Posts Tagged ‘books’

The post will be a review of one of the few games that I have cleared recently, Borderlands 2. I managed to clear the final boss about a week ago, and thought that this is a game well worth reviewing for random people on the internet.

The only reason I played Borderlands 2 was because over the holidays a friend of mine bought it for me and a bunch of my friends with the idea of multiplayer gun-slinging, havoc reeking fun, and to start with, he was right. The first two hours that I played the game I was at my friend’s house playing together with my other friends. Each of us chose one of the four unique classes, I chose the assassin Zero, and then we dropped into the world. At first, the character builds weren’t very different, partly because of level, but mostly because of weapons at that moment. Until we made it to the next location, all of us were using pistols and melee attacks to get through waves of Bullymogs that blocked our path. After frustrating my friends with running ahead and killing things and stealing all of the loot, I left to go spend time with my girlfriend.

borderlands-2-zero-wallpaper

That was the only time that I played multiplayer, but for the most part, it was kind of fun. The night would have been more fun if I had gotten a sniper rifle at that point and taken advantage of my character’s unique abilities. I ran the rest of the game by myself, taking on a multitude of side quests to fill up my pockets and give me better loot to use to kill bigger things. The game is fairly fast pace, you walk into a new area and get swarmed by all of the monsters, thieves, and general baddies, but that doesn’t deter you because you start exploiting your class perks. I got into the habit of using my sniper rifles to start off a fight when I entered a new area, keeping my distance and picking off all of the new startled enemies. Then, when the stranglers finally ran up to me, I whipped out my shotgun and blew them away. This fighting tactic worked alright to start with, but after I got a few more weapon slots, it changed to accommodate the new arsenal that I was toting around with me.

It wasn’t until fairly late in the game that I actually “died”, at which point I discovered the Fight for Your Life system they implement in the game. If you get your health depleted, you are wounded and can’t zoom your weapons, and you have a limited amount of time to kill another enemy. If you manage to kill one, then you get your shield back and some portion of your health back, thus giving you another go at the current situation. This is where my new set of weapons came in, whenever I went into Fight for Your Life mode, I pulled out my rocket launcher and killed the closest thing. Once I recovered, I would reload my rocket launcher so I could be prepared for the next time that happened to me. I was caught refilling it too often when I actually died because I hadn’t reloaded it from before. Then I started my special ability where I would create a clone that would draw enemies in while I got huge buffs to my melee attacks and critical hits. This came in handy when trying to do massive damage to a boss, or escaping a hairy situation I had gotten myself into.

Overall, the combat system, diverse weapons, upgrades, and skill trees make combat a really great experience to experiment with. Later on in the game though, you will start to find it much more difficult to find a better weapon than the one you are using, I kept the same sniper rifle for a good five hours of game play, until I found one that had a massive power boost. Same with my shotgun, and I used the same pistol for most of the game. Money also became pointless along the way because you are just showered in money (literally) all of the time, which made actually dying later on kind of a mild annoyance than something to really avoid.

The atmosphere of the game world is remarkable because each area is different from the last, making you feel like you are in a wasteland, city, or decimated local. The only thing that could have made it slightly better was if the enemies changed more than they did. Yes I would fight giant bug things in a sewer area, and bandits in an outpost, but any time you found the same type of enemy in two different locations, they didn’t show any difference. This is mainly for the bandit designs because they were the same in the frozen waste land as they were in the desert. A bit more variation would have been great.

The game’s antagonist, Handsome Jack, is the pure embodiment of evil asshole that has to die. Later on in the game they add to his background and try to show you his motives and driving force behind him being a bastard, but in the end, you have no sympathy for the man. He is a great character because you never really have any moral grey moments when dealing with him, even after they add in his backstory.

The rest of the supporting character for the game really fill in the universe because everyone is different from the last important person you had to deal with. Each of the supporting characters will also give you unique quests for you to fill in your play time with. Some of the time you’ll have to kill so many of a certain monster, or run around trying to deliver mail in a bad part of town, but for the most part, you’ll get something new quest from quest. I went from checking up on my worst enemy’s grandmother, to trying to help a robot become human.

I highly recommend this game to anyone who likes dark/absurd humor, growth of characters, guns, and general merriment. Grab a buddy and take on Handsome Jack, and put him out of his misery!

borderlands2

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect

We set the stage with many millennia of history, ruins, stories, lives lost, wars won, emperors, peasants, scholars, culture, and, most importantly, architecture. We step back, glancing up at the piercing sun, squinting slightly as we recoil from the harsh glare of that which is now obscuring our view of the meeting place. We see that business continues as usual here, that men are discussing policy, while others peddle fruits and other wares, and that there are those who merely wander through. We are dwarfed by the structures around us, forcing us into awe of their majesty. We come to realize why we are here, and more importantly, where we are now.

We are in Rome. All times of Rome meshing into one coherent culture that we can experience even today if we choose to travel. My commentary on Rome for this matter will focus primarily on the current city of Rome, but I will be referencing the past for a few of the points that I will make to illustrate the complexity and power of the city. We begin our look at the city by analyzing the overall structure of the transportation system that is most prevalent for my experiences, the metro. We used the metro to get to the general vicinity of whatever we were going to go see, because you could not get too close to it due to the fact that when constructing the metro in Rome they build about 10 feet, then hit ruins that need to be excavated and evaluated for their worth. Because the metro only takes you so close to what you want to see, you are forced to walk through the rest of the city and experience all of the joys, wonders, and annoyances that Rome has to offer.

The first joy is the fact that the metro is easy to use to anyone who has a map, if you have one then you are good to go for your stay in Rome. Once you leave the metro, you have many options for what you could do next: grab a cappuccino at a local bar, wander around looking at all of the monuments and ruins, grab some pizza to walk around with, visit a fountain to relax at, or go around shopping if you like. Most of the time, we chose to get a drink at a bar and then continue on to our tours that we had planned with our professor. The wonders of the city are all around you because the entire city is many layers of ruins upon ruins upon future ruins. It’s all a great tapestry to stare at for years. The annoyances start with all of the annoying gypsies trying to sell you something useless at every corner. Every turn you make, there will be one there, trying to sell you something stupid, and they will continue to try to sell you stuff even after you’ve said no a million times.

Now that we have navigated some of the streets for the most part, we find ourselves wondering about how this city still functions in modern day society. Well, for the most part, it stays true to its old roots and keeps the Italian style of life strong. The only real addition that I feel has been made to the city is the addition of the roads to accommodate cars and other modes of transportation.

I will finish this brief analysis of Rome with just one thought: Saint Peter’s. Everyone should visit Saint Peter’s whether or not they believe the same way or not, the space is one of the most daunting spaces you will ever experience when it comes to religion. My professor railed me once for saying that many cathedrals, churches, what have you, are supposed to make you feel small and insignificant compared to the powers and grace of God. He believes the exact opposite of that and proceeded to completely disregard the conversation about Kahn, and instead voice his own personal views on the matter while shutting down that one statement I made. Experience St. Peter’s and you will definitely know what I am talking about. You will not feel close to God and it does not make you want to be close to him if this is what is meant to be brought about in his name. I won’t get too much into the religion aspect of this, but St. Peter’s is an experience.

We now look at the city of Rome and how it is dealing with architecture in the modern era of society. We went to see a few modern buildings in the Rome and found that they were either not well received or underused for the scale of them. The MAXXI is barely used and isn’t even finished as the original concept had intended for it to be, it’s only half done if anything. Designing in such dense areas of history now is becoming a great challenge. Do you try to mimic the past? That’s hard because most people don’t have the formal teaching to use classicism correctly. Do you try to contrast to the past with a very modern structure instead? Well most of those aren’t well received because they are so out of place amongst everything else that the city has. Walk two steps and you trip over a church, forum, coliseum, or other great structure; so having some giant white monstrosity next to it, doesn’t seem to make much sense either. Do we try to fuse both together to create a more dynamic structure that embraces both the past, present and future? Personally, I think this is the most appropriate way to go about designing in places such as Rome. I personally think the works of Carlo Scarpa should be looked at by anyone fortunate enough to design within Rome, that way you may make a more informed design choice.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

Today we had the architects from Milan come in and critique our work. I think it went really well, even though I still suck at explaining my designs and everything that is going on in them. They said I should revisit Scarpa for my designs again and stop my rectilinear designs and start working more with the site. I should start working on trying to create more dynamic forms instead of interesting boxes. They also gave me some ideas of turning my colossal columns into things that could mimic or represent the trees on the site that I am still not allowed to get rid of. I think I’m going to look for some precedents for the actual column trees; I’m thinking I’ll use one of the gardens in Japan or China I think it is. Other than that, I’ve been listening to more of my classical music to help calm me down more and just chill me out and I have been talking to Sarah still. We’ve been getting to know each other more and more, she seems really nice and pretty chill and it’s been the highlight of the past week or so for me.

We went touring through some of the projects in the city with the architects from Milan today. It was a lot of long walks and brief lectures, but pretty good for getting some ideas. Urbino has a lot of interesting buildings and different kinds of entrance and exits that put you out into amazing parts of the city. Afterward we got kebabs for lunch and then proceeded to go back and finish out our day as usual before turning in to get ready for our Rome trip that starts tomorrow morning. At 6am, sharp.

Note, the next post will be made after I return and will be analyzing Rome as a whole.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

Sunday evening I started unfriending people I don’t talk to or never have talked to, and also started looking into my travel plans for the Thanksgiving break. While going through my friends list and pruning I came to realize so many things about people, one of which was that anyone who was in theatre was just fucked up afterwards.

Dawn of the whatever day, 40 days remain. That’s right, I only have a bit more than a month left in Europe before I make it back to the states and start my next chapter. Though we must now continue to analyze Europe and all of its effects on me and how I relate that back to western society. Our first history and theory class with just Daryl was today, and we looked at an author who was neither an architect nor a scholar, and thus was an annoying pompous ass in all of our opinions. Once we managed to get through the discussion and Daryl pissing me off about roman numerals (he wouldn’t let me see the damn numbers long enough to read it and said mean things to us for not knowing them [I was the only fucking person who could get the damn thing!]) we made it to lunch and then on to measuring the site for our exhibition project. While we were measuring the site it began to rain, but Daryl just pulled out his umbrella and watched us freeze to get the ruddy dimensions. Afterwards I managed to grab a cappuccino with him and discuss part of the future Rome trip. Once we made it back to the studio we all got together to discuss our form diagrams that we were working on and get a sort of grasp on what we were trying to accomplish for our project. After we made it through class we all went to dinner and then I spent the next 6 hours talking to Tori, and finally going back to my room at 1am.

I found some extra blankets last night to keep me warm because it has become near freezing here (not kidding, last night was 37°F) and in a room that has spiders and cracks between windows, walls, and doors, you kind of need them. So I finally rolled out of bed and got dressed in time to make it to my watercolor class where we sketched and rendered the library below our studio. The process was alright, and of course my render didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted it to, but it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve produced while being here. I’m started to feel a bit alienated from the rest of the people, and I think it’s because I’ve been having some fairly intense moods recently. Cecilia is still an annoying bitch, Sofia’s views confuse me, Britta is a quiet neutral party, Dane is always nice, Brent is more of a sarcastic ass than usual, Justin is quiet as always, Camelo is less talkative and social than he was before, Matt still has an annoying personality, and I keep having extreme moods that persist for the entire day. I am either antisocial and get annoyed and mad at everything everyone does, or I’m light of heart, but quiet, or I’m apathetic to everything around me. And then while I was applying shadow to my drawings I came to the thought that my father is getting older and may not be around to see the man I become and the accomplishments that he would be proud of. I guess I’m just starting to doubt everything that I’m doing and if I can actually get it done for it to matter the most to me. Pair that with the constant cigarette smoke clawing at my will power and we have a great cocktail at the moment for me.

Midway through the week and my mood is still like a yo-yo at the moment. I’ve been stuck with my designs for the exhibition space we are supposed to design for the city, so I’ve been going crazy. Besides that I’ve been trying to not be as mean, but failing at that, and talking to a few people online.

Thursday was mainly a work day, except for the fact that we all went out and drank in the city. This made me confirm the fact that I am not a party person and going out on the town is definitely not for me. After I went back early I posted on Facebook that I did not enjoy my time out, and this then sprung Cecilia taking it upon herself to “correct” it and make sure the future people who come don’t get the wrong impression. This mostly boiled down to her saying I’m not fun and am boring. Well she needs to mind her own fucking business and quick harping on my personality and mood at the moment or else she’ll finally hear all the shit that I keep back out of courtesy.

Today was mainly sleeping in and doing a bit of studio work, but we also managed to go to the cemetery to do some much needed sketching and relaxing during our studio time slot. Other than that, I think my anger is getting away from me, I’m going to need to find some kind of physical outlet or things might not go well for the rest of the time that I’m here.

Today was the day of the hike that everyone else took, so I was able to stay at the studio and get some much needed “me” time. I got some good design work done and now I have the overall concept statement for my project: The Floating Room. I think it’s going to turn out really well if I can manage to get the floor plans to work out. I’ve also been talking to another girl, and she seems really cool. We like a lot of the same things and she doesn’t give me stupid three word responses. It’s actually really brightened up my mood, which is good for the rest of the studio as well, that way I’m much less of a dick. Besides that I just kind of relaxed and ate oreos for most of the day.

Continued conversations with Sarah today, things seem to be going really well. I really like talking to her, she has something to say about all of the stuff we talk about, making it much easier to keep the conversation going. I’ve also had a long day or working on my project; I am starting to fix some of the problems with the design, but I don’t know what all I’m going to show the architects tomorrow for my critique. Things seem to be getting more focused as we start getting closer to the end of the semester, and it’s beginning to make posting harder because I have less to think about or talk about because I’m getting tunnel vision for my project.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

Day one of the overlap of my professors has begun, and to start things off, we had Daryl critique our work for our contextual buildings. Guess who he started with first. Yup, mine. Though I have to say I wasn’t overly self-conscious about the critique this time around because I think I had more confidence in my designs. The critique went fairly well, there were some things that he said that I agreed with and I liked that he thought of this project as a “in progress” project and not a finished product. He went on to say what we should consider in the next phases of the design if we were to continue with the project instead of moving on to the next one as we are doing now. After that we were given our next projects, which seems kind of like a blow off because it’s a PowerPoint presentation about one of Kahn’s buildings and how it relates back to classicism. Overall, class went well today, mainly because we didn’t really have to do anything for it, so we could still recover from our travels the previous week. After class we hit up the supermarket to get some snacks and stuff for the studio since we cleaned everything out before we left, so of course I bought all of the Oreos and a couple bottles of wine for myself. We finished the night off with dinner and an episode of The Newsroom, with one of my bottles of wine. I also managed to get a reply from Tori again, so I think there is promise in reconnecting, and hopefully patching things as best as possible.

Today I was able to go into the studio early and just be by myself for a while with the internet and have some calm time to read and work and relax. Once that was over though I had to have lunch with my professors because I was driving with them to our site today for our watercolor and drawing class. Cecelia tried to kick me out of the car because she wanted all of the girls in it, but I wasn’t having any of that shit today, especially not an hour before we had to leave. So we made it to the site, which was a house designed by Giancarlo De Carlo, and we had to primarily do sections of the building. Sections have never been my strong suit, but it was good practice, and most of them turned out well. Afterwards we hiked back to school since we apparently missed the bus, and then we all hit the studio to work on our summaries. While working I decided to have scotch again, though the last time I had it was in Siena when I lost my keys to the hotel room, so I cut it with some OJ to make it less intense and relaxed while working. That was until Tori was on Tumblr and I got a chance to have a real conversation with her. Got to say she really brightened up not only my day, but the past few months for me. I had really missed talking to her, and I had missed the closeness. I won’t lie or hide it here, I still have feelings for her, but I’m not going to push that unless she wants to and I have a fair idea that she doesn’t, but time will tell. But just the talking has really helped me feel better, and not because I was buzzed for part of the conversation like my studio thinks.

The day starts off with a bomb. History and Theory was tanked by my apparently incorrect analysis of the previous readings, which made it so I didn’t want to talk for the rest of class, which affects my grade. So that went spectacularly, but afterwards we all grabbed lunch and then started working on our presentations for Friday over our Kahn buildings. Well I just kind of messed around on the internet while working until Daryl finally showed up (2 hours late), to give us some direction and critique what we had done so far for our projects. He said I should really look into the structure, materials, and the Ten Canons for my building. After a while Tori came online so I started talking to her for the rest of my day, talking about my trips and tell her stories of the things I had done, the people I had met, the experiences I had, just everything. I kept on going on and on about it all, showing her pictures, and just talking about it all. She occasionally chimed in with her own comments or suggestions or stories about what I was talking about, but I had to ask most of the time for her to share things about what she was doing or thinking for the most part. We started talking about the different things we would do when I got back into town, and now that I’m thinking about it I’m starting to get a little concerned. Not in a bad way like I’m doing something awful, but because the last time I had plans similar to these was when I was engaged. I know they are fairly short term for the most part compared to what I had been used to planning, but it just seems like the things I’d want to plan with a significant other. It works as friends, but I think I’m already treading a thin line with my emotions as it is, but I just don’t want things to crop up in me and then ruin the friendship because she doesn’t want anything more. The plans make me excited for when I get back; make it so I’m not relying on eHarmony for some hope when I get back. I might be over thinking all of this, but food for my brain right now. I’ll keep on the friend side of things until I actually see her again because that’s what’s the most important, but if I get the chance, I’m taking it like I never did before.

So today was our day off, so I woke up early thinking I could do my laundry and maybe make it into town and get the hat I’ve been eyeing for a while and maybe sit in a café and sketch for a bit. Then I remembered we had an essay due the next day over Kahn’s writings, and a presentation to create and prepare for class tomorrow as well, so there went all hope of having a free day. So I spent most of the morning cleaning my room and taking a shower so I could avoid work for a while, but then I finally had to head into the studio and actually start my readings and essay. After a while I finished up my essay and kept working on my presentation until Tori got up and we started talking about Fallout Boy rumors not being true, her job, and then went into my goal of becoming the most interesting man in the world. That discussion also led to me asking if I could join her at church once, so I could understand religion and beliefs more not only for broadening my view, of figuring out what it’s all about. I was tired of limiting myself by my selective knowledge of things, so I made a big choice in my life with that goal. The following is what I actually said about the idea:

“Well I got kind of annoyed with my limited scope of knowledge that I had to engage people with. I had limited experiences, limited thoughts, and limited views. So I couldn’t engage with people the way that I really wanted to. I was tired of being quiet for a lot of a conversation, waiting until I found something of interest to say about something I didn’t know/care about. So I kept seeing the commercials for Dos Equis and thought, “huh, that guy, though fictional, has done so much, and can thus talk about so much.” After some thought on the matter, I asked my dad how I could become the most interesting man in the world, and he said to let him think on it. So I waited, until I spoke to my uncle, the scholar, and realized that he could talk to anyone about anything because of all the books he’s read, experiences he’s had, and opportunities he’s taken. So I decided that’s what I was going to do. I wasn’t going to limit myself to just architecture, videogames, and sex, but instead know everything. Culture myself to the point of impossibility.”

Also, just as a side note for this, I would like to add that the girls went out for Britta’s birthday, which is fine, it’s their choice even though we have a project due tomorrow. Whatever. What is not fine is them coming back at 3:30 in the morning being loud and waking me up, and yes this is because they woke me up. I don’t care if no one else woke up, the fact that they woke me up is all that matters and they are lucky that Matt made it outside before I did because they would have had it from me. End note. Back to trying to sleep.

I start with my realizations about my life up to this point, to the point of day 500 in my own life. I went through my growth as I reflected on what Brent said last night, commenting on fictional books title for architects, one being “10 Ways Your Ego Destroys Your Building.” Ego, big word for an architect, because we are sort of the all-knowing people of the world, similar to scholars, but on an even grander scale. I started to think about how my ego has changed over the years, from middle school, to high school, and now to college and my real life. I’ve seen the birth of my ego when I was president of the Gaming Guild in middle school, the way I had power, responsibility and the joy of leadership. Then I moved on to high school, losing all of my power and leadership, and having to start at the bottom of the ladder again. Slowly I moved up the ladder of the theatre community and thus my ego began to grow again, but this time, with the inclusion of women. I think that was part of the folly of my ego was the fact that I let getting attention from women go to my head so much. Once my ego was in full bloom in high school, I had to move on and go to college and pick a major, so of course I pick the major that goes with the largest ego. Now though, through all of my experiences, I have humbled myself; I have taken my experiences in life and seen what I gained from them. As an architect, I must be conceited and egotistical, but in life I must be humble. So now, I see I am Tom from 500 Days of Summer, taking part in the longest day in history. The 500th day of Summer is where I am in life, just before entering the front door to the firm I am applying to, just before the best part.

Today we took a trip with Daryl and Mirko to San Marino and San Leo. San Marino was pretty cool because it is technically its own country, so it has its own laws and stuff, but it is really just an Italian town. We explored some of the castles there and had just a grand time of it all while we were there. After that we headed to San Leo, another cool, yet small town where I got the chance to venture off some and do some much needed sketching for myself. Once we had our fill of San Leo we headed back to Urbino so we could all eat dinner and watch the Newsroom to relax. Afterwards, though,  things kind of went south with my mood because the internet has been broken here, meaning I couldn’t check my e-mails so I could stay up to date with my parents, eHarmony and school related things. Also meant that I couldn’t talk to Tori today, so I think that might have a bigger impact on me while I’m here than I’m giving it credit (and I’m already giving it a lot of credit). I don’t know, I always get mad at the smaller things, or Cecilia, rather than the larger things in life. I just don’t understand why I get so mad at all of the little inconveniences in life rather than the stuff that has more of an impact on me. I just worry about myself with everything that’s been going on with me evolving and becoming the man I want to be rather than the man I was forced to be. Will this change me too much that I can’t relate back to people anymore? Will I still be able to have a relationship that works? Will I still function in the world or will I be the guy that people introduce as a high-functioning sociopath? I’m worried that one of these days I won’t be in control of my anger and thoughts anymore and instead the Hulk within will take over and release all that I have pent up inside. I’m slowly working to get rid of all of the stuff that I have pent up in me, and I’m making decent progress on it. I am almost done resolving the main stuff that everyone knows about, I’m about to start my next attempt at quitting, and I’m getting back to reality and life again.

So I woke up today and realized that day light savings time had taken effect, so I actually got an extra hour of sleep. After a bit of procrastinating, I finally managed to go ahead and do my readings and finish up my summaries so I could have the rest of the day to work on my design work and see if I could find some working wifi here. This post will be finished before the day is actually done, because I want to see if I can still write poetry at all and to finish my design work.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

Another long time since my last update and there is plenty to get out there for everyone to read. Since my last post, we have been working on a contextual building for the city of Urbino off in one of the back streets. I basically finished it today, but that is without adding the shadows to it because I think it would just mess up the whole composition of the work. I really enjoyed how my elevation render turned out for this project, the windows really make the project pop off the page and come alive. The rest of the drawings are alright, the plan came out fine and so did the detailed elevation drawing, but the perspective did not come out the way I really wanted it to, but that’s partly because I don’t have the skill and partly because the technique I tried didn’t work with my skill level.

We went on a week-long break and all travelled around Europe hitting Amsterdam, Paris, and Milan for the most part (one group also went to Munich). We first had a seven hour delay in Bolonga where we just kind of looked around the city and then went to the airport to get on our really cheap flight to Brussels. Once we made it to Brussels though, we had to rent a car and drive to Amsterdam, which was our original plan, but it turned out to be more complicated when it came time to return the damn thing. After getting into Amsterdam, we all explored the city and picked up a few rent-a-bikes and then broke off into two groups: one would go have fun, and the other would teach me how to ride a bicycle. After that day of fun, we broke off again and I went out into the city on my own and just explored the place, which was really cool, until I stumbled into part of the Red Light District, at which point I turned around and went back the way I came. It was just kind of depressing there. Our last day in Amsterdam was spent shopping and trying to recover Camelo’s phone, which he had lost on one of our tram rides.

After Amsterdam, we took a train to Paris, where we met up with the guys and talked about our travels thus far. While we were in Paris, we stayed at some guy’s apartment that he lets travelers use some times. It was a really nice place, with a kitchen and working wifi which was really helpful whenever we needed to figure stuff out. While in Paris we hit all of the typical tourist spots, which were all amazing in their own special way, though some were better than others. We met up with some people from Rice that had spoken to the girls in Italy once and wanted to meet up, though they seemed slightly surprised when they saw Camelo and I there. We all had a really nice dinner while in Paris with them, which felt great because we hadn’t had a real sit down meal since our first night in Amsterdam. Before Camelo and I headed out of the city to go to Milan next, we hit up a local bakery by our apartment and got a lot of bread for the upcoming train ride. I got a bunch of croissants and a cookie before we ran to the train station.

Our train to Milan was a sleeper train, which was a new experience for us, but was one with mixed results. We made it to Milan around 5:30 in the morning, but during the train ride we were woken up by customs asking us what our nationality was and we didn’t get to see the Alps while we were on it. Milan was a beautiful place, and we had so much time to explore it all, though most of the buildings that we wanted to see either weren’t open to the public or didn’t exist anymore. We also did a small amount of shopping while we were there and to keep us away from our hostel. The hostel was interesting, it was run by a bunch of Chinese people who had at first lost our reservation, and then after half an hour found it. You also could not plug anything in to charge if you wanted to still have the lights on, and the shower could not be controlled, you had scalding hot water for bit, then freezing cold water for a bit. Camelo and I left on Saturday so we could have Sunday to ourselves and just relax and regain our strength after the long trip.

We made it to Pesaro in just enough time to catch the second to last bus to Urbino, which meant that we could get dinner at the cafeteria and not have to pay for a meal for once! We also caught Emily and her friend getting on the same bus, apparently they had been in Pesaro all day and were just heading back, so it was nice to have someone besides the usual group to talk to about stuff. Once we made it back to Urbino, we spent the rest of our time sleeping and using the internet, just relaxing and enjoying our time to ourselves.

I have been using eHarmony for a while now and things are looking just kind of subpar at the moment. I had been talking to one girl, but she stopped replying, and then I was talking to another girl, but she doesn’t seem to give the kind of responses that I’m really hoping for, but she did say she was shy, so we will see what happens with that. I also got a message back from Vicky, which was nice, I think it means that she doesn’t completely hate me, I think. And to finish things off, I think I might quit Facebook. Partly because I don’t give a crap about 99% of the things that go on there, partly because the people that I do talk to are only a text away, and partly because my ex-girlfriend is on there and she is still happy.

Every time I see these kinds of things I start to feel that I want to just start new, fresh somewhere else far away from here. Somewhere that no one knows who I am, and what I’ve done, somewhere that I can forget my past and just have a good life for once. I think it’s still because I need to find the person that will help me get over everything, but also because I hold onto things too much. I really need to be able to get over things and just let go of all of this crap, but of course I’m always more invested in things than everyone else is so it’s harder for me to just be free of everything.

I am still The Exile, in a foreign land, trying to gain greater vision into society and the human condition, but the exile is still a man. A man with feelings, desires, hopes, dreams, and ideals. The Exile is a hard position to be in; I must be impartial to things, look from the fringe of society and nature, endure what no one should have to endure. I can be thought of as the Giver, the one citizen who is chosen to take on the hardest part of society so that everyone else may live peacefully. I see the difference in societies, between borders, classes, races, creeds, and other bounding elements that persist. And within the society, there are smaller societies that exist, making up the larger, but with their own unique traits. Italy, as a society, has a unique feel to it, what with its more laid back personality traits and overall contentment with life. The smaller societies, or the cities, have their own feelings. Take Venice, for instance, a tourist city with generally unhappy residents because they live in a place that is so frequently visited by tourists. This constant flow of foreigners is a constant irritation and disruption to their daily lives. If we look at another society in Italy though, for this instance Urbino, we see that they love foreigners and are overjoyed to have them in their city, sharing their lives and history with everyone that comes to visit. The society, of a country, is interesting to peel apart and examine the subtle nuances and traits that they all have within them.

Again, I am The Exile, The Architect in training, The Lover with no love, The Traveler with no destination, The Man with no soul. I say to everyone out there, to be an architect is a joy and burden, one that a person does not choose lightly.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

I had my first classes today, starting with my history and theory class for architecture. It was a fairly standard class, sit there, listen, and maybe talk about the material we had read the day before. The material was pretty interesting because we read older texts concerning architecture and the patterns and forms in it. On the readings focused on the idea of modules and construction of the orders, which was pretty interesting because it went into the stories behind why the orders were the way they were. After class we met up with Emily, one of the other American students who are studying here, and had lunch in the cafeteria. We mainly discussed the current green movement in Italy and why it came about here the way it has. We basically concluded that it came about due to the limited resources here and was out of necessity rather than desire to actually do it. After lunch we met up in the city to start our first studio project, an analysis of the orders using one of the buildings in town as an example of what the usual ideas behind them are and how they can change while still falling within the norms of the order. We were given a building that used the Doric order except that it didn’t have a base for its column. The building itself is actually not the detailed, and we were divided into groups so we could further divide up the drawings, making it so each of us only has to do one drawing and then trace the others from our group members. After we finished our analysis I hit up the grocery store as it opened and picked up a bottle of Disaronno and some snacks for the studio. The evening descended into working in the studio for a while and then a night of rough sleep on my bed.

We had our first watercolor class today outside of the studio. We did a fairly rigid wash on a transfer drawing we did the day before of a painting that a famous artist I had never heard of had painted. By the end of class I had a sunburn and kind of shitty piece of artwork to show for my three hours of class time. After we finished our class work we all went into town to look at our buildings for our studio projects and make sure that we had all of the details and measurements that we needed. Once we finished our analysis of the buildings we all seemed to go to the art store at the same time to go and look around, something I do not recommend people do if they ever come over here because I think they get mad when all of us go in and look around and then leave with nothing. We were trying to figure out the paper situation, but that didn’t get resolved so we’ll have to do that tomorrow or something. We went back to the studio after we had dinner and worked on our studio projects, I pretty much finished mine because our building isn’t that complicated in plan view, though the rest of the drawings are more detailed. While working on my drawing I opened up a bottle of wine and had some for the rest of the night. By the end of the night, I had basically had the entire bottle, so while working on my summaries I had to make very certain of what I was typing and how it related back to my work. I wasn’t drunk, just kind of tipsy by the time I left to go to bed for the evening. It was a pretty good day, a part from the sunburn.

We had an interesting discussion of previous projects in the history and theory class today, and I actually talked during this class, unlike the first one, so go me. After class we all went into town to figure out the paper situation and to actually get what we need so people can shut up about having the wrong things or using the wrong paper. Best part of the day though was while I was in the art store because I actually went ahead and bought my fountain pen that I wanted. It came with blue ink so I’ve been practicing with it and see what it is actually like to use one and to get used to the color. While we were in town we had lunch at a local place, at which we all got kebabs with picante sauce, which was just amazing. As we were walking out of town we also picked up a couple of lemon pastry things that were again, delicious. Before heading back to the studio, I went back to my dorm room to use the bathroom, and while there the maids knocked on my door and wanted to clean the room and change my sheets. Well I couldn’t exactly have a conversation with them saying to come back later, so I just told them not thank you. They left after that, which leaves me with the same sheets that I’ve had since I got here, which isn’t bad, but it would be nice to have some clean ones now. After all of our food we hit the studio hard and plowed through our drawings again, only to find that some of the measurements we took were wrong, so we had to go back into the city and take new measurements of the building which was time consuming and annoying. Annoying mainly because Cecilia kept saying “I told you” and “should have done it the way I said” and other crap that was just annoying. The main measurement that was wrong for the building was the repetitive brick pattern measurement we did. We measured one brick and thought that all the bricks were uniform and thus made the pattern easy to measure. Well, it turns out that the bricks are different sizes, but the overall pattern is uniform. It was just really annoying because she kept thinking that she knew what she was talking about, but she really didn’t when it came to the measurements, because even if we had measured one of the other bricks we still would have drawn it wrong because of the irregularity in the bricks. So that just got annoying, but the redo of the drawing was easy for me since I still had the plan view. The rest of the day was pretty normal, just some studio time and internet for the most part, I practiced with my new fountain pen some and updated my Tumblrs. We are meeting up in the morning tomorrow to finish our drawings and start the transfers so we can have a three day weekend and enjoy ourselves some more while we’re here, probably hitting the town some and go grape picking at a winery or something.

Well we all made it into the studio around 9:30am to get to work on our projects, only to have a few hours pass and all of us decide that we didn’t want to have class today and instead have studio on the right day. So Camelo called up John and told him about what we had all decided on, and then we all kind of relaxed for a bit and took things more slowly so we could enjoy our day. It was raining most of the day so we ended up not going out, which was kind of a bummer because I had wanted to see what all of the hype was about for Thursday nights here. We also went to the store today to pick up some snacks and to get some more wine (at least that was the main reason I went) and other liqueurs, but since it was raining, the dirt path we usually take to get to the store close by had turned into a mudslide. We all ended up with some form of mud stuck to our shoes and pants by the time we actually made it back to the studio. So instead we all ended up drinking some wine and watching movies and TV shows together. After that we all were tired and just kind of went off to bed. I’ve been keeping myself busy with Tumblr, drawing, and hanging out with everyone here, which I think has been good for the part. Whenever people go out to do or get anything, I go with them, which has been nice for the most part, but I’m kind of hoping that nothing actually happens this weekend so I can just kind of relax for a bit and maybe just explore town and eat some good food there. The first two weeks here have been really jam packed with things to do and see and eat, and I kind of want to keep looking through the town for all of the little food stores and shops. I also found a hat store in town! A legitimate store that sold only hats and things relating to hats. It looks really cool, and they have a bowler hat!!

We all met up in the studio early Friday so we could keep working on our drawings and readings, until John showed up for class and we all started to do our ink washes. They went well for the most part, but we all really didn’t enjoy defacing our wonderful drawings with our subpar watercolor skills. Afterwards we all went to dinner and then went back to the studio and watched movies. And when I say we in this case, I mean everyone but me. I just didn’t feel like sitting around watching a movie, so instead I stayed in the other room doing my usual things, drinking wine and cruising the internet for interesting things. After a while I went back to my room and just kind of relaxed before going to sleep for the night.

Today we explored the town of Urbino and the markets that were going on to see if we could find anything really cool or interesting to get. While exploring some of the guys got scarves for their girlfriends, which I tend to avoid all conversation about or leaning towards out of the fact that I still don’t enjoy other people being happy yet. I’m getting better on the whole being alone thing though, still not past that undeniable fear of truly being alone, but still making progress. Back to the city though! We went around the walls of the city and ended up outside the walls a couple times, which confused us because we had been on top of the walls the whole time, but we got some great photos and had a really good time. We also encountered this old woman who we think was trying to tell us she was a professor of Italian and English at the university, which we didn’t really buy because she never said a word of English to us. We went to get kebabs again at the place we went before, and then got some gelato to help finish off our lunch. The we all made it back to the studio again to keep working on our summaries for Monday and generally try to get some actual work done.

Today was a very special day, we went out with Eugenia and Mirko around the Marche region of Italy and see all of the sights that we could for a day. We went to the coast and looked at the water and the cities along there and got lunch at a great bar that over looked the water from a cliff side. After lunch we explored a castle for a while, but only Mirko yelled at the ticket lady for not letting us in for free because we were architecture students. She wouldn’t do it because it didn’t say architecture on our student IDs, which we all thought was stupid, I mean who goes up to you and says (translated correctly) “We are students of architecture and would like admission”? It was really annoying. So after we explored the castle we went and looked at some birds and actually practiced some Falconry! I asked Eugenia if I could after Camelo had asked, I’m getting better about this trying things and being more open-minded I think. Once we finished with the Falconry we all went back to Urbino to keep working on our summaries. While driving around the country though, I got to experience Mirko’s driving and how people drive in Italy in general. It was really cool, and I would like to correct what I tell people about why I don’t like having other people drive. I don’t like riding with bad drivers. Mirko knew what he was doing and knew exactly what his car could do, it was actually pretty relaxing, he turned on the radio and we all just talked about what we saw and what we thought. The rest of the day was devoted to summaries and killing zombies to chill before leaving the studio to sleep and indulge my internet needs.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile