Puerto Vallarta

Spring Break has come to a close, we returned from Mexico on Sunday and jumped right back into school and work. Our time in Puerto Vallarta was unbeatable. I was really able to unwind and enjoy just being in the sun, breathing in the sweet jungle air and having so much fun with an amazing group of friends. We spent the first couple of days just hanging around our condo, making frosty drinks (including some with fresh-cut coconuts from the surrounding palm trees), playing in the pool and just relaxing. Then we ventured into Bucerias, a small little beach town, for a day of haggling with vendors and beers on the beach. Our final day was spent in Puerto Vallarta. We found a good place to hang out with cheap buckets of corona and spent much of the daylight, you guessed it, soaking up sun, drinking coronas and playing in the ocean. That night we had delicious cuban food for dinner and then headed out for dancing. I had the most fun I've ever had a dance club, it is not usually my scene. This is only a brief summary of our Puerto Vallarta experience, but you get the jist. Simply add some counter-top dancing, a beer chugging contest, an encounter with the Mexican police, evening walks past crocodile ponds, fun trips to a Mexican MEGA-store, water volleyball games, afternoon naps in the sun, clam juice beverages for breakfast, being rear-ended in our rental car, gourmet home-cooked meals, crazy birds that sound like car alarms and some sweet tattoos and you begin to get the picture. 










It's about time!

According to the West Seattle Blog, the Mayor(hizzoner) is declaring war on potholes. The streets are so bad up here that I had to buy a tougher bike for my daily ride to school as the rims were getting bent on my road bike. Whenever we are returning to Seattle from a trip we can tell when we are getting close because the car shakes so much it wakes up the dog and anyone else napping in the car! The article also features a really funny clip from a show called "Almost Live," it is a sketch comedy show kind of like SNL but is local to Seattle. If you've ever driven through Ballard, Seattle's little scandinavian neighborhood, the video clip will REALLY make you laugh!

Hizzoner to Declare War on Potholes



There is no way to begin to describe the satisfaction I am deriving from my design courses right now. Today was our final critique day for Typography and Human Centered Design courses.  We showed up to the type critique at 2:30 today and the professors and T.A.s had provided a feast because they knew that we have all been working so hard on these projects the last few weeks that we had likely skipped many meals. 
There are fifty students total in our group, half of us are leaning toward Industrial design, half toward graphic design, all VERY talented. The atmosphere in the room felt much more like we were graduating than just finishing a quarter in our sophomore year. People were hugging, laughing and taking photos together. The demands placed on us this quarter have really unified us as a force to be reckoned with in the design world and there is a very vibrant dynamic growing in our group. 
The design program at UW has undergone some drastic changes in the past few years, including a complete retooling of the I.D. program. It is interesting to me how much we are gaining strength individually, but AMAZING to me how we are progressing as a group, UW Designers 2010. The environment is so electric that I often feel I am living what it must have been like to practice at the Bauhaus, or being in the company of the dadaists or among the great minds of De Stijl. On the drive home today I was overwhelmed with the creative energy fueled by the passion of my peers.
Anyway, my final typography project included a simple portfolio of all my work for the quarter and a 3-D project involving packaging design. We had to take our favorite coffee and redesign the packaging. I did not use a brand name in my project because it was not really the focus.

Here is my solution:

Now, on to my favorite project so far. 
For our Human Centered Design course we had to develop a "Visual Identity Cube." Basically, each three person group had to select a person(designer, artist, architect, etc.), company, art movement, or anything that has a really distinct visual identity. We were then to develop a cube measuring approximately seven inches on each side that best represented the visual identity of whatever subject we had selected. 
My group chose the great architect Santiago Calatrava to focus on. His work has only recently begun to pop up in the States with the Milwaukee Art Museum and a tower in Chicago that is currently under construction that will dwarf the Sears Tower. His sculptures and buildings take much influence from natural structures and forms such as bird wings, the human body and others. Though I was not familiar with his work before this project, I had great personal interest in this particular aspect of his design aesthetic since the structures and systems I had studied in Biology class a couple years ago were what fascinated me and influenced my decision to switch from a science major to being a design student. 
His structures also tend to exhibit a great deal of motion, both implied and actual. The natural forms, use of space and light, and aspects of motion were what we focused on while brainstorming ideas for the project. Our final solution not only implies motion but it actually moves, thanks to a system of laser-cut cams that we designed and implemented into the central column. It also interacts well with light, producing amazing shadows and reflections. 

First, some examples of Calatrava's work:

Some brainstorming sketches studying our cube:

Our final cube:

Oh Miki you're so fine

Hank, the chihuahua we were fostering, has moved on to a better place, literally. No, he wasn't put to sleep. He is now with a woman who specializes in rehabilitating traumatized dogs. Rach and I do not have the knowledge, or time, it takes to make a dog like Hank adoptable.  He was very antisocial and bit hands often, not that being bit by a chihuahua really does any damage but it's still not a quality one looks for in a pet. So we swapped Hank out with a dog that is SO adoptable.  His name is Miki, he's half chihuahua, half pot-bellied pig (chubby, snores and oinks).  He is VERY social, so much so tht he is stnading on my kyeborad as I wrtie tihs. Guess the keyboard is stealing the attention he craves so much. He is already a great companion and I can tell that it will be hard for us to give him up when he finds his permanent home. If you are interested in adopting this little pork chop, shoot me an email and I'll let you know the details, we are in the Seattle area.


A Little Navy Humor

People love to tell jokes and stories while at sea, it heps pass the time. Over time some transform from complete fiction to the status of urban legend. The person telling it swears that it ACTUALLY happened to a friend of a friend. I remember hearing this one when I was an impressionable young squid...

Believe it or not...this is the transcript of an actual radio conversation between a US naval ship and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995. The Radio conversation was released by the Chief of Naval Operations on Oct. 10, 1995.

US Ship: Please divert your course 0.5 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.

CND reply: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.

US Ship: This is the Captain of a US Navy Ship. I say again, divert your course.

CND reply: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course!


CND reply: This is a lighthouse. Your call.


Rocky inspects our foster pup...

We are fostering a chihuahua who was rescued from a puppy mill.  His name is Hank and we hope to get him normalized enough that somebody will fall in love with him and adopt him.  Naturally Rocky was quite curious...



Driving across the West Seattle Bridge, I saw a billboard just like this one:
Surely a joke, there is no way they will actually advertise beer on the next full moon...will they?


The Green Monster

As my workload at school ramps up, I finally have a workspace that I am really, really comfortable in.  Rachel has helped me convert one of the basement rooms into a creative oasis, complete with obnoxiously lime-green wall!!  I picked up the drafting table on craigslist for $100, it is nice and sturdy, the very first day I had it together I immediately sat down and sketched for almost five hours straight.  It is truly amazing what having a good work surface can do.