Sunday, December 25, 2005

the ghost of christmas[tree] past

i’ve heard this year, through different media outlets, that it is now [politically correct] to refer to christmas trees as holiday trees instead. now as much as I believe we should all learn to be more tolerant and accepting of other customs, i disagree with this. first of all, we should embrace different customs and traditions and learn about them, not merge them into the narrow view of being politically correct. a christmas tree is just that, a christmas tree. it was a symbol of the newly found christian faith to the early germans. german immigrants brought this custom to America in the 1700’s and it caught on by 1850. since then most christians bring an evergreen into their house to decorate for the season. being of german descent i’ve always been proud of this tradition. there are many other customs during christmas brought to us from many different places. we should know where all these customs come from and celebrate them, instead of trying to force them into some [politically correct} box. having many different customs and traditions makes this world unique and exciting.

anyway, i hope everyone enjoys their christmas trees this year, or any other tradition that you and your family may celebrate. merry [christmas, chanukah, and kwanza].

here are some photos I found today, of past christmas trees.


Friday, December 16, 2005

taking the [stress] out of finals


well it is finals week here at kansas state, and the stress levels are high. some students are tied to their textbooks, cramming for comprehensive finals, while others are pulling all-nighters finishing up projects. i, however, must devote all my waking hours to watercoloring. now watercoloring was not the only task i had to complete this week. i had a rather large paper to write about the benedictine monk/architect, dom hans van der laan, due thursday. [don't worry, i had never heard of him either]. i did, however manage to avoid having to take any test, unlike my younger sister who had three finals, back to back to back.

i know that watercoloring in no way compares to studying for a final, but there was a smidge of stress involved. i had to have ten paintings done friday afternoon. as of monday, i had six. now you may be thinking to yourself, four paintings isn't that much. but here is the deal, i'm an artist and you can't rush art. did leonardo have a deadline for the mona lisa? did michelangelo have to turn in the sistine chapel by 1 p.m.? no. so how am i expected to rush my own art. well after finishing up my paper, i devoted the rest of the week to painting. overall it was rather relaxing. i had great playlist on the computer playing. i zoned in and became one with the pigments and palette. last night i finished, and although i was rushed, they turned out "sorta", "marginally", " somewhat" good. i'm just glad this stressful week is done with. note: [parts of this paragraph should be read with a sarcastic tone]

here is the watercoloring playlist:

billie holiday = east of the sun
bloc party = this modern love, so here we are
bobby darin = moon river
cake = guitar man
counting crows = a long december, goodnight elisabeth, colorblind
death cab for cutie = soul meets body
fountains of wayne = hackensack, valley winter song
guster = careful, i hope tomorrow is like today
modest mouse = broke
okkervil river = kansas city
rilo kiley = more adventurous
the flaming lips = mr. ambulance driver, yoshimi battles the pink robots pt.1
the long winters = cinnamon
the postal service = district sleeps alone tonight
the sounds = dance with me
wilco = at least that's what you said


Friday, December 09, 2005

merry christmas, you wonderful old [college of architecture, planning, and design!]

[it's a wonderful life] as seen through my socks

"i'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and i'm gonna see the world. italy, greece, the parthenon, the colosseum. then, i'm comin' back here to go to college and see what they know. and then i'm gonna build things. i'm gonna build airfields, i'm gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, i'm gonna build bridges a mile long... "
george bailey

last night i officially started my christmas season with my annual viewing of the best chirstmas movie ever, [it's a wonderful life]. now there are a lot of great chirstmas movies out there to choose from with each one holding it's own value:

[white chirstmas] 1954
[a charlie brown chirstmas] 1965
[how the grinch stole chirstmas] 1966
[a christmas story] 1983
[scrooged] 1988
[christmas vacation] 1989
[home alone] 1990
[elf] 2003

however [it's a wonderful life] always finds it's way to the top of my list.

as an architecture student, i find that we focus so much on our projects that everything else seems un-important. we get stressed, angry, upset, and frustrated. we finish our projects, crit, catch up our sleep, and before you know it, it's christmas.

this movie is my transition from the stress of studio, to the holiday season. i usually put this movie into the dvd player after my projects are turned in, and the craziness of deadlines are over. in the movie, stress and frustration take a toll on george bailey causing him to almost make a fatal decision. however after taking an alternate look at his life, he begins to realize just how great it actually is. he realizes how important friends and relationships are and how they can help you overcome any obstacle.

so, in the spirit of the movie, watch it with the people you love. if you haven't seen it, buy it, or at least put it on your list, as it makes an excellent gift.

Friday, December 02, 2005

the [past] and pending

i was awoken this morning to my radio.

for anyone that knows me, you know that i am a firm believer in waking up to the radio, because the alternative choice of the alarm, in my opinion, is pure and absolute evil. humans were not intended to wake up to a loud piercing squeal. of course sometimes the light music causes me to oversleep occasionally, but being late is far better then waking up to a high pitched, heart stopping siren. anyway, back to the story, i awoke this morning to the song [long december] by the counting crows, one of the best bands of our generation. this particular song was the perfect song to wake me up today for multiple reasons, besides the obvious one of irony, it being december.

the song is about reflecting on the year, which seems only natural for the month of december. while enjoying this song, still under the cover of my quilt, my mind started pondering my own past. the song ended and i left the comfort of my bed to bare the brunt of cold air on my way to start the safety of a steamy shower. while standing in the hot water, i was reflecting on where i was five years ago, today.

normally a person wouldn't know exactly what they were doing or felt five years ago, but i do. i'm not going to cheapen those memories by writing them down on the net, and it would be impossible to convey my exact feelings through the filter of writing. for now, i'll just keep them to myself. it was however a moment in my past that was great to reflect on today. then i wondered, do all memories consist of moments in our life where we were full of emotion? or do those memories just stick out more then the others? either way, i enjoyed taking a look back this morning on a great memory. i finished my shower today with my own, out of tune version of [long december] followed with an encore of [mr. jones].

so for now, thank you counting crows, for a great wake up call.