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“Titmouse is cheerful, a bird of truth whose gifts include mysteries of the mind, joy. Titmouse can help you heal, balance and open your perceptions. He teaches about voicing impressions and expressions. Titmouse teaches to use our voice and the immense power of small things and with small ideas. Titmouse teaches courage and empowerment along with being bold with discernment. A natural curiosity awakens your senses and surroundings. Pay attention to social settings. He teaches the art of flexibility. Are you sharing your thoughts and opinions right now? Titmouse can show how to express ideals with timing.”

http://www.linsdomain.com/totems-t-v.htm

“regarded as the keeper of knowledge and a mystic creature.”

“People with a titmouse totem are naturally curious, they want to explore and know everything, and they are born inventors and have a gift to recreate things in their own way.”

http://www.auntyflo.com/magic/titmouse

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Upon seeing my wooden “negative space birdhouse” model, Maria quickly identified the piece as an example of post-modern design. To get a better grasp and understanding of post-modern architecture, I conducted some research from Saylor.org and About.com. Key points from my reading are listed below.

“Combining new ideas with traditional forms, postmodernist buildings may startle, surprise, and even amuse. Familiar shapes and details are used in unexpected ways. Buildings may incorporate symbols to make a statement or simply to delight the viewer.”

http://architecture.about.com/od/20thcenturytrends/ig/Modern-Architecture/Postmodernism.htm

“The functional and formalized shapes and spaces of the modernist style are replaced by diverse aesthetics: styles collide, form is adopted for its own sake, and new ways of viewing familiar styles and space abound.”

“modernism is rooted in minimal and true use of material as well as absence of ornament, while postmodernism is a rejection of strict rules set by the early modernists and seeks meaning and expression in the use of building techniques, forms, and stylistic references.”

“One building form that typifies the explorations of Postmodernism is the traditional gable roof, in place of the iconic flat roof of modernism.”

“A vivid example of this new approach was that Postmodernism saw the comeback of columns and other elements of premodern designs, sometimes adapting classical Greek and Roman examples (but not simply recreating them, as was done in neoclassical architecture).”

“Another return was that of the “wit, ornament and reference” seen in older buildings in terra cotta decorative façades and bronze or stainless steel embellishments of the Beaux-Arts and Art Deco periods. In Postmodern structures this was often achieved by placing contradictory quotes of previous building styles alongside each other, and even incorporating furniture stylistic references at a huge scale.”

“The aims of Postmodernism or Late-modernism begin with its reaction to Modernism; it tries to address the limitations of its predecessor. The list of aims is extended to include communicating ideas with the public often in a then humorous or witty way. Often, the communication is done by quoting extensively from past architectural styles, often many at once. In breaking away from modernism, it also strives to produce buildings that are sensitive to the context within which they are built.”

“In response [to modernism], architects sought to reintroduce ornament, color, decoration and human scale to buildings. Form was no longer to be defined solely by its functional requirements or minimal appearance.”

“Venturi stresses the importance of the building communicating a meaning to the public, a value shared by postmodernists in general. This communication however is not intended to be a direct narration of the meaning. Venturi goes on to explain that it is rather intended to be a communication that could be interpreted in many ways. Each interpretation is more or less true for its moment because work of such quality will have many dimensions and layers of meaning.”

“Postmodernism with its diversity possesses sensitivity to the building’s context and history, and the client’s requirements. The postmodernist architects often considered the general requirements of the urban buildings and their surroundings during the building’s design.”

“The characteristics of postmodernism allow its aim to be expressed in diverse ways. These characteristics include the use of sculptural forms, ornaments, anthropomorphism and materials which perform trompe l’oeil. These physical characteristics are combined with conceptual characteristics of meaning. These characteristics of meaning include pluralism, double coding, flying buttresses and high ceilings, irony and paradox, and contextualism.”


“The sculptural forms, not necessarily organic, were created with much ardor.”

“Postmodern buildings sometimes utilize trompe l’oeil, creating the illusion of space or depths where none actually exist, as has been done by painters since the Romans.”

“The characteristics of Postmodernism were rather unified given their diverse appearances. The most notable among their characteristics is their playfully extravagant forms and the humour of the meanings the buildings conveyed.” 

http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Postmodern-architecture.pdf

After looking on birdwatching.com, the Animal Spirt Totems Dictionary, the Bird Watcher’s Digest, BioKIDS, and Auntyflo.com, I compiled the below key notes.

Key Notes

Titmouse means small little bird.

Titmouse teaches to use our voice and the immense power of small things and with small ideas.

Titmouse teaches courage and empowerment along with being bold with discernment.

He teaches the art of flexibility.

Titmouse can show how to express ideals with timing.

More than one sleeping family pet (and even some humans) have felt a sudden tug as a titmouse boldly steals a bit of hair.

There are no negative impacts of tufted titmice on humans.

Tufted titmice help to control the population of certain insects as well as helping trees by distributing their seeds.

Regarded as the keeper of knowledge and a mystic creature

Titmouse is often associated with the spirit world and the deeper knowledge

Titmouse is teaching us that if we just observe carefully and meditate, the truth with be presented to us

Remember the story in the Bible about David and Goliath, the titmouse also wants us to realize that size is not a factor in a real battle.

Titmouse is also telling us to express our opinion, no matter how small that insight is.

People with a titmouse totem are naturally curious, they want to explore and know everything, and they are born inventors and have a gift to recreate things in their own way.

(Industrial Designers, right?!)

Titmouse teaches us to express our ideas but with the right timing, laying a solid foundation to build your plan is a good defense.

Titmouse shows up as a spirit guide when…

Call on a Titmouse as a spirit guide when…

Reading through information from National Geographic, The Cornell Lab or Ornithology’s All About Birds, and Arthur Cleveland Bent’s Life Histories of Familiar North American Birds, I inferred the following yearly and noted the following daily behaviors of the Tufted Titmouse. From The Cornell Lab or Ornithology’s All About Birds, I also collected the following images of the bird, its eggs and nest, and geographic location.

Year-In-The-Life

Fall-Winter: Wander in Small Flocks
Early Spring: Begin Courtship
Late April (occasionally Late March): Begin Nest Building
Summer: Remain with Family
Thereafter: Offspring begin process again, parents remain in the same nest

Day-In-The-Life

“Tufted Titmice are acrobatic foragers, if a bit slower and more methodical than chickadees. They often flock with chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers and are regular visitors to feeders, where they are assertive over smaller birds. Their flight tends to be fluttery but level rather than undulating.”

“Tufted Titmice flit from branch to branch of the forest canopy looking for food, often in the company of other species including nuthatches, chickadees, kinglets, and woodpeckers. When they find large seeds, such as the sunflower seeds they take from bird feeders, titmice typically hold the seed with their feet and hammer it open with their beaks. In fall and winter they often hoard these shelled seeds in bark crevices. These acrobatic foragers often hang upside down or sideways as they investigate cones, undersides of branches, and leaf clusters. They sometimes come all the way to the ground to hop around after fallen seeds or insects. Titmice are very vocal birds and are also quick to respond to the sounds of agitation in other birds, coming close to investigate or joining a group of birds mobbing a predator.”

“after the breeding season it spends a lot of time in small foraging parties that typically consist of parents and their offspring

“Tufted Titmice eat mainly insects in the summer, including caterpillars, beetles, ants and wasps, stink bugs, and treehoppers, as well as spiders and snails. Tufted Titmice also eat seeds, nuts, and berries, including acorns and beech nuts. Experiments with Tufted Titmice indicate they always choose the largest seeds they can when foraging.” 

Titmice build cup-shaped nests inside the nest cavity using damp leaves, moss and grasses, and bark strips. They line this cup with soft materials such as hair, fur, wool, and cotton, sometimes plucking hairs directly from living mammals. Naturalists examining old nests have identified raccoon, opossum, dog, fox squirrel, red squirrel, rabbit, horse, cow, cat, mouse, woodchuck, and even human hair in titmouse nests. Nest construction takes 6 to 11 days.”

“Tufted Titmice nest in cavities but aren’t able to excavate them on their own. They use natural holes and old nest holes made by several woodpecker species, including large species such as Pileated Woodpecker and Northern Flicker. Additionally, Tufted Titmice also nest in artificial structures including nest boxes, fenceposts, and metal pipes.”

Tufted Titmouse Research 01

Tufted Titmouse Research 02

Tufted Titmouse Research 03

Tufted Titmouse Research 05

Tufted Titmouse Research 04

Tufted Titmouse Research 06

Additional Notes

Appearance, Behavior, Diet

“active and noisy”
“after the breeding season it spends a lot of time in small foraging parties that typically consist of parents and their offspring”
“The large black eyes, small, round bill, and brushy crest gives these birds a quiet but eager expression that matches the way they flit through canopies, hang from twig-ends, and drop in to bird feeders. When a titmouse finds a large seed, you’ll see it carry the prize to a perch and crack it with sharp whacks of its stout bill.”
“Tufted Titmice are acrobatic foragers, if a bit slower and more methodical than chickadees. They often flock with chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers and are regular visitors to feeders, where they are assertive over smaller birds. Their flight tends to be fluttery but level rather than undulating.”
“Tufted Titmice are also common visitors at feeders and can be found in backyards, parks, and orchards.”
“Tufted Titmice flit from branch to branch of the forest canopy looking for food, often in the company of other species including nuthatches, chickadees, kinglets, and woodpeckers. When they find large seeds, such as the sunflower seeds they take from bird feeders, titmice typically hold the seed with their feet and hammer it open with their beaks. In fall and winter they often hoard these shelled seeds in bark crevices. These acrobatic foragers often hang upside down or sideways as they investigate cones, undersides of branches, and leaf clusters. They sometimes come all the way to the ground to hop around after fallen seeds or insects. Titmice are very vocal birds and are also quick to respond to the sounds of agitation in other birds, coming close to investigate or joining a group of birds mobbing a predator.”
“Tufted Titmice eat mainly insects in the summer, including caterpillars, beetles, ants and wasps, stink bugs, and treehoppers, as well as spiders and snails. Tufted Titmice also eat seeds, nuts, and berries, including acorns and beech nuts. Experiments with Tufted Titmice indicate they always choose the largest seeds they can when foraging.”
“After wandering about all through fall and winter in small flocks by themselves, or mixed with other species, they begin their courtship activities early in spring and prepare to separate into pairs.”
“Dr. Dickey tells me that in several nests that he watched the period of incubation proved to be “exactly 12 days” and he says that young remain in the cavity 15 or 16 days.”
“When ten days old, the young were well feathered and closely resembled the adults, but they remained in the nest five days more.”
“Both sexes help to feed the young for some time after they leave the nest, and both young and old travel about together in a family party during summer, until they all join the mixed parties of their own and other species that roam the woods during fall and winter.”
“In the fall they appear in small groups, which, as far as they can be counted, vary from two to at least six.”
“In winter small groups suggesting family units occupy very definite and limited areas, never overlapping.”
“Tufted titmice are practically permanent residents in even the more northern portions of their range, being regularly found in winter as far north as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois.”
“The tufted titmouse is quick and active in all its movements, flitting upward among the branches or gliding down between them, but it seldom indulges in long flights.”

Call

“Call: a harsh, scolding zhee zhee zhee. Song: a loud, whistled peto peto peto or wheedle wheedle wheedle, often repeated monotonously”
“The Tufted Titmouse’s song is a fast-repeated, clear whistle: peter-peter-peter. The birds repeat this up to 11 times in succession or up to 35 songs delivered per minute. Females occasionally sing a quieter version of the song.”
“Titmouse calls are nasal and mechanical. A scratchy, chickadee-like tsee-day-day-day is the most common. Tufted Titmice also give fussy, scolding call notes and, when predators are sighted, a harsh distress call that warns other titmice of the danger.”

Nest

“The tufted titmouse frequents well-vegetated urban and suburban areas, willingly uses nest boxes, and regularly visits bird feeders”
“Tufted Titmice often line the inner cup of their nest with hair, sometimes plucked directly from living animals. The list of hair types identified from old nests includes raccoons, opossums, mice, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, livestock, pets, and even humans.”
“Titmice build cup-shaped nests inside the nest cavity using damp leaves, moss and grasses, and bark strips. They line this cup with soft materials such as hair, fur, wool, and cotton, sometimes plucking hairs directly from living mammals. Naturalists examining old nests have identified raccoon, opossum, dog, fox squirrel, red squirrel, rabbit, horse, cow, cat, mouse, woodchuck, and even human hair in titmouse nests. Nest construction takes 6 to 11 days.”
“Tufted Titmice nest in cavities but aren’t able to excavate them on their own. They use natural holes and old nest holes made by several woodpecker species, including large species such as Pileated Woodpecker and Northern Flicker. Additionally, Tufted Titmice also nest in artificial structures including nest boxes, fenceposts, and metal pipes.”
“Nests are found at both low and high elevations; they range from 3 feet up to as many as 85 or 90 feet. They will continue to use the identical cavity for years, if unmolested.”
“Nest building begins late in April, although birds are seen to carry odd leaves and trash into holes even as early as late in March. They begin by carrying in strips of bark and dead deciduous leaves; those of white oak and maple are common. Then they add sprays of green moss and dry grass, and round out the interior with pads of hair from cattle, rabbit, deer mouse, and others, and bits of rags, strings, or cloth.”
“Four to eight eggs may be found in the nest of the tufted titmouse, but oftener there are either five or six.”
“The ground color is usually pure white, but often creamy white, or rarely pale “cream color.” They are generally more or less evenly speckled all over the entire surface with very small spots or fine dots; often these markings are thickest at the larger end, where they are sometimes concentrated into a wreath; rarely this concentration is at the small end. The markings are in various browns, “hazel,” “cinnamon-rufous,” “vinaceous-rufous,” “burnt sienna,” or “chestnut”; some eggs have a few underlying shell markings of “lilac-gray” or “drab-gray.””

After my wooden life-size wind-up car did not propel forward when bearing my weight, I reached out for help from a few peers including a Landscape Architect, Software Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, and Construction Engineer (and, as discussed in a previous post, fellow Industrial Designers). I asked for their input on both how to adjust the vehicle so it could transport an adult and how to improve the vehicle overall. Through my consultations, I plan to investigate the following adjustments.

Life-Size Wind-Up Car Consultation 01

Larger Wind-Up Axle: Not broadening the entire axle but the part about which the rubber band wraps up. I don’t remember the exact physics reasoning behind this, but I think it will aid torque.

Life-Size Wind-Up Car Consultation 02

Rubber-Lined Wheels: Wrapping rubber bands around the circumference of the wheels to improve traction.

Life-Size Wind-Up Car Consultation 04

In-Wheel Axel Hook: Connecting the rubber band to the axle via a hook within the axle (opposed to an extended dowel) should ease winding up the vehicle (the user will not need to guide the rubber band and prevent it from catching the end of the dowel). Furthermore, removing the dowel removes the potential risk of it falling out.

Life-Size Wind-Up Car Consultation 07

Rubber Band Catch: Preventing the user from having to feed the band through the hole every time it is freed from the axle after wound up.

Life-Size Wind-Up Car Consultation 08

Peg-Held Wheels: The Landscape Architect recommended I take a long drill bit and drive a hole completely down both sides of the wheel, through the axle, and then secure the wheel to the axle via a dowel on each side, held in place by the rubber bands extended about the circumference of the wheels. I’m not sure if this is the most effective or efficient way to secure the wheel, but I think it does hold potential.

Life-Size Wind-Up Car Consultation 05

Altering the Contact Size of the Body: While one argued that I should increase the connection board, therefore increasing the surface area and more evenly dispersing the weight on the axles, another posited that this would be detrimental as it would increase friction.

Life-Size Wind-Up Car Consultation 09

Altering the Size of the Wheels: There was discussion on making the wheels bigger (especially the rear wheels, which power the vehicle), with the argument that speed racing cars have large back wheels, the Mechanical Engineer argued that while it may make a difference, the wheels are probably alright in terms of size.

In an attempt to contrive creative ideas, I tried, among a variety of techniques, (1) microwaving rubber bands and (2) overlapping successive rubber bands.

PreMicrowaveRubberBand

MidMicrowaveRubberBand

PostMicrowaveRubberBand

My microwave experiment resulted dismally with no reaction. Nothing appeared to happen to neither the rubber band nor the microwave. From my memory, a microwave heats items by causing water molecules to jump around and thus I understand, with low to no water content, why the rubber bands did not react to the waves in the microwave. Furthermore, the heat generated in the microwave was apparently minimal compared to that required to melt rubber.

RubberBandCoaster

Overlapping the rubber bands produced and interesting tree-section-cut form but all I could bring myself to create with the form was a coaster.

I am glad I conducted these experiments as they, at least for a moment, quenched my curiosity. Thankfully, though, my quest for creativity did not conclude with these two trials and I continued to generate ideas.