I’m procrastinating. This is the South Park version of me and Enrique (though in real life, he is a foot taller than me, almost.) It’s Jeff Robbins’ fault because of his his South Park family. You too can get one at the South Park Studio.
Jenn, inspired by Meg and Jason, did her own year in cities. In turn, she inspired me. I was on the road a lot this year. Five countries. Lots of cities, lots of long stays in places. This year, I’ll probably travel less. Cities with asterisks were visited on multiple occassions on non-consecutive days.
* San Francisco*
* Ivrea, Italy*
* Turin, Italy*
* Milan, Italy
* Amsterdam, the Netherlands*
* London, UK*
* Los Angeles, CA*
* Valetta, Malta
* New York*
* New Haven, CT*
* Austin, TX*
* Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN*
* San Antonio, TX*
* Realitos, TX
Update: Andrew reminds me that of course, I went to Berlin! And for that matter, I went to Düsseldorf. So that makes an additional country visited and two more cities. How could I forget?
We’re now in the shopping week for classes. I’ve explained this before: we show up for all kinds of courses, and decide what we want to take (as our courses decide if they want us). This is proving trickier since this semester, everything I’m taking is either an architecture course, or an history of art course dealing with architecture… that wasn’t the case last semester. Some of these courses will accept one person for every five that shopped the course, including the one taught by my advisor. (More on that soon.) Still, this stuff has a way of working itself out.
This semester is proving to be multiply busy. I’m a teaching fellow for Architecture Since 1945, which means I teach a section. I’m unofficially involved in the Stefan Behnisch studio on the Palast der Republik in Berlin, which is my thesis topic, so I spend most of my free time with the students there. Then, there are the three classes I’ll be taking, which I should be able to name next week.
We have advisors, and I’m going to be working with Emmanuel Petit. He’s a young faculty member (younger than me, in fact), who just completed his Ph.D. from Princeton. He’s also very bright, talented, and focused. We had our first meeting yesterday. I haven’t taken a course with him previously, so we’re just getting to know each other. It’ll be good. It’s also just good to have an advisor — it was hard to figure where to focus my research without working closely with someone.
It appears that I’m going to be in Berlin again at the beginning of February, for research and the studio trip. It’s a lucky stroke that I’ll be able to attend.
FInally, Enrique has an Archincect school blog! He’s one of the few people from a research/theory/history perspective to be keeping a blog there.
Last year, via Alex’s blog (and linked to someone else), I encountered this set of questions. I wish I could point you to my 2004 answers, but they’re not online right now. I opened this back up and started working on the answers to them when I was procrastinating over doing one of my end of semester papers. So here’s too much information about my 2005.
1. What did you do in 2005 that you’d never done before?
Applied for, got accepted to, and started graduate school.
2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Will I make more for next year? If so, they will be mundane (be healthier). Last year, though, I made four resolutions that I said I would keep. How did I do?
— Carry less: to varying degrees, I succeeded. I still brought huge suitcases to Europe. But thanks to Angie’s help, I pared down what I owned so that moving cross-country wasn’t nearly as expensive as it might have been. On the other hand, now that I’m here, I carry a lot of books back and forth. I walk or bike. This hurts my back.
— Dance more: this started out promising, and when I was dating a house DJ last year, it seemed likely. I still had great Talponia dance party experiences in Italy (with the requisite Le Tigre and Notwist), and that was good.
— Stay up later: I did more of this when I was in Italy in January and February, and again in June, given the nocturnal habits of those dear to me. I also had 7 weeks of insomnia, where I stayed up late, though not by choice. And in December, i pulled my first grad school all-nighter, in a 36 hour marathon working session on Sunday-Monday. But the fact is, I need sleep in order to function.
— More adventures: Oh yes. Absolutely. A whole new chapter of my life started, when I moved to New Haven.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Britt, who is in my graduate program, had a baby daughter right before school started.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Nicole DuFresne, my step-niece (the niece of my stepfather) was shot and killed in a mugging in New York almost a year ago. She was 28.
5. What countries did you visit?
The UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Malta, Germany.
6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?
Last year, I said I wanted stability and acceptance to an architecture program. I got both of those things. This year: more focus, better finances.
7. What date from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory?
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Mellowing out. Getting into grad school. Developing the best relationship I’ve ever had.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Anything dealing with money. What do you expect, though, when you become a grad student?
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
When I was in London in April, I had a terrible allergic reaction to a medication I was taking, and got a rash over my entire body. When my lips and tongue began to swell, I went to the emergency room at 1 a.m.. They kept me overnight to make sure I would be okay. It was sad and scary, and I was all alone. But I realized that it was okay, and I would be okay, and that the emergency room exists specifically to keep you safe when your body is in bad shape.
And a week ago in San Francisco, I tripped and fell on my hand, hard. It wasn’t broken, but it was a bad sprain. I’m still recovering.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The Republican party. The president. Someone I’ve known my whole life.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, paying down debt.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Getting accepted to Yale. Berlin. Enrique. Ritual Coffee Roasters.
16. What song/album will always remind you of 2005?
“Away,” by the Feelies
“Show Me,” by Mint Royale
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
1. happier or sadder? happier
2. thinner or fatter? fatter
3. richer or poorer? poorer in money. richer in happiness
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Keeping track of my money.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Holding onto things that are really done and over.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
In Minneapolis with my family, and then new year with Enrique’s family in Texas.
21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
22. Did you fall in love in 2005?
23. How many one night stands in this last year?
24. What was your favourite TV programme?
Sex and the City (thanks to Netflix, I can watch it.). Iron Chef.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Same disgust with the right wing.
26. What was the best book(s) you read?
The Arcades Project, by Walter Benjmain
The Future of Nostalgia, by Svetlana Boym
Cryptonomicon, by Neil Stephenson (though I’m not done with it)
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Thermals (especially “How We Know”), Kings of Convenience, old hip hop (especially Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy)
28. What did you want and get?
I got into grad school.
I met someone who just lets me be me — the easy and tenable relationship I’d wished for.
29. What did you want and not get?
To avoid more debt, but starting school, that was inevitable.
30. What were your favourite films of this year?
La Dolce Vita (which I saw for the first time)
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My birthday celebration started at 11:15 p.m. the night before. I came into the living room and Enrique had lit a candle in a piece of cheesecake. We watched a movie, and then the next day went to three grocery stores looking for ingredients for gumbo and mulled wine. We made both, and Alex, Minna, and Quong came by for warm food and wine. The next week, there was another party, with Tom from Chicago there as the special guest, as well as Jason from SF, who was at Yale for a conference.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Mellowing out earlier, and not having had to go through the massive insomnia I did.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
No new clothes, really. I wore the old ones well.
34. What kept you sane?
Conversations with Enrique, my MED classmates, Jenn, Ali and Maggie.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I hate this question. I really don’t know.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The utter lack of leadership from the Republican party around New Orleans. It made so clear how undervalued blacks (and people of color) and the lower classes are in this country.
37. Who did you miss?
Jenn. Tristam. Mike. Ben (aka Neb). John. Jeremiah. San Francisco.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
Enrique. (You knew I’d say that).
But also, the people I’ve met at Yale. There is my MED cohort of fantastic women and men, there are the m.arch students from the summer drawing class, my 30-something female friends at Yale, my 20-something female friends, the cute young men, the people I geek out with in the second and third year. There are the other students in my classes, the 15 or so of us that show up in this crossover of film/comp lit/ philosophy/architecture. And then, there are the outstanding professors I’ve met, in particular Henry Sussman, Keller Easterling, Claire Zimmerman, and Katie Trumpener, who all taught me things I’ve never known before, and pointed me toward new directions.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005.
Stability and peace makes a lot more possible. And the things that it makes possible are better than the most elite frequent flyer status on any airline.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
It wouldn’t be a lyric, but it would be the strains of “Show Me” by Mint Royale, driving on a brilliantly sunny day, or “Away” by the Feelies.
… and greetings from San Antonio, Texas. I spent the new year on a ranch in Realitos, Texas, with Enrique’s wonderful family. I kept forgetting what month it was — it was in the 80s, and at night, Enrique was still wearing shorts. With his mom and dad, family friend Nati, niece Kaitlyn (9) and nephew Jacob (4), we spent the day reading, filling the deer feeders, hanging out in hammocks, getting fireworks. New Year’s Eve, we shot off fireworks (culminating in small mortars that made fireworks in the sky), and then watched the ball drop in Times Square in Spanish.
New Year’s Day was another beautiful, very warm day. Enrique’s father set up the trap, and we shot clay pigeons. I’d never fired a gun before, and only hit one. I did better when we shot targets, I think … one bullseye, and at least a consistent bunch of holes in the same part of the target. Diagnosis: I was squeezing the gun too hard. I’ve always been nervous about guns because of the noise — the firecrackers made me jumpy the night before. No more jumpiness (that doesn’t work if you’re trying to take aim with a shotgun at a flying orange hockey puck.
More work to do for my freelance client, and back to Minneapolis on Thursday. Last night, I dreamt of registration and “shopping” for classes (that’s when we go to a bunch of courses to determine what we might take), and of my teaching fellowship (it looks like I’m leading a section of Architecture Since 1945). This is the first I’ve really thought of school since I left — a good thing, since I was really in need of a break when our vacation started.
Girlwonder underwent a very quick move to a new server. The domain made it. The data (10 years of websites, pictures and blog posts) did not — at least, not yet. When I get the data, the archives of Girlwonder will be up again, and any email you sent me between December 13 and 15 will get to me soon. (If not, remail it.)
And this is my first attempt at getting the Girlwonder blog to return. Despite my dearth of postings lately, I’ve not given up on it — just got busy with school.
What’s been new lately?
— My final review went well, which surprised the hell out of me. I thought that the criticism would be really harsh, but it was positive and helpful.
— I wrote 70 pages of papers in 2 weeks.
— I’ve been on the road. Zipped in and out of San Francisco on a two day trip for a freelance client there, am back in Minneapolis, where I spent Christmas, go to San Antonio and south Texas to see Enrique and his family tomorrow, back to MN and then to Conneciticut the 9th, for the start of school.
Best of the holidays to you, and a wonderful new year. I hope to have my blog pumping again soon.