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Mucking about

A year ago during my year out, at about this time, I commented on this blog that it was nearing the academic year end and all the part-time students in my office were all stressed out about their work. Well, I am back in uni and truly in the nightmarish final weeks of the year. The final review was recently concluded last week, and now a final two week to work on criticisms, praise, and comments (mostly criticisms) from the review panel in preparation for the final pin-up.

Also, I’ve applied for exchange in the final year and the current result is that the (internal) panel was undecided. I think my internal indecision about to go or not was shown all too clearly in my thesis proposal, and thrown back at me. Looks like I’m gonna have to make some personal decisions about what’s gonna happen the coming year before the panel will approve/reject.

So really, I think it’s impossible to finish Part 2 of the previous story for the next couple weeks, though I really want to.

Random whiny facts: I got the cheapest chair available in Argos after my old one, broke, and after sitting on it constantly for a whole week (with hardly any sleep I might add), my butt literally aches. Shifting positions worked for awhile, but now it aches in every position. It’s not easy to imagine having to sit on it for 2 more sleepless weeks.

Also, before the final review last thursday, I realised that my only physical contact with the outside world the whole week was when the postman called in the mornings with more parcels for Flora…

And finally, possibly the most depressing: My only sense of a day’s passage is when my sister logs in to Gtalk every morning when she goes to work in Singapore at 9am  (2am over here). It’s not a good feeling when I see her going online in my chat client and realising our last exchange was 24 hours ago when it seemed like 2 hours ago. Sunrises and sunsets, to me, only mean its time to switch off/on the lights.

Enough with the whining… and resting. Time to get on with it!!

Me and Felicia, in the studio one freezing January evening. Prior to this drawing exercise, I haven’t used a T Square and a drawing board in years!

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I told myself not to read anything unrelated to uni until it finishes, which is after all only 5 weeks from now, but of course when I make promises I tend to break them as soon as I can. So, with the discovery of Fopp in Glasgow city centre (TWO of them), I am now broke from buying books when I should really NOT be doing so.

Among one of my purchases is Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, which I started to read while accompanying Flora at work and couldn’t put it down, so I finished it quickly.If you can’t beat them, join them… Interestingly, there is a Komura Memorial Library (fictitious, unfortunately) in it that’s quite a pivotal plot device in the story, so I can proudly say it added a new dimension to my own uni project. Yes, really…. Of course, now the library I need to design for my studio project will end up looking like my own interpretation of that traditional Japanese library, albeit with German & Scottish & Malaysian twists. Ahh.. what a mess of cross-cultural influences.

Anyway, seeing all the references to Franz Kafka only made me realise acutely I’ve still not read any of his works yet, something I”ve been meaning to do for more than a year, so the next day I went and bought Kafka’s The Castle at the same Fopp. :)

Other books I bought: Another Murakami book – Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, and 3 books that would be categorised under “Scottish Interest”.

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For an old college assignment way back in my very first year I had to refer to Francis D.K. Ching’s seminal work Form, Space and Order. At least, that was the idea, but I took one look at it, didn’t understand anything (which is ironic seeing that 75% of it is drawings and illustrations) and did something else. At that particular point in time, “doing something else” was likely to be looking for Kelvin, a Sabahan of indeterminate ethnicity (I never asked) I knew from work and picking up big bottles of beer at 7-11 and proceeded to get drunk whereever we happened to be, which too often included erm… public places.

uhh..Moving along…

I picked it up in the uni library a couple days ago, and going through it in my penultimate year of architectural education and with 20/20 hindsight it’s suprising how many of the things in the book are now intimately familar to me and how some of them are practically second nature thought processes when plowing through design studio work. Of course, I suppose the idea is for a “successful” architect, so to speak, to be intimately familar with EVERY single idea the book expounds.

Anyhow. I don’t know about others, but Frank Ching left deep impressions on me (not thaatt first time, of course). It’s remarkable how well the guy can draw, and all in pencil to boot. Excellent book, very good. Wished I looked it in sometime between my first year and my second last year. Better late than never, I suppose. Even more, I wished the lecturer who introduced me to it in the first place did a better job at the introducing. But. Architecture has always been a very self-motivated and individualistic area of study; there is only one direction responsibility should eventually fall on, really.  :)

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Forgetting

If I say so myself, I have a reasonably good memory for information – I find it easy to remember things like names, numbers, dates, details etc. Seriously, considering all the external, silicon-microchips-run brains (exobrains..?)  available to us right this moment, I don’t find that a particularly useful skill.

As it is, I have a terrible habit of forgetting important stuff. Life-changing stuff. Stuff like the lessons I learn (or were forced on me) in life. I can’t help but wonder why, constantly. I have a vague suspicion that answers, or the beginning of answers, can be found in some Kundera stuff I read last year (The Book of Laughter & Forgetting), but I can’t remember exactly what.

When I first came to Glasgow in 2007, I met a classmate whom I later realised I had some similarities with, at least as far as working habits are concerned. For the record, that’s not a flattering observation. Now though, in 2010, the classmate is still around but the similarities don’t exist anymore. Some people live and learn, some people (me) live and learn but always forget….

This being the fourth year of architorture and all that jazz, the lessons forgotten are costly and exacting!

Anyway – the March deadline has come and passed, and the dissertation is a thing of the past. Had nearly a week’s break with two Ian Rankins I picked up in Bristol, of all places, a year ago, and a couple of parties for Alistair’s & Janice’s birthdays. Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels cast Edinburgh & Scotland in a strong Noir-ish light; I have to say it fits very well. I’ve been meaning to read more fiction set in Scotland, but the few I tried back in 2007 were rubbish.

Pre-Easter interim crit Thursday 9am. 1m wide x 2m high wall pin-up space allocated for each student. It is now Monday afternoon; I have nothing pinnable as yet. What’s that saying again, the one about resting so you can walk further?

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The All England Badminton Championships 2010 starts from March 9-14 at Birmingham NEC!!! AND Where will I be?

Yeah, at home with my dissertation & studio…. this sucks.

Way back in December, I had already *decided* to go… was practically paying for my tickets online when I thought to check my handbook to find the date for dissertation deadline and it was…. March 16. So now, my body is in Glasgow and my soul in Birmingham~

Anyway, considering China’s performance last year, one hopes that they will leave something for others this year….preferably a Malaysian… ngek

On an unrelated note, it seems that my annoying persistence in bugging people to play badminton with me had the desired effect. When we started uni in Oct only me had Pei Fun had rackets; Now, everyone has at least one… and in the busiest period, we are still playing once or twice a week at the uni sports hall. Cheers!

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Away for a week

You know what’s the problem with technology? It’s irritating when I have to pack for a week-long trip.

It used to be I packed my wallet and my mobile and its charger and my keys and I was good to go (excluding general stuff like clothes toiletries etc). Then I owned a camera. That came with its own charger. Then I owned an Ipaq player (remember those?) so I had to bring all my discs and batteries. Then I switched to an ipod, and that of course came with its accessories – earphones, and batteries/charger. Then I upgraded my camera and now have a whole host of cameraey stuff to bring, like extra sd cards and microfibre cloth and dust blower and lots of other little things.

It’s getting to the point I have to first pack all my gadgets and their accessories before other stuff because they just take up so much time and I don’t wanna leave anything/bring unnecessary stuff.  It matters, because I remember too clearly the Oslo trip this March where I lugged a heavy tripod all the way across the North Sea to find out I left the crucial screw/fastener/whatever-it’s-called at home. And all those electrical converters……

Anyway, the last 9 weeks felt like a whirlwind just passed my area. I think, with all the momentum we have gained from crashing through a short 9-week studio, that we should really keep up/maintain this momentum and keep up the adrenaline because, my friends, it’s just the beginning….

In a few hours we (except for Tris etc) leave for our week-long trip to Eichstätt, Germany… don’t know where that is? No matter, because I gather that it is quite in the middle of nowhere… As our resident German expert A. Schumm put it: Eichstätt?? What did you guys do wrong that they have to send you there???

Yeah, I am looking forward to it too ;)

P.s: So much so that I am not sleeping this night and spending the last hours cleaning the flat and blogging…..

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RAW files rocks

It’s a dilemma I could never solve – Me and Flora have 2 DSLR cameras, a compact camera, and about 4 camera phones between us, and my hard drive has been almost completely taken over by the gargantuan amount of photos. The difference is that she has about 248012414 photo albums on facebook and loads of photos in her blog and I have next to none. I take every photo with (usually) the same amount of effort and enthusiasm, but once transferred to my hard drive I mostly forget about them completely. I completely wipe them from my memory and wait for the next opportunity to take more (hence) inconsequential photos. I think I desperately need to do something about this problem. (Being me, I will use design studio as excuse and “reschedule ” it for xmas break)

Anyway, my life is completely taken up by this semester’s studio and sports (must), so I have no time to ramble about random topics like I used to for the past months. Probably won’t even be updating much, and have given up on trying to finish all the feeds my RSS reader is demanding me to read. But I’m not complaining; man, these student days aren’t gonna last for too long!

2009 smallSome pictures from Guy Fawkes Night

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Recession fireworks – they seemed to be shorter and to be honest, quite mediocre. I was fooling around with different angles, zooms, shutter speeds and apertures throughout the display – So with all the settings-changing taking place in between shots I only managed to capture only a few photos.

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I wanted to use these 2 couples (yes, it’s actually 2 couples) as a sort of lead-in to the fireworks but now they look like just one, and homosexual, couple. I hope the girls don’t know that their boyfriends are secretly dating behind their back.

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