Posts Tagged ‘design’

Finally, a fresh title to sink my teeth into. I am speaking of Dishonored of course, a game that I finally had a chance to clear in the past month or so. I had been waiting for Dishonored for a long time, and basically bought it when it first came out and managed to play it while I was in my dorm room in Urbino. Unfortunately though, while I was Italy, I discovered that it was the game that pushed my laptop over the edge and would make it overheat. So I finally managed to sink my teeth into it when I got back and managed to get a cooling mat for it. After the first couple chapters I put the game down, as I do with many of my games, and switched to a different one to see how that one suited my fancy for a while. However, in the past month, I made a pact with myself to clear all of my games that I have that I never really cleared (at least the ones with clear endings). So now I only keep five games on my laptop at any time, four games that I dive into, and one for casual play. Thus, Dishonored was reinstalled, and completed finally. WARNING: SPOILERS.

First off, I would like to comment on the beautiful environment that was created in this new world. The city of Dunwall came to life with the distinct architecture though out the entire city, the citizens that had motives, character, depth, and the way that The Outsider spoke to me. The world is huge, allowing you to take multiple paths to the same goal, making it so if I couldn’t sneak past a guard and into the lighthouse, I could scale another building and blink between roofs, and hide in dumpsters to get there. Now, I ran a “no kill” run for my first play through for a few reasons: one, my friend who had seen the game seemed skeptical of an assassin game that could be cleared without killing a soul, two, I wanted the challenge of being the city’s crusader, and three, I read some of the repercussions of killing people and decided to leave that to my “kill everyone” play through.

Going through the game, I noticed that the atmosphere stayed relatively constant: you have a person to murder or not, and you are wanted for killing the empress so you’ll be killed on site. Things were dark and grimy, just the way you’d expect a city in downfall would be. The game doesn’t get too dark though, you never have to murder your sainted mother or anything, for the most part, you are just killing people who are either A, evil or B, part of the evil machine. The environment does all of the work, and a couple of characters add to it, like Granny Rags and The Outsider.

The mechanics work like a dream, never really breaking stride in the game, allowing you to seamlessly blink across a roof, possess a rat, sneak into the building, hit a guard with a sleep dart, steal a safe code, and make it out through the fourth floor window. However, that sequence happened about the six time that I tried the mission. I give the game points for definitely being challenging when trying not to kill people. However, now that I have tried playing by killing everyone that I see, I have found the game much easier to get through. Now, that same sequence goes more like this: kill the front guard, take his key, kill the guard guarding the safe code, and walk out like a boss.

I’ve also started to experience the difference in high and low chaos now that I have started my “kill everyone” run. Playing the first assassination mission showed more rat swarms to start off with, which I know is just the beginning of the mayhem that is going to ensue. Overall, I give the game a high rating, and I’m waiting for the Knife of Dunwall DLC(s) that will be coming out (though depending on price, I may not get them, we will see).

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect

A squeal to a game series that I have been waiting quite a while came out, DmC. My background with the series was having the first three games and never getting more than a couple hours into any of them. So when I saw the trailers and gameplay of the new one and saw that they were basically rebooting the series, I was kind of excited to give it a try. Now though, I wish I hadn’t bought the game and all of its lack of content.

To start off with, the night that I got the game, I put it into my XBOX and started drinking while playing it. As I played and became increasingly more impaired, I found that the game was too easy, so I bumped up the difficulty every time I beat a level with an S rank or higher. Well in no time I was playing on the hardest difficulty first available to you without beating the game, still getting S and SS ranks on all of the missions. Then, before I knew it, I beat the game. No deaths, all S rank or above, while heavily impaired at the end.

So here is the critique: the game sucked. I bought the game a few days after it came out, so I still had to pay full price (used wasn’t available yet, but it’s only $5 cheaper now). The game was not worth full price for how much I actually got out of the game, and this is the thing that really irks me about current gaming. It seems that developers think that just playing a game again on a higher difficulty is what replay value is about, beating the score you made last time, honing your skills, and adding your name to a leaderboard. This, however, is not replay value, this is a copout. Replay is wanting to experience the unique game for all of its greatness, reliving the story, and partly for some nostalgia. I frequently replay The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, because it has a great plot, cutting grass is fun, and it’s still the best adventure game I’ve ever played. I have made multiple character profiles in Elder Scrolls: Oblivion to try out the different character builds and different side quests and stuff. I’ve thrown open a new file in Fire Emblem because I want a good challenge. DmC has none of these traits. It is short, typical hack and slash, no challenge.

Now as I said before, I was excited for the reboot of the series because of the prospect of the challenge and plot that would just take me in (and the fact that Dante got impaled by a freaking sword and lived, but got killed by puppets). I saw that they reworked the combat system, made it more fluid. Great! I like being able to throw a guy up, blast him with a shotgun, throw his friend off the stage, and then cut the head off the last guy in one fluid combo. What I don’t like is making certain weapons, again, useless. The scythe you get is awesome, but so weak that I only used it when I needed a large combo, or for the enemies that had to have it used on them. Once you get past the fluid combat, there are no other redeeming qualities. Story is flat, boring, and just kind of annoying. You see all of the different things they talk about, and want to know more, but never get it. There are plot twists that you see the second you start the game. The characters have little motive to actually do much. It is very frustrating.

To conclude, this game had potential, so much, but fell flat on its face. It could have been a longer, more challenging game, but instead it is a short, easy, overpriced, generic game. Unfortunately, this is the last Devil May Cry game that I will most likely be purchasing for quite some time. DmC, I bid you farewell.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect

This post is the final post that will primarily focus on my time in Italy and all of the introspection that I did while I was over there. To start off I would like to thank all of the people there who helped me with my roller coaster of emotions: Camelo, Dane, Justin, Matt, Brent, Britta, Sofia, and Cecilia. Thank you all for being there for me when I was not at my best and for bringing me up to my new best, I want to thank you all of all that you  guys have done for me. Next I would like to thank my teachers, Darryl and John, for being great professors and instructing me in ways that greatly helped me with my designs and growth as a future architect. I would like to thank our providers, Mirko and Eugenia, for being there to help us with adjusting and for giving us so many great opportunities. Emily and Inga, pretty much the only friends we made over there, thank you so much for being our friends, and for being my friend. And finally, I would like to thank my parents for giving me the opportunity to be able to go off and travel and grow as a person this semester.

Now though, my final analysis of Italy. Italy is a country with a rich history, wonderful food, slightly lazy people, and the best coffee you will ever have. The city of Urbino was a great place to work and study in with its strong history and great atmosphere, even though it was a college town. We were able to use the city as a template for our designs and figure out what it all meant in a historical sense and in a modern way as well. The architecture is unparalleled there and I wish I could go back and live in those cities for the rest of my life, but I first need to learn Italian so I don’t piss off as many people. If any of you want to travel to Europe in general, I recommend Italy, but not just the tourist places that you will go to. Make sure you go to all of the less known cities and really delve into them, even if it’s just for a day. Do it. All of our day trips while we were there were just amazing, and were some of the best times that I had during my time in Italy.

During the course of trying to actually get down all of my thoughts and critiques on Italy, I have come to realize that it is nearly impossible to describe everything that I have done, experienced, seen, felt, and so on that I am unable to continue critiquing Italy. All I can say about my time is there is that it was the best time of my life, and I would love to go back for any reason and experience it again. It has changed me and returning to the states now I have come back a new and better person from everything, so much so that I will once again be able to call myself The Architect.

Now that I have been back in the states for a week, I have experienced a few things that I would like to talk about. The first is trying to find a new home, ie, trying to find an apartment in San Antonio so I don’t live out of my car while going to school. It has not been fun because even though I am a full time student, that means I am over-qualified to rent most of the apartments in the downtown area, meaning I have to keep going farther and farther out. I get really annoyed by that, that I am over-qualified just because I am a full time student, that my money is not good enough to get me a room somewhere so I can go to school more cheaply. No, instead I have to go farther out where the rent is higher and thus making the apartment less viable for me. So the apartment wars continue.

I have also taken up to seeing Tori on a fairly regular basis now, and actually went out on a real date with her, which was one of the best ones I have been on in the past five years. We’ve watched movies, talked for hours on end about anything and everything that comes up, and we don’t talk every day about nothing, which keeps our conversations interesting and the “spark” there as well. Though I don’t think that was ever a spark, I lit a wildfire at the first go. All I know is that regardless of what happens, I have one of my best friends back, I am the least nervous I have been in a decade, and I have smiled the most in the last week than I think I have in my entire life. I know that whether I am at my highest or my lowest, I am the most insufferable person to be around and interact with. My standards are the highest they’ve ever been, both for the people around me and for myself to live up to, and they are the greatest challenges I have ever given myself.

I am good. I am the Black Knight. I am The Exile. I am The Architect.

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

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