A Brief Treatise on the Zombie Mentality

Zombies – we all know what they are. They move in mindless hordes, intent only on feeding. They do not stop until they achieve their goal or are dead (again). They are not afraid of bullets or grenades. They are not even afraid of Shenanigans. Their minds are more one-track than a teenage boy’s. If they do not get brains, their undead lives have not been fulfilled.

In Humans vs. Zombies, the “zombies” must seek to recreate this single-mindedness. When you became a zombie, no longer are you part of a shrinking number of survivors that must escape at all costs. You are no longer the hunted, you are the hunter. No longer must you worry about whether your body can stand the exertion of constantly running away, whether you can make it home safely. Safety, pain, these are no longer concerns. The only thing you must think of is the kill.

Being a zombie comes with an insatiable lust for brains, a lust that must be fulfilled. Put aside rigor mortis and joint stiffness – you must run after your next meal because your undead life depends upon it. You cannot shy away once you come within shooting range of a human – you cannot comprehend what a bullet or grenade is. When you get shot, it does not quite register at first – you continue running, even though you can no longer grapple and turn humans. Though you are in the process of dying, let the humans first unload their clips at you before you succumb to death. You must run and chase until there are no more survivors left.

architecture and philosophy

For an Architecture of Reality - Part 1

1. Benedikt starts the book describing a particular type of "Valued Times" that can be called "direct esthetic experiences of the real." Provide your own example of a valued time that matches the intent of the author but is from your personal experience. Describe how your own example matches the intent of the author.

Around me, I hear people complaining that they've never have an "ah ha!" moment. For me, this has never been a problem -- I get them frequently. These "direct aesthetic experiences of the real" happen most often when I am in the car. For whatever reason, the landscape flying by out of focus brings the world into focus. The most recent of these automobile-catalyzed "Valued Times" was my last taxi ride in Mexico.

My ipod was on, set to the postrock band Explosions in the Sky. The windows in the cramped taxi were down -- no air conditioning in Mexico, after all -- and the wind almost hurt as it struck my face in the back seat. The highway, curving through one of the suburbs of Guadalajara, was crowded as we sped out of town. Everything, really, about Tlaquepaque was crowded. Brightly colored houses in traditional Mexican style were scrunched onto hills. Litter bustled along the street in a slight breeze. A too-bright sun pushed presumptuous clouds out of the sky. Graffiti overlapped in an urge to all fit on a wall at a time.

Perhaps it was the sensory near-overload that brought on the sudden heart-clenching joy I felt. It certainly wasn't a joy of leaving -- I could have stayed in Guadalajara forever. Something, however, just felt so ... right. This was Mexico -- dirty and colorful and crowded and wonderfully uninhibited. While I had admired Mexico before, never had it clicked together in such a coherent manner.

2. According to the author what are the potential problems with symbols and their relation to the "direct esthetic experiences of the real?" Provide an image that illustrates your example.

Benedikt's argument against symbols harks, to me, of mass communication's symbol systems theory. This theory states that certain objects have been coded into our brains to elicit certain feelings. The American flag, for example, is not just a tri-colored piece of canvas, but a symbol of America, freedom, and patriotism. Of course, that's just for Americans. For countries, however, the American flag expresses tyranny and oppression. In any situation, such a symbol is loaded. According to Benedikt, however, in a direct esthetic experience of the real a flag should be meaningful only of itself -- we should appreciate the flag snapping in the wind for its own sake.

3. Provide an example image (interior or exterior) of Postmodern architecture that uses history and symbols to create meaning and realness. Describe specific features that provide evidence that the design is Postmodern.

Charles W. Moore's Piazza d'Italia in New Orleans is a prime example of postmodern architecture. It features an earthy color scheme combined with city-inspired black and whites. In an obvious salute to Italy, it has numerous columns and arches. There are historical references as well as references to skyscrapers (there's one right next to it) and technology (it incorporates neon and concrete). It has no real need to reference these things -- if it were modern, it wouldn't -- but it does, part of what makes it postmodern.

4. Provide an example image (interior or exterior) of architecture that relates to the author's bias and provides for "direct esthetic experiences of the real." Describe specific features that provide evidence that the design is Postmodern.

The Abteiberg Museum in Germany, unlike the Piazza D'Italia, does not make any sweeping historical or symbolic references. Instead, the buildings of the museum are sculptural and fun, each one different. Though at first glance they appear to be minimalist, they are not. Unlike a rigid Modernist construction, the buildings fit together organically.

5. According to your own point of view, what makes design/architecture more or less real?

Going beyond mere existential fact, architecture becomes more real depending upon how it is experienced. Experiencing some architecture is an out of body experience. Sure, you're there and occupying space, but it makes no impact upon you. The experience of architecture, in order for it to be real, has to be an in body experience. Design is sensual; so should the experience of it. Only when it can be experienced in a sensual manner can it truly be real.

6. According to your own point of view, what makes design/architecture more or less meaningful?

This question immediately makes me think of my conversation with Dave a few weeks ago, when we touched upon the lack of honesty in the architecture on OU's campus. Just as OU's architecture adheres to Georgian symbols without Georgian building practices, residential architecture is awash with poor imitations of other, more successful architecture. These buildings focus on appearance rather than experience, skimping on materials and structural integrity in order to give unsuspecting people their "dream house." Is this architecture meaningful? No, because it is not honest. It does not attempt to give people what they truly want, it just gives them places to live.
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    Bloc Party's A Weekend in the City

guadalajara, mexico -- day .5

I'm writing this from outside my dorm at Casa Internacional. My roommate seems pretty cool, and the two girls in the room next to us are neat. We went to a torta place (sandwiches) for dinner. 39 pesos for a sandwich and a beer, can you believe it? awesomeness. i accidentally left a 10 peso piece for a tip. oh well.

the area around here is really beautiful -- it's very green and hilly. some of the fields look red, which is kind of strange. the town is pretty ramshackle, but i like it. it kind of reminds me of the older parts of san francisco. at the same time, though, it seems very quintessentially mexico. i love it.

on a nerdy note: the architecture at casa internacional is awesome!!!! there is an open air courtyard. and by open air i mean my hallway is facing open air. so much awesomeness. i will take lots of pictures.

we have an orientation tomorrow, which will hopefully not be too lame. i'm already having lots of fun, though not speaking too much spanish (i spoke more spanish on the plane and in the airport than i have actually in the city!). it was pretty awesome to be able to order a corona with dinner, though, even if half of it was foam.

stress! nervousness! stress!

so i'm leaving for mexico tomorrow. and my mouse isn't working. grr. sylvia chewed through my second mouse on wednesday and then chewed through a new one yesterday. so now i'm trying a wireless mouse and having a hell of a time. I think i'm just going to take a non-laptop mouse with me down to mexico so i know i have something that works.


darn you, sylvia, and your chewy orange rat teeth.

so yeah, i've spent about $100 on mice thanks to sylvia. you'd think she was a mouse and wanted company!

so mexico. terrified. absolutely scared and nervous. i haven't actually flown on a plane by myself before. at least i have flown abroad. but still. eeky squeaky!

managed to get my portfolio together though. quite the crunch, getting everything finished in time.

so ... busy vacation

Was on vacation for these past few weeks -- we went out to Colorado to visit my sister, who lives in Aspen, and to check out real estate in Fort Collins, where my parents are thinking of retiring, and then over to Missouri for my cousin Jill's wedding.

My cousin got married, which was the first wedding I've ever truly been to (my cousin Shelley's wedding when I was 6 mos doesn't count). It was pretty splendid, except now I want to get married even more than I did. We were totally taking notes on what we do and don't want for my wedding (wedding gown with straps. bridesmaid dresses with straps. no pink. no mention of god. probably walking down the aisle to postrock. we'll see.). For all that I tend to be a bit of a tomboy and decidedly not a girly girl, I've always fantasized about getting married. Hell, even my sister Julie, the most boyish girl I know without being butch, wants to get married, though I think she's gotten tired of dealing with boys and their nonsense.

Mm, but I want a pretty dress, and flowers, and presents!!! But mostly the pretty dress. I mean, when else do you get to be a princess for a day? (And have your parents pay for it.)

media law tutorial needs to be done!

i swear if i see any more words relating to confidentiality or privilege i'm going to explode. which is a problem because i'm not done with my essay on the subject yet. boo hiss. I am, however, four-ish inches onto the fourth page, which is promising. I want to curl up like my ratty girl and take a wee nap before the Russenorsk concert.

oh, to be a rat and have no worries but how to steal as much paper and food from my caretaker as possible.

so yeah, head back to Findlay on Thursday. Will be in town for approximately two weeks before heading out to the plainsy area to visit Julie & go to my cousin's wedding. then come back and pack myself off to Mexico for five weeks, getting back around the 18th of August. And then school starts again in September. & in the time that I'm not gone, I plan to be purchasing and losing my soul to Oblivion.

I seem to have done a grand job of filling up my summer, eh? first time in years that i won't be sitting around bored the whole time.

my shoulder/neck got all stuck and sore on Sunday, but after getting a massage yesterday I can actually move. Pretty excellent. Still hurts a bit, but I guess that was to be expected. I don't have to walk around with my head cocked to the left all the time, and for that I am grateful.


sleep time.