Sunday, March 12, 2006

She's All That

Mystery Campus
Originally uploaded by urbanoasis.
Marriage brings a number of changes and compromises to this blogger's formerly autonomous life. Going to bed early. Eating square meals. Minding a budget. Perhaps the biggest change will not come for another 14 months, but come it surely will: a move to Chicago, IL. My wife accepted a tenure-track offer from a university in the Chicagoland area starting in September, and my husbandly duties compel me to follow as soon as the completion of exams and coursework allow. Leave it to my lovely wife to fulfill my fantasies of living and working in a major metropolitan area in the Great Lakes region.

I can't wait to get my hands on some wall maps like this.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Bells and Whistles

You'll note the flickr image and link on the right. I figured my photos were underutilized, and with the most recent additions from the Chicago trip, my meager collection is shaping up. If only I could figure out how to make it cycle through my photos.

I'm taking a course on architectural theory that I find incredibly difficult. It's for the MArchs and not for PhD students, but I am required by my program to take a design theory course. The major semester project is a pair of posters in which students must visually represent and contrast two books on ecology. It's rather challenging and particularly so because I am totally incompetent with Adobe Photoshop. Basically everything the architecture students slapped on the page (or seemed to slap on the page) looked totally scrumptious and seemed fit for publication. God, I need to develop some visual skills.

In that vein, I've bought a large format view camera (Toyo G 4x5) and am slowly assembling the appropriate accessories and hope to be busting out some decent photos soon. Last summer, working at HABS, I got to go out with James Rosenthal on some shoots of Greenbelt, MD. (I worked with Jack Boucher, too, but didn't do any shoots with him). Having read some of John Stilgoe's early work on landscape, I had been primed for view photography (as well as landscape painting). This summer a chief project will be relearning basic optics -- the excruciating interdisciplinary education of Dale Winling continues.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Good God

The Bush administration's and right wing's War on Knowledge and Education has become much broader than its early and ridiculous War on Science. It has now expanded to include a War on Higher Education. Via the New York Times comes news of this diversion of funds to "entrepreneurial" diploma mills:

It took just a few paragraphs in a budget bill for Congress to open a new frontier in education: Colleges will no longer be required to deliver at least half their courses on a campus instead of online to qualify for federal student aid.

That change is expected to be of enormous value to the commercial education industry. Although both for-profit colleges and traditional ones have expanded their Internet and online offerings in recent years, only a few dozen universities are fully Internet-based, and most of them are for-profit ones.

For those of you following at home, that is the same budget bill that cut student loan aid for college. Check out the full story and see how campaign donations from online "colleges" laid the groundwork for this change.

Good Night, Chicago

Originally uploaded by urbanoasis.
Back from a trip to the Windy City. Sadly, my wife and I saw no plays while there. Our time was booked up with friends, food, taking pictures of buildings, and professional matters. Chicago is really a great city, with the one drag being the infuriating trip on the el that took us more than an hour to go about 6 stops due to some crazy-ass work on the track. I have no idea why the delays weren't posted, but there it was. Being late for an appointment, we got out and took a cab up to Evanston from Belmont, an area on the near north side newly settled by hipsters and creative class types.

Evanston was a nice change from Ann Arbor, as well. They're actually building things there and retail rent hasn't chased office supply stores, hardware stores, or grocery stores from the city yet.

I talked to a guy at Aramantha Books who was from Ann Arbor and used to work at David's Books. He knew the owner of my favorite bookstore, West Side Books. The recent addition of another used bookstore brought Evanston's total to 5. My wife and I thanked him by buying several volumes, including James Ackerman's Palladio and John Ruskin's The Seven Lamps of Architecture.

More to come if and when this blogger ever catches up on school.