Posts Tagged ‘Cal Poly’

Snippet of the Day: “Is it me, or is there three turkey outside our door?”

Haven’t done Snippet for a while, but I can’t resist this time.

It was around 8:25 in the morning. I was rushing, hoping to get to San Luis Obispo Museum on time since I promised to volunteer in… oh, 8:30 (Yep, I bike very fast today)

I open the door. I have not spoke a single word yet, since it is morning and my only housemate Lauren is sleeping. I look up.

I blinked.

I blinked.

I spoke the first sentence today.

“Is it me, or is there three turkey outside our door?”




My brain was blank for several moment, if not temporarily short-circuited. It was soon follow by, “Wait, is there four… No, five? Wait, are they really turkey? What the heck are they!?”

Th grayish, thin, turkey bird simply just walk down the tree shrub, completely ignoring me while I try to pick up my jaw up from the ground.

Ah, the wonder of living beneath a mountain and suburban. Mountain Lion on my street the first year. Wild deer, raccoon family with babies, crane, vultures, giant cat and giant fish near Stenner Glenn during second and third year. Then black widow outside the window and five wild turkey first thing in the morning during fourth year…

Next I know, I will see a bear.

Edit: I have not seen a bear in SLO. However, less than a year later, a bear did wandered into SLO, although it was at the other side of the town… Jinx?


My disappointment in the Cal Poly Campus Market

I walked into Campus Market today, hoping to get a nice cup of Fair Trade Coffee from Julians as well as some fresh bakery for lunch. Nor very healthy, but I need to eat. Everything healthy on campus during the weekend is expensive. Besides, I feel like coffee today.

Then I saw red, then I saw Seattle’s Best Coffee. Coffee-flavor-wise, I like Settle Coffee, more than Starbuck (even though I know they are now under one company), but not more than Coffeebeans & Tea or Peets. Service-wise, CB&T and Seattle top over Peets and Starbuck for me. Policy-wise, I like Starbuck the best, because they really broadcast support for environmentalism, fair trade, and good employee treatment – at lease overall, as I know that corporation can’t take care every store perfectly.

Yet, I was disappointed at the switch, because I had missed Julian and the ice cream that they use to have in the Cal Poly UU, before it was replace by Starbuck. I rarely goes there now, unless I have a Green Frappuccino urge – I am very much a loyal Americano fan. A dap of half-half/whole milk, then a powder of chocolate, and no sugar. Occasionally I switch to coffee if it’s busy hour, since I know the coffee will be fresh. As a result, I don’t frequent Starbuck too much, whose trademark is really the flavored coffee, Frappuccino (AKA liquid ice cream), and sweet Americanized desert (Things like scones and biscotti was originally harder, so you can soak them in coffee. Many US stores have very sweet and soft desert, which I don’t really care for).

Besides, if I want Starbuck, I would want to go to a real Starbuck store without all the noise and the sits at the small, dark corner of the store. If I want Settle, I would want to go to Borders and buys a nice flavored coffee while reading stacks of books like Hermione from Harry Potter.

As the years went by, the Cal Poly dining is switching more to artificial corporate base sweets and coffee. I don’t mind them – I like Seattle, I like Starbuck, I like plastic packaged cookies that are fresh and don’t have flies around them.

I just don’t want to go to a grocery store at Cal Poly. I want to go to a dining store while working in delirious state from my studio. A warm, home-feel store, instead of the 24 hour grocery store that has nothing special – and in this case overprice. There were many things I like about the Campus Market that urge me to visit there in the middle of the day… the smiling old man behind the counter that says hi every time, the local fair trade coffee that I know where it is from, the old fashion glass pot that smokes when filled and gets change when empty, the times when I observe the worker rushing over to refill to the coffee pot and I say a thank you to them, the unpacked desert that changes every once in a while and almost always fresh, and changing food choices that make me pause and think about my choices with other Cal Poly students doing the same, the glass sliding door that I or another student pulled open and then leave it open for the student behind us, the way I just grab a wax paper to grab the piece of 98 cent donut I want, the time I ask the person behind the desk about what is that piece of bakery is……

Now we have Seattle Coffee in the new self-serve pumping coffee machine, where you see the coffee in a small glass window.

Now we have  the standard set of coffee choice – most likely the house blend, breakfast, and decaf.

Now we have Crowboy cookies in plastic package that have the consistent flavor and choice.

We have the bagels in a glass case that holds the label of Einstein Bros.

No more surprise bakery choice. No more random flavored coffee. No more strange fair trade coffee that come from exotic locations that I can’t pronounce.

It’s efficient. It’s clean. It’s modern. It’s universal. It is a pretty decent gas station store.

There are many things that changed in the Campus Market that I do like, but then there is some that I will always miss. The coffee in each store is different. They are made with different coffee beans, made from different region, different soil and water, different equipment. The people that greet you are different, the cup you use are different, the choice you are presented are different. The atmosphere is different with each store – even under one company.

I brought my purchase to the cashier, who is standing in the new coffee station. As I made my purchase, I found it strange that I don’t smell the strong scent of coffee or sweet that I was used to.

At the end of my trip, I walked out with a Strawberry Yogurt Parfait. Somehow, I don’t feel like I want that cup of coffee anymore.

Snippet of the Day: Deer outside of my window

The Stenner Glenn cafeteria looks over a lake, and students has been known to stare out for amazingly large, wild animal.

In the 2 years that I have been here, I have seen large wide cats, families of raccoons, duck, giant fishes as long as 3 ft, blue jay, swan, crane, large hawk (I think?), and even vultures.

Yet nothing beats today. 2 large deer, wild and free, right outside, nibbling on grass, less than 10 feet from me.

I really wish i have my camera with me, or at least one of those cell phone with camera function (one of the few times when I care about what function my camera have. Usually, just being able to call is enough) You certainly don’t get that in the city, or even in the suburban area very regularly.

Alas, nothing beats the time when I found a mountain lion was shot a few street from my home during freshman. So much for being safe from wild animals in the city. :D

Updated: My days in the cafeteria has just gotten better. There’s my favorite dessert in the entire world:


I love the Stenner Glenn Cheesecake. They are not like the regular ones, either. They are not cut into pie shape, but into thin square pieces instead. They have some jam-syrup on top, with dark graham-texture chocolate crust. Now, pair them with the Peets tea bag – can you say heaven?

Unfortunately, the topping is cherry this time. I love real cherry, but I hate the artifical overly-sweet cherry toppings with a passion. I will just scrap it off, I guess.

They are also out of Peets tea bags – both the Earl Grey and Breakfast blend. The only one left is a peppermint blend – which I also hate with passion (Mint, Peppermint, and Artificial Cherry all tops on my most hated taste list). They have some Starbuck Tazo tea bag – one peppermint, one passionate. I took the less evil choice – passionate. Still, it’s too sour to pair with the cheesecake.

Fortunately, they have changed into Peets coffee this year. (It used to be just Starbuck coffee and teas). I am going to pair my cheesecake with Peets Sumatra coffee. It will still be a bad match – the coffee is left to stale for too long – but it is be the lesser of all evils

By the way, smooth, rich, creamy desserts like cheesecake are best paired with heavy, well balance, medium roast coffees. The most common choices are Sumatra and Yemen Mocca. If it’s really creamy, then Italian roast or French roast espresso would be a even nicer choice. In cases like cheesecake – which is more toward the smooth, creamy cheese taste, Italian would be better. French would be better for more nutty, fruity desserts.

Art History Minor.

I just went in today to get information about an art minor, with a focus in history.

So here I was, standing in front of Elizabeth Adan’s office (She was the advisor for the art minor with a focus in art history). I was slightly upset, because her office is 12:00. It was 11:00, and I just realized that the advisor for CRP minor don’t have office hour until Monday. All the waiting and running around to learn about different minor is driving me crazy.


“Are you looking for me?”

I jump. And I was rather lucky – the advisor was right behind me!

Well, back to the main topic – the Cal Poly art department is orgainzing a new minor – the Art History Minor! Not Art minor with art history focus, but a completely, newly focused Art History Minor!

How many of you have heard me saying that Art Historian is one of my hidden, unfilled dreams?

I am so excited! But I want to do a CRP (City Regional Planning) or a Real Property Development Minor too.

I could double minor, but I am afraid that I wouldn’t be able to finish them by graduation.

The struggle……

First Rain

After a few weeks of 24 hours of perfect weather, SLO starts to rain again.

. The rain happened right after class, and it helped distracted me from my frustration. The first wave of drizzling rain brings a delicate fresh air that placate and invoke peace into the mind. It makes one wants to stick out their tongue, and taste the moist air and the purity of water. It brings us back into the harmony of nature.

While I don’t enjoy being soak, I do enjoy light rain. It’s another beauty of the nature that most people forgets to appreciate.

Snippet of Life: Stenner Glenn = Flood Land. Cal Poly = Soup Cauldon

Stenner Glenn seriously needs to update their drainage system!

I swear, you can pretty much swim pass our building entrance. Well, not really, but you get my point.

I can, however, literally hear screaming. People raining through rain, jumping through puddle, and all that fun stuff.

It’s been pouring this two days.

It was a bit sunny this morning, so I walk to campus without a umbrella.  I have one in my studio on campus, so I wasn’t worry about the trip back.

It was a short walk, so what could happen?

Little did I know what horror awaits me.

I was right between school and my dorm, with no building as cover – and it just pour! In less than 30 minutes, it was raining like no tomorrow. Unfortunately, our school buildings are all very much separated with no covered walkway connected – tempted to find the architect and kick – I was completely drowned in rain by the time I got to my studio. Water was dropping off my hair and glasses. If I swing my head like a puppy dog (which I did), water would splash like you see in TV.

This really goes to show how important the little detail is in construction. It’s not just that the water don’t drain, but the ground is tilted in a way that make the water gather exactly outside of the front entry to the dorms. The ground is not big enough to absorb the water before it turns in a miniature pond.

I am going to swim over to the cafertia now. But worry not, because I have my boots and umbrella this time around.

Snippet of Life: I am a Coffeeholic

Dear Blog,

I love coffee.

In fact, I am addicted to it. Not drinking will pull me into Coffee Withdrawal, which give me a horrific headach. It’s so bad, I considered attending a CA meeting (CA as in Coffee Anonymous), not that there’s one.

Cal Poly’s Campus Market Julian is much better than the ones they have in the library.

They have Chocolate Cherry flavor.


Coffee Power!!! *Crackle manically, if that’s a word*

*Ac…Chou!* Sore Throat is evil, but microwaved Jello and pudding is not

I went to the Health Center yesterday, cause I feel like something got cut in my mouth and there is a white spot near my tonsil.

Turn out, even though I didn’t feel like it, I had a cold.


As if allergy season isn’t bad enough. *sigh*

My throat feel like there is a needle everytime I eat, so I have resulted in a 90% liquid diet. According to the health center, I will have to continue the liquid diet for about a week, I am so happy.


*Bang head against wall*

I did grocery right afterward, cause almost all my food is solid food, and I can’t drink canned soup with all it’s evil sodium the entire time.

And to my surprise, I can make chocolate pudding and jello with microwave and water heater! It’s cheaper than the pre-made ones too!

I also got some oatmeal, and I have raisin and frozen strawberry in my house. So I should survive… I think.


San Luis Obispo’s Architecture Firm

This Friday, my class visited three architecture firms in SLO so we can reference it for our next project. We visited by size, from the biggest firm to the smallest.

First, we visited PRM Design Group. The teacher said it have over 100 people! The firm looked the most “fun”. The firm was originally a warehouse, and the group there have a great time playing with the building itself. It was colorfully painted and has preferences for exposing building materials, with a strong concern for the employee’s need and environment (Their building is LEED certified!). While I was in their planning area, I was mentally drooling on the huge shelve of markers and color pencils…. Crayola (The one I have) is not an ideal color pencil for artist! >-< But I shouldn’t buy anything new now – I have too much art supplies anyway! While we were walking, I could kind of see the employees trying to hold back a smile (“Ah, the little duckies group that wants to be architects. I remember those days…… I hope they survive! Ha!”). It seemed like a rather happy place to work in.

The next firm was Pultz & Assoc. It had a more official look and reminded me of my internship at BOA. Chi, who was carpooling me that day, happened to work there – talk about awkward! Once she was in the firm, she acted pretty cool about it though. The group  was smaller, and not as youthful looking as the others, but it had a more family-friend kind of feel.

Fraser Seipei  was the last one and the only one to be in downtown. It wa also the firm I interviewed for my EDES essay. It hadn’t change much. Unlike the other three, this firm still relied a lot more on drawing. They had a student intern to help them put their work on computer. They seemed to have a much easier time with time and financial management because of their size.

All the firms focused on a open floorplan aim to keep the employees together and well informed of their surrounding.

Looking at them made me remember my high school internships >-< I want to work again…

Lecturer from Nanjing University of Technology

Today we had a guest speaker – from Nanjing University of Technology (南京工業大學). The guest professor is Huining Zhao (I tried to google for her Chinese name, but couldn’t find it).

It appears that Cal Poly maybe interested in an exchange program with China after all. That would be very interesting, even though it probably wouldn’t effect me unless they have an exchange program with Hong Kong.

During that lecture, she mainly talked about the Olympic stadium, Bird Nest. The designer of Bird Nest is the Swiss firm, Herzog & de Meuron. By the way, this is also the architecture firm that designed the De Young Muesum in — San Francisco! De Young is the huge copper structure inside the Golden Gate Park. Some of you who know me may remember me freaking out about my architecture competition there when I was a high school senior. (My first all-nighter! LOL)

In conclusion, it was a high quality steel, webbing structure that stands WITHOUT columns! The goal was to let it stand without supporting structure. For that specific reason, they had to be so precise in unloading, variations of placement were reduced to the millimeters.

As requested (don’t remember who), all the steel were made in China, and extreme high quality steel was required due to the difficulty of the task. There were also some high-tech environmental design and a strong focus toward safety. One detail that puzzled everyone was a toilet – that don’t require flushing! Bubbles inside the toilet would take care of everything – the idea was quite… amusing? All in all, it seemed to be a rather innovative structure that would certainly go into history as more than an Olympic structure, although it must require a great amount of work to accomplish it.

After that, she also talked about other recent buildings in Beijing, such as the Water Cube.

The lecture material was interesting, but the presentation was not the best. The professor’s English skill wasn’t the problem for me though (I have heard more worse before). I sat at the corner, so I couldn’t hear her speak. I was really tempting to ask for her to be louder, because I really wanted to listen to her lecture >-<.

I ended up reading the text (she’s really just reading her powerpoint). She put it in simplified Chinese and English. I had some fun learning some of the Chinese translation for English, architectural words.

Surprisingly and slightly disappointing, there were almost zero mentioning of Chinese, or even Asian architects. It’s rather ironic that one of the biggest project to showcase to the Western World by the Asian World is almost entirely designed by the West. If possible, I would like to see some modern architecture from native Chinese as well, just out of pure curiousity.

She will have about two more lectures. I am looking forward to learning more Chinese architecture, since I’m from Hong Kong myself. Prehapes I should borrow some books about Chinese design?