Category Archives: PAST Featured Posts

Exploration Library

May 2, 2013, by

For my independent study, in addition to transcribing poems of Fernando Pessoa, I have been studying different ways of archiving and organizing libraries. After reading related texts and visiting libraries, including the Newberry Library and the Poetry Foundation, I created my own (sadly hypothetical) library. Even once I had my plan, it was a long process of selecting books, photographing examples, and creating a book from all of it. Below you can look through a gallery of photos of the book; below that is the same content in digital form.


Jorge Luis Borges imagined a world that is an infinite library, but the effects of living within it sometimes drive the inhabitants to insanity. To me, any library is a world filled with the infinite worlds of books. Not a daunting infinity fraught with frantic searching like Borges imagines, but an exhilarating infinity of opportunities to explore. Every library has a different goal. Public libraries serve the community; institutes like the Newberry Library provide a wealth of information; places like the Poetry Foundation enable readers to discover more and more poetry. It was this goal of discovery that intrigued me, and so I created a Library of Exploration. Anyone who enters is free to explore every corner of the house, and explore all the books, movies, magazines, music, art, and other portals for information and stories within.


Stickers on the spines of books help readers narrow down their exploration; however, the library isn’t split into these four sections.


The library is within a rickety old house whose rooms, closets, cabinets, windowsills, and other corners are all packed with materials. Each spot in the house has its own aura created by the decor and the books/movies/etc.  in that space. In this way the house is filled with tiny worlds waiting to be explored. No one walks into this library with a call number of the book they want to pick up. You come in with a mood or thought and find the corner that best suits you at that moment, or wander through with no clue where you’ll sit down until you stumble across the spot for you. You just have to keep exploring.

For example, this is the window you might sit by when you’re stuck inside on a rainy day, or on a hot day where you just wish it would rain. There is also a list of materials that can be found here.


Some books can indeed be found on actual shelves. One example is the story shelf. Its three sections can be divided and titled in a number of different ways:  Beginning/Middle/End, Past/Present/Future, Origin/Process/Prediction, etc. Items in the first section include the zine “Little and Big Goals of Life”, The Matrix, How We Decide, and the U.S. Constitution. The second section includes a graphic novel biography of Buddha, a guide to evolution, The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy, and Memoir: A History. Finally, in the third section can be found books on numerology and the I Ching, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, and 1984.


But most materials are found off shelves because sometimes the environment needs to fit the material– like when what you’re after is comfort. On a bed full of teddy bears, tea cups, and pillows, the following books, movies, CDs, and more are scattered among the blankets:


There are books in every nook and cranny. There’s plenty to read when you need to use the bathroom, from Captain Underpants to an explanation of how exactly the toilet works. On the stairs you have to watch out you don’t start off a domino effect of the books perched precariously on each step– books that have precarious themes themselves, such as revolution, war, or dystopian societies.


If you’re feeling peckish, take a seat in the dining room and there will be plenty to peruse.


Usually fictional characters are company enough, but sometimes it can get lonely. One part of the house lets you experience others’ friendships vicariously, whether they be light-hearted (Betsy-Tacy), adventurous (The Knights of the Round Table), informative (Toxic Friendships), or intellectual (The Letters of Sacco and Vanzetti). There’s also plenty of room to curl up with a real live non-paper friend, and there are board games around for when you need a change of pace.


Books can be a great escape, because sometimes you really need to run away from everything. And, of course, there’s a corner for that. My Side of the Mountain, Walden, Paper Towns, Black Boy, The Hobbit, and other stories of journeys or survival guides can be found here.


But sometimes you don’t know where to go, or where you came from, or even where you are. So one shelf is filled with guides to cities (or the universe), tales of explorers, and searches for identity in relation to location.


Every inch of the house has something to offer. Within each room and hallway is so much to discover. And each time you visit a new corner will call out to you, so never stop exploring. So wander in…


The Life Of A Flank Steak

April 12, 2013, by

This is a project for my Food For Thought class. The purpose of this project was to write an autobiography in the first person as if we where an ingredient. In this project I learned a lot about my ingredient which was the meat from a Cuban dish (ropa vieja) also known as flank steak and where it comes from. I am proud of my autobiography and my illustrations. You can read my story below

photo 2 (1)


I am a flank steak. For most of my life, I have hung out in the stomach of a cow, on a small farm in Colorado. Then one day, I saw a huge truck coming from a distance. Then suddenly, the truck came to a stop beside the gate of the farm. A huge guy got out of the driver’s seat, and with him he has a shock-y stick. He starts to walk towards me, and of all the parts of the cow he could have shocked, he chose to shock me, the stomach, with 8000 volts of surging electricity! He started forcing the rest of me into the huge truck he brought.

Finally, the terrible pain is over. But now it is pitch black inside the truck. All I can hear are desperate cows mooing for help all around me. After long hours in the truck, the huge door at the back of the truck opens and it is the man again. This time, he pulls us, one by one, out of the truck and apparently we are now in a place called Iowa, which I can tell by the sign on the side of the road. The man is now herding us all to a big factory. The doors of the factory open and we are led to a dark room with tons of rows of cows. I am taken to a small fenced off area and for hours all I can do is think to myself, “What will my fate be?”

Then I look to one side of me and I see a partner that has been with me my whole life. His name is Loin. I ask him, “Loin, what will be our purpose?” Loin says, “Well I will be cooked and served in country clubs and restaurants all around the country,” and I say, “Well, what about me?” and Loin then says to me, “Your history is actually very interesting. You are usually used in a Spanish dish, ropa vieja, also called flalda. The legend behind that dish is a story about a man whose family was coming to his home for dinner. Being very poor, the man could not buy them enough food when they came. To remedy his situation, he went to his closet, gathered some old clothes (ropa vieja) and imbued them with his love. When he cooked the clothes, his love for his family turned the clothes into a wonderful beef stew.the dish also originated in the Canary Islands which was the last place ships from spain would stop on their way to the americas.”

Then from the end of a very long hall I see a man coming towards me. He opens the gate and leads me to a room and separates me from the rest of my body. Then he packages me and takes me to a very cold room, and for days I am sitting in that room seeing packages just like me coming and going. One day, finally, I am picked up and I am put in a box and into another truck, but this time three days come and go, then finally, for the first time in days, I see light as the package is torn open and I notice I am being put on a shelf in a freezer in a place called Jewel Osco. The night was long and cold, then morning time comes and people start rushing in picking up packages of meat, but not me. I feel like I am never going to be put to use, and then a small cuban lady comes and picks me up and takes me home. She puts me in a pot and cooks me and serves me to a young teenager as the fork comes closer I feel like I am more and more ali……..



Retrieve the Apple- BKJ

November 5, 2012, by

I did this project for my great pretender art class. The point of this project was to make a sculpture of our power animal’s movement. I learned how to have confidence in my work and how to keep trying no matter how many times I fail.

Click the link below for the blueprint I used to build my sculpture:

Retrieve the Apple BLUEPRINT

Click on the image below to see the video:


bear climbing

white plastic tube,brown duct tape,moss,branches,rocks,marble,fishing line,Styrofoam,aluminum foil,

I made a sculpture for my Great pretender art class, this sculpture represented a bear climbing a tree for my power animal. I chose a bear because it is my power animal. First off I cut slits in a plastic tube and made a bear out of styrofoam and aluminum foil; next I tied two sticks together and put it through the tube and connected the bear to the sticks; next I tied a string to the sticks inside the tube and tied a rock to the end of the string and then I decorated it with branches and brown duct tape — and finally I made a base for the tube and decorated it with rocks and moss.

In this project I learned how to keep my confidence strong and keep trying even though it didn’t work the first couple tries, but I finally got it to work but I learned how to have confidence in my work and keep trying.

Counterculture Shout-Out Poem by LF

October 12, 2012, by

For our first unit in our ‘Counterculture’ class, the assignment was to create our own shout-out or invocation poem. The project of an invocation poem usually involves calling attention to the little things, or aspects of everyday life that sometimes are purposefully ignored. This poem was the first I’ve ever written and I can truthfully say that it has opened a window for me to something I never thought I would consider doing to pass the time; poetry! Hope you enjoy!

We live for that moment on the train

When the drunk homeless man

Giving you the dead pan

Lets his gruff voice creak

And begins to speak

Mumbling something and everyone laughs

And you feel a connection to those around you

And you feel so profound

As your insane thoughts dance around

You look at the people on the train

Wonder their names

Who are they?

Why are they here?

Who placed them so near?

What do they fear?

If you voice these thoughts, you know you’ll sound weird.

But you can’t help wondering what they’ve done before

What they’re sorry for.

So this one’s for them.

That drunken homeless man, and the strong smell of alcohol emanating from him

The middle-aged businessman,

And his briefcase

And his unnecessary, official looking umbrella

The rebelliously artsy young girl rocking the purple skirt and funky glasses

Probably on her way to art school, dreading her classes

For the man who clutches his bicycle close to him

And for the eyes, squinting angrily,

Frustrated by his use of space

But the eyes look up when the smelly man cracks his thoughtless joke

And laughter invokes

For that moment

When you get out of your head

And everyone in your small train car is connected

You appear as an extra in all of their lives

But you never know

They might be thinking about you, too…


I received some of my writing inspiration from discussing the topic of counterculture with passersby. I really enjoyed my conversations with them because they said some very surprising and interesting things that I didn’t expect to hear from strangers I’d never spoken to before. For example, I spoke briefly with a woman in her 20’s who explained that she would vote for new laws that wouldn’t necessarily benefit her lifestyle and wellbeing as an individual, but if the law was a benefit for society and the general public she’d be willing to vote for it. When asked, the example she provided for me was the legalization of marijuana. She seemed confident in herself and in all of her answers.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to speak with these different people with different beliefs. It gave me a secondary perspective and made me think about opinions I previously had, some of which I thought about while creating my slam poem.

There And Back Again: Brazil

September 26, 2012, by

From July 2011 to June 2012, I participated in a study abroad program in Brazil. The program, American Field Service (AFS), placed me with a host family, and I spent my junior year attending a Brazilian high school. I lived in a small town called Aquidauana in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Apart from going to school, I made friends, traveled around the region, and volunteered in a local orphanage. This was the subject of my presentation for TABA (“There And Back Again”), a chance for students to share their experiences on study abroad or service trips with others.

I have wanted to live in Brazil since I was ten years old: that was when I lived in Rio de Janeiro, and although I returned to the United States after just five months, I was always determined to come back. As I made plans for the long-awaited return, however, I decided to go to another part of the country, so that even as I returned to a place I had lived I would discover somewhere new. I told this to AFS and they certainly did their job to place me in a location totally different from Rio. Aquidauana is a very small, calm town, rather than a huge, bustling metropolis. Mato Grosso do Sul has a distinct culture mostly influenced by its environment, a wetland called the Pantanal; its proximity to Paraguay; and the many cattle ranches throughout the region. For my TABA presentation I talked about some of the unique elements of the culture around the Pantanal. Below is the slideshow, which you can click through and hear my narration of the photos.

Understanding Medicine with frogs

May 9, 2012, by

For our global health cure course, we are examining frog organs to better understand treatments. Frog organs are very similar to human organs. For example, human and frog livers are similar. Researchers study the liver to see how humans respond to various drugs and to find cures for liver disease (Brown Med, 2012 Dissecting frogs, I learned that frogs have thick skin, three lobes on the liver, and the pancreas and spleen help to digest its food.





How dare you burn this book!!

March 12, 2012, by

People should read the book The Golden Compass because it is a book that can put you in whole new worlds of imaginations; I wrote “imaginations” in the plural, because the main character adventures herself between world worlds, full of fantasy.

From this podcast, I learned that this book’s idea of how the daemons (animal souls) are portrayed goes against the Catholic religion — and that is why the book was censored.

It was important to include different voices in this podcast because they bring many diversified thoughts; each person I interviewed had a different story to tell, the same way that people had different daemons in the book.

These different voices made me question:

– Are you ready to discover what your daemon is?

GCE “Citi Zens” are Louder than a Bomb!

February 24, 2012, by

Yesterday, the GCE “Citi Zens” had their 1st bout on the Louder than a Bomb event in Chicago, the biggest poetry slam in the world.

It is the first time GCE joins the event and we are so inspired and thrilled about it! By the way, we got a few TENS! :)

Watch our group poem performance below and come root for us on Saturday, 3/3, from 10am to 12pm, at the Chicago Cultural Center, Randolph Café.

Bring your claps and snaps and raps.

How Do We Define Systems and Models? (by LT)

January 17, 2012, by

In order to understand how to think about scientific processes and theories, we need to be able to know how to organize. In my Organizational Systems and Models, we created examples of how organization tactics work as a flow chart system and model. These flow charts define Models and Systems which use examples, definitions, and uses for each term recognized in the flow chart. Systems and models as a whole will be ale to help me develop further understanding of how to approach applying real systems and models for scientific studies.

( Click to View : LINK )

( Click to View : LINK )

Save The Mountains – Protest Song by LN & GF

November 7, 2011, by

The purpose of this piece was to choose a problem that is going on now in my community and to protest this problem through a poem or a song. I chose topsoil removal and conflict minerals, because they are everything: we need topsoil to survive. I had a partner who chose conflict minerals. Since these problems are connected, we had to find a way to connect our poems. In this piece, I discovered that whenever we destroy a mountain, we pollute water, kill history of people, and scare away wilderness.


How does a man destroy a mountain?

To strip its life, its gold.

Tin, tungsten, tantalum and timber,

Our earth will be annihilated before I grow old.

Stop, stop, think twice before you destroy…

something vital to the world, a traveler’s joy.

Nothing belongs to you, possessions are not real.

It belongs to every single one of us –

and the animals, the plants the surreal…

listen to other voices as you listen to yourself

Shut down whatever you are doing and listen

Listen and know why…

Top soil is everything, it will tell our story when we die.

Find out what…

you can do about it

we can stop this, if we come together

we can do this

if we don’t think to our-selves:

spit it out, what’s on your mind;

your thoughts WILL change the world.

We’ve been wrecking and digging the Congo since 1985,

for cell phones and laptops,

for 5 million lives.


How does a man destroy a mountain?

To strip its life, its gold.

Tin, tungsten, tantalum and timber,

Our earth will be annihilated before I grow old.

The Congolese are being robbed of the ground that they stand on,

their land is being excavated fumigated inebriated and planned on.

The country lives in mass fear,

the rebels inflict mass murder.

The Appalachian have been robbed of all of their beauty,

they are now barren, desolate and picked over.

How do you feel today… on your iPhone, in your Range Rover?


How does a man destroy a mountain?

To strip its life, its gold.

Tin, tungsten, tantalum and timber,

Our earth will be annihilated before I grow old.

It is earth who allows us to walk upon her

– are we too barbaric to live in harmony and honor?

Are we too ignorant to realize that destruction of a mountain

is an act of murder?

Are we too greedy to give the earth the love she gives us?


How does a man destroy a mountain?

To strip its life, its gold.

Tin, tungsten, tantalum and timber,

Our earth will be annihilated before I grow old.