Weinermobile was on campus the other day. I don’t know why. But I took a picture of it.

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