The Strip District, Pittsburgh

Today I visited Pittsburgh's Strip District to see the new Pittsburgh Public Market as well as visit some of my old favorite spots. In the course of my wanderings, I found an array of fragrant teas, flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars, European pastries, crab cake samplers and panini, fresh herbs, some scary-looking organic apples that the fruit vendor sliced open for us to prove they were only cosmetically challenged due to a harmless-to-humans fungus, weird-looking dog treats, Indian spices, Middle Eastern fabrics and sandals, fudge, chocolate covered fruits and nuts, coffee, masquerade masks, fragrant handmade soaps, pecan rolls, ridiculously huge cookies, alligator tail meat, frozen frog legs, singing animatronic pigs, mosaic frogs and turtles, iridescent butterflies, polished rocks, geodes, painted fish hooks, frog sculpture, painted tiles, eyeglass holders in the shape of noses, miniature suits of armor, and heirloom tomatoes. Special thanks to Jeff from Mott Family Farm for telling me so much about tomatoes and garlic and for clueing me in to Farmers Market at Phipps on Wednesdays, June through October!

A new semester

The second semester of my Master of Design in Interaction Design program began this Monday, and I can already tell it will be a cold, hard marathon to the end. I've been training by walking to and from school each day in the snow, uphill both ways, with a fully loaded backpack. Today was a relatively balmy 34°F day. Sunny. Atypically devoid of precipitation. But I am not letting that lull me into a false sense of security. Oh, no. I am taking vitamin D supplements to get me through the Pittsburgh winter, and I'm keeping a regular sleep schedule to keep the germs at bay. My challenge this time around: Graduate Design Studio II featuring a semester-long team project to design a social service, sponsored by either Microsoft or Motorola (to be determined by a brief yet brutal death match on pay-per-view)

Research Methods in Human Centered Design covering a series of methods for explorative, generative, and evaluative research (my favorite to imagine: "velcro modeling") to support the project work in Studio II

Graduate Design Seminar II reading and writing about interaction design (Will anyone top Henri Bergson for most baffling argument? Stay tuned...)

Adaptive Service Design exploring service design that leverages context-aware technology such as mobile phones, intelligent environments, and robotic products (super excited about this one!)

Information Design and Rhetoric exploring how rhetoric can provide systematic frameworks for designing information products in complex situations (more reading and writing guaranteed to blow my mind, plus two projects)

And just to prove it's on, I'm going to stop this post now and go do some reading. Stay warm, people.