31 May 2005

Good morning comrades

The morning began with my History and Theory of Urbanism class [my favorite]. While I was in class, Dad set out on his own to find some breakfast in the neighborhood. He successfully purchased some pastries and orange juice, as he was dissatisfied the the speed and quality of the hotel breakfast. Then we set out for our day of Prague touring. First was the TV tower, which looks like it's from the Jetsons movie. And it has statues of babies crawling all over it. Long story. Went up to viewing level and saw 360 view of Prague. Then we wandered to Zizkov Hill, so I could take pictures of it for my Urbanism project. Long hike.
The highlight of the day, however, was awaiting us at the Museum of Communism. We went not really knowing what to expect, and it was really educational and interesting to learn about the history of Communism in the Czech Republic. There was also a movie with footage of the revolution protests and riots between 1969 and 1989, and it was extremely moving/strange to see police beating masses of people in the streets that I walk through everyday. Prague is so safe and normal now, I can't imagine how crappy it was to live here during the occupation. Decades of oppression from a goverment you don't support, being forced to vote, encouraged to send innocent people to jail. The whole reality of Communism is just very strange. Here's a quote from my favorite museum ad poster: 'We'd like to join our western sisters in burning our bras......if only the stores would carry them.' And another bit of irony, the Communist museum is located next to a McDonald's and inside a casino! Oh Capitalism.
We wandered over to the Municipal House, a facy Art Nouveau concert hall. Walked around the free area and had a beverage in the cafe. Then we walked along the river on our way to the Thai restaurant for dinner. This was my dad's first time to try Thai food. He liked it, but was surprised by the heat. Tomorrow holds a long-distance excursion to Cesky Krumlov.

Prague Tv Tower
TV tower
National Monument
National Monument with Jan Zizka statue on Zizkov Hill
Municipal Hall
Municipal Hall

30 May 2005

Dad time

My Dad arrived in Prague yesterday to visit me for a week. For those of you who don't know, this was his first journey outside the United States. After a very long plane ride from Chicago to Brussels, Belgium, and a short one from Brussels to Prague, I treated him to some Czech goulash and beer. Then he took a nap. After the nap, he was ready to go see some stuff, so we walked through the Jewish quarter, Old Town square, Wenceslas square, and the Charles bridge. On the bridge we saw my friends Garnet and Taco, so Dad met them. We ate at Klub Architektu for dinner, and sat with a couple from Canada. The man was an architect [not unusual at this restaurant, due to the name] and they were really fun to talk to. Then it was off to bed. Oh, and he also brought me lots of goodies_Marilyn's snickerdoodles [my favorite], m&m's, oreos, ritz bitz cheese sandwiches, gum, candy, and a few dvd's!
Today we set out early to go see Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. The weather was quite balmy again, so we were having a hard time staying cool. Bought some gelatto [Italian ice cream]. Rode the Metro to Vysehrad, the other castle, and saw the cathedral there. It's beautiful inside! Just as we were about to leave, the wind picks up [and by picks up I mean RIPS through!] and a rain and HAIL storm dumps on Prague! We stayed in the cathedral until it was over. Had we been in Kansas, a tornado definately would have followed. Then, I realized that Tiffany and I had probably left the windows open in our dorm room since it was hotter than the blazes today! Yup, we sure did, and wouldn't you know that our desks that have our laptops on them are right in front of our window! We had a large puddle in our room, but thankfully both laptops are ok! But, dad and I ate some Mexican, or Czexican as I like to call it, food tonight. That's about all so far.

27 May 2005

Purgatory?

pearly gates
The big boat party was last night, and the theme was "Heaven & Hell." Tiffany and I went as 'the pearly gates' because we didn't want to dress up like angels or devils, and really just wanted to drape ourselves in jewels. Some highlights of the night were seeing all of our friends in one place, the ridiculous costumes, and seeing the majority of Prague from the Vltava River. The Scottish boys Paul, Stephen, & Paul dressed up as devils, but not just any devils, ones in spandex hot pants. This was one of the funniest things I've seen. The other Scottish friends came as a banana, the dorm, and a mixture of rockstar/drag queen attire. There were so many people there, some I had never seen before. Although it was fun, there was also a large group of really annoying people and creepy weirdos. Infact, we had to leave the boat earlier than planned because some people thought it would be fun to throw a table and chairs into the river. Not cool. So we headed to Nebe, which in Czech means "heaven," ironically. It was super crowded and full of annoying drunk people. Decided to leave fairly early. And on a disappointing note, we did not witness any streaking [apparently it's a tradition, started by KSU students, to run across the Charles Bridge naked after the boat party]. Oh well.
tanner & nicole
Tanner 'prince of darkness' Pikop and me
greig
Scottish friend Greig, as some sort of fairy princess in the metro
paul_taco_jonesy
Paul, Taco, and Stephen
john
Scottish friend John, glam-rock superstar

25 May 2005

show and tell

Some sites of interest_hit them up when you have a moment:

Northwest naturalist_Cutler Anderson Architects I heard James Cutler speak at KSU and he moved me to tears.
An old favorite is Lake Flato Architects located in San Antonio, TX. Don insists Texas is an atrocious place to live, so I doubt I'll work for these guys.
A local goody, with ties to KSU el dorado 'we have no mission statement' architects This site is pretty hilarious. They recently updated. I recommend reading the part about dogs.
Amazing photography [although slightly expensive] Black Dog Photography is based in KC as well. I love great photographs.
My new favorite clothing store promod here in Prague. They've been taking alot of my money lately.
Hand printed textiles at Sejto Beautiful pieces.
A great Czech reference site can be found at My Czech Republic in case you want to know some more things about the place I live.
Another blog that is really interesting is PostSecret I don't recommend this if you are easily offended or disturbed_some of it is pretty sad. It is however, very interesting. Actually, I don't recommend this for most of the adults I know. It will bother most of you.

So, lately I've been wasting my time on the internet, but also found time to fail a test, do some shopping, some homework, and ate some cereal, and I've worked out a couple days. Don't worry, nothing too strenuous. And learning a bit about html code [that means learning how to incorporate these links into this post]. Soooooooo exciting.

23 May 2005

good times

Some pictures with the KSU Italy friends when they came to Prague
fish_cole_ryan
Aaron Schump (prague), Nicole Ellis, Ryan Welch (italy) at Nebe
Hey Welch_DOUBLE IT!

cole&boys
Tanner Pikop (prague), Ryan Welch (italy), Nicole Ellis, Aaron Schump (prague), Tim Jonas (italy) at Nebe

roommates
Hott babes! Tiffany and Nicole

21 May 2005

pinball.......

Finished reading 'Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.' Great book. Sat out in sun and 75 degree 'heat' for a couple hours and studied for my Ecology and Urban Space test with Aaron. Biosphere, Lithosphere, who cares. Booooooring! The book is full of charts and diagrams. I'd like a chart/diagram on my attention span and capacity to retain that information. Probability=5%. Attempted a couple crossword puzzles. Went on dinner date with Adam and Aaron to Picante for nachos. Delicious. Saw flatmate Savanna and her Scottish boyfriend Ian on the Metro. They just got done skydiving. Real smart, she has mono and probably bronchitis. Yeah, by the way, 2 of my flatmates have mono. Neither one is very careful about taking it easy. I like to call it immature and irresponsible. Po-tay-to, po-tot-oe, whatever. Ate Starburst. Watched Grosse Pointe Blank while working on studio project. Hilarious. Talked to Don through Skype instant messenger. Was feeling ornery and decided to give him crap. One of my favorite activities. More studio work. Wasted time on facebook, and now I'm wasting time telling you suckers about my uneventful day. Anything for a laugh. [Yes Mom, I promise I took my medicine today.] For an entertaining account of some of yesterday's events, I recommend reading Tiffany's blog. It's a good one!

p.s. The funny thing about this blog business is that the readers are at the mercy of my random thoughts and supposed need to share things about myself. So, for any of you who may pay a professional to listen to you and give minimal feedback, I recommend pocketing that cash and using the FREE services of blogger.com. It's free therapy, you don't have to leave home [or get dressed for that matter], and you don't have some weirdo nodding at you while you wonder how they're judging you. [And if you don't like the comments, you can delete them.] I think I've had too much sugar today.

20 May 2005

spring sunshine

Yesterday I was a little sad and homesick. But today I'm feeling better. For one thing, the sun is shining and it's a nice warm day. Don is back from Sweden so I can talk to him again. I missed him for the 4 days he was gone. Is that pathetic? I'd like to say that it's not. And, I got a package in the mail from Julia. She made me a pillow and sent Starburst and Reese's Peanut Butter cups! I loves me some American junk food!
More random info: Paul's 20th birthday is tomorrow. He's going skydiving. Could be fun, but I just don't trust Czech parachutes. Next Friday there's an end of the year boat party for all the international students. We float down the Vltava River for 3 hours and then dock and party for a few more hours. They have decided there should be a theme for this party, and someone thought it would be a good idea to choose Heaven & Hell. Tiffany and I don't really want to dress up like an angel or a devil, so we were thinking of alternative costumes. Idea #1: get a bunch of pearl necklaces and be 'the pearly gates'. Idea #2: nuns, however, we don't want to offend anyone as we would be drinking nuns. That's as far as we got. Any ideas?

19 May 2005

today

I miss home. And I miss Don. Alot.

18 May 2005

party's over

The last of the Italy visitors left this morning. Scott and Kristin were here for a couple days, and we hung out and had a pretty good time. Group of friends went to Vienna and another group to Budapest. I am stuck here because I have a massive amount of homework to do in an ever-dwindling time frame. So, it's back to the books for me. I did get a haircut yesterday, and I must say that I am pleased with the results. So that's good. The weather here has sucked the past 2 days. The high today was 48. BRRRRRRR. I leave you with some thoughts:

When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable._Clifton Fadiman

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep & permanent, in the ideas of living._Miriam Beard

16 May 2005

Milestones

From studying in Prague this semester I:

Can open jars and bottles by myself_no man needed!
Have learned to navigate a large city and public transportation
Met some really great people, especially from Scotland
Am learning about Urban Design
Know more world history
Can say "Do you speak English" in several languages
Know how to use a travel guidebook to its fullest advantage
Have overcome some germ phobias
Have forced myself to wear clothing more than once
Am learning how to minimize household waste
Am living without television
Talk to my Dad more often than when I'm in Manhattan
Correspond with family and friends I haven't seen in a while
Am maximizing my Aveda supply and going a long time without a haircut
Have learned to appreciate American luxuries such as deoderant, Ranch dressing, marshmellows
Have gained an appreciation for other cultures
Am learning alot about communism and alternative forms of government
Know more about the stigma attached to America
Believe that all humans have innate similarities that bind us together
Have learned alot about myself
Confirmed that I can live without Don, but I'd really rather be with him
Have decided that friendships, family and having fun are more important than getting excellent grades_especially in studio!
Actually miss Manhattan, Kansas
Have learned that there are more important things than work and 'success'
Know that I will come back to Europe and have permanently caught the travel bug

15 May 2005

World Champions

The world hockey finals were tonight, and the Czech Republic and Canada were commpeting for Gold. Well, the Czechs beat the Canadians, 3-0! Naturally, the Czechs are pretty excited, and we've heard a lot of noise coming from outside. There is bound to be some craziness in the streets, however, I'm going to pass that up. Anyway, kind of exciting.

14 May 2005

This one's for my girls

friends

Today is graduation day for many of my friends. Although I'm sad they are leaving me, I am so very, very proud of them. As you may know, I've known alot of them for most of my life, and have also gone to school with them for 10-17 years. Infact, Darchelle and I held hands as we climbed onto the school bus for our first day of Kindergarten. We've all been there for each other through tests, heartaches, auditions, performances, and many other milestones. Yvonne and I were roommates freshman year, and Laine and I sophomore through senior year. Elizabeth is the brave one, who left Kansas to go to school in Quincy, Illinois. Now she and Darchelle are going to Grad school. And, I know a couple of you aren't quite done yet, but I wanted you to know how much I love you and appreciate you. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you, but we'll just have to do some extra celebrating when I come home. Your friendships are priceless to me!

So, to Laine, Darchelle, Elizabeth, Yvonne, Marc, James, Laura, Justin, Chris, Kenny, Barry, 5th year architecture grads, and anyone I may have forgotten, CONGRATULATIONS!

13 May 2005

Double it!

Last night was my first night of all out crazy late night partying in Prague. Yes, this is sad since I've been here for a while, but coming home at 4:30 in the morning in the cold just wasn't that appealing to me before. What makes things so different now, besides the slight rise in temperature? Well, for the next week or so, Prague is being invaded by K-State students. About 8 of our friends from Italy and Germany came into town last night. So, we all went out for some fun.
First, we went to the "Cave bar" as everyone likes to call it, which is this maze of rooms that goes underground about 4 floors. It's really cool. Had a drink there, and headed over to Nebe, the cool, happening place. At Nebe, they actually play good music, none of which was recorded in the 1980's! So, some friends, some drinks and alot of dancing made for a fun night. We were rolling about 20 deep when we got to the club, and met up with several Scottish and other international friends. However, as the night progressed, people started to filter out, and the group on my return trip to the dorm was about 8. Was a fun night. Introduced the kids who had been studying in Italy to the best Czech after drinking snack_smazeny syr [that's a fried cheese sandwich in English]. They enjoyed, and a good time was had by all. Think I will try to get my 'old' self out to some more socializing with the time I have left. I say old, because many of the kids here are 19 or 20, and are working all that crazy partying out of their systems, where as I have lived my 'wild days' already. I realize my parents and their peers are lauging about this, however, it doesn't bother me. Anyway, some more festivities are planned for tonight, however, I think Tiffany and I will be returning earlier than the normal 4:30. Anyway, this post was supposed to be short and it is becoming too long, so I will end. Any questions about transportation or partying in Prague can be directed to me through comments or emails.

Here's the photo project:
glow4

12 May 2005

um......are you serious?

pipes_glow
Picture for my final photo project

Here's a mental picture for everyone_
I came home Monday to a note on my door. It was written in Czech. After some rough internet translation with little results, my flatmate Miika told us it meant that people were coming to wash our windows on Tuesday. Awesome, they're not even dirty. We prepare by cleaning off our desks and locking computers in the drawers. Tuesday comes and goes, and no window washers. It may have had something to do with the fact that our dorm ran out of hot water Tuesday morning. Wednesday, no window washers, but the cleaning lady comes late. [Did I mention we have a woman who comes and 'mops' our floors? Her B.O. has a tendency to linger in the room for hours after she's gone, so Tiffany and I lock her out.] Thursday morning, no window washers. As we are preparing to leave for some grocery shopping, we hear a knock on the door. Surprise! Window washers! Luckily, due to my keen intuition, we had locked the computers up again. A woman wearing 'capri' pants and Keds-like tennis shoes comes into our room. She sets her bucket on my desk, slips her shoes off, and climbs onto my desk with her bare feet. For a near 10 minutes, she washes our windows, including sticking half her body out the window to reach the outside. Uses same rag to 'wipe' off my desk. Those of you who know me well know that I HATE feet, especially smelly ones belonging to strangers. Needless to say, my desk was still littered with footprints, and although she was not as putrid as our cleaning lady, she wasn't April fresh. I cleaned it up, no big deal. But, you may be asking yourself, 'Why would they decide to come wash windows when we only have 1.5 months left of school?' Don't worry, I'm perplexed as well.

11 May 2005

fat american


the goods
Originally uploaded by holacola.
So, as Tiffany was browsing the Prague weather site, she found links on it to info about Prague. Someone suggested this store/to-go restaurant called Culinaria that sells American favorites such as Pop Tarts, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Doritos, Goldfish, etc. Well, let me tell you, it was a delight! Not only did they have several favorites [for a price, of course] but they also had some amazing looking cakes and take-home salads, quiches, and other delights. Fantastic. We realized why Americans are fat now... it's because we eat alot of crap. Also found some other interesting stores by taking some side roads_good jewelry store and a fun housewares store. Anyway, I would classify today as fairly successful.

09 May 2005

food for thought

'Never compromise yourself; you're all you've got.'_Janis Joplin

'If you judge people, you don't have time to love them.'_Mother Theresa

'People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but someone will never forget how you made them feel.'_?

'Don't sacrifice your virtues for the sake of popularity.'_Me

'I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.'_Oprah Winfrey

'Whether one is Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian, how you live your life is proof that you are or not fully His. We cannot condemn or judge or pass words that will hurt people. We don't know in what way God is appearing to that soul and what God is drawing that soul to; therefor, who are we to condemn anybody?'_Mother Theresa

'At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, nor winning one more verdict, nor closing one more deal. You WILL regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child or a parent.'_Barbara Bush

AND

'All you need is love...'_John Lennon

08 May 2005

celebration


fireworks_1
Originally uploaded by holacola.
This weekend was the 60th anniversary of VE-Day, or the end of WWII in Europe. There were various celebrations this weekend all over Prague. Yesterday, Tiffany and I went with her Czech buddy Michal to a battle re-enactment. Although we were too short to see most of it above the crowd, we certainly heard all of it. They were pumping sounds through speakers, and the 'soldiers' were shooting blanks out of their guns. We did catch a glimpse of the tank and other tall vehicles. It was exciting. I'm not sure how many or how extreme any battles in Prague were, but I do know that American and Russian troops came from both sides of the country to defeat the Nazi occupation. Anyway, there were actors dressed up as Allied troops and as Nazis. One scary thing was the skinheads [present day Nazis] who thought the Nazi actor was cool. Yikes.
Anyway, tonight there was a large fireworks show above the river, so a bunch of us went down to Old Town to watch. It was very cool. The fireworks were being shot off from one of the islands in the river and were choreographed to a music program played through speakers. It rivaled some July 4 shows I've seen. I'm really glad I was here to experinece it. And, I'm thankful that this country is no longer occupied: Nazis or Communists.

Thought for the weekend:
God bless the soldiers, Jews and other innocent civilians who perished in WWII, and bless those who are fighting today. In a world of uncertainty and violence, prayer affords us certainty and peace, if only peace of mind. However, I believe it works.
And God bless mothers, who deserve our love and our prayers for all of theirs'.

07 May 2005

fondue


kiasma_1
Originally uploaded by holacola.
Last night, Tiffany and I went to a fondue restaurant that she had scoped out. It was delicious! We had cheese fondue with bread, chicken, and steak, followed by a dessert of fruit dipped in chocolate. Definately a repeatable restaurant.
The weather here sucks right now, I think there's a high of 52 for the next 10 days, with snow predicted for Monday. How bogus is that? I want spring!
This weekend there are many festivities here in Prague, as it is the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII here. I think we will go to a few activities. Will let you know how those pan out.

05 May 2005

things i would kill a man for...

Pad burger
Banana split or blizzard from Dairy Queen
Copper Oven frosted sugar cookies
Chipotle burrito
Oreos
Crispix cereal
Cherry 7-up
Panera's Bacon Turkey Bravo sandwich or Summer Berry salad
soft, sliced bread
microwave
1/2% milk, in a refrigerated plastic jug-homogenized & pasteurized
Campbell's soup
Prego, Ragu or other American brand of spaghetti sauce
Mom's potato clam soup
Rock-a-Belly sandwich
Coco Bolo's
chips & salsa
cottage cheese
nachos
El Coyote sancho el loco
Marilyn's snickerdoodles
Laine's mac & cheese
Red Lobster!
Steak, sausage, any unquestionable meat

Oh, and I went to some classes today, and on my weekly walk with Radim, my language partner. The temp was 84 on Monday, but has gotten colder the rest of the week. Has also been rainy. Hoping for some more sunshine and summer temps. Working on projects and other homework. Not much else.

04 May 2005

Things I want to invent

Car Wash Teleporter_you know, so when you don't want to drive a long distance, you don't have to. Just drive into a local car wash, select a destination car wash and zap yourself there. Saving time, gas, and accidents.

Telepathic AutoCAD helmet_instead of spending so much time turning a design concept into CAD documents, the helmet would read your mind and automatically draw what you wanted. Saving lazy architecture students from sleepless nights.

Language voicebox_I don't speak Czech, at least not very much. Instead of trying to learn this ridiculous language, I would like to push a button and have all my words come out in Czech. And also have an ear button so I could understand what they're saying back to me. Saving me from a lot of lost in translation moments.

Deoderizing bubble_something that makes the smelly people over here a little less putrid. Deoderant costs $8 here, so I understand the lack of it, but some basic hygeine rules should be universal. Saving my nostrils from discomfort.

Automatic blog commenter_you people seem to have a problem leaving comments. I don't know why, perhaps it's not a priority for you. However, in my ideal little world, this would be set up so you couldn't leave my website without commenting! Saving me from feeling like I'm talking to myself.

In conclusion_START LEAVING COMMENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[click on the little guy that says _comments, NOT the envelope]

03 May 2005

things i love


tulips
Originally uploaded by holacola.
_spring, especially spring rain
_orange soda
_starburst, hot tamales, reeses peanut butter cups
_cereal
_Aunt Cheryl's peanut butter rice krispie treats
_cookies
_cake
_flip flops/sandals
_writing
_family
_good, true friends_i'm lucky to have alot of these
_dishes
_cooking/baking
_twirly skirts
_tomatoes_strawberries_raspberries
_candles
_gum
_clean clothes
_blankies
_small fluffy things [dogs, birds, whatever]
_talking in voices_you should hear my scottish accent
_Donald Reilly_he makes my world brighter
_sports cars/driving fast
_babies
_cookie dough
_purses/bags
_gifts_giving/receiving
_fabric
_bread/carbs
_dancing
_chocolate
_movies
_talking
_making things_sewing, building, it's all fun
_meatloaf w/ scalloped potatoes
_grilled cheese/salami/mushroom sandwiches
_pudding
_flowers

02 May 2005

notes


strawberries
Originally uploaded by holacola.
That's my 2nd photo project>click for larger view

Finland_tried sauna for the first time [the REAL sauna, invented by the Finnish!] it was different, and I can't say that it was the most enjoyable activity, but I was really relaxed afterwards. Imagine NE Kansas in August. That's about what it's like.

Things I learned in Finland_
There are zillions of tress. I knew they had alot, but I didn't know there were so many!
Finns like to sing, especially when drunk
George Bush is a 'redneck'
I should read Steinbeck
Finns learn more languages than maybe any other country_they are extremely educated, all of them
Helsinki has some weirdos_saw 1 cat, 3 pandas, and a couple anti-Christs [the kiddies like to dress up]
You can always go home_for me, home includes Finland, Brazil, Japan, and of course, Kansas
And, family is international, and forever

01 May 2005

marimekko!


marimekko
Originally uploaded by holacola.
Returned from Finland today. Had a great time. Here are some things I did there_
Tampere_Saw Don's apartment, met his roommates and spent some time at his school. As I mentioned before, apartment_not that great. However, his school is very nice, as are his roommates. I made him no-bake cookies [his favorite, my specialty].
Helsinki!_ate at a noodle restaurant, visited beautiful church, saw Kiasma by Steven Holl, and some other famous buildings. Went to a Marimekko store [aka AWESOME, it's Finnish designed textiles] and could have spent alot of money. Only bought a bag, but really loved it. Matching clogs, hat and umbrella would have been ideal, but decided to budget.
Kirkkonummi_home to Paulina and Porvoo [Don's friend]. Caught up with Paulina and Ahti, and met her 3 youngest children for the first time. Were treated like royalty [thanks for the hospitality, Paulina] and got to enjoy some home-cooked meals and family time. Went to Porvoo's house for Wappu [the May 1st celebration]. May 1 is a huge celebration in Finland because it marks the coming of spring, and is also a student holiday. So, on April 30, everyone gathers together with friends, eats and gets drunk. Then, on May 1, people picnic in the park. They also wear their student hats and coveralls. It's very interesting. So, Don and I got drunk with Porvoo, his wife, and then a bunch of Finns I had met for the first time. We sang some songs, ate some good food, and drank alot of wine and champagne. Also had some interesting conversation. Joined Paulina's family for the rest of the night. Ate Wappu funnel cakes for breakfast.
Espoo_Ahti took Don and I to see the Helsinki University of Technology in Espoo. The buildings were designed by Alvar Aalto, a Finnish and favorite architect. He also drove us to the airport. Had a great time and learned alot. Will share those insights tomorrow.