Sunday, March 31, 2013

Momuments and Memorials



Monuments are important in capturing landmarks in a nation's history. There is a dignifying solemnity and grandeur about monuments in imposing awe and respect in the beholder. They are constructed this way with this intention in mind. Again there is a grammar to the architecture of monuments and memorials. Here are some of my take on the features:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Historic-City Philly


Philadelphia is the historic city Americans bring their children to to see the landmarks associated with the founding of America. A whole industry caters to all the heritage trails, icons and heroes associated with American independence from City Hall to Christ Church to Betsy Ross House. For each, a visitor centre, docents, role-plays, magazines, tours, souvenirs cater to citizenship education and myth-making. And the people enjoy it so much! They are proud to be Americans!

Upenn Class: History of Sexuality & Modern World History

Classes at Upenn. Thanks to John!
A History of Sexuality: A lecture on the evolution of sexual mores and sexual attitudes and sexual norms. Students take notes with their Macbooks in the lectures. Sometimes they check on Facebook. The lecturer takes time to clearly communicate assignment rubrics and ideas. She lectures with the aid of visuals.

Modern World History. The lecturer is relaxed. Most of the time using youtube videos of pop culture & music to illustrate the values and circumstances during WWII. His lecture is helped by many adult students in the midst who, having lived through, the period, were open and gracious in sharing their experiences. Students leave when time is up and they have to be at another class, even when the lecturer is still going on. It's ok.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

American Food at Diner's


It seems really unhealthy. But it tastes good! You can be sure the taste (actually the remnants of the kitchen air) stays with you for a LONG time. Wear something you are about to laundry. Make sure you have laundry points. I didn't have many. Hence I skipped Kelly O's. Or I will smell like Kelly O's great American breakfast!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Places you want to go to work


1. Users contributions
2. Beautiful toilets
3. Food for free

These are real places. Not wishful thinking.

The Art and Science of Animation Expertise



Rendering animation requires the science of using the technology behind the software. It also requires the arts  of instincts in knowing what looks realistic in the common sense of perception. What an expertise! Imagine an animator must be good in both?  I guess the environment of expertise and demand make an animator better than another!

Storyboarding a Production

Have always been interested in the grammar of a storyboard. Here it is from a animation production perspective!

Light has its grammar

Lighting is an important aspect of show genre. It has its own grammar in the kind of effects and impacts it makes on a performance. Colin takes an elective on lighting, and he has to read a play and propose the lighting scope and sequences to convey the intended impact of the play as he interprets it. Much like writing a curriculum; you decide which topic you want to shed light on, and which areas you want to bring into sharp focus and those you wish to blur, and the different kinds of light you wish to portray to express your take of the topic.

A conducive place to study is so important


At the Cathedral of learning in the University of Pittsburgh. Makes you want to study right?

Aftermath of a snowstorm in spring


My first experience with a snow storm. Started last night at 8pm. As a result, no air bed. Snow is over-romantised. In reality it's very inconvenient.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A different way of life

Had always wanted to see the Amish way of life since THE VILLAGE and Harvester Baptist Church. Well thanks to Colin and guys who came to Upenn from Pittsburgh, I managed to go see Amish country in Lancaster County. So that's where they got Pennsylvania country oven, and Dutch country furniture. Nice.

Road trip on the Pennsylvania Turnpike


With Colin, Terence and their CMU friends! Onward to Lancaster, Hershey, Mechanics-burg, and Pittsburgh on the I-76.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dia'SPURA at Upenn: A trip down memory lane


It was a Singapore event organised by the Singapore Club at Upenn. For a community of 20+, it is amazing they pull off this full day biennially. There was a forum in the morning featuring the Singapore Ambassador to the US, a legal academic, a blogger, and a PAP MP. The Ambassador drove from DC in the morning (actually someone drove him), the blogger was on his way to Europe, he made a detour, the academic was based in the US, the MP was flown in and was flying out.

The Ambassador said what what expected of an ambassador to say about Singapore. The academic talked about the importance of critical thinking and how it's missing in the schools in Singapore. It was a long time since she went to school in Singapore. The blogger brought up many controversial points to stay relevant to the topic of Singapore at the crossroads. The MP talked about all the wonderful things the party has done; it was not Singapore at the crossroads, it was Singapore down memory lane.

They even catered Indonesian food for lunch, cheese and cookies for tea. I met many nice Singapore chaps, scholars from DHS and HCI. They even put up a musical that evening! The issues were about studying abroad and the uncertainties of going home to that scholarship bond. FWP. First world problems.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Arriving in Philadelphia


Was excited to get a move on from New York, it's time to be back on the roads. Horrors and much needed help. 40th street was 2 stations from 30th street station but not near enough to walk. Harrison requires authentication moving in and out. 7 days was really too long to be in one place really. I had no internet. I had no hotel bookings, I had not booked megabus from Pittsburgh to Philly, I had not sought permission to travel to Pittsburgh. Macdonald's in 40th in a ghetto. It's cold. I have no key to the apartment.