Archive for college

Lucid Dream 11/9/2017

Posted in dreams, Fictional Stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 9, 2017 by Drogo

I had a dream I was looking at colleges again, and met up with friends from RWU, but at a new college where I had just enrolled. Teradactyle was there and we bonded again with a crew. We spent many hours joking around, and I saw kirks and spocks among classmates. In one of our first classes together, he told me that as friends we would probably not work out again, because he had suggested I check out a bunch of architecture books, and he thought I had not listened to him, and was still aggravated at me for not taking his advice seriously. I then went to lunch and was standing in line outside in a triangle type park, near the tip of traffic, and some native boys began talking to me. Two brothers one younger and one older. The young one was talking to me about our white environmental shirts, and the older one asked me to buy something from their merchandise zipper bag which had balloons and zip drives. Suddenly I was transported to a dark walkway at night, and the brothers were there, blood on the neck of the younger one, and blood on the street nearby. I did not see a dead body, but it was clear I missed a horrific event. I must have blacked out for a period of time. The older brother was apologizing to the younger, near a tree beside me. I stood in the middle of the brick walkway. Some streetlights were on, so it was not totally dark. I stood there wondering what was going on for some time. Then the older brother asked me to please move on, because I was freaking them out. I said sorry, but I was lost. They pointed me in the right direction, and I returned to the park triangle on campus. Being totally dark now, and no one around I was bewildered still. Suddenly it was day again, and I went in a building on the park. Girls were getting their hair cut, and I interrupted them to ask how to get to the Architecture department. After bothering several people, and being told not to use certain doors, I was told there was no Architecture department there.

  • Drogo Empedocles 11/9/2017

 

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Savannah, Georgia

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Historic Architecture, Organic Architecture, Recommendations & Tributes, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2013 by Drogo

Historic Architecture, Environmental Landscape, and Urban Social Art

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Savannah has the historic integrity of an ivy-league campus, yet for the poor as well as rich. Yes, it is very much the old pirate ‘Port Royal’ still, but in some ways it also surpasses the nobility of elite university campuses. Even the SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) campus is spread throughout the city, and SCAD classes are held in renovated industrial buildings, often with Richardsonian strength; so that liberal education is fully-integrated with the city. As far as competing with modern industrial metropolitan cities, Savannah has plenty of modern and post-modern architecture, and SCAD teaches cutting-edge technology; but it has no desire to be as massively impersonal as New York, or any other major city.

Savannah urban design is overwhelmingly utopian, despite there being dystopian flavors as well. The main streets force cars to either park or drive around the eleven park squares (circuses), while pedestrians can go straight through on sidewalks and bike lanes. It is easy to find any place in the formal city because there are no diagonal streets, one tall building in the middle (DeSoto Hotel), and a few tall buildings downtown parallel with the Savannah River. The downtown main-streets (River Street) on Saint Patrick’s Day are celebrated on par with Mardi-Gras. There are so many unique aspects to Savannah, from its very origins. The basic ‘Roman encampment’ grid urban layout is flavored by multiple circuses with vegetation. Live-oaks, palms, and crepe-myrtle trees are naturally hung with Spanish moss. From sandy soil hedges, herbs, flowers and grasses are also publicly grown for the enjoyment of all.

I will find out more about the city founders, besides Oglethorpe; specifically the Native American chief of the local Creek Indians, because he seems to deserve the same level of respect as the English founder, Oglethorpe. The British and Indians were friends, and one of the largest monuments in a prominent park is dedicated to the Indian Chief’s grave. Southern hospitality is less surface courtesy in Savannah, and more a part of its essence; in regards to integration of whites and blacks, international representation, multi-culturalism, and willingness to welcome even enemies (like General Sherman during the Civil War).

There are several ways to consider the social types that comprise the ‘daily population’ of Savannah. There are five basic social types; the rich residents (white blue-blood aristocracy and new-money millionaires), the poor working-class (merchant and service residents and workers), the street beggars (homeless, hustlers, artists), SCAD students (artists, professors, staff), and tourists (pedestrian, trolley, horse-buggy).

According to Dr. Hsu-Jen Huang (SCAD Architecture Professor), Savannah has been growing, even during the recession. In ten years, the city population and SCAD enrollment have doubled. Some buildings still fall between the cracks, but for every loss two more renovations or new constructs emerge. After the 1994 book Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, Savannah has continued to blossom as one of the best cities in the World. Many of its qualities were always inherent in the original urban design, and it continues to grow because of accepted differences.

From the American Revolution, to the Civil War, and beyond; Savannah embraces its strange stories. It has an other-worldly, old world, old town feel. Ghost tours are quite at home with the lamp-lights, cobblestone streets, brick walkways, and French ironwork balconies. It is in fact a small city; one which favors pedestrian traffic more than automobiles. The whole downtown is walkable, and locals often easily commute with bicycles as well (as I did for 3 years).

There are so many fun things to do there, it might be hard to know were to begin; if Savannah were not an immediately immersible, hospitable environment. The whole city is a memory garden, which literally blooms because of all the flowers. There are less flowers and leaves in the Winter, but Fall, Winter, and Spring are best weather-wise; as there is rarely snow, and Summers are often walls of heat and humidity (which it is known for even during Fall and Spring).

Architecturally Savannah is truly unique, with historic world and southern romantic blends. Town-houses often have the side-porch design, as with nearby Charleston, SC. The cast-iron railings and french dormers have that New Orleans feel. Parks and trees really do make a huge difference for traffic. Even while continuing to grow, Savannah is still one of the most colorful and pedestrian friendly cities in America. I can say after living there, the magic is real; including the variety of character personalities that the famous book alludes to.

Midnight In the Garden of Good & Evil describes much of the architectural and social feel of the town. ‘Midnight’ the book has much more analysis of detail, while the film has literally has more visual images. I lived in three parts of town, and often passed by famous landmarks on daily commutes to classes. The main character’s house (Mercer Mansion) is on Bull Street along a square, towards the largest city park, Forsyth Park. Forsyth Park was my favorite park that I loved living on, because of the large open grass lawns, largest and most beautiful fountain, organic paths, and shady flora. There I was free to publicly practice Tai-Chi, hippy folk music, or jogging without much bother.

Most of this essay describes the utopian aspects of Savannah, but this paragraph should put some of the dystopian perspectives in context. The poor and the dead, out-number the rich and the living. Southern swamp-lands naturally have a salty entropic power that corrodes metals, moisture that promotes the decay of organic matter, and massive humidity that stifles productive activity, while encouraging roaches and gnats. The humane social ‘decadence’ of the town, allows for an ease of poverty. Kindness tolerates and sometimes falls prey to hustlers. Vandalism and theft are common crimes in Savannah, with the occasional mugging (typical of cities in general). Although crimes are committed by lower classes, the majority (which are poor) are respectful, lawful, and often generous. So you see despite the ‘scariness’, actual dangers are minimal for a city.

Savannah’s name appropriately indicates the climate heat, and the flat field look of the surrounding wetland marsh grasses. Old pirate maps referred to the lands inland along the River as ‘Savannah Land’. Google Street view is very impressive, with realism. It really helps get the feel for the freedom of moving through the town by photographic vista. In the 1990’s we were taking panoramic photos for architecture projects so it really feels appropriate. Day trips easily include the famous Bonaventure Cemetery, Oatland Island Wildlife Center, and Tybee Island Beach.

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Federal Student Loan Secrets

Posted in Education / Schools, Legal / Laws, SCOD Online School with tags , , , , , , on September 26, 2011 by Drogo

I was never told and there is no info about Loan Forgiveness dates for Low Income on my Federal Loan Repayment Website, so for 10 years i have been struggling to repay thousands of dollars that i dont have based on an uneducated choice i made to attend colleges i did not know i would not be able to pay off within the ‘average 10 years’. I never found that ‘promised magic job’ that my father had. I might have been able to pay rent or afford health insurance if i had known about Loan Forgiveness deadlines.

I just heard on NPR that the Department of Education’s Community Service Loan Repayment plan has been in the works since 2009, but there is still no info about it on my Federal Loan Website. I will seek out more information about these ‘secrets’ and post them below. Here are the important issues that every college graduate with a Low Income should know about, but we have not been educated about:

1. Community Service Loan Repayment Plan

(after 10 years or 20 payments?)

2. Low Income Loan Forgiveness Deadline

(after 20-25 years?)

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According to the official White House Government website:

Under this new law, students enrolling in 2014 or later are offered this option –

Forgive Any Remaining Debt after 20 Years, or after 10 Years for Those in Public Service: Borrowers who take responsibility for their loans and make their monthly payments will see their remaining balance forgiven after 20 years of payments, reduced from 25 years in current law.  Public service workers – such as teachers, nurses, and those in military service – will see any remaining debt forgiven after 10 years.

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Federal Student Aid Information Center
1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)
This is a toll-free number.

Direct Student Loans – 1800-848-0979

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After calling both numbers above, they told me all their information is available online, easy, and straightforward not requiring a business or law degree to understand. Ha!  The Education Department was un-apologetic and said “Most people pay the loan off in 10 years.”  Thanks for that.

The White House and the Education Department call it “Community Service” but you cannot find it on the Direct Loan website by searching for that; they call it “Public Service” Loan Forgiveness Plan.

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From the Federal Direct Loan Servicing Page:

Can my loan ever be discharged?

Yes. A discharge releases you from all obligations to repay your loan. Your loans can be partially or totally discharged if:

  • You become totally and permanently disabled. This cannot be for a condition that existed at the time you applied for the Direct Loan unless a doctor certifies that your condition substantially deteriorated after the loans were made.
  • You are unable to complete a course of study because your school closed or because your school falsely certified your eligibility.
  • Your school signed your name on the loan application or promissory note without your approval.
  • You were a victim of identity theft.
  • Your obligation to repay your loan was discharged in bankruptcy court proceedings. This may occur when conditions of extreme financial hardship are present and a judge orders the discharge of the loan(s) in an adversary proceeding.
  • You die.
  • The student for whom a PLUS Loan was obtained dies.
  • You taught in a selected low-income school for 5 consecutive years. You must also have received new loans after October 1, 1998 and have no outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan disbursed before this date. For more information on eligibility requirements for Teacher Loan Forgiveness, please click here.
  • You are and/or were employed in public service field(s) considered eligible under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, during which time you made 120 separate qualifying monthly payments through an eligible repayment plan after October 1, 2007. You must also be employed in a qualifying public service job at the time of your application for forgiveness and when any remaining loan amount is forgiven. For more information on eligibility requirements for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, please click here.
  • You are due but are unable to obtain a refund from your school on your Direct Loan.
  • You have a Consolidation loan obtained jointly with your spouse and one of you dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled.
  • You have a Consolidation loan that includes a Federal PLUS and/or Direct PLUS loan borrowed for a student that has died. The portion of the Consolidation loan attributable to the student that has died may be discharged.

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Repayment Plan

Changing repayment plans is a good way to manage your loan debt when your financial circumstances change. For example, you can usually lower your monthly payment by changing to another repayment plan with a longer term to repay the loan. There are no penalties for changing repayment plans.

The Direct Loan Program offers the following repayment plans:

  • Standard Repayment Plans
    • Non-Consolidation Loans – fixed payment for up to 10 years.
    • Consolidation Loans – fixed payment for up to 10 to 30 years based on total education indebtedness.
  • Extended Repayment Plans
    • Extended repayment terms are available to Direct Loan borrowers with no outstanding principal or interest balances as of October 7, 1998 and with more than $30,000 in Direct Loans.
      • Fixed Monthly Payment Option – fixed payment for up to 25 years based on Direct Loan balance greater than $30,000.
      • Graduated Monthly Payment Option – smaller payments at first that increase every two years, for up to 25 years based on a Direct Loan balance greater than $30,000.
  • Graduated Repayment Plans
    • Non-Consolidation Loans – smaller payments at first that increase every two years for up to 10 years.
    • Consolidation Loans – smaller payments at first that increase every two years for up to 10 to 30 years based on total education indebtedness.
  • Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan
    • Payment amount is based on a borrower’s family size, annual Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and the total amount of the borrower’s Direct Loan(s). This can vary year to year for up to 25 years. The ICR Plan is NOT available to a borrower with a Direct PLUS Consolidation Loan(s) made before July 1, 2006 and/or a Direct PLUS Loan(s) made to parent borrowers. However, a borrower is eligible to repay any Direct Consolidation Loan(s) made on/after July 1, 2006 under the ICR Plan even if it includes a PLUS Loan(s) made to parent borrowers.
  • The Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan
    • An alternative to the Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan. The IBR Plan is designed to make repaying education loans easier for students who intend to pursue jobs with lower salaries, such as careers in public service. It does this by capping the monthly payments at 15 percent of your discretionary income (the difference between your Adjusted Gross Income and 150% of the poverty guideline for your family size and state of residence). You must have a partial financial hardship to enroll in the IBR Plan. If you are married AND file taxes separately, only your income will be considered when calculating your IBR payment amount. Like ICR, after 25 years of qualifying repayment, any remaining balance on the loan will be forgiven, but you may have to pay taxes on the amount forgiven.

The Direct Loan Program previously offered a range of grandfathered repayment plans prior to 9/10/2007. Borrowers who had already entered repayment on one or more of their loans prior to 9/10/07 and who have one of the grandfathered plans already assigned to their loans remained on those plans. In addition, subsequent loans that are disbursed for those borrowers will be placed on the same grandfathered repayment plans. Please note that if at any time borrowers elect to update their repayment plans, they will only be able to select from the new repayment plans. In addition, once they have changed their repayment plan, they will not be able to return to one of the grandfathered repayment plans.

  • Standard Repayment Plans – fixed payment for up to 10 years.
  • Extended Repayment Plans – fixed payment for up to 12 to 30 years, depending on the total amount a borrower owes.
  • Graduated Repayment Plan – smaller payments at first that increase every two years for up to 12 to 30 years, depending on the total amount a borrower owes.

Please contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center if the above plans do not meet your financial needs.

NOTE :

“Like ICR, after 25 years of qualifying repayment, any remaining balance on the loan will be forgiven, but you may have to pay taxes on the amount forgiven.”

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“The borrower must have made 120 separate monthly payments beginning after October 1, 2007 on the Direct Loan Program loans for which forgiveness is requested.” = 2017 would be the earliest a loan could be forgiven.

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(more information to come)

History of Art, War, & Civilization

Posted in SCOD Online School with tags , , , , , , , on September 18, 2011 by Drogo


“The Effects of Art and War on the History of Civilization”

FINANCING ETHICS – HISTORY   /  SEMESTER – TBA

Class Meets Tuesdays & Thursdays:  5pm -7pm

Class Room:   TBA  (Gmail, Skype, Facebook)

Professor Walton D. Stowell II, M.A.

Office:  Facebook

Office Hours:  Tues & Thurs 12 noon – 1 pm

Although it is commonly said ‘History is written by the victors,’ that is not the final conclusion of this class.  We will explore how architecture, archeology, art, and war affect the way that we perceive cultures in the past and present.  Art and the liberal arts in general are used to express a zeitgeist which may or may not be in concert with the winners of a military conquest.  This course asks the question “How do these factors contribute to the History of Human Civilization; and should they be supported or funded, and if so then in what ways?”  This course is for students interested in architecture, historic preservation, anthropology, environmental science, art, military history, and the ethics of financing.

Required Texts:   The Art of War, War & Peace, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Declaration of Independence, The US Constitution, and related texts to be chosen from a list during the course

 

Course Requirements:

Grades for this course will be determined in fourths by class attendance, participation, assignments, and tests.  There will be a minimum of 3 projects and 3 tests (including the Final Exam).  The Final Exam will be given at the scheduled time during finals week.

The grading scale for the course will be as follows:

Completed = Pass

Accepted Pending Revisions = (APR) Needs some more work

Incomplete = Does Not Pass inspection, too much missing data or errors

Attendance Policy:

All of the vital information for the tests and the final exam will be gone over in class postings, in-class discussions, and question-and-answer.  Therefore regular attendance and note taking is required for mastering the material.  Legitimate excuses received will be honored for some absences, however unexcused absences will result in grade reduction accordingly (ratio to percent).  The more absences, the greater the grade reduction.

 

Tests and Projects:

Test topics will be taken from lectures on the readings, and question-and-answer class discussions.

The majority of test questions and short essays will be based on the readings as discussed in class.

Projects will include:  art and written essay reports.

Project research and investigation will count towards the overall participation grade.

Final Exam:

A series of long essay questions based on the readings, class discussions, and projects.

Professor Stowell, M.A.

History of Art, War, and Civilization 

Tentative Class Schedule Segments:

1          Introduction to Civilization and socio-economic conditioning / Project 1

2          Ancient History

3          Medieval History / Project 2

4          The Enlightenment / Test 1

5          The Industrial Age /  Project 3

6          Modern Art and Warfare /  Effects of the Technology of Tomorrow

7          All Projects due, collected, displayed and reviewed in class /  Test 2 

8          TEST 3  Final Exam

In many ways this is a new subject, and students will be participating in groundbreaking research that is cutting-edge and widely debatable due to its controversial nature.

AUGUSTA PUBLIC LIBRARY 2010

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Arts (Design & Performance), Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2010 by Drogo

Augusta Architectural Commentary

Written by Walton Stowell II in 1999

SCAD Design Charrette in Augusta, GA

AUGUSTA PUBLIC LIBRARY 2010

Augusta, Georgia was once a harsh city of industrial decay. Augusta society struggled to defend itself from urban anti-establishment street honor codes. Now it maintains a verdant stability under the reign of ‘Holistic Education’.

“The only thing that should be strange and foreign to the people of today, is ignorance.” – Architect Walton Stowell II

When the Augusta Library was first built, times were changing. Technology was evolving faster than biological life on this planet. The masses were given a new way to explore the microcosm and macrocosm, virtually via computers and communication systems. This revolution continues to take place.

“In a world of net empathy, what was once silly, foreign, and bizarre is now honestly and truly accepted as part of humanity; whether deemed a desirable or less desirable. The masses may have been multiplied by ignorant consumer addicts of the last century, but the new opiate is education. The only silliness is the plastic decadence of our past century.” – Architect Walton Stowell II

The architects of the Augusta Library saw that the people of the late 20th Century had a ‘lumpy composite of antiquated skepticism and neglected neocortex’. They felt the shockwaves of a brave, newly connected digital world. The melting pot of the United States was still a polychromatic blur of capitalism and commercialism in the 1990’s. The individual ingredients of this stew were following popular social trend clusters that were changing too fast for anything to be standard for very long. The blur was becoming standard, as all defined standards became stagnant and often rapidly fell out of favor.

Rather than reject urban reactionary arts like spray paint graffiti, the architects realized it as part of the urban language that could be embraced, and manifested as a positive expression of the creativity of youth. While certain aspects were not encouraged, like tagging private property with negativity that belonged to someone else; other aspects were controlled and focused on, like pride in community art in public places.

“We are in a Catch 22 Brave New World Revolution that started in 1984.” – WSII

We were a people so full of substances, yet void of real Substance. Born to a commercial culture of cherished materialism and limited understanding of existence, egos were protected by accepted artificial conventions. The new Augusta Library was meant to help fill that void, and be a beacon of light, knowledge, and understanding.

Here is a famous poem inscribed on one of the Library entry walls:

“How cute we were indeed,

still clinging to our selfish conventions like babies.

For a human to only take, is immature.

Taking without giving is not harmonious;

it is not beautiful or honorable.

Human neocortical behavior can transcend

our basic subconscious appetites of Id.

With the cutting of a tree, we should plant three.

The owner of a new wooden house

would have many scars indeed

if they were to be cut for each tree,

each wound they did to the forest.

We bred animals in cages to be slaughtered

to feed ourselves by the masses,

while we kept so many animals as pets,

who were often treated better than humans

because they were deemed ‘cute’.

We lived in denial of reality, in mass.

We will no longer be ignorant.” – SCOD

Now men and women of integrated nationalities and cultures, rather than races, move through an orchestrated modern city. Augusta is now once again organically saturated by the chirping of birds, and alternatively powered music. Industry and businesses hire musicians and other artists to suit the required atmosphere: drummers for physical labor, jazz for entertainment, courthouses play opera, fast food plays fast Mozart, historic places play historic music, and elevator music changes based on our moods. The more complicated the function, the more complex the music.

Augusta is now a beacon of hope, thanks in part to the Public Library. Holistic Education has allowed us to see things in new ways, and not be blind bigots. The Peace we enjoy with a smart Self Defense Department, was only possible through the inner peace we managed to achieve as individuals.

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(note: this is an architectural manifesto for a theoretical project, which was part of an inter-collegiate event to project into the future, and therefore was not built and remains fictional)

Harpers Ferry Art School

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Education / Schools with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2010 by Drogo

Currently this school exists in an alter-dimensional realm called theory, yet Harpers Ferry Art is very real. Created in 2010.

Principles of the Harpers Ferry Art School

1. Everyone is an Artist

2. Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

3. Art is the Result of the Confluence between one’s Self and Others

“A mouse drops a stick, and a bird sees it. That is art. Art exists as an archetype  even if no meaning is applied to an event or object, or the creation of it. Even if the idea is only human, it exists outside individual perception of the physical world. Ideas do not exist in the same way that mortals do.” – Doctor Drogo F. Empedocles

10 Lessons of HFA

1. Abstract Basics

2. Impressionism: Focus on Pointillism- One Dimensional

3. Line Drawing – Two Dimensional

4. Light & Dark – Shading, Blending & Contrast – 3D

5. Sculpture – Three Dimensional

6. Colors & Tones – Light & Pigment

7. Finishing Touches – Cropping, Glazing, Matting, & Framing

8. Art Styles – self-made plans for production

9. Art Business – financial applications

10. Thesis Project – Graduate Level

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Dean: Master Walton D. Stowell II

Faculty Staff: Artists, Architects, and Musicians

Students: Children and Adults with appropriate level of funding