Check out this cool project the folks at NCSU Libraries undertook for Banned Book Week, which is the last week in September. The library asked members from the campus community to read excerpts from books they read that have been banned at various points in time by various organizations or schools. Chancellor Randy Woodson reads from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and our own Alumni Association Executive Director Benny Suggs ’69 reads from Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Click here to listen to the excerpts recorded as part of NCSU Libraries’ “Banned Book Soundwave.” Click on “Learn More” beside each book jacket to read the history behind the attempts to ban each of the books listed.
Kellie Hill '06 painted this portrait of her daughter as part of her 1,000 paintings a day project. It's titled "Naomi Sleeping." (Image courtesy of Kellie Hill '06)
On Jan. 1, 2008, artist Kellie Hill ’06 of Durham set out to create a small painting every day and post it on her blog, One Painting a Day. And today, 1,000 days later, she’ll paint No. 1,000 and post blog entry No. 1,000. Look for the entry and painting here.
Why did you decide to do this project?
Well, daily painting in this form — completing a small painting every day and posting it on a blog — was started by Duane Keiser in December of 2004. When I heard about it, I knew it would be a really wonderful discipline for me, encouraging me to grow, becoming much more skilled as an artist, and to develop a personal style. Art is definitely one of those things that you learn best by doing!
How do you decide what to paint?
There are painting ideas everywhere, once you get used to seeing them! I do end up painting a lot of fruit and vegetables for my dailies. So many of them are irresistibly beautiful. I also love painting objects that are transparent and/or reflective. It is a challenge, but so beautiful when it’s finally right.
Matthew Riley Huston, a senior in graphic design and a Caldwell Fellow, is a finalist in the 2010 Adobe Design Achievement Awards’ mobile design category. For the international competition, college students create projects that showcase the convergence of technology and creative arts using Adobe software. The winners will be announced on Oct. 24. Below is a video that demonstrates Huston’s entry, which stars Caldwell Fellow Victor Brozovsky, a 17-year-old junior in nuclear engineering:
The NC State Alumni Association founded the Caldwell Fellows and supports its scholarships, stipends and programming.
There is one week every fall where students move into the Brickyard to live in shacks and support Habitat for Humanity. For Shack-a-Thon, organizations go through a bid process to receive a plot to build a shack and the top four fundraisers from the previous year get wood provided by the Habitat chapter. Each shack must be manned at all hours during the week, and students spend that time actively raising money and awareness for affordable housing.
The most colorful shack designed and built by Teaching Fellows!
It’s the 20th anniversary of the event, and it just keeps getting bigger and better. “The Bubble” — University Dining’s temporary dining facility — forced a shakeup in the traditional village arrangement but organizations were able to work around it. (more…)
Activities will begin at 12:30 p.m., with a marathon run of entertainment options – on four stages – suitable for visitors of all ages. The schedule highlights performances from a dozen bands, bellydancers and international dance troupes, as well as a fraternity/sorority Pig-N-Pie cookoff, an “Iron Chef” challenge and a beer garden for attendees over 21 years old.
Members of the NC State volleyball, women’s soccer, men’s swimming, women’s swimming and men’s golf programs will be on hand for the festivities, and the university’s road football game with Georgia Tech – with a noon kickoff – will be shown on large screens in a special Game Day Zone, allowing pigskin fans to come together and celebrate the ‘Pack with others in attendance. Unless indicated on the festival schedule, there is no cost to participate in any Live It Up events.
Find the event schedule here, and complete details here.
Chris Downey (Photo by Tony Deiffell for NC State magazine)
We’ve written quite a bit about Chris Downey ’84, pictured right, on this blog before and we featured him in NC State magazine’s Autumn 2009 issue. He’s the architect based in San Fransisco who lost his sight in 2008 after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor. Now, in its latest issue, The Atlantic magazine profiles Downey and describes how he re-learned his craft. From the article:
Two and a half years ago, Downey had just started running the architecture practice at a stylish green-design firm. A few weeks after he took the job, he noticed something wrong with his vision. A tumor was wrapped around his optic nerve; he needed surgery right away. When he woke up, everything was blurry, but he could see. “Five days later,” he said, “it all went black.”
Downey returned to the office. But he couldn’t use design software. He couldn’t read plans. A few months passed, and the firm was caught up in the housing crash. Downey scheduled a talk with the owner, an old friend, to figure out how he could be more useful. He was at a workstation, up on a loft, when she came to see him, and he could tell by her footfalls that it wasn’t going to be the kind of conversation he had been planning to have.
San Francisco was full of laid-off architects. Downey could be pretty sure he was the only blind one. It turned out to be an interesting credential. SmithGroup and another firm, the Design Partnership, hired him as a consultant.
The architects stacked the tile samples out of the way and moved to a conference room. Plans covered a long table. Downey’s were printed in Braille dots, on big white sheets of stiff paper. Shortly before he was laid off, Downey had found a blind computer scientist who had devised a way to print online maps through a tactile printer; it worked for architectural drawings too. Meub would take Downey’s hand and guide it to details on the plans, as they talked. “He can’t just look at a drawing at a glance,” Meub told me later. “At first I thought, Okay, this is going to be a limitation. But then I realized that the way he reads his drawings is not dissimilar to the way we experience space. He’ll be walking through a plan with his index finger, discovering things, and damn, he’s walking through the building!”
Read the entire story here, and check out our past coverage on Downey here.
Pac-Match Party (Image courtesy of Spark Plug Games)
Spark Plug Games president John O’Neill ’96 spent years developing games for personal computers and traditional video game consoles such as the PlayStation. But he got tired of working on the long, drawn-out projects that are common in video game development. His aim in co-founding Spark Plug: create a company that made fun games and create an environment that was fun for its developers. They began working on console games and discovered the casual market — games for people who weren’t hardcore gamers but who wanted an entertaining experience that wouldn’t take up hundreds of hours. “It kind of opened our eyes to something we always wanted to do: target as large an audience as possible [by] building mass market, fun, entertaining games,” he says.
Earlier this year, the company launched Pac-Match Party, a match game inspired by the iconic video game character Pac-Man. You can play it here or download it from the iTunes store. The company also recently helped NC State’s Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications develop WolfMatch, a match game for mobile devices. O’Neill talks here about apps, Pac-Man and video game development. And check out the Department of Computer Science’s interview with him.
What’s the difference between developing for a console like the PlayStation and developing for a mobile device like an iPhone or Android?
It’s not terribly different. The smart thing we’ve done to make our lives easy is to develop technology to take a lot of the complexities and differences between the console and iPhone and hide [them] from the creative team. You have your artists and designers and game programmers who are going to focus on building the content that makes something entertaining and enjoyable. But you don’t want them having to struggle with how to make it fit on a small screen. If you can extract a lot of the complexities of hardware and think of the iPhone as a console itself, you’re really just developing for another platform. You can focus [most] of your efforts on good game design. [W]e think of [the iPhone] as another console.
When I am asked about my favorite NC State landmark, my response is always the same — the Memorial Bell Tower. The Bell Tower stands as a faithful sentinel, guarding our precious campus and standing proud as a continuous symbol of our great university. As most NC State students and alumni know, the Bell Tower was completed in 1937 as a way to remember and honor the NC State alumni who were killed in World War I. But, who would have thought in 1937 that this 115-foot-tall granite tower would become one of the most recognizable symbols and most cherished places on NC State’s campus?
The Bell Tower is the place to go after our beloved Wolfpack defeats one of our rivals. Students come together to see the Bell Tower turn lit up red, cheer on our victorious teams and wake the whole city of Raleigh with our chants of “WOLFPACK.” It’s where we go to take our “first day as a freshman” photos to appease our mothers, and it’s the place we come to bid farewell to our journey as an undergraduates. As our paths take us different ways after we graduate, the Bell Tower is the welcoming force that brings alumni back to Wolfpack Nation. The Bell Tower is the place where our official NC State rings spend the night before ring ceremonies. Throughout the night, our rings soak up that sense of Wolfpack love and pride that you can’t get anywhere else. When we put on our rings, we forever have a piece of Wolfpack spirit near our hearts.
The Bell Tower is near and dear to my heart. I have made so many memories at the Bell Tower that I will keep forever. The Bell Tower is where I became an official Alumni Association Student Ambassador. “Bell Tower Night” is the first night that our group comes together as one, made up of new and old ambassadors, as we embark on a new year of tradition, fun and friendship. It is also the place where my friends and I ran to after the Wolfpack men’s basketball team’s huge win over Duke in January 2010. The echoes of “WOLFPACK” and “RED”and “WHITE” reverberated throughout the night. It was a great night to be a Wolfpack fan (like it’s not great to be a Wolfpacker every day).
My blog post could go on forever if I continued to share my memories of the Bell Tower, so I’m going to stop while I’m ahead. Needless to say, the Bell Tower is special to each and every one of us.
Here are five other NC State places that I think everyone should see:
We thought that was a great idea. So we developed a list of 52 things that we alumni are glad to have experienced, as well as some that we wish we had done, compiled with a little help from our NC State Alumni Association Facebook fans. The entirety of our list appears as the cover story in NC State magazine’s Autumn 2010 issue, which hits mailboxes soon. But, we’ve also compiled a one-page cheat sheet that you can download here. How many NC State experiences can you check off the list? What are your memories of those experiences? What would you add to the list? Let us know by leaving a comment or sending us an e-mail at email@example.com.
And click here to read the 54 items on the playing cards that freshmen received during orientation and here to read the suggestions from our Facebook page fans.
Rachel Wharton '94 at Roberta’s Pizza in Bushwick, Brooklyn. (Photo by Carolyn Fong for NC State magazine)
Since the first time she was able to hold a fork, Rachel Wharton ’94 has been interested in food. Plus, she grew up in a home where “talking about what we’re going to cook and eat” was a part of life, she says. Today, she’s a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based food writer for Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan; and in May, she won a 2010 James Beard Foundation Journalism Award—the Oscars of the food world—for her “Back of the House” columns, which she describes as “love letters to restaurants.” She spoke with NC State magazine about her career. Look for a short profile on her in our Autumn 2010 issue, which will hit mailboxes soon. Until then, here’s an extended interview with her.
Why food writing? How did you break into the field?
I’ve always been interested in food as long as I can remember being able to hold a fork in my hand, or a chicken bone. My parents are from Louisiana where there’s really not much to do but eat and drink, and so … talking about what we’re going to cook and eat has just been a part of life. I’ve always been a writer. I went to NC State and got a degree in English, writing and editing. [At one point] I was reading this excellent book called Food Politics by Marion Nestle. I looked her up online, and I realized that there was a master’s program in food studies at New York University. It had never occurred to me that I could be a food writer, but within three months I had applied to that program, and was accepted. Then, the first and only food internship at the New York Daily News opened a month after I started the program, and I got it. I was there for over four years. So that’s my convoluted story of how I became a food writer.