random happenings

Yesterday I was in my Metal 1 class and it was quite interesting. I introduced myself to the class in German and the professor was quite taken aback; very funny. I sat in this class for almost 5 hours listening to nothing but German. All the explanations of the machines we will be using, the dangers of each and the reasons we will use them... all in German: the language that I hardly know anything about. But of course I stayed attentive to what the professor was saying and tried my hardest to catch any little piece of information (luckily I have a good friend in that class who is German so I can get an overview of everything form her later).

I really have to go around the school facilities here and take some pictures because they blow the Stout facilities to pieces. The design buildings here may be small and a little bit old but at least they are inspiring. The hallways are filled with color and there are great areas for the students to lounge, talk and have a cup of coffee in between classes. Plus the labs are fantastic! So many machines in the metals lab were placed on giant log pedestals (yes, a log of wood). But all the machines are top notch and very safe and the rooms are very comfortable to work in, which is a good thing considering you sit in an average class for about 5 hours. This is really the biggest thing I have to complain about in terms of Stout's design program: get more inspiring work facilities for the design students if you want them to be inspired to work on projects. I think I'm going to make a big effort when I go back to Stout to persuading the people in charge to change a few things around design building to make a more work friendly environment for students who are in there 24/7 (and I know there are a lot of them). Like I said, I'll have some pictures up soon of the HAWK buildings.

This has nothing to do with anything I wrote about, but it is quite inspiring. I thought I would share this because it is something that is a corner stone for a project I am working in my own time. Enjoy!


get going

I love bikes way too much

I finally went to my first possible class today. The semester has started to roll and the time is going to be thrown right by my head... oh, boy. I'm thoroughly excited, though. I'm going to be surrounded by people who do things with a much different aesthetics than the people I usually hang out with in the States. I'm looking to gain some sort of individuality and originality within my design work and concept. Keep an eye out on my deviantart page (www.solitaryspade.deviantart.com) because I'm hoping to be updating that pretty frequently here but my first job is to clean some of my old stuff out of that profile.

If you're wondering about the picture of the bike, it is the free one that I was given when I first arrived. It may not be apparent right away from the picture but it is the biggest rusty, piece of junk I have ever witnessed a bike to be... but I really got attached to it within the past couple of days. The bike had so much character and history in each of its nasty, squeaky ball-bearings that it made me proud to ride it. But the I found out that it actually belonged to someone so I had to return it to the International Office and get a new one, one that actually fits my tall frame. The only problem is that I need to replace both tires and tubes on it so I have a little bit of work ahead. I literally just dropped my thoughts of the first bike I received and I was ready to make the bike my own.

All of this made me realize how quickly human attachment for someone can change so quickly to something else. A love of the way I live at home in the States but notice how quickly I have fallen in love with the lifestyle over here. Of course I don't work and make money to live off of here but I still love everything about Germany!

Sometimes the old has to be let go so that one can fully experience and enjoy the new, and maybe even find something, somewhere or someone else to love. I'm just making the bike all my own.



Alright, so I finally figured out how to get the scanner/printer working in my room so now everyone follow my thoughts through my sketches and not just through my words (considering I'm much better at expressing myself in the former).

Here is a quick excerpt form my little travel book. Read, view, and enjoy!


before the semester begins

Haven't posted anything for about a week so there are a few things that I really want to get out.

First of:
I love Germany!! I'm already starting up my fifth week over here and the time just keeps flying by faster and faster each day. The most ridiculous part about this whole thing is that the semester hasn't even started yet. Its really going to be interesting to see where the time goes and how fast (or slow) it changes me, if at all.

Next update:
There is a great number of people over here who remind me exactly of friends/family back at home. It is a very strange thing to realize when I'm talking to someone new and I make the connection... actually, its a little eerie. The part I wonder about is whether these people are literally German/European clones of the people back at home or if it is all in my subconscious mind; some part of me trying to cope with being away from home, bring forth familiarities so as to seem closer to home. I have been thinking about that whole thing for a while and I can't come up with an answer... haha! Another thing I realize is what will happen after I go home after 11 months here? Will I then compare my friends at home to all the people I get to know here? Oh boy, its going to an interesting experience.

On a completely different note:
I have so many personal projects planned out for myself, just to keep busy over the semester (considering the projects are a little more laid back here depending on how you time-manage). I have one planned out that is going to take me all year to work on, just a little 'piece' everyday. I think once I get down the process the final work is going to turn out pretty well. My brain is just constantly cooking up new ideas every hour and its beginning to drive me nuts because I can only do so much!!

A thing I'm really going to have to start looking at while I'm here is what my real passion is in this whole Graphic Design thing. Seeing as Graphic Design is such a broad term, meaning anything from web design to simple publication and typographical layout. But I do seem so find most of my enjoyment in Illustration... So I'm starting to feel that I need to figure out someway to incorporate that into my work because solely working on the computer all day long drives me insane. I'm pretty sure I haven't found that nitch in the whole field of design yet but it should come along soon enough. I have to start stepping outside of my box and pushing myself to new areas, it's the only way I'll end up stumbling upon what I want.

I'm pretty sure anyone reading this is saying to themselves, "Well yeah, of course you need to step outside your box." Its just something that has always been tough for me to do. I remember during my second semester last year I had my Mid-Program Review and one of the greatest design professors I know told me that I am obviously a person with natural talent BUT that means that I am most likely very comfortable with the level I'm at and what I can do. So I need to realize that the only way I'll be able to excel is to do things I'm not comfortable with, and to fail at some things and to get back up and try again, and to discover and expand. It was the one thing that really brought back some of my motivation and inspiration. I have been applying what he told me to my entire life over here, actually. I am doing things that I wouldn't normally do, being someone I wouldn't normally be, not in a bad or crazy way, but in a way that I can discover things about myself.

OK, I think I've ranted enough for one entry.
Keep life interesting, people! Step outside the box and find something new in the world.
v Cool Guy v


philosophy beyond my understanding

So, I'm over here with one of my good friends from Stout, Jake, and we both have the same views of the world and art and whatnot but when I talk to Jake I realize that he is far more in depth with everything that is going on. We can start talking about any subject from the great world of Japanese animation to the ways our country works and it always ends up coming down to Jake getting into this long and deep tangent of his perspective of things and it evolves into this sort of philosophical explanation of things far greater than what we were originally talking about. He actually gets so into it that it becomes impossible to get a work in edge-wise, but at the same time I become so interested in not necessarily just what Jake is saying, but more how he's saying it and how much of his mind he's starts to speak with no censorship.

I know it is really starting to sound like I'm rambling on and on about nothing but this has a point, I promise.

Every time I listen to Jake go on talking about this and rambling about that I think about what my philosophy is. How do I see this world? What standards or guidelines do I live my day-to-day life through? Is there any way I could possible describe such a philosophy to anyone if I was able to figure it out? All of this really got sparked when I started to read this book all about the basics of philosophy throughout history. Every one of the big questions that so may great thinkers filled their days with trying to figure out the true and absolute answers to, all inspired me to think deeper about the things around me. I don't know if I could explain such a philosophy that compels me to live out life everyday. I only know certain guidelines that keep my head on straight and help me cope with the world. One word comes to mind, "Optimism." Everything that happens to me throughout the day I constantly try to keep my mind on the positive outcome of each situation.

I was really debating with myself whether to tell everyone about this or not but I figure it's really something that has given me an interesting view on some things and it relates to this whole optimistic thing I'm getting into, so here it goes:

I was out swimming with some of my German friends during the evening of about the third day here in Germany. I was going to swim out with them to the middle of the lake to a buoy and then swim back. The dumb part about this whole thing was that I was still experiencing some of the jet lag and my diet had changed pretty dramatically within those first couple of days.

So as I approached the middle of Lake Hohnsen I began to feel pretty tired and I turned back toward the shore. As I swam I started to get really dizzy and disoriented. I stopped to look around and see if I could get to a closer shore but I was the same distance from the nearest sides so all I could do was try to conserve my energy and back stoke toward the main shore. The only thing on my mind was that I was stuck in the middle of this lake with no one who could possibly help me and I had a big chance that I might drown. But my mind didn't keep on that thought for long, I needed to be motivated to make it and I just had to keep looking up at the sky thinking of how beautiful the day was and how excited I was to be in Germany to learn a whole new perspective of design.

After what seemed like an hour of swimming I finally made it back and I could hardly breath, but I made it and that's all that mattered. I'm pretty sure it was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. I got through all of that only because I didn't think about the shitty things going on right then, all the bad outcomes that could have happened.

I'm not sure if thinking about only the good things is really something that helps me in every situation because at times I choose to be ignorant of issues that are going on, not just for me but for everyone. I don't want to waste my time in life feeling depressed or hating all the crappy things that go on everyday.

I'm not sure if this whole entry had much of a point to it and I'm not saying that everyone should just forget about the serious issues that are going on around us (considering that's one of my downfalls). I'm only saying there are a lot of people in the world who get so caught up in the depressing things and they forget that something good always comes out of every situation.

I went all over the place with this one but I was just saying exactly what I was thinking, which can get kind of messy and disorganized. As the great Walt Whitman wrote, "Always keep your face toward the sun, and shadows will fall behind you."
Remember it and love it.
~ Complete awesomeness ~


sprechen sie... englisch? maybe not

Yesterday I returned from my great trip to Koeln, which is one of the larger cities in Germany. I saw the main downtown area, the Dom of Koeln (spectacular piece of architecture), and the old town as well *check out the pics on flickr soon*. I was only there for a short time so I didn't get too much time to explore everything, but all the same it was a lot of fun. I also got to meet some friends of my good friend, Jen. We stayed at their place while staying in Koeln and they showed us all these sites. But what I thought was so awesome was that I got to experience someone use German in a way that was very comical. His name was Thomas and he would make goofy voices and would switch between German and English (which I have been informed is considered Denglish) and it was completely hilarious. It seems strange that I'm so interested in this fact, I mean obviously people who speak English aren't the only ones who try to clownish it's just that I have never seen or heard anyone do it in a different language before.
And now I think I'm rambling... haha

Yesterday, I made my final move into my apartment and out of Jen's hair. I really didn't realize how much I relied on her for my survival around here. She translated everything for me, knew where everything was, and was a great person to hang out with and get my mind off of my longing for home. Sadly the reality of the abroad experience hit me hard. I'm going to be studying German as much as I can on my own time, it's the only way I'll be able to make it. It really give me a whole new perspective on things. There are so many people in Germany and around the world that learn English as a second language that most Americans expect everyone to understand them. When I think about that whole concept it's completely absurd, if I am the visitor in this country I should be able to speak and understand at least the basic parts of German. So, the German lessons shall begin tomorrow for me (self taught lessons, that is).

A goal of mine while on this whole adventure is to be accepted as an American who can respect the German culture that everyone lives by. Plus, I can't stand being lost in translation anymore. Look out Germany, I'm going to be speaking your language!