Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monday/Tuesday classes

Monday: Media and Politics

We discussed a lot about the constitutional differences between the US and UK and the roles of the monarchs (to be seen and never heard), talked about the experience we had at the jubilee activities, etc. Our outing was to Kensington Palace- where Princess Diana lived, and where some royals still live. Half of it is residences and half is museum.

It was recently renovated and there was some sort of super modern exhibit thing going on through the museum and we all were pretty disturbed by it overall. It was so distracting and got in the way of the actual palace in it's history and beauty and I really didn't like it. It all had a weird sort of dream-like, Alice in Wonderland kind of spooky feel...weird. Museums don't need cutouts of dead trees in shadow and megaphones that whisper royal gossip when you walk by...

Why is this...thing...hanging from a chandelier? I don't know.
Overall we rated the new renovations and exhibit a 4 on a scale of 1-10...not as awesome as it could have been. But it definitely was fun exploring and giving super honest feedback throughout it on what we thought! Our professor is very open and fun and honest about things which makes it really interesting and just a much better experience overall. I love it.

Oh, forgot to mention it was POURING RAIN when we were walking to the museum from the tube...and of course it was the one day I decided not to wear my rain boots. So my poor Toms got soaked. And my feet got soaked. And every time I took a step, water sloshed around in my shoes. Gross and uncomfortable, lemme tell ya.

After the musuem we rode the tube back, I stopped at Pret to grab a sandwich, and came home and napped. Oh, sleep, how I miss you. Naps are my thing.

After my nap, it was homework homework homework for the rest of the day pretty much. Such a fun life...group work and media analysis papers to revise and such.

Tuesday: Media and Society/Culture By Design

Media and Society was a lottttt of lecturing. Our professor gets lost on these tangents about things that are interesting, but so long-winded that I start to lose focus. And he talks for ages, today was all about the British class system and the British empire (terms we had already defined in our group work). We had a guest speaker who was an American/now British journalist, and she presented to us about the different newspapers in London and told us where they stand politically and what types of news they present and to what target audiences, which was interesting.

We were supposed to leave for our outing at 10:30 but I'm pretty sure it was more like 11:30 before we left...and then we walked and walked and walked to get to Fleet Street where I'm sure there is awesome journalistic significance with newspapers from back in the day and such, but our professor never mentioned it. I'm still not really sure why we went and what we were supposed to get out of it...basically a lot of walking for no real reason. Oh well.

A group of us went to The Olde Dutch- a pancake house with huge awesome sweet or savory crepes- for lunch. I got a sweet crepe with berry compote and cream, and it was good but really different. There were berries in it that I have never seen before, so that was interesting. I ended up wishing I had gone savory. But oh well, there's always next time! There will definitely be a next time at that place.

We had Culture By Design about an hour after Media and Society ended, so after lunch we headed back to class. This time, lecture was shorter, and we discussed a lot about industrial design and the components that make up good design, so as to set the stage for our outing to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

We took the red double-decker buses to get there- my first time riding them! We were on top and it was a neat way to see the city as we rode quite a ways to the museum.

The museum was HUGE and awesome and full of so many cool things that we didn't get a chance to fully see, but we looked at several examples of design and discussed them as a group before we went to the temporary exhibit of British Design through the years which was really cool. We were sent off on the mission of finding something we felt was excellent design, based on our own standards. The exhibit went through many decades, with fashion and music and entertainment and household products and all sorts of designed things on display. It was really cool and so unique from anything I've seen before, and I loved it.

The design I picked as being particularly excellent was actually the museum's logo:

I'm just a big font nerd, and I love the serif font that speaks to the historical aspects of the museum as whole- it's not helvetica and modern, it's still timeless and classic but still unique. The "A" isn't complete, which adds quirk and a bit of whimsy to the design, which is also such a key characteristic of the museum itself. I just loved that it was simple and clear and easy to understand, is indicative of the museum and represents more than just the title, and it's not excessive. All it takes is three characters, and a bold and obvious message is presented. I just loved it. Call me crazy, whatever.

Also. This museum had an awesome huge grassy courtyard area with THE COOLEST CHAIRS EVER. I was seriously obsessed with them. We sat in them during a break in the outing, and then after our scavenger hunt when we were reflecting on what we found. I loved them. They just spin around when you move in them, and you always feel like you're about to fall, but you never do. It's just great. So much fun. Best part of the day by far!

Culture by Design class! Our professor is in the dead middle in the back
After class, we rode the tube back, stopped at the grocery store, and came back to the house. I ate dinner- random odds and ends, and then worked on reading a huge 26 page scholarly article on the public sphere for my class tomorrow and uploading pictures and such! Off to bed now...sadly, no skype date with the boy and I'm not sure what happened :( things that suck about being in foreign countries...

until tomorrow!

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